Year in Review

**   PRESENTING OUR 2019 CSA SHARES   **

 

Well, technically, presenting just 18 of our 28 deliveries. Oops, I missed photographing 10 whole weeks of deliveries! That tells me we were very busy last season. Seeding weekly from mid-February through July, planting weekly from mid-April though August, harvesting almost daily from late May through November, delivering four days a week June through November, and staffing 35 weeks of farmer’s market can do that to you! Oh, and did I mention daily washing, packing, weeding, fixing and communicating? So, no hammock time  but that’s ok!

Our goal is to grow the most delicious and nutritious food we can for our customers, and to grow our customer base so the farm can provide a viable income for both Ben and me and provide our staff a good wage. We also hope that there’s money left to invest in the farm and to purchase equipment to improve our efficiency,  which in turn leads to better quality of life – whether more reasonable hours for us or wage increases for our employees. Thanks to an experienced, caring and hard-working crew we’ve been able to grow the most flavorful and wholesome food we can. And thanks to increases in both CSA membership and wholesale sales over the past three years, we’ve been able to reinvest in the farm.

The 2019 season brought planned improvements to our packing facility. We concreted the entire floor of the packing barn, installed lighting, bought a rinse conveyer for washing efficiency and added a 60-foot insulated shipping container for more vegetable storage space.

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After many improvements in 2019, our pack barn really came together. Here we are washing sweet potatoes for a wholesale account.

 

The 2019 season also brought unexpected expenses. For 10 years, our 1950 Allis Chalmers G cultivating tractor was reliable to complete all of the cultivating work. This year, though, we seemed to push it a bit too hard. Our expanded production area, together with the naturally heavy soil, meant we ran G in a higher gear then we think it maybe likes. In short, it expired.  Being without a cultivating tractor during peak cultivating season meant we had no time to spare to get another cultivating tractor. Ultimately, we ended up going through two more G engines, which would require a whole other blog post to explain. Fortunately we had enough in the business bank account to meet these unexpected expenses, and now we know we need to look for a cultivating tractor upgrade for 2020! Also fortunately, there are lots of options for cultivating tractors with larger engines and more capabilities. Ben has been surfing the tractor classifieds and has a few tractors in mind that he will check out next week.

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We think we have out grown our G. We will probably keep it to complete more specialized tasks but we need a main cultivating tractor with more power

 

We’re enthusiastic about building on our 2019 improvements both in terms of equipment upgrades and production knowledge. In 2020 we hope to continue to serve our market customers incomparably delicious veggies, grow our 260-member CSA a little bit, and refine our wholesale accounts in a way that allows us to maximize efficiency. I’d also like to grow some quality of life improvements in 2020: being more present with the kids, more on top of laundry, maybe a little less stressed. I think it can happen! And if I manage to take a picture of EVERY SINGLE CSA share this coming season, you’ll be the first to know. By the way, 2020 CSA info found here and online sign up happens here! Very excited to bring the 2020 season on!

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Salad greens on a crisp fall morning

 

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