Finding Order

IMG_9317Dear Friends,

Another week! I’m always surprised by how quickly time flies once the main season hits. Summer is upon us, with some hot days coming up for the last part of the month. I love and fear this time of year, when the days are long and hot and there’s just so much to do. I dig in my heels sometimes in resistance. But nothing compares with the early mornings and late evenings of summer, especially on either end of a good day’s work. And your farmers strive to make the most of these days by sticking to a schedule. We implemented this schedule about two weeks ago, and we like it very much. You see, with all the changes we’re making around our farm, and with the heavy workload of summer, we felt the need to structure our days. Both Jeremy and I crave order, and the long days with random breaks and eating hours have been too disorganized for us. We also need family time, and having a schedule helps us relax and enjoy our little family. So we created the following:

5:00-6:00 am: Breakfast (and an hour of us-time while Peach is still asleep)

10:30 am: Tea time (because our farm runs on tea, you know)

1:00-2:00 pm: Lunch time

5:00 pm: Happy hour (really)

At this point I settle in for the evening with Peach and Jeremy does a few more hours of work. We take a light supper together and hit the hay between 9 and 10. I’m here to tell you that this schedule has improved our quality of life greatly. The little signposts throughout the day help us be more productive (especially knowing that there’s happy beverage at 5), and it’s good for the baby to have more predictable days anyways. Here’s to finding some order in our madness!

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The Boss surveying the packing shed

In other news, today is the first day EVER that CSA shares were delivered by someone who is not Jeremy! Our new farm worker Deion has taken over Tuesday deliveries, making this the first time in almost four years that Jeremy did not do CSA deliveries. This is a big step from the days when it was just Jeremy running this farm. He was free to work on projects all morning and prepare for the week’s flurry of field work and transplanting. We joke that maybe we could the farm running enough that Jeremy could just be the guy who tidies up and tweaks things around the farm. Or are we joking?

We are figuring things out little by little, and we feel that we’re on the verge of a breakthrough. We’ve had to adapt so much, but we start to get a clearer (if always changing) vision of what kind of farm, and thus what kind of life, we want to have.

Wishing you a cozy week,

Ashli, Jeremy, and Marion

Working It

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Dear Friends,

After a breathlessly hot first week of June, we are in full swing! We’ve got sprinklers going nonstop, shade cloths on all the greenhouses, and we’re furiously preparing beds for a multitude of transplants. And your farmers are working hard as usual to stay on top of everything (see the above picture for what a few hard seasons will do to your clothes, ha). We’ve recently brought on more help, however, and are beginning to be able to pass off more and more tasks to others. It’s a little weird setting someone up doing my usual jobs, like taking care of the tomatoes, but I’m grateful to let go if it means that a job actually gets done (it’s difficult to complete a task with a tiny person around, sometimes simply because she’s distractingly cute).

Last week we began our CSA season with a share of spring favorites like kale, garlic scapes, and mesclun. This week, and probably the next few weeks, will be a little repetitive because we’re behind on seeding and transplanting. Some things just have fallen through the cracks. Not to worry, though, tomatoes, onions, and fingerling potatoes are right around the corner! You just might not have carrots for a couple of months. In the meantime, we’re mostly happy with how our current crops have been turning out, and we hope you are too. Seeing successful crops, like those huge kale bunches (the stuff of my dreams) and spotless mini lettuces, reminds me of how much we’ve learned as farmers. We’re actually becoming better growers by the season, which is encouraging. Our hard work is bearing fruit.

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An integral part of becoming better farmers, for us, has been a willingness to adapt, as we’ve mentioned previously. This year has seen some of the most urgent and intense changes thus far. We unexpectedly started this season with far fewer CSA members than we’ve had in prior years, and had to shift our focus from being a CSA farm to increasing our farm-direct wholesale. Of course, we love doing a CSA and will always strive to provide members with a variety of top-quality produce. We just needed to find the best market for our size of farm and production capacity. So, we’re beginning to specialize in salad greens, mainly mesclun mix but a few other items as well, and this has worked surprisingly well for us. Already we’re doing several hundred pounds a week of bagged and bulk salad items to natural food stores and restaurants! What a change. In many respects we’re a totally different farm than we were a year or even six months ago. We’re taking what the season gives us and working it!

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The Peach turns three months this week. There was a time early on when I thought we would never reach the three-month mark (I stopped counting down the days around two months, when she started cooing. Oh, and when she started sleeping at night). Now Peach smiles constantly, grabs her toes, and keeps tabs on mom and dad from her swing and stroller. I’m thrilled with her, and grateful to have a child who is already so loving and joyful. We carry on together, as a family.

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Have a wonderful, and much cooler, week!

Ashli, Jeremy, and Marion

PS, Thanks to all our members who are utilizing the Facebook group! Keep it up. It’s encouraging for us to see you using your produce and interacting with your fellow members. This is a journey in which we all need one another!