Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Week of October 11 2010 : Closing Time

(Here is a photo of the field shrouded in mist. In the foreground are the cover crops just two weeks after seeding. In the background are the geese lurking in the shadows. And separating the two is nothing but twine ...)

This is the final week of market for us. We like to celebrate Halloween early so we dress the kids in costumes and take them to market too. Last year Nathaniel was a skunk ... appropriate but too realistic for our neighbor's dog. We learned our lesson and decided not to dress the kids as an enemy of something that growls or has sharp teeth. This year he was a farmer and Frances was a nubbin' ear of corn.

Right now I am wondering how we survived this season. Let's just say we experienced a labor shortage. Our collective efforts (and patience) were diverted to our toddler and new born baby. I estimate we operated the farm and attended market with 1/3rd of an employee.

We are really satisfied with this season. But we are really excited to see it go too. This year, there were NO season extension techniques used on our farm!

The most disappointing moment was realizing / admitting that we couldnt participate in the Geauga Fresh Farmer's Market. We were honored to be chosen as members of such a great market. Now that we have regained family stability we look forward to participating next season.

The most memorable moment also occurred at the Geauga market. We won the Best Tasting Cherry Tomato award.

The most pleasing moments were the return of repeat customers at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark Market. Customers raving about our sweet corn ... woo hoo.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Week of October 4 2010 : Little

(Here is a photo of Nathaniel turning the little compost pile. Its a little farm, so a little boy on a little tractor is a perfect match for the job.)

There are two ends of the continuum with respect to growing capacities. On the small end, there is Mom and Dad growing a tomato plant in a container on the driveway. On the large end, there are the multi-national corporations.

Market farms fall somewhere in between although even the large / successful operations are closer to the Mom and Dad end than the corporate end.

We fall into a particularly annoying spot in this little middle: the hard-to-get-supplies little middle.

If Mom and Dad want tomato seeds, they can drive to any hardware store or greenhouse or landscape center and buy tomato seeds.

If a multi-national corporation wants tomato seeds, they can call the headquarter's technology center who will bioengineer a customized breed.

Again, market farmers fall somewhere in between. We need a larger seed selection than the local hardware store but dont have the labs to develop our own seed.

This problem is amplified by strict organic production requirements.

A particularly annoying example is cover crop seed.

The internet solves the availability problem; we know where to buy cover crops. But how many sites charge a premium for shipping 25# of seeds? Then these same sites offer free shipping on large orders!

BAAH. It's the little middle syndrome.