As the season winds down I am grateful to have received some lovely emails from members and neighbors who enjoy sharing in my harvests and appreciate the beauty and bounty of the fresh food I deliver. Here are a couple of the messages I received
~ Hello Neighbor!
Holy cats. Those are just beautiful tomatoes! Thank you so very much…
Have a great rest of your week! Cheers, J ~
~ Hi Susanne,
Thank you for the email informing us, and thank you for all your work starting this up. I commend you (actually that’s understating it – I’m in awe of you) for entering the risky world of CSA farming and doing a mountain of work – not to mention successfully providing a year of delicious veggies! Please keep me on the contact list if you start up in another location. My husband Bill and I would love to continue to support your efforts starting up a farm. Take care, Celesre .M. and Bill S. ~
~ Dear Susanne,
I apologize for my slow reply. But I’m so sorry to hear that this has been a difficult season. And I’m even sorrier to hear that Kate is selling her farm, and that you won’t be able to continue next year. We’ve very much enjoyed our season with you and have loved the many delicious vegetables you’ve provided. Thank you for all you’ve put into this–your work and care have been much appreciated. Daniel and I look forward to these final few weeks of the CSA, and then we wish you all the best for for what comes next…
With gratitude, Erik ~
Every size shape amd color of tomato you can imagine! What fun to harvest even just a small-ish basket full for the end of summer bash for the folks at the assisted living where I work part time.
I have been facing a bunch of difficulties here on the farm that are trying my creativity and abilities to say the least… Torrential rains and relentless critters munching away on my crops are just some of the influences that I am grappling with. Plants not growing or not producing crops is another challenge I am learning to deal with – calling on fellow farmers in the area who are willing to share their extras with me, or even buying things like sweet corn since mine was a complete loss.
There are many differences to Kate’s CSA besides number of members and her many years of experience. There were always 6 or 7 helpers on the farm, and a lot of action everywhere throughout the day.
I am here by myself, there is much less activity. It is quiet and peaceful and apparently quite inviting to the overflow of deer and rabbits and rodents that mess with my stuff 😉 And much less (wo)manpower to do the work.
In essence, running a CSA is quite an undertaking. And while I enjoy the work and farming very much, I have my share of disappointment and frustration with the things that don’t go well. I still am proud of the beautiful food I grow and the full bags I deliver.
I had big plans for my CSA – fun festivals on the farm, volunteer days throughout the season, scavenger hunt on and around the farm… But all these plans were derailed and fell flat as time progressed. Too few members right from the start, insurance limitations, Kate’s decision to move in spring, preparing for her move early in the season, and finally her move and decision to sell the farm… Things did not turn out as planned at all.
So now that Kate has moved to California and decided to sell the farm, I will be finishing my season here in early fall, and depending on the sale and new folks moving in, will probably stay on through winter to look after things here. This means of course that my CSA on Kate’s land is shorter lived than I initially planned. I am not certain where I will settle next year and whether I will have the opportunity to continue my CSA on another farm.
I thank all my members for their trust and giving me the wonderful opportunity to grow and deliver vegetables this summer. A big thank you also to my lovely drop site hosts! I appreciate all the support and feedback this season! And I regret not having had the chance to have everybody out here for the hands on festivities everyone enjoyed so much with Kate. And to continue growing with everybody through the seasons I hoped would follow this one.
My very own Snapdragons and Sweet Peas. Deliciously colorful and fragrant.
The little bunnies next to the vase are needle felted. A fun winter pastime of mine. I will write more about them soon.
There is nothing better than farm fresh. Here is such a good meal in one “small” batch… Just add chicken breast or bacon or trout… Yum.
I love raising colorful food. And flowers. And this year I have a thing for purple… From purple peppers to purple poppy, things are just looking gorgeous. Hmm… Wonder if there are chickens that lay purple eggs 😉
There is spring in the air and great progress in the greenhouse! As in nature, where the first wild flowers are adding spots of color to the greener and greener surroundings. To my delight I spotted a large patch of violets happily abloom along the driveway! And in the greenhouse, another batch of seeds I feared lost is finally poking its needlepoint-tiny buds through the soil.
Despite early hiccups with that batch of bad soil that fried my first big set of seeds and set me back about three weeks, things are now growing nicely and rapidly and we are moving right along. Luckily there is a wonderful community of farmers working together and trading seeds, seedlings, and advice is the name of the game.
The first phase of deer fence is up around the garden, next comes the netting to keep those smarty-nosed dears from just walking right through the lines… But I will leave that tedious task for a dry and more pleasant day.
A new bigger hoophouse is going up, replacing the small “pepper shack”… This one is literally twice the size and with double siding offers opportunity for an extended season… Aaaah the possibilities.
I love this place…
As I am waiting out winter in preparation for the new life I will be starting – myself as a new farmer and with the seeds I will be planting and nourishing and cultivating – I am working at a dairy farm, milking 48 cows and, my favorite, hand feeding the new calves.
There is such innocence and curiosity and expectation in those big eyes… I am drawn in from the first moment and just want to capture that sweet wide-eyed expression. It reminds me of that wide-eyed inner child of mine that has gotten buried under the weight of growing up and striving to have and be and do great things.
As I watch the calves grow and move through the stages, outgrowing the bottle and eventually giving birth and joining the ranks of milkers, I can’t help but notice that their eyes never change. Even in the older, seasoned cows I see that same gentleness and curiosity and expectation…
Animals live in the moment and see each moment new and fresh. Unlike us humans whose vision becomes blurred by the accumulation and assimilation of every moment we live. We do not let go, we do not move on, every moment is measured against all that have come before. Until we overload, have to regroup, and restart. And finally open our eyes again and start a new life – wide-eyed, full of innocence and curiosity and expectation.
Here is to new life and big, open eyes. Blessings for a wonderful season and a fresh start to a new year waiting to be lived one amazing moment at a time.
It is almost Christmas and with new member registrations flooding in I am immersed in my seed catalogs fantasizing over which yummy veggies to grow for my first season… Despite the cold weather and the snow on the ground I am antsy to go out in the greenhouse and start planting!
Of course I have to hold my horses. I don’t have all my supplies yet anyway, nor have I completed my seed order. But my eagerness is fueled by my evenly eager new members who are telling me they believe in me and can’t wait for their fresh picked veggies!
For now, I try to sit back and enjoy the view of my kittens enjoying the view of the calm and peaceful winter landscape…