I love the cooler weather and the changing colors of nature all around. The farming season is done with my last delivery gone out this past Thursday. And now comes the ckean up. Putting the harvest shed back in order, tucking away deer fences and seeding supplies, clearing the greenhouses and tying up loose ends…
I am still waiting for my pumpkins to change color… With the lack of sun and recent cooler weather they are lagging a bit behind… So are my green beans, and there are still a few eggplant and peppers and watermelons limping along, too.
I had hoped for a fall delivery for Thanksgiving, planned on raising turkeys and putting together a harvest meal in a box, but I am glad I decided not to. Once the season got rolling, there was little wiggle room to fit any more work into the days. And now I am grateful to be done with the tight schedule and the long drive for the deliveries every week.
It is time to slow down, breathe, put my feet up and enjoy life a little more, ponder what might come next. I am looking forward to finding a farm to call my own, to still grow vegetables and flowers, if not for a second CSA season, then for a farmers market or just a farm stand in the driveway… And to realize some of my ambitions to raise more animals… Like a cow or rwo for milking, sheep or goats and a few turkeys… I have a dream!
And I finally have the time to work on some artsy projects, some of which I intend to sell at the upcoming art fair and christmas boutique.
Fall, time to fall in love with life again!
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 ~
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.
Although I have a few less members for my first season than I had hoped and needed in order to hire help, I am enjoying the fact that I can actually skip using the tractor for a lot of the planting and just crawl along the rows on my hands and knees and plant my kale, broccoli, onions, cabbage, squash, beans, celery…(the list goes on…) by hand. Yes it takes much longer, and is much more taxing than with two people riding on the transplanter. But it is also enjoyably quiet and peaceful.
Today we rushed and with Kate driving the tractor and myself on the transplanter, we got in several rows of potatoes and sweet corn before lunch, and then, just in time before the storm hit, got the summer sqash in the ground. The first raindrops fell as we put the tractor in the shed and the tools tucked away. And then it poured. Thank heavens. Because the poor fresh transplants that went in the ground over the past two days looked pretty pathetic sticking out of the hot, dry soil.
With a lot more rain expected the next couple of days, I am quite grateful for the break from kneeling on the dry hard soil, shopping, relaxing and regrouping, and turning my focus to the hoophouses.
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…