January is the time to do a lot of desk-work. Not my favorite, but necessary. Last year I started homeschooling the kids, so now winter is prime unschooling season. We all learn a lot and do cool stuff, cramming as much cool stuff in as we can before busy spring planting season comes around again.
You know we’ve had farm interns for the last two years, and they’ve been great. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and I hope for them as well. But this year will be different. This year, the kids will be learning how to farm. I haven’t entirely figured out how it’s going to go yet, but they will be my interns. I will encourage them to help plan, plant, harvest, and interact with customers. I hope to have them help with the CSA, which is one of the reasons we will be downsizing our CSA slightly this year, from about 150 families (2014) to about 100-ish families. I also hope to take each of them to farmers markets with me, so they can learn some customer service hustle. If you’ve had tweenagers, you can imagine how daunting that idea is, but I hope to make the best of it. Those are skills that can’t be taught in school, they only come from experience. And they are life skills. Customer service, hustle, and knowing how to grow food. Definitely life skills. Throw in a little creativity, science, and math, and you’ve got it made.
I am hopeful that this will be a year of growth. We are planning on hiring two employees to help Teo with general farm work, of which there is more than plenty. I will also need someone to help me at the busy markets. And I am in search of volunteer(s) to help us with the U-Pick garden, so it will be amazing again.
This is also the year, finally, that we will be buying our farm. Actually, our farm and the neighbor’s farm, together. Now, I have only a vague idea of the mechanics of the deal, but I am confident that it will happen. It may require creative funding, I’m pretty sure it will involve a crowd-funding scheme like Kickstarter, but it will mean land security, and that will be a huge relief after renting for 15 years.
I have updated our website and put together the new versions of CSA materials. They are finally done! You can find the 2015 Farm Flyer here: 2015 CSA Farm Flyer, and the 2015 CSA application here: 2015 CSA Application. I have checked with Tonnemakers, and we will be hosting their fruit CSA again but they don’t quite have their materials ready yet, so keep an eye on your in-box.
I will be raising fryers and turkeys again this year, and I have already ordered the chicks and poults. In March I will send the application for poultry, and for egg subscriptions. The rampantly spreading bird flu is making me nervous to commit to poultry products, so I just want a bit more time to make sure that our birds will be safe before we take your money.
We start planting the first week of February, and the beginning of the spring season is just 8 weeks from there. Spring really is just around the corner!