First, THANK YOU everyone who emailed me with their thoughts and support. I know I haven't gotten around to replying back yet, but I have read all of them and have taken it all in. I admit there was a whole pile of ideas that I would've never come up with on my own.
I've been chatting with fellow farmers and land stewards about our old pasture getting a second life growing vegetables and fruit. Truthfully, that hard pan (which honestly is no worse than what's lurking under our old field) had me more worried than any wet/late/cool spring nightmare ever did. Is it season-destroying? It really isn't. Did it crush me and make me believe it was, you bet.
As always, there is a way.
Because of how we're designing our farm (mulching, cover crops, compost teas, fungi, permanent beds for annuals, swales and keyline design, edible hedgerows, companion planting, etc) the soil won't be left to be washed away or fend for itself. We'll be stimulating soil life right away and planting hard pan busting cover crops (many of which are harvestable edibles, a tip from Yvonne at YR Bison) anywhere that isn't being seeded or mulched.
Plants are resilient and just want to grow. Best not to under estimate them.
Michael from Genesis Permaculture stopped by for a tour a couple weeks ago. We discussed swale design (sink and store water in the landscape), building and road placement, silvipasture, food forests, and many other exciting elements that we're planning to build (some quickly, some slowly) into our farm.
As those systems are going in it's all with u-pick in mind. Many of today's small scale farm designs are about squeezing as much production space into the smallest space possible. Those designs are great for those working on an acre or less (urban lots, microfarms). They're extremely space efficient. Some to the point of making the work environment unpleasant, in my opinion. But space is not a limiting factor for us. That doesn't mean we're gonna "waste" it, but it does mean we can create a production area that gives visitors space to enjoy what's happening around them. Space to stroll, for kids to run, to graze on abundance, to rest in the sun or shade, and to appreciate both the stillness and bursting life that is often found on farms.
Farming is rarely easy. It's often quite stressful. And sometimes all the "what ifs" pile up and cause anxiety that is hard to work past.
Growing food for our family, friends, and community is a joy and watching our CSA kids (oh how they grow!) devour carrots or raspberries before even leaving the parking lot brings a smile to my face and now I think, “wait till they get to pick strawberries!” I can't wait to see all those berry stained faces.
Yes, we will be doing CSA.
Like last season, 10 weeks instead of 12. New for 2018, an option to come out for u-pick instead of that week's box.
There are no registration forms yet. I haven't been able to update it because the laptop charge cord is waiting for a part (I've been posting blogs using an app on my phone. Yay technology!). It'll be pretty much a copycat set-up from last season.
For more info or to reserve your spot, VestaGardens@gmail.com
The boost of capital from CSA registrations goes towards seeds, equipment, training (conferences, workshops, etc) and seedlings (annuals and perennials). It stays on the farm. Sales during the summer is what is used to pay the farmers. That's how we've had it since we started and until everything is set-up and established at our new farm that's how it'll stay :)
We will be having planting parties in the spring (strawberries, raspberries, asparagus, rhubarb and more are already ordered), along with mushroom log inoculating, swale digging, bed building, and so much more. Watch for those events on facebook!
Stay warm friends and enjoy the snow. We're in for some beautiful winter days.
There is no better time than now.