By tomorrow afternoon this farm will basically be hitting climax.
It is only the second week of CSA, but you have to remember that the majority of our work happens long before the product gets to you.
This past week, our beef cows arrived. Tomorrow our second batch of broiler chicks will show up. When they do, we will be taking care of: 10 cows, 200 laying hens, 100 pullets, 260 broilers on pasture, and 335 broiler chicks. And an acre garden.
The animal chores take several hours every day. Each of those animal groups mentioned above need to be fed, watered, and moved to fresh pasture.
In the garden things are also intense. At this point in the year we are still planting and transplanting plenty of crops in the garden. That takes time. We are also tending all the crops that are already in the ground. This includes weeding, trellising, pruning, watering, pest prevention, and so on. And now that CSA has begun, we’re also spending a considerable amount of time harvesting, washing, packing, and delivering the produce.
And all this year we are slowly chipping away at preparing our NEW land so that all operations can be fully moved over before the end of the year (not a small task).
So while CSA is just starting up for you, we’re up to our necks in work right now and have been for several months. (and once CSA peaks for you in August, our work will be tapering off!)
One of my main goals this year was to wrangle all out work into a reasonable number of hours each day/week. It’s a rarely acknowledged fact that most “sustainable” farms are completely unsustainable when it comes to the farmer’s work life balance. Most small scale sustainable farmers work unsustainable hours with unsustainable stress levels and end up burning out after a few years.
We’ve worked really hard for the last several years. It was entirely unsustainable in the beginning. We knew it even then. But each year we’ve managed to reduce the stress and hours. And this year we’re closer then ever to a “normal” work load. We still work hard and have long days--especially this time of year, but it doesn’t feel completely unsustainable anymore.
That’s good for us--maybe we’ll survive this farm building process and come out the other side with a truly sustainable farm.
But it’s also good for you! Because if we can get our workload under control, we can keep producing high quality nutritious food for you!
And when your support goes beyond a mere money-for-food transaction, it gives us an important boost as we try to establish a truly sustainable farm for you. Whether it’s comments on social media, a conversation at the drop site, or just general enthusiasm for what we’re doing, we feel that and it energizes us to keep doing this work!
So thanks for your support as we slog through this incredibly busy time of the year!
Joel (and the team)