Let the Countdown Begin! Tick … tick … tick … tick … tick …
Believe it or not, CSA is only about 90 days away!
That’s exciting! But it also feels a bit overwhelming.
Right now, there is about a foot of snow blanketing our garden area. And looking at what needs to be done in the next three months, it seems impossible that we can get everything done. Although we have faced this challenge each spring, this will be our first year actually farming at our new property, so there are added tasks (big and small) and a long list of important projects that must be completed to make sure our members get – on time -- the very best vegetables and meat possible.
We’re happy to report that one of the most important pre-season projects is already finished. This week we upgraded our greenhouse by installing a thermostatically controlled heating system! My oh my, you can’t imagine how helpful this is. Instead of having to constantly check and recheck the greenhouse’s temp (even through the night!) we can now keep it regulated.
This removes a lot of stress during the critical early weeks of the season and helps ensure that our sprouting plants are ready at the right time for transplanting to the garden.
CHICKENS ON THE WAY
Also, we have already scheduled (in multiple shipments) the delivery of 1,300 broiler chicks and 300 laying chicks. The shipments of broilers must be carefully coordinated so that once we have raised them they can be delivered to our local butcher who has a very tight processing schedule.
These efforts make sure our members enjoy a steady supply of our delicious free-range eggs and chickens.
STREAMLINED MEMBER SERVICE Two other very nice improvements involve the implementation of new software and management systems. First, our webstore software now allows CSA members to personalize their orders and, at the same time, streamlines our ability to package each order and deliver it to the right drop site! More on this later.
Second, we've streamlined and tweaked some of our in house management systems to prioritize our work, schedule our daily “to-do” lists and streamline weekly assignments. This means fewer management headaches, improved teamwork, and a more sustainable work week for us! It's not picturesque but good planning always pays off during the busy season!
(This is what a lot of our winter work looks like...)
Also starting this week we are giving our bunkhouse some attention. Adding some insulation and a wood-burning stove will make it more livable for our employees and interns (Daniel and Jed get here in three weeks). Stepping up OUR quality of life is super important if we and our team are going to keep doing this for the long haul.
Once Dan and Jed arrive, several projects will require our immediate attention at the new property:
amending the soil for increased fertility and bountiful harvest
reorganizing our greenhouse to start pre-season seedlings
building new mobile chicken pens; and
reconstructing our high tunnels to increase early crop growth.
And on and on and on....
FAMILY LIFE Personally, we are happily adjusting to our new daughter Beatrice, born in late February. Megan is reading and resting a lot. Our big girls – Una, Rosemary and Frances – are great and giving the baby lots of love (and even sometimes fighting over who gets to hold her!). Yes, there are still some sleepless nights, but we are glad Megan’s mother is close enough to help when she can.
Lastly, it is critical that we attract more CSA members – likeminded folks who are willing to support our local farm. Friends who care and want to receive fresh and tasty nutrition-packed food. It won’t happen by accident! In fact, word-of-mouth recommendations from YOU help us immensely!
So please remember us during these next 90 days. With so much to do, we need your support!