The years leading up to starting the farm, we must have googled “how to start an organic farm” dozens of times. Results were never helpful. Next, a google search for “beginners guide to organic farming”. After no luck, we rented numerous library books, went to conferences and sat in on online webinars. We just could never find the right info on equipment to buy, produce varieties to grow in our climate, and pest management techniques.
Jumping into a completely new career, we tried to gather as much info as we could ahead of time. But this season taught us that the best way to learn is by doing, and practicing out in the field. Now that the season is officially wrapped we thought we’d put down some thoughts on how our first year went (and if anyone is in the market to start a farm, give us a shout, we’d happily share any tips). So here it is:
Favorite moment from the season?
(LDP) Dropping off our first Farm Share bin. The word “favorite” doesn’t really capture it, because it was a loaded feeling. The sheer excitement of sharing so many things we had spent time planning to grow and finally growing and then harvesting with others. I can remember thinking oh my god, what are they going to say think about the food? And, will they care about this food as much as I do? Almost every single person greeted me during that first week’s delivery with huge smiles and chatter about the year ahead, and my heart burst. When I got home from delivery the first week, I still remember thinking how the hell were we going to do this every week?
Hardest moment from the season?
(BP) Not being able to share the first season the way we would really like. I would love for the farm to be a gathering place. A place for everyone. But the whole gathering thing can’t really happen right now.
What one word would you use to describe the season?
(LDP) Ditto Bryan. I’m so thankful for him putting up with my craziness. And thankful for the family and friends that were still there for us a moment’s notice despite it feeling like we dipped out of all human contact in order to get fields prepped, planted and harvested.
How do you feel the season went?
(BP) Big Picture. Amazing. Happy there is winter though :)
Looking back on the year, would there be anything you’d change? (LDP) I think I’d change my response to situations a bit, especially my anxiousness. We were starting a farm, but we were also starting a business and it felt like so much of ourselves were invested in the food we grew. Any little thing that happened I responded with a lot of emotion. Good and bad. The first tomato harvest, I felt all the feels, then immediately questioned if they were good enough. And at the same time, pulling up the first garlic stalk and thinking that bugs had eaten them all, I was devastated and ready to quit. Also, seeing our first bunch of beautiful onions ready to go out, I was so proud. I don’t think I was expecting to have as much emotional connection to the produce, the land and the customer’s experience with the food. I don’t think I’d change all of the feels, but I’d like to allow myself more forgiveness in moments of high anxiety. (BP) Less cabbage. More Carrots. Prue would still be around. What was the most fun part of this year? (LDP) End of July, early August. Peak season when the fields are bursting with flowers and veggies. There are people picking flowers in the field, others chatting with us at the stand about heirloom tomatoes, and in the back of our minds we can’t wait to eat all that delicious bruschetta we have planned for dinner. We’re running around managing everything from irrigation, setting up the stand, customer’s purchases, but this is it. The farm season is in full swing and we’re doing it!
(BP) The hangs. Sometimes with a podcast or talking about a podcast or listening to the new taylor swift album. The times in the early morning working across from each other harvesting from a row. The hundreds of high fives after overcoming hundreds of things that didn’t go the right way the first time. What’s one thing people might not know about the farm season? (BP) How much pizza we ate this year. Which is crazy since we are growing SO MUCH food.