There is a surprising amount of giddiness this early in the year. There is something satisfying about planning a season, acquiring the seeds and materials, and dreaming up another summer. In this cerebral stage the rows are perfect, the crops are crisp, and it all feels possible.
I never would have predicted to become a spreadsheet fan. Attention to detail has never been my thing. Yet, spreadsheets have become one of the most useful tools on the farm. I have been putting together the road map of our season over the past couple months. Strategizing and planning to accommodate more intensified production.
It starts with the self. What do I need/want to live? After personal/family costs and time are factored, the next step is how. Weekly sales predictions, markets, employees, and materials predict revenue. Then, the crop plan. Mapping out the fields and nursery complete to make sure the metrics are possible. This process has taken weeks of planning.
Now, in the phase of ordering. Seeds, soil, irrigation supplies, and market materials are compiled into an extensive annual shopping list. Constantly prioritizing what needs to be ordered now, and what can wait. Since most of these materials will ship freight, I try to consolidate the order onto one truck, minimizing shipping costs.
This is where the CSA becomes a cornerstone of our business model. The ability to purchase without taking a loan allows our farm freedom and security. Not only does the CSA model support early season expenses, but provides crop insurance during the growing season unavailable to most small farms. When you purchase a CSA, you are trusting a farmer to do their very best to provide during the growing season. The shared risk helps alleviate the farmers stress, a value that cannot be understated and over appreciated.
The upcoming season is planned with improvements from last year. We are keeping the gift card system to allow maximum flexibility. Customers can pick-up veggies at the Farm Stand or Downtown Farmer’s Market, making for at least 46 hours of availability, and giving them free choice in what they purchase. This ensures access to fresh veggies and plants throughout the season. For those utilizing the farm stand, customers will be able to take advantage of a pick your own Kitchen Herb Garden as well as a U-Pick flower field included in the CSA (these gardens will also be available to the public for a price).
All that said, I am very hopeful for a great upcoming season! We are spending the week organizing and repairing our greenhouse in anticipation for the first plantings of 2023. Welcome back to the growing days!