Tuesday, December 9, 2014

2014 season wrap-up...and a little 2015 teaser

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post! I promise I haven't let the farm go for the winter, but somehow the things I've been up to just don't seem as, I don't know, sexy as growing plants, harvesting food, and battling pests. Instead, I spend many hours with my butt on a chair, hunched over the computer on my kitchen table, plotting.

But oh, the plots I'm plotting! I can hardly wait to tell you about them. And I will. Soon. I swear.

So what exactly have I been doing? Well, selling at a farmers' market, for one! Since November I've been at People's Farmers' Market in SE Portland, where I was lucky enough to squeak into a space when a vendor dropped out for the winter. I'll admit I don't have quite the variety that some vendors do, but customers and vendors have been very welcoming, and it's a nice way to make a few bucks in the off-season. (If I could just figure out a way to stay warm when the east wind blows, I'll feel completely satisfied!)

Other than that, I've been doing data entry, crunching numbers, and figuring out how my season actually went, in stark mathematics. To use a fairly well-worn saying, which nonetheless counts double here, it was a year of growth for me. First, because I grew a TON of vegetables! Actually, that is a complete understatement because I actually grew more than TWO AND A HALF TONS of vegetables this year. I feel really good about what I was able to accomplish with my part-time schedule, my hand tools, and some well-timed help from my awesome volunteers.

Another way I grew, with somewhat less success, was in the realization that MARKETING IS HARD. It's one thing to be able to grow two and a half tons of vegetables, and another thing entirely to be able to sell them. I had some successes for sure, but high on my list of winter activities will be figuring out new ways to market my crops in the coming year. And with that in mind...

OK, I'm going to spill the (proverbial) beans here after all, and let you in on my plot. For the past month or so I've been sketching out a full vegetable CSA, sized especially for smaller households, which I will be offering next season. I love my preserving and storage crop CSA, and I will definitely continue that next year too. But to be honest, I've missed growing some other things that just don't fit into that business model. Frizzy lettuce heads, prolific summer squash, bright chard, and beautiful kale: I want to have them on my farm! So here goes: a new season of hard work and hopefully even more food.

More details will be coming to my website soon. In the meantime, happy winter!

winter green
the garlic bed, finally mulched

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