Tuesday, March 8, 2011

FAT Tuesday!

Fickle weather as per standard for the season. Nice yesterday, rainy today. We got off to a good start for the week. Hoops are up on the new greenhouse and we just need to install some bracing and the purlins and then we can start the ground prep. The forecast is looking pretty stormy in the short term. Hopefully not so wet that we can't till up the sod. We're as little under the gun time wise here, we should have it ready to plant by May 1st ish. We'll make it, we can cheat it a little bit if we have to. This house is getting tomatoes that are to be direct grown in the ground. If we have to, we can heavily amend each hole with compost and plant into that. We could even go as far as mulching the beds with black plastic to help break down the sod and eliminate the weeds. I hate to use plastic though and it would be hard to convince me to do that.

Fencing materials are being delivered on site today as well. 1500 ft of it. We have no shortage of projects.

We also spent a few minutes cleaning up one of our other sites. We'll be no-till planting a few rows of fava beans there today. The rest of it may get a quick cover crop before we plant it out to artichokes and leeks.

Indoors, we're taking a little break. We have lots of starts in flats and we are letting a few days go by before we resume sowing on any scale. Spring is funny, seeds sown mid March may actually out-perform seeds that were sown at the beginning of the month. So what happens is that you get a big batch of flats that all need to go in the ground about the same time. It's a recipe for failure, especially in a wet year when you may be limited on how much ground you can actually work. Things are looking good though, mucho germination. In the mean time, on our rain days we can be building tables in the greenhouses for flats to sit on and be getting ready for the next round. Some things have to be potted up into larger pots and that requires massive amounts of table space. We really need another hoophouse just for flats.

Outdoors, we'll be sowing beets and carrots probably next week and have a couple rows of potatoes going in on St. Patty's day.

The shop is busy too. Spring maintenance and tooling up for the season. It never stops.

On the business side we need some help. Most of our early CSA customers have renewed and paid (thank you!) Normally March and especially April are our most difficult months. We still have room to take on more members and could really use the income. To be completly honest with you all, our CSA income is not anywhere close to what it should be. We operate as a CSA because it's really the only way we can make it but we can't make it the way payments have come in this year. I realize times are hard and I know we can do a better job at promoting but I can't help but feel frustrated. I know for a fact people love what we do and appeciate that such great food is available from the Orcas farming community. We need people to come to the plate and become members. Farming is my sole source of income, I make no regrets for that decision and full well know it's a hard row to hoe. I see what my fellow farmers on the mainland are doing and it makes me just a little envious. Some operations operate soley as CSA's and have a waiting list for people to join. You do the math, 100 members at a $600.00 pre paid share. That works, why can't we be doing that here? Currently we're at less than 10% of that which in my opinion, does not work. I know people are getting hit up for money all the time and money is tight for alot of people, but it's not like we're looking for a hand out here. We're proud of do. We offer a real product and a valuable service to our community. We want to share that and we want to make a living while doing a good thing. Please tell a friend about us.

Keep well,

Farmer John

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