Bootstrap @ Bossy Acres: Looking back and ahead

Our last day on our rented land

Putting our fields and gardens to bed for the winter kept us busy as we approached November. As we pulled down tomato trellises and mowed over weedy bean fields, we reflected back over our first season, and the challenges, highlights, and lessons that came with each passing day. It wasn’t an easy year, but it made us stronger and it opened us up for better opportunities in the seasons ahead. (more…)

Bootstrap @ Bossy Acres – October Valentine

Karla harvesting for our last CSA share of the season

On the last harvest and drop day for our community supported agriculture (CSA) program, the day felt like a quintessential Minnesota pre-winter blend of cold wind, to-the-bone chill and dark skies. But packing up those boxes and then seeing our CSA members for the end-of-season pickup, both of us felt surprisingly sunny. (more…)

Bootstrap @ Bossy Acres: Preserving Heirlooms

My Uncle Roger, salmon fishing like a pro

When I was growing up, my Uncle Roger seemed like an alien. To a kid from the suburbs who’d memorized the prime time TV schedule, his upbringing—on a farm as one of 13 kids—was so foreign to me that I felt more in common with Laura Ingalls than my own uncle. Adding to the gulf between us was his manner, which I perceived as gruff and unfriendly, so much so that my brother and I nicknamed him “Uncle Ogre,” only half-jokingly.

Bootstraps @ Bossy Acres: Help Wanted

During another day of sultry 90-degree weather, Karla and I looked across the field and shared a single thought: man, we wish we had some helpers.

as soon as we figure out how to animate these guys, we’ll be all set

We do get volunteers occasionally, and on some good weeks, we might have two or three on one day. But these moments have been few and far between, and now with the heat and summer vacations in full swing, August is looking a bit bleak for additional assistance. (more…)

Boostrap @ Bossy Acres — Getting Certified

Last week, we got a piece of paper that didn’t contain many words, but seemed monumental to us: our organic certification.

All it took was weeks of tracking down seed receipts, doing soil and water testing, getting a prior land use declaration signed by our landlord and a statement from the horse ranch owner who gave us manure. Then there were the crop rotation plans, land use strategies, and inspections of our rented land and greenhouse space, as well as a few dozen emails with our certifier and other experts. Just when we felt like we couldn’t look at one more form, we earned the certification, and could breathe easy. At least until the next round, that is. (more…)

Bootstrap @ Bossy Acres – To Market, To Market

A few weekends ago, at Minneapolis’ always busy Mill City Farmers Market, our Bossy Acres booth was located just opposite two very established and respected growers and for about the millionth time this spring, I had to take a deep breath and trust that, somehow, everything would work out fine.

Our presence at this very robust and well-known market had been months in the making, and thankfully, was made smoother by some “practice” at winter farmers markets that helped us iron out the many kinks that come with setup, product selection, customer acquisition, and even tiny details like weighting a tent and buying the right size tables. (more…)

Bootstraps @ Bossy Acres – Introduction

Elizabeth and Karla, Bossy AcresA unique blend of urban and rural farming, Bossy Acres is based in Minneapolis and run by farm ninja Karla Pankow and her well-meaning partner Elizabeth Millard (who can’t quite plant a straight row yet, but I’m trying!). (more…)