We wanted to be able to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” when we walk around our fields. Think about the standard farm animals that are on those singing kids’ toys where the arrow spins around and selects an animal and then you hear the sound they make.
But we wanted to be able to support healthy animals and pay our bills, so we tabled our desire for a menagerie – at least for now. We considered our 13-acre field that has been row-cropped for 30 years. Instead of running the farm, we decided to let the farm do the planning.
Our farming livelihood rests on the success of seeds. But how strange to hold something so small in the palm of my hand and realize I’m investing a lion’s share of days, dollars, and ideas in a speck of organic matter that appears so lifeless. And yet, time and time again, the seemingly powerless soon pushes through soil, and the seemingly lifeless yields fruit in its season. If we wish to finish well, we must begin well. If we desire good fruit, we must plant good seeds.
Our farming season begins with seeds. Ordered when the soil lies locked in ice and snow, we wrap ourselves in layers of wool sweaters and dream of August evenings when thousands of seeds planted in February, March, April and May will grace our dinner table with crisp greens in clay bowls, sliced tomatoes on maple cutting boards, purple eggplants, roasted cauliflower, mashed sweet potatoes, and all manner of bounty. In large measure, we choose the seeds and the varieties we, ourselves, will enjoy eating and preparing, because when we are excited about our vegetables, how much easier is it to excite eager market-goers when lines queue up Saturday mornings in Fox Point or Whitefish Bay or Tuesday mornings in Thiensville? (more…)
When I was young I wanted to be many things: an architect, magazine editor, zoologist, but a farmer was not one of them. The closest idea of a farmer I had was my grandpa. I knew he had cattle, and a barn, and a lot of farming equipment, but eactly what he did I was unsure. (more…)
I am a farmer because of the way it makes me feel at the end of the day. The physical exhaustion that my muscles carry into sleep, the weary contentment of finished labor lulling my brain to stillness. Some days I farm solely for the satisfaction that weeding can bring. I farm because I’ve never been very good at sitting still and because I’ve always been a morning person. I farm because I love feeding people, I delight in seeing the joy that can result from something as simple as a head of butter lettuce. (more…)
One sure way to make a younger Nate laugh: just tell him that one day he would intentionally and willingly choose to be a farmer. (more…)
Recently, I had a conversation with a woman whose fifty-one years of experience farming inspired her to warn me away from pursuing it. (more…)
Lemonade Springs Farm is run by myself, Seth, and my partner, Kathleen. We are in our second full season. The farm is located in Watsonville, California, about a mile inland in the heart of the central coast’s commercial strawberry growing country. (more…)
Wild Ridge Farm is the convergence of three highly-skilled and passionate individuals: Anna Metscher, Alissa Moore and Joseph Dittman. Anna and Alissa have a combined farming experience of eleven years and between the two of them have worked on or managed seven different highly diversified farms. Joseph has spent time gardening and volunteering on sustainable farms, and his skills as a carpenter, designer, and builder round out the crew. They approach their business partnership cooperatively and collaboratively: distributing the workload equally, listening to each other’s ideas, and allowing one another’s skills to shine. (more…)
You know that magic moment when you finally slam your tractor out of creeper gear and start to move with a bit of speed? Starting our farm is like that, only I didn’t realized we had been in creeper gear. My wife Liz and I have been working on farms in New England for the last five years, and we’ve just moved home to Indiana to farm on our own. Welcome to Nightfall Farm! (more…)
My name is Hannah Sargent and I am a marketer turned farmer turned marketing-farmer. My fiancé Jonathon Moser and I own and run Forager Farm, a vegetable CSA in central North Dakota and are in our first season! We are on a mission to revive our food culture by providing fresh, local produce directly to our members.
In January 2013, we jetted off to Australia to live and work at Captain’s Creek Organic Farm, an organic vegetable farm located one hour north/northwest of Melbourne, Victoria. While there we managed a vegetable CSA (or vegetable box scheme as they say down under) with an average of 100 boxes going out to local customers within 100 miles of the farm every week. We learned the ins and outs of the operation and fell in love with it. (more…)