Reflections of May's Dirt on the Farm

At the beginning of this year, the secret fears that this year would be as difficult a as the 2012 drought season, were admittedly starting to seep into the grooves and wrinkles of my brain. Could our farm and its members take another taxing growing season? The shy cold spring shadowed our hopes and smothered our confidence, forcing us to rely on what most refer to as faith to carry us into the then abundant summer and fall. In summer, our stress levels were back in the “normal” range, our CSA boxes more diverse and easier to fill, and farming tasted good again. We hope your Bridge shares leave a great taste in your mouth when you think about your 2013 season with LotFotL.

As a farmer you take a leap of faith each season that you have planned and strategized well enough to come up with 26-30 consecutive weeks of vegetables to fill your boxes, no matter what the weather brings your way. You hope that you have done your part to keep your soil healthy and strong so that the plants can resist disease and pest pressure. You trust that your members will forgive your short comings and comprehend that Mother Nature makes the final call no matter what. And, you cling to the bigger picture knowing that you can count on the cyclical nature of our planet's seasons to get you through the year. Below is one of our first posts this year, when we wondered about how the 2013 season would unfold as we clung to what we knew and had faith that we could get through what we didn't.

Another season
Lucky to survive this one
Another will come

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The Dirt on the Farm!
Cold and Rainy days
Crops struggle and grow slowly
Sunny days please come!

I laughed to myself as I composed the little weather haiku above. Last year at this time it felt like the end of July already. We were looking at the fields and sky with desperation sprouting in the pits of our stomach while we quietly began to pray for rain. Each year we know that the weather we face will differ from the year before. Yet, at the same time, we can look at the bigger picture and count on the yearly seasonal changes, the constant and predictable cycles that have never betrayed mankind. When we wake to weather that we may not want we can always hold strong to that bigger picture. This is what brings us to tomorrow and next week and finally next year.
Right now in the yearly cycle, we are neck deep in planting, weeding, watering, and now harvesting. Soon, we will be completely buried in it. The cold wet Spring has things progressing slower than we want, but our bridge shares are being harvested primarily from our hoop houses. We are able to baby these veggies a bit with warmer temperatures and controlled amounts of water. The lettuce, green onions, turnips, peas, radishes, and spinach were all from the hoop house. Asparagus is outside and has definitely slowed its growth this week, but we will have enough to give out. Each week may bring surprises in the weather, or a crop, or the staff, but one thing we know is that a new week will come. A new harvest list will appear. A new CSA box will get packed on Wednesday. Because, like the theater, no matter what happens, the show must go on.
None of us knows what this year will bring or what the skies will or won't dump on us. We can only speculate on which crops will thrive and which will struggle. I can't predict what the weather will be like, but I now know why we plant such diversity each year. I know longer curse when a crop fails, because I know that's nature. Each year must be different to maintain balance within the big picture. Each year this picture grows and each year I see it more clearly and have more and more reverence for it. So, I will hope for the sun to come, but if he doesn't show his face, I will remind my self that it is just one more day and look for the him again tomorrow. I trust that this year will unfold the way that it needs to for us to continue building our skills becoming stronger farmers and better individuals. And each week we will put our all into making a beautiful CSA box for our members.
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