We started this year with an almost entirely new team on the farm, keeping only Casey as our one experienced employee. In doing so, Tim and I knew this year was going to have some added challenges to say the least. Seasoned employees know so many of the daily tricks of the trade, and the quirks of the owners, making them faster and more accurate with less supervision. Over the course of the season, nature has effectively weeded out those that were not a good fit for us. But, those missing folks have been difficult to replace, so we continue to be understaffed and overveggied.
Too many veggies and not enough staff does more than leave Tim and April exhausted at the end of the day. Our crew has to work that much harder to meet the harvest goals of each week. Although we always make it to Wednesday afternoon “pack out”, where your boxes get filled, it’s not without challenges. Some weeks we’ve had to put one less item in the boxes because we just didn’t have enough staff to get it all harvested. With our team being inexperienced and spread thin quality control has slipped at times. I am sure many of you have noticed, that April has had a few slip ups in the office lately too; with inaccurate emails going out a couple of times. In my haste to get back out to help the harvest crew, my attention to detail was not where it should have been. In addition we have had less time to keep up on planting, weeding, and farm projects. Because of this, we are behind on some of our late summer and fall planting. We may see a gap in harvestable items, where the fields will be a bit sparse until we can get caught up for the fall bounty.
The intentional diversity and community, both in the fields and with our members, helps us carry on even under difficult circumstances. In response to our Facebook posting, multiple folks came out for a day or two and worked for gratitude food. To all of you that did so, we would like to send out a big hearty THANK YOU! In the fields, the beans, cucumbers, and zucchini are starting to slow a bit giving us a moment to breath before tomatoes and peppers come on strong. With our staff now returning to a more realistic size, Tim has been out catching up on the planting. And, these cool temperature are giving the crew a bit of a break. Nature seems to have built in fail safes that we can benefit and learn from.
This update is not meant to be a sob story or an excuse for imperfection. As part of our community, we want to share both the challenges, commendable fetes, and the great windfalls that occur on the farm with you. Being short staffed in the height of the heat, bugs, and bounty was a great challenge for us. But, the crew produced some outstanding CSA boxes during that time. They were forced to find creative solutions to meet pressing harvest deadlines and got faster and more efficient in the fields. We had the chance to work with and meet some great folks that came out and volunteered. Drought, flood or perfect weather, the farm will always have challenges to face and overcome. We are reminded that we cannot do this on our own, making us ever thankful for our members that receive both the feast and famine that the farm reaps. With everyone enjoying a little more or taking a little less, depending on the ebb and flow on the farm, we are able to have a more secure, smoother existence. Whether you are a fan, friend, csa member, or market goer, we thank everyone for being part of LotFotL.