The Dirt on the Farm: Is Winter Here Yet?

This year as we wind down the main season, I keep thinking that things will slow down and we will get to take a little time off. But, it seems as LotFotL has grown, we have slowly added more and more things that need to be done on the outskirts of the main growing season. We now offer our season extension share, called the Bridge. Last year we had a successful pilot winter meat share program that will continue this year on a larger scale. Plus, we will be doing winter farmers’ market through January at the Domes. This will keep us busy for a while. Considering our staff returns in March and we spend most of February doing seasonal planning and ordering seeds and the like, we may have to add a 13th month just to schedule in some time off.

Our Bridge share has been a well received item by our members. This gives 3 extra early shares and 3 late season deliveries. Folks get to enjoy the earliest spring favorites like asparagus, spinach, and hakurei turnips, and then end out the season with those comforting storage crops, like carrots, potatoes, and beets among other things. It keeps us busy a little later in the season, but is at a manageable size, about 1/3 of the size of our regular season CSA, for this time of year.

The meat shares and pigs have been a great addition to the offerings here at LotFotL. Pigs bring in revenue late in the season when our veggie income starts to dwindle, as do the winter meat shares. The winter shares are a great source of sustainable meat in manageable quantity for our customers. We have a number of partnerships with sustainable meat farmers around Wisconsin allowing us sources of grass fed beef, organically fed chicken, and our own pastured heritage breed pork available for each delivery. As our customers have become more and more aware of what goes on their dinner table, knowing the story of their meat has become just as important and their veggies.

The winter farmers’ market should be an exciting weekly event that brings us to the city each week through the end of January. This will be a great place for us to continue to provide winter veggies to our loyal customers. In addition, folks will be able to purchase our pork by the cut, instead of in the large quantities of 1/2 and whole animals. Not only will this give us a regular income stream during the winter months, but we will also be able to continue part time employment for some of our staff. Plus, we get face to face time with the people that make this farm possible, our customers!

Although I long for the down time that used to come with winter, I am grateful for the success that the farm is seeing, and I feel good about making real food available to my community. The extra income makes the farm more stable and brings us closer to our long term financial and lifestyle goals. Although we now have more activity over the cold season, the pace does slow and we get a little down time to allow for mental and physical rejuvenation before the 2015 growing season begins.