Robin and I reached the point in May of 2016 where we were done. We started Suzie’s Farm in January 2009 with a dream and vision of feeding San Diego Soul Food; safe, pure, Certified-Organic, locally and seasonally grown fruits and vegetables while building a community of earth-lovers passionate as we were.
In the early part of our journey we attracted the community. We had ardent, vocal, and enthusiastic employees, clients, and chefs; like-minded and excited and willing to do hard things with joy. We created events, attended events, spoke, listened, offered, and received. We did whatever it took to get the farm launched and in orbit.
We aren’t unique. We sacrificed as most new business people do. We lost sleep and we lost friends. We spent every cent from our retirement, savings and investments. We burned through money and borrowed from our sister farm, Sun Grown Organic Distributors. We chased, always believing our hustle would be rewarded, our effort compensated, our contributions repaid.
Our daughters were young; not quite two. And then they were three. And then they were four. Our marriage, which had regular rocky moments, became increasingly jagged and rough. We slept less than a handful of hours a night. I resorted to drinking and drugs, food binges and suicidal thoughts. I sought therapy. I remembered God.
Some of our supporters who joined us early, left. Some advocates moved away. Some champions found other causes. Some stayed. Most didn’t.
And still we hustled.
People who knew us well wondered, why continue? Why? If the marriage is collapsing, if the parenting is distracted, if the wounds don’t have time or capacity to heal over, if the money is all gone, what compels you to go on?
Belief. The same thing that drives a child to place a tooth under a pillow or write a letter with a wish list to a man in the North Pole. I BELIEVED.
But belief don’t pay the bills. And just like a child who comes to a point where the truth is divulged, I faced Truth. Suzie’s Farm, for all it’s infamy and renown, for it’s generosity and good work, had to close.
In July of 2016 we began the process of notifying layers of staff, clients, and vendors.
One of our vendors came forward. He was our liaison for a trio of brothers who inherited and operated their family farm in the Sacramento Valley. Having experienced first-hand the challenges of being a profitable family farm they had started an aggregated farm box company which Suzie’s Farm had been supplying for many months.
They knew us, knew our story, understood and believed in our mission as their parents had started their family farm for many of the same reasons we had started Suzie’s Farm.
They believed that by combining forces they could bring their 30+ years of organic farming and business experience to Suzie’s Farm and make it profitable. They believed Suzie’s Farm could inject some heart and soul and refresh their organizations.
And so, in January of this year, The Barnes and Barsotti Brothers of Capay Organics partnered with Suzie’s Farm.
This has been a tremendous relief for me and Robin. We now share the responsibility of growing the farm: many hands make light work. We get to focus on our strengths. We get to keep the farm alive. We have expanded production to four fields in Southern California, which is exciting! This allows Suzie’s Farm to offer greater variety and stability to our clients. Our public fields remain at 2750 Sunset Avenue, 92154 and are open for tours on Saturdays at 10 and 12:30. Our Farm Stand is open on Saturdays as well from 10-2.
There are also natural transitions when combining efforts. We have had to cease some Farm Stand and Farmers Market days. In the coming weeks we roll the Suzie’s CSA out of the current software platform and into the software that supports The Barnes and Barsotti Brothers sister business, Farm Fresh To You. Suzie’s will continue to offer the Traditional Suzie’s CSA, supporting the same land and people but will also offer greater flexibility including the ability to customize the best local selection and will deliver your boxes directly to your doorstep for the same price.
We are over the moon to provide these changes to our dear CSA Farm-ily. We started Suzie’s Farm on the strength of CSA. To be able to increase Suzie’s offerings by allowing for customizable boxes and expand our reach through direct delivery is a joy. We pray it allow us to continue to do what we believe we were put on this planet to do: Cultivate, Educate, Inspire.
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