The Feed

Make New Rows9

sunset

Greetings Beloved,

It’s been a while since my last post.

The whirl-wind end of school activities crested with a week-long trip to our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C.

While in D.C Robin and I received a message from our business partner Thaddeus. Things were not good.

We knew things were not good. We received a message almost identical to what Robin and I had known in May of 2016: the moment had arrived. It was time to close the farm.

Early, early, early into this grand project called Suzie’s Farm, the farm lost money. Robin and I had invested every penny saved over the course of our marriage into keeping the farm in business. Suzie’s expenses were paid for primarily by the profits we earned through our sister farm, Sun Grown Organic Distributors.

We tried everything – and I do mean EVERYTHING – to keep the farm alive. We acquired more land, grew bigger, grew more varieties, grew fewer varieties, let land go, hired more people, let people go, did more press, hosted more farm dinners, private events, public events, camp, school, day fairs. We would have held a lemonade stand if we thought it would generate enough revenue to keep us in business. It was not enough.

Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes EVERYTHING you can do is still not enough. Love isn’t enough. Will isn’t enough. Good vibes, generosity, prudent farm practices, associations, charity work, speeches, discounts, a team of dedicated, hard-working, true believers isn’t enough. Sometimes the cards are stacked.

Sometimes you do your best. Sometimes you make mistakes. You misjudge and mismanage. You blaze confident. You lose focus. You redirect. You fall, you fight, you fumble. You beg, borrow, and bluster. You grip and grope and give. You grovel, kneel, and pray. You let people down. You lift people up. You fly.

And sometimes it is not enough.

The time has come. It is enough.

It’s time to let go.

The agreement to close came in a ten minute phone call with dates determined. When you know, you know, you know? No more need to prolong the agony. Agony is exhausting and I am exhausted.

Our team knows. Final pay is being processed, store rooms cleaned, hours assigned, clients alerted, details ironed. There is still food in the ground. We aren’t going to come along with a giant flame thrower and destroy what we’ve grown. That food will be used by Farm Fresh To You in Farm Boxes. Our food will go, as we have always dreamed, to our people. We have fulfilled our last weekend of Farmers Markets. We honor our last weekend of tours.

I was under the impression that I could keep this thing going. It got ugly in here. I freshened my lipstick and straightened my turban, applied my sunscreen and grabbed a stick from the fields. I wrote and spoke and listened. I believed that by sheer dint of determination and force that Suzie’s Farm could succeed.

This is not what I want to say.

Or is it?

Some of the hard things: Letting go. Trusting that our work was not in vain. Realizing that love isn’t enough, that caring isn’t enough. Facing my weaknesses and failures. Looking back at where I could have done more. Being merciful with myself. Not resenting other’s success and profit. Believing that there is more. Hurting. Feeling betrayed. Letting people down. Letting our daughters down. Letting Robin down. Mourning.

Some of the best things: The light in the sky on hazy, Summer evenings. Winter Solstice camping. Keeping the fires. Farm School. Farm Camp. Sunflower mazes. Naming the fields. Flowers and field bouquets. Field trips. Freedom. Friendships and Farm-ily. Pulling beets straight from the ground, bloody with juice, gritty with Earth. Hawks soaring. Dirt Time. Pumpkin Palooza. Napping in the Red Okra, nestled among the burgundy stalks. The Fun Moon rising over the eastern mountains. The smell of the Earth after a rain. Rapping at El Take It Easy. Cook’s Confab. Slow Food. Farmers Markets. Pizza Oven Potlucks. Speaking the truth of the spirit. Listening to the wind. Dogs romping in the fields. The Swing. Silent Tours. Dia de los Muertos. Cases of strawberries. Fennel. Cherry Bombs. Padrons. Learning abundance. Attending the cycles of the Earth. Discerning the language of the Universe. Gratitude. Dreaming. Receiving. Believing.

Suzie’s Farm doesn’t end here. I don’t end here. The story doesn’t end here.

The story takes a turn and a skip, the way the tractor does when it makes new rows.

Posted In: Lucila's Essays

9 Comments

  • Lois Christie ON 06/28/2017 SAID:

    Beautifully said.

    Reply
  • Miss Frau Heather ON 06/29/2017 SAID:

    A crescendo of sadness hits me as I read your news! I loved your story, , I love your farm, your veggies and the place to share what was and can be. I am stunned to a quietness that has no boundaries. Your farm has given me hope since I discovered you and you have helped me make San Diego to be my home. Out of our selfishness, I am feeling so homesick now, I wish you and your family a graceful and quick recovery, Thank you for all that you have given San Diego!

    Reply
  • Joann Hutton ON 06/29/2017 SAID:

    Dear one, even though we have never met, I feel as if I know you. I so wanted to come meet you and your precious family but have not been able to make the trip . I am Robin's cousin. His grandmother, Aileen, and my father, Buster, were sister/brother. Robin's dad is my first cousin. I've followed your story, admired your work. I know something new will be owned up for you. Blessings, Joann Hutton

    Reply
  • Dale Jones ON 06/29/2017 SAID:

    I will soon miss you and the farm and Robin and the girls and all the wonderful posts, but most of all the wonderful food that inspired my creativity to find a way to make it into a wonderful meal for us. I have cancelled my membership to Farm Fresh to You. I just can't continue without you being there, and even in the short time since the change it just hasn't been the same. I will continue to shop our local farmer's markets and support our local farmers but it will never be the same without Suzie's. I am encouraged to hear you say that Suzie's Farm does not end here, and I hope to hear about all your new adventures and successes. This has been an experience that I will never forget. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Erica Phung ON 06/30/2017 SAID:

    The beta carotene and iron of your beautiful produce is in my blood. It fueled my cells, provided nourishment for my physical body but also my soul. You introduced me to dazzling vegetables I had never heard of before - green garlic, kohlrabi, a bouquet of easter-egg colored radishes. My friend Laura and I did a U-Pick and we met your happy family of chickens and we bought your rainbow eggs with the most delicious yolks I've ever tasted. I was sad when the chickens had to go, and I'm sad to hear the news now. But I know in my heart you are capable of so many great, uplifting things that will resonate and be part of the fabric that will make a better world. Yes this chapter closes, but with it an opportunity toward the next adventure. Thank you for your sacrifices, tears and strength. May you be blessed.

    Reply
  • Renee ON 06/30/2017 SAID:

    Best of luck to you all! Thank you for the beautiful food, space and energy!

    Reply
  • Sheila Roberts ON 06/30/2017 SAID:

    Lucila, thank you so much for creating Suzie's Farm. It was a wonderful place and filled with wonderful memories for me, my daughter, my grandnieces and nephews, my parents, the friends we took. I can't tell you how much joy it brought to all of us being able to pick organic produce, enjoying the boxes, take the tours, the farmstand, the celebrations; all of it. It means so much to me, coming from several generations of farmers, to be able to show children where real food comes from and that it can be fun to be healthy and enjoy & respect the hard work that goes into a farm and providing us with food. Tears come to my eyes as I read your blog and as I saw the notice. My dad had a stroke a year ago and his mind was affected, not his body so much. So my mom took him to your farm and it was a wonderful experience for him to pick strawberries and to go to the farmstand. Thank you so very much for all you did to hang in there. I know that it was a heartbreaking decision but I believe there is something in your future to bring you the same satisfaction and joy that the farm has, even with the hard times. Bless you all.

    Reply
  • Katherine Zacharias ON 06/30/2017 SAID:

    Wiw! Great writing! I will muss you

    Reply
  • Brooke Kellison ON 07/05/2017 SAID:

    I'm so sad to see you close! It was a goal of mine to take my husband and son there, but we missed our chance. You did your best, and that is so admirable! God bless you and your family in your coming ventures!

    Reply

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