We’ve scaled back at the farm again. Lackluster performance in November and December has us in a poisoned position. Regular rains, which we greet lustily to refill reservoirs and flush the Earth and our wells, also leave us unable to plant and harvest according to our itinerary and compel clients to cozy up at home and abandon markets. Our expected January CSA numbers were not met. With this combination we, once again, reduce staff hours.
To quote The Who, “Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss”.
Or, to quote Michael Corleone, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Pivot. Veer. Tack.
Our Marketeers, who have lost or shortened shifts, are being retrained in CSA sales. In our 9 years in business we have had over 5,000 CSA clients join our Farm-ily. Our current membership hovers between 250-300. Robin and I staggered when we realized both counts.
We started Suzie’s Farm on CSA with the first harvests in March 2009. We called friends and family and asked if they would be our guinea pigs allowing us to practice the art of collecting orders, harvesting on time, packing and delivering boxes. Some signed up to be hosts. Some signed up as clients. Some still are; some have moved on. At Suzie’s Farm we continue to refine our art; planting appropriate measures and varieties of crops, calculating days-to-harvest and yields, harvesting through all kinds of weather, packing and delivering organically grown veggies to you, our Farm-ily.
We get a box every week as well so that we can have the client’s experience. Did the lettuce wilt before we retrieved it from the box? Wow! Look at how well the kale held up in spite of leaving our box on the porch for three days. ANOTHER BUTTERNUT SQUASH?! Wyndellen’s curated recipes to the rescue as we defoliate the Bok Choy forest in our fridge.
Like everything, Suzie’s Farm is an experiment, trial and testing, attempt and analysis, flourishing and failing. And just like our fields, our parenting, our marriage, our life, when we travail we get up and at ‘em again.
I recently read a book called Buddhism Without Beliefs, by Stephen Batchelor. A question he posits: If death is certain and the time of death is uncertain, what action will you take?
I come back to this question regularly because it applies not just to the certain death of my physical body (SPOILER ALERT: all of our physical bodies are going to die) but it applies to the death of everything; the death of Calamity Jane, and our twin daughters who will be ten (I pray) in less than a month. It applies to the death of this computer, the death of my residence and even the death of the farm – though I pray each of those deaths be in the far future.
Does this give us permission to give up because it’s tough? Ought I to concede because I am overwhelmed and I struggle? Shall I capitulate, abdicate or vacate because the plans I made, the actions I took unravelled instead of unfurled?
No. Instead it provokes a feeling of urgency. Spring follows Winter, in it’s time. An empty field is an opportunity but must be made ready. Fallow and fecund co-exist. Always we grow. Until the time of my ultimate harvest I will not know the total yields and fruits of my labor. I must continue to plant so that when I am returned to my precious Earth I will know every action within my capacity was seized to grow.
Until Next Week,
Do Well. Be Well.