As I'm sure there are people in my life reading my last blog post (Lucas? Dad?) and wondering what I'm getting myself into now, I wanted to reassure you that despite my enthusiasm, I'm doing my best to be smart about this small farm gig. So while I think it'd be noble and admirable and exciting to launch a 50 family vegetable CSA, raise heritage turkeys and sell honey, all while knitting handspun alpaca wool sweaters, that's not going to happen this year. I'm also not going to start tapping maple and birch trees, growing grapes or getting any more animals (though I've decided I definitely want to add 'shepherd' to my farming resume. There, I've said it. I want to raise sheep.)
While I'll write more over the next few days and weeks as I start sorting out The Plan, I can pretty much guarantee that year one will be filled with getting some big projects off our 'to do' list, before I even contemplate hanging out our farm business shingle. We've got fences and paddocks to move and fix, run-ins and a hoophouse to build, a water supply system to figure out, a barn that needs cleaning out & repairing, etc. -- and that's before I put any seeds in the ground! And there's still that writing/editing career to manage and those two farm kids to raise. But as we're making decisions about this year, I'll be considering 'expansion' plans for the future.
Besides all the fixing and building that needs to be done, I want to use this year to get really good at growing some of the basic high demand food items, start our orchard, get some bees and optimize our current farm practices; whether I sell anything this year is anyone's guess -- at this point, at least. I'll probably put up a roadside sign (our farm is close to a main thruway for cottagers) directing folks to a farm gate stand and/or I may get a booth at the local farmer's market, which is very small but would serve as a great way to network and gauge interest for future years. Or maybe not. People who want to eat will always need farmers and it's not like I plan on being anywhere else in the next two -- or 25 -- years.