The mini production gap is giving us some time to lay the ground work for a new successful season. We are knee deep in plans and the greenhouse is 1/3 full. On top of that, we have had the opportunity to enjoy the company of new farmer friends which refreshes our spirit. It reminds us yet again, how different this year is from last, when we had yet to meet all the kind folks we have. We went to a gathering of farmers one evening to tell tall tales and enjoy the company of folks that know the farm drill. We went on a farm visit to a farm we really admire to see how they run their operation and learn a few things. We had beach party in our partially-full greenhouse with neighbors and fellow farmers alike. We went to a gathering of growers to discuss what actions we can take as a community to strengthen our foundation and succeed as a group. And all this community building is continuing forward! This weekend we are going to Whitney Farmstead's Pancake Open house with some farmer-friends from right down the road and a farmer friend from back east who is flying in! I linked it because it sounds so fun, I have to share the joy. But the point is, we are finally getting some time to connect with the people around us working towards similar goals. This community connection is imperative for farmers.
Small farms depend on community to survive. We count on other farmers to tell us what is and isn't working for them, to share in the costs of big orders, and to share in the joys and challenges of growing food in the unpredictable natural world. We count on our customers to come see us at market and recognize our produce as exceptional and to see and value the hard work we are putting into supplying nutritional food and give us honest feedback about their needs. We count on our families to understand when sometimes we are unable to show up for the July family get together, the big move, or when we are so tired we barely make sense but still want to bask in their presence.
Since we transplanted to Michigan from out of state, building community has required focus and acts of intention. We kicked off the trial last January with the Northern Michigan Small Farms Conference, networking, telling people about who we are and asking people about themselves and their operations. We managed to group order potatoes and cover crop seed, getting bulk discounts. We met folks at market, went to CSA fairs, and cold-called farms that we admired in our area. Now, heading into March a year and a touch later, we have a handful of growers that we can call with a question or an invitation for a libation. We have a group of customers that come see us at market, email us, and visit us on the farm. We have family that understands our needs and loves us, and loves the work we do.
I am a bit of an introvert, so all this shimmyin' and shakin' to integrate into our new space is generally difficult but I know and feel in my hear it is well worth it. However, I have to admit, I am absolutely looking forward to being the person welcoming newcomers.
(we begin attending on dates listed above)
Saturday: Ann Arbor and Chelsea
The Ann Arbor Market is located in the Kerrytown District at 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, MI. The market runs from May thru December, 7 am to 3 pm and January thru April from 8 am to 3 pm.
The Chelsea Farmers' Market is in the cafeteria of the Washington Street Education Center at 500 Washington Street in Chelsea, It runs November through March from 9 am to 1 pm.