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Final notes of 2011

Posted 1/29/2012 1:35pm by Sean.
As we cross the finish line there's not much winter in sight. All the forecasts call for more of the same through the end of the year. We've been very lucky as it's a lot easier to move things around the farm this way. We're not really set up yet to deal with what winter can, and has, thrown at us the last few years. This is easily the mildest and tamest December we've had in quite a few years. 

It's funny how I've always thought of farming as a sporting event--mostly I suppose because of the relentless physical aspects of most things we do. The more we grow and the bigger we get as a farm, the more we need to focus also on organization and record keeping. Our greatest challenge over winter is to establish the digital and electronic representation of the farm, from QuickBooks to spreadsheets to taxes and everything else. We need to be able to express all farm information on the computer. The transition from a small to a medium-sized business is probably one of the most painful and difficult to negotiate, but we're ready for the challenge.

Well, in case you can't tell yet, I can't think of a damn thing to say about produce. Probably sick of it. I'm actually in Boise, Idaho right now visiting a friend. Spent a few hours splitting wood yesterday at his place in the mountains and loved it. Good mindless work, and I didn't have to make any decisions. It's warm and dry here too. I talked just the other day out here to a farming couple in their 30's. It was so nice to hear them echo the same exhaustion and weariness with respect to farming and the lifestyle. When I told them of our 22 hoop houses and ability to deliver 36 weeks/year, and our plans to deliver through winter in a year or so, they could not quickly enough express their desire to never attempt such an endeavor. "We love our break, we need our break!" they said. No wonder I feel like I've been run over by a bus so often. But now that I'm starting to find some great people to surround myself with (Kurt, Christa, and Kai are holding down the fort while I'm gone) to make this transition to a medium-sized farm/business, things are feeling much, much, better, and I'm super grateful. 

Oh, yeah, produce! You should recognize it all by now. There's sweet salad and storage turnips, beets for the smaller shares, leeks, potatoes, and spinach. We were able to get a nice harvest of cold sweetened kale as well. It's interesting, and we're curious about, the holes in the kale leaves. Not sure what bug was tough enough to hang out and eat the holes you see in the kale leaves. Don't worry, there should be no compromise in terms of shelf life, and we don't charge for the holes. Insects, as you can imagine, have surgical, knife-like mouths, and make very clean cuts, so try to think of it as decoration. 

Thanks to everyone who signed up with us this year. We're already looking forward to next year, and feel confident that we'll do even better, especially with respect to variety and crop selection. We've had only positive comments about the jar of whole roasted tomatoes in the box last week, and love the idea of having more of these sorts of preserved/frozen products in the future, so again, please let us know how you felt about getting a jar of tomatoes in your box. In the future, we're thinking of roasting and freezing squash for an easy puree, freezing broccoli, and freezing peppers--both sweet and fire-roasted chiles--for use throughout the winter. A year from now we hope to keep delivering, even if only every other week, from January through the middle of April when regular CSA deliveries begin. We very much appreciate your business, comments, and ideas. Thanks again.

Chris Covelli

The Tomato Mountain Farm Team

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