It is time to bid farewell to the 2015 growing season. Just like that, the 22 week adventure is over. We experienced some difficult growing conditions this year, with long stretches when the weather was either too wet or else too dry. Nevertheless, we closed the regular season feeling very happy with what we were able to accomplish in the fields. Of course we saw both successes and failures, but most importantly, we learned from all of these growing experiences. As a farmer, you often only get one or two opportunities a season to observe the life of a crop. That doesn’t amount to a surplus of notes and data to learn from. In my case, I have been farming for six years, so that’s only six chances to see certain crops progress from seed to harvest. The importance of taking the time to observe cause and effect, and to discern all the variables that come along with farming, is invaluable to say the least. Our goal every year is simple: to grow food better than we did the year before. Achieving that goal is not so simple, but that is our commitment to you.
Even though we will be in the fields until Christmas, the work load has already slowed immensely. The last seedlings were tucked into the dirt in mid-September, and we haven’t touched a weed in weeks. The cooler temperatures and shorter days have pulled the reigns on vigorous plant growth, but we will continue to harvest vegetables until the soil and leaves are frozen solid for the winter. The remaining bounty will be distributed through our winter CSA, local farmers’ markets, and area food pantries. I can’t say that I mind the change of pace. The slow season allows us to recoup our energy, but is also a chance to make changes in our crops plans and improve our systems before we start seeding again in February. This forced break is an integral part of Sandbrook Meadow Farm. Seasonality is a beautiful thing!
One of the changes we made to our model this year was the new flexible credit system. We received a lot of positive feedback in response to this renovation. I was a little nervous starting the season not knowing when members would come or how they would spend their credits. I have to say, for the most part it was a resounding success. The only challenge that we experienced was the imbalance of credits used throughout the season. We had an excess of produce throughout the spring and summer, but had trouble keeping up with the credit usage during the last three weeks. I probably should have anticipated this, but live and learn, as they say. I will be ready for you next year!
As you pull your last Sandbrook veg out of your fridge, pantry, cellar, or garage…think of us, and dream of those luscious strawberries and snap peas that will be awaiting you come June. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Be well and we will see you on the other side!