Stop and go, wait and sprint. That’s April on a vegetable farm. Warm and windy weather means drier soils, and drier soils means tillable ground. If we can till, we can plant! At least until it rains again. That window of opportunity may close again soon- so we race to take advantage.
Stop! The tractor got a flat, the irrigation system sprung a leak, the part we ordered to fix the tractor that hills the potatoes has a hole in it. Reshuffle. Come up with a new play. Go! Plant a field of potatoes by hand, take soil samples, decide what fertilizers and amendments to buy. Stop! The wind has torn the greenhouse plastic loose. Go! Repair the broken side! The tomato seedlings are big enough- start grafting. The soil is dry enough- start planting!
Do our CSA members know that spring is here?! The cold weather had us all fooled, but our planning is done and planting has begun. Do you know why we need you now, before the crops are in? So many expenses before harvest- tools and repairs and supplies and payroll, so much planning and planting until we pick that first radish, that first tomato, that first watermelon.
Has it hit us yet that there is a water crisis in California, the mecca of agriculture in the United States? There is no better time than now to support your local farm. Does our community of eaters know the real costs in growing food, the difficulties in paying a competitive living wage to farm workers, the challenge of keeping hard working idealistic young people on the land? Input costs have risen, but the prices of food have not. Join us on our farm journey. Follow our blog, join our CSA (if you haven’t yet) and walk a mile, or 12, in a farmer’s boots.
So many choices: CSAs, farmers markets, road stands, chain grocery stores, health food stores, your backyard. Even after 10 years growing our farm, CSAs still strike me as radical, as thinking outside of the box. CSAs are unconventional, they are a shake-up of the current system. They are you, an eater, voting with your local food dollars. You are making that early season commitment, a handshake agreement in a world of legalese. You are saying loud and clear, I will support you, this farm, from seed to harvest. I will look outside at the brown and barren winterscape and envision spring and bounty and fresh vegetables to come. I will eat the food you grow. I will help you buy your seeds and pay your farmers for their labor of love. I will support you so you can make choices that nurture the soil, choices that nurture this community, this land. And then after all the planting, weeding and watering and tending, we will feast!
Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three on the piece of red earth that is Blooming Glen Farm.