Saturday, February 23, 2013

2005---Our Second Season

In the beginning, our goal for Fair Share Farm was to have a 100 member CSA. It was our belief that a CSA of that size would sustain us economically as well as nourish us (we now know that number was a little low).
Ice storm---first week of January
Our second season was planned as another incremental step towards that 100 member goal. We were able to grow our CSA membership to 50, and were planting enough in the fields for 75. This approach allowed us a cushion to make sure we could provide for our members, and would leave us a surplus that we could sell at the Crossroads Farmers Market (our city distribution point).

CSA distribution table

Market table
The season was a good one. It started out slow, but we did have some excellent crops that year, including tomatoes, potatoes, beans and broccoli. We think that we may have been showing people that we at least knew something about vegetable production, and when we were on, things were as good as you could get.

Spring broccoli
Heirloom tomatoes
A wonderful crudite of June vegetables
Part of the reason for our success was the extra hands we had to help us. In 2004 Bill McKelvey earned the right to be called our first apprentice (once a week volunteer). While we were doing more learning than teaching back then, it was nonetheless instructive and proved to be the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

Another friend-to-be, Lori Watley began volunteering with us too. She helped us begin the orchard, and later returned as a full-time apprentice in 2009. The title of first FSF full-time apprentice goes to Amy Bousman. Currently a Kansas farmer and dairy maiden, we are happy to have been a help during her earlier years.

Bill helping sort potatoes for the Fall root cellar

Rebecca and Lori planting a fruit tree
Amy washing Chinese cabbage
Then there was the farm infrastructure. Afterall, what's a farm without fences and a barn with a good roof. We had neither at the start of the year. Our landlord, Graff Properties, hired out a re-roofing of the barn and the work was completed in time for the season.

Roof work in the Spring
Packing room ready to go for the year
The fencing that I was referring to was the 3,750 linear feet of deer fence. After two years of electric fencing, hair bags, bobcat urine and Irish Spring soap, it was apparent that an 8 foot high physical barrier was the only thing that would keep the deer out of our fields.

The planning began in January, and in March we were cutting the black locust trees that would become the fence posts. Throughout the year we picked away at the project---laying out the fence, digging post holes every 25 feet, setting the posts with the members' help, building gates, and finally hanging the fence. We could not farm without it.

Member Mark Flynn and brother-in-law Jeff Wilson working on posts---
Thanks for the help

Setting the posts with the members' help
John and his deer fence spool
Among the other highlights of the year were the arrival of our two cats Momma and Sunny. The kitten Sunny arrived on Amy's doorstep (RV step actually) and his constant meowing was soon met by that of his mom. We offered them some food, and they never left. They were a welcome addition to the farm, as Rebecca's cat Luna had been laid to rest in February, and we were happy to have another mouser or two on the farm.

Sunny and Momma
We were able to take a real vacation that year, traveling to one of Rebecca's favorite haunts---Mexico. Oaxaca City, Puerto Escondido, and Mexico City were our stops...the land of local coffee, chocolate and bananas. The people, countryside, food and culture were a wonderful retreat after three solid years of work.

Saturday wedding at Santo Domingo, Oaxaca City

Farm-raised Xmas gifts
Next up...abnormal weather, a growing CSA, a year of chickens and a new pond.

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