Monday, June 28, 2010

Farmer as Weed wacker

I don't know how farmers did it years ago without a weed wacker.
It is my new favorite farm tool. I can edge my garden and get all those weeds chopped down to size. (yeah- I have a lot of weeds and they grow like you wouldn't believe)
Tonight I chopped down the aisles between the zucchini, tomatoes and peppers. I can walk the aisles again!!

Now you can't see really well, but I've covered head to toe in small bits of green weediness.
Took me 3 washes and conditionings to get it all out of my hair (forgot to wear a hat). But I did remember ear and eye protection!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Farmer as Researcher

I'm just about ready to perform the steps listed in this article:  How to perform a rain dance.
We water 50% of the garden, but another 50% is potatoes and raspberries, blueberries and flowers where we count on mother nature.  Not helping these days!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Farmer as Marketer

Our goal for December 2010 is to have 100 customers. Customers that are either repeat buyers or first time buyers that made a first purchase of more than $100.

So how do you do that with a small farm?
Show people the picture above and say "wouldn't you like to eat quality beef, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and rabbit raised lovingly on that beautiful farm?"
Or maybe it's all about word of mouth and help from current customers.
We have to Market your product! Yikes- I never took any marketing classes in school so we better read up on it.

Let me say that we are so thankful for each of our customers. We have 15 CSA families and another 22 families who buy our meat and eggs. We are not at a farmers market so we count on you to come to us to purchase your meat. So that's 37 customers down- 63 to go.

The CSA families this year are even more than customers, they are helping in the garden so that we can say that our CSA is "Community Supported". We love the help and it's going to be part of the program from here on out.

If you read this blog and would like to become a customer, the best way to start is to come to the farm and buy a sampler pack of 10 lbs for $80. You can try out some of the basics like grass fed ground beef, a steak, some lamb, and chicken or pork as we have it. When you buy grass-fed and pastures meats you need to make the commitment to cook differently. The sampler package will give you the different cuts and meats to practice.

Another way to learn about grass fed and pastured products is to invite us into your house along with 10-40 of your friends and families to talk about why grass fed and pastured products are good for you and how to cook them. As part of this talk we'll bring some of our products so you can taste the difference (things like: meatballs, a lamb roast, pork sausage, roasted chicken). We'll bring lots of the sampler $80 packages for folks to buy plus some other cuts of meat. You as the host will get 10% of the final sale to use towards your own meat purchase.

I'm a fan of WIN/WIN/WIN arrangements. So the win for us is meeting new customers and selling some of our meat. The Win for you is that you get some meat for yourself. All the other folks win because they will know and meet the actual farmers who are selling this wonderful alternative product.

We did a test run of this concept last weekend and while we didn't have our marketing pitch down perfectly- we did learn a lot and will be making modifications for further events.
If you are interested in hosting an event- send us an email. It's a way to get yourself a credit for more of our meat as well as get your friends eating some wonderful grass-fed and pastured healthy food. Plus it's an excuse to have a party and see your friends.

You can also send your friends to us to buy meat and if they say that you sent them, we'll also give you 10% of their first order as a credit back to you!

Help us reach our goal of 100 customers.... 63 customers to go in 6 months.
Any other marketing ideas of low cost appreciated- pass them on.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How we Became Farmers - Chapter 1

The number 1 question I get asked is "did you grow up on a farm" or "were your parents farmers".

No- to both questions. However, my grandmothers all had gardens - I had 3 grandmothers because my mother died when I was very young and so my father remarried when I was 3. So I was lucky enough to watch 3 different women cultivate 3 very different gardens. Our family had a garden but it really didn't work out that well as no one weeded it. I hated weeding (still do).

Mike's grandfather was a conventional farmer so his mother did grow up on a farm but he grew up a city kid taking the bus when he was 8 years old (by himself).

What people really want to know is "why on earth did you decide to buy a farm and become a farmer?"

That's the question-- Why?

Before we were farmers we lived in a nice little house in a little neighborhood and had a nice porch and 4 above ground garden beds. We traveled a lot and had an above average amount of disposable income. I'd say we were living a very comfortable upper middle class lifestyle. We ate out at nice restaurants, we watched a lot of TV and in general we had a lot of free time to just sit around with our friends and just talk and eat and socialize.

One day, I read about something called a CSA- community supported agriculture.
Sounds interesting.

It was going to be a 35 min drive one-way to the farm but we could also get an egg share and how cool would it be to eat fresh eggs. I've heard that they are better for you I told Mike.

Ok, let's sign up. With a CSA you pay for being in the share ahead of time and you then share in the rewards and the risks of the farm. Sounds interesting and we'd be supporting a local farmer, how bad can it be? So we sent in the check-- $680 later we were signed up for 20 weeks of a CSA plus a 20 week egg share. Cool.

Little did we know that this $680 check was the check that completed the intergalactic connections and our fate was sealed.....

to be continued.....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Farmer as a Blogger

So in this modern age, does a farmer need to blog?  Maybe not but it does help to have a website or at least be listed on websites like

I will say that I've met some great people as a result of my little blog.  My Junior year english teacher might be proud of me as I finally found my voice.  We didn't always get along but mostly because I didn't really appreciate English class even though I did get A's in class.

Today's blog will be about eggplant.   I am determined to grow eggplant this year.  Not just the plant but an honest to goodness eggplant.  I grew 1 last year.  ONE!  out of say 70 plants.

This year I am going smaller scale but making each one count.  Now the bugs are still out that eat the eggplant leaves.  3 weeks ago we went to dinner with other farmer friends and one said that he was giving up on eggplant.  Which made me think that I was not going to plant my eggplant in the ground but plant it in these big containers and keep them in my grow area till mid July and then put them in the ground.  That's when those bad bugs are gone.

So maybe I've just been trying to grow eggplant too early and fighting mother nature.  It was like fighting with my English teacher.  I was never going to totally get poetry or love writing a 3000 word essay or discussing what the author was thinking when they wrote their story , but give me the right medium in blogland and I'm golden!

written by annette logged in as hubby....

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Farmer is also a Mortitian

I've now on a theme for the next week. Started with settlers and now we are to morticians.

Why would this be on my mind?
Unfortunately when I went to get the eggs today a poor hen bit the dust. This happens. They get old, stress, etc. She looked relatively peaceful.

So I have to play grave-digger and dispose of the body. Technically the hen got a procession as she went in the riding cart to her final resting place.

I then realized I forgot my shovel so I used gloved hands to dig a shallow hole and then I had lots of dirt to cover her up with as I was near the compost pile. It was taking longer than I realized so I thought maybe I'd just step on her to push her down in the hole a little farther as it was taking a lot of dirt to cover her up completely.

Well, as I stepped on her-- do you know what happened? All that air still in her lungs came out and she gave me a last cry.

I of course screamed 10 times longer and louder than her cry and then I busted up laughing.

Now this has to happen with humans as well when handling a deceased individual. A chicken scared me half to death so I have no idea what hearing a human release air from the lungs would do to me. I think I might pass out...

Just know-- if you want to be an animal farmer-- this job just comes along with the package even though you don't realize it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And just how did those settlers do it?

I know I've been lame with posts lately and making use of photos with one liners as my material so here is my latest wonder.

How the heck did our ancestors make it? And I am talking about this on several levels.

Let me start by asking a question. How many showers did you take on Sunday?
Yes, showers as in water coming down on top of you with soap and shampoo and such.
I took 4 showers. One in the morning, one around 11am after some grimy sweating planting and weeding, then once again in the late afternoon again after more garden work and then again once at night as it was hot and we aren't using the AC.

So how on earth did the folks a few hundred years ago deal with their own smell? I have to believe that no children were conceived during the months of June-August as I am not sure how you could get near another person when you couldn't even stand smelling yourself.

And then don't even get me started about what the women wore in those days.

Maybe the same concept of "when you are in the smell, you don't smell it" rules? Like when you go to a paper mill or a stinky farm and after an hour you don't smell it anymore? Maybe you get so used to body odor that you don't smell it anymore?

These questions have been on my mind the last few days. I'm just extremely thankful to live in an era where I CAN take 4 wonderful showers a day.