Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Update from Farmer Rick at Summer Creek Farm

Here is a copy of Farmer Rick's most recent post to his CSA members...

Hi All, This is the last week of the summer 2008 CSA. Your box is very full this week to catch up from the light boxes early in the season. You have sweet potatoes and fingerling potatoes in this box. That along with the hard squash will let some of the stuff keep till next week to reduce your CSA withdrawl. Additionally you have green tomatoes. You can either use them for Fried Green Tomatoes or place them on your counter to ripen for red tomatoes next week. Additionally you received peppers and several other items.

For those of you joining us for the fall I need to clarify some fall details. Our pickups will be as follows:

Urbana, same place, 4:30 pm -6pm pick up time but the day will move to Wed.Frederick Wed pickup, will remain the same as the summer CSA.Creagerstown, TBD depending on sign ups.Frederick Saturday - will remain the same as summer CSA.I need all payments by September 29 so we know how many boxes to pack.

You all will receive an email pertaining to bonus produce you can pick up from us at the Farmers Market in Frederick on Saturday in October, once Broccoli and pumpkins are you we will have some for you. This is for all summer members to say thanks for a great season.

2009, we are working on the 2009 plans right now. We have received a lot of requests already and some things will change from 2008. We will be taking sign ups sooner this year. All members of 2008 will get first notice for 2009. I also am planning a web site overhaul this winter so check that over the winter to see what is going on at the farm.

Finally some thoughts, first let me thank you for helping make our farm successful in 2008. Me and my family (plus 150 chickens, 240 peeps, 120,000 bees and one lazy dog too) thank you. As I am sure you all know we work very hard to bring you fresh produce. Our farm employed 7 people this year, providing them some income but more importantly an education of real life issues. For young people used to video games this is a very different experience.

Farming is something you do because you love it, not because it makes a lot of money. From June to the end of September I call it the gauntlet. Once you enter that season your time is consumed but many items, some more important than others. All items need to be done to keep the crops growing and a steady stream of produce for our CSA and farmers markets. Most of our income is made during this season so while winter is a time to plan, rest, repair all our broken equipment it is also a time of little income. This adds pressure to make the summer even more successful. The CSA is an important way for us to get our season started. We need about $10,000 each year to start the farm. This buys seed, fertilizer, parts and equipment. It also helps to pay for spring labor before we get income from sales. We thank you for that support.

The gauntlet is also tough on friends and relatives. It is hard for people not in farming to understand why no time is available for much else during this time. Many items seem like they could wait but experience teaches me that not performing them would lead to serious financial issues later. With one eye on the weather and one on the calendar we try to fit to many items in a day. These stresses may be why farming as an occupation is listed in the top 10 on both divorce and suicide. Each year I try to plan more ways to grow more in less time for time is the most precious resource I have. Some day I hope to find that magic solution.

Farming does have many benefits that you will not see in a normal job however. The wonder of harvesting boxes of tomatoes from one seed. The feeling of watching grain pour out of the augers as a roaring combine cuts a swath through a field of grain. Nothing is more beautiful than the sparkle of clear water rushing from an irrigation port on a bright sunny day. The sparkle of that water on a hot day quenching a drought is better than diamonds. Of course working on the farm we learn to appreciate the little things in a complicated world. The value of a gentle breeze, the sight of bees pollinating a crop and feel of healthy soil sifting through your hands. All of these won't make the evening news but all help put food on the table at night.

Our world is currently changing. With energy no longer cheap and growing economies around the world demanding more food the farmer is more important ever. We hope that you all stay abreast of the issues in the world for they will effect your food supply and costs. Food is the most basic of needs and it is
often taken for granted. Something so valuable should not be taking so lightly.

Thanks again and we hope to see many of you back next season.

Farmer Rick

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