Each morning begins with a cup of coffee and a walk around the field with our new pup Josie. The life and energy felt from the plants growing in those fields from day to day is truly magical. June has to be one of our favorite months on the farm. We are pushing super hard with planting and weeding, and also beginning to have some major harvests come in.
Almost all of our fields are on soil we have never planted vegetables in before this year. We had them in cover crops last year and are just now learning how this side of the farm will behave with our production system. So far we are thrilled and our soil is thrilled! Giving it a year off of production, allowing it to grow legumes like clover and alfalfa and a huge bio-mass producing crop like Sudan grass, then mowing it and plowing it back in to feed the soil, has created an ideal environment to produce our crops in. Another benefit has been the reduction in weed pressure. We do have some broadleaves to contend with but little to no grasses…which have been one of our biggest challenges over the years.
What a gift to have enough land base to rest half our ground each year and to really concentrate on re-building the soil and the environment surrounding it. When we start moving the needle of organic matter upwards instead of the slow steady removal of all that carbon, we can truly find ourselves on a path of sustainability!
We overcame early rains this year with our raised bed system as well as a much better drainage pattern on the west side of the farm. We are now into a pretty dry stretch…that organic matter I just spoke about? Well I can’t help but believe all we pumped into the ground last year is now paying us back with moisture holding capacity. We are running water non-stop at this point and would certainly welcome a rain, but are holding our own with the irrigation systems we have in place.
Spring always has a very tight cash flow, and this year without the farmer’s market, that is proving to be more challenging than ever. 75% of our operating budget will be spent by the end of June, then the race is on to replenish and save for another year. Our wholesale/restaurant sales have been sluggish this spring which makes for the perfect storm of a cash flow crunch for a few weeks! Feels a bit like Murphy’s law: now that production looks great, sales and demand are slowing! Ahh…the faith of the farmer that it will all work out!
Here I am, referencing football as I always do…we are closing out the second quarter, pushing to the July 4th halftime. Once the May/June push is behind us we take on the 3rd quarter in July, and shift to maintenance and harvest mode.