Hired help is the most important single input on intensively managed small farms, both in getting things done but also in cost. Most small farms like ours spend as much as 50% of gross on hired labor! This doesn’t leave much for every thing else and a return to the owners. We have worked very hard (fiddling with the knobs) to reduce this number to less than 20%. We have managed to do this by becoming very efficient in how we do things, not growing crops that take excessive labor, using help only for critical farm related needs and by hiring really good people plus training and paying them well. I am pleased to report that, once again, we have two great people for this year. Elizabeth is from South Carolina but has worked the last two seasons on farms in this area, Elise Margoles’ Elysian Fields and Bill Dow’s Ayrshire Farm. Cov is from Charlotte but traveled widely with stints on farms in California and last year as an intern at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. After nearly a month here on Peregrine they have not left running down the road screaming!
This is one of those transition weeks on the farm. The first tomatoes went in the ground (in the sliding tunnels) and the last large planting of lettuce was put in too. From now on just about everything we plant will be warm season crops so while we are just barely beginning to harvest the cool season crops our minds are already partly in June. Great rain this morning which will help a lot but we began the process of putting out the irrigation this week. Those high 80 degree days forced our hand. Just about everything on the farm got cultivated and weeded this week and are much happier now. Soon we will have to start putting trellis up to support all those flowers and peas that will grow fast from here on in.