What a glorious morning; clear, coolish, dry air. As the weather has improved this past week so have our fortunes, we are rising like the Phoenix! All vehicles are back on the road, the refrigeration is all repaired and the poultry plant problem is looking brighter. I have spent quite a bit of time this week fact finding about the plant and all of it’s very complicated relationships with other businesses and producers. While we have not yet signed any papers I would now say that we are 85% sure that we can take over the processing plant. We have a small group that is helping to steer this ship but quickly will need to expand it. Joe Moize of the Shady Grove Farm (they also sell at market) has really been the main force behind all of this and is doing a great job in working with all of the financial details. Weaver Street Market has signed on both financially and with expertise in Cooperative development. It is in their interests to see this happen both in meeting their mission to support local agriculture but to also have good local poultry in the stores. In the wings (no pun intended) also offering expertise, are other allied organizations, Rural Advancement Foundation International, American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, Carolina Farm Stewardship Assoc., NC Cooperative Extension Service and others. All of these groups see this small independent plant as vital to the local farm economy and the local food system. In the next week we will be putting a call out to producers and others to raise money for, and to belong to, the eventual cooperative organization that will own and operate the plant. I have heard from several of you who have expressed interest in investing and we will let you know as we have more details. We immediately need to find someone to actually manage the plant day to day. Someone who has knowledge of processing and the regulatory details. That list does not include either me or Betsy!
At home the farm rolls on. All of the early tomatoes have now been taken out, quite an ugly job pulling the vines off the trellis and taking it all down. Mowing goes on and on in preparation for fall and winter crops. The chiggers we have stirred up are voracious! It is amazingly dry and we are back to pumping water everyday. The turkeys have finally graduated and are now one large group, a little confused at first as to who all these new bodies are but now they are wandering around together as if its been that way all along. The staff is on reduced hours now as we head for the end of the season in a few weeks. I think they are just as relieved to see the end as we are, they have really helped us keep it all together this year, especially this past few wild weeks.