Rain, rain, rain. We’ve had 3.5 inches in the last two weeks and it would be alright with us if they turn the tap off for a bit. Hallelujah for the “Big Tops”, the tomatoes still look great as well as Betsy’s lisianthus and the staff can still work even if it rains (of course if they are like us they are looking for a day off). The fairly continuous rain at market on Saturday once again made us think about how great our customers are, coming out and supporting us and the other vendors at market even in the rain. It also makes us think about how basing our business around outdoor Farmers’ Markets is at the whim of the weather and other factors beyond our control. We consciously have moved more of our business towards the markets over the past few years for several reasons, first we just love to be at market, to see everyone and hear what you all think about the products that we sell. Second it fits with our scale of production, when we were more in wholesale we had to keep growing more to meet their needs, it was never enough. Third it is better income than wholesale because we can sell for closer to a retail price. On the other hand the market life can be relentless with no way to overcome days with bad weather or other problems, we can’t just take the stuff home and bring it back next week, that’s why they are called perishables. I explain to the staff and others, including family members, that 75 percent of our business is done at the Farmers’ Markets and so Saturday, in particular, is not to be trifled with. No weddings, no family reunions, no extracurricular activities on Friday or Saturday morning during market season. We have about 100 hours a year to make our living, we don’t mess around with that. So when the forecast is for rain it makes us pause, then we are always pleasantly surprised when the customers come out. Thank you again.
Despite the rains we have a fairly busy week going on. Several groups touring the farm including the graduate students in floriculture from NC State and the student interns from the Center For Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. We host them every summer during their intensive week on Soils. They come to see how we manage our soils sustainably and to see how a small farm can be profitable. These groups always ask good questions that make us think about why we do things the way we do, I think that its always good to look in the mirror from time to time.
The next 40 turkeys arrive this week as well. We get them in two batches because the Heritage birds take at least 26 weeks to get to size but the Broad Breasted birds grow so fast that they only need about 18 weeks to get huge. We are hoping that we won’t have any 30 pounders like last year by getting this group later. The Heritage birds are getting big and have moved to their next location, maybe a picture next week.
Tonight (Wednesday) is Panzanella’s Local Food dinner with part of the proceeds going to support the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Look for our tomatoes on the menu and the flowers that Betsy donated to spruce up the festivities. Go and eat great food made from local products and support our local sustainable farming non-profit!