What’s been going on!
This is the next in a series about our farm transition process.
Why Jennie, why now?
By our mid 50’s the summers were wearing on us more and the aches and pains of 30 years of farming didn’t go away as fast as they used to. Part of our success has been in the amazing group of young folks who have come to us wanting to learn to be farmers and then would move on but that means finding new faces every year or two and a continuous training program that takes a lot of time and energy. Jennie came to us as one of those people.
In 2012, midway through her second year with us, we were talking about what her future plans were and she said she thought she might move on to another farm where she would be a co-manager. Very nearly the same time our friends and longtime professional colleagues, Ben and Karen Barker, had closed their successful restaurant and headed into retirement. They closed the restaurant for many reasons but one that struck me was they were not sure how much more energy they had to train new chefs. I didn’t realize it but I was actually in the same place.
When Jennie said she might move on I said “but what if we don’t want to lose Jennie?” She replied “well I can’t work for wages for ever.” Fair enough so I countered with “well let’s talk then”. We didn’t know Jennie well but she was smart, organized, calm and stable beyond her then 26 years. She is a hard worker but had barely four years of farming experience yet really wanted to farm. Unlike many of the people who had worked for us and then went on to start their own places, she had no clear way to get started- no family land, no capital resources just a strong inner desire. It sounded a lot like us 30 years ago.
In June of that year we set the record for the number of 100 degree days in a row and then in July we had The Big Storm. While we took those extreme events in stride it made us think even harder about how we would continue to manage such hurdles in the years to come.
The three of us started meeting every week to see what we could figure out and began to come up with a plan that would enable Jennie to farm and help us bridge the time span until 65 and then further into the future. More yet to come…
Picture of the Week
The great dividing line between peppers on fabric and those in the no-till
What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading