What’s been going on!
We want to thank everyone who sent kind words and support for the Barker family!
We have more news to share and we have been waiting until the time was right to do so. We have talked about this with some folks over the last few months and we are sad to say that Jennie will not be staying on with Peregrine Farm. This was a very hard decision for her and we completely understood her position and supported her while feeling very sorry that she was leaving.
After eight years with us she came to realize that in the long run, without a business partner, she would not be able to run this operation by herself. We concurred that it is nearly impossible to farm alone and while Betsy and I are currently still around we would increasingly not be here and eventually completely. A secondary factor was that being alone out here in the country is difficult too.
What the three of us were trying to do in transitioning the farm to a non-family member was very difficult and a very high bar to achieve. Only half of family owned businesses make it to the second generation and only half of those to the third and most of those are not farms. I think about this several times a week when I drive by a local farm that has a sign out front that says “Since 1774”, that’s right, two years before the Declaration of Independence! Who knows what infinitesimal part of a percentage point that farm is amongst all farms who succeed in passing the farm on.
We are proud of what we did accomplish and of the work we did to build a situation and relationship with Jennie. Our legal and working model was excellent and Jennie did an incredible job of taking over the reins and running the farm. But if you are not happy in your situation then a change needs to happen. Betsy and I have been fortunate to have each other to work alongside all these years and have loved this place and the farming life but as I frequently say “there are reasons that farmers are only one percent of the population”.
The three of us knew from the beginning that something could happen that would make our plan not work out and so we have always had Plan B which we alluded to in our series of pieces on farm transition. First we will say that we are not going to look for another person or persons to pass Peregrine Farm, the business, on to; it is simply too late in our lives and takes too much energy to build the relationship needed. We have always said that Jennie was the only time we were going to attempt this and are a bit sad that the farm business will not survive us but the land will.
There are big changes afoot with Plan B and we are excited about them. Next week I will layout the whole picture of what we are calling Peregrine Farm 7.0. In the meantime if you run into Jennie in town (fortunately she is staying in the area) give her a warm greeting and thank her for growing such great produce for you!
Picture of the Week
First light of day on a tunnel of Little Gem
What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading