Hilary is our amazing CSA manager and one of our farmers. One part of her job, (a piece we sometimes share depending on how busy we are), is to write and put together the CSA newsletter for our shareholders. Below is Hilary’s final CSA newsletter reflection of 2011. It’s beautiful, and full of wisdom. Enjoy!
Melanie Hardy, Farm Manager
Ah, 2011…This year we did a good job building onto systems we created last year and problem solving to fix some of our many challenges. For example, we improved the timing of our direct seeding to keep quick crops like arugula, radishes, and salad greens almost always available. A very intentional lettuce plan kept that crop on the farm stand and under the CSA tent nearly every week. Our equipment fleet was regularly maintained and has never been so well greased. Each member of the crew was assigned an important area to oversee which distributed responsibilities (and stress) more equally. Everyone got a chance not only specialize in a specific area but also to see how it fits into the larger whole of the farm.
For me, it’s been great to be so involved with the CSA and be a part of its evolution as we search for the right balance of what we can do as farmers and what you, our shareholders, are looking for in a CSA. Having a second year here has provided me with a chance to get to know many of you either while working in the field or visiting at the tent or farm stand. Having a strong network of support is vital to every farm and I’ve enjoyed exploring and getting to know the Land’s Sake community more deeply this year.
As our collective knowledge of this place builds it will help us improve our planning, systems, and rotations. At the same time, the more we know the more complicated our decision-making and planning processes become. The beauty and terror of farming is its complexity and unpredictability, which has the potential to be both positively mind-blowing and heart-wrenching.
My time at Land’s Sake has opened my eyes to a whole new level of farming, allowing me to witness the complicated seasonal relationships of weather, pests, land, crew, and crops. I’ve seen that sometimes last year’s victories are this year’s defeat. It has become clear that no matter how much you plan, you can never become too comfortable in farming and that so much of what happens in a season is out of your control. The truth is, we’ll never be safe from crop failures and bad seasons. In a year when many CSAs had to end early due to lack of crops and some farms were completely devastated by Hurricane Irene, we were extremely lucky to end our season with a bang.
Enjoy the abundance of hearty greens and root crops! Have a great winter and I hope to see you next year!
Hilary Crowell, CSA Manager