The weather over the past few days has been simply phenomenal! The temperature is supposed to reach 75 degrees F today, and it’s just mid-March! I guess I can’t complain too much about winter, because it’s been quite mild, but I must say it is always a relief to feel sunshine. Apparently, I’m not alone, either, because there’s a frenzy of activity going on in all of the ponds and swamps around here, too – the first Spring Peepers started calling a few days ago, and since Sunday, their chorus has been rising in volume each day. When we were working on the buck pen over the weekend, there were times we had to raise our voices to speak over their wonderful cacophony. On Monday night, as we came in from our nightly chores, one hopped right through the front door with us! After taking its photo, I released it onto one of our walls on the front porch and gave assurances that it is most welcome to spend as much time here as it would like. I’m a big fan of frogs. Well, let’s be honest – I’m a fan of most critters.
But speaking of frogs – our leopard frogs have come out of hibernation in our little koi pond outside of our front door! They are still twitchy when they hear us moving around the area or opening the front door, but that’s the routine every year – it’s like they have to shake off the winter grogginess and remember that we are their allies. Give it a month, and they’ll be sunning themselves without worry as we walk past the pond.
All of these seasonal changes have us thinking about our gardens this year, and we are really excited that we will be able to offer produce for sale – we’ve only grown for ourselves in years past. Last year, we acquired a small hoop house and we’ll be making full use of it for our growing in 2012. We are also looking to add an additional, larger hoop house this season. A hoop house provides several advantages – the primary being the micro-climate that it provides, which extends the growing season. It also helps keep unwanted critters out from your precious growing food, and on rainy days, you can still work in the garden without getting soaked yourself. We have a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits going into the ground and can’t wait to pull up the first radish and snip the first bit of thyme! All of our seeds are heirloom organics – if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know we are very anti-GMO. We will need to get this hoop house on order and installed within the next month in order to be able to put it to best use this growing season.
Many farms find themselves in a quandary at this time of year- wanting to expand their offerings, but facing a large start-up cost in order to do so. We are in that position ourselves, and have met some fellow small farmers who have addressed this issue very effectively by offering shares in their farm – which provides investment funds to them to get these projects off of the ground. In return, investors receive a return on their expenditure by way of additional products. For example, a one-time investment of $300 would earn 15% in farm products – so the investor would have $345 on account with our farm to use as they wish. This is not the same as a CSA – you get to decide when you’d like to make your selections here at the farm, rather than a weekly commitment. Depending upon your location, we may be able to set up a delivery – for instance, near George’s workplace, or if we will be in your area for other business. Your funds remain on account even if you haven’t used them up by the end of the growing season.
These funds can be used toward the produce we will be growing, our chicken and duck eggs, meat chickens and ducks, goat’s milk soaps, and value-added items like preserves. Of course, these items are subject to seasonal availability – for instance, we don’t have strawberries or tomatoes yet, and we won’t have the goat’s milk soaps available for a couple of months because of our herd’s kidding schedule and resulting milk availability. Our first batch of pasture raised chickens will be processed and available in late May/Early June. But 2012 is going to be a very busy year with many new offerings, and we will be able to maximize those with your investments – which earn a great return! If the amount seems daunting for a one-time payment, remember that you can go in together with family members or friends – we just need to know who is authorized to make purchases moving forward. You may even find that you have a neighbor who is interested in investing with you, and then you can take turns coming out to the farm to make your selections – it’s a great way to pool your dollars and take advantage of the savings.
If you are interested in becoming a farm investor – please send us a note from this contact form so that we may get in touch in order to get you started. We appreciate your interest in our farm and look forward to providing you with more nutrient-dense, sustainably raised foods.