With Winter upon us I welcome this period in the farming cycle to take some time to reflect upon this past year’s accomplishments, challenges, and learning opportunities. The germinating cover crops blanketing the moist dark soil feel peaceful… almost comforting. Where only a few weeks ago we were still busy harvesting crops, now the fields are resting and being renewed. During the winter season it slows down just enough for the farm to become a blank canvas upon which we are invited to compose next season’s tapestry of crops. With new seed catalogs landing in my mailbox almost daily, I start browsing through them to create the 2013 crop plan; our roadmap to ensuring we have a timely, diverse, and nourishing supply of tasty fruits and vegetables over the year. Even after 17 seasons of farming I still marvel at how a handful of seeds can blossom into a thriving productive field. Just imagine… less than an ounce of tomato seeds can grow enough plants to cover an acre of land. With some diligent attention, hard work (and of course good weather) we were rewarded with abundance. Between August and October, literally thousands of pounds of flavorful dry-farmed tomatoes were picked every week — whether it was during our u-pick events, for our CSA members, farmers markets, local stores, restaurants or even wholesale markets. This is just one crop among the dozens of others we grow. For most of the Summer and Fall the farm was buzzing on weekends with dozens of people shopping at our new farm-stand or picking on their own of whatever was abundantly available at the moment, whether it was berries, peppers, pumpkins, apples or tomatoes.
We have been successful in our mission to build community and contribute to a healthier food system. This year, together with the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program, the farm hosted over 2000 people through farm tours, hands-on classes, workshops, farm camps, monthly community events, seasonal celebrations, and u-pick days. I like that our farm gives people the opportunity to really connect with nature and experience how food is grown. Hiking the farm trails, one can see first-hand our farming practices; see how the crops are growing right next to the more untamed native oak and redwood landscape surrounding the fields. More importantly, we actively welcome people to engage directly with the farm themselves; getting their hands dirty either sowing, planting, weeding, or harvesting. Nothing is more satisfying than munching on a carrot freshly pulled out of the soil, or biting into a vine ripened juicy dry-farmed tomato, a sweet sun warmed berry, or a crunchy crisp apple picked right off the tree. Next year we plan on expanding our farm-stand by keeping it open more days of the week; we also plan to continue organizing community events, u-pick days, farm dinners, celebrations, and hands-on workshops. So stay tuned — we hope you’ll join us for another eventful, fun, and nourishing season in 2013.
Lastly, we are so thankful for your support over the years, and encourage your continued participation in the farm’s CSA. Right now (or before January 20th) is a good time to join — we offer up to 4% discount on both shares and options. Remember, it is your membership which allows us to continue to build these nourishing relationships between the soil and the food on our plates. On this continuing journey, towards an earth-friendly and truly sustainable food system, we extend our warmest and most heartfelt gratitude to all who participate in the support of this farm.
From the entire Live Earth Farm Family, we wish you a happy Winter Solstice and a joyful Holiday Season.