This winter, however miserable it has been, seemed short for us. But in so many ways we are glad for it to be closer to over, to start new, to begin again. So much of fall and winter is about the impermanence of life, the immediacy of death, hibernation. More so this winter than others; the death of one of our twins, the failure of a small dairy herd, the strain of up rooting and moving the farm, a greenhouse collapse on christmas day... The burdens have been heavy, but our resolve has been forged in a unbreakable cast. The pain and struggle have been bound up with joy, quiet, and compassion from our community. We have felt every kind of emotion imaginable all at once. We've been joking that we have earned a PhD in feelings this past year. We know the future holds great things, but 2013 has been the hardest year to date for us, and we truly hope to see none harder.
This Winter we've been doing a lot of planning and learning. We've been talking a lot to the other farmers in our community about the various ways that we can cooperate and make each others lives easier and we have helped form the Hungry Turtle Farmers Cooperative dedicated to multiplying the impact of local food ! Rama went to a cheesemaking conference and we continue to work towards being able to provide you with delicious farmstead cheese (this is QUITE the undertaking, folks.) Our little community is growing with farmers and food lovers and we are so excited to be involved in it. Amery will see a local foods restaurant, a learning center, a value added kitchen, a full-fledged 'food hub'! Our old location in New Auburn WI was more isolated than we had realized. Visiting with people and sharing in their joys (weddings and babies and weddings and babies!) has made us feel bonded. As much as we believe farmers are independent, we have come to learn that we are interdependent. We need one another! When we work together we all do better.
We have been excited by a recent trip to the MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services) Conference. We got to hang out with about 3,400 other farm managers, food system thinkers, dreamers, and farm workers... We reconnected with some co-workers from seasons past, worked on mentoring other beginning farmers, we ate really great food, drank a ton of coffee, and learned some things we are excited to implement in the coming seasons. It's inspiring to be around other passionate growers, and humbling to be a part of something so powerful. From the keynote speaker, Anne Lappe "Be a possibilist, not a pessimist or optimist. Hold yourself open to possibilities you can never imagine."
We are always trying to learn more about our profession and get better at what we do.
We've been welcoming little hints of Spring... Days lengthening, watching birds return to the bird feeder (we are waiting for our first spotting of red-winged blackbirds), seed packets arriving in the mail, the woodpile dwindling, and the delivery of our potting soil.... But the best of all is that the forecast looks promising. Temps up into the 40s! The maple sap will be flowing any day now!
We still have CSA shares available and we welcome you to sign up for the 2014 season. We may have a late Spring again this year, but we are already in a better starting point than we were last season. We are eternal optimists (and possibilists) and we feel our job of sustainably growing healthy, delicious, and beautiful food to be more important and necessary than ever (drought in CA?) And somebody needs to eat it!... So sign up today!