Sunday, 20 December 2015

Happy Holidays Everyone! Thanks for making 2015 our best year yet!

Warm, happy holiday wishes to all our friends and supporters! And thank you for making this year our best yet! We ran a successful 50 member CSA Harvest Box program this year, attended the Vernon Farmer's Market every Thursday from June to Nov, stocked our fancy new coolers at the Monashee Community Co-op and Lumbys' Community Market every week from June to Dec, as well as managing 2 acres of garlic this year. We also attended 2 major Garlic Festivals this fall (in Grindrod & New Denver), as well we attended the Vernon Indoor Market this winter. Wow... What a year! Definitely our MOST ambitious yet :)

On top of everything this year, we had some pretty steep learning curves to go through. This was our first year hiring staff to work on the farm. Hosting 3 full-timers, 2 part-timers, and several other temporary workers throughout the season. This has got to be one of the most challenging things to manage on the farm (now I know why every time we bring up "employees", every business/farm owner rolls their eyes and sighs exhaustively lol). It's not the payroll, or the scheduling that's tough to handle. But the conflicting attitudes/personalities and physical & mental capabilities of your employees that is the most trying to manage. We learned many lessons from our staff this year, that will definitely make things easier in the years ahead. And we thank them immensely for their patience and understanding. We can't do what we do without them, and we appreciate their dedication and hard work this season. Farming is by no means an "easy" job, but you gotta love it to do it!

Our second curve ball was learning how to efficiently process 2 acres of garlic (that's equivalent to approx 2 elephants in weight!!!!). We've always done a large portion of garlic on our farms throughout the years. But we went from growing a 1/4 of an acre to 2 acres. That's a HUGE jump. The growing part we find the easiest; garlic is minimal in its needs. A little fertilization, weeding and water go a long way. But it's the sorting, hanging, drying, cutting, cleaning, sizing, counting and packing on such a large scale where we were really thrown for a loop (which, we knew would be the case). At the beginning of processing we were very inefficient, processing maybe 400-800 bulbs a day. But, we just kept on it, kept trying new methods & setups. And by the end of the season we were rocking it. Processing 3000 - 5000 bulbs a day. We've now developed some very efficient methods of processing that yield a beautiful, high-quality product. Which will make next year's processing seem like a breeze :) 

All in all it was the most fun-filled, hectic, action-packed, learning curve of a year we've had yet! Thank you to all our staff & volunteers, all our farming friends and mentors, and to all our CSA members, supporters and customers. We couldn't have done it without you! We received so much positive feedback this year, and demand for our products was HUGE. We love what we do, and it shows in the produce we grow :) Happy Holidays everyone! And a very Happy New Year to all! See you in 2016 :) 

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