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farm planning

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Do you want to build a hoop house but need a little help?

We've built several styles of hoop house and can rattle off the pros and cons of each style. Round or square metal arches? Gothic or quonset style? Cattle panels? Roll up or down sides? HEATING?! Want to just HIRE these farmers to build one for you? Keep reading.

We can help. Give us a jingle and we can answer many of your questions over the phone and we are happy to travel to your farm for some real time advice. How else do farmers get to travel?! We love talking with fellow farmers, aspiring to experienced. Its the community we cultivate (he he) that will support us when we're down and give a big "Cheers!" when we make it through another season. 

Free 30 minute consultation over the phone. 

 

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Joel Salatin & I

Marci in the field 2013. University of Idaho photo.

Yesterday we attended the Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture symposium in Nampa, ID. We were fortunate to be asked to give a workshop on beginning farmer topics along with information about low cost hoophouses and season extension. We had never given a presentation of such length and were a bit nervous about filling the time. But as we created our presentation, it came with ease, these were things we were so well versed in and so passionate about that filling up the hour seemed less daunting and more like too short of a session! As the room began to fill and we saw the faces of young farmers being reflected back to us, it became clear that people want this information, they are craving guidance on starting a farm. As we were beautifully introduced by a fellow young farmer, Jessica McAleese from Swift River Farm in Salmon, ID, all of the anxiety and jitters I felt beforehand melted away. I was among my tribe in that moment. I was talking to friends.

I look forward to breaking down the information we talked about yesterday and fleshing out some of the topics we skimmed the surface of here on our blog. Right now I am so inspired because the talk we gave yesterday was perfectly mirrored by the ever honest and passionate Joel Salatin. His 10 principles for starting a farm talk were exactly, on the money, what we covered earlier that day. SAY WHAT?! Did we plan that? Did we confer ahead of time? Sure, we had a great conversation the evening before and we talked with him about what we were doing and why we were there. He knew our talk was specific to young farmers, but the word for word list he gave was the same list I had in my head. So what does that mean? It means that we farmers are on the right track. It means that when we move to action with passion and attention, big things happen. It means that we are a tribe. We are a community that should continue to rise each other up as we do the hard work of growing food for our communities with integrity and love. 

I look forward to talking more with each of you reading this, to strengthen the threads of connection between us, to move knowledge of passion back and forth with intention. Please join us in this journey.  

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Planning: Spreadsheets

It is supposed to be the dead of winter right now. But it feels more like spring some days, with sunshine and a lack of frosty mornings. We haven't had noticeable precipitation in weeks and we're getting a little worried. But we're right where we're supposed to be... We're planning.

As part of our farming seasonal schedule, January is the month that we pour over records of last season, make lists of what we want to grow, what we grow because of different markets and our CSA, and drool over seed catalog pictures, knowing that some of those beautiful tomatoes won't taste the way they look in a picture. It's a fun process, reflecting together over what we enjoyed last season and what gave us the headaches. What can we change? What can we do better? What can we do better without? 

Greg has created a most beautiful masterpiece of a spreadsheet that keeps track of everything. Its so important for market farmers to have a working knowledge of what has been done and what we have to do in our future. Its a living document that is constantly tweaked and referred to throughout our busiest greenhouse seeding months of March and April. Every plant is accounted for, nothing is done in haste. We try to have a game plan. That game plan, when printed out for our trusty field notebook is about thirty pages. While we don't refer to all 30 pages, its all important information that we use in different ways throughout the year. In January, when that spreadsheet is reborn for the new season, we laugh at how this spreadsheet is truly an extension of these farmer brains. You can see a snipit below of our beloved production schedule and how we've tracked it for the last 3 seasons going on 4th.

Its jam packed, we know. It tells us how much of what we need to grow to meet the demands of our CSA, two farmers markets, online market, restaurant sales and more. While we know farmers who fly by the seat of their pants, or who know their routine by heart, this is an example of how each farm does things a little differently. We feel having this sort of detailed plan makes ordering seeds easier, determining how much we need to grow to meet our projected income for the year, and in general is makes day to day operations a little more smooth. If you ask a farmer right now what they are doing this time of year, some form of this is likely. So, even if we're not out working in the soil, it doesn't mean we're not busy.

 

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