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Agrarian Harvest

Wholesome. Organic. Experience. All about our farm, food, and small farm life.

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farmer

Help Us Be Farmers Again

This blog was started to write about farm life and happenings on the farm. Honestly, I’m finding that very hard to do lately. Here is why . . . . .

When we set out to be farmers that grow produce years ago, we never saw ourselves where we are today . . . . on the road four days a week going to farmers’ markets, delivering and paying an employee to do the farming. Our purpose was to grow organic produce and get it in the hands and mouths of as many people as we could without leaving the farm. Our vision was to be a family working happily together to grow, eat and sell organic produce. We are no longer a family happily working together . . . .  we are exhausted and spend our days crowded in the car . . . . we aren’t even doing the farming anymore!

We have become traveling salespeople and delivery drivers. People now expect to be delivered to, for everything, including food. When a farmer leaves the farm most days of the week, he is no longer a farmer. When a farmer is off the farm, the farm work is not getting done. So how are we supposed to be growing food when we are having to leave the farm to deliver it and sale at farmers’ markets four days a week? We aren’t! We have to pay a H-2A employee to do the farming because it’s very hard to find people in our community that are willing to come to the farm to help do the work to grow the produce that they want to buy. So if we are on the road doing sales, markets and delivering most days of the week, are we still your farmers? We don’t think so. Our hands aren’t in the dirt doing the growing anymore. We help with harvest, but we are no longer able to tend the plants and be on the farm as our vision started. That is not what we want to be.  We want and need to be the ones on the farm doing the work. Therefore, consumer need to be willing to go to the farm to buy food or have a sales and delivery service deliver, which we have found for you (details below). We don’t want to be doing three farmer’s markets a week, we would prefer to only harvest what is needed.

Now let’s talk farmer’s markets for a moment. What is a farmers’ market? It is suppose to be a location where farmers come together to sell their food directly from the farm. It is more than just a couple of hours off the farm to sell my goods, it’s full days . . . . the markets have rules that require us to be there two hours before market starts and we have to unload a whole 16 foot trailer of produce instead being able to sell out of our trailer or vehicle.  Here is a huge issue we have with farmer’s markets, we never know how much is going to sell or how many people are going to be at market each week. So we harvest as much as we can and end up with waste! So it is a waste of our time to harvest it and now the excess produce is thrown out or fed to the animals. Farmers’ markets would be great if it was just a couple of hours to do the sales and if we didn’t have to set up a mini grocery store on the street. Honestly, farmers’ markets are exhausting, they aren’t geared toward or convenient for the farmer and we end with too much wasted produce.

We feel we have turned into a mini grocery store on wheels. That is not and never was our vision or purpose for farming. Farmers need to be on the farm growing the food. We would love to see all our customers come to the farm to buy, but we also know that is not feasible for some. So we are very happy to now offer our products through delivery services in the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley. In the Magic Valley, you can buy our products through Freshocal,  freshocal.com. You order on their website, we harvest just for you, they come to the farm to get it and deliver to you. Freshocal  In the Wood River Valley, you can order through Kraay’s Market & Garden, kraaysmarketgarden.grazecart.com . You order on their website Sunday and Mondays, we harvest, and they deliver on Wednesdays.  Kraay’s Market & Garden  This is a dream come true for exhausted farmers that are trying to find a way to be farmers again.

We may be willing to do one farmers’ market a week, but anymore than that and we are not farmers anymore. We need your help to be farmers again. Our plea to our customers is to come to the farm to buy from us directly or buy through one of the above marketing and delivery services. So try it, let us know what you think and help us figure this thing out. If you have any trouble ordering any of our products from Freshocal or Kraay’s, please let us know and we will help you.

We can’t keep going at the pace we have been of constant traveling to deliver and do markets. Something needs to change. We are setting out to figure this thing out, we want to go back to our roots . . . . our original vision and purpose . . .  to be your farmers, we want to do the growing for you and not pay someone else to do it. And where do you find farmers? On the farm! Please help us be farmers again!

For those of you that already come to the farm to buy and pick-up CSAs, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You share the same vision and purpose with us. You are allowing us to be the farmers we set out to be.

Summer Balancing Act

How does a person balance work, play and rest when you farm? On the farm there is always work to be done. A farmer works from sun up to sun down and lots of times in between in the dark. I know that is true on our farm. We are getting pretty talented at working in the dark while holding flashlights in our mouths.

So the fourth of July is upon us, the summer is flying by and what have we done all summer long? Any guesses? You got it! We have worked, worked, worked!!! I am convinced that life is too short to work so hard and summer is for fun. So I’m trying to convince the Other Half that we need scheduled hours for work and scheduled hours for play and rest. The crops will grow even if there are weeds growing among them. Would they have produced better if we pulled every weed within a foot diameter around every plant? At this point, I don’t care. They are producing, there is a crop to harvest, now let’s enjoy life! Life, fun and memories will pass us by if we insist on getting all the work done before we take a break. Farmers need to observe holidays too. In fact, farmers should have a holiday just for them. They, of all people, deserve a break. Yes, I do think highly of farmers. We grew up in agricultural communities and on farms so we have experienced the “farm life” all of our  lives. Farmers work almost everyday of the year no matter what the weather does; there is always water to change or animals to feed or care for. Farmers work, work darn hard, and feed a lot of people without ever hearing a simple, “Thank You.”. No, your food didn’t grow on a grocery store shelf, it all started on the farm. Well, at least all the food that is not in a box started on a farm. To all the farmers out there, listen up, take a day off. It’s okay! Oh, but you may still need to irrigate and feed the animals unless you can get someone else to fill in for you.

We are starting by taking a couple of hours a week to take the kids fishing at a local lake. Maybe we or should I say the Other Half  and a lot of other farmers I know can work up to taking whole days off as a family. As for this weekend, I’m ready to have some fun and enjoy these wonderful summer days. I’m taking the weekend off and I’m positive the farm and weeds will still be here when I get up Monday morning. Happy Independence Day! And don’t let the summer pass you by!

Update: We were able to enjoy a day of fun, local festivities together as a family.  Not a full day off from most people’s  opinion because there was irrigation water to change and animals to feed so just a little bit of work. Or as a farmer views it, this part of farming is not work, it’s just a normal function of everyday life like breathing and feeding yourself breakfast. So we officially called this a “day off.” And the weeds are still here! We will get to work on those today.

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