Farming…easy as pie?

Recently, I was asked “what are your mornings like?”.   I described a typical morning; the alarms go off at 5 (we might hit ‘snooze’ a few times), one of us elects the other to get up and start the coffee.  Once caffeinated and a quick breakfast  we begin feeding the animals, opening up the greenhouses and start the watering.  The day then takes course depending on what’s happening later; sometimes it’s a seeding/planting/weeding day, others it’s harvesting for markets or CSA and sometimes we get lucky with a few volunteers to help us take on the weeds or other big projects.  Every day is different but our mornings are constant in that beautiful routine.

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As farmers (in general) I think sometimes we unintentionally give people that idea of farming being romantic.  When people ask how the farm is going, my answer is always “Great!”.  What else would it be?  Romantic is the last thing I would call what we do- especially when the work day ends at 10pm and neither you nor your spouse have showered.  There are so many variables farmers have to control; water, temperature, soil, light.  Trying to control Mother Nature is like trying to defy gravity (which, if you see our tomatoes, defying gravity is happening too.)

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And then we get the articles like Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers.  I read that last week at time when I was already stressing out.  The author, a farmer, points out the trendiness of the local food movement and how the farmer has been left out of the discussion.  Financially, small farms work really, really hard to make ends meet. And that work isn’t just in the fields- you can grow the most, the best, the biggest of stuff but you have to know how to sell it in a timely manner. I was SO grateful to read the rebuttal article Let Your Children Grow Up To Be Farmers.  It’s a beautiful article, taking the words right out of our mouths- “perhaps that New York Times writer will find himself in a much better place financially when local food goes from being a novelty of the so-inclined to the staples his community depends on when gas prices, natural disasters, political climates or any other disruption in the cattle cars of modern civilization start to hiccup”. There’s no time for pessimists.

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I know we have so much further to go, I can’t help but be proud of how far we have come!  We’ve had and continue to have our doubters, but we turn the doubt into motivation.  Providing food for people has always been our main goal, but along the way I’m learning it’s also about tightening community ties and educating others.  Growing up and now living in Dover-Foxcroft, we knew that to make a life here we would have to be innovators, with multiple talents and the ability to constantly adapt.  Farming isn’t easy, but I can easily say it’s worth it!

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“Kill them with success and bury them with a smile”

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