Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy New Year!

We had a great holiday season here at Black Brook Farm. By Thanksgiving the farm was pretty much shut down for the winter, and we were all able to take a break and spend time with our family and friends. We read, worked on projects that had been pushed to the side, watched the movies we'd been wanting to watch, ate a lot of amazing meals and even slept in! 

Black Brook Farm Growers holiday ham getting ready to be brined

The one thing we did not do was blog, as I'm sure all of you loyal fans have noticed, but now that it's the new year and all the Christmas candy is gone, we're gathering up seed catalogs and getting back to work.

Up until now, every month has been a new adventure, with new excitements, challenges and surprises. But we've finally come full circle and are back in the winter planning stage (just like when this blog was born a year ago). This year has taught us a lot, and we have a much clearer picture of what we want Black Brook Farm Growers to be. 

Here are some of my new years resolutions for Black Brook Farm Growers:
  • Get organized: I've said it before and I'll say it again, farming requires A LOT of organization. That means tons of spreadsheets, lists and records so that you can remember EXACTLY what worked and what didn't. Every farm is different, so as helpful as books and other farmers can be, at the end of the day it's important to learn from your own land. Organization is not always my strong point, but this year that's going to change. There's some great online software out there for small organic farms, this year I'm going to try using AgSquared, which I learned about in a workshop at last years summer NOFA conference. 
  • Take risks: We want to keep stretching ourselves and learning new things. That means experimenting and being creative, and not being afraid to try something that we think might work. There's a lot of room for creativity in farming, which is one of the reasons I love it so much.
  • Make money: I know it's not classy to talk about money, but BBFg is a business, and it's important for Dave and I to prove that we can make a profit doing this work. Being able to create a financially viable business not only means that we can continue farming, it also means that we can show other would-be farmers that this is a dream worth pursuing. This last year we saw, and were inspired by, a lot of awesome small farms that were financially stable. We're confident that it can be done, but that doesn't mean that it's easy.
  • Efficiency: We need to use our time and resources as effectively as possible to minimize waste on the farm. (This is Dave's resolution and it ties in nicely with getting organized and making money). 
  • Create a community around the farm: This year, as you may or may not know, we've decided to focus entirely on CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. That means that instead of going to farmer's markets, or having a farm stand, we are going to have a limited amount of members that buy into the farm at the beginning of the season, and receive a weekly stipend of vegetables as a result. Not only is CSA a great way for to help meet all of the resolutions I've already listed above,  it also means that we'll have a community of people who are interested in local food coming to the farm every week. We're excited to share the farm with our members, and to use the farm as a space for community events. We'd also like to have workshops at the farm to teach our members, and the larger community, about cooking, butchering, preserving and more. 
These are just a few of my resolutions. I'm sure over the next couple of weeks, as we begin planning, there will be many more. 

Before I say good-bye (and get back to all that work I've been talking about), I'd like to mention one exciting December development, our ewes have been bred! Eli, a Finn ram, came and stayed at Black Brook and spent some quality time with our sheep. He just went back to Belmont and we miss him already. He's a great looking ram, and was very sweet with the girls. We are crossing our fingers that the ewes are all pregnant. They should lamb sometime in late April or early May. 

Eli. We're hoping some of our lambs will have his coloring.

We're looking forward to a great 2012 season!

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