Welcome to Farming!

Winter. Tea in hand, farmer curls up by the fire, thumbs through seed catalogues and dreams leisurely dreams about the harvest yet to come. Snow falls quietly. Begin nap sequence.

Cue reality:

Winter. Awash in a laptop’s electronic glow, farmer squints for days on end at Excel spreadsheets, puzzling over whether 24 tomato plants will feed 40 people for 8 weeks. (Best make it 30 plants.) And which varieties are the tastiest? And won’t wither in our New England climate? And when to start the seeds that will become the plants that ensure our members a varied and bountiful supply each week?

ghcollapse-2And that’s just tomatoes. Multiply that fun exercise by 120 varieties of 42 types of vegetables and then try to cram all this into 1.5 acres and you’ll get a sense for what this farmer has been up to with his winter “time off.”

But I’m pleased to say the plans are perfectly complete – on paper, anyway. Currently, our farm fits neatly in a few boxes on our porch. Inside them, thousands of seeds wait for the first kiss of sun and wet. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, for starters, our greenhouse could implode. That happened. The same snow that’s held us hostage all winter created mischief at the farm where an avalanche from an adjacent roof gave our pretty little hoop house a makeover. Now it resembles a whale carcass, all rib cage and shredded skin.

ghcollapse-1How’s that for a warm welcome to farming?

With one week before the first seeds have to be planted, Dina and I are scrambling for alternatives. But we’re not without hope. Our vision for a community-focused CSA has met with overwhelming support from our neighbors. After a door-to-door campaign the Fuller Brush Man would be proud of, all 40+ shares sold within a month and the waitlist is growing every week. During our furious canvassing, we met beekeepers, beer brewers and many a fellow gardener. We were invited to latke parties, looked through family albums and received multiple offers of baby-sitting. During a recent blizzard, one CSA member showed up on our doorstep bearing two bottles of homemade mead. All but a few of our members live within shouting distance of our house and most of them have never been part of a farm share before.

We’re bursting with excitement (and not a little anxiety) about all the veggies we have yet to grow. A metric ton of compost arrives tomorrow, our 1971 Farmall Cub tractor arrives next week, and in a few short months, our yard will be full of strangers becoming neighbors and we’ll all stuff our refrigerators to overflowing with beautiful produce.

That’s the vision. Now, where’s that new greenhouse?!!

10 comments

  • February 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm // Reply

    Both of you, Erik and Dina, are to be commended for braving the new front, on moving organic farming into a mainstream experience. I mean that!
    I know Kim is welcoming a return to the Farm School setting, and all of you spreading your passion in many directions.

    Keep it up – and know I am doing my part to help keep this front viable: my mission.

    my best – Polly, aka Priscilla, and husband Rob

    PS – we just made HUGE strides today here in Danville CA, to advance the 100% renewable plan, which is the other side of the coin to organic farming. Keep up the good fight: it is WORTH IT!

  • February 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm // Reply

    Congratulations! You’re doin’ it!

  • February 25, 2014 at 11:30 pm // Reply

    we never cease to be amazed at the two of you (now three). Your ambition and talents and
    optimism are great. You deserve big rewards and appreciation.. Money rewards would help as well. love, grandparents dorsey and irv

  • February 26, 2014 at 6:33 am // Reply

    Congratulations on moving forward. I wish you all the best through all the trials of this first year.
    Hugs
    David

  • February 26, 2014 at 6:53 am // Reply

    I have really missed your posts and was so happy to see this pop up. I belong to a CSA here in Florida and it is wonderful. Wishing you all the luck (and hard work!)

  • February 26, 2014 at 7:48 am // Reply

    Congratulations, Jacobs family! It is so exciting to see how so much learning experience is being applied to real-life, neighborly farming! It sounds like your membership pitch throughout the neighborhood went pretty fantastically; but, really, how could anyone ever say no to the Jacobs family when they see Wendell’s beautiful eyes and dream of delicious, organic food all summer long?! 😉 Keep everyone posted, and good luck on finding a greenhouse! Congratulations! :)

    Love,
    Damiana

  • March 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm // Reply

    Congratulations! Please put me on a waiting list for one of your shares. How do you deal with varmits like woodchucks? My daughter tried a garden last summer and a woodchuck ate EVERY young pland right down to the ground. One sleek well fed woodchuck but no garden produce.

    • March 22, 2014 at 10:07 am // Reply

      Hi Susan,
      Woodchucks are trouble for sure. We lost a lot of cabbage to them last year. On a small scale, putting up electric netting can be effective, but very expensive on a large scale. I even heard an story about a kid whose dad made him bury razor wire in a trench around all his fields to keep them out. That is about as extreme a solution as I’ve ever heard.

  • March 9, 2014 at 8:25 pm // Reply

    I want to belong too.

  • March 19, 2014 at 12:14 pm // Reply

    What a bummer about your hoop house. But it sounds like you guys are pretty excited about impending spring planting. The time is almost here! I love reading your blog. You have a very engaging writing style, thanks for that!

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