Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Season Begins

"And that's the start of the season." I remember these words from John, our farmer mentor, three years ago as we planted the first seeds of the season.

It's a moment I remember each time we begin planting in early February. Jeremy and I have been farming together for three seasons, with the fourth now underway. As we mix up potting soil, fill trays and begin sowing seeds I feel excited. Much of this comes from the sense of new beginnings.

The fresh start we get every spring is a major benefit of farming. And sometimes it's also a point of frustration as farmers, particularly on the prairies, consider their land to be the domain of "next year country". That's as in "There's always next year," regardless of what didn't go well in a given season. I'm not sure if that's considered cautious optimism or not.

The 2010 season at Glen Valley Organic Farm is off to an upbeat start. With the warm winter and early spring we almost feel as though we're behind -- for the last two years we started seeding our transplants indoors with snow on the ground.

We just sent out a renewal notice to our Community Supported Agriculture Harvest Box Program and are in the process of hiring apprentices for the season. Jeremy has been doing machinery maintenance and I've been seeding our onion, shallot, leek and green onion crops. While doing a delivery of sunroots and collards into Vancouver today, Jeremy is also picking up our seed potatoes. The potatoes were dropped off at Discovery Organics by Across the Creek Organics from Pemberton.

Rhubarb is already growing and we'll get compost onto those beds later in the week. As the weather dries up later in the week we'll be getting close to being able to disk the beds. Fava beans and peas get seeded outdoors this week and I'll be planting out beets we saved from last season that will flower and produce a seed crop for us this year.

This post is beginning to feel like a bit of a shopping list, but that's actually what life feels like at the moment. Numerous lists of things to do begin piling up as the next few weeks get planned. My family is making good use of a day planner as we chart out the days remaining before the season gets busier. Weekly farm team meetings are increasingly important as we make sure everyone on the farm is in the loop with projects, activities and events.

Over the course of the season this blog will provide some weekly insight into the activities of the farm as we work to provide food to the many people who eat from our farm. Originating from a weekly e-mail to our CSA subscribers, this should provide a more organized forum for regular updates about our farm to a wider audience. In addition to farm updates, there will be recipes, thoughts and information about larger issues in agriculture and notes about agricultural-related events going on in the region.

The season has begun and we're looking forward to what 2010 might have to offer.

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