I like knives; they are an incredibly useful tool. I especially like sharp knives. In fact, it’s almost a family joke that whatever knife I’m carrying will be shaving sharp. This idea has permeated into our close community, and I get asked from time to time to recommend a good sharp knife. Typically I will get into the specifics of knives, their uses, blade style and personal preference (Yes, I’ll head down any good rabbit trail.). Given that almost all knife manufacturers ship their knives shaving sharp, people get the sharp knife they asked me about.
What never comes up in these conversations is the maintenance, the required care that any knife will take to maintain its razor edge. I can tell you a secret; the maintenance is constant- one must be careful about how the cutting edge is used, resharpening is frequent, and the blade must be protected while in storage. And don’t forget more resharpening.
We feel the exact same way about our farm and the food it produces. Just like some folks would rather buy a new knife when their old one is dull, some people want a quick, easy solution to their food needs. We are willing to do the work, not only to have the best quality food available for us and our community, but to ensure that the production process (growing) of that food is humane, sustainable and realistic. What I mean by this is we want to make sure the earth is maintained through the growth of the food for now and with an eye on the needs of the future. That it’s humane; the needs of the animals as living creatures comes before the profit that they represent. That it’s sustainable, not asking more of the farmer or the land than it can give perpetually. And that it’s realistic; I wouldn’t buy a knife that required sharpening after each use, and we won’t grow food that places unrealistic expectations on the animals, the land, the production system, or us.
All that said, the knife still needs to be sharpened, the soil fed, animals cared for and our community provided for. That is where we are headed in 2015. We will be offering more to our community: more chickens, turkeys and pigs. In fact, we will probably be producing all the animals we feel we can on the property we have now without compromising the standard of care for the land and animals. We hope to be able to offer beef as well and will be offering our first trial-run of a Vegetable CSA. Given our long-term goal of full-time farming and the realistic limitations of the property that we are stewarding, vegetable production looks to be our best option for our primary income stream. After several years of running meat animals on pasture, we know that for us to expand, we will have to dive into vegetable production. We just don’t have enough land to raise the number of animals we would need for full-time farming to become a reality.
Given that 2015 will be our first year of a Vegetable CSA, we are starting small and keeping it simple: on farm pick-up, no crazy new garden produce you aren’t familiar with, and a willingness to iron out the details as we unfold this new part of Adalyn Farm. We are super excited and extremely motivated to work our way through the hurdles. Until then, Merry Christmas, and we look forward to serving you in the New Year!