Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ten Year Anniversary in 2014

Tammy and I moved to the farm Summer of 2004.  We sold produce from our garden that year at Tripoli and Waverly Farmers' Markets.  But, our first official year as the Genuine Faux Farm was 2005 and marked our first efforts at running a CSA/Farm Share program.  Therefore, 2014 will officially be our TENTH year as the Genuine Faux Farm and the TENTH season we have shared our produce using the CSA Farm Share model.

We are hoping you will be willing to celebrate with us this season and help motivate us to make this happen another ten years.

This will be a theme on and off during 2014 and each post that does this will have the "Ten Years" label so it can be found easily.

First picture we took of our farm
Our first garden on the farm is about 200 foot long by 40 foot wide.  We spend more time on perennial flowers than vegetables.  Our first farmers' market in Tripoli results in $6.50 worth in sales.  It cost us $5 to set up the table.  Does that count as a profit?

We had a year where we only started that many tomatoes?

A business plan is created and Genuine Faux Farm comes into existence.
First year of the CSA has 21 members and we deliver bags to each member's house.  Gas prices go through the roof.  Maybe that much driving wasn't such a good idea after all.

An early snowstorm picture on our farm.
We decide to go with a 'menu' or 'bulk' style delivery where people take their share from containers based on a list provided to them.  We end up with 27 members and our garden space is between 1 and 2 acres.  Hey - we didn't measure it that carefully - we were trying to weed it and didn't really want to know.

Do you remember turkeys by the barn?
We add more garden space and add Cedar Falls to our list of distribution sites.  The CSA is now 42 members and we have a presence in farmers markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Heavy rains in the fall introduce us to how weather can change plans dramatically.  Rob learns how to juggle watermelons while trying stay upright in mud up to the mid calf.  He loses a shoe in the mud and doesn't realize this for a half hour.

This building came down in 2007 - on top of our truck.  Oops.

Our gardens now approach 5 acres in space (our current size).  Many may remember that there was significant flooding in Iowa during the Spring.  Nonetheless, we continue with 4 farmers' markets a week and 58 CSA members.  Amazingly, this is the first year we add cell phones, wheel hoes, nest/stack harvest crates and the use of hydrocooling.   Really?!? 

Hard to believe some of the tools we did without early on.
This was the first year we decided to reduce our farmers' market presence and increase the CSA share numbers to 115.  We begin holding distributions at Roots Market in Cedar Falls.  The farmhouse gets a much needed new roof, Thursdays seem to be the designated day for rain and the Harvest Markets occur for the first time in Waverly.  This introduced our first use of coolers to keep things WARM.

Durnik the tractor is a hit for more than the farmers.
Rain, rain and more rain.  This is the year that could have been the end of GFF, but instead it was the beginning of our re invention.  Our first high tunnel goes up in early July and the first harvests for the building occur that fall.  Durnik the tractor joins our farm, we hold our first extended CSA Fall, add the portable feed bin and make a room for the turkeys in the newly dubbed "Poultry Pavilion."  Oddly enough, we often forget that the year started with an emergency new furnace and a roof on the back addition of the farm house.  The latter was planned, of course, which is why the former happened immediately after.

Many hands still meant alot of work!
In a sense, this year seems like a lost year in our memories because it was overshadowed by events in the surrounding years.  Efforts were dedicated to climbing the learning curves for using the tractor, the high tunnel and dealing with fields that had been damaged by excess rain in the prior year.  Barty, the tiller joins us, we revamp the truck barn and put a roof on the granary.  But, perhaps, most important to our well-being on the farm, the first year of the "Gang of Four" farm visits occurs.

The granary used to have an additional feature.

So, things have been wet, right?  Well not this year - as drought strikes Iowa.  GFF handles it pretty well until the aerial spraying incident in July.  We move Cedar Falls deliveries to Hansen's Outlet, complete our first SARE grant for farm research and make a new home for the laying hen flock.  Rob sets a record with multiple 5 t-shirt days.

We were once honored with fox kits on the farm (look in the foundation crack)

You've just had a chance to see our year in review.  And, if you haven't, just scroll down a post. Or take this link!

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