Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Long Term Hopes

Apparently, I've had the long view on my mind recently since I very recently wrote about our reasonably long tenure with this blog and now here I am writing about things we are undertaking or have undertaken for "the long run."  I suppose I tend to get into this mindset in the early Spring because the short term is beginning to press on me and force me to "be doing" rather than "be planning."  Of course, it's never all one or the other, but there is certainly a tension and one end or the other usually dominates depending on the time of year.

If you want another purpose, we are still trying to get people to join our CSA this year.  Consider this an attempt to convince you that joining us is a good idea!  But, if you are reading this and our CSA is not a valid option for you, enjoy it for any/all of the other reasons you might have and be welcomed!

Organic Certification is a Long Term View
Certification is on my mind because I completed our application for certification for 2016 in mid-April.  We are a bit behind this year in part because we didn't have our inspection until VERY late last year.  My internal time-clock just wasn't ready for it, I guess.  But, since the deadline approached, I had no choice in the matter and it got mailed just in time!

I've been asked many times why we bother to certify organic and I've probably given a few different answers.  Not necessarily different in content or intent, but perhaps in the order or method of delivery.  It usually depends on the context of the question and the questioner.

One of the parts of my answer is that I believe it is my duty as a steward of the land to consider how everything I do as a farmer might impact the environment, the people we provide food to and the farm business I run.  Organic certification "forces" me to review my whole farm plan every year and encourages me to consider if there might be ways that I can be better at what I do.

The National Organic Program guidelines support long-term soil health and pushes growers to consider long term consequences to short term actions. If there is no other reason for someone like me to go through the certification process than to improve our ability to be the best stewards we can be - then it should be enough.

Input Effort Here - Receive Gratification Later
There are many days when Tammy and I look at each other and ask, "What in the world are we doing? Why do we make things so difficult for ourselves?"  For example, it seems like we do a lot of spending money so that we can have more work.

I'll grant you the possibility that we are a bit odd and our priorities may be different than many people in this world.  I'll also grant you the likelihood that our decisions aren't always the absolute optimal decisions we could make in every given situation.  But, every time we open up a one of our jars of canned peaches during a time of year when good fruit is hard to find, I am reminded that many of the investments we make that cause ourselves to wonder are worthwhile.

Peaches are not something we can grow with much success on our farm, but we do love them.  So, we buy a couple of lugs of peaches and can them during some of the hottest days of the year.  Tammy does most of the canning work and I am the cheerleader.  But, the reality is that I cover other things she normally does so she can concentrate on the canning.  In short, it is not a super-easy thing to do during a busy part of the year.  But, these jars of sunshine are so welcome in February that I suspect we'll go ahead and do this every year we are able.

Investing in Better Food Now
GFF squash!  Yum!
You just HAD to know I was going somewhere with all of this, didn't you?  You didn't?  Wow.  I'm either sneakier than I thought or I'm more disorganized in this post than I should have been.  Whichever, doesn't matter.  I've got you wondering, don't I?  Well, I'm wondering at least.  So, I'll just go to a different topic.

We have actually had a few families not return to the CSA program over the years as small children have entered the picture.   I can understand some of the reasons - among them is simply the amount of time and effort the kids take.  It forces one to reassess where that time and effort goes, so spending time figuring out what to do with each week's produce may land on the priority chopping block.  We get it.  We understand it.

On the other hand, we also believe that the time to get the good stuff introduced to people is when they are small.  We love it when we are informed by a six-year old that spinach is great and they want to eat it RIGHT NOW!  It would be a rare kid who wouldn't find a way to express individuality by exerting some control over what they eat and selecting some likes and dislikes.  But, give them a chance to opt to like some of the good veggies.

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