People often ask what we do in winter. While some farmers (mostly those up north) can make 12 months of income in the 6 warm months, pack it in in November, and sit by the woodstove with seed catalogs all winter, we don't have that luxury in our climate and market here in middle Georgia. We still go to the farmers market (although much slower paced than mid-June) through the winter, and we have a small Winter Farm Share (only 20 members instead of our usual 60-80). On top of that admittedly slower harvest schedule, we also have a lot of work to do in the greenhouse and fields to prepare for spring. Those carrots in your first April Farm Share? They got seeded on New Years Day. Those extra early tomatoes from the hoophouse? The seedlings got started a week later.
In addition to a slowed-down harvest schedule and a sped-up planting schedule, we also try to have our year planned out by mid-January. We already know what seedlings we will start in the greenhouse next November, which fields need to be tilled when, and (hopefully) what our cashflow will look like for the year and how much we expect to spend on gasoline each month. Farmers with more down time in the winter have more time to do all this planning. Between the rush of the holidays and the start of our Winter Farm Share, we usually find one busy, sometimes stressful week or two to get it all done around New Years.
But probably the most important work of winter happens in between all that. Here's a photo of Tripp from a Saturday afternoon in January (keep reading below).
Chelsea took the photo of him looking mischievously back at us in the greenhouse as he chased our cat, Olive, toward the house. It's moments like these that winter on the farm is really about for me. It's having some time to move at a slightly slower pace. It's having some time without employees living here and without the crunch of our normal delivery schedule. It's having some time to work alongside my wife at a leisurely pace, while our 1 and a half year old with enough energy to fill these 400 acres runs around chasing the cat or throwing potting soil or munching on a carrot from the hoophouse. It's coming in to a bowl of soup that's been simmering on the stove for a few hours or taking an extra long walk and being able to see clear through the woods without any leaves. Winter is the time for us to remember why we are farming, why we chose this life, and why we chose this place.
Bobby + Chelsea
We grow tasty veggies, bake bread, host farm events, manage a farmers market, raise an energetic little munchkin, cook, restore this farm property, read books, and try to bring more good food and good things to middle Georgia!