This week we started the fall farm harvests. Back in December, I made a conscious decision to focus on four main crops this year. It has worked out really well for the farm, but more importantly, it has worked well for our family. In previous years we have grown 25 to 30 different vegetables and the management and harvesting schedules made for ultra-busy summers. And now that I have children leaving the nest, I look back and think, “We should have played more”.
So with that in mind, I switched my focus to fewer crops, crops that provided a little breathing room to go to the beach or on a hike or plan for a farm wedding. So this year I decided to grow winter squash (lots of it), green beans, sugar snap peas and potatoes. My thinking was that we would have big planting days in the spring, spend the summer harvesting peas and beans and then the fall harvesting winter squash and potatoes. This week you are eating the potatoes. The skins might be a little loose still and the potatoes a little dirty, but they are freshly dug and super tasty.
I have had several new people that I have met this year ask the age old question, “What do you do for a living?” I find it ironic that I say, “I am a farmer that grows potatoes, winter squash, beans and peas.” But if truth be known, I also grow things like chives, zucchini, flowers, greenhouse tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Not to mention apples, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries (fall and summer varieties), kiwi berries and concord grapes. Lest I forget, I also raise grass-fed beef.
But for some reason, I find myself gravitating, towards potatoes, winter squash, beans and peas as my label—as my moniker—for a farmer. I wonder why that is? When I used to grow spinach, dill, lettuce, beets, chard, parsley, cilantro, garlic, pickling cucumbers, plus the other crops listed above, I just referred to myself as vegetable farmer, but in reality I grew fruit and raised beef cows, too.
As I write, there really isn’t an easy way to describe what I do. “Farmer” is too generic. When I really think hard about what I do, when I boil it down, I start to smile. What I really am, is a husband that loves his wife and together we raise local children, on a local family farm that raises a whole bunch of healthy, nutritionally rich food for our local community. Yep, that about sums it up!