Growing up as a kid, Thanksgiving meant three things to me: days off from school, my mom dressing up like a Pilgrim and making my classmates (and me) eat beef jerky like the Mayflower, and soccer tournaments in Phoenix. This holiday has always been nothing but organized chaos. I am sure many of you feel the same way. But then, sometime around the turn of the century, something changed for me and I finally understood Thanksgiving.
For me and most farmers, Thanksgiving marks the end of the season. Mother Nature takes over and the weather is just too cold to really grow much food. Time to take a breath, reflect a bit, be grateful for what we have, and be optimistic about what we will change. So although Thanksgiving does not mark the end of the calendar, it always seems to be the end of the season for me. December is our time with seed catalogs and plans for the spring time. So let’s look at our report card and say adios to this season.
2015 will go down as a very transformative year for me and I think for the farm. I bet if I went back and read newsletters from past years, I felt the same way about almost every year. We always say that the only consistency around this joint is change. And although we are constantly changing and looking for a sharper vision, this year seems to have taken the cake for transformation. I think a big part of this feeling of change and growth comes from the fact it was our 13th season farming here in NM.
It honestly feels like we are trying to raise a teenager. No longer a kid, and still definitely not an adult either. We had flashes of brilliance at times and then we would follow that up by peeing our beds…so to speak. Overall I think we are working on a pretty amazing model for our community, but there are bumps in the road that still hurt. We’re getting better though and that is what I like to see.
Overall from the fields this season we had a good year, but by no means an amazing year. Mother Nature held her grip of a cold spring almost into June. Our typical warm sunny May ended up being a soggy cold mess. And like I have said before, plants are like humans in that you cannot mistreat them as babies and expect them to be well-adjusted adults. And I think that pretty well defined our season. The plants that should have been prolific in the summer were still in group therapy classes trying to move on past a troubling childhood/spring.
But other than that, we had a very nice spring for greens and the fall has proven to be a pretty abundant harvest, which has been nice to see. Additionally in the win column, we almost doubled the pigs this year that call the farm home and they have become almost as popular for us as any produce that we grow. I run into members all the time who tell me how much they love the pork from the farm. I can’t argue with them either. I am not sure that you could find better pork from any farm, restaurant, or store.
Other smiles for us (and you) came this season in the form of refining and expanding our partnerships. I cannot tell you how nice it is to relieve some of the burden that our farm feels in that we need to be everything to everyone. If someone tells you that they can do that, they are lying to you or themselves. Partnerships are key.
And we have done a great job of bringing expanded meats, dairy, and most recently breads to the table for us all to enjoy. Plus, it is fun to talk with people who are as passionate about what they do as we are about our plants. There is a lot of TLC that goes into these coolers that we call Harvest Boxes. I think that is the common thread that ties all of our partnerships together.
Lastly, I am so thankful for the incredible crew that we have working together for this shared vision of building a better food system. I have (half) joked in the past that trying to provide our members with sustainable food had made my life unsustainable. This is no longer the case. I have found a sustainable life thanks to the many hands and brains that make this farm so special. I am grateful dude.
Thank you for all of your support and Happy Thanksgiving, Farmer Monte