Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Giving thanks #2

We had our wrap up dinner for the 2009 growing season last weekend at Jamie's home. Our families, who have all helped us out a lot, and ourselves celebrated with a delicious menu that very closely resembled Thanksgiving dinner #2 (and dinner #1 for Hannah and Dutch, our US counterparts).

-a local turkey from a friend/farmer, skeeter farm butternut squash soup, skeeter farm delicious indian spinach, sweet potatoes (not from skeeter farm because we ate all of them already), stuffing, cranberry sauce etc etc and a chocolate zucchini ganache cake. The cake was one that I made many times throughout our growing period this summer and its definitely the most delicious way to eat zucchini that I have found. I felt pretty silly going to the grocery store to buy zucchini just so I could make it for this dinner considering the ridiculous quantities of zucchinis we had just a couple of months ago. Cake recipe here - try it next year when we start pawning off our squashes on you. http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/2009/09/chocolate-zucchini-cake.html

We certainly have a lot to be thankful for this year including success growing vegetables and flowers that most of us hadn't tried before. Our only crop that failed to produce was Okra (although we got some beautiful flowers), some crops had mixed results, but overall we were pleasantly surprised with our growing abilities.

Another thing to be proud of and thankful for is the financial success of our business. In our first year of business start up, we have almost broken even. We have done our best to keep our costs low, but still needed to invest in some critical infrastructure for the site including irrigation, hand tools, site clearing and preparation, etc. I think we were surprised at the amount of revenue we were able to pull from the field this year, and we certainly think that we will be in the black next year with the combination of enhanced growing and marketing techniques as well as reduced capital expenditures.

We are also very thankful for the amount of community support that we have received this year, from customers, farmers, and other community members alike. Most recently, the BC Healthy Living Alliance recognized Skeeter Farm by awarding us an Innovative Community Capacity Building Award. The award, which speaks to our efforts in trying to support and encourage new farmers just like ourselves, came with a financial award which will be put to good use in building up the infrastructure on the site. We are hoping to purchase a used hoop house which will allow us to extend our growing season, plant a wider range of crops, start some transplants and allow us to properly cure some vegetables like winter squash and garlic.

It is pretty clear that "wrapping up" one season just means that it is time to start planning and working on the next. This last week we put our heads together to work on planning for the 2010 growing season.

We have decided that it make sense to assign each farmer a lead on certain farm tasks so that we aren't all expected to be working on everything all at the same time. Some of the categories for leads that we came up with are: business management, marketing, communications, site maintenance, vegetable planning and field work, as well as value-added processing and events/outreach (the latter two categories would be a new area for us). It has become clear that the three of us won't be able to tackle everything that we want to see happen at Skeeter Farm and so we have made the decision to start looking for a fourth business partner for the next growing season. Stay tuned as we will probably have more to say about that in the near future.

There are many things that need to be accomplished between now and the start of the next growing season including: writing a business plan (we were just winging it for the first year), planning for our CSA program which we will be introducing in 2010, planning crops and making our seed order, revamping our market booth, creating new communications materials, hopefully conning someone into making us a website, and working on securing some equipment and more infrastructure for the site. I don't think we are going to twiddling our green thumbs too much this winter!

Hopefully we can continue to update readers about what is going on during our offseason but if you are curious, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at skeeterfarm (at) gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Amy, Hannah & Jamie on a great 1st year and on the award from BC Healthy Living Alliance. You sure deserve it!