hobbeandlamb

Lamb Day!  If you haven’t already, mark your calendar for our annual spring time open house.  Visit with the lambs, see sheering, spinning, and felting demonstrations.  Eat delicious snacks, buy some carrots, and also visit our neighbors, Watershed Center for the Arts.  They will be giving tours and have two different types of kilns firing. (no cost and no rain date!)

dandelionseeds

Monday, March 30th, 2015

What is the theoretical framework behind what we do?  Mission statement of purpose?  How do we hold ourselves accountable to be living in right relationship to our values?

Yesterday morning I walked through my greenhouses, clipboard in hand, and made lists of to-do items.  Structural, harvest, planting.  I ate tiny leaves of sorrel and cilantro, turnip leaves, bits of lettuce, kale, collards, arugula, spinach.  I’ve  not felt driven to have a relationship with the plants in these  houses.  Despite a deep, cold, winter I’ve kept myself shut off to the bounty that is inside of them.  I’ve needed a respite from the green, the soil, the work of harvesting small leaves planted in commercial style rows.

One might say that this was folly.  I have winter markets and a wonderful group of customers that pick-up their food from us each week.  I’ve not neglected them.  They’ve had the opportunity to eat our fresh spinach almost every week, and arugula, kale, chard, and lettuce heads that held on into January.  In this challenging winter, those plants in the greenhouse that I spoke of  had very little growth.  It takes sunny days to counteract the -12 F nights.  But I admit, I think I could have pushed that space more.

Always the farmer and the business woman, with lingering threads of competitive athlete, in the past my idea of right relationship has been to steadily push the boundaries.  If I change how I push, am I doing enough?

I felt good in my greenhouse walk yesterday, but I wondered if I’d lost my edge.  I decided that it would be ok if I lost my edge, only if I replaced it with something new.  I’ve felt a growing feeling around me, call it instinct, or simply awareness, that if I allow myself to continue to be open, I know the feeling will take form in a refined structure of how I practice the art of farming.

I’ve had an unusual path for a farmer (that is perhaps now becoming more common).  I graduated from a liberal arts college, apprenticed on a farm for a season, and then farmed for a non-profit for a little over two years.  I then spent from 2001 – 2010 moving my operation from lease to lease.  I grew vegetables on six different properties during that time, all while simultaneously growing my business often 100% a year.  In 2011 I planted myself in my current location.

I’ve spent fifteen years very worried about finances, driven by a fear of failure and an intense desire to put down roots.  I’ve done that now.  My moving, and moving, was an incredibly energy intensive path, financially, emotionally, physically.

This year, my fifth growing season on this property, feels like a transition point.  I’ve been farming for a number of years, but if I think of my learning curve as a trimester system, I think I’m just now moving into my second cycle.  It has taken me the first four years here to get to know this place.  To know that it can feed me.  This past year I felt some internal energetic friction as my being was grabbing hold of the idea that yes (!), I can sustain myself here.  The soil is good.  I can make a healthy income for my family.  The land can feed me.  And, the land is open to change, to being what I need it to be in relationship to it.

As I’m slowly wiggling into my body the knowing that this place is my home and it is safe for me to act on change, I’m wanting a mission statement to help me define my values.  They aren’t new values to me, but by putting them into words I think it will help me to continue to be accountable to act in a way that feels in right relationship to who I am.

For those of you who’ve followed me for a number of years, I suspect you won’t see any sudden shifts.  I suspect it will be a number of years before I learn to stop growing more lettuce mix than I can actually sell.  But I do hope when you see me at market I’ll be more energized, because I’ll be farming in better relationship to the needs of myself, rather than service to the fear of failure.  By learning to put words to the values that feel most nutritive to me, I’ll also grow food in that form, and therefore your food is likely to be more nutritious, too.

Yesterday I was interviewing a potential apprentice candidate over the phone. I found myself, in a quieter voice, talking about the moon cycles and how I think they affect who we are in the moment, as well as the lives of our plants.  I think broadening our awareness to the  natural systems that are around us, and in farming in relationship to them, rather than business plan agendas, the energy of food and farmers will be enhanced.  The experience of voicing that over the phone, from the get go during an interview, rather than holding those thoughts for a quiet group dinner conversation, felt really good.  Now I’ll go outside today and have a little more awareness of letting myself fall into the lunar cycles.  Here we are, in this moment, trying to farm as honestly as we can.

newSmallerMoonLamby

Vegetable Order Link  and Meat Order Link

At the farm the seasonal tides are changing.  We’ve lambs on the ground now, with their fresh faces foretelling of the season ahead.  I can already imagine them running through the dandelions.

This Spring Equinox (and New Moon), also known as the Vernal Equinox, is this Friday, March 20th.  There will be an equal 12 hours of day and night as the sun crosses the equator on it’s way northward.  I bow to this as a time when I feel like the plants truly start to awake from their hibernation.  The word vernal has always sat in me with the emotion of a wooly animal curled up in a quiet slumber.  The dark (waning) phases of the moon bring with it increased inward time.  As we cross through this earth – time landmark on Friday, I can imagine myself starting to reach out, stretching after a long winter of inner work and farm business planning.

HAMS!  Easter often brings families together for beautiful meals.  $9/lb.  Avg. of $5/lb.  Put in your order now.

This coming week you can pre-order food for pick-up:

  • In Rockland @ 3 Crow, 4pm-6pm on Tuesday
  • At the Farm, 3pm-6pm on Wednesday
  • In Portland, Winter Farmers’ Market at 200 Anderson St.

(Or simply show up at the Saturday market any week to select from our display.  The market runs from 9am – 1pm.  AND, *local folks*, feel free to order from this form any week for On Farm Pick-up the Wednesday following your order)

Orders are due by Tuesday at 7am.   Vegetable Order Link  and Meat Order Link

May we all appreciate the abundance of food in our lives,

Beth

Below is an open letter we just sent to current Full Diet members. We hope you’ll consider joining us this season, too! More details are under the Full Diet tab on this website. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have questions.

Hello Full Diet Families,

Lee and I are sitting in the house on this windy afternoon and thinking about our relationship to the Full Diet model. We are very grateful that you’ve all committed so much of your nutritional needs, time, and income to the food that we raise here. We are very committed to the Full Diet model and appreciate it’s value on many levels — we really enjoy seeing all of you each week, and have a special fondness for the infusion of child energy at the farm and farmers markets.

It’s not probably not a surprise to read that our farm expenses have increased over the past year. Most notably, the cost of raising livestock, particularly those that eat grain, continues to rise substantially. Our numbers show that approximately 60% of the value of food we share with you each week is animal protein. Our second most notable increase in expense has been labor. We continue to try to employee our dedicated crew year round, and more so with an hourly wage rather than a stipend.

All told, we feel fortunate to be able to say that we are a farm that is thriving in our community. We are grateful that we can invest some in building (wait till you check out the new bathroom that will be available during on farm pick-up!) and be farmers who can take some vacation time to boot.

A 6% increase in this year’s share price for adults will help us to maintain the farm’s standards. We are keeping the price for children the same as it has been. If you’ve been a member with us before, there is no need for advance payment or deposit.

For those who are new to the Full Diet CSA, our ideal is to have two months payment upfront, that would apply to the months of May and June of this year. If this is a hardship for you, and you are serious about committing to the Full Diet CSA, please be in touch.

Full payment prior to May 1st will still be eligible for a 10% discount.

There have been a few minor detail changes from last season, for example, we aren’t limiting chicken numbers. Please read the Full Diet description on the website.

We look forward to this next season!
-Beth & Lee

Cloud watching in reverence while shoveling snow.
Shoveling snow while in reverence of cloud watching.

The same sentiment, but distinctly different.
I’m trying to turn our daily tasks on their heads.

I have seven greenhouses and seemingly never ending mountains of snow putting weight on their steel bows. I imagine them like the rib cage of an upside down whale, out of place in a habitat and needing rescuing. They are strong, but fragile.

Just before coming inside to write this, 4:30pm, i’d been watching the clouds delicately turn dances in the sky for the last hour. Soft, subtle, hues of blue and violet fading into one another. Feathery clouds, whisps, longitudinal wakes, all my words for them.

CSA members were pulling in and out of the driveway to pick-up their food. We looked at the starlings in the tree, talked about eagles, watched the dog leap through five foot snow to find a stick. We stood and noticed the clouds.

We didn’t talk about the food in their boxes and bags once. Perhaps that is not the food they came for. Perhaps that is only one course of the meal.

I breathe deep into the knowing that the body of work that I create is about nourishment. I’m trying to create a clean space to feed my senses. To feed the community of people who live near this farm. We don’t all live in the same watershed, but we eat from the same soil.

I’m learning to place the importance on the part that feels the most whole. That is the sky. The birds. The conversation. The quiet. The ability to move my body in it’s own cloud like rhythms, in deference to the needs of the farm and myself. In reverence to the clouds.

Happy New Year!

This coming week you can pre-order food for pick-up:

  • In Rockland @ 3 Crow, 4pm-6pm on Tuesday (1.6)
  • At the Farm, 3pm-6pm on Wednesday (1.7)
  • In Portland, Winter Farmers’ Market at 200 Anderson St. (pre-orders will be delivered on 1.10)

(Or simply show up at the market any week to select from our display.  The market runs from 9am – 1pm. )

Orders are due by Tuesday at 7am.  We can’t accommodate late orders.  Vegetable Order Link  and Meat Order Link

This winter we are grateful for our food wealth, and very aware of those who are struggling to get enough food on their plates.  We find that a well fed body is warm and at peace in the world.  Wanting to extend what we have to offer, a representative from the Newcastle Food Pantry is generously picking-up a donation box from us each Tuesday.

Will you help us in matching our donation?  We’re hoping you, our customers, will individually sign-up for each week of the year and make a payment of $50 that we transfer into food for the pantry.  We’ll match each $50 payment with an equal amount of our own, assuring that the pantry gets $100 worth of product from us each week.

Pick the week of your choosing.  (Check out the calendar here to see if your ideal week is free). Or let us simply fill in a blank week.  We are happy to use your name or anonymous as the donor.  Gift for someone’s birthday?  Anniversary?  Ultimately, getting more food on the table of people who need it is the goal.

You can make your donation here:Order Food Pantry Donation

 or mail me a check to Dandelion Spring Farm with a note designating your donation:  30 Brick Hill Rd, Newcastle, ME 04553

I’m looking forward to packing these boxes each week,

Best,

Beth

Good Customers and Community,

While we’ve been growing and stock piling food (really, you should see the mountains of roots in the walk-in), I’ve been negligent in my virtual presence. Apologies to those of you who’ve felt left behind in the hustle and frost.

How to get your food this winter:
Midcoast Farm (Newcastle) Pick-up folks:
For November we offer you a Winter Roots Stock-up ($125) and a Winter Meats Box ($150). These will offer plenty of vegetables and stuffing items to make it through your holiday dinners and many more meals. They can be ordered separately or together.
Pick-up will be on November 25th and 26th from 3pm-6pm at the farm. Please order by Nov. 21st. There are a limited number of boxes available. (Milk will be available day of pick-up)

In December we may go back to our self-select boxes.

Rockland and Camden:
For November we offer you a Winter Roots Stock-up ($125) and a Winter Meats Box ($150). These will offer plenty of vegetables and stuffing items to make it through your holiday dinners and many more meals. They can be ordered separately or together.
Pick-up will be on November 25th from 4pm-6pm in the lower level of 3 Crow Restaurant on Maine St. in Rockland. There is parking by the back door! Please order by Nov. 21st. There are a limited number of boxes available. (milk will be available day of pick-up).

In December we may go back to our self-select boxes.

Portland and So. Maine folks:
We will continue to be at the farmers’ market in Deering Oaks each Saturday until Thanksgiving. (We are hopeful for a space at the winter market and are first on a waiting list for an open spot!)

AND

For November we offer you a Winter Roots Stock-up ($125) and a Winter Meats Box ($150). These will offer plenty of vegetables and stuffing items to make it through your holiday dinners and many more meals. They can be ordered separately or together.
Pick-up will be on November 26th from 7am-9am either at Monument Sq. or on Anderson at the site of the winter market (details TBA!). Please order by Nov. 21st. There are a limited number of boxes available. (milk will be available day of pick-up).

—–
We are sold out of both turkey and lambs for the season. For those of you who pre-ordered already, I’ll be in touch with you about pick-up and/or cut lists in the coming weeks. We do have a lot of big broiler chickens (5#’ish at $4.50/lb). Send a word if you’d like some of these birds.

Spread the word,
And we hope to see you soon!

-Beth and crew

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