Fazenda Boa Terra LLC

News and blog

Posted 6/5/2012 2:36pm by John Middleton.

Well, it hardly seems that a year has passed since nervously fretting over the first delivery for our nascent CSA, but here we are raring for another go. We have a lot of ground to cover so let’s get to it. To our returning members, welcome back.  We can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have your support again in 2012, and since almost all of our inaugural members are back we take that to be an encouraging sign. An encouraging sign for this seasons new CSA members that is. Over the past few months we have talked to many of you on the phone, sent emails back and forth about the CSA or got acquainted at the farmers markets last year. Yet many others took the plunge and just joined right up to be a part of our farm. We want to formally welcome you to Fazenda Boa Terra; we look forward to meeting each of you personally and helping you learn the ropes of the CSA especially for first time CSA members.

A lot has been going on at the farm since the end of the 2011 season and changes will be fast and frequent for the foreseeable future, all in the direction of the growth and improvement of our little farming (ad)venture. As many old timers (last year’s members) will recall we have always had a plan for rapid growth. With the goal of building a strong business that will support us without dependence on off farm income.  Make no mistake I have a great day job as a manager at the Gardens of Eagan but even as a pair spry 29 and 30 year olds we know that a daily ration of running a business with a main course of farming sandwiched between farming and farming with a side of more running a business is not a diet that we maintain forever. This year we have taken a big step in that direction. We have added about and acre and a half of land to our farm allowing us to expand our CSA by about 30 members. This has allowed Lidia to step back from her duties as an all-around farm superstar at Gardens of Eagan this year and dedicate all her efforts towards our CSA.  There are many more exciting changes coming down the pipe which we will happily get to in forthcoming newsletters.

One of the things we really want to focus on this year is helping all of our members get the most out of their shares each week. We are really hoping to expand our market style pickup to include more choices. The old timers will remember getting to pick out their own individual pieces of an item we selected for you. This year we want to take that a step further and have you choose more of the actual items themselves. This is logistically difficult and the roll out is almost certain to have some hitches and glitches. While we are certainly not the first to do this there are not many CSA’s out there doing it. It is ultimately much easier to pack up box and send it out somewhere for you to pick up and then have most of it end up in the compost making you feel guilty and then not joining the CSA again next year. Of course parts of your shares will inevitably end up in the compost for myriad reasons. You wouldn’t believe the nasty bag of cilantro I just pulled out of the vegetable drawer (actually I bet some of you would), we are all human. However, it is our goal to make that amount much smaller by helping you take home more of what you know you will use. Early in the season that amount of choices will generally be quite limited as a factor of our latitude. But as the season progresses and the bounty grows so will your choices.  With that in mind we hope you will keep in touch with us, voicing your opinions and suggestions about how it is going as your satisfaction is tantamount to the improvement of the CSA. 

Another thing we have done is to add more recipes to our website and page called ‘This Weeks Share’ in the CSA tab on our page. We will update this weekly with a photo of each item available that week to help you identify what is when you get home in case you forget.  We also hope to develop this into resource with storage and handing tips to make your veggies last as long as possible.

We would also like to put some of the onus on you, the CSA member. We want to foster a deeper sense of community around the farm and the food that comes from it. We want your voices and experiences to reach out and connect with other CSA members and beyond. Our Facebook page (where you can also go to keep up with the farm)is the easiest place for this.  Do you have a great recipe you want to share? A photo of a fantastic dish you made with your share that you want to show off? Did you come up with or find a great recipe or tip that got you kids to love their broccoli that other moms and dads might appreciate? Well, then we have place to share that. If the social media world isn’t up your alley we can post it for you or put it up on our blog. We think that in many ways, other CSA members can be much better resources than the farmers themselves, and by creating more space for you to interact with one another we think we can help you get the most out of your share. So let the eating commence!

Posted 5/31/2012 12:30pm by John Middleton.

Hi All,

Can you believe it? The first pickup is already just around the corner starting next Tuesday. The bounty this season appears to as great as ever for this season. As CSA veterans will know you can expect lots of salads and greens for the first few weeks. Our first share will of course be greens heavy with a few more hearty bits like radishes, leeks or scallions and hopefully some strawberries. As we move into the summer the shares will become more diverse and a bit heavier. The delivery schedule is as follows:

Farm Pickup:  Time: 4:00PM to 7:00PM.

                          Date: Tuesday June 5th - October 23rd

                          Address: Fazenda Boa Terra

                                        8199 257th St. W

                                        Farmington, MN 55024

                                   

West Saint Paul: Time: 3:00PM to 7:00PM.

                              Date: Thursday June 7th - October 25th

                              Address: Modern Day Music

                                            1875 Robert Street S

                                            West Saint Paul, MN 55118

 Minneapolis: Time: 4:30PM to 7:30PM.

                         Date: Thursday June 7th - October 25th

                         Address: Omega House

                                       2412 1st Avenue S

                                       Minneapolis, MN 55404

 

Bloomington: Time: 8:00AM to 1:00PM.

                         Date: Saturday June 9th - October 27th

                         Address: Bloomington Farmers Market

                                       1800 West Old Shakopee Road

                                       Bloomington, MN 55431


This is going to be a great season and we really look forward to seeing old friends again and meeting   our new members for the first time. We will see you soon!

Thank you for letting us farm!

John and Lidia
 
Fazenda Boa Terra LLC
Farmington, MN
952-469-2278
 
'Like' us FACEBOOK
Follow us on TWITTER
Posted 5/6/2012 10:17am by John Middleton.

The three inches of rain the past 24 hours and four plus in the past 48 will keep us out of the field for most or all of the next week depending on the weather over the next few days. It's too wet to even think about having a truck out on the lanes to put up deer fence. This April (and May) has been so busy it has felt like mid-summer so a forced reprieve can sometimes be a veiled blessing. Offering us a change to catch up on some office work, emails, housework and a chance to take it easy for a few days. Or in my case pull the engine out of my Subaru for an overhaul and clutch work. Yes, some of you may remember I did this last year but it's a different Subi and I'm pulling the engine for different reasons; and no, I don't know why I keep doing the to myself! A compulsive need for a project I suppose.

I could be easy to be discouraged by the rain, but we really do need it and we have managed to stay pretty close to on schedule. Like our friend, mentor and landlord Atina Diffley has said of farming 'In farming you need to know the rules, so you know when to break'em.' Last week was similar and Lidia and I rushed to get plants and seeds in the ground. Last week was pretty wet and the weekend forecast wasn't looking any more encouraging. We knew it was a break the rules situation. We worked the ground when normally we would consider it far too wet. It doesn't feel good to do so, but sometimes that's just the score of the game and you call the play that gives you a shot. I can say I have never planted corn so fast, my last two passes coming in a steady rain. Less than ideal it was the right call. This year we have been fortunate all in all. It would be easy to complain but this time last year I was struggling to get the first sweet corn in. This year we have 3 plantings in already the first is well on its way, the second has spiked and the third is 'mudded' in so we say when forced to plant when regrettably wet. Keeping things in perspective is of particular necessity and value to a farmer.


Many neighbors have been hit with damaging hail and high winds, many fruit growers have been taken out by frost we have managed to escape only with a bit too much moisture. In fact in our three years farming here in Minnesota we have been fortunate to escape all of the worst of the worst weather. Lakeville is consistently the cold spot here in the South Metro, but we will trade and early or late frost for hail and flooding a thousand times over. Let's hope our good fortune will continue!


In my last email I forgot to mention some important news which is that we have finalized plans for a CSA site in Uptown Minneapolis. We will be delivering CSA shares at 2412 1st Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404 on Thursday evenings all season. We are fast approaching capacity for our CSA which is a good thing. In fact Lidia will be working her last week for Gardens of Eagan this week after which she will have a full time schedule here at the farm (volunteer member: we will need weeders asap). This is may not seems like a big deal. But for us it is a big step towards generating enough income from the farm that we can ween ourselves from off-farm work and dedicate ourselves full time to our farm. We seem to be right on track and and with any luck even ahead of schedule on the road to being completely supported by the works and deeds of our hands here on the farm. There are few more rewarding things than watching your dreams being made real by design with each step you take.

Don't forget to visit us on Facebook to get regular updates without us spamming your inbox :)

Posted 4/14/2012 8:34am by John Middleton.

What a difference a year makes.  This year is so different than last. What a year to start a farm, the old timers maintain it was one of the worst growing years they had ever seen up until about September.  At this time last year I remember looking out at snow persisting on parts of our field. I remember the guilt of putting the machinery out on fields in conditions where we had no business doing such but our hand being forced. With persistent cold and rain we continued to fall further and further behind schedule hoping for an improvement in weather.  In comparison we will plant our potatoes today, right on schedule, last year they didn’t make it in the ground until May 6th and the conditions were terrible. When it doesn’t come you just need to do it or start cancelling crops and telling your CSA members there won’t be a June delivery.  I wish I had some pictures to compare this year with last to show you.  Last year the ground worked up in chunks varying in size from golf ball to bigger than your head, all wet and cold. This year after a round of cover crops, some fall compost and a little frost the soil has mellowed greatly. It is warm, light and fluffy, just perfect for planting and seeding. I can scoop up a handful and smell it teeming with life and activity and it tastes so sweet. That’s right I said taste. Where not talking spoonful’s, just a pinch. But a well-trained farmer like a wine aficionado can tell a lot about the land based on its subtle flavors. Besides, what do you think your veggies are made of?

As business owners this year feels so much different as well. Last year being our first year we bootstrapped like you wouldn’t believe. Like our CSA members likely never noticed our struggles in the field the first half of the year as we still put together high quality shares, we doubt they knew our financial anxiety either. We had our growing supplies, we had our land, we had crops in the ground and a full greenhouse and we had a couple of farmers market stalls paid for. We didn't even have our cooler up and running yet. The crops were even already Certified Organic, but we had no way to harvest them, no way to store them, no way to transport them and no way to display and sell them. It was a used truck that cashflowed us at this point. The previous fall I bought a truck at an auction. Being a mechanic (or at least I play one on the farm) I knew this was a really nice truck and I picked it up for only 900 bucks. In the spring I sank about $600 more into it, put it up on craigslist and had it sold for more than $3000 in a couple of days. That was the money that bought our harvest boxes, market supplies, got the cooler up and running and put down the down payment on our market van. This was within 10 days of the first CSA delivery.

We hit the ground running and with some entrepreneurial craftiness we have never looked back. This year we have all of our bases covered, we have been able to continue strategic investment in our farm. We are doubling our acreage and expanding our CSA. We actually have some money in the bank.  A huge step for us this year is that Lidia will be fulltime at the farm with no off farm job in harvest season. This is a monumental movement towards our farm supporting us without the need of an off farm job.

We look back at all the difficulties we had last year, how easily it could have been disastrous yet it was wildly successful. We look at where we are now and how much we have grown one year later; and we know that this year will be absolutely amazing.

If you want to keep up with us and what is happening at the farm, check out our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter and of course our Website.

 

Thanks so much and Keep in Touch,
 
John and Lidia
 
Fazenda Boa Terra LLC
Farmington, MN
952-469-2278
 
'Like' us FACEBOOK
Follow us on TWITTER
Posted 4/2/2012 6:00pm by John Middleton.

Ground Breaking 2012!

We broke ground today! Meaning we will be seeding by the end of the week. We opened up ground for our early greens, sugar snap peas, bunched goodies like beets, carrots and scallions. As well as late season crops like potatoes and parsnips. We have added a 2 acre field with 1.5 acres of veggie ground. Take a look below and you will see us rotavating (the big orange thing) the headlands and harvest lanes of our new field. This spring has been a complete 180 from last year when persistent wet and cold kept us out of the field until late April and even into May. In fact as I recall we still had snow covering some of our fields until mid-April.  Everything is pointing towards a great year in 2012.

In other exciting news we have made official arrangements for  our CSA drop-site in Uptown Minneapolis. We know we kept some of you hanging as we weighed a few options. The Omega House and Community Garden will be hosting us on Thursday evenings. They are located at 2412 1St Ave S in Minneapolis just a few blocks from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. We are excited to be working with people that share our belief in community support and cooperation. This partnership will help our farm reach new levels of success.

Check out our Facebook page for some photos of the action.

Posted 11/13/2011 8:57pm by John Middleton.

Hi Everyone,

Our market season is all over now but we seem to still have vegetables. We were scrambling for ideas, thinking of creative ways to market them and get a little bit of badly needed cash flow at the end of the year. Ultimately what we decided is that they are your vegetables. We had an odd fall weather-wise, some crops came on real slow and other just kept yielding. So here’s the deal, we have a good compliment of lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, squash, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, cauliflower and more that we don't want to go to waste.

We will run a distribution for all members at the Farm this Tuesday 11/15 from 3pm to 8pm. We will only be distributing at the farm but we will run the distribution longer than usual so hopefully you can all make it. We hope this will help you compliment your root box or get ready for Thanksgiving dinner.

If you are unable to make it we will add your share to our Thanksgiving food pantry delivery.

On another not wholly unrelated note, we are a bit concerned about cash flow through the typically lean months for vegetable farmers. We would prefer not to go to the bank and go into debt to cover our obligations through the winter. Don't worry, we aren't suggesting we won't be around come spring, but we don't want to be scrambling for supplies and equipment late into the spring and being forced to pay more with our backs up against the wall rather than having the winter to source our supplies and materials responsibly. That being said, we want to raise some money so we can focus on improving our CSA rather than vexing over finances. We have decided to offer the first 10 renewing members a one-time renewal rate of $500 for a full share or $450 for a volunteer share in 2012. If you have already put down a deposit then it will be a onetime payment of $475 for a regular share or $425 for a volunteer share. This added security will hopefully help us get a little relaxation this winter while we rest up to do it all over again next year.


Thank you all and we hope to see you Tuesday,


John and Lidia

Fazenda Boa Terra LLC

Farmington, MN

952-469-2278

www.fazendaboaterra.com

farmers@fazendaboaterra.com

Posted 10/20/2011 12:04pm by John Middleton.

It feels a lot like a rewind to the first newsletter that I wrote to start the season. Feeling a bit at a loss for words though the situation is decidedly different. Twenty weeks ago I found my thoughts stumbling over my own anticipation with a healthy dose of anxiety. Many of the questions and doubts I posed then have been answered. I now find myself more at a loss to describe the gratitude I feel; the relief that our first season was as successful as Lidia and I think it was when we look back on it.  We faced many hurdles and made many mistakes. But I think part of being good CSA farmers is that you hardly notice our screw-ups in your shares. But to be a truly good farmer you need to learn from those mistakes.  Our biggest disappointments this year were the lack of spinach, sugar snap peas and the limited amount of green beans. We are already making adjustments to our production and planning systems to have a better supply next year. We also want to have a more consistent supply and diversity of herbs. This has us looking at a few ways to tweak production but we think diversity will really help. We are trying to figure out a few more herbs that we can add to the mix (we don’t think we will need to look at the member surveys to know there was too much cilantro). All and all though, I would have to say that it was a really great year. According to many seasoned farmers, we had one of the worst growing years weather-wise in many years in our region. May through July in particular. We had records for both rain and low average temperatures, neither of which is ideal for vegetables. Despite the odds we put together quality shares right from the beginning. The successes we had were not dumb luck but the result of experience, good planning and most of all hard work. I know that I have mentioned it before but before the end of the year I think it is really important to give credit once again to

rather should I say heroine. Lidia’s hard work above all has made each and every CSA delivery possible not to mention the farmers markets. Almost every tomato, bite of lettuce, onion, herb, bean, carrot and everything else you enjoyed over the past five months made it from our fields to your plate because of the dedication and ceaseless work of Lidia. I am continually amazed by and proud of everything that she has accomplished this year, most of the time on her own. In many ways I am glad to see the season end for her sake. In addition to her hours at Gardens of Eagan, making our CSA run she has been picking up shifts in the kitchen at the Mt. Olivet retreat Center. It has been an exhausting year for both of us physically and emotionally, but it makes me happy to know that Lidia will finally get some rest, perhaps even have the chance to sleep in a little. I would also like to mention another unsung hero of the canine variety. In the past I must admit have denigrated people who put too much stock or emotional investment into their pets. ‘They are not humans’ I often chided my mom. That being said, our loyal farm dog shadow played a bigger role in getting us through the season than I think he is able to comprehend with his little dog brain. He is very loyal; perhaps even a bit codependent, which I see as good attributes for a farm dog. He was almost always at Lidia’s or my side or following closely behind. His quirky personality and goofy demeanor, always trying to do the right thing to please us gave us nearly endless laughter even when we were too tired to see much humor in anything else. An ever-dutiful companion, he made our load a little lighter each day. Our biggest thanks however, must go to our members. Many of you answered our call for help when we thought we might lose out carrots, beets and other crops to the weeds. You helped us to ‘crack’ garlic, harvest potatoes, clean up the fields and wash produce. You did construction, kept the website running and helped run the market stand. You offered support, care and prayers when I lost my brother not all that long ago. Without you there would be no work to be

done at all. You have invested financially and personally in our dreams and in our lives. With that in mind we look forward to next year. We look forward to building and improving on our success from this year. Making right our mistakes of this year and making this CSA an even better thing to be a part of. Together we will better serve our community, our families and ourselves. Getting started is the hardest part, and looking back I have so say we got off to a great one. Have a great winter and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2012.

Posted 10/13/2011 12:03pm by John Middleton.

This is a great time of year for a host of reasons. The most obvious is that the pace slows. I was talking the other day to Linda, our boss at Gardens of Eagan about her time farming in California. We often talk about how hard it would be to farm year round, never having winter to force you to stop. The lesson that she learned was all about pace. Co-workers telling her she had to pace herself or she was never going to make it. I think that makes a lot of sense when you come from a place where farming is seasonal. Even though our production season last about ten months, most of the work is May through late September or early October. Basically, vegetable farmers have 5 or 6 months to make enough money to live off and keep the doors open for 12. To do this, our pace is basically one where we drive ourselves into the ground, recoup for a few months and then do it all over again. By mid October we can smell restful days close by. Sometimes its more than just a bit difficult but I think between the two options I will always pick the seasonal. This may seem to conflict with our vision for a year round CSA since there would be no break in the work. However, even in a year round CSA, the vast majority of crops would have been harvested in the aforementioned 6 months of insanity. Other crops would be coming out off the greenhouse, which is quite pleasant on a cold winters day. At any rate, this past week we could really feel things beginning to slow. The potatoes are all out of the ground and that field has been plowed, composted and sown into a winter cover. The storage beets are all in the cooler and we have started working on the carrots, hopefully with the rain this week the ground will soften making it much easier to get the carrots and parsnips out of the ground. We also pulled all the tomato stakes out, mowed the peppers and eggplant and pulled all of the plastic mulch and drip irrigation hose out of the field except for a few beds of lettuce yet growing. Those fields were disked in to chop up the residue and break up the surface, after the rain we will chisel plow, add compost and sow winter rye in. By early next week well over half of the farm will have been put away to rest for the winter. There

still is lots of work to be done between now and the end of the season, but the sense of urgency is beginning to wane. We are starting to have time to get caught up with other things and plan for next year. The fall and winter are where we shift from spending physical energy to using creative energy. This is perhaps the single biggest reason I am glad to not farm year round. If it was January and we were still bogged down with harvesting lettuce, squash tomatoes, peppers and the like I doubt we would ever get out of the production state of mind. It isn’t until we step out from the heat of the action that we can reflect on what makes farming so special. We can ask ourselves what are we doing? Why are we doing it? Is it working and what can we do about it? We can take time to think about solutions to problems and improvements to our production systems. We can improve our production planning and record keeping. Most importantly we have time to dream, maybe some dreams are beyond grasp (any takers on a beer share grown and brewed on the farm?) but it allows us to focus our creative energy into our own value system as farmers. It helps us to set a path for the coming year and beyond by helping us set goals and priorities for not just the farm but for ourselves as farmers and just regular people. So maybe our creative impulse will carry us off into the stratosphere or the realm of the impractical, but we always land back on Earth and where land is always ahead from where we took off. It’s having time to dream that will make our farm a fun and exciting thing to be a part of for years to come. Our farm is just in its infancy, and so far as we can tell the sky is the limit.

Posted 10/3/2011 11:59am by John Middleton.

It hardly seems possible but here we are 18 weeks into the season. It hardly seems that long ago that Lidia and I were fretting over our fields in late May. Wondering, will we have anything ready the first week of June? If something is out there, how many items can we put together for a share? We can distinctly remember how on edge we felt about meeting our members for the first time and praying that we would meet your expectations. Yet somehow by the by, here we are almost at the conclusion of our first season together. I have lots more to say about that in the coming weeks but right now we have some official business to take care of as the end of this season draws near and we prepare for 2012. I suppose I should dive right into the bad news first and try to wrap up on a higher note. There are several logistical changes that we need to make in the coming year. The most significant with regards to our members is that we will not be returning to the Inver Grove Heights Farmers Market next year. I would like to say that this was a much more difficult decision than it was. If it wasn’t for our commitment to our members I have a feeling we would have pulled out of the market a while ago. We knew as a small mid-week market to curb expectations. We conservatively anticipated gross sales to be roughly $5500 for the year. To date our sales have only been about $1500 most of which has been from 3 or 4 loyal customers. It doesn’t take an MBA to know that those numbers are very ugly. That income barely covers the gas for the week but doesn’t even begin to cover Lidia’s time. For the first couple months Lidia was coming home brokenhearted but since then she just comes home angry and frustrated. Whether we consider it financially or emotionally there is just no way that we can justify returning to that market or any other St. Paul affiliate for the matter. That being said, we don’t want to abandon our Inver Grove Heights members. We want to work with you to come up with a creative solution. One solution would be to form a core group. Core groups are much more common to CSA’s back east. Making this work takes more effort from the members but can be very rewarding. It basically means finding a place that we can run the distribution, it might in a members garage, a church basement or a health clinic. One advantage of this is that it allows members to be more intimately involved as farm volunteer members without having to come to the farm. Generally there will be a site coordinator and volunteers. The site coordinator is compensated with a

comp share for the season and is responsible for coordinating volunteers, communicating with the farm about any issues pertaining to the site, making sure that the site is open and ready for delivery, restocking vegetables if necessary as well as making sure that the site is picked up after distribution, delivery crates are put away and that leftover produce is brought to the food pantry or composted if bad. Of course it isn’t expected that the coordinator do all of this themselves each week (though some like to). The most critical part of the coordinators job is organizing farm volunteers to cover distribution shifts to help us set up the site and make sure the site is picked up and leftovers taken to a food pantry. The farm will supply everything that is needed; tables, sign-in sheets, chalkboards, and training etc. that is needed to run the site. This is a tried and true system for many CSA’s and we would like to open up a conversation about it. We will still be attending the Saturday market in Bloomington as currently scheduled. We will also continue the farm distribution but we are going to move it to either Tuesday or Wednesday. This is in order to spread out harvests over the course of the week rather than being crammed into a few days at the end of the week. The idea is that thisl allows us to better manage crops and have more consistent yields and better take advantage of crops that are at their prime early in the week. We will be looking for another farmers market to attend, we don’t have any details yet but we are hoping to be in or around Minneapolis. You should have gotten a membership renewal form this week. If you would like to secure your membership please fill out the form and return it to us with a $25 deposit to guarantee your membership for next season. The deposit is non-refundable except for our Inver Grove Heights members who want to secure a share but want to wait and see what happens for next year. We will bill you for the balance or partial payment after January 1st. This

This is because our fiscal year ends December 31st and it is not advantageous to take in income in 2011 that is actually income for 2012 when it comes to filing our taxes. This is why we ask for just $25 to secure your membership. All renewing members receive a $20 discount towards membership. We have also instituted a referral program. If you refer a new member to us just make sure they let us know and we will credit you $15 for the first referral and $10 for each additional referral. They also will receive a $10 discount for joining.

Ugh, I know official business is as boring to read as it is to write about but I suppose it is an essential part of staying in business.

Posted 9/25/2011 11:57am by John Middleton.

So I will dive right back in from where I left off last week, which was stressing the need for diversity for a farm to be truly sustainable. When we think of sustainability we not only consider the idea of having a profitable business model that allows us to be good stewards of the environment. But we also think of part of sustainability as being as self-sufficient as possible. In the long term it means coming as close as we can to creating a closed farm system meaning that we can bring all off-farm inputs to a minimum. To do this the farm must be in near perfect balance. I say ‘near perfect’ because all ecosystems and individual organisms are inherently dynamic, being constantly in flux things are in need of constant adjustment to be kept near to balanced. Our dream farm we think would make a near perfect CSA with the ultimate goal of having a full diet CSA, going far beyond just vegetables and chicken. Doing this will take our lifetimes but here is what we imagine, approximately in the order we imagine rolling them our after we get our own land. Vegetables of course, basically as you are accustomed to by now but adding more crops and varieties along the way. This includes the construction of hoop houses that will allow us to extend the season for a full complement of greens and other crops almost year-round availability. We will also continue to raise chickens and as early as next year I think we will add a few pigs to our farm. Adding bees will be a high priority allowing us to keep our own pollinators while offering honey to our members. When we have our own land we will also be able to move beyond annuals and plant perennials. This means a much better selection of herbs to start, and over time adding things like asparagus and rhubarb. One thing that really excites me is adding a full complement of fruit to our farm and offering a fruit share. I would love to have a small orchard with apples, peaches, pears, nectarines (my favorite fruit) and plums and of course a press to make fresh cider. Obviously this wouldn’t be available for several years but we would want to put in the orchard as soon as possible when we are on our own land.

Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries would be available much earlier. After the vegetable ground is ready and the orchard is in we will invest in pasture and hayfields. We hope to get laying hens in either a permanent or mobile henhouse but with plenty of access to the outdoors either way. We would introduce cows to our farm. At first we would likely buy in steer to finish on the farm and butcher in the fall. Maintaining a cow-calf herd or dairy animals requires a lot of infrastructure and equipment to care for animals through the winter and isn’t likely possible for some years down the road. As we are developing these systems we will be improving our vegetable systems all the while. We will improve our storage facilities significantly allowing us to distribute winter shares at least once a month and perhaps every other week from December through April. We imagine this phase of our farms growth taking at least 10 years. If you are still members in 2021 you could have access to 35-40 weeks of vegetables, 15 weeks of fruit, a dozen eggs every other week as well as chicken, pork and beef. The next 10 years will see a whole new evolution in our farm. We imagine investing heavily in our animals in order to maintain our own herds. This means a proper barn for the cows and pigs, fencing, hay fields and hay equipment. Chickens and pigs tend to be pretty hungry and I would much rather grow grain for our animals which requires yet more infrastructure and equipment. This phase though will set us up for what we think will be the farms true maturation. At this point we have the basic infrastructure to make the leap into a true full diet CSA. First, this would mean producing milk and eventually processing the milk into other products like, butter, cream, yogurt and cheese. We would

 

also expand into dry beans and small grains eventually moving towards actually baking bread. We are not sure exactly how long it would take to get us to this point but it makes me a bit giddy to romanticize about it. I absolutely love the idea of eating tomatoes fertilized by the same animal that made my cheese, or having bacon with hints of the orchard that the pig helped clean up or an herbed bread with herbs, honey, flour and oats from our own fields. I could go on forever but there are few things more gratifying than having a meal where you produced everything but the salt. This is ambitious and it will take a lot more talent and dedication that just Lidia and I alone to make our dream into our reality. It will take dedicated workers, well-trained apprentices and the employ of artisans to help make the finer things like cheese and bread. But most importantly it will be you, our CSA members present and future that will build this farm. By you alone will we have the income, support, involvement and help to make Fazenda Boa Terra true to its mission.


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