Saturday, June 8, 2013

Growing (even bigger) for you!

Wow, it seems like I blinked and *poof* a whole year evaporated! I guess that's what having a baby turn into a toddler AND buying a farm can do to you. Yup- you read it right, we bought a farm! In case that sounds confusing, let me clarify: since 1996 we've been operating as a collective family effort on my in-laws' 10 acres just south of Independence. Carlos and I (Malinda) always lived in town with the dream of living on our own land. Well, patience, planning, and perseverence have finally paid off: 5 days before Christmas 2012 we got the keys to our new place which is 26.5 acres just north of Monmouth. We've been crazy-busy but on cloud nine this year as we've hustled to move two households and a business but the dust is starting to settle and we are starting to feel like this whole whole thing might actually be real. My mother bought the new place jointly and also lives here which is wonderful to have live-in Grandma for Dylan who's growing like a little weed. I couldn't be happier that he gets to grow up in the country, his first word was "Hi Dad" followed by "Mama" then came "Bok Bok" for the chickens which he's completely infatuated with.

My in-laws are still going strong on the original farm and our new place lets us expand into even more types of products which should prove to be very interesting. Already, we've stepped up the pastured poultry operations with two flocks already in and out and two more to come this season. Come fall we should have a handful of Christmas geese and turkeys available. We're also seriously looking at adding some grass-fed beef to the mix to broaden our local, sustainable meat production. It's hard not to go crazy planting things everywhere but I'm trying hard to be patient so I can really get the feel for the land to use it the best ways possible. This year my new gardens are modest and I'm slowly getting flowerbeds and a greenhouse in. Next spring will be very exciting since I'll be coming into the season prepared with the basics instead of being sidetracked by moving and up against a veritable "blank slate".

Our markets are up and going strong, I'm at the Polk County Bounty market in Dallas every Thursday from 10-3 at the Academy Building and at the Independence Riverview Market every Saturday from 9-2 in dowtown Independence. These markets are a real joy to be a part of and it's been great fun to be present to see and help them grow, especially the new Independence Riverview Market that started in August of last year and has grown by leaps and bounds into a real downtown attraction with live music, hot foods, and a wide variety of exceptional artisan wares in addition to top-notch, local produce. The strawberries are early and fabulous this year and produce is starting to make a real presence with beets, peas, broccoli and more already in and more coming ready each week. So far it's shaping up to be a very nice growing season and our fingers are crossed that it continues.

At any rate, great things have been happening in our little world and I hope to start making more frequent blog updates. I seem to have many farming mini-misadventures as I begin building up our new little farm and I might as well share them with the world. One of my most motivating factors in choosing to do all that we do is that I really believe there's value in knowing the farmer that produces your food. Like Joel Salatin who I gain a lot of inspiriation from I really believe in an "open-farm" policy and I feel so privaledged to have stories to share. I look forward to seeing our customers at market and hope to have the time to sit and post some entertaining updates very soon. If I don't get to it please be patient, I'm likely outside covered in mud, whacking at the weeds, and chasing a toddler who just recently discovered the joys of running!