In so many ways, Christina and I are blessed with this farming opportunity. We have abundant sunshine and we are surrounded by good people. We do good work. We’re making a difference – if only a very small one – but we feel like we’re part of the solution. We grow good food. And while we have compromised occasionally, we have never compromised our integrity. We are proud to show folks around the farm – even the weedy areas – and we love talking about how we grow Chicago’s best produce.
The farm is stunningly beautiful all year round but especially in the fall. The leaves on the trees bordering the farm are slowly starting to change. Days (with the notable exception of this week) are shorter and cooler and comfortable. Even the weeds grow slower in the fall. And – for the first time in I don’t know how long – Christina and I even went on a bike ride together.
I love growing things.
I enjoy looking through seed catalogs in the winter. I like seeding in the spring. I like planting all season long. I even really, really (really!) like weeding. And I can honestly say that we eat exceptionally, mostly thanks to our wonderful chefs – Tracey, Sara and Christina. Harvesting, on the other hand, is something that I can do without. As any of our crew will readily attest, it is very hard and dirty work.
And the business end of farming is also not my favorite. Developing a budget, tossing it out the window pretty much right away, and then starting over is not so fun for me. The business of farming is a struggle. Expenses are always more than I want. Income is unpredictable, although our wonderful CSA helps a good deal. We try to grow what people want but tastes change and Mother Nature, of course, has her own plan. I have learned a couple of things in these years however. First, people have absolutely no idea what to do with kohlrabi. And, second, any purple vegetable will fly off the table with the notable exception, of course, of purple kohlrabi.
Some days I am grumpy (according to the crew, you could easily substitute the word” most” for “some”). Some days I am, well, less grumpy. Every day is a privilege. It is a wonderful opportunity to grow for all of our families. It brings joy to my heart when you send in pictures of your kids (and sometimes dogs) eating our produce. I love it when you send us feedback. I truly appreciate it when folks come out and volunteer (although I do wish more people would come out and help just to see what this work is like). We do honest work out here and while I wish we had lots more support from many more families, I am absolutely grateful for your support and your encouragement and your enthusiasm.