End of Season Letter to Our CSA Members

Here it is, mid-October, time for the annual end-of-the-season letter, yet the season feels far from over. There’s still an abundance of food in the fields, which means there’s still plenty of work to do. But even if the actual end is months away, it’s time to reflect on 2016 and turn our focus to next year.

This season marked a return to the basics. When the Tin House was completed in 2014, Dan and I were excited to make the most of our new space. We launched an ambitious arts and education program, keeping the farm in a near-constant state of activity. By the end of 2015, however, it was apparent we’d stretched ourselves too thin. We were exhausted, and we’d let our focus drift from our primary passion—farming. So we decided to scale back, not eliminating arts and education entirely, but downsizing for sure. One year later, we’re wrapping up a season fully immersed in the fields.

This renewed focus provided an opportunity to reevaluate our strengths and weaknesses as farmers. Vegetable production has always been our bread and butter, but we also have a colorful history of side projects—chickens, pigs, and perennials, to name a few. As exciting as these ventures were, the benefits did not always outweigh the cost. This year we finally took a hard look at what was worth it and what wasn’t. We stopped raising meat birds, and I’ve asked a fellow beekeeper to take over my hives. Hardest of all, we’ve thrown up the white flag on the raspberries. It pains me to give up on a perennial that has been labored over and loved by so many people, but the weeds always had the upper hand. While the berries occasionally produced a moderate crop, they’ve always fallen short of their potential. As sad as I am to give up on them, I believe it’s time to turn our attention to where it’ll be more effective. In this case, we’ll be replacing the raspberries with more strawberries—a crop we know we can grow!

Shedding various projects meant we had more time to devote to our foundation—the vegetables—and I believe t