Winter Conference = New Ideas

Well, there goes January! Our much-anticipated month of rest is drawing to a close, and while the first seeding is still several weeks away, it’s time to sharpen our focus on spring.

Last weekend Dan, the kids and I attended the NOFA-NY conference in Saratoga, along with Steve, Peter, and Paul. It’s always a treat to hang out with other farmers and to consider different methods in a relaxed setting. We came away with lots new ideas, free pencils, a motorized root washer, and one big "Aha!" moment.

While catching up with Denis Lepel, a former volunteer now running his own farm near Rochester, I was intrigued by his system of running CSA pickups directly from his farmer’s market stall. For Denis, this arrangement helps dispel the notion that farmers “dump their seconds” on the CSA while saving the best for market. For me, it seems like a great way of killing two birds with one stone, and it gave me the idea of merging our Sunday and Wednesday farm stands with the weekly CSA pickups. This schedule change—our first in six years—has multiple advantages. For one, it will free up Wednesdays for fieldwork and Sundays for family time. Second, the farm stand will be open ten hours a week, instead of just five. CSA members will also have a convenient opportunity to take advantage