“I am ready for Crock & Jar to start supporting our own farm… I look forward to the day when I can help to sow the seeds that grow into the plants that we will harvest and sell or transform into other masterpieces. I want this seed of an idea to be grown NOW! I long to be on the farm, making delicious value added products with our very own produce, and building new food creations based on the inspirations the farm provides. I am excited to be directly involved in the whole spectrum of seed to plate – to help encourage the connections along that path and to be forever energized by them.”
It’s been a little over six months since I wrote that for my Which Comes First blog post for our farm website, Let’s Get Farming**. And just a couple of days ago, my wife, Jane, our farm partner Lorrie, and our friend Jess planted out the first of our seeds for the coming year. It’s on, everyone! We are officially farming! The next few months will bring a whirlwind of changes – moving ourselves out of New York City, moving Crock & Jar to a new home, buying a car (goodbye subway!), and rebuilding our ties to the land.
Our seed planting was a wonderful window into the community we’re building outside NYC. Our farm group of six is going to be working alongside three other beginning farms of various size in Orange County as part of the Chester Agriculture Center. Three of our four farm groups are sharing a greenhouse this year and we were working there together, building propagation tables and planting out seed trays.
Our Let’s Get Farming team is starting out with three acres – cover-cropping one, and growing intensively on the other two. If you know how much space it takes to grow cabbage, then you will quickly realize that we’re not going to be able to grow all the cabbage that Crock & Jar will need for the year. So we’re focusing on starting small – growing the radishes for the Spicy Kraut, beets for the FAB Kraut, dill for the Pickle Kraut and definitely chickweed for the Wild Chick Kraut.
So this is where the synergy we have as a collection of farms comes in. Our neighboring farmers will be growing on acreage varying in size from six to almost 40 acres. The largest farm group of the three, Verdant Common Growers, is also a group of six – Travis, Valita, and some folks we haven’t met yet. During our seed planting, we talked with Travis and Valita about growing cabbage for Crock & Jar – they are super psyched about it and willing to grow a few different varieties for us. It’s a total win-win situation. We give them a stable sales outlet and they grow us healthy, amazing cabbage – so awesome!
I like to think of it as ripples on a pond. We’ve started as the drop in the water, and we’re expanding outward to build the vegetable production part of our farm dream. Then we’re continuing to expand our circle, finding support from and giving support to our neighbors. And we’re not stopping there.
That’s what Crock & Jar and our farm are all about – creating the connections in the web of local agriculture that will support us all together and help us all grow strong. We’re planting the seeds for our farm dream – a wholistic vision which helps us nurture ourselves and our urban and rural communities.
** Let’s Get Farming is our placeholder name, a call to action for ourselves and others. You can help us pick our real farm name in the next few days here.