Winter’s finally arrived, though hopefully not for long! The farming season begins in earnest on March 1st, when I sprout the first batch of seeds for early spring harvest. It’s simultaneously exciting and stressful, for though it’s difficult to destroy an acre of vegetables at one time, it’s remarkably easy when the infant vegetables are temporarily crammed into a 15’x40’ greenhouse and are growing in one square inch of potting soil. As the 2016 CSA returning member forms file into my mailbox, I’m daily reminded of the people who are counting on our farm. It’s a big responsibility, tied together to an even bigger workload.
The past couple weeks have been great weather for reading, and one book that’s stood above the others is Jim Collins’s “Good to Great.” Here, Collins and his research team examine how and why companies make and sustain the leap from good to great, and one company that Collins examines is Kimberly-Clark (owners of Huggies and Kleenex). Darwin Smith was the CEO at the time of Kimberly-Clark’s rise from mediocrity, and upon Smith’s being elected executive of the company, a disgruntled board member pulled him aside and reminded him of his underqualifications for the job (Smith grew up a poor Indiana farmhand and lacked a business degree). 20 years later, reflecting back on his superlative career, Smith simply stated, “I never stopped trying to become qualified for the job.”
One of the reasons Smith’s quotation has stuck with me is that I too realize my underqualifications for the job: I lack agricultural and business-management education, and honestly, I’m not very handy around tractors, trucks, or small engines. Starting Second Nature Farm 7 years ago, I had two choices: to be paralyzed by my own weaknesses or use them as fuel for the pursuit of excellence. I accepted then as I do now that I have to be twice as tenacious and detailed in order to compete with more skilled and experienced farmers, and it’s this tenacity and attention-to-detail that’s proven an asset to the farm’s success thus far. Smith’s quotation is a great reminder that improvement is an endless journey, and that sustained success always maintains humble roots. When I start the first batch of seeds in a couple weeks, I know there are farmers more skilled than I doing the same thing. Skill alone, however, begets little without passion and resolve, and that’s where our farm gains the upper hand.
2016 CSAs Now Open for New Members!
CSA members are the backbone of our farm, and their early deposits will help us afford expenses such as fertilizer and labor this spring. As thanks for their investment in the farm, CSA members receive their produce at a discounted rate as well as special perks during the season such as not having to wait in checkout lines at our farmers’ markets and new vegetables set aside for them.
To sign up for our 2016 CSAs, you can fill out and mail in the confirmation form found on our website.
If you’re considering signing up for a Spring or Fall CSA, but wonder what type of vegetables will be available, you can view our harvest availability chart which details the exact months each vegetable we grow is in season. Additionally, if you’re wondering what a half-share entails or what happens if you can’t make a weekly pick up, you can view a complete list of CSA frequently asked questions and answers.
I look forward to the privilege of growing food for you and your families in 2016, and I can’t wait to share new photos with you once the farm gets going in March!