The question that everyone asks a farmer in late December is “Did you have a good year?” They are generally referring to your crop or crops, and for some farmers the question is easily answered. For example, our neighbors who grow walnuts had both low yields and low prices this year. No silver lining there.
At Terra Firma, it’s a harder question and I’m always hesitant to answer. We’ve had years where things were going great until Thanksgiving, and then a hard freeze wipes out our winter crops. Other years, our summer crops do poorly but our fall season is great and it all turns around. Shocker: It’s usually related to the weather.
Then there are the pests. We can have a bad year for bugs, or diseases, or weeds and still have “a good year”. But if it’s two out of three, or all three, it’s probably going to swing the balance.
As if we didn’t have enough factors out of our control, we also rely entirely on a large number of human beings for our farm’s success — our employees. Terra Firma is a team effort, and if we are missing one or more key members, it’s very difficult to get everything right.
This year, one very key member of our team — TFF Founder Paul Holmes — retired after 30 years. We also lost another long-time employee in a high level management position. Happily we were able to manage that extremely challenging transition successfully.
Finally, we dependent heavily for our success on you, our subscribers. We very much appreciate the commitment you make to support Terra Firma each year. We also rely on you to spread the word about our farm to your family, friends and neighbors. The holiday season is a good time to do this, with a gift certificate for TFF’s CSA. It’s an easy last minute gift, available at the webstore. Thanks for your support.
But don’t ask me if we had a good year this year. There’s still 10 days left and a lot could happen.