As I write, it is a beautiful evening, the sun has just emerged from behind a cloud and there is a golden bright sunset. It seems we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. It is not before time too as we fast approach the summer solstice.
Food has always brought people together. Two generations ago the act of bringing in the hay was a sociable event, square bales were loaded onto trailers, picnics or sandwiches were often had in the fields followed by a cold drink at the end of the day, chat and talk and craic was had by all.
In our continued march towards bigger more intensive agricultural systems the people have all but disappeared from the fields having been replaced by machines. This it seems is the price of progress and maybe to a certain extent it is necessary, but it makes me a little sad. Maybe it is nostalgia? As a kid having brought in that hay, I remember the sun and the sandwiches and the people. But when I think a little more, I also remember the blisters and the terrible heat and scratchiness of having to heave those bales to the very top of a galvanised hay shed, those bit’s I do not miss.
The machines on our farm facilitate the work and we do everything we can to avoid having to hand weed vegetables rows that are nearly half a kilometre in length. That job is no fun and where there is a smarter way to do something, we take it.
Finding solutions to repetitive work is a must on small-scale mixed organic vegetable farms and we do, but we still have people in the fields every day and our farm is active and alive with people, vegetables, and biodiversity.
We have been working very hard over the last six months to get the farm to the point it is at now.
Even so it seems that there are not enough hours in the day to keep up with the work. Everything has reached a crescendo and the list has been growing, what to prioritise during those rare dry days has become a source of pressure behind the eyes, we can only just keep doing the first things first.
The work always gets done the question is can we get it done in time? If we miss a sowing date, we don’t get second shot, we never regain those lost days, and the plants may struggle to reach maturity.
It’s a relatively small window and for the farm to reach it’s breakeven point and that’s all we ever hope for, we can afford to miss very few of those planting dates.
Here we are on the cusp on July and the list of produce harvested from the farm is steadily growing week on week. The first fresh bunches of beetroot, our own kale, salad, lettuce red and green, spinach and chard are ready. The cucumbers are a week away and the new potatoes 2-3 weeks away, the first of our own tomatoes are nearly there too, all we need is the sun.
Then there is the irony that as we come into our own produce as the farm finally starts to crank up a gear and we start to harvest the freshest produce we face a downturn in orders due to summer holidays and this year the impact is even greater as the country opens.
I would ask if you can at all, continue to support our farm, help get us through the summer months, we rely on your support to keep doing what we do.
So as the sun sets, there is no hay to bring in, but I look forward to a dry bright day tomorrow as we have big day of harvest before us.
Thank you for your continued support!