Sunday, January 22, 2012

What i have been up to

Hi everyone I am back to blogging again I know it has been a long time since I have posted. unfortunately I have been kept busy for personal and business reasons over the last few months. Myself and my family unexpectedly experienced the loss of my father david Claude Simmonds on September 13 to a heart attack. I was with him when it happened and while it wasn't something I would wish to happen to anyone I am glad that I was with him at the end. Me and my dad did not agree or see eye to eye on everything  but he did support me greatly over my life and in my decision to formally enter farming as a career. My dad belived?  in what I am trying to do and wished me well in my ventures.  It was sadly ironic that on the day my dad passed I actually had managed to close my first sale to a local grocery store. I will always be thankful that my dad was able to see the two key steps I made this summer with regards to moving the business forward which were entering my first market and finding new wholesale clients. I will be reflecting more on my dad in future posts and how he helped to put me on the path I am on today.  In my next post I will talk about what happened around the farm the rest of the fall.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Confessions of a farmers market vendor

Well it has been a hectic and busy second half of summer as i decided to take the plunge into the "interesting" world of farm markets by entering into a local market. I thought long and hard about it and decided against it but i had the luck of finding a reliable full time employee who has enabled me to be on the ball with regards to keeping the berries fully picked and for me to actually have the time to be off the farm for a day every week. I have now done three weeks at the market i am very pleased with how it has gone so far and i feel a strong sense of vindication in my farming abilities now that i am directly interacting with the customers instead of just wholesaling. I have been very pleased with both the price that i have been able to get for my produce and the feedback i have been getting from my small but growing customer base it is nice to now have a couple regular customers. I am glad that the berries have been so well received owing to the fact that i am charging a higher price than other vendors selling berries and that my key selling point of them being chemical free and local has been a bit with my customers. I hope that the rest of market season will go well and that i can gain enough experience and insight to be able to start next year at two markets and then enter into another couple as the season goes on as i would like to increase my exposure within the market scene locally. The things that i have learned from my first few market days is that being able to tell the customer "honestly" that you grew the majority of the produce at your stall instead of just growing a little and then reselling non local produce without properly informing the customer of its origin is a key selling point. I have quickly realized how much many vendors are really nothing more than resellers without really advertising that fact to their customers and that bothers me a lot but i digress. Well i should cut this post off before it becomes a full fledged rant i hope you all have a nice last few weeks of summer i will try to post again soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Well its summer now and the spring is  just a memory its hard for me to believe how fast this year is going. The last two months have been very busy but now that my lull between the first and second round of strawberries is over i will be even busier since the whole of the expanded berry patch will be producing berries now. I hope to have my first employee start soon now that i will be able to have enough to pick that i can't do it on my own. The rest of the spring has gone fairly well the strawberry season has started off strong this time last year I only had a trickle of berries. This year I had a steady harvest and the plants are still growing great and are about to start producing the second harvest which from the look of the blossoms will be quite heavy. Hopefully if the weather stays good until October I can have three more months of berries. If the plants follow the same pattern of growth as last year then peak production should be at the end of August. The rest of the garden is doing ok better than last season in some ways but some things are quite behind. This is because of the challenging growing conditions that I and other farmers who are suffering worse are facing this summer because of how wet and cool the season started out and how dry it has become now. I hope to have a wider variety of produce within the next few weeks and will be opening my vegetable stand again for the late summer and early fall once i have a steady enough supply of berries again. I would have liked to have opened earlier this year but the reality of being a one man operation is that wholesaling the berries is the most efficient use of my time and energy while still earning a fair return on my product. I hope all your summers are going great and lets hope the weather is great.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Its been a "berry" busy spring

Hello again i am sorry for how long it has been between my posts but the spring has been flying by while i have undertaken my expansion plans for the berries. this season. The year i have decided to be a lot more ambitious with the amount of strawberries i am growing last season i had 375ft and now i am just shy of 1800ft altogether and that is without buying any plants just thinning the runners out and transplanting. So far my plan or the mental picture i have in my mind depending on what your definition of a plan is progressing great and the plants have been get a lot of rain and cool but still quite comfortable temperatures for a newly rooting strawberry plant. The plants from last year have also taken off quite well this year to be honest the whole patch is doing better than my most optimistic projections considering how hard last winter was. The strawberries have been budding solidly all week and i hope to be picking in about 2 weeks. I will post again soon with some photographic evidence once i have the berry field fully spruced up with new mulch for the season so its looks presentable.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Winter is just boiling away in the wind

Well it is that delicious time of year when the sun starts warming up and winter begins to fade into memory. More importantly though this means it is maple syrup season again that sweet kick off to another growing season. This year i tapped just over 100 trees so far the season has been ok there have been a few heavy flow days but the cool weather has kept the sap from flowing continually for more than a day or two. I am guessing that it is about the midway point of the syrup season and that if the long range forecast stays the same the second half will be a lot heavier flow since the sap should be building up a lot in the roots. I am very excited for this spring but it definitely going to be a slow start to it because of how long winter has held on. I hope to start my seeds in the next two weeks which will probably be the topic of the next post. I have been working pretty long hours doing boiling it gets to be a little lonely some nights but you get used to it pretty quickly. The pics show me doing some tapping and some scenic shots look out for the last picture its a beauty. Still cant believe i managed to get the pic i hope to get more shots of the wood pecker while i boil. Well that's all that is going on around here enjoy the spring sunshine and get outside.