Winter freeze & starting all over again - new focus.
I've been either bundling up in covers in the farm RV or crashing at my sisters house to stay warm. The winter freeze finally is here in full force exerting itself here on the east coast! I am still growing mixing hardy greens, but I can't say how hardy? I basically have around 3 months to get through before getting into summer mode again.
My small CSA is still moving along and will continue this year, but if it finally doesn't grow organically then I will plan to finish it in 2016. I plan on re-focusing on just growing lettuce and tomatoes. I feel if I can just grow quality salad mixes then I could finally become a consistent profitable small farmer. So that's where I am moving towards this summer.
Last summer at the end I started a small farm stand in Powhatan. It was doing really awesome until it started getting chilly. I continued it but then it got stopped. It was actually paying all my bills even if I didn't lift a finger physically doing any farming. This immediately told me that I need to take that little enterprise more seriously. Now that I can't do it on the farm site anymore I'm building the most awesome incredible little farm stand there ever was. See below. Once done it will enable me to bring my farm stand to new sites rain or shine. A permanent farm stand on wheels. How sweet the farmer life it will be traveling on the road once again....
Once it is done I'll be sure to post pictures. My goal was to make it really stand out, be really colorful, and a piece of folk farmy mobile art in it's own little special way. I wanted people to remember it, be curious about it, more importantly want to stop to see it, and buy something of course! Will this happen?? I guess we'll see.
I started on my hydroponic lettuce greenhouse to grow wholesale lettuce over the winter. It was started in December and the contractor walked off. Well lets say he tried to bid it off to another contractor person which turned out pretty nasty because I hired the first guy not the second guy. So, it's 50% done. A friend from Virginia State University I've met up with a few times is going to help me finish it and I'm going to help him finish his. It's bizarre how things work out. I'm out another $1000 bucks and my lettuce wasn't delivered first week of January as I planned. Hopefully I'll have lettuce ready in February.
I've already kind have given up for this winter. Maybe try for next winter. It seems like most things on my side of the house are all half-built. It's like a homemade rebuilt half-Pompeii. I'm that lava guy stuck in the red clay and my mind frozen in thought.
I'm the upside I started applying for jobs. The only people that gave me a call back was Liberty Tax service. So after two weeks of no pay and some really hard tests I am now a certified tax preparer and manager of an office in Richmond for the tax season. It will help me produce the money that I'm not earning from my lettuce I was planning to sell over the winter. For once as a farmer I really WANT to grow lettuce, but I'm mentally too tired and still a bit frustrated about it falling through.
So, optimistically there's always next year. I plan to start selling out of my mobile farm stand twice a month during the winter going into the summer. I also plan to offer local nursery transplants in the spring after tax season is done. I'm investing a lot into my little farm stand and I think it's going to pay off big no matter where I go.
Maybe by then I'll have a piece of land for myself and maybe even a home? Working on that too - now. I sold a rental property I owned while stationed in Hawaii. I gave half the profit to my parents and the other half is going towards taxes, a new-used truck, the farm, and down payment on some beat up home here in Richmond for me to improve.
Even if all of this sounds glorious I have to tell you throwing in the towel, saving my money I'm about to earn, and moving back into my parents sweet pad sure does sound cozy! Playing gin rummy with a glass of red wine.... Stop Farmer Paul! Back to farming and working to keep the farm going until it has it's own legs to run.
Until the next farmer bed time story,