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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 - purpose, plans and emotions

The year 2018 was an exciting and whirl winding year that ended on a good note. I spent Christmas in North Carolina with family and new year again with close family locally. As a little escape, I spent a day in New York City a day before New Years Eve to watch the dazzling lights and crowded streets. A little escape from gloomy suburbs suits me once in a while.

On New Year's eve around 5:00 pm,when I looked outside the window, the heavy rains reminded me of the year that passed. 2018 was a year of record high rainfall in northeast USA. It reminded me of summer days when I stood at farmer's market soaking in rain, when I couldn't go in fields to do work due to mud and rain and when hot humid weather messed up a lot of my crops in my second season of farming. In retrospect, I don't know why I worried so much for unforeseen weather events on which I have no control. Perhaps because crop loss for a farmer means revenue lost. That lost revenue cannot be recuperated the same year. I still did the best I can during the fall months and harvested as much (or as little) as I can after a tough season.

I winded off my season in December. When my fingernails are not filled with dirt and skin not heavily sun-burnt, it indicates I am not working outside anymore. After long tiring days of the growing season from March till November, the month of December was when I really wanted to be indoors and didn't feel like doing much in the field. I still had things to do on farm but couldn't drag myself outside for more than a few days a week.

With time on hand, I spent better part of the month thinking what new offerings can be made to customers in 2019, which new channels can be explored and how can I offer a better, more seamless shopping experience to people. I am also increasing my produce line to include more exciting crops for 2019. One the feedbacks I got from customers in 2018 was to bring more produce variety to the market. A more consistent offering was also something that customers were looking for from us. The feedbacks that we get from customers at markets directs us to adopt methods and systems best suited for our small farm's needs. When I say 'us', the 'us' represents me and my husband. He does most of the heavy lifting and infrastructure projects on the farm.

A good part of winter from December onwards is also spent ordering seeds and supplies for the farm, reading, budgeting and crop planning for next growing season. This year, I met a few very interesting farmers during my downtime in winter. It's exciting to see what other farmers are doing in their region and how their operations impact the local community. This time of the year, while a lot of farmers are already in the fields planting seeds for spring, my wet fields are resting and taking a break. I am carefully examining ways to improve production, improve soil and fix some inefficiencies in operation. I say 'some inefficiencies' because even after knowing what to change, there is only so much I can change in a given year. For one, I am learning to be realistic about my capabilities, strength and weaknesses.

Farming, for me, is a lifestyle where personal and professional parts are intertwined. Everything I do professionally in business impacts me personally and personal events impact the farm business closely. The ebb of flow of personal emotions is tied to what happens at the farm every day, the tasks I accomplish, the positive feedback I get from customers and connections I make with people year round.

I hope all of the readers have a healthy and blissful 2019. 

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