It is funny listening to what some people have to say and think about farmer's. There are many times where I have heard people talk about it just being an excuse to hang out with the guys and drink some beer. And as you probably know there are many more. I heard a few this week at market from random people walking by. Not to say that they were there for the produce, the cheese, the meats, who knows what they were there for. Probably the great food, crafts, nice day and the lake. But I am just speculating. Which is exactly what people do, they see one farmer and think that every farmer is like that one. Just like people do with random citizens. But I thought I would take this post to kind of explain just how 1 day on the farm is for us.
Generally we are up by 6 am at the latest. Eric Sr is outside feeding rabbits, feeding chickens, watering the greenhouse, opening up the germ box and sometimes more. But those are the general everyday things he does in the morning. After that we normally eat something and then we get the kids all gathered together and head outside. I pack snacks, drinks and a few other items to keep Eric Jr satisfied, or in theory that is what I hope it will do.
Right now our main focus has been the greenhouse. With over 6,000 plants seeded this year we have had a lot of transplanting to do. We have not even begun to seed our squashes, cucumbers, and other items that get direct seeded into the ground. Eric Sr spends 90% of this time in the greenhouse sanitizing pots, trays and 6-packs. While he is doing that I am generallly transplanting. Like I said in my wordless wednesday post, the small plug trays are 280 cell trays. That is a lot of plants to do at 1 time. We generally keep going in the greenhouse until Eric Jr starts acting fussy and wants to take a nap.
At that time it is generally lunch time so we head inside, eat lunch, and Eric Sr heads back outside. I stay inside with the kids while they (or just him) nap and I wash eggs, do public relations and marketing things on the computer, book keeping and a little housework thrown in the mix. This is also the time where I work on our dried herbs. During this time Eric Sr is generally outside doing many different things. If it is a nice day and the ground is dry (barely any of those this year), he is generally on the tractor in the field getting the ground ready for planting. If it is raining or very cold and there isn't much he can do outside, he continues the work in the greenhouse.
Sandy and Bela generally help in the greenhouse or wherever we need them on their days off. Or when they can. When we start double markets on Saturdays they go to the Ithaca market and we go to Otsiningo Market. Bela is the builder, whenever something needs to be built he is the go to man!
When Eric Jr wakes up I generally get him together and head back outside to do whatever I can. If it is nice I like to work outside for a little bit, but most of this season so far I have spent in the greenhouse. Which is not uncommon because that is what needs to be done right now.
Around 5 pm I try to get inside to make dinner so that we are eating at a decent hour. This has not happened in the past years we have been in business and I don't know how long this will continue throughout the season. I hope I can do it the whole time but sometimes we get so busy and there are so many things to do that we just keep working right through. Either way, right now we eat dinner and then Generally Eric Sr heads back outside to do end of day chores. And most of the time he does other things on top of that that need to be done.
Once we get into summer he is generally not in the house before 9 pm. If it is a Friday before market there have been times that we have been in the garage getting things ready for market until 10 pm and then we still bring herbs and things in the house to bunch and prepare before we go to bed.
Now obviously this is not exactly how it goes everyday, but this is what we aim for. There are feed errands to run, grocery shopping and other things in there that give us a break in the day. But I guess my point is...just because it is not a 9-5 job does not mean it is not a real job. Farmer's generally work more hours for a lot less. And let's face it, when you go to the grocery store...where does that produce come from, meat, even the ingredients used in the items that you are purchasing. Now granted a lot of the big farms hire people and the owners themselves do not work that much. But as a small farm there is too many things to do, too little time to do it and too little help.
There are times when we are invited to events, family gatherings, birthday parties or just get togethers and cook-outs that we cannot go to because we have obligations at the farm. This is our income, this if our life. This is what we have chose and some people do not understand it, but we love it and this is who we are!
As a farmer at the farmer's market we greatly appreciate the people who appreciate us. The people that care to see the face behind the product that they are eating, the care and time that goes into it and the knowledge that we can offer. And if you frequently shop the farmer's market (hopefully if you are reading this blog you do), then you know there is an extreme difference in taste and quality as well.
So I encourage you, the next time you go to the grocery store...think about buying more local or even a farm stand. Find that good-ole' farmer that has his fresh fruits, flowers, produce and other items on the side of the road for you to enjoy. And not only do I hope you savor every bite but I hope you appreciate and enjoy the quality of food and hardwork that went into providing that delicious, scrumptious, ooey-gooey...ok, ok...good food!