Post by Tyler & Kate
Burr Oak Gardens LLC
What FRESH offers us
This year is our first year as members of FRESH. We feel like it is a great resource for us as farmers. With our membership we now have a built in network of other farmers who are located in our area of the state to bounce ideas off of, or at the very least bemoan the weather with at the end of the season.
This is only our third season, so there is a lot to learn, especially when it comes to pest and disease control. This spring we had an outbreak of cutworms in our cabbage field. Instead of going to a random website to find the answer, we turned to our fellow farmers for advice. We figured that the best answers are going to be the ones that other farmers have tried. Somethings work well in certain situations, and not so well in others. As it turned out, no one in our group had, thankfully, had that problem before. So, we shared the information we came up with and our results. Now that knowledge is there for other people in the group to use.
Not only are we able to ask questions about farming techniques, but it also gives a chance to bounce ideas about marketing and other business related topics that are also a big part of maintaining a successful CSA. Last fall at the annual meeting we shared ideas about how to use facebook to its full potential, if marketing in print is worthwhile, and what types of other media outlets are available to get your farmís name out there. We had one farmer ask about taxes, and another refer a question he had received about liability on rented land. The answers to these questions are sometimes hard to come by on the internet, so having a group of people who have many different experiences comes in handy.
At this point in the season, idea sharing is at a minimum. Everyone is busy with farmerís markets and/or CSA deliveries. This year there is the added kink of lack of rain that is an added time suck that prevents time for question and answer sessions. However, knowing that there are other people who are going through the same thing is a huge help. I really think there should be more organizations like FRESH that help keep the lines open between farmers. After all, knowledge is power.
Tyler & Kate Rowe
Burr Oak Gardens, LLC