Bad News and Good News

September 5, 2010

Caleb

The bad news is that farms are closing.  I found out recently that my former—as of a couple of weeks ago—employer, Roundabout Farm, is shutting down at the end of this season.  I was only contracted to work to the end of August, so me being laid off is unrelated to Roundabout going out of business; I’m currently looking into a promising, short-duration engineering job.  The unusually hot weather, continued deer damage (They destroyed the whole butternut squash crop by eating all the blossoms.), and low wholesale prices this season were all too much for a young farm to take.  Another local farm, Ploughshare Farm, is also closing, and there are rumors that more local farms won’t make it.  Further still, Tuttle’s Red Barn in Dover, NH, which declares proudly on its website, “America’s oldest family farm, established 1632,” will soon be closing.

Farming is tough work.  Initial expenses are high.  A read a story of a chicken farmer who purchased a hen house for $250,000 only to net only $10,000 per year.  Profit margins are thin.  It’s farming conventional knowledge that when you buy a box of cereal, more money goes to the company that made the packaging than the farmer who grew the grain in the cereal.

On the good side, though I can’t peer into the books of any local farm, there are several farms in the area that seem to be doing well—at least the farmers don’t have their in town jobs anymore: Radical Roots, Appalachia Star, Water Penny, Double H, and, of course, Polyface.  Also, there are still long lasting family farms.  The Sancken family was recently recognized for farming the same land for 100 years in Illinois.  As a final bit of good news for farmers, the Organic Trade Association reports that organic sales were up in 2009.

In ultra-local news, our Americauna’s tail is growing back niceley after being pecked by the Red Star, and the Americauna could begin laying in as early as a few weeks from now.  The last scheduled plantings have already occurred, though we will probably plant some more greens, garlic (for whoever is around here next year), and a clover cover crop.  Recently we harvested winter squash, which, like the summer squash, didn’t fair well because of insect attacks.  Almost everything else we’ve harvested has done pretty well.  Corn was pretty weak, but we hope to get some good ears  out of the last batch after adding some compost.  Good news, bad news.

Comments

Hi there, I googled my name and found you and your baby! I just thought it was so funny. My name, first name and last, is Lucy Karis. I had no idea what my name translated to (and I am greek!). So, I thought it was so interesting and serendipidous that someone would actually name their child “Lucy Karis”. My mom’s name is Lucy, so that’s how I got my first name. (I’m the third girl, they were hoping for a boy, and did not have a girl name picked…so my data chose Lucy…no emotional damage!) My parents changed their last name to Karis just before I was born – it was Kyriazis. Thus, my name…without any thought that it actually meant light of grace! Enjoy your baby girl. I have 1 son, who is turning 7, and he is the light of my life. From your blog, I’m sure you feel the same way! Thus far, I’ve had a wonderful life as me, Lucy Karis, (except when kids sang Miss Lucy Had a Steamboat, that was torture to me). I wish for all the wonders in the world for your little Lucy Karis too! 🙂

Lucy Karis — September 6, 2010