Happy Thanksgiving! I truly hope your cup is full today. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It’s a time where so much of our family gets together and we just enjoy our time with each other. I find it to be the most fulfilling holiday of the year!
My family will be spending the day together enjoying each others company, great food, great drinks, and making lasting memories! On Friday, we will be hosting a farm to table dinner at my house for Eric’s side of the family. I'm excited to cook, but also to serve on our new farmhouse table. Eric made the table using a walnut tree that we cut down at the farm. We had it milled and it had been curing for over a year. He is in the process of making a bench that will run alongside the wall. The table is beautiful and I love the addition to our home!
During the season, Thursday's are arguably our busiest day of the week. We are washing/packing for both our Salad Subscription and the FarmStand. I also make restaurant deliveries on Thursdays as well, so much of my mornings are spent driving around the metro delivering to chefs. This is my first Thursday off since April (excluding my trip to Naples, FL) and it feels wonderful! I absolutely love farming, but the truth is that it’s a demanding career and I welcome the winter months as a way to recharge my battery. Come spring, I will be raring to get out into the field, but for now, I’m ready for some R & R.
Looking back on the 2017 season, I have a lot to be thankful for. My husband, Eric, has been a rock for both the business and our family. He does a lot of the behind the scenes things for DUG that goes unseen, but trust me, his work for DUG is critical for our success. I also want to thank my amazing crew of employees. Kate, Kristen, & Jordi have been with me in the field throughout the season. They work their butts off in extreme climates to provide our customers with the freshest food possible. Sherri, Katy Jo, Jessie, and Robin have been the smiling faces working the DUG FarmStand. They sacrificed their weekends to keep the FarmStand running smooth. I also want to thank you, our DUG supporters. I truly blessed to have such great support for our local community. You are what allows this business to thrive and I will miss seeing you in the winter.
Many people ask what I do during the off season, so here’s a glimpse:
- I’ve started to analyze my numbers/financials for tax season. I enjoy sitting down and analyzing this data. It helps to guide my planning for the following season. Here is an example pie chart I recently created. It allows me to visualize the different avenues where my cash flow comes from.
- I’m also spending time working on my business plan. I’m beginning my second year in the Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program and one main goal at the completion of this year is to have a finalized business plan.
- I’ve started to plan out next season’s crops. I will grow many of the same main crops, but am looking to add new varieties. I will also tweak the amount of each crop I grow. For example, I need to plant more beds of beets next season because we were short later in the fall. I use all the sales data inputted in our Square program to get a better grasp/understanding of what products make us the most money and plan accordingly.
- While planning out my crop selection I also make a rough crop planting plan. This planting plan gives me an idea of what I will plant throughout the 2018 growing season, but also where those crops will be planted. I consider crop rotations, soil quality, sunlight, drainage, etc when selecting which beds will get planted with which crops. Having this in place before the season starts is beneficial as it gives me a big picture plan for the season. Also, as the season picks up my time is limited, so planning as much ahead of time is very beneficial.
- After I get my crop plan in place, I get to order my seeds! It’s always fun when the seed catalogs start coming in the mail. The challenge for me is to use some self control and not grow 25 different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, or lettuces! Each year I like to incorporate new varieties, but I really try to be selective.
Our Aib BnB has been going great! We launched it in October, and have essentially been booked for the past two months. Our guests have been great and it has been fun getting to know them. Please keep our place in mind if you have family, friends, or coworkers looking for a place to stay in Des Moines. You can view the home details by clicking here
As the weather gets cooler, keep in mind we have firewood for sale. The wood is aged and burns great. My family and I were joking around that this wood is “non GMO, organic, gluten free, and vegan!!"
On Sunday, I hit the road to travel south to Selmer, Tennessee for the Small Farms for Big Change Event. I’m so excited to be a part of this event. I will be staying at Rose Creek Farms which is owned/operated by Ray Tyler and his wife. Ray is doing amazing things for the market garden community so I can’t want to learn more about his farming systems. On Monday, I will be participating in a day of round table sessions with some of my farming mentors - Curtis Stone (Profitable Urban Farming) and Ben Hartman (The Lean Farm). 10 market gardeners were accepting into this Mastermind class and I feel honored to be accepted! The other days on the farm I will be learning about new tools, wash/pack set up, growing greens throughout the summer, farm planning, and more! I’m very excited to meet some of my market gardening mentors (Ray Tyler, Curtis Stone, Ben Hartman, Jonathan Dysinger, Diego Footer, and Michael Kilpatrick). The knowledge I gain from my trip will no doubt make me a better farmer.
A congratulations is in order to Stacy at Tiny Acre Farms. She funded her kickstarter campaign! Stay on the lookout for her Flower Truck next season!
Stay tuned for a DUG holiday gift giveaway hapening soon. I will post more details when I get back from Tennessee.
Your Urban FarmHer, Jenny