That said, we also have grown to match our excitement and ambition. Last year we had about an acre and a half in cultivation; this year we're close to five. That was made possible in large part by investment in cultivation equipment and an increase in employees (from one full time to one full time and two part time). We've more than doubled our CSA over last year and expanded our market space from ten feet to twenty.
Now we're coming up against new logistical constraints: last week our market van was packed absolutely to the gills, the cooler is likewise stuffed, and we've got thousands of pounds of winter squash, potatoes, and other fall harvest waiting to come in. The wash station that served us well in the past has become crowded with three or four people working on harvest day. CSA pickup is likewise cramped if more than a couple people show up at once. Watering one acre by hand (or truck) is laborious but feasible; five acres is too much. These are all good problems to have!
Jeremy has spent a fair amount of time in the past few weeks scouring Craigslist and other websites for used coolers, cleaning out and organizing a big barn that had been storage for planting flats and unused equipment, and talking with various agencies and contractors about digging an irrigation pond. He's found a big three-section cooler from a gone-out-of-business restaurant in Brooklyn that we're planning to put in the barn, which we'll plumb and use as a new wash station and CSA pick-up location. The three-section cooler will allow for vegetables to be kept at their ideal temperatures (broccoli, beets, greens, onions, and carrots at 35 degrees, potatoes at 40 degrees, tomatoes, eggplant, and winter squash at 55).
It's exciting to be growing our business, to see the reward of our hard work in a beautiful market stand and the appreciative comments of CSA members. We're proud to be a part of a larger movement that values local, organic, healthy food and vibrant communities. We're proud, too, to be preserving and improving this land, creating decent employment for people in our community, and doing work we love. We do love it, even in August, even in the rain and the bugs, even when the days are long and the fields are weedy. Every year we get better at it, and every year it gets better. I think that's a good measure for sustainable growth.