Week 1 Spring Shoots Program Newsletter

img_5298Hi folks!!

Your Week 1 newsletter will be completed and released on Tuesday March 3rd.  Until then, the list of what microgreens we are growing for you for Week 1 is posted and you are welcome to place a pre-order for additional veggies or pickles via the link below!


Pre-Orders

We currently have carrots and beets in storage, as well as the full selection of pickles and some frozen items!  Orders are optional and can be paid via e-transfer, or cash, cheque, or debit at the pickup.  Your order total will be emailed to you Monday night.

Here’s the link to PLACE A PRE-ORDER for the March 3rd pickup!  – Order deadline is Sunday for pickup with your Shoots on Tuesday.  (We need time to assemble and wash the veggies for orders, so the sooner you can order, the better!).


Your March 3rd Spring Shoots’ Program CSA contains:

Pea Shoots, small tray
Buckwheat Shoots
Radish Shoots

You can click the links on the items above to view more info about each microgreen including recipe & preparation suggestions, season, storage tips, and lots more!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


This Week’s Farm Update:

The rest of your weekly newsletter will be released on Tuesday March 3rd and sent with the Tuesday morning pickup reminder email!

Registration 2020

Hi folks!

Just a quick update to let you know where things are at:

Jon, Myrah and I have just returned from a 6 week vacation to California, Seattle, and Calgary.  Click here for a post about our trip and photos!

Spring Shoots ProgramScreenshot 2019-02-26 10.15.15

We are currently still accepting registrations for our 2020 Spring Shoots Program, beginning Tuesday March 3.  Pickup at Chez Angela Bakery & Cafe from 4 – 6 pm.
Click here for all the details!

Registration for our 2020 Summer & Fall Veggie Lovers’ Club Program is currently open for renewals only.  Last year’s members get the first crack at spaces and by mid-February or so we’ll be sending out an email to our mailing list for those of you who may want to put your name in the lottery for this year!

Check out our Veggie Lovers’ Club Program Membership Guide for all the info about our CSA program!

On Sunday February 9th, I will be at the East End Community Centre from 11 – 4 pm for Assiniboine Food Forest’s Seedy Sunday event.  I’ll have info about the Shoots Program, fresh shoots for purchase, and I will be presenting about some of the things we do here at the farm.  Hope you can make it!

Seattle

Laryssa calls this my “selfie face”!  Taken in Seattle after visiting the Bulletproof Cafe!

Feel welcome to send me an email to sales@brownsugarproduce.com if you have any questions. comments, or suggestions.  February is the month when I am most planted at my desk because it’s when we do the majority of our registrations and online updates and all the computer stuff I shuffed off for another time.  So, I’m here if you need me!!

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Teri 🙂

 

 

We’re back!

Cali01

Our bags went on vacation, too!

We’re back from a great family vacation to California (Santa Cruz/Monterey), Seattle, and Calgary!

We couldn’t have done this trip without a great farm sitter to look after our place and pets: Thank You Dannie!!

We made lots of memories and found ourselves even more grateful to return to the life we have here at home.  I really missed our vegetables and the local eggs, meat, butter and grains we eat.  Within an hour of arriving home Jon had some shoots started for us!

Want in on the upcoming Spring Shoots Program?  Click here for all the info & registration!

Here are some of our trip highlights to share with you:

We drove for 5 days around 6 hours a day to get to California.  The second night in CA we stayed with Jon’s aunt Fran in Oakhurst CA, who he hadn’t seen in 24 years!  She was a great host and shared lots of stories about Jon’s Mom & Dad.

We spent the first 10 days in CA housesitting for Susan & Charles who had a gorgeous home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Highlights there was an awesome cat named Lenny, gorgeous ocean/redwoods view, all the kiwi and persimmons we could eat, and some chickens who reminded us of home.  It was close to Santa Cruz, located just outside of Los Gatos, which is the home of Netflix!  The property was located in a redwood forest and near lots of beautiful beaches.

After the new year we headed to a homestead near Monterey California where we would spend the next week WWOOFing (stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, basically a program where we could exchange some labour for room & board).  We found it a great experience (Jon has WWOOFed before and we have both been hosts), and exactly as we expected it to be, though we think Beverly and Steve went above and beyond as hosts, giving us lots of tours of the area and tolerating a toddler (wwoofing with kids isn’t the standard).  We were able to learn about the native plants in that area of California and see lots of special spots that we would never have found otherwise.  The best part was being able to get our hands dirty and work outside in a t-shirt in January!  Myrah and I picked meyer lemons from their tree which was also a big highlight for her.

After a week of wwoofing we headed back up the coast towards Seattle, via San Francisco.  We had a bad sound in the van so found a great repair shop and stayed the night just North of San Francisco while they got us back on the road.  We arrived in Seattle, Washington on Sunday afternoon just before the big snow of 2020 hit: 1″ overnight for a couple of nights, and the city was practically shut down (they rarely get snow so are not set up for it like we are).  Back home during that time it was -48C (-55F) and I don’t think anyone believed me that people actually live somewhere that is that cold!

We stayed with Jon’s sister Stacey, her husband Eugene, and their kids Joshua (18) and Genevieve (15) for a week.  We haven’t seen them in over 2 years so it was really nice to visit, and Eugene went above and beyond cooking all sorts of Filipino food for us while we were there, and his famous Ramen.

In between Seattle and Calgary we had the amazing good fortune of crossing paths with Jon’s best friend Mike and his wife Kim from Toronto, who with their friend Taryn were skiing in Revelstoke the day we passed through.  It was so awesome to see them!

Cali16

Taryn, Mike, Jon, Myrah, Teri, Kim in Salmon Arm BC

We wrapped up the trip with a stop in Calgary to visit Jon’s sister Alyson and her husband Dion and their kids Maevey (almost 8) and Caeden (5).  Myrah loves her Calgary cousins and they had a great time playing together!

It is so good to be home!!  We had a great trip but after 6 weeks we were really happy to return to our pets, our food, and our lives here.  This week we’ve been settling back in and watching Janelle’s team curling at the MB Scotties in Rivers.

curlers

Myrah grew up a lot on the trip, and is now furiously memorizing every book she hears, changing her clothes and buttoning buttons, and so incredibly capable of doing (almost) everything by herself.  It was not without occasional struggles, but we made it 8,218 kms in a van together and the memories will last a lifetime! (well, for some of us, anyway.  We took lots of photos for those of us who are 2!)

Cali13

Miss Myrah eating a lemon!

# kms traveled: 8,218
Total # of days away: 43
Total # of hotel rooms: 11
Visited 7 states and 4 provinces
over 20 playgrounds visited
9 family members visited

Within an hour of returning home Jon had started some pea shoots.  I’m enjoying being back with our storage crops, but also scraping the bottom of the freezer reserves of kale and spinach & feeling that panicky feeling I start to feel when it’s been too long with nutrient dense locally grown greens available, so I’m really looking forward to the Spring Shoots Program starting on March 3!  Registration for that is open now: If you want more info please click here!

For the next 2 weeks I’ll be solidly posted at my desk, as we are about to open members’ renewal registration for the 2020 Veggie Lovers’ CSA Program and continue filling spaces in the Spring Shoots Program.  Feel welcome to send me an email if you have any questions, and look for lots more info to be posted soon about our upcoming programs.

Thanks for your support reading our blog and for your interest in our family vacation!  We missed you and hope to see you soon!

 

Holidays Dec 13 – January 28th

IMG_3808

We’re taking a break and so won’t be checking messages regularly or posting on Instagram or Facebook until February!  If you need to be in touch with us please send an email to sales@brownsugarproduce.com

Our Spring Shoots Program begins March 3 and registration is currently open on our website, click here for all the details!

Members’ renewal registration for our 2020 Veggie Lovers ‘ Club CSA Program will open in February.

If you’re not a returning member but would like to join the program please make sure your name is on our mailing list (Click here to join!) and watch for more info in February.
Details about the program can be found here on our website.

Thanks, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  See you in February!

-Teri 🙂

 

Teri’s 10 Topics Blog Series #10: Why we do this and the path forward

MyrahPiePumpkinThe Grateful Farmers

This year it finally clicked for me that you are what you practice most, and I had been giving attention to the wrong things for too long.  So I shifted.  Instead of talking about problems or people, I talk about what I’m grateful for.  I talk about my successes.  I focus on the good, and that gives it life, and the good gets better. It didn’t take long for my entire perspective to shift to a more positive one.  We need more positive farmers out there and I’m proud to be one!

At the same time, I identify less and less as a “farmer”, in a community where we’re at best demoted to “market gardeners” and surrounded by large scale agriculture that doesn’t speak to our souls at all.  We don’t fit in, and I am proud of that.  Around here we’re the weirdos with that vegetable subscription program and a goofy van.  People who get it, get it, those who don’t aren’t my community!

MusqueWhy We Do This

Health, Community, and Lifestyle are the three things I love most about growing vegetables.  By doing this as our occupation, Jon and I get to live the way we prefer, in the country growing food.  We have a community of people that believe in us and support what we do so we can earn a living doing this.  As a side benefit, we get the physical exercise and fresh veggies we need to eat to be healthy, and we get to share healthy nourishing food with our community.  It works, and it fills our hearts, too, which is the most important.

Community Supported Agriculture has been a great fit for our farm, and I love the members we have gotten to know over the 4 years our program has run so far.  They have started to feel like part of the family and I feel some security in an otherwise insecure occupation like farming, knowing that these folks will support us through the good times and the bad.  2019 was a really fantastic year for us, and I’m so happy to have been able to share an amazing harvest with these wonderful folks.  By being the ones to hand our produce directly to the consumer every week, we naturally build lasting relationships.  It feels right and it feels fulfilling and rewarding.

Jon attended the pickup with me last Tuesday because it was my birthday, and he always comments on how good it makes him feel to see all the members and hear about how much they are enjoying the veggies, and how supportive they are.

MomTeriBrandonSun_08-09-19

Teri and Stephanie of Brown Sugar Produce sell fresh produce to customers during their setup in the parking lot of Lady of the Lake on Friday afternoon. (Colin Slark/The Brandon Sun)

An Intentional Business

I love our lifestyle, and I love that we are the ones in control of how we live and how we do business.  Limiting our marketing to one market and one CSA pickup each week allows us the time and space we need to do a really good job of our CSA vegetables and our market.  It currently takes us about 1.5 days to prepare for our weekly market and about the same for our CSA.  The vegetables don’t magically grow themselves like the weeds do: So it takes another 3 days a week at least to keep up with all the production work, admin work, and actually being at market and the pickup spot.  We are committed to not taking on more than we can do well and we aren’t interested in supply chains that take us away from being the one to hand our produce to the final consumer.

We’re careful not to upset the balance of lifestyle which includes sufficient time to enjoy life, even in the busy season.  What is a life if you’re not enjoying it as much of the time as you possibly can, including the category of “work”?  There’s a lot of jobs on the farm that aren’t particularly fun or enjoyable, but as a piece of the whole they are worth accepting.  Acceptance is really powerful and has helped me to find the difference between things that are worth doing and things that aren’t.

The Path Forward

img_9780Our path forward next year isn’t anything ground breaking: We want to keep doing this, it’s still the path through life we find most exciting.  For next year we won’t be making many changes, riding on the coattails of a year where things flowed really well.  Janelle is staying on the team and we even included her in our seed ordering this year.  We want to continue to work with growers like Marcus, George & Barb, and Jody to supplement our offering, and we are open to others.  We are hopeful Laryssa will return to help with market prep on Thursdays.  We don’t plan to expand the CSA because we haven’t gotten our limiting factor — water — sorted out in a way that we are confident we can increase membership and still not run short in a poor season.  We were thrilled with our market season and are hoping to push some additional labour to the market next year if we can.

Especially while Myrah is young we aren’t taking on more than we can easily handle for now.  So many other things are more important than working all the time: We live modestly and don’t want for anything.

What I’m Most Grateful For

0q2a1315Here’s a hint: you know this person better than anyone else in life.  It’s YOU!

I’m most grateful for the people who are part of what we do and so invested that they even read most of my blog posts.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to feel heard.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to share healthy food with others.  I’m grateful that what we do for a living also sustains our souls, and aligns with what my heart tells me is right.  When I look around me, there’s countless things to be grateful for, and when I think of all those smiling faces meeting our van every week to pick up veggies, it fills my heart.  This is rewarding in a way that I think few things are these days, which is why we are so happy to keep on doing it!

The Next Few Months

SnowmanFor the next 6 weeks, Jon, Myrah and I will be away on a holiday to California and to visit Jon’s sisters and their families in Seattle and Calgary.  We find the winters too long and so it will be really nice to break things up, especially with an active toddler. Mom is hosting her family’s Christmas gathering this year and she and Dad plan to visit a friend in Arizona sometime this winter.  I am working on an online writing course this month and next and taking my annual social media break, which I always look forward to.

2020 will be our 20th year in business! Garlic and some experimental spring overwintering crops are already in progress.  In February we will open registration for the 2020 Veggie Lovers’ Club.  All of our 2019 members get first dibs on the spaces for next year, spaces for friends of members & those registered in our Shoots’ Program have second priority, and after that we’ll open up some 8 week spaces for new members if we feel there is space.  In March, our Spring Shoots CSA Program begins at Chez Angela Bakery and Cafe.  By March we’re into full on seeding mode in the greenhouse, so another season is not far off!

We feel blessed and grateful to be able to share what we love with you.  Thank you!!

December 10th Veggie Lovers Club Newsletter

VeggieLovers

A pickup in July!  Looks a little different these days.

Hi folks!

This is THE FINAL WEEK: Week 24 of our 24-week CSA!
Thank you for being along for the long haul.  We appreciate our full-season dedicated members the most of all!  You’re the local food heroes, who support local even when you have to make a weekly commitment for half the year and trudge through ice and snow to get to us!

Your newsletter is complete below, see you at the pickup tonight!  Jon is coming with me and it’s going to be COLD, so we’ll need lots of smiles and visits to keep us warm.  I literally am planning to wear my snow suit.


Pre-Orders are closed for the season!

Thank you to everyone who placed pre-orders this year!  It has turned into a significant part of what we do and I really enjoy it.  Will definitely be repeating that aspect of the CSA next year.


Spoiler Alert: If you would like to keep your bag contents a surprise, you should STOP READING NOW!!

 

Your December 10th Veggie Lovers’ Club bag contains:

Week23

Last week’s bag!

Pea Shoots, small tray
Carrots, 8 lbs UNWASHED*
Red Beets, 5 lbs UNWASHED*
Leeks, 2 lbs
Winter Squash, 1 large or a couple small ones, choice at pickup! (Choices will include Delicata, Winter Sweet Kabocha, Hubbard, Musque de Provence, Pink Banana, Red Kuri, Sunshine Kabocha, Buttercup)

THANK YOU for washing your own produce on the final week.  Unwashed veggies typically store better for longer, and it greatly reduces our workload for the final pickup.

You can click the links on the items above to view more info about each veggie including recipe & preparation suggestions, season, storage tips, and lots more!

Don’t forget to bookmark our online Veggie Guide so all the veggie info is at your fingertips!


Notes on the Veggies this week:

99befa2e-4128-4c70-af1c-56c0d3450106WE DID IT!  (To the tune of the Dora song, which is on repeat around here these days.)

We made it to Week 24!  Jon asked me if I remembered groaning on Week 1 about committing to half a year of weekly pickups, and I totally do.  But this year was absolutely, positively THE BEST year of Veggie Lovers’ Club ever!  A huge part of that is your positive attitudes, reliability on pickup days, communication with us, and excitement about the veggies and what we do.  So, THANK YOU!!  We are riding high after a fantastic year and will probably just float our way to CA after this.  (You know, or struggle and fight with our 2-1/2 year old, what are we thinking, lol!).

I haven’t been calculating the value of the bags lately because it’s been less about making sure we get you your full value than it’s been making sure we distribute all the crop excesses before the season ends!  It makes no sense to me to store 40 crates of Leeks and then eventually throw them away.  So, we doubled up the amounts the last couple deliveries, and we’re sitting in a perfect spot right now, there are only large squash left (for restaurant clients typically), 3 crates of Leeks, 1 bag of Celeriac and lots of carrots and beets (which will store just fine).

Feeling overwhelmed?  You very well might be.  One of the “things” we have to be careful about with CSA is not being too generous, even in crop abundance years.  The #1 reason people cite for leaving CSAs is “not making good enough use of the food”.  People know the effort that goes into growing the veg that we grow, and it really tears them up inside when it goes to waste on their clock.  If this is you, don’t despair!  Maybe you could share with a friend or neighbor if there’s more than you will use?  As someone who regularly “vegetables” people, let me tell you, people get really excited when you give them vegetables! Or, you can be decadent and throw away those leek tops with abandon, knowing that by accepting the leeks into your home you are saving them from eventual composting here.  You’re doing Teri a favor.  Thank you!

The “actual” value of this week’s bag is $48!!  (Your cost was $25).  We always beef up the final bag a bit so it can carry you into the future a while.  So, I hope you enjoy some of our veggies into the New Year!  (FYI, I’m totally traveling with veggies.  I’m a veggie snob and there won’t be any good markets until we get closer to our destination.)

Need resources for growing the tray of Pea Shoots at home?  They’re right here, on our Pea Shoot Page in the Veggie Guide!

How to wash carrots and beets: In the winter, all of the veg gets washed at the kitchen sink.  This year we got a laundry tub to make life a bit easier, but in the past when we used the actual plumbed-in sink, we would always try to first scrape all the mud and dirt off of the veggie into the compost, trim both ends, and then soak for 15 minutes in room temperature water.  Use a brush or a scrubby cloth to scrub clean.  Dry thoroughly (on the counter on a towel, you may need to flip them once) and then store in a plastic bag with a couple of holes in it in the fridge.

You probably don’t want to put ALL that mud down your sink, but I also know that we think about plumbing differently out here.  If it backs up it’s our problem!

8 lbs Carrots and 5 lbs Beets is a nice big portion for you to store for a while in your fridge. People ask all the time the best place to store veggies, the easiest answer is always the fridge.  It’s temperature controlled and so it’s not like your garage or porch where you might find the right climate for a while, and then forget and find a bunch of frozen disappointing carrots later.  Squash likes it warm, it will rot in the cold!  Leeks should be completely wrapped up, even the tops, and stored in the fridge.  The Pea Shoots can be cut and regrown, or just cut them and compost the container and store the shoots in the fridge if you don’t want to bother with regrowing!


Some Results from the 2019 Veggie Lovers’ Club Survey

img_3739

Jon washing Celeriac this weekend

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and score the lists of “Less of/More of”, but based on just reading through the surveys, they seem really balanced.  In any year you’ll get the same answers for both question!  i.e. Some people say too many carrots and others say not enough.  If that happens we know we’re doing well, keeping everyone happy all the time isn’t possible!

I tried to drill down to some topics of interest this year and I was pleased that you are most interested in Recipe Kits (like Hello Fresh) and Farm to Fork Dinners.  I am really good at planning stuff, and I secretly hoped we could host a Farm to Fork Dinner next year, so we are going to try it out and see how it goes!  More info to come next summer!

The Recipe Kits, well, I’ll probably reach out to some friends in the nutrition realm, and I will definitely be asking those of you who indicated interest what that looks like to you.  Because I’ve never used one and I want to make sure we check all your boxes if we’re going to try it!  So, watch for an upcoming feedback survey asking for more detail about that!

img_1615The third most votes was the plastic issue.  Don’t even get me started on that one!  All I will say is that the support and tech isn’t yet there for it to make sense for us to switch to compostable packaging yet, and Brandon doesn’t have the facility to deal with the commercially compostable PLA materials yet anyway.  It’s not like we can just buy plant-based plastic bags for commercial use, they don’t exist yet in a readily available, cost efficient form yet.  But know that I am staying informed of this issue and always looking for ways to improve what we do.  As a whole, our single use plastic bag consumption isn’t very much.  I can fit all the boxes of plastic bags we used this year into a single armload. There are certain crops where a bag of some sort is essential: no bag, no salad mix! There are definitely other areas on the farm where our petroleum-based plastics consumption is a larger issue, ie the drip tape we use for irrigation.  Again, no water, no vegetables!

But we’re going to make a vote with our Shoots’ Program, and use compostable plant-based packaging for that program.  I’ve had to make the customers bear the cost of that one as we can’t add any expense to our Shoots Program as it has too narrow of margins as it is.  If no one tries to switch, then what’s the incentive to manufacturers to come up with solutions?  We’re going to try it out and hope that more innovations come to a point where we have appropriate options.  The extra $20 on the Shoots Program this year will cover your 8 weeks of compostable PLA containers, which can be reused at home or thrown in the garbage where they will definitely break down sooner than petroleum-based plastics.  It’s a baby step in the right direction for now.

All of the Quantity/Value/Quality metric on the survey was “excellent” or “good”, and same for the pickup spot.  One lonely person prefers a pickup until 6:30 pm — so if that would also be better for you, please reach out!  I prefer to get home sooner than that, as I often have to pick up Myrah from my Mom’s after.  But if a few people prefer it I’m happy to extend the time and sort out the back end of life.  Right now, most of the pickups are clustered at the beginning so I’m not thinking this later window is needed by most of you!

I will post a summary of all the results sometime in the next 6 weeks on our blog, once I have a chance to sit down and look closely at them!  I do this for myself in future years, but also for anyone who is interested, so check back if you are!


img_3752Teri’s 10 Topics Blog Series #10: Why we do this and the path forward

This week’s post is a bit of a summary and looking forward to next year.  We had an amazing year and we are looking forward to a great year in 2020, our 20th year of business!

Thank you for being part of our community!


img_3722.jpgOk, Veggie Lovers, that was a long one this week and probably took more time than I have today, but it’s hard to say goodbye so I’m stalling!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Spring Shoots Program, which starts in March, if you’re interested!

See you tonight, looking forward to it — and until next year, Veggie Lovers!!

Teri 🙂

Teri’s Ten Topics #9: What Intentional Living means to me

Someone asked me to write about this, and I must include the disclaimer that I don’t really feel that qualified to talk about “Intentional Living”, having not engaged with that movement/concept much.  I do think it most accurately describes the way that I choose to live, but I also think that it can look really different for a lot of people.  So, I’m no expert here, and this is just my opinion and what this concept means to me. 

What does it mean or look like to you?

IMG_1186For me, intentional living means having the space to build the life I want, and also having the space to figure out what I want deep in my heart & soul. I notice that so many people get trapped in the “finish school, go to college, find a ‘good’ job to pay for it all” illusion, which eventually turns into a materialistic treadmill of chasing things that will never make you happy. Because a “Good” job usually just means one that pays well but leaves a deficit in your soul.

I have a very Good job. The pay is shit. But I love what I do every single day, and it all works out despite, because following your passion and loving life makes you a more resilient human.

I’m fortunate that a family member helped pay for my university tuition so I never had to jump on the treadmill of materialism and keeping-up-with-the-Joneses, I’m fortunate that I was spoiled as a kid and realized early that things were shallow and didn’t bring happiness, and I’m fortunate that my parents didn’t push their desired outcomes for my life on me too much. I’m also VERY fortunate that I got to watch my Mom chase her passion during a late life career shift. There is a lot to be grateful for in how I got here. But I do think that anyone and everyone can.

_mg_9876I think the only difference is that some people don’t leave enough SPACE to fill their lives with their dreams. We get too busy too soon, before we really have a chance to figure out what makes us happy. What our passions are. What drives us to want to grow and be the best person we can be. We get stuck, we get trapped.  Monthly payments and material needs take the driver’s seat in our lives, instead of passion.  As soon as I felt like this was happening to me, I dropped my life-as-it-was and took off with Jon across the country.  Through that process I was able to figure out what really lit me up, though it’s changing all the time, just like we are constantly growing and changing.

I’m so grateful that we can live this way, and it brings me great happiness to know that we are modeling this behaviour and lifestyle to Myrah. I keep space in my life by saying No and setting boundaries, like not allowing pickups at the farm, only doing one market per week, not overbooking my personal life so there is room for me to decide how I feel and what I most want to do each day.  I try to stay a human being instead of always a human doing.

When Jon and I make decisions about our life or business, we think about the impacts they may have and how it might affect us. If it sounds like something we don’t want to do, then we try to find a way not to do it. There’s no such thing as “a means to an end”, if the means isn’t enjoyable, then the end isn’t worth it – No matter what. We choose to grow vegetables because we enjoy the lifestyle of working outdoors, growing healthy food to nourish people we care about, and being self employed: What lights me up about agriculture is HEALTH, COMMUNITY, and LIFESTYLE.

We make decisions on the farm the same way as we do about our life: we consider what it looks like and if we are excited to do it. If Jon didn’t love growing shoots, we wouldn’t be trying to expand that as a part of our winter production. I find technology frustrating, so we limit how much we use it – no online record keeping or cloud based calendars here.  I don’t get much out of farm conferences or workshops, so we don’t waste my time attending many of them: the farmer role has taken a backseat in my life lately as different things get me more excited.  Just because we grow vegetables for a living doesn’t mean we have to eat-live-breathe farming at every moment.  I feel I’m a better balanced person when I’m not chained to any one role or archetype.

It’s important to us that we craft a life we love.  The whole point of being self-employed in a seasonal business is to have extra freedom, so this year we are even taking a winter trip.  Travel is exciting to us and something that we want in our lives, so I feel it’s worth the steps to make it happen.

img_8320I feel people who are in pain sneering “must be nice”, or “Ha, I wish, but I’ve got a family to feed”, and believe me, I can identify with that, and we’ve been there too. But the truth is that you’ll never regret chasing your passion. Living that way opens you up to receiving all the good that the universe has in store for you. If you’re closed to it, you can tread water your whole life and never really get anywhere, always feeling like you’re missing something. It’s called fulfillment, from a life lived wholeheartedly.

You can replace “the universe” with god or whatever you prefer. It’s irrelevant, because it’s all about YOU, which is one and the same. Always acting on your greatest passion allows you to be a light, even if you don’t feel like you’re consciously being intentional about it. My current favourite farmer/writer, Kate Spring, says that being responsible to others and yourself means “turning your spark into a flame, taking what brings you alive and sharing it so another person feels that warmth and light, too.” I feel that living this way allows me to be my best self, and to be a light to others, and I’m so grateful for having taken this path. Thanks for being here with me!

For more about living wholeheartedly see Brene Brown’s work.  The work of Eckhart Tolle has been my biggest inspiration to chase my passions.


Side note: I decided to go for it and registered for Kate Spring’s creative writing workshop, Harvesting Words, as part of my winter goal to grow my writing practice.  It’s a 30 day writing course that I plan to complete over the next 2 months while we are traveling.  I’m on Day 2 and really enjoying it so far!