According to Merriam-Webster the definition for “homegrown” is:
1: grown or produced at home or in a particular local area
<homegrown vegetables><homegrown films>
2: native to or characteristic of a particular area <the festival will feature homegrown artists>
Homegrown to me also means something memorable that was produced with care for someone special. There were 5 kids in my family and we had a Christmas tradition of drawing names so the kids would only have to buy one present. Several times my folks decided that the gifts had to be handmade. My brother made me a wooden milk crate, my youngest sister made me a barn drawing in a lovely wooden frame, and my other sister drew me a pencil sketch of a Victorian woman. I still have these wonderful treasures and memories.
So calling the food we grow “homegrown” is a compliment. We take care and extra effort to grow the best vegetables, herbs and fruit for our customers and ourselves. We have daily conversations about what specific people would prefer and we get to know the folks that buy from us. We know that Joel and Robin love our radishes, and that Leslie loves to make a soup with radish tops. We know that Mary loves fresh carrots, but wants to feed the carrot tops to the chickens. And we know that when Chef Matt visits the farm he gets inspired to create magical dishes and he inspires us to grow things to surprise and delight him.
We have created a village where folks know each other’s names and we remember when a family member is sick or when a child goes away to college. We grow our food for people who are special to us, so we take the extra effort to do it thoughtfully.
So although we need to be profitable, efficient and sustainable, we intend to have fun! We don’t want to be monster farm with large equipment doing all the work. Stone Coop Farm is labor intensive, but caring and effective. Is digging for potatoes dirty work? Yes, but doing it with other people and sharing stories keeps that smile on my face.
Do dogs run through the beds, steal carrots, radishes, and tomatoes and put muddy paws on your clothes? Yes, but we have dog heaven here where they can run, wrestle, play, hunt and share their joy at being alive.
Intention makes the place. The people that work and buy food on the farm come here with positive intentions. They all support what we are doing and bring their own special magic. We love having them here to create fond memories. That’s why we want our produce to be “homegrown”.
So one of my goals has been to create a brochure for Stone Coop Farm that explains what we are and why we do it. I haven’t put a draft together yet because I haven’t felt like I have the right story. These weekly blogs for A3 are starting to help me define the story I want to share. And that story ties into our brand through a brochure, our marketing, and our public image.
Recommended Class: If you want your own homegrown vegetables – I am teaching a seed starting class on March 26th and April 2nd. We will provide the seeds, soil and guidance on how to grow your own seedlings for your garden. If you cannot attend, we will have a wide variety of seedlings available for sale. We already have cilantro, dill, chard and lettuce seedlings available for you to take home.
Recommended Viewing: Not sure how much to water your plants? Check out our latest watering video.
Did You Know that Daniel Brisebois of Tourne-Sol Farm in Montreal estimates that only 20% of their time is spent harvesting? Harvest time is money time! So he establishes harvest goals that allow him to accomplish his sales goals. I have been busy doing my farming calculations and have established several harvest goals for Stone Coop Farm. So when you visit and see 18 pints of cherry tomatoes per person per hour on the work list, you’ll know that’s a goal we want to accomplish to make a profit on cherry tomatoes.