My best days are spent in the dirt- how about you?Kate, Summer 2017
I am a micro-farmer living in Eastern Massachusetts with my 2 kids, 11 chickens, husband and one acre of land. I own and manage Daisy Hill Farm, where I grow seedlings for home gardeners, teach classes and grow produce for my very small CSA, all using intensive organic methods.
Because this is still a fairly new-ish venture (its year 4!), I am making a few, umm, lets call them mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn! That is what I keep telling myself anyway. Being a former teacher, I am a little obsessed with learning, so I thought YOU might want to LEARN from my mistakes (lets call them misadventures, that sounds way more fun!) I am also hoping that you, Reader, will teach me so so so many things, because I have so much to learn!
Like I said, this is a fairly new full-time venture for me, I left my job as a high school biology teacher (after 15 years!) in June of 2016 in order to focus more on growing food and spending time with my kids. For years when people asked what I did, I told them “I am a teacher, but I want to be a farmer”. While it was incredibly hard to say goodbye to my students in the traditional biology classroom, I am now able to teach children and adults about growing food on the farm! hope to share some of this excitement with you!
I have been growing my own food now for 17 years, and it has been so fun to scale it up. The first year of growing at our new location, I grew enough produce to feed my family of 4 for almost 6 months (45% of yearly produce). We eat more vegetables in our meals than most people, so I know it is a bit of navel-gazing here, but I really am proud of that. And that was in a brand new garden, started months behind schedule and during a drought. The next year, I estimate that I grew closer to 60-65% of our produce for the year. Last year was similar, and with increased winter storage, better winter farming management, etc, I hope to do more each year.
It is beautiful outside. I love it there. I love watching the cycles of seasons, to enjoy the littlest things each season has to offer. The first leaves of a purple crocus in February, the sound the ice makes when it is melting off the roof in March. The hot July day when everything is in bloom. You pick your first red cherry tomato off the vine and eat it, warmed by the sun. I love the fall, when the pumpkin vines die and leave behind their orange orbs. The smell of orange pine needles under your feet in the woods. And I love the first snow. Still feels magical. It makes me feel connected to something so much bigger than me.
I read a lot. I am a researcher and am fairly skeptical, so I usually do due diligence before trying stuff out. BUT sometimes I don’t- which is usually way more fun. So, with determination that some might call stubbornness, I keep planting and building and sharing, planting and building and sharing and invite you along for the ride.