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All We Need is Changing

Posted 8/9/2014 2:20pm by Stacey Roussel.

Deep thought and tough decisions describes my last 6 months of farming. Our farm was at a cross road, and we have decided to make a sharp turn. I will not be growing vegetables this fall for our CSA.

We added dairy goats about 6 years ago to our farming operation in order to boost fertility in our soil, and some crazy things have happened along the way. They have multiplied like crazy and I discovered that I have a great respect for these beautiful animals and I really enjoy working with them.

Our 2 female goats have turned into 3 males and 20 females, enough to start a real dairy next spring. We have been exploring business models and I would like to continue that journey we started back in February.

First let me say that I have deep respect for each and every one of my CSA members. It is not easy to work with a farmer, it is not easy to cook with what the seasons produce, it is not easy to find food that is transparent and honest and works to respect and sustain the land and labor. My members have all taken this journey with me. I have been their farmer, and I am honored to remain their farmer and friend for a lifetime if that is possible.

A reality is that it was becoming too hard for me to produce high quality, poison free food each week that is picked by legal labor paid a fair wage while still meeting the price point that many families need me to hit.  I have a family, and we are fully aware of the pressures put on budgets, and we also realize that we have to obey the market forces just like anyone else. In addition to being a farmer, I am also a mother and a wife.  If I were to spend less money on labor by spending more time in my field with my vegetables, I would have had less time with my family and much less time to focus on what comes next. Basically, I needed to make a change so I decided that I will not be doing a vegetable CSA any longer.

What’s next? Well, in the short term, I will continue my egg and pork shares.  The shares are popular, with repeat customers.  I know that I can continue to produce a quality product for our customers. For those who were never ready to take this journey with me in the past, I highly recommend that if you want local food, you support it. I know it’s not always easy, but I also know that it is worth it. 

By next spring, stay tuned for other announcements about our progression. I am excited for this new step and hope that you will follow me as we continue this walk in sustainable agriculture.

And in the we will need to decide what to do with our land on Dannhaus (where most of you have seen the work that I do). As some of you know, we have 3 pieces of property, and the Dannhaus property was used primarily for my vegetables. Part of focusing on what is next is to limit the number of properties that I need to work. If you know of anyone that wants to start farming, our ideal scenario would be to find someone that wants to rent or buy my land and farm it themselves… perhaps serving those customers in their own CSA someday.  I would like for that property to continue serving our community, and would even consider hosting an intern exchanging experience for work. We are even considering selling the property, but my hope would be that it remain in small scale agriculture.

What can you do? Continue to support me in the ways that you do. If you buy eggs or pork, please continue to subscribe to those farm offerings. And when we move the our new products, hopefully this Spring, please help us get the word out.  If you have a pile of cash hidden in your backyard and want to support a micro dairy, call me.

I always strive to be honest, transparent, and good… and to provide good food to people who love to eat.  Your Farmer. Stacey Roussel

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