January 5th, the whole team at Root & Sky Farm (Tiffany and I) congregated at our headquarters (2nd story office at the farm) to discuss the future of Root & Sky Farm for 2018, and beyond. We would like to thank our babysitter (her name rhymes with Fletpix), who allowed for two hours of thoughtful and uninterrupted conversation.
There are so many possibilities, so many interests; it was great to discuss what we would like to accomplish in 2018 while also laying the groundwork for future opportunities. Tiffany is a professor full-time, and I work part-time on another farm, and we are full time parents, so trying to set reasonable expectations is essential.
So, because we are SO reasonable, ee opened the meeting discussing twenty-five different possible farming enterprises. I cracked open some spreadsheets with varied scenarios and financial information to help us evaluate whether each opportunity was viable or not. I LOVE to research farming opportunities. Possibly too much. Tiffany has done some acting in the past, feigning interest, but the fact that her eyes didn't glaze over in this meeting, hearing my variable costs and hypotheticals, made me love her even more.
Some topics were just too involved, too long-term to discuss seriously. Having farm dinners almost entirely composed of products from our farm, say, or a pizza farm that raises as many of the ingredients as possible (wheat for the pizza flour, tomatoes for sauce, peppers, garlic...) for wood fired pizzas cooked on the farm, for example. These are our dream, but it would be good if got, say, basic irrigation first. I got into this whole farming thing because I started making cheese, and had insane idea of "what if we had our own cows/goats/sheep/water buffalo/camel/cat/Robert De Niros (anyone see Meet the Parents?) to milk?” But here is a significant financial investment required for dairy (stainless ain't cheap). We’re not quite ready.
Other enterprises might need individual marketing that I'm not sure I can fully invest in doing this year. One example of this kind of enterprise is quail for eggs and meat. Even though a quail yields only half a pound of meat, the cost is the same to process as a five pound chicken? That would make quail very expensive. I haven’t yet found a USDA processor of rabbits, so more research is required. I believe there is a market out there for eating rabbits, but it would probably require a lot of work to find them.
There are others that didn't make the cut this year because there aren't enough hours in the day, or just preference for others at this stage (salad greens, geese, our own honey bees). But the thrill of dreaming about these things is part of why we got into this, so we’re so excited for even some of the dreams becoming a reality.
In my next post, I am going to take one of the six enterprises we hope to have on the farm in 2018. A few enterprises may just be on a homesteading level due to time commitment, while others we hope to put out the public.
Feel free to leave comments of what you would like to see, or if you have any advice. We are very excited for 2018, and we hope, through the blog, social media, or in person, that you are able to come along with us at Root & Sky Farm!