(Continued from here) In the fall of 2000 we moved to our current 75 acre property. We want to give our six kids space to run and we wanted to learn how to be more self-sufficient. (20 years later we would say we want to be more resilient…we all need community.) Our resources were my childhood experiences (and therefore my family’s knowledge) and a love of learning. It also helped that I worked as a 10 month employee in a K-12 school environment. This gave me plenty of time in the summer to play farmer.
Over time we added chickens, a garden, goats, and pigs. But it only used a small portion of our land. Getting cows helped change that. Larger animals need much more pasture.
We tried lots of things and failed at many of them. U-Pick. Farming full time. Berries. Organic certification (well, we succeeded with certification but voluntarily dropped out of the program for a number of reasons). Farm memberships with pre-order discounts.
Of course, some ideas worked out. The asparagus still comes up. Grants for fencing and a pasture water system were a huge help. We’ve made good friends through our NOFA contacts. Farmers Markets. And of course, our children had lots of access to fresh air and sunshine while learning to work and be responsible.
Then in 2019 a change came in employment. As the planting season started, I began working in a traditional 12-month full-time position. This combined with normal aging significantly affected how much I could assist on the farm.
As things have unfolded, some of our children have decided to go into a joint venture with us. Until now, the farm has been mine, operating under the DBA of Treasures of Joy. Soon it will be an LLC and newly branded as Southwick Family Farm.
This is fitting. Seeing my children join us with with their age-associated energy and ideas is itself a treasure of joy. – The Farmer (RAS)