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Farm News AUGUST

Posted 8/26/2014 4:00pm by Gregg Keckler.

Dear Folks,

August is nearly over and I have not written my monthly farm news.  So here goes -

We have some beautiful broccoli planted for fall.  We have just picked a lot of the watermelons.  They are scrumptious!  One of you came to the farm yesterday to buy second tomatoes and left with watermelon!  Gregg was giving samples and the taste was irresistible!

We are picking several apple varieties already -  Red Graventstien, Chestnut Apples, Gala, Zestar, William's Pride, and Summer Rambo.  We have about 2 -3 weeks left of peaches to pick and sell.  Our first batch of heirloom tomatoes are finished.  We have a second batch coming on and lots of cherry tomatoes.

Last week's weather was hard on the tomatoes.  Wet and Warm!  A recipe for mold and fungus.  Hopefully with the hot, dry weather this week the plants will recover.  We are paying kids to pick all rotten and split tomatoes to get them away from the plants.

New developements this month.

In the middle of July we hired Juan Hernandez.  He is a farmer, who as worked for many years with a local large fruit grower.  Juan and Oliver work well together.  He is our first full time salaried worker.  He is living in the house on the other farm.  His coming has been a huge asset for us.  We've got a experienced man whom we can rely on to do the right things while Gregg and Oliver are at markets or making deliveries.

We are not extravagant folks, You can come and see for yourself.  We try to use money and resources wisely incorporating recycling, reusing, solar, respectful land use, and accurately accessing our needs and wants.  We have made mistakes, but since we farm conservatively and strongly believe in diversity, we have never been devastated.

We love growing food and selling food directly to you.   You are people needing food. ( I hate to call you a consumer and us a producer.  That is not true and those terms are dehumanizing.)  You buy your food from a farmer who grows fruits a vegetables on a farm that you are welcome to come and visit.

 

We like this model!

With that said - feel free to come and visit or even work!  We would enjoy having you as much as you would enjoy the drive, the visit, ahd green space and the dirt.

The future:

Our area is dotted with old small family farms - 15 acres - 60 acres places,  The population is aging.  Many of these places are available now or will be available in the next couple of years.  We hate to see farms broken up for development - some residential - some industrial.

 We would like to purchase some more land - we own 41 acres and rent about 40 more.  We do not mind renting, but we are always afraid that these aging farmers will decide to sell out for development.

So our thoughts -

Would any of you folks be in a position to lent money to us for real estate purchase?  Yes, we can go to the bank, but we would like to go right to our income source first.  You are the folks who believe in us and local farming and want to see local farmers succeed.  Banks will charge many upfront fees.  By getting private investors we can avoid these fees and put our (actually- as an investor and as a buyer of our fruits and vegetables- your money) to better use.

A couple of these properties have older homes that would require much updating in order for a bank to consider loaning money.  The landowners are elderly people- many living on limited incomes,  They would not be able to make necessary repairs and updates to meet bank requirements.  We are interested in purchasing these places because of the soil, the land,  the potential for food production.  We can fix up the house in our personal time (in the winter). if you may have some money in an account gaining little interest or you might consider playing big investor for our future growth, please let us know.  We can discuss terms, interest, repayment, etc.. We are open to ideas, and creative thoughts.  If you are saying, "How much money is she talking about?"  I would say that we would need a total of about $300,000.  We have $100,000.  The rest could come from many sources - say..

10 people @ $20,000

20 people @ $10,000

40 people @ $5,000 and so on

I realize that not everyone is an a position to do this - that's fine.  I just wanted to throw the thought out.  It is only going to pertain to a small unique portion of our farm friends, but at least we are letting you know what we are considering doing. 

 

We hope that you are having a wonderful summer - lots of sunshine, lots of birds, lots of butterflies and lving things.

 

if you are interested in our Fall CSA, now is the time to sign up.  We will be taking subscriptions until September 6.

Loving Life,

Gregg, Louse, Oliver, and Virginia Keckler

 Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm, Inc

www.orchardcountryproduce.com