To say that this past farm season was a breeze would be the understatement of the century. Taylor’s hair is turning grey and the wrinkles around my eyes are more pronounced than ever. We have weathered many storms in the nine years that we’ve spent farming , but the truth is, the 2017 season is one we’ll never forget.
Every season has had its fair share of ups and downs. When we started Tumbleweed Farm we started small, had a tiny CSA, only a few restaurant accounts and our farmers market booth wasn’t nearly as big or diverse as it is today. We’ve grown our farm slowly and thoughtfully. We never wanted to take on more than we could handle because we knew that could affect the quality of our product. This past season we took on (almost) more than we could handle. The stress level was high, our expectations for ourselves and our farm were through the roof and Mother Nature was not on our side. We worked through drought and weeks of smokey weather (from the Gorge wildfires) had two major crop devastations, tractor problems, irrigation issues, our largest CSA to date, and learned how to raise, love and say goodbye to our first ever pigs. We didn’t sleep much, and when we did we’d dream about things that needed to get done. In August, we had a “family meeting” and decided that enough was enough. We needed help and didn’t want to continue living our lives at this crazy pace. We want to enjoy the farm and not have it kill us. We’re finally bringing on help (hallelujah!!) and we’re going to “try” and relax a bit more next season.
As always, I’ve found contentment in my kitchen and on this blog. I love sharing recipes in this special place and I hope you all continue to enjoy cooking and eating through the seasons with us.
This blog will always be a place that I come to to share inspiration and shed light on the simple pleasures of farm to table cooking. One of the things I shy away from (most of the time) is honestly sharing the hardships that come with farming. The main reason I don’t want to go there is that I’m “off the clock” when I’m on this blog. I love unwinding after a day in the field and totally forgetting about the stresses, failures or even triumphs that ebbed and flowed through the day. This little place–regardless of who reads or follows along– will always be a special spot for me to write, create and forget about the typical stresses of the day.
2017 may have been a tough year, but I wouldn’t take it back. It was the year my cookbook debuted, it was the year we got to throw an epic farm dinner, it was the year we decided to hire help, and most important, it was a year of resilience. We’re continuing to grow, learn and navigate our way through this crazy, dirty life. It may not always be easy, but it’s worth every challenging moment.
I hope that in the coming year we get to slow down more often and enjoy the simple pleasures of resting in the middle of the farm field with a few beers (still muddy from the days work) and of course, more gatherings around the table with friends, neighbors and strangers alike.
Cheers to 2018!
All of the above photos were taken by my dear friend Kate Schwager.