Good morning out there!
As I write this (645am) the magpies are singing, the sun is rising and its pink and lavender tones set light on gum leaves in the most magical way. In biodynamics the earths’ cool morning air and mist is a breath out. I think it fits completely the calm still of the early morn. Often I struggle when my alarm goes off at 430am, but by the time I’ve had a cuppa at home, dragged the dog out of bed into the car, driven to the farm, had a coffee on site and figured a plan with sas; it’ll be 6/630am and I am ready to enjoy the gift of being awake with the dawn.
It’s a late but beautiful summer season. We’re so used to everything failing bar one thing and feeling stressed to keep things alive. However this year due to actually getting some decent rain, it not being mid 40 degrees with whipping north westerlys for a month or more AND having done soil building on top of Dave Griffiths yeoman ploughing foundation; we are seeing the patch producing magnificently and looking healthy and lush, not just alive. Which means we are in full production and things are starting to come on for summer. It’s still quite cool so the tommies are ripening just not in an out of control manner, which is fine by us as there’s everything else ready to pick.
We have hired help this year because we are getting old and lazy and we actually cannot physically deal with the amount that needs picking and packing with just the two of us. Although it feels like a big step, it also feels really great to have other people join us blurry eyed in the mornings and be a part of gung hoe goodness and they bring their own lovely energy in with them.
Katie (property owner and ex Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens farmer) always tells us we know more than we realise and as I explain how to pick, how to pack, how to tell what’s ripe and what’s not, the standard we have in regards to what we sell and why…I’m starting to think she’s right…only 5 years down the track Katie!
Nikki helps us pick and bunch on Monday, Sas and I pick salad on Tuesdays then dosome farming work, Sas picks and Ruby helps me pack CSA boxes and some restaurant orders on Wednesday. Then most of it goes to town for market Wednesday afternoon (3.30-630 pm in town!) CSA pickups and restaurant deliveries; Thursdays see us working with some vollies for half the day then Sas and I get admin and fingers crossed some more farming done, then I pick for a half a day on Friday…! And then we also have beauty Deb doing a few hours in the dawn most days as our human weeding machine…weeding in summer, what a treat, we’ve never had to do that before!
We released CSA boxes this week and were amazed at how quickly they sold out! We are releasing another round to join up for subscription this week – go here if you’re keen to know what they are or order one in the second round: http://gunghoegrowers.com.au/get-our-veg/
AND pending produce after the Luscious Local Bushfire Fundraiser Dinner next weekend, we may release another round. We have lots of potatoes and pumpkins and onions and garlic stored ready for when summer starts to wane.
This week we trialled a new CSA pick up system now that we’ve got Tessa’s delicious milk – Sellar Farmhouse Creamery, Ant’s scrumptious fruit – Tellurian Fruit Gardens; and our veggie boxes all picking up at market. A whole new stall for CSA members to grab their ready packed produce. This meant no more crazy lines! Win win! Thank you to everyone who supports us as we evolve into systems that are better for everyone.
Sas and I are VERY aware that farming is a lot of luck (weather wise) thrown in with hard work and some tricks up your sleeve. This week we had a lovely man Kieran who tends Annie Smithers kitchen garden in Keynton come up and individually interview us for his University Research project. We have done numerous interviews for similar things but Kieran’s approach was definitely more personal and reflective. Sas went first then me and Kieran remarked that we both answered very similarly for some questions. Ha! For me that was somewhat reassuring. It made me realise (again) how little time I take to reflect on this journey. I felt opened and somewhat emotional after speaking with Kieran. One of the biggest questions that silenced me was: ‘what are you proud of?’ Apparently we both answered along the lines that “we’re still here”. Which made me laugh, kinda sad, but also kinda proud.
People say lots of nice things to us all the time. If you know us, you know we can find those things hard to grab so they can slide off our backs. It can be hard when you feel like you’re failing at most of the things most of the time to take a moment to look at the journey. Sometimes you might not want to because it might mean you have to quit. But I’m grateful that this year we’ve got tomatoes again, we can see a measurable difference in our soil, plants are looking lush and we’re picking big bounties. Im grateful that we’ve chosen to walk the edge which means I get to work in barefeet and be outside using my brain, my body, my skills and never for one moment feel that I’m in control of everything, ever. (A very overwhelming state at times and at others a completely freeing one.)
So here’s to 1 in 5 years of good growing seasons and the community we feed for being there the whole time and to you and me Sas; cos I think we’ve come through a lot, and sure there’s more to come, but lets enjoy the full plate this moment, this minute.
Mel (and Sas) your Dirty Hoes x