Megan and I attended a course in Unity this past few months called Farm Beginnings. The title didn't hit me until the final session last week. I haven't really felt that I am at the beginning of anything; for me, farming has just been a chapter in a long saga of trying to make life add up to something. Megan was accepted late last year as a Journeyperson in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) program for promoting farming as a way of life. Because of this, I was included in the course, and attended most of the sessions. Farm Beginnings was attended by maybe 20 people who all shared the status of beginning farmers (thus the name!) The itinerary consisted of 6 or 7 day long sessions where we were given countless reams of charts, graphs, spreadsheets, and various other materials aimed at teaching us the business of farming. Every month a presenter or two would describe their own experience at starting a small farm in Maine. Needless to say, the only presenters invited to speak were those with some degree of success, so that certainly helped somewhat with the morale, but overall, the curriculum was daunting at best.
The final segment of the class required representatives of each farm to write a business plan for their operation, and to make a presentation to the group. Deadlines and stand up talks never being my strong suit, one can imagine that the last week involved a fair amount of increasing stress at the old Six Point Farm sweatshop. Megan and I pulled together a whole winter's worth of made-up projections and turned them into (actual) data to plug into the plan. I have to say that when we finally ground it all out, it looked half-way believable. So here is the big plan in a nutshell.
This year we will plant 3 acres of squash, an acre of cabbage, and 4 acres of a wide variety of vegetables. We are enlisting CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers who will purchase shares in advance for weekly or biweekly vegetable deliveries over a 5 month period. We will increase our presence at the Farmer's Market in Houlton, open one or more roadside stands, ramp up our online sales, and with the 10,000 plus pounds of cabbage grown we will increase sauerkraut production to 6 or more batches per week. I plan to develop a wholesale delivery route around the state that will require about 5 days per month. Over a four year period we hope to grow our revenues at 33% annual growth in order to attain a stable business with a few more jobs.
So that is the dream that we came up with. The presentation day at the Farm Beginnings course was a very intense, emotional day where a dozen or so farm groups presented their life dreams. Most of the participants were way younger than me, and they all seemed so passionate about their plan that I can't imagine anything short of success. Megan and I went last, and mostly just winged it, presentation-wise, but I think we both went home with the feeling that we had been a part of something bigger than us. Small farming as a way of life needs to have a resurgence in this state and nation and world if there is going to be any hope for the future. I think we both came away from the Farm Beginning process feeling like we are doing our part.
Well, 2017 was an interesting year, but we are still pushing forward here at Six Point Farm. Everything moves slower than you would hope, but we finally got the kitchen finished, received our Commercial Kitchen License, and are ready to start shipping our pint jars of sauerkraut! Early feedback from our tasting trials last year helped us to tweak the ferment and get a product that I think everyone will find something to like about. Megan said that we must have succeeded when Bob remarked ""now that's something I think I can work with". Here at Six Point Farm, faint praise is often as good as it gets, so we take it every time!
So I have a lot more updating to do on the old Blog here; I have been totally slacking in that department, but I just had to get out here and spread the word; Six Point Farm Sauerkraut is one of those condiments that no refrigerator should be without. Throw a fork full on a hot dog or baked potato, or just eat some right out of the jar! It's good, and good for you. And every jar of Six Point Farm Kraut is fully guaranteed not to Warp, Crinkle, Crack, or Pull apart at the seams!. Where else do you find that kind of quality?
So be sure to check us out at
Or stop by the County Co-Op Farm Store in Houlton and grab a jar while you are there.
Talk to you soon!
Spring was cold, wet, generally challenging, but now that it is officially summer, we are starting to harvest a few fresh vegetables for our local customers. We are working on a plan for mail order, so stay tuned for details. Forget Amazon! This will be the genuine article. Fresh, wholesome, sustainable, locally grown and shipped to your door. But for now, if you live within 15 miles of the old Houlton Courthouse Clock, we will drop off a box of freshly picked vegetables at your doorstep. Delivery charge may apply, depending on the amount of your order. We will send out an email, text message, facebook post, telegram, pony express, even a phone call or fax if you choose. Just tell us your preferred method of communication, and we'll send you a list of what's available each week, and you can send or call in your order.
So sign up for the newsletter on our website: www.6pointfarm.com
Like us on Facebook @sixpointfarmmaine
Stop by and see us at 330 New Limerick Road, Linneus
The first list will be sent out later this week, but be thinking Salad. Things like spinach, assorted lettuces, radish. And it's all certified organic by MOFGA; healthful and delicious.
So sign up now, and get ready for a season of good eating. Also be sure to stop by the County Co-Op and Farm Store, Main Street, Houlton, where all of our products will be sold! See you soon!.
At long last, I think there will be seeds in the ground this week. Winter just wouldn't let go, but I think the ground is finally going to dry out enough to till up and plant. Megan has been analyzing and strategizing with the seed packages so long that the other day I told her she might have the seeds worn out before they even get in the ground.
Last week, I was commenting on how much it would cost just to buy cover crop seed for a 2 acre field that is ready for crops, but no plan in place for this year. Before it was over, we decided it would be cheaper just to plant two more acres of winter squash. Go Big or Go Home seems to be our motto.
When we went out the week before last to get soil samples, we found a row of carrots that had been hiding under the barley last fall, so Megan dug them up and washed them off, and we sold a dozen bags of Spring Carrots. We plan to work the rest into our trial batch of Carrot Kraut this week.
It rained most of the weekend, but today the sun is out and the wind is drying out the fields. Wednesday we will pick up the soybean meal fertilizer, and by Friday we hope to have the ground ready for seeds. Can't Wait!