January Farmer Notes

Farmer Notes

As promised, you are reading me again (last notes) at the beginning of a New Year. A Healthy New Year I hope for all.  Good health can lead to happiness. One big goal of organic farming and organic food processing is to make sure nutritious food can see its way to your plate. Truth to tell, good food is a major player in health and a healthy population. Why so few of the nation’s farm subsidies are not spent on nutritious crop production mystifies me. Some of you readers may be thinking now this is a major digression from birds! Well, their role in health, and as an indicator of health can never be diminished.

Ahh… winter birds: Chickadees, juncos, finches, nuthatches, waxwings, ravens, owls… we’ve been blessed with them all this wintry month of January. And a wintry month it has been. On the coattails of a cold, snowy second half of December, January arrived and brought two more snow storms and more cold. Our old John Deere (me in it) was busy with the blower and plow keeping our granary cleared out, while all outbound freight was stalled for a variety of reasons, few of them ours.  In time, we finally got caught up on processing but just now are we getting caught up with out-bound freight. Most of you are aware that all freight deliveries have become delayed. After all this time, this is finally beginning to affect us at Bluebird, too, even if in a marginal way compared to many businesses. Thanks for your patience!

Both the  USPS, and UPS have been awesome, and have done their best to see packages are delivered but here again, they can only control what they can control. Over all, and beginning with the Pandemic, our supply chains as a nation have become seriously tested. I’m not simply referring to toilet paper, either. Our food supply/distribution which, last time I checked, was a fairly important supply, did not escape this weakness.  This might  give pause to many whom think about our nation’s health and security.  Who do we all rely on for food?  Farmers, yes, but also their markets. What’s more, what type of marketplace are they growing for, and who controls it. How connected are the farmers to their marketplace? This connection, or lack of,  can either lead to control, or dismissal of control.

All is not lost, thanks to farm-direct marketing and production. Small Agricultural businesses such as Bluebird have filled in some of the supply chain gaps during these past couple of years. As supply became more questionable to the masses, many folks who hadn’t before thought of going straight to the source began to. It has been a humbling, inspiring, sanctifying process to be part of this. I feel this movement and concern was overdue and will be a valuable circumstance/lesson to build on. The marketplace is not going to shrink and that is good! However, perhaps small farms and those that specialize particularly in quality, nutritious food and good food practices can reclaim a more solid and stable market for their soulful goods.

And so, we continue to crank away up here on the hill 5 days a week snow, rain, cold or shine to fill up the orders so many of you place. We couldn’t be more grateful. I am not only grateful to you who  keep us all employed, but I am grateful to our small crew here who work hard everyday to see the goods to your plate. We are blessed, indeed.

It all begins in the soil and as I write, our soils remain under 3 feet of solid snowpack, and under that snow pack a well-recharged moisture profile in our soils awaits, thanks to all the November rain prior to real winter. Mother Nature, as I’ve written many times before, somehow always evens things out. Amen!

While farm season remains a ways off, I’m already looking forward to having a great soil profile to work with this year which, for our fields here at Bluebird, is going to be a big cover cropping spring.  I’ll write more about that next month. The importance of cover crops and what kinds we use and when.

For the meantime, we are into a lot of high pressure here at the tail of January. Which can mean sunshine, or it can mean fog, it seldom means precipitation but most always means sustained chill.  Great cooking weather. Even greater eating weather! So, keep piling in the nutritious foods you get from us and elsewhere, and let’s do our best to stay healthy this coming year and for many years beyond.

Yours, Farmer Sam