From The Ridge
What weather!, cold, cold, cold! Time to get ready from Spring, put on your compost if you haven’t already, weed and till as weather permits, go through seed catalogs. Try new varieties, lay out family plan for a new year, be sure to include cover crops. I like oats, rye, buck wheat and Hairy Vetch. I have about 100 feet of Concord Grapes and a 100 foot row of thornless blackberries. I put straw on each row in the fall along with compost. Both make wonderful juice and jelly Christmas presents.
The backbone of your small farm annual plan should be marketing and diversification. Growing or raising is the easy part. Whatever you grow or raise should be different (a niche market) or something you can add value to (peppers can be salsa, berries can be U-Pick or jelly). A long time ago I wrote about Ernie Bohner of Persimmon Hill Berry Farm in south Missouri. He sold fresh berries, frozen berries, then U-Pick berries and a day on the farm, then dried blue berries, but ten times the money from the same crop. The same yield, but in a different form to add different customers. Stop by Persimmon Hill Farm (see ad in this issue) and look at all the products he makes there and read Kelly Klober’s article (and see River Hills/Wind Ridge Farmers’ Market in the Calendar of Events) for more ideas. What can you do on your farm? Let your imagination run wild!
Lastly, thank you to all our readers that have help us make 30 years possible. Some of you have been with us from issue #1 and to all the others, we THANK YOU from the bottom of our heart.
Happy & Profitable Farming,