|The 2022 crew: Allison, Fain, Marci, Arden and Michael.|
|Wrapping Up 2022|
As we wrap up our 8th season at Great Day Gardens, we have many reasons to celebrate and much to be thankful for! Here are a few farm highlights from 2022 and thoughts about where we are headed:
-At the start of the year, we let go of our pastry program and radically simplified our bread offerings. This was hard to do (especially for our dedicated Saturday morning customers!), but it’s enabled us to focus on local sourcing and improving the quality of our bread products. Staple breads is still our mainstay, but we may branch out a bit into more snackable items next year. Thank you to the team at Seylou Bakery for letting Michael visit in February and inspiring us to keep striving for the perfect loaf.
-Arden joined two farming peer groups who meet virtually once a month. Through this support, we have vastly improved our farm fertility program and implemented new biological pest control practices (wasps and nematodes in the mail!). It’s hard to set aside time for this kind of development work, but it goes to show that collaboration and networking can take the local food movement further.
-It turns out you can’t use your garage as a grocery store, and in August we were forced to close our Farm Market on Thomas Jefferson Rd. Thankfully the folks at Rookie’s Ice Cream let us move in for the rest of the summer, and we plan to return there in 2023.
-We had our most successful grain growing year so far, harvesting enough wheat to use in Ciabattas and a bumper crop of corn for seed and milled products. You can expect us to continue diversifying into these products going forward!
-We are fortunate that people seem to find us when we need help in the busy season. Thank you Sydney A., Fazlullah, Sabawoon, and Marci for stepping up during the summer heat. We hosted WWOOFers Hayden, Elena, Eve, Dalton, and Katie– thank you all!
-Our flower bouquets took off in a big way in late summer, and thankfully are able to yield prolifically while it’s too hot for many food crops. We plan to grow flowers early and often in 2023.
–Allison stepped into a full-time role in June and has been our newsletter-writing, info sheet-designing, vegetable-washing wizard since the summer. If you are a Forest customer please thank Allison for all her hard work!
-This fall, we were fortunate to be able to purchase both a walk-behind and a newer 4-wheel tractor. These have already proven themselves as the right tools for our farm system, and our hope is that they will allow us to take better care of the soil by incorporating more cover crops. We’re looking forward to getting more done without exhausting our fragile human bodies!
-We planted over 200 blueberry bushes. This will take some years before they bear fruit but they are looking very healthy. It’s been a longstanding goal to establish perennial crops on the farm and satisfying to see them planted.
-In November, we were sad to see Fain leave after 4 years at Great Day Gardens. She was a vital part of the farm, and we already miss her! However, we’re excited to see her advance her farming career at New Roots Community Farm in West Virginia.
–Raising a toddler on the farm is both energizing and chaos-inducing. Jordi was able to tag along on the farm when the weather was nice in the spring and fall, and had many days making “Saturdough” in the bakery with dad. We are SO thankful for his caregivers Sydney, Rebeca, Anja, Abbie and especially Jordi’s grandmother Blair whose work enables us to keep the farm running.
–Bumper crops of the year: field corn, Napa cabbage, tomatoes, sweet peppers, green beans. Crop failures and disappointments: rye, sweet potato, dry beans.
Last but not least, we are so thankful for our community of customers who value local food and make our work possible. We are fortunate as local farmers to know the people who eat our food, and always inspired by your efforts to spend time shopping and cooking healthy food. If you have time please send us a note with feedback from this year anything you would like to see Great Day Gardens take on in 2023.
We are taking off for the holidays but will be back at market with our usual selection on January 7. We will take a short hiatus in February, and then it’s onward to the 2023 season!