This blog will either fascinate, or be right up there with watching paint dry, because today we write about the seed and tree order. I donâ€™t always spend much time discussing this annual event, but this year it deserves its own place just for having reached such grand proportions.
Itâ€™s not a surprise that a farm needs to buy some seeds and trees, Every gardener buys seedsâ€¦a quick drive to the local nursery or hardware store, plunk down a dollar or two per packet, no problem. It used to be like that, long ago! I sit next to a box that arrived yesterday, itâ€™s 12â€x10â€x8â€. It contains $450 worth of seeds, and arguably, the future of our farm for the next two to three years. That alone makes it as good as my own private bar of gold. What the hell can cost that much money?….itâ€™s not as hard to spend that much as one would like to thinkâ€¦in fact, it represents rather a lot of thrift and probably no less than 30 hours of research and work to compile. There is an easy comparisonâ€¦imagine your boss tells you â€œorder everything you will need to do your job for the next two yearsâ€¦.supply prices are going up and we have to acquire everything now. Oh, and donâ€™t spend a penny on anything you wonâ€™t use.â€
So, enough about why it got so bigâ€¦.what is in there? Well, all sorts of thingsâ€¦spigariello liscia ( a special Italian broccoli raab), passionflower, bitter melon, pumpkins, hot peppers, special purslane, at least 7 kinds of hybrid pollenless sunflower, amaranth greens, sweet peppers, celosia, summer squashes, kohlrabi, bunching onions, snap beans, French shell beans, sweet corn, shelling peas, cucumber, cabbage, okra, and acorn squash. This doesnâ€™t include the other $100 order with another company for the snap and snow peas and some other assorted items that the first company ran out of. Nor does it address the fruit tree order that is already hovering at $400. Not only does money not grow on trees, it takes money to grow trees. But, like everything else, itâ€™s an investment in the future. We were short on pomegranates this yearâ€¦.donâ€™t sit around and endure that; buy 15 more trees so than in 3-5 years there will be no lack! I havenâ€™t counted in awhile, but I try not to think about what we invest in order to have a farm that can earn our living for usâ€¦.the outcome is that in some ways we are not well-off at all, but we are richer than Midas when it comes to good food for ourselves and our customers. I was taken to a fancy early dinner the other day. Every single item in the dish I ordered (spaetlze with heritage turkey confit, butternut squash, chestnuts and brussesls sprouts) with the exception of the sprouts is growing right here. There is almost no point to eating out, except to get ideas about what to do with all of it!
But back to the seeds. Or the trees. Picking them out isnâ€™t some random stab of the finger in the catalog. Growers who love what they do are as addicted to these catalogs asâ€¦..well, itâ€™s bad, trust me on that. We linger over each description, searching out the one that titillates the most. Looking for a pole bean? Ooooh, hereâ€™s â€œMarvel of Veniceâ€â€¦.54 days, BIG, TASTY, YELLOW PODS promises â€œlarge, sweet juicy, 8â€-9â€ Â¾â€ wide flat pods borne on vigorous vines. This white-seeded variety is remarkably earlyâ€. Oh, and itâ€™s an heirloom! Bonus, I can save the seeds! But wait, a quarter pound costs $9.05. And Iâ€™m really tired of moving t-posts for trellises. And every time the customers see a bean that isnâ€™t green they freak and I have to spend 2 days explaining that yes, that is still a bean and you eat it. Just like if it was green. Reallyâ€¦â€¦.oh, maybe not that one. Hm, maybe a bush bean would be betterâ€¦.. If you can imagine this process repeated with some variation for every vegetable imaginable, now you know why it takes so long. Then there are the slightly unusual choicesâ€¦oh, look, butterbeans! â€œAcclaimed as the finest in green vegetable soybeansâ€â€¦.that sounds good! 5 lbs for $12.80? I can do that! And look, â€œprolificâ€ and â€œrelatively easy to shellâ€, thatâ€™s great! So after all the weighing and deciding, we made the commitment to go with the butterbeansâ€¦â€¦but nooooo, when itâ€™s time to place the internet order, they are already sold out!! (Insert cuss words of choice). And trust us, that wonâ€™t be the only time that happens! Want to buy some snap peas? Bwahahaaaa, You May Not. Try a less desirable variety, maybe your second or third choice? DENIED. No Peas For YOU. Itâ€™s like trying to negotiate a garden with the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Well, I could go on for days, but the important thing is that the seeds are arriving and weâ€™re going crazy planting them.