Yes, it’s idyllic, the farm life.
We’re our own bosses and spend our days planning, planting, tending, weeding, harvesting, prepping, marketing and selling. We are market farmers. As we prepare for our seventh season, here’s the top 5 things we wish we’d known before we jumped headlong into this crazy but seriously rewarding lifestyle.
1: Fresh produce, chicken and eggs from the grocery store isn’t fresh enough anymore
Chard, lettuce, green beans, tomatoes; none of it tastes or looks as good as what we can pull from our own backyard.
2. It’s way more work than we thought it would be
Unless you’ve worked on a farm for more than a couple of weeks, you really cannot know how much work goes into producing food on a scale that feeds more than just a family. We aren’t complaining, but we are exhausted and sore come Saturday evenings during the growing season.
3. Everything revolves around the weather
Social activities, soil preparation, planting, harvesting, pruning, brooding chicks; almost everything we do on the farm is in some way tied to what the weather is doing or going to do. I even save my blog writing and website work for nighttime or when I can’t be outside because of the weather.
4. We would become both students and teachers
Neither of us went to “farming school” to learn how to grow stuff. Admittedly, my (Marie’s) background in veterinary medicine has served us well in the poultry department. But outside of that education, we didn’t know much about farming other than we liked the tomatoes we managed to grow when we lived in the city.
We also had no idea that we would become a go-to source of information on how to grow, cook, raise or otherwise do farm life stuff. We enjoy helping market customers learn about the species of garlic we’ve grown, how to brine a chicken or hard-cook farm fresh eggs so they peel easily.
5. Farmers markets are just as much about socializing as they are about buying produce
During our second year selling at farmers markets, we realized a trend. Spots of groups gathered each Saturday morning to do a little shipping, grab a coffee and muffin, and hang out, talking with friends. The market we attended each Saturday morning was a gathering spot for socialization. It’s so heart-warming to feel as if we are a small part of what makes the town we live in so special.