On a farm large or small you have to be a jack of all trades, it's not like you can call someone in to fix something when it breaks, especially if you can't afford to or have already blown your maintenance budget. So you are left to your own devices and the help from others.
One of the jobs that lacks on our farm is marketing/advertising specialist. We haven't figured out who that is and what all the duties are of the position - add to that sales. Not only do you have to learn about growing vegetables, viruses, bacteria, integrated pest management, management intensive gracing techniques, nutrient management, animal husbandry (which includes first level veterinarian care), soil and water conservation, meteorology, tractor and implement maintenance, carpentry, electrical, plumbing - ahh the list is just to long to complete. Suffice it to say farmers have always been jacks of all trades and I can't do half that stuff.
But today's vegetable farmer has it much harder than our predecessors when it comes to sales and marketing, by the mere fact that there were fewer choices for the consumer back then. Today, the list of food retailers and purveyors are as long as the list of responsibilities a farmer has and they are backed by slick marketing campaigns, sales forces and multi-media influence. What we have at our disposal is freshness, taste, integrity and the internet. Our forefathers might have had ready markets but we have access to the world. It doesn't do us any good because we don't ship our food and we don't drive our food more than ten miles from our farm, but it does give us a chance to potentially reach more people and explain who we are and what we have for sale.
Because we are so small and in order to save us money ,we do not harvest vegetables until they are ordered. This cuts down on waste(if we cut 20 heads of broccoli and only sell 10, we lose or must stop working to blanch and freeze the balance). It also shows the customer that they are getting the freshest vegetables possible. Same with our eggs. They are usually less than seven days old because of demand; I can tell some people the only way to get fresher eggs is to catch them as they come out.
We are proud of what we've accomplished so far and we look forward to each new season knowing that we are doing something that very few people choose to do and it does have a positive impact on the environment and on people’s health. It's humbling when someone tells you how good a vegetable tastes or how good the eggs and bread taste. When they keep coming back year after year you find out what all the hard work and sacrifice went towards. We are just about to begin feeding a second generation of customers; one of our regulars has had a baby. It makes us beam to know some of the first local vegetables this child will eat will be from our gardens and that is way cooler than anything we ever thought would come from our endeavor.
We are helping support our community with a chemical free, environmentally sensitive and semi-sustainable agricultural enterprise. Fresh vegetables and fruits that don’t make you sick but in fact give you more vitamins and nutrients with a much smaller carbon foot print. Are there any jobs we are not responsible for? Nope, and there are plenty of reasons for that!