Again it's been quite some time since my last post. 2010 has been quite a year. Year end numbers are promising but matching last years numbers will still take a small miracle, which most than likely will not happen. As a businessman every years goal is to increase sales over the year before. As a Farmer every years goal is to increase the heath of the soil, hence health of the plant, and in turn the bounty they yield.
As it so happens there were a few "victories" in the living work of the Farm here also a few challenges, some of those new, some of those recurring. I'll start with one of the "victories"
Our first Cherry Tomato planting was in the end successful . Somehow I managed to avoid the die off which can turn a beautiful healthy planting, to a dieing, frustrating, "I'm not growing these again" planting. I do have present in the soil fusarium wilt in a few isolated spots. This disease when the heat really gets going can ravage the rows. I do inoculate the transplants with a bacteria that serves to protect the root systems from fusarium, and I don't plant cherry tomatoes in areas known to have fusarium present. And this year I religiously made sure gopher damage to the irrigation lines never went unchecked. The result was a planting that gave and gave, copious amounts of sweet delicious little candy treats. Cherry Tomatoes are not only labor intensive in harvest but in maintenance, so break even is high, and to make a decent profit is really hard. At the beginning of the year I swore if I didn't reach certain profit levels I would reduce the amount I grow greatly. Well this year they did well, I did well, our help did well. Cherry Tomatoes are a bit of job security for our help here as they keep them busy.This of course makes a dilemma for me. Should I have the gall to assume next year the viability will repeat itself? Hah!!! I always have to take in account all the variables, for instance we were spared the normal intense heat, our workforce is not always so efficient in the picking speed, and I'm not always so religious in my duties. Oh the choices I'm faced with.
Now on to one of the which due to time constraints I'll be brief, very brief.
I'm not alone in the marketplace. Competition grows and lately it been intense on a few fronts.
I'm making adjustments, building new niches, and fighting like hell for my position in marketplaces. The last few years have brought into existence quite a few new Farms, and also the home gardening explosion has siphoned off more of my traditional customer base.
So what is good for the "Food Revolution" as a whole, and good for our local environment, has increased pressure of competition in the marketplace.
More on this later as it's a quite important subject with many levels of effects.