Here comes part 2 of how you can support my work heading into this new year.
Most of you will know that I do not plan on market gardening this year. To me, that means growing 30+ varieties of vegetables and herbs on a scale large enough to be my primary mode of income. Not market gardening doesn’t mean I won’t be growing anything however.
This post is a preview about the products that I will offer during 2021.
For 2021’s season, my main crop is going to be garlic. This will be the first year of a novel, no dig, vastly reduced input soil health approach to growing garlic that I hope to develop over time. That rotation takes up 2/3 of the market gardens. The other three will be used for growing my own seed garlic in its own mini rotation.
As part of that mini rotation, I am trying out a polyculture garden designed to be harvested along a “pick your own” style market day. This “Pick Your Own Vegetables (PYOV)” garden is a trial, an experiment, with a lot of the ideas related to building soil health while also producing high quality vegetables and herbs that I’ve been working on over the years.
Garlic and guaranteed access to the PYOV vegetables will be preordered separately, not together, as soon as all of the name changes and such go through, which again is going to take a little bit of time.
Currently, you will only be able to purchase directly from the farm. However, by the time the new website is up, I will have made my decision regarding whether or not I will return to REKO to sell garlic and some excess vegetables. Since my goal isn’t to earn my entire living from vegetables this year, a lot of pressure will be off and I should be able to enjoy REKO a lot more.
The picture I’ve included here is of my invoice for Italian seeds. But since there is another four months to go before anything is ready to harvest in earnest, let’s take it easy.
Once the new website is up there will be a subpage explaining my garlic production methods and how they differ from other systems and why supporting this kind of work is important for developing regenerative production practices.
I will sell preordered garlic in three different amounts. These weights are fresh harvest weight and prices include 14% VAT:
1-5 kg = 21,50 €/kg
6-10 kg = 19,50 €/kg
11+ kg = 17,50 €/kg
These prices are slightly higher than last year to bring them back in line with other high quality Finnish garlic. Feel free to make a bulk order with friends to save some money. I’m projecting to harvest about 500 kilograms of fresh garlic (or more, hopefully) this year and will presell as much of that as possible.
If you would like to have your garlic braided, you will be able to indicate this on the form once it is available. I will add 5€ per braid to the total cost to help cover the handiwork.
Pick Your Own Vegetables (PYOV)
Likewise with garlic, there will be a subpage explaining the plan in more detail. For now, I can say that I’ve more or less planned to be able to provide a wide range of vegetables to about 15-20 customers per week from June onwards. Instead of coming to the farm to pick up ready vegetable sets, you will have the opportunity to pick what you want from the special garden patch (as well as from elsewhere around the farm).
Last year we had a few pick your own days and people really, really enjoyed exploring the farm and finding things in the cover crops as well as stuffing their bags full of kale and fennel. So this year I thought, “what if I designed a garden that would put all of that together?”
What I am going to do is take one plot, convert it to large-width beds “Charles Dowding beds,” and plant each one with a polyculture of 6-8-10+ different vegetables and herbs. I’ll maintain it over the season and then we’ll work out a way to have an open PYOV session each week for you to come and choose what you want. I’ll be there to give guidance on what is ready and how to harvest so we don’t compromise the plant’s health and whole season potential. I’ll probably also do a light harvest of everything beforehand in order to have some ready-picked items for sale to people in a hurry.
There is one catch. Although the overall amount of produce will be small (for instance, the amount of kale will be about 1/5 of last year), I need to continue collecting good data on the actual production amounts. So whether you decide to preorder or not, you will need to have the patience to weigh your vegetables before leaving so we can 1) get the data and 2) accurately charge for the produce.
I haven’t calculated as closely the total potential value from this garden yet, as it is very experimental, but I do believe it will produce at least 1,000€ over the summer. Which isn’t terribly much, but enough to justify the fun.
If this is interesting to you and you’d like to make a preorder, this is how it will work:
– Instead of ordering a set amount of value per week, you will order a set amount of value for the whole season (June-mid October).
– This comes full circle back to the “Pilot CSA” I launched in 2017 for my first season. Think of it like loading a vegetable gift card with cash.
– It will be your responsibility to make sure that you actually harvest (or buy direct) that amount by the end of the year
– I will do my best to ensure that the quality is as good or better than ever
– To ensure that people don’t just come to take one thing, there needs to be a mechanism (which I haven’t worked out) to encourage people to buy multiple kinds of produce each week. This way someone doesn’t come and harvest all of the zucchini that week for themselves etc.
– Most probably this will turn into something like a CSA where I inform each week what is available to everyone so you can plan beforehand
– Therefore this scheme is not for people who don’t want to buy a lot of different kinds of vegetables; it is not a replacement for a CSA or your weekly shopping.
– It is more for people who want to support this kind of novel approach to farming than people in search of a deal
Like with the garlic, I will monitor the preorders as they come in to ensure that we come in around 1,000€ (with luck) and then cut off the preorders. I want to ensure that those who want to secure access to this food will have something each week. Once we do some of the first harvests and try things out, then I’ll have a better idea as to what I have in excess and whether I can open more slots to the general public each week.
That’s it for now and I am looking forward to making the proper announcements and opening up sign ups soon!