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Logo of AdAgrA 2019: True Success

Organic Blueberry Production - Part 5

Eric Pond

Conference

Recorded

  • January 16, 2019
    3:00 PM
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OK We're going talk about harvesting we've talked a little bit about it throughout the day. Food safety in case you were here earlier. This gentleman in the back got me corrected as of next year if you sell more than $250000.00 worth of produce. Or I think sell the retail outlets you'll need to be following the physical or food safety Federal Food Safety Modernization Act. So anyway. That entails a lot of paperwork it's also things like testing your water sources we talked about that if you use if you're using surface water it's really not a good idea to be putting them on certain to be applying surface water irrigation to food that you're going to eat you really need to be using a well or drip irrigation or something like that so that you're not getting that on the food or treating it we have we actually have to treat some of the. Water sources prior to going to a blueberry fields are very fields. You have a plan again we talked briefly earlier I was showing you pictures of that farm that is 1200 acres the farm is going to produce 30000000 pounds of berries That's a lot of similar loads leaving the farm every single day all day all night how are you going to cool that blueberries are respirators and all your berries are so they're actually they're alive I mean if you pick it it's not dead it's alive and it it needs instant teeniest cooling or the temperatures can actually increase so this blue fruit the ambient air temperature can be 85 degrees in the stuff is almost 100 degrees if you test the temperature of the Berry. We stopped picking over over 85 degrees is too high they just it just you don't get the shelf life or the quality so we come pick early and we quit we also don't pick when the various are wet because that moisture on that very You take that and put it in a cooler and add more moisture in the air in cold temperatures which aren't that cold you know there are frozen and it will start to decay quickly. We'll talk about hand-picking will tell you about mechanical harvesting We'll talk about timing we'll talk a little bit of we just talked a little bit about the cold chain what cold chain is referring to is that you should have a you should not be cooling and warming need to be cooling in cooling and need to step down to earth stable and so this is for selling into the marketplace OK this is I guess some of you may be thinking about doing this. So if you're picking and you cooling it down to 50 degrees you don't want to be going back up to $65.00 degrees unless you're in less that occasion is happening when you're selling say to farmer's market or you're selling it to. Grocery retail or a customers are picking it up in their C.S.A. box or something like that so the commercial side we drop down to I think it's $45.00 degrees and we run our sorting and packing we drop down to 35 degrees in our sorting and packing and we drop down to 32 degrees just before they're shipped out to and held it long term called Story so you're always still sweat if they cope from cold to warm they sweat which creates more sure but you also creates a problem and in transportation OK beautiful looking cluster of blue areas right. So for those 2 green ones those are going to get knocked off when you Horace these blue and. One of the things that we didn't talk about was all these varieties have different none of these are one pick wonders that's what we kind of refer to there's only one variety that's that and it's only for frozen it doesn't hold up for fresh so it's not firm enough on the fresh side so a plant like Duke will pick 5 times the farther south you go the more often you'll be picking So these northern Chile climates do have a more concentrated harvesting but it's still very spread out Usually we're on a 10 day cycle to pick our berries so we're picking the same variety every 10 days sometimes at 7 days depending upon the heat in the field but. It's really critical so we have this monster Montreaux that we said in Spanish and I can't remember exactly say in Spanish but to all of our workers it was like a sort of saying hi to somebody when you greeted them you said please wash your hands no reds and greens during the harvest season it was just it was kind of a joke that everybody knew but it was. This is a really great. Creative various because there's very few red berries in here and in fact these red berries in cold storage for 2 or 3 days will turn mostly blue so the be OK but it's always a challenge to get pickers to pick just. The blue fruit and leave all the other stuff out there yes so all these picking buckets every morning to see how they're not sitting on the ground these crews trays are only T.V. used for putting on the ground and then putting your buckets on in there everything sanitized and then these crates here these various going to the point that they're dumped out. On to the sorting system which you'll see later and they're run through a sanitizing bath of hot water and a sanitizer like tsunami or chlorine and then they come back to the field and they're stored in side of enclosed didn't try. So much. So the birds don't get in there and cause problems or any kind of so this is a typical. Kind of harvesting set up we've got 25 feet but between these fields you can see the mature field on the left is really full. This is that 300 acre farm I showed you in the very beginning so this is the how we harvested the farm we made these specially designed trailers to hold for pallets and be low to the ground. And they also tracks you can you can tow 3 or 4 of those trailers through a field notice a set of bathrooms and this is actually set up incorrectly the doors are opening towards the field that they're picking so supposed to be the other way around so the door opens into the roadway. And we don't allow smoking on any of our farms we just. Mandated no smoking on the entire farm to get away from the issue of people smoking even out in the field you know you could smoke here but you can't smoke here and you can't take anything into the field but water and people will take their sweatshirts out here in the field and take them off you can't have that in the field see tied around yourself or bring it out here or keep your backpack at the end of the row so in the field there's all these regulations about you know this plan it's a binder like this and it's like the Bible that you have to follow every procedure in there is Stephan Lee a salvation by works when it comes to food safety. It's it's necessary but intervene and you have to follow it when you're when you're at the scale we were but anyway so one thing about organization. The. This is organized so that you come in the field and there's a pallet on the ground they set their crates on so they none of this none of these buckets are set on the ground so you come in you set your bogus on the ground. You dump your bucket which is 10 pounds of areas each of these 2 gallon buckets are 10 pounds of very few dozen in this crate and I want a bucket and a half in each crate for 20 pound crates but for fresh I want to really thin you know I don't want to fill that up there sorting because they were bad pickers so anytime something is coming in with too many resin greens I'm paying by a pound for the figures to pick right so they get told to go over this over here and pick out their reds and greens which also ruins the other various they're picking through because they're being rough about it but it least after a time or 2 you get 3 strikes and you're out and we would starve people when they come in. We have a scanner they have a little card and you can that's the person and then they get a little ticket that says how much they've been they've been picking so and they know how many pounds how many they know the price per pound that we're paying so they know exactly how much they're picking another big thing here is if you're aware of it families like to pick on $1.00 person's ticket and they call them ghost pickers so it looks like this one person picked $2000.00 pounds but it's a family of 5 you can't have any of that so you really need to understand your labor laws your food safety laws if you're going to do anything at any kind of scale over $250000.00. Highly important. People farmers lost their farms because of the food safety of it so do you know anybody remember the earthbound lettuce Spanish issue. That was a half pallets of spinach they were custom packing for another farmer it was not even their crop that cost them to lose their company they basically lost it to the attorney for that represent them and people died and then they the attorney sold it to a venture capital company their portion of it so they ended up not only in there and there actually wasn't a farmer earthbound is just processing and marketing they don't own farms all leased But anyway there was a half pallet of spinach so just. To give you perspective. And then we have a we have on staff a picture whose average and that person goes and does test picks ahead of time so we know what to pay them when they show up and we get in the middle if you're a good picker you should be able to make $25.00 to $30.00 an hour if you're a meat average picker you can make $18.00 an hour or so and and. You have to be you can't be a slow picker because you have to make minimum wage and if they don't make minimum wage you have to pay them the extra amount of They've made minimum wage on an hourly basis you also have to have lunch breaks you have breaks to you know we have one of those big bull horns and we announce that it's break time they're being paid by the piece so some of they don't take it but you have to announce all of that has to it's a huge nightmare. But it's what's required so. So this is a typical Wayne station where people are coming in from the fields I'm going to move into the crates are going to getting way down here then going right on to the the trailer behind it. So this is starting some mechanical harvesting videos here so this is a mechanical harvester picking up small young field. See all the green in there is this what you do just to look at the also don't want to see the 15 percent that's on the ground this is just knocked off and never makes it in the Harvester The more on the ground the happier I am though because it means there's a bigger yield that actually made it out on the Harvester so well unless it's a bad driver and then he's just doing things on. Anyway OK so these machines are made by Oxbow actually makes blueberry harvesters and little Harvester out of state organ makes these. Their adjustable OK So there's all these adjustments that you can do to. Change how much blue is coming off and how much green how much red you're picking up sometimes it comes down that you just need to go on vacation for 10 days and come back and then it's ready to pick so all the adjustments in the world are not going to fix the fact that it's not ripe yet we have had physiological issues with weather so it's been these weird weather events and it's changing it is changing even more now where they won't release from the stem he doesn't matter how much you beat on him they just don't want to come off so there are weird physiological or environmental issues outside of the ability to you know make adjustments to the machine because you can adjust speed so that's how fast you're driving through the field these typically are driving a quarter to a half mile an hour half mile an hour really fast so you're driving like a quarter mile an hour or less you're just really going slowly through the field. And then. They're weighted and you'll see this in another video here OK here's a slow motion that shows this just I'll get to your question in a minute this shows the action of the reader and the catcher places are going around and you see the blueberries falling off so that thing is going like this right. Think about getting hit with a whip or hit with a baseball bat. They're both different actions right result with different. Impact So a lot of times this is a big thick rod and we also have these little thin ones sometimes we're trying to whip the point and different varieties are different as well and we can put more weight behind that so that it changes how hard that it impacts so we can have this long stroke or comes out to the end and then and it just moves the whole plant or we can slap the point and it all depends on the variety in the time of year which one we want so we're constantly changing weights up in the rotor head we're changing our speed through the field. And we're changing. How fast that orbital Motors going so the weight behind it changes the stroke action the speed of the motor changes how fast it's moving and the speed through the field is how fast we're hitting each plant so we're coming of the plant hello are we spending on that plant because you can actually literally whip the new growth off a point you can beat this new growth off you can be all the green fruit off and all that off the key trick is to get all of the right food off in the least amount of red and green and it's oh wait a compromise. It's always a comes but OK Another thing is going down through the field I get excited about this cast of a go down through these fields and you hit a low spot and you have to change your beer speed and your drive speed because the free to be the right for or less right and a good driver will do the bedroom cost you a lot of money quick to what I just bought one 233000 but it can pick 30 to 50 acres if you have more multiple varieties you can pick 50 to 60 acres with one machine we have that 300 acre farm that we have in Woodburn has 4 machines on it and will likely need a 5th $100.00 acre farm that one we were budgeting is going to have 2 machines on so handpicking cost us an average of think 79 cents last year and machine picking was $0.20 labor cost Yeah it was a $330000.00 difference we sent some fruit which. A broker broker marketer bought from us. About your fruit and then I sent about your fruit through the solar system OK so the the marketing company they picked 85 percent of the fruit they took by hand they wanted it by hand so the other 15 percent was machine picked the other guy took. 49 percent handpicked 51 percent machine pick half and half machine in hand both went into fresh I got $0.55 no no sorry $0.15 more per pound from this method a $5050.00 handle machine versus this 85 percent hand that equated to $335000.00 more profit going this way so. It's it's the ultimate which we're working towards and this is what we're doing now is 85 percent machine pick for fresh and when that goes into the pack packing facility I just got so in my previous job one of my last things I did was design a 30000000 pound packing facility for fresh and it was designed to take machinery wristed fruit pack the best and highest use quality out of that for fresh which is about 60 to 80 percent of that machine pick fruit to go fresh versus hand pick fruit were packing 90 percent 95 percent now it goes down if you get it as you go through the year and your picking like if you're big on or 3rd picking of a variety it's usually not that high quality but I'm just saying equal equal machine pick we're going to pack about 60 to 80 percent handpick we're going to pick 80 to 90 percent of it so you can see we're packing out more this way but on the machine side what we're doing is we're taking it let's say 60 percent of it's being packed out for fresh that other 40 percent I'm packing 30 percent of that for frozen. Another 10 percent for juice stock another 5 percent well another 15 percent and just talking I'm losing 5 percent I'm still losing 5 percent is just total garbage on the handpick side it's not like it's any better and some days the machine pick looks cleaner than the handpick some days. But anyway I'm trying to describe to you a guess that making sense because so the hand pick is at least $0.75 a pound and this machine harvesting is only $0.20 a pound or economics are way better if we're doing the system over here so so this is showing you a criticism coming off the machine you see the red and green so your question here this red one which we go read back we'll be OK but this will never turn here and that will never return. And that one's got too much green the others green right around the stem there that one will turn either so this this is a large mature plant seen in and you'll be able to see here you'll start coming off we couldn't find it my son and I we actually had a go pro on one of these pictures we had a whole picking video and we can't find it because as you upgrade computers somehow lose things. On the computer so that's a mature feels you know loaded down it is these are the fun ones to pick that bill literally see this bill belt here it's literally like berries are falling off the sides when you're in a really big field effect one day I was out there in a there's a harvester in the middle of the field stopped and I thought it was broke down to build up there and it's like a what's the problem that you guys were walking out and had to get more crates we send them out with like 4000 pounds worth or crates and he'd fill those up they had berries on their laps they had berries all over I mean it was just to get out the row there big picture 30000 pounds the acre on that 1st pass for picking 15000 pounds so every row which is it was crazy. That's that's when it's really fun I mean it's so this is the pack shed and we'll talk about this because it's also the actually it's it's almost the last hours so the berries come in 3rd dumped on to this conveyor go through a air blower that blows out all the leaves and sticks and small berries. This autumn to describe both of these because the other side is different than this this is a Italian made machine that individually singulars the berries and looks at every very takes nonvoter graphs of every Very. And then from that we have we there's an algorithm that picks up the bruising on the inside so the area looks to hold really fine but it's been bruised and it's going to deteriorate in that clamshell in the store 5 days from now and so we're sorting those out and it's doing $6500.00 pounds an hour through that machine sorting through them like that and it uses little puffs of air and it can also sort by size so. I don't know if you've noticed this but when I get a clamshell of various And they're all the same size to me. I think they are of higher quality and when you get these clam shells with little berries and big berries It just seems like a mess in there right well that's what we were doing here although this is you know if you're if you're buying medium sized or large put it for all the same size right so we're sorting jumbo large so that we're getting more money but when they go to the retailer they're just. It's more of a static leap pleasing So back here on the start this. System on this is doing it. Not with whether it's using a camera but it's running it's not seeing the lady and it's doing so it's an air blower it's an intake air blower and then it's a color sorter So we saw the 1st color sort of take out green and some red the next one is a soft sorter it's testing every vary as it goes across the plates if it's soft meaning mushy or if it's degrading already the next one's another color sorter which we're picking out more red every time it goes across the sorter you're sorting out less that one on the side left side runs $15000.00 pounds an hour and we were supposed to have 6 people on the side and cost us $0.13 in labor to run through here but this system was so efficient we were true it was only had one person at the end of it sorting by hand and cost 8 cents a pound so these are things you do when you have the scale to do it obviously if you are selling on a small scale 2 acres. There's manufacturers that can make you a little belt like an inspection belt in a blower it is really key to have a blower blowout because that will blow leaves green berries because they weigh less than the blue fruit does blow that out and inspect and then funnel it into a little like a cone shape you can you can make a little packing system for small skill. I don't have exact numbers but you can make something like that. Pretty inexpensively to just speed up and add some efficiency at the small scale too so you can blag reasons and raspberries don't do well or black raspberries fresh mechanically harvested yet. They're working on it but we're a long ways from the. So they're typically growing those so it's interesting I would really like to grow some Black Berries here for frozen organic Black Berries but the frozen are going to Black Berry market is the secondary it's the off take from the fresh Black Berry production out of Mexico and the price is like $0.65 a pound and I feel like I need $0.85 a pound to make it work and be profitable enough to take the risk in the capital here in the U.S. And so you're then looking for a client who wants to mystically produced organic blackberries and those are hard everybody says they want that and then they're like well what's that going to cost me because it's this is a blend it's in that smoothie blend it Costco $3.00 pounds blueberries blackberries raspberries or strawberries right now they're like we'll produce it out domestically in price of the with just whatever and you know they're not going to pay that extra $0.20 a pound for that product is kind of a bummer because we grow some of the best berries here in Oregon anywhere so Black Berry prices are depressed and. I think as far as a crops that would excite me not you know at any kind of a scale right now it's probably cranberry and hazelnuts but you also have the have the stomach in the capital find it you know the backing to to take the risk to do it organic because there's no program right now we're on the cutting edge of the organic scaling organic blueberries and work with O.S.U. really closely to get this done and figure it out and right now blueberries are pretty well like it has pretty good system I mean people you know there's little things you're tweaking here and there but it's not unknown it's unknown it can be done it can be done well and I think someday you'll see most blueberries will be organic because there wouldn't be any reason why not to. A lot of the baby carrots are like 75 percent of baby carrots are grown organically but only like 30 or 40 percent are marketed organically it's the. Just because they're not they're trying not to overrun their organic market. Price Price they're trying to keep the price up for what they do sell organically and the rest just goes in conventional production there was a big 3000 acre vege form in Colorado that was actually he was watching the markets on an hourly basis and when the market dipped too low he had a conventional box on the line and everything went conventional It's like broccoli and cauliflower and everything and lettuce he just like shipped a conventional because he was protecting that price margin on the. Organics. So I had these Black Berries we were harvesting by hand and I want to I needed $24.00 a flat to make good pay everybody and to make a return. I went to Whole Foods in Portland here when they opened the 1st store and said Would you like to fly my Blackberry is it took a lot of blackberries Well these are the best things we've ever tasted how much is it $24.00 we can't do that well it was a because I had calculated already I had walked the store and the Blackberries they were selling for so what would equal $70.00 a flat. They were getting Black Berries out of California for $12.00 a flat and could not pay $24.00 they would have sold every berry because of the taste and the inequality and I was going to deliver every other day you know let's keep this. This does it kills you I mean I don't know I mean it's just that's what you face so. Costco marks up 15 percent that's it they're great to work with really great people to work with but you have to supply a whole D.C. like a whole you know like you need 5000000 pounds of frozen are going to goobers before you can talk to them about supplying them and that's one distribution center area the L.A. distribution center sold. I can't remember the numbers but the in 3 hours of bringing in the 1st are going to glue frozen livers were sold out in like 3 hours and it was another year before we could get any more organic blueberries to that one L.A. distribution centers so. I think we're still at the total blueberry production is still like Fi only 5 percent organic it's really small so I think there's a lot of room there. But the companies like Whole Foods which you would think should be on your side as a farmer their mark up I mean it's yes $70.00 for $24.00 Whole Paycheck New Seasons what I highly recommend working with restaurants if you're small scale work with C.S.A. restaurants. Local grocery chains and co-ops co-ops are great they're kind of funky and but their original work with I mean. You know like we're I like working with them. Personally if I was doing anything small scale I would design my farm to do only fresh in the summertime I would take all my extra crop and freeze it and I would make frozen blueberries in like 555 pound probably like a one gallon Ziploc bag type of a situation and then I would grow I would focus my summertime vegetable production on stuff that was high value higher value stuff and simplify it only grow a few things don't grow everything and then I would grow winter time vegetables because still in the US it's hard to get us grown locally grown food in the wintertime and all winter long I would say I would have and you would have a production as you know a C.S.A. or supply you could do locally with the frozen berries maybe a preserve there's only like a quart jar of like Berry sauce or something that would be pretty simple to make. Yeah you need a commercial kitchen license which you kind of could get or what about the church I don't know I mean there's like there's got to think outside the box could you go together with 3 or 4 people could use the cafeteria the local school on a Sunday go have a jam making party I don't know. Yeah there you go that's yeah so it depends on where you're at like in Portland there's all kinds of collaborative kitchens in Portland. And ways to do that so and I would focus on storage crops for the winter so you would have your own and then maybe some cold hardy greens so that you had to mix but that way you're doing less crops your focus you can be more efficient you can do more square footage of those same of this crop you get a system approach down and you you know you can really create some I think more economic value in the margins go up when you become more efficient like that so so organ produces about 4 percent of the world's production 3030 percent of the world has in the production goes into one product that's Nutella. Is crazy right and so Turkey is the largest producer of his and that's in the world but they're declining because there are all these little half acre and quarter acre plots on hillsides that they're picking so they're not really commercially viable long term they don't produce much in the way of yield per acre as we do in the northwest again hazelnuts we produce I call him his love if you say filberts that's like you can't sell filberts you can grow fellers but you can't sell him but you can sell his and that's the same exact thing. That's just marketing. So. Countries like as liberal as a fire fighter John thank you those are huge new growing regions for hazelnuts that will compete with the Northwest the Northwest crop is larger than anywhere else in the world so the nut size and they're typically sold to China in show like 75 percent of our organ crop goes to China in shell with this year's tariff situation and the. Weakening dollar in Turkey we had a low price for the growers it went from last it was $2.00 or 3 years ago is $2.00 a pound or $0.62 a pound this year terrible. Which I'm all happy about because I'm going to go organic and hopefully not be in that market and I think the future for us grown hazelnuts is really an colonels and food. Food service that really needs to be in using the kernel here in the U.S. So we need different varieties the rice that they shipped to China are typically larger don't have the flavor profile that the smaller kernel varieties do so the plant that we bought is focused on we did $4600000.00 pounds this year and about 40 percent of that goes into kernels and it goes into like bakery type stuff like I said food service that kind of stuff in large scale So we're we think that is the way that pays and that's are going or should be going on Hardy Kiwis are now a new crop in planning an organ. Hirst Berry Farm has been selling Hardy Kiwis for quite some time and it's actually a pretty decent crop it can have issues with frost in cold hardiness But it's interesting it's a huge investment the trellis system is the time it takes to get in but it's to can grow well here. It's a short story but. I wanted a job and so I went to work for them they were in farmer and my dad. You need to go to college and get a computer engineering degree and. I just love farming so much from day one and he was so interesting to me and fascinating you know it it kind of it kept my. Interest like I like to be doing different things the same thing every day is really tasking for me and the inner joys and so I really feel energized by doing new things every day and it was something super rewarding about growing something and seeing that thing you know either become a tree or. You know food or whatever so I started working for the neighboring farm full time when I was 14 and did home school at night and on Sunday and. Just. And I tried college I was I really wanted to get it to your horticulture degree here Clackamas community college and I just I really struggled in school to get grades like I knew the materials I could repeated to you today like I just spouted off all that hazing that information right. For me down from a test complete blank walk out of the testing room and I can remember almost all the answers on the page or questions in the answers but I just and I didn't have help the like family support system wasn't there to figure out how to help that and so that didn't work for me so I just been working full time farming's And so it was. 14 I only put down 25 years because you look at me and then you're like well because not been farming for 28 years but are 29 this year but anyway so. I think it's just had really great opportunities the guy 1st worked for he was always happy about everything. Even when it was a complete mess I mean a complete disaster you know the thing about being a day late a dollar short this guy was 3 months late and. I mean somehow we always had money to do what we need to do but it was just this crazy I'm changing belts on a Christmas tree Harvester with a headlamp that's going dead at 2 am in the mud and it's snowing outside because the truck showed up that afternoon oh we didn't think about we had to cut the trees for that truck so that was this huge opportunity in so I was kind of like an inflexible person as a kid I was like oh I need my routine and you this whole I completely blew it all the water. Trial by far great way to start agriculture and learn that it's like this huge complicated thing and you need to understand that you're not in control of most of it like 90 percent of it you're not in control of. So those are great learning experience but then I decided I really need to learn from somebody who is really doing it well I spent several years you know working in. Verse restart production for some of the bigger nurseries an organ. I was always really good naturally somehow God blessed me with the skill to like figure out how to make things go faster like processes processes equipment. You know figure how to meld these things together to make that sprayer that now did all these things and by the way those efficiencies that we saved 183000 acre farm 1200 acres blueberries the other 1200 is a lesson or some other ground as in other crops. We saved over $600000.00 a year in labor savings but building some of these efficiency things and that's part of my talk on Friday is about what we were doing there so. I just kept having these opportunities to meet new people and to do new things and. I worked my way up I was chairman of the organ delivery commission and traveled with the governor to Asia to open up South Korea fresh blueberries from Oregon. Did some lobbying in D.C. spent several trips in Asia just learning I guess I like learning a lot and helping other people I was helping this guy in China out of wherever he was for pretty black received these buggers in the back and no idea how to prune them they were they were triple crown in China outside of Shanghai you know middle of nowhere farming out there had blueberries and we went to see the blueberries and here we had a Triple Crown like I know this Friday I can help you know so with a start a conversation we prune like a row over there had no idea how to do that so that was super great to do and I guess I always enjoyed helping people develop to so not only developing farms but just helping people develop so. That company that we sold well our ownership from last year we developed $120.00 people that was a year round workforce plus another $600.00 that came in seasonally So it was just really rewarding to be able to bless them and. We paid living wages so we were. It was exciting to be had that opportunity to do that. Yeah we taught. Small scale farming at Loro it academy for 5 years when it was self-supporting So after the conference onet it went self-supporting. Would have been. I guess 96 through 200-2001 something like probably 2000 want to get something sometime in there and they had a half acre garden when we came and we grew that to 35 acres certified organic with 12 acres of vegetable production every year we didn't have a lot of water so we grew 5 acres every year that 12 was dry land potatoes and we sold those in a Portland restaurant so we sold the produce in the into Portland We also finally got this past. We took 30 percent of the cafeterias budget and gave it to the form so like 1st thing I realized it's like I have no budget because like I need a budget I can't just like walk around here and you know pull seeds out of wherever and plant So 1st I made a version like this is what I want to spend this is what I'm going to make you know anyway and somehow someone approved it thought I think it was only what was. I was 21 of the time yeah. Somebody had the bright idea to tell us we should take students to Europe and I'm 21 years old and we were married when our kids 3 years old but you know we did we went to Norway the 1st year and still the produce washing facility on the the advantage farm in Norway that was great but anyway back to on track here. So we created a budget we grew that. We sold outside so we actually had cash coming in and we provided to the cafeteria so it was a net reduction in the cafeterias cost and the only way that worked is that we had to I took all my farm kids we harvest the stuff we go to the cafeteria we'd wash it so it was prep ready you know line ready so we could go out there and we also had these great big freezing parties we would freeze corn and any of those great big boiling things you could you can really get into production in the cafeteria and do corn so we froze corn beans covers and then we grew tomatoes in the winter time and he greenhouse we had the stored potatoes stored winter squash berries all that stuff that we you know provide in the cafeteria. And we had kids every year I got was the 1st of the 1st year they would give me kids that they sort of the kids on in the give me kids. As it were these kids come from they really don't want to be on the farm so the next year I went to registration day and I watched every kid that came in and I set my booth of I got there early because I don't care about getting early so I got there early so my farm booth at the door has kids walked in and like you need to work on the farm it's the best place to work on the farm you're working outside it's fun we have all this fun anyway now we get 4 kids and one project kid and that ratio is like perfect it doesn't get out of hand 33 into it go south on you so fast yeah anyway so I wasn't really blessed those kids are still a part of our lives we just spent Christmas with them all at the beach and they're now in their mid thirty's and have kids of their own and I think all all of the kids that went through the farm. Program are all. There might be only one or 2 that are. Haven't found meaningful employment or you know those kind of things are ahead family issues everybody else seems to have all pretty well. Survived and are productive citizens. Growing up hard. Even a good family and even a great family. We're just getting so far from the beginning that the tools in our tool just aren't what they used to be and the the the best parents with the best tools just it still is a it's just a huge challenge. The more I think the more you can have. It was also we had kids that thought beat came from trees so it was really I mean there was something grounding about. Growing those carrots picking them up taking to the cafeteria line and they knew where they came from and I you know the agrarian society we've moved so far from an agrarian society and are so few farmers left that. It's just changed everything the gratitude of eating what you grew you know and doing that the you know farming the lifestyle so whatever if you're not the kind of person that likes to or if you're going to kind of person that likes the 9 to 5 or the 8 to 430 don't go into forming. It's kind of like a doctor where you're you might be at home sleeping when you're still worried about the patient that's at the hospital even though they're doing OK It's a lifestyle it's an immersive thing but but it was also really good for me this media was brought to you by audio person a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon Please Visit W W W dot audio verse or.

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