Truly A Family Business…
Family and business don’t often go together. At least not well. When the pressure is on, long days create short tempers. We’re definitely not an exception to this rule. It can be tough to work together as a family and as business partners, especially when the business is a farm. Because you never leave ‘the office,’ you’re always at work. It’s all consuming. It’s what we think about, talk about, our lives revolve around this little farm. We make plans and dreams for the future, we struggle, we laugh, we cry, we yell, we apologize, and we do it all as a family. We’re fiercely protective of each other and are our own biggest critics. I can criticize my family, but you should tread lightly! Who’s going to have your back more than your brother? Who’s going to defend you more that your sister? Who’s going to guide you with more regard for your own good than your mother and father?
I was thinking about this fact this past weekend as I was working in the field. I was transplanting seedlings, alone. Why? Because the rest of my family was running farmers market. They don’t get paid for this, they just do it because it has to be done. I just don’t know how this could work without family. That’s why the term ‘family farm’ harkens back to a previous time. Before large-scale, industrial, factory farms existed, it took a whole family. Family was centered around life on the farm. There were seasons and rhythms to life. It’s why school let out in the summer. Bringing in the harvest and preparing for winter was a family endeavor.
I’m so thankful for family. Something I didn’t properly value as a young man, but can’t imagine my life without now. As we move forward with the Home Grown Farm, I hope to get to know more and more of our farm-family members. There are those ‘early-adopters’ that have been with us since the beginning. I’ve watched newborns grow into little terrors as the new parents smile and ask if it’s too early for me to use them on the farm. “They’ve got plenty of energy for it” they say. I’ve enjoyed every minute I’ve spent with these folks. It takes me a while sometimes to get close to people, but I can’t imagine not seeing them during the CSA season, or at farmers market. I hope that anyone who wants to be a part of what we’re doing here will allow us to get to know them as well. This thing we’re doing, it’s about more than just fruits and vegetables, more than just food. It’s about community, about friends, and after a while, those become family. I’m proud of the fact that we’re truly a family farm, and that we don’t have customers, we Home Grown family members.