It’s interesting to me how each farm that I’ve worked at has a different feel. There are farms where the pace of work is quite relaxed. Work often slows down or even stops when a farmhand tells a joke or an interesting story. These farms are probably closest to how I romanticized farming before I ever started doing it. Oh how that all crumbled upon my first days at some of the more intense farms. Speed and efficiency are paramount. I had to learn how to work quickly and socialize at the same time.

Farming is tedious. Farmhands do the same movement over and over again for hours. A normal day could comprise of harvesting and bunching kale from 7:00 till 12:00, an hour lunch break, and planting tomatoes from 1:00-6:00. What can at first glance appear to be a small inefficiency doing these tasks can over those several hours result in a serious setback for the entire operation. The crew must then work later to accomplish everything. It leads to burnout.

A good farmer will teach his or her farmhands how to work as efficiently as possible with each seemingly insignificant hand movement. I am fortunate to have had mentors who railed this into my head. I recall something that a fellow farmhand jokingly said to me once.

Man, I’m even getting more efficient at putting my socks on!

I’m finding that I need to reapply these principles now that there are two locations. This past week was – well – very difficult and taxing. It also didn’t help that the walk-in freezer at Creekside broke down (again)…had to move a half ton of meat to the chest freezers that I always have on standby for when this happens.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to most efficiently order for two stores and one farmer’s market. Vegetables are the most difficult item to figure out since they are the most perishable. I won’t bore you with the specifics. Just take my word that there is a lot to juggle. The vegetable quality/quantity at the Elkins Park location suffered last week because of all this. I apologize. It’ll get better as I relearn how to put on my socks.

As a first step I’ll be working back at Creekside on Fridays and Brigette will be working at Huntingdon Valley starting this week. At the second location I’m very much enjoying seeing people who used to come to my backyard years ago when I was farming in Huntingdon Valley. And I’m very much enjoying getting to know new people. Your excitement and words of encouragement mean the world to me. I’m grateful. I’m also missing faces at Elkins Park at the same time.

People often ask me if I miss farming. It’s a difficult question to answer. I think that the main thing that I miss about farming is the fellowship that I had with people while doing the tedious tasks that I mentioned above. There is something about doing such tasks alongside others that naturally gives rise to good conversation and light-hearted fun. When I started my own farm it was just me doing tedious tasks alone. It wasn’t the same. In fact it was rather lonely. So it’s not farming I miss as much as it is people. I think that my presence at both locations would lend itself to having comradery with as many of you as I can.

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