Thursday, October 20, 2016

WestonAlan Photography shared some photos from Abby and Jerome's late August wedding with us this week. What a treat to be a part of that beautiful day.

Just that as we hop off to Lanesboro for the New Farmer U for mama and some biking and children's museuming for papa and E.

Stay tuned for some exciting news on the greenhouse building process, and my favorite (eek!) - SEED ORDERING!

Peace out friends,


Thursday, October 13, 2016

We had a sweet little harvest party on Saturday with the Sliced Bread Jug Band, squash soup, 5 gallons of cider and lovely folks. It was a bit chilly but we played games and gathered around the fire. Thanks for coming, those who could come! We missed you who couldn't be with us.

The next day we nursed our sniffles, rested and picked a few of the remaining apples.


This kid and his pink cheeks. 



I walked through the field on Tuesday and snapped some photos of the last of the lasts. We harvested what we could for drying for wreaths, and a couple of winter events. Loving the sweet dried flowers.

And now friends, the planning is on for next year. We're working on a greenhouse. We're ordering seeds. We're planning more varieties and tightening up our flower game on this new land.

One year under our belts, and we're excited to apply our new learnings.

And we're loving sitting at the dinner table together, and just looking at each other more. It's nice.

We'll keep in touch with our fall and winter plannings, and are planning to fire up the greenhouse in January. Eeek.

Happy week to you.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

These ladies actually really run our farm. 

And we would be so much less healthy with out their delicious, nutritious eggs every morning. Did you know that chickens are voracious omnivores? They got a little lamb treat from E's unfinished dinner the other night and they loved it. 

The sun is setting on our first year on HPF land. I won't say I'm not a little jealous when I see those Instagram photos of all the beautiful dahlias folks are pulling out of their fields this mild and rainy fall. When our tunnels that held our "fancy flowers" as I call 'em, the dahlias and the lisianthus mostly, were destroyed in the tornado and straight-line wind storm on July 5th, we were so focused on all the immediacies to fix, that we weren't thinking so much about what it would be like in October when we still hadn't had a frost but didn't really have flowers.

It's a bit of a bummer. But it's also nice to chill out at the supper table together at night instead of running out to finish the day's work.


This week our farmer friends over at Clover Bee Farm got married at the wonderful Barns of Lost Creek, and we helped with the flowers. Willow garlands, eucalyptus and fall colors. Lovely. 

Going through the seasons with the crab apple tree is a delight.

Canned peaches and pumpkins? Yep, we should be saving them, but they're just so delicious. 

And then there are the Chicago Cubs. I used to feel a little bad for my son, born to a Cubs-lovin' papa, and a potential lifetime of heartache. But not this year. They're so good. Their first play-off game is tomorrow night against the Giants. Go Cubs Go!!! 

And finally, we're having a party on Saturday. We'd love to see you for cider pressing, the local Sliced Bread jug band, squash soup, and a field walk. the weather looks like it'll be beautiful, with a jacket on, and we're just so excited to host you at our new farm. 3-6pm-ish, this Saturday, Oct. 8th. If you google Humble Pie Farm, it'll get you to us, but call or text with questions. 952.451.5393


Thursday, September 29, 2016

We're winding down. Glad for it. Glad to see the sun. Glad to be able to keep trying no matter the outcome.

My day-job at MOSES (Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service) coworker Lauren and I visited the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center in Lanesboro, MN, last week. It's so beautiful down there. We had to take a detour because a bridge was washed out. And often the river was almost even next to the road. So. much. water. 

Wearing that same MOSES hat, I am helping to plan a conference for beginning farmers in October called the New Farmer U. It's going to be so great. Tell anyone who might be interested. $125 covers 10 workshops, 3 ask-the-expert sessions, a farmer panel, AND lodging and food. It's at Eagle Bluff, a beautiful, wonder-full place. Third weekend in October. So... farm life is winding down, off-farm life is winding up.

And so it goes for many, many farmers trying to make a living and life.

Only blue skies shine on HPF. :)


Finished products for our dear CS-YAY members, and the beautiful leftovers.


Bunny and the cool dude. That should be a band name.

We've had plans for a clothesline all year. We finally just strung a rope from two trees and it works just fine.

Seems like a metaphor for other things around here. As we settle in over here on this huge-to-us 16-acres, there is so, so much to be done. We plan, and have the best intentions, and sometimes, you just have to string a rope and call it good. Makin' do.

This is my second to last reminder of our party in a week and a half. Please come. Saturday, Oct. 8th. We...dare I say...might actually have some flowers for you to pick. Eeee. Now that the sun has chosen to shine a few times, the flowers are growing and blooming again, a bit. 

Turn your face to the sun and breathe the crisp fall air and just be well.



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Oh my goodness the rain. 

Last night we read this blog post by Jack Hedin of Featherstone Farm in Southeastern Minnesota. He says "...what has slowly become clear in my own mind over the past month or so: “This is the worst year, ever, at Featherstone Farm.” Of course that's awful to hear from any fellow farmer. It was also a relief to read that other farmers not in the first year on their land are experiencing a hard year. And once you say or hear something said out loud, it helps. Give it a name. 

It is an exceptionally hard year, weather-wise, to farm. So so much water is not good for cultivated flowers or veggies. Many of the veggie farmers we know have staggering cases of black rot in their fall crops, a very serious bacterial disease from too much water. They'll likely lose much of it. We think about "what if" we'd been at Gardens of Eagan farming all those fall brassicas this year. Yikes.

On our farm, we have flowers plants rotting from the ground up that we've never see happen before. 

The planting successions that were planted in August and early September have sat in the ground, growing very slowly because they need sun to make food.

The flowers are blown over very easily in the strong winds because their roots can't hold on in the over-saturated soil. 

Case in point - Wednesday morning vs. Thursday morning after more rain and high wind


It's a perfect storm.

So we've ended our season earlier than we'd hoped. Jennifer working off-farm has made our farm season and family life more difficult, but we're really grateful for that steady paycheck coming in.

And we'll plan and hope for next year.

I'm sharing this because I think sometimes it's hard to understand the seriousness of the situation. Climate change and the resulting erratic and extreme weather really affects "small" farmers. And industrial agriculture is a big contributor to climate change.

Food farmers don't get government subsidies or crop insurance (for the most part). Go figure. So we take the hit when we lose whole crops. The thing about diversification is that if one or two crops fail, inevitably, three or four don't. But in a year like this, three or four or many fail and pretty soon you're at 50% of your expected income. It's really hard to pay 50% of the mortgage. And it's hard to suck it up and try it again next year. Or possibly not possible to continue because you have a mortgage and a family and health insurance and you can't continue not making money.

It's more important than ever to choose buy and support local food and flowers as much as possible. This is when it really matters. Every bit helps keep your local farmers farming during times like this.


Perennial clover living mulch is the healthiest happiest plant on our farm. I keep joking that we're going to send mini-bouquets to the stores. Local fairy clover bouquets are the hottest new thing!

I try not to compare organic farming practice to conventional. We're all doing the best we can. But if you look at the bare soil running off in rivulets in between the GMO corn rows next door, and our thriving ground covered in beautiful sweet-smelling clover as the rain pounds down on both, it's hard to deny that organic farming practices help with soil erosion and ultimately, health.

Pretty skies around here.

We're getting a few water-laden, slightly corn beetle chomped dahlias. Nothing like the truckloads of the flower farmers we admire. But they're still pretty. We'll include some in our CSA bouquets in the next two weeks.

I ran to get my phone when I saw Sarma and Earl walking down to the field togther, but they were pretty far when I finally got the photo. They're so sweet, just talking away about stuff. Sarma is very patient with Earl and his constant endeavors on our farm, and he loves her. It's her last day today. She's going to start a tutoring job tomorrow in the Minneapolis school district. Lucky students. We sure will miss her. Not just working with us, but showing up in our kitchen each morning with a smile. She said she would come back next year and we're holding her to it.

Hugs from us to you and yours. 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Full circle panoramic September sunrise view of HPF from the field edge. 

We're loving the light lines this time of year. So lovely. 

We're getting ready to end production for the season. The crazy rain last week kind of put the flowers, and us, over the edge. 

We've had a great first season on this farm, and feel good about the flowers and food that have left our farm for your homes and stores and restaurants and events. In this blog, this year especially, I ride this line of wanting to share the reality of farming, but not be too negative. Right now, you guys, we just need a break and some perspective. It's been a rough year. And wonderful in so many ways. But the consistent 15 hour days can get'chya down. The combination of intense weather, first year infrastructure-building, and just the sheer intensity of the farm-work lifestyle have left us very tired. 


Lindsey and Sarma have been wonderful employees and we're so grateful for their good work on our farm.

I was trying to capture my last Monday in the field before I resume my off-farm job regular M-F schedule. Hmm. Time for rest I think. No idea on the red aura. I'm not angry, really.

You can see many of those beds behind me are empty. We've taken them down for the winter and seeded them with cover crops. Soon we'll start building a bigger green house so we can grow more flowers, and some starter plants for sale in spring. We'll be investing in some spring bulbs and portable stable hooped tunnels for earlier flowers and spring wind and rain protection.

We've learned some things about this windy ridge. One of them is that we need some wind protection in spring. But we're not ready to build a big structure that requires a lot of capital and investment. We think these tunnels invented by Elliot Coleman are going to do the trick for next year. 

So, we have some work to do in the next few months. Not to mention order seeds, and make a production plan, and, and. Oh how I love farming on paper. :)

Clouds and flowers.

These sunnies have taken their sweet, sweet time. And the next planting too. With all the rain and clouds, they've really just been sitting in the field. And their leaves are turning purple with the chill in the air.

We left the farm last weekend for a few reasons, but also got to go bowling. It was so fun. As E grows and becomes more capable, it's really fun to do things as a family. And, preschool bowling shoes are so darn cute.

As you can see, Officer Earl did really well for his first bowling experience. "Tossed Salad" as Stretch was known on his college bowling league took the win. I held my own.

The moral of the story is: 

Living your dream can be really hard and simultaneously immeasurably rewarding and wonderful. 

We wouldn't have it any other way. 

And we're so grateful to our community for choosing local flowers and food so that we can continue to grow them.

Please come to our party on October 8th! We've definitely confirmed the jug band, and will borrow a cider press to make fresh cider by the Humble Pie Farm cup. That's right, your very first opportunity to get in on some HPF swag with our new adorable logo.

Saturday, October 8. 3-6pm. We'd love to see you.

Have a wonderful week, friends!