Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hiya friends! Happy December from your Humble Pie farmers! We took this right before it snowed a couple of Sundays ago. We're so glad for snow and cold to bed and rest the ground and prepare it for next year. The cold kills the bad bugs, and rests the ground for new growth in spring, and the snow cover protects it and provides necessary moisture. So nice to let it all sleep and rest.

Your Humble Pie farmers been working on a few little things like...getting ready to sell some starter plants next spring. Humble Pie flowers and veggie plants will be at a select few co-ops near you in May! Fun!

And...growing more flower varieties and quantities than ever before. Eeee! 

And there will be food, always food. We love the flowers, but will always want to participate in growing good food for our community and ourselves. Flowers for mental health and food for physical health.

We also have some big exciting changes coming up at HPF. We're all in next year, folks. As of April 1, both Mike and Jennifer will be on the farm mostly full time. We're going to get so much done. Never before have we been able to work together most of the time on our farm business; one of us has always had another full time job. We'll still have part time gigs to supplement income, especially in winter, but you guys, we're so excited to make this leap. And nervous as the dickens of course, but we firmly believe in living the good life. Following hearts and dreams, with practicality of course, but just doing it. So here we go.

We're ordering seeds this week for it all, and will fire up the greenhouse in mid-February. 

Hey friends, happy happy holiday season to you! December can be hard with all the expectations and the darkness, among other things. We feel it too, and just really wish you and yours love and moments of quiet peace. The light is returning, and this year we just feel the need to go deeper and simpler. Love hard and work hard and let go of what is not needed. 

Mr. Fred Rodgers said, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”

We want to find more ways to be helpers this year.

Thanks always for your support...looking forward to light, flowers and food soon. 

Be well,
J,M,E <3

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Hi Friends!

I had the best of intentions to continue weekly posts, but life happened and I missed a couple. Thanks for coming back. Our family has been reconnecting and eating good fall food and enjoying this fine weather (with a bit of skepticism, it’s really too warm), and planning, planning, planning for next year. It has been really nice for us to have extra time to get our fall stuff done in a less hurried manner. These mornings of low, golden sun have been pretty glorious. 


Next year, we’re going all in on this farm dream, friends. I’m going to cut back my hours at MOSES in later spring, so Farmer Mike and I can be here together and farm this beautiful place like our lives depend on it. Cause really, they do. 

We have different skills that benefit our farm business, and I’ve been so busy working off-farm that my skills haven’t helped the farm like they can. Even though farming is risky financially, and emotionally, it’s what we love and what we’ve come here to do.

We feel we can do this because we have the support of you, our wonderful community of buyers and local and sustainably-grown consumers in the Twin Cities. And we don’t take it for granted. Especially after chatting with flower growers all over the country this week.

Heidi from Field and Florist
Farmer Mike and I attended the Association for Specialty Cut Flower Growers Conference (ASCFG) in Grand Rapids, Michigan earlier this week and hung out with some of our people. It was pretty awesome to be immersed in flower growing and growers and marketing and harvesting for two days. I met some of my flower farmer icons, and was able to say “thanks” in person. Thanks for teaching and inspiring me all along this journey through feeds and posts and bulletin board questions. We’ve belonged to the ASCFG since our first year, and it’s been an invaluable resource. 

We also met some other growers in our area so we can connect and share resources. We all do better when we all do better. 

Steve and Gretel from Sunny Meadows
And oh my gosh Erin was there and I got to say thanks in person for all she's unknowingly taught me!

 In the last coupla' weeks we've...

planted garlic, and this weekend are seeding some fall-sown flowers for early bouquets next year,

started setting up a better, bigger greenhouse system so we can grow some starter plants next year,

begun putting in low tunnels in the field for spring wind protection and earlier production next year,

started working on some wreaths and dried flowers for a few lovelies’ orders this fall,

begun working on a production plan with at least 10 new varieties for next year, so we can offer more single stem bunches, and of course, more variety in the mixed bouquets,

and are just trying to hug each other a lot and make a strong, rockin’ effort to stay in the present and just love.

You too?

Be well, and big hugs!

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.