There has been lots of change this year, most of it planned and expected but surprising and exciting nonetheless.
I started this year with the decision to take a sabbatical, to step back from my 10 year long farming operation and really analyze my business. This analysis included running the numbers as well as taking time to check in with myself as the founder and operator of Quarter Acre Farm to see what I wanted both professionally and personally. In farming as with any small business it’s easy to get tunnel vision and just stay on the hamster wheel working tirelessly as the seasons and years roll by.
My analysis lead me to the conclusion that I wanted to continue farming but needed to secure long-term land access in the form of ownership. I also wanted to increase my take-home income, which for me means a farm larger than 1 acre. With these realizations I could not figure out how I could achieve this in the San Francisco Bay Area and remain a financially sustainable business.
With my farm and personal goals in place I began looking for a region that I could make those goals a reality. As many people know from my accent, I’m from Maryland, which I left at 18 to pursue a study in agriculture and sustainable living. I never figured I would return for more than a visit but for the benefit of family I figured I should look at Maryland. It quickly became apparent that the Eastern Shore had everything I wanted; lots of farmland, reasonable driving distance to metropolitan areas, county/ state support for new and established farmers, a community with a budding interest in organic agriculture, hot summers, and an affordable cost of living.
So we made the big cross-country move to Maryland, landing in Easton for now as we get our bearings and figure out where on the Eastern Shore we would like to eventually buy land. In the meantime I have been connecting with the local ag community who have been extremely welcoming and I have had the opportunity to participate in an array of different programs, tours, and seminars for farmers in the region.
This coming year I will be leasing a small plot of land to grow tomatoes, pumpkins, popcorn, and seedlings; selling at a local farmers market. After over 10 years on the west coast I need to get used to growing with rainfall in the summer, warm nights, east coast pests, and Maryland’s seasons. Also in 2019 I will be participating in the Future Harvest BFTP which gives me the opportunity to be mentored by Vic Priapi at Priapi Gardens, an awesome operation growing organic vegetables out in the field and under cover plus a nursery operation. During this coming season I will begin the search for a “perfect” piece of farmland to call my very own. I’m really looking forward to what 2019 will bring.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy new year filled with adventures and possibilities.