Resilience and Hope

Resilience and Hope

2020 was one for the record books here at Red Dog Farm. I remember the year beginning with such hope, and by spring, once the pandemic became a reality, thinking, “Oh no, this is no good.” All my carefully created plans suddenly seemed like they were founded on thin air as I struggled to make sense of what this year would actually bring. Should I take the time in April to re-think my entire crop and field plans? I speculated that I might do more harm than good trying to redo everything, especially given that I had zero new known parameters to work with. My conclusion: leave all plans as is and just wing it.

Pretty soon, CSA membership soared, restaurant accounts petered out, farmers market got cancelled (only briefly, it turned out), people started flocking to the Farmstand and purchasing unforeseen quantities of black radishes and Jerusalem artichokes. We were all preparing to make do.

It was hard to turn away any CSA members in such an uncertain time, but as we approached 200 members, I knew we needed to cap it if we wanted to continue to offer the best experience. In April, we capped the CSA at 250 and turned away dozens of people. After years at coming up just shy of 100 members, this was unbelievable!

The farm crew rose to the occasion in amazing ways. As young people in their twenties and early thirties, they gave up valuable social opportunities as coming to work became a major social event, spaced out at 6’ apart, of course. They adopted masks in all indoor and close-quarters work, they endured revision after revision of sanitation and distancing protocols. They adapted meeting, lunch and break schedules to accommodate distancing, letting go of some of the most cherished aspects of farm life. They were thankful for meaningful outdoor work and willing to do whatever it took to keep themselves, their co-workers and our customers safe.

As 2020 draws to a close, I think we’re all sighing a collective relief. Although the pandemic will not magically disappear with the stroke of midnight on December 31st, there is a sense that we have made it this far, we are stronger than we were a year ago, and there is a whiff of hope as public policy adapts to the current situation.

Never have I felt more confident in the farm’s ability to endure hardship and adversity. The farm crew and I are ready for what this world throws at us, and are eager to continue to do what we do best- grow exceptional produce.

Thank you all for your support. We needed a village this year, and you rose to the occasion. I hope that your participation in our CSA added a little more color, health and light to your life. We’ll be back for more farming adventures next spring. In the meantime, take good care of yourselves this winter- be kind, eat well, take baths, sit by the fire, dare to dream of a brighter future.