The Image Behind the Share
We love when our wholesale customers come to the farm and see from whence their purchases come. This week the folks from the Wauwatosa Outpost braved the rain, wind and fluctuating temperatures for a visit. These visits offer me more than just a chance to show off the farm. It’s my opportunity to see through the eyes of people who know the farm through our produce first and the farmers secondly. It’s like seeing Nina Totenberg when all I’ve had is her voice on NPR (please, please, don’t ever show me a picture of Sylvia Poggioli, I want to live with my image, not the actual picture).
The visitors were surprised by the actual farm size and acres cropped. While this one Outpost store receives nearly one hundred boxes of produce from the farm each week, the size of the farm surprised them, thinking it was much smaller (the farm is 110 acres total, ~23 acres used for vegetable production, 4 acres for strawberries, 15-20 acres for chickens, 3 acres under plastic in the form of hoophouses and three-season Haygroves).
Because we are the primary grower of tomatoes for the four Milwaukee Outpost stores, there were lots of questions about how we grow tomatoes, why we trellis and only grow under cover of plastic. They were surprised that when tomatoes are grown outside of the hoophouses, useable yield drops below 50%, that rain like today’s can split just ripe tomatoes, dropping the yields even lower.
We spent lots of time watching Farmer Paul pack broccoli (a major vegetable produced on the farm), with questions about why its put in water right after harvest (cool the broccoli down, not about washing), a discussion about Bt . . .