I am here. I am awake and alive. I have survived one of the most difficult years of my life. I have a home, and food, and a farm, and family, and community, and a business, and friends. I have become stronger, more resilient, wiser, and more peaceful. I have healed many wounds and am embracing a deeper current of my truest identity. And I have learned that there is always plenty of room for gratitude and praise for all those who support your life, the seen and the unseen. And you, I see you. You have chosen to support me, my ambitions, and my dreams. So thank you. Also, thank you to all that soil life, that I cant see, which feed these wonderful vegetables.
I dream big. I have limitless ambition. I am dedicated. And I am beginning to understand that patience must be balanced with action and change. While Common Root Farm has produced incredible amounts of food, over 10,000 orders for about $180k in 2021 on less than an acre, we are losing money. There are many reasons for this, all of which sit with me, and you will begin to see some changes that aim to establish a new trajectory for this farm to ensure long term viability and success.
While there are many changes I wish to make, and I would love your input through the survey below, I have struggled the most with my decisions around pricing and marketing avenues. I would love to use inflation as an excuse to raise our prices, and well, yes, inflation has an affect on us, but at the end of the day I’m not profitable with our current pricing. I will be working this spring to determine an accurate cost of production so that I can price my product correctly. Up until now I have simply modeled our pricing from other farms and the grocery store. That said, you can expect a roughly 20% increase this year, which for most of you means $4-5 per week. In my opinion that is a small price to pay for the quality of product and service that I deliver and the knowledge that you are supporting me and my team, and I certainly hope that you agree. It has always been on my heart to provide this quality of produce at a rate affordable to all and I will never stop working to achieve this goal, but for now prices must increase for me to continue.
My marketing avenues will also be changing. I will be dropping one or both of our farmer’s markets. This too weighs very heavy on my heart. I have made incredible friends at market, I love my communities, I love the organizers, I love my customers, I love the other vendors, and I love the feeling of a great market day, but I don’t love working 7 days a week, I don’t love standing in the rain and cold, and I don’t love the unpredictability of the weather’s affect on sales. Don’t get me wrong, many of you come out rain or shine, and you will forever have a home in my heart, and markets can move a lot of product, but long term I feel other avenues of marketing will provide better opportunities for growth. In time, I want to produce millions, or tens of millions in dollars of produce yearly - and it doesn’t feel practical to market that much produce through farmer’s markets.
I am also finding that some of our crops fall well behind on their ability to generate revenue/profit and I will be paring down our production to the following crops:
Mixed Greens: Lettuce Mix, Arugula, Spinach, Baby Mustards/Seasonal Greens, Microgreens, Pea Shoots
Bunched/Head Greens: Head Lettuce, Bok Choi, Napa Cabbage, Broccolini, Kale, Chard, Collards
Herbs: Basil, Dill, Cilantro, Parsley, Celery
Roots: Turnips, Radishes
Fruits: Heirloom Tomatoes, Limited Red Tomatoes, Limited Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Maybe Eggplant
To supplement our production I will be partnering with several local, certified organic or organic practice, farms to provide the following crops to our CSA and through our Online Store:
Roots: Carrots, Beets, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon Radish, Onions, Leeks
Fruits: Cherry Tomatoes, Red Tomatoes, Okra, Sweet Peppers, Hot Peppers, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Summer Squash
Greens: Red/Green Cabbage
Other: Sweet Corn, Whole Grains, Flours, Mushrooms, Spices
These primary changes will allow us to improve the consistency of our production, our profitability, our work/life relationship, and most importantly allow us to offer you a better product and experience. We will be growing fewer items, while offering better selection. Our CSA is expanding. Our Online Store is expanding with an aim to become a full service online grocery store focusing on locally produced/crafted products. We will be offering expanded farm pickup hours, likely 4 days a week, all self serve. We are looking into adding additional CSA and Online Order pickup locations/options. And we may even work with Door Dash to offer Home Delivery!! I hope you are as excited as I am.
Together we can continue the work of redefining our current food system, a slow, diligent, mindful, pragmatic migration away from exploitation, chemicals, disease, impractical transport, slave labor, and destruction, to a food system of healing, locality, inclusiveness, community, and love. This is my aim, but I will only go as far as my supporters, and my customers, are willing to take me. Hopefully, I will look back in 20 years, at this email, to remind myself of the tiny root that started in 2018 and grew to become a network of hundreds or thousands of small farms serving millions of hungry customers.
As it stands, I have yet to finalize details for our 2022 CSA. I am working on a new subscription application through our website which will make management easier for me, and for you. I am also contemplating the pickup options and time frame. That said, I need funding to start my year. So, I am offering Farm Cards which can be used to purchase CSA shares, to purchase items through our Online Store, or at farmer’s market (if we attend this year). They include an extra extra bonus until January 8, which will certainly offset any price increase this year, and will likely be the only discount I offer this year. They can be purchased here. I appreciate your support this early in the season. I will certainly have CSA details finalized by mid January. And I am still undecided on our farmer’s market presence this year. Rest assured that you will be kept up to date on all of our happenings around the farm.
It is my honor, duty, and purpose to be growing food for you. I have dedicated this life to nourish both the human body and the human soul. I have chosen to heal the Earth so that the Earth provides healing foods. I have great ambition and I hope you continue to walk with me in the direction of health, wholeness, and unity for yourself and all of creation.
Check out this video from Maryland Farm and Harvest!! They were here earlier this year to film an episode about our farm and our beets! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYTu1Md3qZA
I would love your feedback through the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W992296
Sincere gratitude to Manna's Farm to Food Bank Program, and all the affiliated organizations. They purchased vegetables from us this past year to feed those in need. These sales were critical for us this year.
Deep gratitude to Jenny Freeman and Community FarmShare. Community Farmshare organizes donors with farms to provide fresh vegetables to more hungry mouths. We are participating again this year and hope to have 100 shares feeding those in need every week.
More information and exciting news to come, soon…
From My Heart,