An actual day in the life of your farmers
[The following is non-fiction and describes an average day on Roxbury Farm. I could turn it into another day and what would likely happen is that Whitey (our delivery truck) and Big Red (our harvest truck) would be replaced by one or more of the following pieces of equipment: irrigation line, pump, potato digger, harrow, etc. etc.]
5:00 AM: The alarm rings and time to make coffee.
5:30 AM: Kristen and Jenny drives up with Big Red; time to harvest. Jody and I jump on the truck and ride in to the field. We get the salad mix, braising mix, dill, and cilantro done before 7:00, so we can meet Gloria and Adrian back at the packing barn. While Jody heads into the house to get the kids ready for day camp, I head back with the veggies. Unfortunately the electric garage door opener ran off its tracks and needs fixing before we can enter. By standing on the top of the hood of Big Red I manage to fix it.
7:30 AM: When I get back in the field the harvest is done and Jenny and Kristen drive it back with them. Time to have breakfast with the kids.
8:00 AM: I wave the kids off and I see Al Christiano, the excavator, standing in the yard apparently waiting for something or someone. Vince, the contractor, isn't there yet, so I head over and help him trace out the trench that needs to be dug for the water and power line for the new barn.
8:15 AM: Back at the packing barn, just in time to make a few phone calls. Big Red needs new front tires and used ones seem hard to locate, but I manage to find some after my third call.
8:30 AM: The crew, back from breakfast, is ready to head out after a quick morning meeting where we discuss the priorities of the day. Kristen reminds me of the problem with Whitey. The clutch doesn't return after being pushed in. It needs to be fixed before tomorrow's run to NYC. With both Big Red and Whitey out, I suggest using the pick-up truck to take the empties (empty harvest bins), and I promise to have one of the other trucks fixed before lunch. Just as I am about to call a garage, Steve from the National Park Service shows up with the request for a forklift. Off course we have one, it just needs to be hooked up to one of our tractors.
9:00 AM: Back from putting the forklift on, and I am getting pressed for time to make my last phone call, remove the tires from Big Red, and deliver both Whitey and the tires to a repair shop. But unfortunately Inland Container shows up with a delivery of a few pallets of cardboard boxes that need to come off the truck. Fortunately Adrian is still finishing up from washing and is able to help the driver.
9:30 AM: The tires are off and I realize I am starting to rush to get things out of the way to be in time for my meeting with Cathy and Sarah at 10:00. I know I won't make it and decide to drive out to the field and ask Jody to drive to Hudson instead.
10:00 AM: Back at the barn for our weekly Campaign and office meeting.
11:30 AM: After sincerely trying and succeeding to concentrate on the long term plans for the campaign, I am happy to jump back into the daily routine. Jody has come back with new tires and Whitey was left at the garage. After I start mounting the tires I realize that the radiator hose is leaking. I head to NAPA to get a new one and find a moment to check in with the crew. They are working quickly and the squash, cukes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will be done before lunch.
12:30 PM: Back in the field with an operational harvest truck. Time to load the tomatoes on. Just then Julie comes out to the field to let me know that Whitey is fixed again.
1:00 PM: Unloading the tomatoes and time to get a bite to eat at home.
1:45 PM: Time to load up for our delivery of Delmar and Loudonville.
2:00PM: Kristen heads out to deliver the shares, and the rest of the crew is back from lunch. After a quick meeting we decide to concentrate on getting the remainder of the onions out of the field. Soon we will need to plant more Squash and Cucumbers so I promise to get some land ready.
2:15 PM: Time to read my email since Julie pointed out there are some messages from Dan at OSI that need to be looked at. While reviewing my mail I find several emails from Enid with edited text of our website under construction that need to be reviewed.
3:00 PM: Back in the field and I mount the mulch layer on the Deutz tractor and lay a few beds of plastic. I regret I didn't have time to get the cukes in today.
3:25 PM: Time to get the kids back from camp. I take the '89 Saab since the kids are too sensitive to be picked up with a dorky Ford Taurus.
3:55 PM: The kid's bus arrives back in Spencertown from a day of fun at the Y camp. On the way home we stop for ice cream.
5:00 PM: The kids take their showers and I start supper. It is the end of another day at the farm.
This originally appeared in the 9/21/2001 Roxbury Farm Newsletter
Sarah loading the truck with crates of food for delivery
Since 1990, Roxbury Farm has been one of the pioneers of organic agriculture and Community Supported Agriculture in Columbia County, New York. In 1991, Roxbury became the first CSA farm to have a community in New York City. Roxbury continues to be a nationally recognized leader in organic, biodynamic, and CSA. Jody Bolluyt became a partner in 2001. She supervises the day to day farm work and is responsible for the harvest management, distribution, and does much of the administrative work of the CSA membership. Since 1992, Jean-Paul Courtens has led workshops for farmers in other parts of the country and in 1994, he helped to found CRAFT, an organization that trains organic farm apprentices. In 2000, Roxbury became a leader in the farmland protection movement, as a central component in a land acquisition and conservation effort that will not only secure the long term future of Roxbury's farmland, but will be a model for other farms in the Hudson Valley and all over the country.In 2004, Jean-Paul received the Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture from SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education).
For more of Roxbury's articles at Satya Center go to the Roxbury Farm Archive.