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What does a farmer do in the Winter?

Posted 1/2/2017 9:18am by Reuben DeMaster.

 

It is winter on the farm.  At this time of year I spend many hours catching up on paperwork, accounting, filing, and communication.  All transactions are entered into Quicken and I am able to (finally) see a record of income and expenses from the past year. During most of the season, these tasks are accomplished during the evenings and many things get neglected for weeks or months at a time.  This week I was able to find my desk and even the floor around my desk!  I found checks that should have been cashed, permits that should have been posted, and contact information for people that I should have called. 

It is also time to renew the memberships that the farm supports including the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Buy Fresh Buy Local.  My internship listings have to be updated as it is past time to begin looking for farm help for next summer.  The next task is ordering seeds and supplies.  If I don't take care of this in a timely manner, I risk not being able to get the vegetable varieties that I want to grow.  There are also discounts available of up to 8% if I am able to order early and to pay in full.  I prefer to get my taxes filed by February so I'm not working on them in the spring. 

Next I have to think about which farm projects need to be completed by Spring. There are many ways to make the farm more efficient and I have to decide which things to focus on.  I can make progress on some of these projects during the winter but many of them need to wait until warmer weather.  Other farm tasks include caring for the animals each day and pruning the fruit trees and berries.  If the weather is nice enough, I might even find time to remove some dead and fallen trees from around the farm.  

Another big task is getting the website ready for the 2017 season.  Each year, I try to begin the CSA sign up process on January 1.  This year however, it is going to take a bit longer.  Small Farm Central, our web host, is putting together a new program that we will be using in 2017.  We hope that it will improve our service by making the signup process easier and by offering new services to our delivery customers.  One of these services will be more choices over which vegetables that you receive in your box.  We hope that this will make our CSA more appealing to more people. 

There are many farm tasks to do in the winter.  Although it is a slower time of year, the organizational details help to determine the success of the upcoming year.  We plan to be open most Saturdays this Winter and we thank our customers for making Willow Haven Farm possible. 

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Willow Haven Farm, 7686 Herber Rd., New Tripoli, PA 18066

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