january 20, 2017

What’s Letterbox Farm Collective up to this winter?

Letterbox Collective is one of our most popular vendors at the Farmer’s Market.
We miss seeing them and their cheery stand every week so we checked in to see what they’ve been up to since we last saw them in December. No surprise…they’ve been busy as they gear up for some major expansion in 2017.

Here’s an update from Nichki…

Faith has been working on a lengthy application for the New Farmers Grant, a state-funded opportunity that helps beginning farmers improve profitability. She’s also been doing all our crop planning, loan applications and book keeping. In the coming weeks, she will meet with all of our chefs and wholesale clients to make note of any shifting trends and needs.

Laszlo has been clearing snow and working with Faith to plan out our big 2017 expansion. He’s been meeting with contractors who will help us install a new well, update our electricity and build three new greenhouses so we can grow even more food – and year-round. Laszlo has also been catching up on several smaller building and infrastructure projects we just didn’t have time for in the height of the season.

Nichki has been putting together the 2017 livestock plans and grazing rotations. This includes ordering chicks, booking appointments at the best slaughterhouses (they book up 6-12 months in advance!) and making arrangements with the farm where we get our purebred Berkshire piglets. She has also been working on her grant-funded guide, “Pastured Rabbit for Profit” which will be made available as a free resource coming this March.

Other winter projects include:

*Updating our 19th century farmhouse so we can use it as a farm hub and as a vacation rental for our budding agri-tourism enterprise. We expect our funky, farm-y rental to welcome its first guests this spring. (Pascale says: sign me up!)

*Promoting our Full-Diet CSA. We’ll be organizing CSA fairs, sending out emails, posting flyers and sending postcards to everyone we know in hopes of doubling our membership this year. With pickups in 4 towns in 3 counties, we’ve got A LOT of ground to cover, so we’re reaching out with special promotions and offers for folks who can help us reach our goal!

*Hiring our crew. We’re hiring 4 new full-time crew members for the 2017 season, so we’re getting to meet and interview all kinds of wonderful new and experienced farmers this winter.

*Taking care of our animals. In the winter, we rotate daily livestock chores between the three of us. We’re currently caring for our laying hens, goats and rabbits but we’re only a few weeks away from the arrival of our first chicks and our new piglets.

As you can see, we’re plenty busy in the winter, says Nichki. But still, there’s a little time for rest. Faith leaves in a couple weeks for a well-deserved week in Oaxaca, Mexico and Laszlo has an ice fishing trip planned with his dad.

Nichki is Puerto Rico-bound in late February for some sunshine and r & r.

We can’t wait to see you in the spring!