What Do Farmers Do in the Winter?

What Do Farmers Do in the Winter?

Farmer Beth Kazmar of Tipi Produce recently queried local farmers for answers to the very common question, “What do farmers do in the winter?” She compiled their responses below.

The land sleeps at Driftless Organics in Soldiers Grove.

The land sleeps at Driftless Organics in Soldiers Grove.

– Sleep . . . . .
– Clean the house.
– Get a haircut.
– Reintroduce yourself to your children. “Hi there, I’m Mom and this is Dad.”
– Go overboard on Thanksgiving. Fill your Thanksgiving table with the fruits of your farm and your friends’ farms. Remember, this is our harvest holiday.
– Find the surface of your desk. Catch up on record keeping.
– Evaluate the season and plan for the next one. This is a big project, and absorbs a lot of our winter attention.
– Keep up with winter office chores: data entry for labor hours and harvest data, field rotation planning, crop planning, employee interviewing, customer survey analysis, educational presentations, and the processing of CSA registrations.
– Ski or snow shoe every day that you can. It’s a great way to explore and appreciate your farm in winter.
– Play hockey and go ice skating, running, indoor biking or swimming (keeps those core muscles strong).
– Look up (not down!) for star gazing.
– Read a lot. Read for pleasure. Read something other than repair/owner manuals. Read seed catalogs (that counts as pleasure!).
– Sign up for new magazine subscriptions.
– Chop and haul wood so you can be toasty by the fire.
– Cook lots and lots of food.
– Wood working, shoe making, basket weaving, soap making, bird watching, sewing, spinning, knitting — time for all those other interests!
– Enjoy the long nights with our kids over good meals with time to talk (compared to shoveling our faces and going outside to do a few more things before the last light)
– Subscribe to Netflix. Watch a long, multi-season TV series, even if it’s embarrassing.
– Get back into yoga and Zumba classes.
– Log in recipes, etc. for future newsletters.
– Keep washing your stored produce to sell to customers and at farmers markets.
– Catch up with friends and family. Make time for your nieces and nephews.
– Plow snow.
– Take a vacation someplace warm. Better yet, sign up as a Farmer to Farmer volunteer in a warm country.
– Host potlucks.
– Attend conferences, learn, and hang out with other farmers!
– Read, learn, and research for next year.
– Visit other farms, staring into the snowy fields (“This is where the onions were; you can still see some kale stalks… “). Wish you could actually visit other farms mid-season.
– Build tools and equipment for the next farming season. Properly repair all the equipment we limped along with during the season.
– Have lots of “farm meetings,” which is just Husband and I discussing everything.
– Do the taxes . . . bleh.
– Place seed orders in January. Order too many hot peppers. Again.
– Fire up the greenhouse in late February.
– Begin planting outside in April. Winter is over, finally! Start stockpiling those magazines to read next winter.

Erica Solis of Emancipation Acres reminds us: “For those of us with animals, things don’t change that much! Less pasture rotation and more keeping water from freezing. :-)”

FairShare CSA Coalition

FairShare CSA Coalition