We made it to 2024! This year marks our 6th year here at Wet Knot Farms!
According to USDA statistics, most new farms don't make it through 5 years.
Our farm life has had many tribulations, besides the normal start-up mistakes.
Replanting veggies after two floods, a farm move, followed by multiple brain surgeries. It’s a wonder why we haven’t thrown in the towel.
It’s not a matter of stubbornness or self-torment.
But it’s a sense of greater purpose, aptitude, and service.
Ian is a fantastic grower; everything looks beautiful and lasts long when stored, which provides our customers a better experience than your typical grocery store.
But Ian also has a heart to grow in a way that nurtures the environment, to be a steward of the earth, and to improve the quality of life to those around him.
As I reflect on the last five years, we’ve grown immensely and have learned so much.
Here’s are a few highlights:
First, I finally feel like we’ve figured out our Niche products – Greens and Flowers!
Even though we grow a variety of things, our focus is providing greens and flowers.
Last year we bought a commercial grade electric salad spinner to ease Ian’s back and create more time as we try and keep up with the current demand.
Not to mention, we are growing more and more flowers each year.
Next up was a hard lesson to learn, but don't go big until you have the fundamentals down.
This is true in life and any business.
Before the fall planting season of 2022 I thought I had tulip varieties figured out and had even grown tulips for 3 seasons before.
But that year, I ordered 10 crates of tulips which equals 5,000 tulips.
The over zealous me thought I could sell them all.
But then I experienced something heartbreaking – bud blast.
We had huge swings in temperature which caused trauma to the plant and produced tiny undeveloped “flowers” in many of our tulips.
I also failed to test the varieties in my climate and different techniques to get the stem height I needed – I’m looking at you Foxy Foxtrot.
*Sigh* The blooms were gorgeous indeed! But the stems didn't even get tall enough for mason jars.
If I had properly tested, our loses would have been minimal.
So when people ask if they should go all into farming, I tell them start small.
Let’s talk a bit about diversity.
In theory, you should get really good at one thing, get it to profit, and then add something else to your business.
But we did both veggies and flowers which served us well when we couldn’t sell food crops because of flooding.
And when Ian was laid up in the hospital in 2022, our fall planted flowers provided us an income stream for that spring.
The last thing I’d like to share is community over competition.
We love our community, our customers! But we also rely on other farmers. When we are down, they have been there to pick us up.
Earlier this year as I was sitting in the hospital with Ian worrying about baby plants we had just transplanted a few days before. I spoke to another farm owner about my woes. Hours later I received a picture text of everything covered.Did I mention the frost cloth was not in the field? They took such care by finding the cloth, the weights, and spreading it out in three places of the farm - words can’t even express my gratitude.
As farmers, we pass tools back and forth, suggest new (i.e.
better) ways of doing things, lend out frost cloth, and send text messages of encouragement, and countless ways of
helping one another.
Wet Knot Farms wouldn't be where it is without your support. Here's to many more years of growth, learning, and shared prosperity!