MOSES Organic Farming Conference

I apologize for the tardiness of this blog post. Other life work had taken over for a brief period of time. This post is the first in a four part series about MOSES.

On February 25th, we attended MOSES Organic Farming Conference in Lacrosse, WI. Just as we hoped, the conference was incredible. Even though we only went for one day, we gained valuable knowledge about growing elderberries, organic certification, and life on a small-scale diversified fruit farm. More importantly, we left the conference with a stronger sense of the kind of farm we wanted to create.

Aaron and I had a farm meeting during the key note speaker. We were able to express our excitement for what we had just learned and concerns that were creeping into our minds. Listening to the elderberry farmer presentation, Aaron began thinking that perhaps we are taking too great of a risk in growing blueberries and there are other fruit alternatives (each acre of blueberries roughly costs $10,000 to start up including plants, sulfur spread last year, peat, mulch, drip irrigation system, etc.). He also lamented that when growing blueberries, everyone seems to follow the same formula and there seems little room for exploration/alternative methods. We have surmised that one reason many people do not try alternative ways to grow blueberries is the high cost associated with start-up. No use taking risks on an already risky venture.

During this conversation, I reminded Aaron that ultimately, we are the farmers. We bought this farm, we are planning this farm, and we will nurture and care for this farm for the long foreseeable future. We will feel the joy of our successes and the pain of our failures. As long as we remember that, we will be okay. We start prepared then problem solve any mistakes that arise.

We ended our farm meeting recommitted to growing blueberries and also recommitted to being creative in our growing practices and searching out new and unique ideas. Especially for Aaron, that’s a big part of the joy of farming. We also decided to consider planting some eldberries this year, which have alot of health benefits, are great for jam and wine, and would be ready in 2012!