Just when I thought life could not get any crazier, I went and made a huge decision. I am going to move my whole farm to a new location in a different town. In the short term life is indeed crazy, but the long term picture looks less stressful and full of opportunity. Let me explain.
The land that I started on was a great opportunity for me. I am eternally grateful to Curtis, the farmer who’s land it is, for the help and resources he has made available to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him, and he definitely had a huge impact on how I got started. So thanks Curtis (though I know you won’t read this).
There were a number of factors that led to my decision to depart from the land I am on now, and move to “greener pastures”. You could say financial projections played a part. There is definitely a lot of pressure as a new Dad (any day now). However, that is not the root of my decision.
Following my passions
The FoodCyclist website and brand started because I chose to always pursue my passions in life. I wanted to shape my life around my passions, not my passions around my life. Kate and I have taken a lot of risks through the years, knocked a lot of things off our bucket list, and have no plans to stop. You only get one life, why not do what you love?
I love farming. For better or worse, haha. Though, it is not the only thing I am passionate about. Obviously Kate, my baby, my family, and my friends are at the top of the list, but I’m going to stick to the things that keep me busy, and hopefully pay a few bills. One of my other passions is craft beer. More and more of my CSA members are catching on to this, and frequently discussions about cooking chicken goes hand in hand with what beer to drink with it.
Though I love chickens, only being around big dumb meat birds takes a little of the flare out of farming. I needed egg laying birds in my life. To top it off, I was running my farm alone. All the work, all the toil, all the decisions were all mine. I like being around people, I wasn’t happy alone.
I could certainly continue as I was and have been quite happy. But I learned that when you see an opportunity to make a positive change in your life, you jump on it. Some times it works out, and sometimes it does not. That is the risk, but you never know if you do not try.
Finding like-minded people keeps your passions alive
When I moved to the area in January I was researching farms. Imagine my surprise that after years of being the “FoodCyclist” I found a farm close to home called “Food Cycle Farm”. In the vein of “there is no such thing as competition in farming” I got in touch with them and asked if I could be of any help.
We scheduled a meeting and I instantly knew I liked these people. Right after that I got tunnel vision making FoodCyclist Farm happen and didn’t speak with the folks at Food Cycle very much. (This FoodCyclist / Food Cycle thing is going to get confusing).
Fast forward a couple months. I heard that Food Cycle for one reason or another lost it’s farm manager, and was looking for help. I wasn’t sure at first, but I inquired into what they were looking for. It turns out they were looking to hire two people to manage the farm. One to concentrate on vegetables, and another to back the first guy up, do some marketing, and oversee operations and make sure all the elements of the farm play nice together. In short, I fit the bill perfectly. Bing bang boom, I’m in.
The fine folks at Food Cycle have the same dreams and the same ethics that I do. You will get to know them more as I update both my blog and theirs throughout the summer (I’ll share the links). For now know that I am super happy working with people on that same dream. That dream is outlined in brief below. Then I’ll get into the pictures.
Who/What is Food Cycle
I’ll let them tell you who they are in their words, then I’ll supplement with a few of my own to let you know where they stand.
Typical farm-to-table organizations seek to create a linear path, demarking a straight line to consumers. The Food Cycle is not a typical organization. We consist of several, interlocking businesses; currently, a farm, a distillery, and a brewery. In the very near future, we will scale ever upward. Our plans include a fine-dining restaurant, a casual eatery, and a small inn near the farm. Each interlocking business contributes outputs to and receives inputs from the rest of the organization, making it stronger, more sustainable, and as energy efficient as possible.
We love food that makes our taste buds sing, we love drinks that incite and inspire, and we love feeling good about the choices we make. The Food Cycle is a group of enthusiastic folks looking to create the tastiest, most flavorful produce, beer, and spirits imaginable, while maintaining an intimate connection with the earth.
Everyone participating in the Food Cycle has exacting standards; our ability to control and monitor our ingredients, production techniques, and supply chain allows us to create the highest-quality products possible. Our chickens are inquisitive, our beers are rich and malty, our spirits will fill you with warmth.
That’s quite impressive! Lots of plans. This is their second year building up the farm and it looks amazing there. They have cleared and cleaned a lot of land, put in hop poles and planted a hop yard, a newly planted apple orchard, several mobile chicken coops with pasture-raised eggs, two greenhouses, several buildings, and a boat load of passion for what they are doing.
With all the land they have my chicken tractors fit in quite easily. The deal is I get to keep my business and run it off their land, while working for them on the farm. It’s the perfect scenario for me. I get to work with great people, be a part of a new brewery, increase the amount and the type of chickens I get to take care of, and I get a little more stability and security in life.
I think 1,000 words might be good enough for now. It’s currently getting late and I am waking up around 4a.m. for my processing day tomorrow. I am about 50% moved on to the new farm and working from essentially three locations makes for a lot of driving and longer days. Thanks for taking the time to read, and enjoy some of the visuals.