Hidden Penny Farm Inaugural Newsletter: Get Your Radishes!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Hello from the farm!

Hi! We're so glad you're here! THANK YOU for signing up. You have no idea how happy you've made us. These are still the beginning days of owning a small business where you get excited about every new person who subscribes to your email newsletter.

Did you know that you are the receiver of our first ever newsletter? The first newsletter I, Melissa, have ever even written? It feels daunting, but then I remember that this entire starting-a-farm-venture has been daunting since day one, full of huge projects and mental roadblocks I didn't think we'd ever overcome. And here we are! We are making it happen and seriously loving it. Ever have those moments where you just stop in your tracks and realize that this right here, it's the dream? I've been having a lot of those moments lately and it's a strange feeling, the sensation of your heart actually swelling.

The basics: Hidden Penny Farm is a small vegetable farm in Port Angeles. We use organic growing practices and minimal tillage. We grow healthy food because we believe it fits into a much larger system that includes a resilient community and a thriving, balanced ecosystem.

Warning: this email is long (and great)! If you want just the gist, here's a handy little table with the important stuff. If you want to know the story of the farm and what's been going through my head as I toil in the soil, read on.

Available now in the farmstand: Radishes!
Where you can find our veggies: 43 Black Diamond Road. The farmstand is always open. We accept cash (exact change please), Venmo, and PayPal. It is honor system, so please be honest! We'll also be at the Port Angeles Farmers Market in two weeks! Also, salads at Sapor of PA are featuring our radishes!
What's on deck: Lettuce, peas, and bok choy
What we're celebrating: Learning so much, flowers on the peas, bees on the flowers, the first beautiful blue eggs from our Americauna hens.
What we need: We're looking for t-posts if you have any kicking around or know of a hook up!

Still here? Looking for a new novella? Read on!

I'd like to give you a little backstory, because who are we anyway? And why are we here? And why am I pestering you with this silly email? (I have to admit, the stay at home orders leave me with a lot of time on my own, meaning that when I get a social outlet, say an unexpected visitor, phone call, or an email newsletter, I tend to be incredibly verbose, borderline annoying. You can decide right now that I am too much and stop reading. I won't even know!) Hidden Penny Farm is Melissa, Andy, Wendell and Ellie (dogs), Little Bean (cat), Shima, Douglas, and Matsu (kune kune pigs), 20 meat birds, and 20 laying hens, and two romantic roosters, Cyrano and Don Juan. I feel guilty not mentioning the literal tons of microorganisms that are living in the soil and doing most of the work, so they get a shout out too.

Andy and I moved to Port Angeles last October with the dream of starting a homestead. I wanted to someday start a vegetable farm, but you know how it goes: dreams are constantly interrupted by little voices in your head threatening you with the fear of failure. My mom, a vegetable farmer herself, came to visit for Christmas and before I had any time to process, we were getting dump trucks full of manure delivered to the house and building 90ft long beds and discussing seed orders. I guess I was starting a farm! My mom: transforming my dreams into realities since 1989.

I spent the winter planning, to the exact day, what this summer would look like. What would be planted each day and what would be harvested. What would be available at the farmers market each week and how much I would leave to sell in the farmstand. Here we are, May 19, and all that planning has paid off. Everything has gone perfectly!

Oh, haha, wait. Actually, nothing has gone according to plan. I looked at my original plan the other day and saw that this week I was planning on turning over a bed of spinach that I already had 3 harvests from and replacing it with summer carrots. That bed of spinach? The one that had super uneven germination and I still haven't had even one harvest from? Yes, the plan has definitely changed. I still am referencing the original plan weekly, but it has definitely had some tweaks made (read: major revisions.) A lot hasn't gone according to plan with Hidden Penny Farm. I spent a lot of time this spring worried. Worried that nothing was growing, that I was stupid to think I could grow food in a place I hadn't even lived for a year on a scale I had never grown before. Worried I had over promised and would definitely under deliver. Worried about pests and deer and sales and soil and temperatures.

But then, in a fit of tears (not the first of the season, probably not the last), I was gently reminded by Andy that the purpose of this season is to learn. That I'm not supposed to be a wealthy farmer this summer, and I might not even be able to provide the abundance of food for the community that I had envisioned. I may lose some money and make some big investments and probably have to admit many times that what I thought would happen just isn't happening. This is an incredibly humbling experience.

This mindset shift has been everything for me. I'm allowing myself to make mistakes and changing the purpose of this season on the farm. The focus has shifted from growing tons of food to learning tons of lessons. (They are sometimes expensive lessons and that still hurts, but someday this will all be worth it, right?) Now I'm celebrating everything I learn each day and when food grows it's this incredibly exciting bonus! You reap what you sow, you know?

That being said, things are growing! We've got all our summer crops planted (tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, basil, squash) and each week we seed more greens and roots.

I've attached some pictures of the farm because we're noobs and don't know how to put them in the body of the email. Maybe someday we'll have a nice mailchimp template. Thank you again for signing up, it really does mean a lot to us.

All of the best from our tinfarm,

Melissa and Andy