Real Talk About Farm Life
Happy Summer! It has been quite a while since my last newsletter and so much has happened. I'm currently sitting in a cozy cafe in Worcester enjoying this lovely rain and the chance to get you caught up on Deep Roots Farm. Buckle up, because it's a long one!
e past few months have been challenge after challenge and pivot after pivot. In March, I found out the new farm property in Cranston wasn't going to work out. My relationship ended. The coyotes, bears, raccoons, weasels, etc have been killing incredible amounts of chickens. I had to make a difficult choice to cull my favorite cow because she wasn't a good fit for the future health of my grass-fed herd. It turns out she was pregnant and I didn't know. Let's just say therapy has had an important role in my life these past months.
As we all know, challenges and mistakes are a great opportunity for growing and learning. What happened with the cow allowed me to see the huge emotional toll that raising animals for meat takes on me. A lot of people say to me, "I could never do what you do" as if it's easy for me. It's not. It's an incredibly hard experience every time I bring animals to be slaughtered, and I wrestle with my choices every time. But at my core, I believe these animals deserve to be honored, loved, and grieved for. And I choose to do that for them and to pay that price for the people who are eating them. This experience has helped me get the support that I need to process these emotions. I am so grateful to this cow for what she gave me.
We found a new home! A couple of months ago I got a phone call from a stranger, now a good friend, who had heard I was looking for farmland. Long story short, I was put in touch with a wonderful woman who inherited a farm and wanted to find a farmer who shared her values on tending to the land. We're working on getting electricity to what will be my future farm store, and then fencing will commence! I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am for this opportunity and the new friends I've made through it. Picture an adorably rebuilt barn right by the road with an old crooked silo right next to it. Yes, it's as charming as it sounds and will soon be our farm store. Our pigs, poultry, and farm store will move to the new location. Our cows will rotate between the two farms. More details and pictures coming soon! The farm store remains at our home farm in Chepachet and won't be moving for a couple of months.
Speaking of cows, our herd is expandingggg!!! Cows are the reason I farm. I love them. More than almost anything. I believe they are magical creatures who's ability to heal the earth puts any other animal to shame. About a month ago I closed on an FSA loan to invest in some serious infrastructure on the farm to make my life easier, and to buy more cows! We now have 10 Momma cows and one gorgeous bull. Meet Melidian Jasper Olaf and get ready for some seriously cute babies next year. This investment means our beef is a completely closed loop on our farm. The babies are born here, they eat only hay and pasture from our organically managed fields for their entire lives, until they are processed into beef. No chemicals, no unknown ingredients, no purchasing outputs from off the farm (except their minerals and kelp meal in the winter), and 100% grass-fed and finished beef. I am so proud of this!
And lastly one slightly sappy story. This year has been challenging and the past couple of weeks I have been in an "I hate farming" sort of mood. I was supposed to go on a long weekend vacation that I didn't get to go on, I was feeling cranky that I work so hard for so little money, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, frustrated that I have no life off the farm, that I don't do any of the hobbies I used to like doing, wondering how I was going to get through the next couple of months, feeling like a bad farmer, etc. One day I was driving to my house by a field. I glanced down at the grass, the lush grass growing so well because of my management, and I swear it spoke to me. "Hey!!! You're doing a great job. We need you. We appreciate you." I started crying immediately because it felt like a reminder of why I farm. For the soil, for the creatures, for the earth. A reminder that we are our own worst critics and maybe we should start treating ourselves like we treat our friends. With some kindness, and some empathy. Here I am on the barn floor after one particularly hectic, and hot day.
Life ain't easy, but it sure is beautiful. I struggle to share some of these experiences because they are so personal. But so is farming. I am so grateful to have been included in the difficult experiences and choices that so many of you have lived through and you've all helped me move through this journey of farming. I'm so excited for the future of Deep Roots Farm and the people and experiences it has and will bring into my life as we move forward.
If you want to visit us, our farm store is currently open on Saturdays 10-1. We are at the Glocester Farmers Market on Sundays 10-1, and the Armory market in Providence Thursdays 3:30-7. Our products are available for home delivery anywhere in RI through the WhatsGood App.
Sunday night, my little piggie set busted our of their training pen (because let's get real, I'm just not that great at building things) and destroyed my garden, and yesterday I arrived home from picking up a fresh batch of chicken to see 25 cows walking down the driveway. When it rains, it really pours. It's a journey, you're not the only one feeling overwhelmed, and please if you need to share a hard experience, this is a safe place to do so. Love to you all.
Your Farmer, Katie