Just got back from the Dane County Farmer's Market in Madison. It was amazing fun but I'm a bit punchy from no sleep. We have to leave the farm by 2:30am on Saturdays in order to get to Madison and be set up & open for business by 6:30ish. It's great to talk to the people and hear how much they love our veggies - and how much they miss the things that we lost in the flood. "Sorry, no salad greens - washed away. Same with the melons (see picture at left), many of the peppers, eggplant, cabbage, and basil." So sad. But the love we're getting from our market customers and our CSA members is amazing! They are fiercely loyal. We've initiated a fundraising drive - well, actually it was our supporters' idea. We sent out an email to everyone at the end of August, to tell them about the amazing devastation that this valley had suffered. (We have had 26inches of rain since August 11!) So we sent the email and we got about 300 responses in the first week - people asking what they could do, where could they send the check, can they set up a benefit in Minneapolis or Madison. So we took them up on it - it's hard to ask people for money, but with crop losses of over $500,000 and little or no chance of the government insurance program paying anything near even 1/4 of the value - and that's based on conventional crop pricing not organic!!! - we knew we had to do something. After the flood it has rained for another week and we ended up laying off 10 of our full time crew. The first portion of any money we raise is going into an employee relief fund - we'll get them a paycheck either by calling them back to do clean up or hopefully to do field work & harvest once it dries up. Or if we can't call them back to work, give them an "unemployment" check to help cover their expenses while they look for other work. Many of our staff were affected by the flood at home, too. Water in basements, trees on roofs, and their own fields flooded. We'll see how the letter goes over.
Fall lettuce crop, underwater. 8/21/7