Spring is definitely on the way. Yes, we are still in January and still providing our delivery/pickup service for fresh, locally grown produce and prepared artisan foods, but there are two good reasons to validate that spring is not that far away.
The second reason is that we are getting very busy with our spring planning activities now. In fact, January and February are the real business months at Hattie’s Garden. This is when all the planning has to happen, because once the ground thaws in the spring there’s no time to waste.
We grow over 100 different items, including crops in the ground and plants in the high tunnel for sale and for our own consumption. We succession plant many vegetables and flowers to have an adequate supply, and as much consistency as possible throughout the growing season for sale both at the Historic Lewes Farmers Market (HLFM) and here at Hattie’s Garden.
How do we manage this? First I look at our scribbled notes from last year. I often write down important information I know I would otherwise forget as events happen. For instance, I may make a note while at the market on a Saturday in July that reads, “50 bags of arugula sold out today at 10 a.m., weather was nice, lots of customers.”
I sit down after the market, take out my record keeping notebook and jot down some thoughts. I know that anything I put down will be useful in the future. I read these notes over carefully, often going back to previous years and then begin the process of putting together my plan for the 2015 growing season while all this is fresh in my mind.
Some of the records I try to keep include how well an item sells, how much of an item we bring each week and whether we need more of this item, or if we need this item at all. I try to pay attention when people continually ask for the same thing and we don’t have it. This way I can make appropriate changes. My notes include ideas for educating my customers and thinking ahead to introducing new items. What is trending? Do people want it? Do people need to know about it and then would they enjoy it?
Now I look ahead to the coming season and begin going through my leftover seeds, my seed catalogs, etc. I make a very long list, including everything I would grow in a perfect world where I could have it all.
Then I begin to cut things down and take a hard look at what I would like to do and what I can realistically do. This is when I need to call in my support. Employees that have worked for me in the past are invaluable in helping me to tone down my expectations and begin making appropriate choices. I am grateful to both past and present employees for the amount of information they have retained and the level of restraint they can instill in me!
We are about excellence at Hattie’s Garden. We want nothing mediocre and strive to get the best of everything we can to market and into our customers hands. I’m a stickler for details in the garden, in planting, weeding, harvesting, cleanliness and in presentation. Although many farms look like disorganized chaos, you will find a great deal of order at most farms once you get past those outside appearances.
I can’t wait to give you the next installment of the springtime planning at Hattie’s Garden. Stay tuned and please enjoy the produce and products we continue to find during these Persephone Days.
About Our Online Orders
Though we are quickly moving through our “off-season”, we still have some wonderful hardy produce and and some of the best local prepared artisan foods available to order that will get us all through the remainder of this volatile winter season. I love eating real whole foods and prepared foods with simple wholesome ingredients I can pronounce. If you have any issues with the ordering process, please feel free to call me at 302-945-0350.
Yours in the seed catalogs this week,