Over the weekend, W and I attended the Mountain Farm Tour with David and Tina. We always enjoy coming together with other like-minded folk on the tours. This year we visited a few new farms that are noteable: Flying Cloud and Gladheart. W was particularily fond of the blueberries we picked at Flying Cloud and the Peach Yerba Mate they were kind enough to share at Gladheart. I loved watching the goat milking and seeing Gladheart's impressive biodiesel operation. We managed to see goats galore over the weekend and even saw an angora goat for the first time. They are wild looking!
Lessons learned: we can likely get by with less than 10 acres and be just fine. In fact, we learned that two people can manage 2-3 acres in full production. Anything over that seems to require the assistance of interns or generous friends. Hoop houses seem to be the way to go in extending the growing season and increasing yield per acre.
I was particularily aware of the different atmosphere of each farm. Some are hippy-driven, communal living situations where people seem to want to just live happily off the land. Others are family-based businesses which are still warm and fuzzy feeling, but definitely driven to succeed. Lastly, there are farms that are pure business. There is an obvious concern and passion for sustainable living, but the farm is their job. They are keenly aware that it is their livelihood, and needs to be treated appropriately. I am personally drawn to the communal living situation and the idea of living sustainably for ourselves regardless of profit whereas W is drawn to the latter situation and wants to farm in order to retire. I hope somewhere along the way we can manage to find a happy medium.
All in all we had two very enjoyable days with new friends and old acquantinces.