This weather has been amazing. What has not been amazing is the labor market. I knew it was going to be tight, but I never imagined this tight. Back in July John and I had a meeting to discuss our fall planting schedule. July and early August are when we plant another round of cabbages, broccoli, lettuces, beets etc. for the September- November harvest window. With school starting up and the difficulty finding help, we kicked the dirt, and discussed our options. We tip-toed around the obvious decision.
We love to grow food and we knew if we planted, we would have to up our irrigation, weeding and harvesting commitments. We do not have a crystal ball, but with it being so dry, no foreseeable help and the Delta variant rearing its ugly impacts, we decided not to plant late fall crops. In hindsight, it was the right decision, but did not make it any easier at the time. Since then, we have had to bring our farm crew inside to cover packing boxes and making deliveries. By not planting, we created the capacity and the sanity to keep going. We are still growing out the winter squash, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and cabbages from our early plantings, but those are mostly in maintenance and harvest mode. We are beyond thankful for the quality farms we work with, both local and abroad, that have worked hard, long hours to keep fresh, organic produce available to us, and in turn our customers.
I was talking with another business owner and we were comparing “notes”. Most small businesses are running so lean that a similar strategy can be applied to about any industry and business at this time. Our strategy is to be diligent, prepare and hope for the best. Really, we can only do so much, developing contingency plans and being nimble to make decisions on the fly, the rest is out of our control.
All things considered, we are cautiously optimistic and are pleased that we have been able to complete all of our deliveries. We would love to have another driver on board to even out the workload and cover deliveries as necessary, but for now we are working it out. We have a good crew and they have been stepping up to make it happen. Our team is cross trained and can work longer hours if needed. However, we are running so lean that if anyone gets sick, Covid or not, it is going to be tough to manage. So far, and I am knocking on everything that is wood, we will get through this season and the health of our communities will begin to stabilize.
Thank you for your patience, as we continue to do our best every day to serve you and your family.
Be well and stay well.
-Tristan, Joelle, and the Box of Good crew