The catalogs are out. The boxes of leftover seeds are assembled, considered. The sales tallies are available. The choices will begin to narrow.
The farm constantly struggles to find balance between diversity and efficiency. Business models suggest efficiency (and profits) grow as choices are limited. There are some monstrous examples of farming all around the country. Iowa corn comes to mind. Or, closer to home, the plethora of vineyards in Sonoma and Napa counties.
But just bringing carrots to the market, no matter how kick-ass good they are, will not lead us to bigger profits, even if it radically reduces the complications. The diversity of nature allows the whole to continue. And we are doing our part to mimic that lovely complex model. This year we will grow fewer tomato varieties, probably fewer eggplant, peppers and squash, as well. We’re choosing for crop strength and flavor, sales appeal and seed cost. We’re trying to not have too many vegetables come ready for harvest all at once. Summer requires more field hands to pick and pack everything that is needed for the farmers’ market, the on-site store and the restaurants. We’re trying for more abundance in the spring when we have historically been lean; less complexity in the summer when exhaustion from overload comes to mind. Finding balance is an evolution.