This year has been a very big year for Harp & Shamrock Croft! Once we had a couple of years’ experience behind us, we decided that it was time to take a chance. So we moved forward with the decision to farm full-time. You all helped make that possible with supporting us both through our sales and also with our successful crowd-funding campaign this past spring. We are so thankful for your show of support. Our sales this summer were incredible!
We consider ourselves fortunate to be a part of Hub City Farmers’ Market which runs nearly year-round, enabling us to bring out our produce weekly (plus goat milk soap and new handmade items for the gift-giving season) every month of the year! However, the last few months have caused us a bit of concern. We are going to remain positive here, because negativity and farming do not mix. We love what we do, and we would not do it if we didn’t love it. But there is something we need to say: we still need your support after summer is over.
If we are going to continue to supply you with local, fresh, sustainably raised heirloom tomatoes, green beans, okra, and squash in July, then we need you to buy your local, fresh, sustainably raised kale, arugula, radishes, lettuce, beets, and carrots in November and December. Your farmers need your support year-round. We’re not looking for sympathy. This isn’t just about your local farmers needing to pay their bills. This is about you having access to local food when you want it. We cannot be at the farmers’ markets in July if we cannot support ourselves in November, December, and January.
While incredibly rewarding, farming is difficult work. There are many obstacles to contend with: the condition of the soil, pests, weather. Even a good year with the elements calls for us to be working sun-up to sun-down with planting, weeding, watering, harvesting. With all that farming requires, we absolutely need to be able to count on our customers. You, our beloved patrons, are the only way we bring in our income. You are the key. We could produce tons of produce every week, but it would amount to very little if our customers didn’t buy it.
We understand that you can go to any grocery store any time and buy produce. However, there are so many benefits to eating seasonally. The food that is sold on-farm or at your local markets is always the freshest, which means it is the most nutritious. Many people also believe that food grown in close proximity to where you live is better for you because it’s part of the same biome or environment; therefore it is more properly matched to the nutrients that your body needs. Also, consider how supporting your local farms equates to supporting your local economy, thereby keeping your money closer to your community. We can assure you that every single dollar you spend with us is money well spent.
Eating locally, or seasonally, means eating what is growing in your geographical location when it is growing there. It means buying your strawberries in the spring and early summer, your tomatoes from July until October (if you’re in SC), and your kale from October through December. It means perhaps buying something new and learning how to prepare it! We love when you ask “How do you fix your eggplant?” We might even ask you to tell us how to make something! It might also mean eating so much of a certain crop that you don’t ever want to eat it again, and then being happy to see it at the market again in 10 months. But it also means having the freshest tasting, most nutrient-dense food imaginable.
We are all in this together. We cannot be out there for you every weekend of the summer if fall and wintertime leave us unable to support ourselves. We want to be there for you. We just need your support. Please remember to buy what your local farmers are providing, and please spread the word. People listen when their friends recommend a business or a product! We are doing what we can to bring you quality as well as variety. Please help us (and yourselves) continue to do that! And since we are partnering together in this local food movement, we welcome your suggestions. We so appreciate you and want you to be happy.
For a great read on seasonal eating, read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.