Monday, September 10, 2012

Harvest Time 2012

Harvest is always a sort of year end for me. It is always a time to reflect back on the year past and take inventory of what we've accomplished and what is left to do. All of this is of course in between actual harvest activities. The busiest time of year by far. 

The farm is beginning to take shape more and more. Since I've started farming full-time (along with operating the milling business) I have had the chance to spend some time with landscaping and some construction projects, but nothing major. The back deck went from just that to basically a full fledged addition. I've got it about 1/3 finished, but my goal was to simply have a deck and a roof this year and finish the rest next year. 

All in all, the farm has gone from completely rough to marginally functional...hows that for a description? Some of the yard work, gravel and grading have been accomplished and new bins and buildings have been ordered and are on their way. 

The business itself has undergone a transformation too. Once again, there are two families who own and operate Gold Forest Grains. The Schneider's and The Bennett's. Chris and I are partners now in the farm and milling business. It is a tremendous help to have another person involved with a vested interest in the business. Chris is as passionate about organic food and farming as I am and together we are growing Gold Forest steadily and rather quickly.

The Market sales have increased for us and being in the three largest markets in Edmonton has really helped to get the word out about our fresh flour and grain products. Old Strathcona Farmers Market is still our best performing market, we simply love being involved with such a tremendous market. It is professionally managed and the customers are there to purchase food. Unlike other markets in town where entertainment is the focus, as a vendor I appreciate the focus on local food at Strathcona. Our sales at that market are more than all other markets combined weekly. 

The grain harvest is ongoing. We have purchased a new combine and it is being delivered today. It is newer and in better condition than our old L combines...it is an L2 by Allis Chalmers. Not new for sure, but in prime condition for its age and we are looking forward to less mechanics and more harvesting. 

This past summer has been trying from a weather standpoint. The fields around home are still water logged and swathing has been a nightmare. Stuck every 3 minutes. Our flax will simply have to wait until freeze up when we can go into the frozen fields with the straight cut combine. Other crops have been damaged by excessive storms, but it could have been worse. We avoided hail for the most part. Next year will be better...that is always the promise of "next year".

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for all you do, John and family :) We love your products and we promote you and your farm as often as possible. The public MUST rally to support local producers... spread the word everyone!

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  2. looks good, hope the new combine works well for you guys :) How were your yields this year? Also, how did that red fife turn out?

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  3. we had a horrible year for weather. Yields are down. Red Fife turned out ok. Not as much as we were hoping for, but some of it was operator error. Hows things your way?

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  4. New combines?? What happened to the Gleaner C2? Was it causing grief? Did you sell it? Where did it go? Do you have three Gleaner L's, with the L2 a fourth? Searching back on the site you haven't given us a combine update for three years!

    Looks like the L has about double the hp of the C2, so that likely helps ramp up your economy of scale somewhat. How many acres do you have in cropland now?

    - from the poster about the Gleaner E back in 2008 :-)

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  5. The C2 is in the bone yard now. There are some great parts including the engine that I could use in the future I'm sure. It suffered some damage last fall combining flax when one of the chains broke. Stuff piled up and did a bunch of damage to the point where I decided to just not fix it. Could be fixed I suppose, but why? Yes, we have three L's and an L2 right now. One or two of the L's will go after we strip some parts to make a Super L. Then in the next year, we're keeping our eyes open for a smokin deal on an L3 or some such.

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