We at Marble Creek have so much to be thankful for this year. We are so thankful for the arrival our first son Luke! We are incredibly thankful for all the grandparent help we have watching Luke while Jesie works. When we first came to Pepper Place this year on April 11, we didn’t know what the demand for our pasture-raised meats, eggs, and cleanly-raised produce would be. It was tremendous to say the least. We are so very thankful for the opportunity to be a vendor at Pepper Place. We are so grateful to our wonderful customers for trying out our products and continuing to come back and support us. Our CSA members especially have really shown us that there is need for what we are doing and we are so thankful for the trust you put in us to feed your family. We are thankful for the community of like-minded farmers we met and continue to enjoy fellowship with at market and beyond. We are thankful for the forgiving climate we had this year. We were blessed with lots of well-timed rain and good temps with a last freeze in March. We were blessed with a market at Liberty Park, West Homewood, and The Summit. We have a great partnership with Hurricane Branch Farms to provide awesome grass-fed beef to our customers while we grow our own herd. We will never be big enough to meet all of our demand, but they are blessed with hundreds of acres of prime pasture, so that we can always ensure consistent quality beef for our customers. We are thankful for the wonderful relationship we have with our processor, Steve Thompson. Chastain Farms, Rora Valley, Hepzibah Farms, Herron Hollow, Mt Laurel Farm, Jones Valley, Harvest Roots, ASAN, Nathan Wright, Joe Gamble, and so many more have helped us out countless times and in countless ways.
But what we are most thankful for this year is the incredible volunteer help we have received as we have built our farm. For those that do not know, we are a host farm for the WWOOF program. This program allows people from all backgrounds and ages to try out farming on sustainable farms. Some do it for a day, some for years. We have had a steady stream of mostly young people come to our farm to help us and learn about what we are doing. This was our first year as a WWOOF host. We had a lot to learn ourselves from hosting WWOOFers. Our farm always has so much work to do, and it feels like there is never enough help to do it. Trying to find the balance between working hard and being a good host has been hard for us. Many times we simply work too hard and sometimes our volunteers have shouldered a lot of our load. As we grow and hire our first employees this winter and spring, we are much better able to manage the demands of our farm. But we couldn’t have found the success that allows us to do that without the monumental help of our WWOOFers.
Juliette, Christian, Allison, Karen, Eric, Gaelle, Rachel, Emma, Aris, Amy – THANK YOU. We would not be the farm we are today without you. Christian and Allison – a very special thank you goes out to you two. You both were here at the very beginning for a long time. I know it was a hard time sometimes, especially given the time of year when it is freezing and wet and muddy, but you stuck it out with us and we genuinely appreciate what you did for us. Thank you. Rachel – you ran our entire garden this year and ran our markets. You were also a constant source of positivity and optimism. To say we couldn’t have done it without you is a severe understatement. We are so proud of you and grateful to have had you with us. Emma – we are so excited to have you with us in this new role and so incredibly thankful for the help you have given us all year. You continue to struggle with us through every aspect of our enterprise and family. We are so lucky to have you.
As the season shifts from fall to winter, we take time to reflect on what has been this year. The last of the pasture is browning as the soil goes to sleep for the winter. The last of the leaves are falling down. The days are so short that us farmers don’t have a choice but to slow down, too. But we know that in just 8 short weeks we will be starting our first transplants of the year (in January). The start of winter just means spring is right around the corner. As you and your family connect over the holidays, we wish you the very best from Marble Creek Farmstead.