A look back at 2017
January is both a time to plan and start anew, but also a time to reflect on the previous year. In this post we have a fresh start for 2018 in announcing our new website and in starting this (blog) feed of information. But first... take a breath and look back to where we embarked on this new journey; the first ring in our tree.
January 2017: Star Bright Farm takes the plunge in forming an LLC in anticipation of Peter returning home to begin his career in farming. The culmination of research begins to unfold into a cohesive plan. A decision is made about where to begin; our first crop being Lavender and followed by blueberries. We seek the consultation of an old friend and lavender grower Niko Christou. As fate would have it and to our good fortune, Niko had decided to sell his farm and thus offered to sell us his propagated plants and enough field dug plants to give us a first-year harvest.
March 5: Peter returns home from 2 years living in Oregon.
March 24: Breaking ground… According to the Keyline that was laid out by Peter and a surveyor friend, Brother (Uncle Drew) turned the rows, opening an old alfalfa field into rows ready for a new life.
April: Broadforking… Many hours through the field with a sturdy, steel broadfork to break the sub-level soil compaction; a way to open up the soil to better drainage and more room for roots to take hold.
April: Ramps. A woodland plot is a perfect home for the much sought after ramps. Not only did they grow beautifully in this location, but the harvest will be featured this spring in the national magazine Eating Well. While they are gone for now, the future may hold the surprise of future harvests.
May 14: The field is finally ready and the orchard cloth is laid in a weekend of driving rain. Planting begins when skies clear. 1,000 plants to go, many hands make light work for a family day in the field.
Late May: Our kitchen garden expands to create some space to rotate in some tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
June: Creating trellising for the tomatoes.
July: Amid the season of lawn mowing, pruning, trellising and weeding, our first harvest emerges from the older lavender plants. While the main field awaits next year, this smaller harvest gives what we need to begin with some products.
July: Begin the collaboration process with Priya Narasimham. Developing the aroma profile using our raw ingredients for a Lavender Mint Body Scrub, Lavender Mint Soap and Lavender Vanilla Cream; and then a swift jump on production.
August: Begin working on product label development with naturalist painter Meg Page who illustrated our plants, and Mary Quick who did the initial design for the logo and the labels. Meg spends 2 weeks at the farm illustrating what we grow. We also join forces with Mary Mashburn at Typecast Press to take our logo and illustrations to make letterpress tags and coasters.
September: A first pop-up market to share the developments thus far. Final preparations are made to the blueberry field with a Keyline survey and laying out the rows
October: On a misty, windy day to begin the month, friends gather and 450 plants of 6 varieties of blueberries go into the ground.
While all of this is going on, in the background we are working with legal counsel and farm advocates to have a special hearing with Baltimore County to clarify our path and obtain the right to have an on-site farm market with accessory activities such as farm to table dinners, workshops, farm tours and other on-farm experiences.
December: We have our Zoning Hearing and are granted the rights to our requests.
Happy New Year! We look forward to the challenges and the rewards of growing our farm as we grow our community. please join us on this journey.