Last week something profound happened on the farm. Okay, profound in a highly personal way.
With the help of three volunteers (Ran, Mike and Anne aka Da Crew), we planted 50 blackberry plants. Even after carefully measuring them out, allowing space for the trellising and soaking their roots, the whole process took less than an hour.
That hour was years in the making.
In 2011, when I first bought the property, I had dreams of being a berry farmer. I loved eating berries and wanted nothing more than to grow them. I attended berry conferences, toured the state looking at berry farms, talked to berry people. Berries were it.
Then real life came knocking. A divorce. A farm house to renovate. A job to be found. Bills needed to be paid and on most days keeping up with the farm was more of a chore than fun. Still the berry dream nagged me.
A couple of years past and, after settling into the farm house and a job at the food bank, I ordered the berry bushes. I would not let the dream die.
As the planting date got closer it was clear I wasn’t ready. Although I’d spent years learning about berries, I knew little about my own land. The low-lying areas, the heavy soil, the wind channels. The impending arrival of the berry bushes made it all too clear that I was in over my head.
I called and cancelled the order then sat at my desk and sobbed. I felt like a failure. Years of talk and excitement and dreaming and there I was, another spring and no closer to realizing the dream.
My thoughts turned to growing things that I could sell immediately. Annuals. My fellow grower and good friend, Jean Price, suggested planting sunflowers and away I went into a new dream and the world of flowers.
When the berries arrived last Wednesday, it was hard to imagine that I was prepared but indeed, the raised beds were ready and there was no looking back. On Thursday, we planted two blackberry varieties, 25 plants of each. To those who helped me I’m sure it felt like just one more task on a long list of Thursday-to-do items. But to me it was deeply humbling and gratifying realizing that some dreams simply take longer to realize.
Here’s to enjoying the berry harvest next year and for years to come!