Getting Off the Ground 10/8/21

Posted by Mandy + Steve O'Shea on


   It’s April 7 2012 in Athens GA.  Our first market as 3 Porch Farm and we are in the very back.  To get to us, you need to pass by 7 other talented, productive, and well established farms.  We set up, nervous, lean, exhausted.  Our work weeks are 105 hours each. We slept 2 hours last night.  Desperation, delirium, and a splash of hopefulness all swirl into the cocktail that is our consciousness.  Will people come?    A week before, I met a bread truck driver at an old country store.  He generously gave me a bunch of big stackable plastic bread trays that we are now rolling to our booth. A huge rolling rack of trays filled with pints of sweet smelling berries.  Red, ripe, dewy from the...

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Strawberry Fields 10/1/21

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It’s September 2011 and Mandy and I just arrived at the farm and we need to make beds enough for 3,000 strawberry plants in virgin pasture.  I was no farmer and I really had no idea what a task that would be with just a walk behind tiller, some shovels, rakes and hoes.  It took a solid week of 12 hour days to get the earth loosened up, the lines straight, beds elevated, grass raked out, irrigation laid, mulch rolled out, stretched tight, and covered with dirt to hold it tight on the bed for the next 9 months.       I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but if you are starting a farm, trust me, it’s worth taking a loan...

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Strawberry Time 9/24/21

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   Mandy and I have a long history with strawberries.  The whole vision of this farm initially started with them.  We were going to grow tons of them and create fruit pops sweetened with honey from our bees, produced in a kitchen powered by solar panels, and brought to the market in a truck powered by vegetable oil recycled from Athens restaurants.  The most wholesome  pop in the universe.  But first we had to plant them.    It’s about strawberry planting time right now.  For spring berries, you want to plant in September or early October.  In 2011 when this was just a vision, we had one obstacle.  We still lived in California.  We had ordered almost 3,000 plants and...

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Fall Mean Spring Flowers 9/17/21

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  Cool breezes.  We are endlessly grateful for cool breezes.  The two jobs I envy least  in a southern summer are roofer and chef.  Farming is no cake walk in these temps though.   Your muscles ache from constant dehydration and a buildup of lactic acid.  Your brain literally gets overheated and distinctly diminishes in cognitive function as you notice your eyes are bloodshot from being slowly simmered from the inside of your hot head.  Oomph and enthusiasm wane as self doubt attempts to crawl its way inside.  Why do I feel so exhausted and near-defeated so much?  Am I getting too old for this?  Why is everything brown?  Why is everything breaking?  How did these fire ants get in my underwear?   Then...

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Our New Neighbor 9/10/21

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Our new Neighbor, Joro     Fall is slowly creeping a toe in the door and we’re loving every bit of it.  I walked outside the door shortly after sun up today with a skip in my step, reveling in the cooler weather (72 degrees) when half my bald head and face became enveloped in a thick and persistent web and I began to flail around like an imbecile hoping no-one would pass by to witness my confusing panic dance.      It’s spider season in the Georgia woods and we’ve got a new neighbor.  Every year around this time, we find our walkways blocked by the webs of small spiders each morning.  It’s a bit of a nuisance, but nothing...

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Dahlias 9/3/21

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 It's the very beginning of our biggest dahlia season ever on the farm and it seems worth mentioning that despite being an incredibly difficult flower to pull off in the south, dahlias are the reason we ditched veggies and became a flower farm.   A couple of years into the farm we took a brief trip out to Portland to visit my younger brother and while there, we went on a field trip to Sauvie Island to look at some farms. As we strolled around picking berries and soaking in the cool air, we found ourselves in a seemingly endless sea of dahlias. So many colors, sizes and magical shapes. We were mesmerized with all the permutations of beauty. I imagine...

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Transitions 8/27/21

Posted by Mandy + Steve O'Shea on


    2020 was undeniably a year of collective upheaval. Much of it stressful if not outright painful for the billions of us skittering about the surface of this marvelous blue orb.  Societal structures have had tectonic shifts and individual expectations and perspectives on the why, what and how of life have been profoundly altered for a good many people.    On the farm, we are practiced in adapting to big changes rapidly and frequently.  Nature has a way of delightfully dashing the best laid plans quite often and a farmer with an inability to be nimble in the face of such repeated “defeats” will be hard pressed to remain solvent, let alone remain a farmer.  This doesn’t make the shock of such impacts...

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