Material Sourcing 
In times like these, Maple Rock's profitability may directly rely on cutting costs. With expense's rising on all fronts, lowering cost's may seem like an insurmountable task. Definately a challenge but I have found at least one substantial reduction simply by being forced into a situation of having to source a new fertilizer supplier.

Long story short. Our longtime supplier retired and closed his business this year forcing us to seek a new supplier. Fortunately, I have located a new factory-direct supplier located in western Washington. They offer bulk sales (by the ton) of certified organic approved all purpose fertilizer. In my opinion it appears to be a higher quality product than what we have been using. By purchasing by the ton I can buy more fertilizer for less money. Last year my fertilizer expense was about $2,000.00. By making this change I can buy double the product, which more realisticaly suits my needs for about $1400.00. I'm feeling pretty smart about that. There's $600.00 of savings in 2006 dollars. My real cost this year using the old supplier would have been up about 20% over last year. So I'm really saving more.

The disadvantage? Handling. This stuff comes in a one ton super sack. Harder for me to deal with than a fifty pound bag.

Financing and timing. To insure that I get my product I have placed my order early. About three months earlier than normal. But I'm a little guy and little guys get lost in the shuffle when things get busy. Just because I'm small does'nt mean I don't need the product. With the old supplier I had net 30 terms and did'nt take delivery until April. That meant I usually had cash flow to cvover the cost.

This year it's a cash up front deal. That means I need an unexpected $1400.00 additional capital on top of my other expenses and I need it now. To save money I need to spend money at a time when it's tight.

This is when I need YOU. I can't give you a better example. This is why we need to operate as a CSA farm. This is just one of a series of large hits we'll be taking in the next few weeks. (not to mention a root canal for the farmer. yeh!) I think you get the picture. I hope you do anyway. Please, any help would be gratefully appreciated. If you are thinking about becoming a member now is the time I need you.

We work hard to keep our prices as low as we can. Now more than anytime in the history of the farm we are more competitive with the grocery store prices. In fact we are often less expensive and our quality is far superior. I don't want to raise prices and I work hard to be more efficient so we won't have to. Working smart and taking advantage of situations like this go along way torwards that goal. IF... I have your help. By becoming a member, you increase our purchasing leverage which allows us to take action on these types of deals which in turn helps us keep our prices in check which in turns saves you money. It's pretty simple.

That'll do for today. I'll be back tomorrow with yet another pitch I'm sure.

Take care,

Farmer John


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uhhh - sorry 
Geez, that last post was a lttle drab, sorry. Must be the weather. I do tend to write what I'm feeling at the moment though. No use in candy coating everything all the time. That's the whole point of of the blog. You, the reader can pseudo follow a farmer through a season of day to day activities. I wish I could tell you everythings all peachy keen cool all the time but that just aint the way it is. Sometimes it sucks. The majority of the time I feel like I'm the luckiest son of bitch on the planet. I have it pretty damn good no doubt.

We've just completed updating our website. please take a minute to check it out. I'll be keeping a calander this year. If you are a home gardner you can keep tabs on the timing of when we do things. Also if you hit the harvest calender and click on the highlighted products, it will take to the recipe pages of foodnetwork.com. There are hundreds of recipes for each item. It could be the coolest thing on the site.

The first CSA renewal is in! Keep em coming folks, I cant emphasize enough how important it is to us to keep the cash flowing. That's basically one down, ninety nine to go or $19,750 left to reach our goal of $20,000 in CSA sales. Please help us continue.

It's time to get back to work. Vacation is over for me. There's an awful lot to do and I'm getting fat just laying around! It's been nice but now it's time get out there and do the the things that need to be done. Yeh! Hardest part seriously, is just getting out there:)

alright, Keep well,

Farmer John


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Happy New Year! 
Here we go, another new year. This will mark the start of our 8th season. New seeds will be arriving soon and before you know it we'll be off and running. I'm obviously hoping for a good season. No big changes in store. Just commitment to growing and being the best we can be. To be completly honest, we are not where I was hoping we would be after seven years. We're off of our business plan sales projections quite a bit. I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet though. I have too much time and money invested. Despite not hitting the mark, business has been increasing each year but we're still not what I would consider to be a viable and sustainable business. However, I am one of the most determined, head strong persons you will ever encounter. I am so commited to making this work. Bottom line is we're still here and dedicated to farming.

It's looking like we are going to have an economic slow down. That will effect us a little. We do sell a fair amount of produce to tourists and our restaurant sales are effected by the number of visitors on the island. Hopefully we'll pick up the difference in local sales. There's lot of talk about eating local ln the media these days. Well just have to wait and see what happens. CSA membership kits have just gone out and I'm anxious to see what kind of response we get. We rely on those early dollars coming in the door so I'm hoping our community will take the issue to heart.

For now I'm just enjoying the slow pace and thinking about the things we can do to increase sales. Alot of this gets down to producing more and growing the varities that bring in the highest return. We constantly strive to be better each year and this year that may prove to be more important than ever.

Keep well,

Farmer john



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Hell Yeah 
Winter solstice! Love it. Days are getting longer from here. Our winter crops are hibernating now, but soon (six weeks) they'll be off and running again. As will we.

It's nice to have a little break where the pace is not so damn hectic but as always there is a flurry of activity happening on the farm. Finishing up the barn is big on the list. It's coming, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We start working on the doors next week. Soon I'll have a closed in building to do shop work in. Yaahooo!

There's a ton of other projects to do. Fencing is a big one. Having to replace a large section that was damaged last year. Still getting hammered by the deer. They topped off my artichokes and took out a whole bed of parsley last week. Filthy beast's! Look out bambi.

Lot's of planning going on. Seed catalogs are coming every day providing lots of inspiration. Right now just thinking. Thinking about previous years success's and failures, new ideas, experiments and techniques. What's going where, when and how much of this or that to grow. New varities, old favorites, best tomatoes, peppers, what not to grow. How to make it all work better with less work. Just thinking.

Planting too. It's time to plant another round of salad crops. Spinach, tat tsoi, mizuna and arugula. What the hell, might as well sow a flat of tomatoes too. LOL, I'm such a sucker. I try it every year, always without success. The June bearing tomato remains a quest. But you never know. I might get lucky one day:)

Have a great solstice. It's all down hill from here.

Farmer John

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new show 
Hey there friends. Just came across a new show coming to the food network by Jamie Oliver AKA The Naked Chef. Jamie is one of my favorite celebrity chefs. His recipies high-light the simplicity of food. His new show is called Jamie At Home. He will be cooking meals that are directly harvested out of his own garden. It should be really cool. You can get more details by going to foodtv.com or to Jamies personal site www.jamieoliver.com. Check it out.

For those of you who don't know. We have a link to foodtv.com through this web site. Go to the harvest section and simply click on any of the high lighted crops we grow. It will take you to a menu page with hundreds of recipies for that item.

We are wrapping it up here for the year and taking a well deserved rest. Still lots of behind the scenes work going on. For those of you on our mailing list, you will be receiving a news letter shortly. Also included will be the new sign up sheet for this years CSA program. Most of you have small carry-over balances from this year but we are hoping that you will up your balances. We count on having this early income so we can purchase our inputs like seed,fertilizer,misc supplies etc. I'll be sending the letters just after new years. Please help us out by sending in your payments ASAP.

Keep well and have a safe and happy holiday season.

Farmer John

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