Back in May, I introduced you to this new series I’m excited about called, “The Growing Season”. In that post, I introduced you to the Pounds family who own and operate Simple Abundance Farms in Hutchinson, Kansas. We’re following them through the summer to get a taste of what the season is like for them. Come along for part two of this adventure! Let’s check back in with Adam, Maggie, and Arlo to see what’s going on at Simple Abundance.
How’s it going? How does this year differ from last year when you compare the two?
It’s hard to even compare the two because this year’s model of farming and style is totally different. Growing on our lot in South Hutch this year feels like we’ve actually started the little urban farm we dreamed up and looking back on the season so far it has gone way better than I could have imagined. Literally building something from nothing is hard work and that’s basically what this season was all about. We put in many hours down there, especially Adam during the spring. It has taken a lot of labor, creating compost, finding and gathering organic soil amendments, starting plants from seed, making and shaping beds, transplanting, creating our irrigation system, building cold storage and a washing station and on and on. This start up phase of gathering materials and putting systems in place for ourselves will make the years to follow seem a little easier! At least that’s the hope:) It’s amazing to see our farm this year as a viable growing business! We have a lot of fun at farmers market and we love setting up and displaying the diversity of greens and vegetables that we grow, admiring the harvest. It brings us both a lot of joy!
One telling example of the difference between this year and last is that we show up to market about an hour and a half before it starts instead of rolling in 15 minutes before the market manager rings the bell!
What sorts of challenges are you working through?
One of our biggest challenges is sourcing quality inputs to build up our soil health. Without a large community of small scale organic growers it is sometimes hard to find certain items as well as just other farmers doing a similar thing to share ideas with, problems, etc. Although social media is awesome for this sometimes nothing beats face to face interactions.
Another challenge has been learning our Kansas growing conditions and battling the heat and the wind in different circumstances. An ongoing challenge is farming while still in the building phase of putting all of the farm puzzle pieces together. Especially in the spring there would be times when we would want to get something done and not have everything we need to finish a project, some things you just have to make work as you go along and that’s not sustainable. But if we continually chip away at creating efficiencies and getting the right tools we want and need we will get the farm to the smooth running place we have a vision for!
What’s your favorite part of this summer in regards to the farm?
Well right off the bat I’d have to say eating and grilling everything we grow! We feel like royalty sometimes when we look at our dinner spreads! But honestly one of the best parts about this summer is all that we have learned from this season! Watching our farm as it grows and develops, and then dreaming, scheming, and learning from this year. It’s so fun thinking of additional opportunities we can create in the future! We have really gotten into vegetable fermentation this season, making sour kraut and pickling! It’s a great way to reduce our waste and also create something new and amazing! We have grown several things specifically for fermenting them. Lactic acid fermentation using salt, water, and time is how people have preserved food for centuries. It not only retains nutrients and adds probiotics but also creates some amazing flavors!
Another favorite aspect of this summer is togetherness. Farming together as a family has been such a gift! Arlo has been with us on every harvest day this season! We are so lucky to be able to do that. Togetherness also in cultivating community through the farm! Brady painting a mural out there for us has been so lovely, making our space look beautiful as people drive by! The connections we’ve developed through the farmers market has been fun, it’s been exciting to talk with other growers and gardeners and just friends who are interested in organic growing too!
My ears perked up when she said they were eating like “royalty” this summer. So I asked Maggie for a recipe. And she delivered my kind of recipe (which is to say, no real recipe at all–this is exactly how I cook) and it sounds so good that we have plans to go to the Reno County Farmers Market tomorrow to load up on all of these delicious veggies.
A favorite way to prepare our vegetables is probably number one, GRILL EVERYTHING! Salt, pepper, olive oil and then throw on grill! We do this with things you might not consider normally and it is a game changer such as whole green onions, radishes (cut in half), turnips (cut in half), bok choy (cut in half), fennel (cut in half), and probably my all time favorite shishito peppers grilled whole until they are charred and then dipped into a sriracha aioli sauce.
Most importantly, here’s where you can find Simple Abundance if you live in Central Kansas:
People can find our veg at the farmers market in Hutchinson, KS on Saturday mornings and then throughout the winter you can buy our pea microgreens and sunflower microgreens at Jako Farm! They have a store on their farm property! For first time shoppers call them first to set up an appointment for a tour of how their store works!
This is the second installment in a brand new series called The Growing Season. The Growing Season is dedicated to the beginnings, middles, and maybe even ends of projects. When we start something new, we often have the ultimate goal in mind and want to rush through the sacred beginning and middle work. This series exists to celebrate the whole process–not just the end result.
(All photos on this post were taken from Simple Abundance Farm‘s Instagram page with permission.)