New growth is springing forth, the color green is returning to the
farm, and life at 12 Seasons had a comforting feeling of normalcy this
week as we planted over 13,000 strawberries.
Before I got into farming, I never realized and considered there to
be so many shades of green. After a storm of this magnitude, one comes
to appreciate every bit of green that is coming back. Trees, crops, and
bamboo are leafing out all over the farm right now. What a gift the
color green is! And what a privilege to witness order brought back from
chaos and life springing forth out of destruction. It seems evident more
than ever that there is a burgeoning will transcribed into the fabric of
every cell to want to live, grow, and multiply. It is more like spring
now than fall here in Southwest Florida. So special to witness this
The planted crops overall are doing very well. We will obviously have
a big lag in production for the first part of season, but the subsequent
plantings after the storm overall appear healthy and strong. The cherry
tomatoes, pictured above, we planted one week after the storm are
beginning to flower. We are hoping to have the first of these available
We planted 13,500+ strawberries in 3½ days!! Folks worked hard in the
hot sun, but with great attitudes. This is the most we ever planted in
less than a week and the earliest we’ve ever had them in the ground!
What a team!
The kids helped a lot this week in the strawberry planting. They
refilled the bare-root plants into empty containers, inoculated the
plants with beneficial mycorrhizae (beneficial fungal species that help
the plants absorb water and uptake of nutrients), and shuttled the
containers with strawberry plants to those who were planting in the
Early Friday afternoon the strawberry planting goal was completed!
Great job, strawberry planters!
The kale in the above photo is one of the few crops that survived the
storm. Most of the vegetable plantings were lost, but kale is absolutely
resilient. We just started harvesting kale on the farm for us to enjoy
the first vegetables of the season. Benjamin in the above photo, like
his siblings, enjoys eating raw kale.
Ek has nearly finished rebuilding the seedling house that was
completely leveled. We are beginning to relocate our seedlings back in
here. We have them in 3 locations and looking forward to getting them
all in one place.
Much of the progress on the farm has come with the arrival of new
folks for the season. Many came earlier than planned to help with
hurricane clean up and to get 12 Seasons farming again. More have
arrived in recent days. This has helped considerably with getting
positive traction with so many irons in the fire.
We are pleased to welcome back Carrie Bell who arrived Saturday night
(here for her 4th season); the Mashburn Family (James, Kelly, Isabella,
Charlotte, Victoria, Hudson, and 1 more on the way) who just arrived a
few days ago; the Hallau Family (Dan, Brittany, Fritz, and Wally) who
have been with us now a couple weeks; the Youngs now in their second
season (Dan, Julie, Atlas, and Jett) who adjusted their schedule to come
sooner after the storm, have been here for several weeks; and the Small
Family (5th season: Corey, Jeanna, Myrah, Jack, Meridith, and Aleena).
The Smalls arrived just days after the storm (several weeks ahead of
their schedule– they left Idaho before the storm knowing we would need
help and purchased much needed supplies like dehumidifiers, commercial
fans, bleach, etc.). With all this great help we have been able to stay
focused on getting our crops into the ground as swiftly as possible
while plugging away at debris cleanup and reconstruction projects.
Ek, Bianca, and Mikha moved back into their home this week! The
Hofland Family (dear friends) hosted them while their house was under
construction. After the drywall was put in, they hosted a couple
painting parties to finish up. We are still working on kitchen cabinets
and other furniture but at least they are back in their home.
Our biggest need at this point remains adequate worker housing and
getting our community house fixed up again. Four of the six worker
dwellings were badly flooded, with one damaged beyond repair and two
needing significant work to make them safe again. We are in the process
of locating and purchasing a couple used RV trailers/tiny houses to
replace the damaged ones. We are planning to use a portion of the funds
that were donated toward this. THANK YOU! If anyone knows of an RV
trailer that is available or has any ideas for us on affordable used
ones, we would welcome such an option. We have applied for a FEMA
trailer but it doesn’t appear likely this will come, or at least not
anytime soon. We want to get all our workers back into comfortable and
safe dwellings. Thanks for your significant part in this!!
We continue to be amazed by the generous support of folks who have
been helping us rebuild through money donated through the “Give, Send,
Go” site and many who have mailed or hand-delivered donations. Thank
you, Thank you, Thank you.
To celebrate a good, hard week, we had a big lunch on Friday! Vicki
made a huge kale salad– the first of the season! Yum! Wow, we have
missed fresh salads. It is great to have moments of celebration in the
midst of rebuilding.
While the bamboo cathedral (as we call this location where we gather
for meals and breaks) is nothing like it was before the storm, the
canopy is returning with fresh new leaves and shoots, giving us a
foretaste of the shade and coolness it is so wonderfully designed to
On Saturday night, the Young Family hosted a pumpkin carving contest
on the farm. Lots of kids and laughter back on the farm again.
Again, we want to express our gratitude to all of you who have
supported us through this time of rebuilding. The funds which many of
you have donated are a huge help to repairing the damaged greenhouses,
purchasing construction supplies, and ultimately working toward
repairing and replacing housing for our workers. This has been such a
huge burden lifted as part of the way we do farming is to provide
housing for most of our staff. We like to live and work as a community
with a common goal of producing high quality food that is safe,
delicious, and nutritious. Thanks for making this possible through your
The link to the “Give, Send, Go” site is:
It has been encouraging to receive emails and your messages of
support that many of you have posted on the giving site or sent directly
to us. We are overwhelmed not by the huge workload or crop losses, but
by the kindness and generosity of a most supportive community!! We
cannot thank you enough.
We hope to be back at market the first week in December. We are
hoping we will have enough produce to maybe offer home deliveries or
farm pick ups mid to late November, but it is still too early to
Looking forward to reconnecting with you in the weeks to come.
Danny, Vicki, the kids, and the 12 Seasons Team