This has been another year of unreliable help for us.Â Last year was our first year where our farm help left without notice, and it has happened once again this year.
We hired four apprentices in March when we normally have only one with the expectation that 2 of the 4 would stay for the entire growing season.Â One was expected to return to college and did, but the others got arrested in Asheville for drinking under age, causing another of the three remaining to unexpectedly quite and move to Asheville so they could deal with their court hearings.Â That left two, one promising to stay the entire season while the other promising to stay until we found a replacement; however, one of them who promised to stay until we found a replacement, mentioned one Saturday morning that â€œtheir plans have changedâ€ and they left that day leaving us without the proper amount of help in the peak of our Strawberry season.Â For a couple weeks we were only able to harvest without getting any other farm work done leaving us in a bind.Â
We are working exceptionally hard just to keep production up to feed the CSA, that is why we want to drop our CSA, because our â€œfarm helpâ€ is crucial to providing a continuous harvest for the CSA.Â The folks we have been hiring the last couple years have not taken their commitments seriously and we are not sure why.
Our gut feel when these four came, was that they werenâ€™t serious, and we had a few other applicants that we recommended to other farms that would have worked out much better.Â We asked them after they were here a week, â€œIf you are not serious about this commitment, please let us know, because we have others we could hire.â€.Â Once in the peak of season, it is very difficult to find help for the growing season.Â
If we are just toÂ grow for market rather than the CSA, then we wouldnâ€™t feel the pressure to work unbelievable hours when folks quit, because it isÂ “promising food”Â to folks that puts the pressure on us to work unbelievable hours.