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Reflecting on 2023 with an Eye towards 2024

December 31, 2023

As the hours are slowly counting down until 2024, it is of course everyone’s natural instinct to reflect on
the year before. There seems to be a constant trend across the country that 2023 was an exceptionally
challenging year. It may be that I am only seeing those stories pushed through my radar lenses. Sadly,
though, Dizzy Lizzie’s Farm was no exception. I would have to rank this up there with one of the most
difficult years we have ever had on the farm. Through it all, we have tried to grow and be flexible. Thus,
we are extremely grateful to be able to usher in the New Year still as a working operation with a new
website and many new products available. And most importantly, as always, we express our sincere
gratitude to all of our loyal and new supporters. When you have customers like we do, it always makes it
easy to push through the muck to reach the silver lining. We hope 2024 ushers in many new satisfied
customers and finds those who have been with us through all the rogue waves continuing to enjoy our

So let’s get going on a quick Dizzy Lizzie Farm Review for 2023. Honestly, I think January was going along
fine until on a trip I ventured home with my first case of Covid of the year. While the farm manager has
remained completely unfazed (keeping my fingers crossed that this remains the case), I was blessed
with covid not once but at least twice more and Tractor Man is ending this glorious year with it. This is
my segway into small farm business owners and health. I have given this much thought and I don’t care
what kind of business you have, when you are the owner of a small business and not at your best, the
business is going to take a hit. The only way this might not happen is if you have a well-oiled operation
with smart and capable employees and contractors. Unfortunately, it turned out we did not. Anytime I
was up and running, I was usually cleaning up a big disaster that would sap my strength.

I have been diagnosed with so many problems this year (from minor colds to covid to giardia to all the
normal aches and pains) it became a well-rehearsed comedic joke. There was no way I was able to put
my normal working hours in. Thus 2023 was not only a bad health year it was the behind year. I can’t
believe how many times I said “when I catch up” to the farm manager only to have to say “because of
this we are even further behind.” When something is completely annoying and ludicrous to your own
ears, you cannot imagine how it might sound to a 10-year-old.

Ask my family, I believe in takeaways and lessons so out of this I have finally realized I can’t reach the
goals I set four years ago if I continue to run the operation as is. Without the confidence of a reliable
staff and complete health, it appears it is time to be more flexible in how Dizzy Lizzie operates. Thus in
2024, I am reaching out to local organic farmers to begin discussions on contract growing for our
value-added products. In addition, we are searching for a larger kitchen or even a co-packer to take
over production of some of our products for the time being. We apologize to customers who might not
like these changes but we promise there will not be a change in the quality or its taste along the way.
While I love my customers, I do love my family even more. And I am tired of being the parent that
misses everything, and I am not sure how it even fell to the wayside, so family time is being pushed
back to the forefront of our farm life.

Random 2023 Happenings:

Farm Manager won a purple ribbon for her raised garden project at the fair. She also took blue for her
Turkey and our beautiful Havanna Rabbit, ‘Brownie Brown”

The farm used its two new high tunnels for both pepper and tomato production. It was astonishing to
watch peppers grow to their true potential.

Drainage around the high tunnels and the hopefully to be-established Peony patch was, finally, after 5
years, installed. YIPPEE!

Dizzy Lizzie completed a continuing education course entitled Food Product Development put on by Food Spark.

Due to lack of soil fertility in a new plot and adverse growing conditions throughout the season, our garlic
yield was meager. What was harvested was predominantly small heads  while tons of heads rotted
from the wet.

Potatoes were a different issue entirely. They were so prolific that potatoes we will be offering organic potato seed in 2024.

It  was overall a very wet year that certain field crops did not respond well to. Our outdoor peppers were
a disaster especially when you ventured in the high tunnels to see 4-6 ft pepper plants.

In kitchen news, another grower producer mentioned a smaller mill that he said was amazing. I am the
gadget queen and of course, I was willing to give it a try. It takes 20 seconds to powderize garlic which
used to take 2-5 minutes.

The transplanter that was purchased several years ago proved itself to be once again useless for us. We
are a hopeful clan and always expect the next year to bring the answer to its success.

I discovered packaging things in Flatpacks is way faster and makes shipping easier!

Our new website went live! After more than two years of struggling with a disaster website, it has been
exciting to have a functional one.

I am sure I am forgetting something so I might need to add to the list above before tomorrow.

All of us on the farm – Dizzy Lizzie, Tractor Man, Farm Manager, Zany Zuma, Elma, Elizabeth (the cat), Superhero Onyx the Bat Cat, Brownie Brown the Havana Rabbit, the guinea pig crew: Kaze, Mizu Moochiess, Panda, Hi, Charcoal,  Blackie, the 9 chickens and 14 nameless ducks want to end our New Year letter by wishing everyone best wishes and a Happy New Year!