[Market-farming] to hire, or not to hire?

KAKerby at aol.com KAKerby at aol.com
Wed Dec 26 12:05:52 EST 2012

We have been on the fence for awhile now about hiring some help for the  
production year.  Things came to a head this past weekend, when a good  friend 
of ours, who has worked with us here sporadically in the past,  dropped a 
comment at a Christmas party that she thinks we should work together  during 
2013 as partners, really rev up production, and go back to selling at the  
farmer's market.
A 15 second comment has proven to give me three days' worth of "should we  
or shouldn't we?"  And every time I think I've answered the question, I  
think of some new "angle".

We weren't planning to return to the farmers' market this year, for a  few 
reasons which I thought were pretty solid.  Solid, that is, until  I started 
to think about what I could do with a second pair of hands around  here.  
We also had figured on not hiring anyone "yet", but maybe in a year  or two.  
Her suggestion has sped up our deliberations, but I still  find myself on 
the fence.  It's a Catch-22.  Looking at "what could  be" through the 
optimistic lenses, I see some really nice improvements.   But looking through the 
pessimistic lenses, I see a lot of ways this could go  south on us.  And I 
won't know until we commit to one or the other, but by  committing, we set 
things in motion (or don't), which will dramatically impact  what we do during 
2013.  I can't put this off for two months and deliberate  - we'll have 
missed some planting windows if I do.  But I can ramp up now  in anticipation, 
and if things don't pan out then I'll have a nightmare schedule  to maintain 
by myself for the rest of the year.

I know some of you have gotten along very nicely without any hired  help.  
Some have hired help, and tweaked things so that life goes on if  that hired 
help doesn't pan out.  And some of you depend heavily on your  hired help, 
such that you couldn't function without it.  How do you all  know "now is 
the time" to hire, and/or when not to hire?  A big question  for the last week 
of the year.  Thanks all.
Kathryn Kerby
Snohomish, WA
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