It Is All Just An Experiment
I find myself here in bed, propped up on my pillows, late into the night with my Macbook on my lap.
Not quite ready to drift off to sleep, as my wife had done hours ago. I don't know how she does it. Not the sleeping. I mean, how she handles everything going on. Cooking all day long, creating new recipes, working with the farm staff, managing our mountain of bills, raising our kids with such love and care.
And then there is me; she takes care of me in such a deeply loving way. Always there for me in my moments of need. When I am too sick to get out of bed, or too dumb to eat when my body is hungry. She is there with a plate of food in her hands and a kiss for my soul. She is there to embrace me, to show me each day is meaningful, special. By being there in those moments of need. She flashes her beautiful eyes at me, cracks her sexy smile, and I know... she loves me. It is all I really need, but of course, she gives so much more. I hope I do the same for her, but I am guessing a tend to fall a bit short. I do my best. I do what I can.
It is strange to have someone love you with such passion. I wish everyone could feel what I feel with Aria. I have said it before, but it is worth saying again. I love her. I am in love with her. I am in love with our family.
Love, why am I writing about love to you?
Because we all have a love in common. Yes, Aria, but also Noci. Our family loves the farm, our staff, and our members love it. We love the idea behind it, what it is today and what it will be.
Tonight I have decided to write about our members.
What they, you the founding members are going through. I know, I am putting everyone through a lot. I am experimenting with Noci as a business. I am testing the waters and ideas.
I think everyone has heard my pitch at one time or another. It goes something like this. Noci is a farm that isn't a farm. A farm that doesn't sell the plants it grows but sells access to them.
A farm that never charges our members for what they eat or take, but for the privilege of being a member. An exclusive membership, a unique club like no other. Our members are getting a garden, nature, food, flowers, beauty, happiness, friendship, love, laughter, time, peace, and access to something that doesn't exist anywhere else.
This membership is an experiment. The idea behind Noci Sonoma is an experiment. For the next 36 months, we will be working it out. What is it? What does it want to be? What can we make it?
To answer these questions we will need to change and alter things continuously. I am sure most of you have already noticed I have been doing that a lot.
One minute you have a standard membership, then an unlimited, then all of a sudden there is an unlimited plus and now the plus is called VIP. Hold on the changes are just starting. Hopefully, as we experience what is working and what Noci wants to be, your experience will only get better and more meaningful. The quality of the produce, the gatherings, and the gardens should always be getting better. Your membership features should get better. They should be better defined and more fine-tuned for you.
Noci's business model is unique for a farm. I don't know of another farm like us.
The membership fees enable it to thrive, to grow, and to get more refined over time. Each year the farm should be better than the year before. In five years, ten years, it will be unimaginable that we actually started in a blank field. We should be breaking all records, shattering the idea of the business of farming.
You are our Founding Members. Our most important members. You believed in this idea, this farm, this new way of doing something. Even when it was nothing but a field behind our little farm stand. You stopped, you asked questions, and you jumped in.
We thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you for coming out to the fields, to our dinners, lunches, brunches and movie nights. You have braved the cold, the rain, and the blazing heat. You walked through the weeds and stickers to pick a strawberry or harvest some peppers. You are the heart keeping Noci alive.
Now for a quick breakdown of what is next:
Our next major objectives are completing the gardens, building the retail buildings and finishing the pools.
The gardens are on track to be all planted by this Spring. We are working our way from the back to the front. We have started two new 1 acre gardens we call 9 & 10. They have all the garlic, winter greens, sunchokes, blueberries and the beds for the Spring crops. We also planted out all the pathways with a rich mixture of grasses, clovers and 100's of thousands of wildflowers seeds. Should be amazing this Spring.
An important garden goal is the trellis system. Each garden has one. All 14 gardens will have a living green trellis wall, ten ft high. Each wall is made up of grapes; blackberry or passion fruit vines. We will first plant the actual plants next month, and then we will go back and work on all the hardware. The metal square frames and the wires. This is a massive project, and it has fallen on the shoulders of two farmers, Michael and Andrew. If we fail, it will be their fault. Just joking, we won't fail, but definitely wish them luck.
The retail buildings are being built as I type this. The foundation work was finished last week on three of the buildings. Next, the cement foundations and sidewalks will go in starting on November 28th. The metal frames will go in at the same time. We hope to complete the buildings within 90 days. The buildings are 20'w x 14'h x 80'l. There are two of them and a separate public two room bathroom. All at the front of the farm. Once these are in and the landscaping gets cleaned up, we will be officially open. I say with a sigh of relief.
Something we have learned to live without. Power. Yes, power for all the buildings and the gardens is also finally going in. Starting next week, our electrical team will be breaking ground. They will run power all the way from the back of the farm to the front. New transformers will go in and a master panel. May the light shine on Noci.
I am sad to report, the window to build the pool feels like it has past. The rains came early and do not seem to be letting up. This project will have to wait until Spring. I promise it will be the first project on our list. All of us want to dive in. Believe me. We all need a mini-vacation, even if it is just sitting by a large body of water in the middle of our farm. It would be heaven.