The Krause family is a very competitive group. Growing up there was always a board game, basketball game, card game or some type of game where there is a clear winner and loser at the end. Sometimes we shook hands and sometimes not. Our competitive spirt was not limited to games but spilt over into our work. We found out who could dig a hole 2 ft deep the fastest. Which one of us could get the hay bale to the top of the load without losing it. Who could stack the highest load of pumpkins without it falling off on the way to the barn. Whom was the fastest corn picker….(me). The list could go on and on.
As we finish up our fall harvest festival we have time to reflect on our season and see what worked and what did not work. It is a time to plan for next year and see what we can add to make our guests experience better. It is always a challenge to decide what to include because the amount of time it takes to see the effects of what some of the things we decide to implement. When we decide to plant more apple trees for instance it takes a good 5 years before they start to produce. If we decide to plant raspberries to increase our u-pick berry business that is a good 3 years. Adding more strawberries would take 2 years. These are all methodically thought thru and planned very carefully.
Other aspects of decision making are made that can see the impact right away. I think these are where the “Play or the Year” came from and our competitive spirt comes out. Each year we look back and decide what we did that made the biggest impact on the farm and call it “Play of the Year”. It could be something very simple like adding front weights to our tractor to allow us to plow a smoother field which was given 8 years ago.(congratulations Farmer Ben play of the year).This sounds like not a big deal but the amount of tractor time it saved was incredible. The play could also be adding a new attraction such as the jumping pillows 6 years ago (congratulations to myself for that play of the year). Our employees have also been instrumental in a few plays of the year. Such as Farmer Liz who showed us how useful a blower can be instead of sweeping for hours upon hours for our orchard weddings (congratulations Liz play of the year). Or Yaher our young employee whom revolutionized the way we cut out the Washington State Corn Maze 10 years ago. These are all things that made life on the farm much easier.
This year as we look back the decision has to be made, what was our Play of the Year?
It was definitely not a normal year. We love this farm and have invested so much into it through the years. Watching families come and spend quality time with each other is the reason we do what we do. I missed all the school field trips, our bakery and having all our fun farm activities available for our guests to enjoy. With the amount of time to get ready this year we did not add anything nor did we change much of anything. Although I love my job and we always have fun working such a unique, challenging career, I am not going to lie the stress level was high though the season. It was about quarter way through the season when I was worried about everything, short with everyone and trying to keep it together that my wise old father Farmer Ben pulled out the play of the year. I was working on something I could not figure out and about ready to literally breakdown when he said four words I really needed and that was “relax and have faith”. It was not buying a new piece of equipment nor adding some great new activity but it was a state of mind we all needed. So as the season progressed with the facemasks, wet weather and managing all the Covid regulations I just remembered to relax and have faith. Well played Farmer Ben….well played.