Winter is slowly turning into spring and Lisa needs to do spring cleaning and prep in her gardens. This is a pretty big task and she needs help. She says something to the effect of “didn’t have these kids for nothing”. Ok so you were trying to birth your own field crew? I thought you had a big family because you loved kids and being a mom. It just rubbed me the wrong way. She then tricks Pete, Dan and Bitty into coming over to help her clean up and plant some trees.
Joe is still on his kick on wanting to add cattle to Freedom Farms inventory. Pete isn’t completely sure that Joe has all the details of slaughter worked out and is understandably a bit nervous. Joe thinks he’s got it figured out but Pete hopes that he just takes it slow. Joe goes to check out some Scottish Highland cows and bulls. They are a heritage breed and Joe is looking for a niche market. In the end they decide not to go with the Scottish Highland but rather they go with Angus. The visit a farm that has some Angus available. The silver lining is that there are several already pregnant cows eliminating the need for a bull right away.
Dan received a call from Joel Salatin offering him an internship at Polyface Farms. Joel is Dan’s hero and who the King brothers have decided to model Freedom farms after. This is an incredible opportunity to learn from the best. The down side is that it lasts through the entire summer.
Sam is finishing High School and taking on fruit production. Tim is teaching Sam the ropes and sharing his vast knowledge. Tim discusses the fact that he wants to share his knowledge with his brothers. He also acknowledges that he doesn’t know everything yet. Sam isn’t sure what exactly he wants to do with his life but thinks farming is the best option for the time being.
There is some discussion among Tim, Pete and Joe about whether Dan will stick with taking care of the cows. Once again they are slamming Dan saying he’s capable but will he stay with it. Isn’t he the guy that became the face of the Farm store? He built up a great relationship with the clients. He stuck with that even though it drastically cut the time he was able to spend in the fields. It seems to me that Dan is always taking it on the chin and doing what the family needs regardless of his own happiness.
Dan and Bitty discuss the offer that Joel Salatin has extended to Dan. One of the things is that Dan has always been on the farm. He had the short lived construction gig that he loved and had to leave to help with the needs of the family. Dan went to college and was a civil engineer, Tim worked in the mining industry, Pete worked construction and Bitty went to culinary arts school and took a year away from working for the family. Dan hasn’t had the chance to do anything like that. Now he has been offered something that can really teach him a lot and in the long term will benefit Freedom Farms. He has the opportunity to work with the best and who the King family is modeling their operation on. I can understand that losing Dan for the summer would be a major loss. I can also see that Dan has repeatedly stepped up and done what the family has asked of him. I also haven’t seen him messing up often. Other than not covering plants from frost one time and showing up to the farm store 2 hours late what has he done that was bad? He has given up things he really likes in order to help though. So now he has the opportunity to really broaden his horizons. In turn it can really help Freedom Farms. While I can admit that Dan leaving for the summer leaves a major void and he perhaps could have talked to Joe about it better it really is his decision. Joe’s reaction was pretty harsh. Joe points out that he has more pigs coming and this is a family operation. Says that they’ve been training Dan since birth. Talks about it killing him and Dan can’t do it. Tries for guilt and talks about making a sign for a replacement brother for the season. He then recoups some and tells Dan “whatever you do do a damn good job. I’ll figure it out”. It was the one time I think Joe has been a truly stand up guy. It changed quickly though. Dan hugs Lisa and drives off. Joe goes back to ranting and tells Lisa that she had three good ones and then popped out Dan. Then he starts talking about the fact that Dan is committed to Joe.
This kind of goes back to remark that Lisa made earlier too. These kids were not born to be farm hands. Also what right does Joe have to depend on his siblings without question? If the partnership is between Tim, Pete and Joe they are the only ones they can completely rely on. I understand that they think of this as a family operation. So anytime someone in the family decides to spread their wings (other than Luke and its ok for him) and pursue their own dreams it’s going to be taken as a personal affront to the family? What if Sam decides that he doesn’t want to spend his life farming? Or any of the other younger boys? I think there are a couple of things in play here. It will give the family a chance to see that Dan is more reliable than they give him credit for. He’ll also bring back really useful information that will ultimately help Freedom Farms prosper. Also Joe, Tim and Pete need to put some time into what happens if the younger boys don’t all want to follow in their footsteps. It’s not really fair for them to assume that all the Kings will stay and work Freedom Farms.