Every growing season writes it's own story. We know how the general dramatic arc will go: We will wake up from a deep sleep. We will welcome a new crew to the farm. We will till the earth. We will plant the seeds. We will tend the growing plants. We will fret. We will harvest something. We will go back to sleep. But within this general framework, there will be unforseen events, weather trends, personalities, equipment breakdowns, critters who wreak havoc, etc etc which will fill in this narrative and give each year it's own character; it's own name. It's still way to early to tell, but if we had to give this story a name right now, I'd probably go with......"wacky" or "weird" or maybe I'd just shake my head and mumble something, turn around, kick the dirt, and shuffle off to find my wool hat for the June cool-down!! It's not that this has been a tough season, or a particularly tragic or epic one at this point. It's mostly just plain odd.
We've reviewed the past 6 months already......Warm Winter. Early Spring. Big early-April freeze. Hot and dry mid-April. May goes cold, cold, and colder leaving our crops at least a week late. We postpone the first distribution day, then four days in the mid-90's leave us looking a little silly. And then this week, just as we are getting over our first sunburns, the night-time temps go back to the low 40s leaving our hands good and cold for the first harvests. Weird. Disorienting. But this is not a Tale-of-Woe. More like a Tale of Woah!! Through all of this, somehow the crops kept growing and growing, and are now pretty much going gangbusters and looking generally very good. We have beautiful early greens and lettuce. The strawberries are ripening nicely. And the early summer squash, cukes, and tomatoes are looking like some of the best ever on the very near horizon. Awesome. And somewhat disorienting.
On top of all of this, given that this is our 30th CSA season, we wanted it to be special. So we created an ambitious plan. And now, all around the farm, you can find new ideas coming to life. There are new tables in the farm shop to help us display produce with less work re-stocking. Freshly painted chairs in the backyard (thanks Roberta!!) to make you want to stay a while. In the raspberry patch, there are hummingbird feeders to lure natural predators of the spotted wing drosophila. There are beautiful early summer squash plants in the West Field growing on beautiful raised beds created with our beautiful raised bed plastic mulch layer. Our hard-working pigs have "rototilled" the weeds out of half of our perennial garden and are now rooting out poison ivy on North edge of the blueberry field. We have a new website. And on and on and on.
So, while we are generally feeling a bit confused out here, we are mostly just rolling with it, and feeling like, well, things are going generally great so far. As usual, we have oriented our new apprentice crew to the work at the farm and they are now cooking on all burners. John spread over 100 tons of compost on the fields, Rebecca finished plowing the last of the 30 acres of crop land last week, and Sunny made at over 22 miles of planting beds all over S. Amherst. They joined our veteran crew who continue to make this farm tick; Our mechanic Ken has all 7 tractors, 5 trucks, 1 van, and a rototiller humming smoothly along. Abbe hasour books in order and all of those checks written and bills paid. Zoe has managed our greenhouse and all of our field planting, while plowing through the pile of behind-the-scenes-work to get the Farm Shop open this weekend. Karen has re-designed and constructed all of our cow pasture fencing, cleaned and organized the apprentice house at 20 Hulst Rd, and planned a great season full of events. Our awesome weeder crew helped these last three weeks to keep the veggies ahead of the weeds. And we were even lucky enough to have our daughter Anna come home for three weeks and pitch in with everything from handweeding to planting to farm shop setup which really put us over the top!!
So now, after months of planning and weeks and weeks of soil prep. After sowing seeds in the greenhouse and planting everything from cabbage to lettuce to tomatoes to onions to peppers. On Tuesday, we settled in a very hopeful field of melons. Then we finished sweeping & mowing up all of our spring messes. And yesterday we pointed the harvest truck to the fields for our first big harvest ofearly greens and roots. So now, we sort of know where we are; Ready to welcome you (back) to the farm and enjoy your companionship for the rest of this journey towards..... the rest of this season's story. Where will we say we have been when it is fully written? Stay tuned!!
We hope you enjoy the harvest.
(for Karen, Abbe, Zoe, John, Rebecca, and Sunny)