After a very memorable growing season, we brought the bulk leeks in on Friday - the last crop in the field. We sorted the cabbage in the harvest shed, packed the squash and sweet potatoes into the walk-in warmer (used-to-be-cooler), organized the root cellar and called this outdoor season over. With over 40,000 lbs of beautiful produce in the safety of our winter storage, we are ready to head for a rest and share the remaining bounty of this season with all of you until March.
Sunny, Rebecca and Ellen finished their apprenticeship on Saturday at noon - they are ready for hibernation mode. One of the last things they did was put straw mulch on all of the strawberries to protect them through the winter. Doing that job reminded them of the first days they worked this season, of getting to know each other while raking straw off the strawberries, uncovering them for springtime. It seems like so long ago and also not long ago at all. Ellen's headed to Colorado for the winter but coming back for a second year apprenticeship (hurray!). Sunny and Rebecca, who have each apprenticed for two years now, have finished their time on the farm and are moving on to other opportunities, but plan to live in the apprentice house over the winter and help with some winter work - you might see them stocking up the share! So it wasn't that Saturday was a final goodbye for any one of us, but it did mark the end of the official apprenticeship season, of the commitment we made to learn and teach and work together. I'm so grateful for all three of them; for their growing confidence as farmers, their enthusiasm, their care, their support of the farm through their attitude and all of their hard work. 2018 apprentices - they did it!! Congratulations!
Meanwhile, life at the farm continues, more indoors than out. Abbe continues to work in the office, making sure that checks are deposited and bills are paid. Dan, Karen I are laying the ground work for next season as we clean up the remains of this one. We still need to store all of our machinery under cover, mow the raspberries and put the snow plow on the plow truck. But we will get these jobs done in due course, without nearly the hustle and bustle of June.
And then we will start to take a tally of all that happened around the farm these past months. Counting season is about to come, the time of taking-stock and transposing data, making way for reflection and potential for improvement. At the same time, it all begins again with a brand new seed order. As you head downstairs to the root cellar to eat the bounty of this past fall, know that even now a new beginning is already happening. Not just in the office but out in the garlic field where the cloves for next year are waiting under the straw, under the ground. It's time to move slowly into that new beginning, and just like the garlic, the first step is to rest and get our bearings. Eat. Make squash soup, roast root vegetables and bake sweet potato pies. Luckily, we have plenty in the root cellar.
We hope you enjoy the winter bounty,
(for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Sunny, Rebecca and Ellen)