This is the farm's annual coming of age story. I could tell it to you by crop what's planted: onions, cabbages, fennel, radicchio, arugula, turnips, lettuce, scallions, broccoli, kale, collards, komatsuna, peas, bok choy, radishes, summer squash, parsley, basil, early tomatoes, potatoes ... the list would get longer by the time I finish the typing! This is the season of coloring in the field plans we made with actual plants in the actual dirt. Each time we plant a field, we turn another page of the plan into reality.
Here's how it happens. Start with a ready bed, and all the prep it took to get there. Ben's been through spreading compost to feed the soil. Then, depending on the crop, Jake and Dan put seeds into the ground, or Ellen leads a whole crew with plants from the greenhouse and tucks them in. Either way: if you notice it's cloudy, or if it's recently rained, or even if you notice a forecast rain later in the day, you can also know very likely what we're doing: planting!
And what are we doing when it's sunny? Well, we're taking care of all those plants that we've already planted. First tiny weeds - our cue for cultivation! Alexandra starts us off with the rolling basket weeder and on other crops Jake and I move around on the Hak weeder. Planting is also our cue to set up irrigation, so we can bring the rain when it doesn't come often enough. And so we go - plant it, water it, tend it, repeat! Until the whole plan is not just on the computer but on the field, written in green all around us.
We've always loved to take photos of this process - how the fields go from last year's cover crops to a whole new layout with trellis towers and every crop rotated to a brand new home. How the apprentices are learning their tractors, tasks, and management areas. Some shots of the amazing volunteers we've been so lucky to have this spring. Beyond our newsletter, which will be weekly as usual once the season starts, the best way to keep in touch is to "follow" us on Instagram (@brookfieldfarm). It can bring a little more farm into your day, and provides another opportunity to stay connected, especially because it's an easy way for you to share your photos of the farm with us too!
Okay okay, get your noses out of the dirt and out of your cell phones for a second and look around. What is all this planting and plant care moving us towards? What's the next step that will soon be upon us? The cutting lettuce is looking fluffy. The spinach is struggling in it's usual ways but we expect to have some despite it all. The radishes and turnips are growing round underground. White strawberry flowers bloom in the strawberry patch. We're in the countdown to eating some food from this earth.
Looking at the fields right now, our best guess is that the Farm Shop will open on Saturday June 9, beginning our local distribution. Our first distribution in Boston is looking like June 14, but we will keep you updated. You've been through it too so you're probably not surprised: remember how winter was the guest that lingered, a little reluctant to get out the door, that seemed to always have one more thing to say? And now we're in the middle of a spring that just will not be rushed along. So, the message is: put those dates on your calendars and also stay tuned for updates!
We are so excited to harvest vegetables, and to see you all again at the farm so soon. Karen and I were just walking around the farm shop yesterday, thinking about tweaks to improve it and how joyful it is when it's full of shareholders. There's always a part of the plan left blank until you get here - where are the people we envision walking around these fields, playing in this sandbox, parking in this big lot? You're welcome to come anytime of course, but we'll keep the full vision of this bustling farm's community energy in our mind's eye til June 9 (probably) when we'll kick it all off together!
Zoe (for Dan, Karen, Abbe, Ellen, Alexandra, Ben, and Jake)