Its happening again. The snow has melted. The soil is warming. The peepers are making noises. The trees are budding. The soil is drying (sometimes). Our new farm crew arrived to work on April 1. The seeds are being sown in the greenhouse. The machines are getting greased and moving. It's starting to feel like a farm again!
As usual our new apprentice crew has jumped right in. We have two new crew members, Lia and Will who have joined Ben (our seasoned veteran) and are hard at work all around the farm. Will spreads compost, Ben plows and harrows our fields (that aren't too wet), Lia marks the planting beds, Will drops fertilizer and then Lia swoops back, finishes the beds and sows the seeds. In addition, there's plenty of work for all of us tending our perennial crops (blueberries, strawberries, etc), sowing thousands of seeds in the greenhouse, working on construction projects, and doing all of the other work that goes into getting this circus up and running again. Next week we will put our first plants from the greenhouse in the ground.
Supporting the work of our apprentice crew, our long-term staff has also been hard at work getting this farm going this season; Karen sowed the early greenhouse seeds in mid-March, then began getting all of our fences set up for the cows and pigs, and has the apprentice lunch program off to a great start. Ellen has been hard at work in her first season as our Assistant Manager. Most of her attention this month has been training Ben & Lia in plowing and bed making, getting supplies set up for irrigation, and implementing our marketing strategy for attracting new CSA shareholders. Leila has had a steady string of school groups out to the farm already this spring and is sharing cooking duties with Karen for the apprentice crew. Abbe continues to do all of our administrative work - collecting payments, paying our bills, and keeping us legal. And Ken has returned to the workshop where he has been getting the winter out of our trucks and tractors! I have been mostly occupied with making plans and keeping our new crew busy with tasks that are mostly new for all of them. There's a lot of learning around the farm in the early season, as people need to learn to use the tools and participate in the systems that will take our food on the journey from seed to harvest to your kitchen.
We have the usual plans for this upcoming season: to grow 30 acres of vegetables and feed 700 families using sustainable techniques which leave our soil as good (or better) than we found it. And to use this work to train our apprentices in how to manage these techniques and develop their own. In addition, we have a few special projects in mind that we are hoping to get done - building a new cold frame, repairing damage to our roads and field edges due to last years excess water, etc. So, we have plenty to do, and are thankful for the people to help get this work done.
Around the fields, the question on everyone's mind right now is whether we will get a real break from the the excess water we began receiving last fall. So far this spring, it has rained less than last fall, but still more than average, leaving the fields a bit waterlogged. We have had some good early heat, which should help evaporate some water. And we have been able to put our early spinach, carrots, beets, and peas in the ground, but there are some fields that are still too wet to work. As to where this will go - we are just never sure...... Certainly things are wetter than they were last year at this time, but anything can happen (and it usually does). In other words, that's what this farm is all about! Where our food is actually the result of a living, breathing farm, being worked by living, breathing people, on a living, breathing earth. We are excited for the opportunity to connect you to this life-affirming process and hope that you will enjoy being a part of it as much as we do.
We will be in touch with you periodically via email to keep you up-to-date with what's happening here at the farm (and any related events that might be of interest). We have also updated our calendar on our website so you can check out our plans for the coming season. And, if you are so inclined, you can also stay in touch by "liking" us on Facebook, and following us Instagram and Twitter where we post pictures of current activities around the farm. We also encourage you to come and help out anytime on the farm - just send us an email and we'll tell you how to plug in. If you have any questions or concerns, in the meantime, feel free to reach out to us via email or phone.
We are looking forward to a great season to come!!
Dan (for Karen, Ellen, Leila, Abbe, Ken, Ellen, Ben, Lia, and Will)