And, We're Off!!

Every season starts with a dream. A simple dream;  An acre of land. A few seeds. Enough rain to germinate them. Enough sun for them to grow. Enough time to pull the weeds. A great crew to harvest the crops. And some people who are hungry and will give us a few dollars for something to eat.  Somehow, it all gets more complicated than that eventually, but this is how it always starts.

Then things happen. We hire our crew. We make our field plans. We buy our seeds. The greenhouse is fired up in March. The team assembles in April. The equipment is greased. And we're off. Where to? Not sure! We have the road map, but then we meet so many unexpected events along the way. And where will we end up? In a rain slog through the North Field grubbing for sweet potatoes? In a dust-storm harvesting green kale by headlamp? The truly exciting thing about each season, is that we just don't know. We have to venture forth to find out.

So, where have we been so far? Well, April dawned right like we hoped - not too cold and not too warm. We got our earliest fields plowed and seeded. And then it started to rain. With the shell-shock from last-season's epic rainy fall, we pretended it wasn't going to last. We didn't talk about it much - just hoped it would go away. It didn't. It rained again. And again and again. It rained half of the spinach rotten. It rained half of the carrots un-germinated. It rained many fields impassible mud puddles.  

We tried to adjust. We found little windows of dry weather and sneaked the harrow in to a little corner of the field. We re-sowed the carrots. We sowed the peas tw0-weeks late. We changed the field plans.  And then, just as we started to feel a little desperate; admitting our wonder as to what might happen if we could not plow our fields or plant our plants at all. Just about then for, of course, no reason at all, the skies generally cleared, the sun generally shone, the rain generally did not fall, and the temperatures generally moderated.

So, like pent up animals we moved with great focus.  Ben sailed around all of the fields with the harrow and Will moved compost where the soil needed to be replenished. Lia made miles of planting beds and pulled the transplanter while Ellen orchestrated the methodical filling of nearly 20 acres of fields with barely-patiently waiting plants. Karen moved the cows to new pastures and then got the Farm Shop all set up and ready to receive thousands of people looking for food each week. Abbe kept the books straight (and thwarted cyber-threats). The weeder crew showed up in late-May and cleared the weeds from the early fields. And then our final apprentice, Marlee, graduated from college, jumped on this full-speed merry go-round and took us all the way across the finish line of today.

So, this is about where we find ourselves now; with a bagful of lettuce, a few radishes, fields full of promise, contentedly grazing cows who have thrown off their winter mange, nearly all of CSA shares sold, over 28 acres of fields cover-cropped, and most of our machines working. We are ready to spend the next few weeks remembering how to harvest, trying our best to stay ahead of all of the weeds (trying their best to lay waste to our big ideas), and looking forward to meeting and feeding you all in the days to come.

Recap: Farm teeters on the brink of early rain-catastrophe, only to receive a late-reprieve as we re-set sail on smoother waters. We stand ready to venture forth with you, to see where we will go - where this road, this track, this field, this sea will lead. We are, as usual, thankful mainly for your company on this journey. We will keep you posted as to what we find and look forward to sharing what we gather.

We hope you enjoy the harvest,

Your Farmer,
Dan
(for Karen, Abbe, Ellen, Ben, Lia, Marlee, and Will)