Hello there! This rainy morning seems like a great time to send out some updates on the 2018 growing season.
It seems that in the past week we have finally made our way out of an endless and bitter winter. The beauty of seasonal food is that your diet changes as the weather does; however, this can start to feel a bit daunting when all you want to do is get some fresh produce after a winter of rich roasts and stews and storage crops. Mother Nature sometimes has plans of her own that simply do not align with the calendar dates on a farmer's planting schedule. This season happens to be one of those times!
Comparing to photographs and notes from 2016 and 2017 to now, I can see we're 3-4 weeks behind in growth. It is so easy to get stressed when things don't go as planned. I usually have cut stems of pussy willow and daffodils available by now, yet it has been only in the past few weeks that the daffodils have even started to emerge from the soil and that the willows have opened.
While making the farm's five year plan (which I drafted about a year ago), I set a goal to have season extension materials by 2019. This would allow us to have crops available about 4 weeks sooner in the spring and 4 weeks later in the fall. Hopefully this addition will allow us to counteract late starts to spring in the future.
Assuming perfect conditions, we would have been thrilled to offer fresh produce to you by the end of April. Unfortunately, due to the combination of frozen ground and a thick layer of snow, we were unable to get our first round of outdoor plantings done on April 2nd. The good news is that conditions are perfect for the planting that was scheduled for April 16th, so that means that we should have a few fresh products available starting in early May after all. This is why we LOVE salad radishes, mache, and baby greens - they'll be ready in about 3 weeks!
I've been able to make lemons out of lemonade with the weather. I've been focusing on self-care, as we all should do from time to time. My sister treated me to my first massage ever, and I don't know how I lived this long without one! I've been trying to take time to rest more than normal in preparation for our first full-blown season since I was pregnant with Aurora. From this weekend on through November I will be dedicating pretty much all of my time to farm work, and I know that I'll be glad I spent so much time snuggling on the couch, reading to the baby, etc.
As far as perennials go, we have made some progress towards our long-term goals: a new bed of 24+ rhubarb crowns (divided from the plants that we found on our property during the first season here); two each of pears, figs (yes, there are figs that are cold-hardy enough to grow in our zone!), hazelnuts, and chestnuts; twenty blueberries; ten elderberries; and a wood-framed bed of sunchokes. I can't wait to offer these products as part of a more holistic diet for both you - our amazing customers - and our own family, too.
We've also added nine more chicks to our flock, which will bring our total to 13 girls. We're so thrilled to announce that by the end of the summer we will have at least five dozen eggs available weekly with potential for more. We currently offer one or two each week and simply cannot keep up with the demand! In the photo above you can see the big coop that Chris built for the girls this past winter. This coop can max out at 15-16 chickens so if demand increases there is always the potential to add a few more hens in future seasons.
As always, thank you for your support...and this year, thank you for your patience as well!