2017 Season in Review

The farm is tucked in now with a cover of snow for a winter rest that is going by very quickly. Janaki sent in the order for seed potatoes just last week; even as stacks of this year’s crop abide in the root cellar. So it begins: another investment in the future of food and job security for those of us who weed the rows and harvest the eventual crop. I’m letting myself jump ahead too far for a retrospective post. First, a few photos…

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The little farm boys are as cute as ever. Truman sings songs about excavators and tractors (and everything really) and can name more implements and parts of tractors than I. Ellis is not yet a year, but has already crossed that threshold of looking an awful lot like a little boy and less and less like a baby. He gets carrots to gnaw on with his adorable teeth.

Our growing season panned out pretty well, considering how wet it was. There were many soaking wet harvest days, many almost-too-wet planting days and a couple of times we were running out of the fields with a black sky approaching from the west. Our crew, Caitlyn, Sara, and Garrett, took the weather and subsequent heavy weed pressure in stride and worked hard through the mud. There were also several volunteers who came out on some notably drenching harvest days. Thanks to all of them!

This year marks Dave’s 25th season with the Food Farm. The farm is lucky to have someone so diligent and caring. I can’t imagine the farm without his attention to things that slip from anyone else’s (at least my) purview. Or without his sense of subtlety about why seedlings should be cared for this way or placed over that way. He is a nurturing presence to the farm and everyone he works with.

There have been several projects accomplished and started this past season. The farm has another set of solar panels and has been producing more than enough electricity for our needs. At the end of the season, before the ground froze (but after our fingers and noses did) we were able to put up the frame of a new greenhouse on the front of the property.  It’s 30’ longer than the biggest greenhouse we currently use. It will be nice to have more space to push our season to the edges and make our greenhouse crop rotation more sustainable. Between finishing building the ends of the new greenhouse, putting plastic on it and replacing plastic on another one, I expect to be a greenhouse pro by next spring.

This late fall a project was started to put drain tile under some of the lowest and wettest areas on the farm. The project will be finished this spring when things thaw out. With the exception of 2015, each of the past 8 years has had some period of extreme wetness that has significantly impacted production. This year alone we lost about 25,000 lb of carrots. After a couple years of thought, Janaki is hoping this infrastructure investment will help mitigate the extreme weather events that are now apparently routine. The drain tile is plastic 4” pipe that gets buried 3’ underneath the surface. Perforations in the pipe allow water to get in and then drain away down to the irrigation pond in the back. If we have another season like last season, the water will have somewhere to go and the fields won’t be soaked to the brim. Keeping the ground from becoming saturated should also decrease the risk of erosion since additional rain can sink in rather than run off. I won’t lie, I’m hoping this next season doesn’t put it to the test.

As always, thanks to all of you who support us with your interest, involvement and with your kitchen table. Knowing how many of you have supported and cared for the farm  (and still do!) over the years reminds me that I’m a part of something great and long lasting through life’s changes. Happy New Year.

 

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