In the evening, when the day’s field work is done and dinner has been eaten, I do wholly inefficient tasks. You know what I mean? Tending to those things on the outskirts of the production garden, the things that get perpetually forgotten because they were forgotten once and the weeds overcame them and it became easy to walk by without stopping to scribble it on the to-do list. For me, it’s the seaberries. I went to them, finally, and hand-pulled the tall grass that was engulfing their 100-foot bed. Fistful by fistful, I loosened and yanked. Two years ago we… Read More
I fell asleep to the drumming song of two snipes. They called to one another, the same quick beat back and forth, except one’s voice was a note higher. I’d gone outside at dusk, just as a sun dog was shooting up from the edge of Hogback, like a mast at the bow of a ship, the mountain’s long ridge line culminating in a column of sherbert orange leading into the purple sea of night sky. It wasn’t the sun dog that drew me out—it was the open van windows, and the thought that it might rain (after weeks of… Read More
Carrots were my gateway vegetable. I was 5 or 6, helping harvest in the family garden, when I grasped a carrot top and pulled. I remember the release, the soil shaking off as I held the orange root in the air. It wasn’t magic so much as discovery—that such brightness could grow underground. I don’t remember shouting or speaking at all, just a quiet satisfaction that sprouted from motion, from the pull and release, from the give and take. To this day, carrots are my favorite crop to grow and harvest. I can’t say they’re the sole reason I farm—many intervening years… Read More
Oh I can’t tell you how happy I am that the leaves have finally burst open and the hillsides are lush with green again.
With so many cool days and cold nights, I was starting to become skeptical that spring would ever really take hold. And I’m not a naturally skeptical person. Thankfully the green (and my optimism) are back.
Gratitude. It’s my medicine for times when I don’t move with ease. For times when I’m still stuck slogging through the mud (literally or metaphorically) despite the fact that it’s almost June. All the rain of late is making the mud a mainstay; I may switch the saying to “May showers bring June flowers.” Last night the clouds released their weight all at once, but instead of thinking of the fields that we’re not so patiently waiting for to dry out, I let the downpour drum me to sleep. Soon enough summer will be here, and I’ll be grateful for… Read More
I love lettuce. It’s one of the first harvests of the spring, and can be one of the last harvests of fall, too. As a crop it’s diverse: from butterheads to crisp Batavian, frilly red and green leaf to the sturdy crunch of romaine, from mini-sized little gems to huge heads that fill an entire plate. Lettuce is fast and easy to grow, but if you want a consistent harvest all season long, there are a few important things to know. Lettuce loves cool weather. Though lettuce naturally thrives in spring, certain diseases like downy mildew are more apt to show… Read More
There’s a shortage of parents who tell children to eat their flowers. It’s always fruit and vegetables that get the glory of parental harping. (And even though my 3-year-old son is growing up on a farm, there are still a handful of vegetables we have to convince him to eat—these days it’s potatoes and cooked spinach). Edible flowers are a different story. Their bright beauty draws him in, and it’s completely normal to see him stroll through the field eating dandelions. Just yesterday, he picked a bouquet of dandelions and told me to put it in a cup of water. Then he promptly… Read More
Snow flurries and frost visited us on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, we’d just planted out beds of kale, lettuce, spinach, and chard days earlier during a rare reprieve from the springtime rain. It’s disheartening, snow in May, no matter if it doesn’t stick. It’s disheartening until we walk into the greenhouse. Until we check the long-term forecast again and find reassurance: summer will come. And we remember the first lesson of farming: flexibility. We remember that without the ability to bend, to work with the weather, to reassess and readjust, we aren’t really able to grow. We amend… Read More