Spring is Coming - April 2017 Newsletter

 
                  Spring is an uncertain season, full of promise and betrayal in equal measure. Never more uncertain, it seems, than this season, with expectations confounded, concerns about whether the world actually works the way we thought it did, suspicions that something fundamental has shifted-a tipping point has been passed, the rules that used to prevail have been repealed with no clear replacement. The lively converse of birds, and the few, plaintive peepers I have heard on a rare warm evening reassure me; the swelling buds that gradually, over the course of days and weeks, tint and thicken the smoke colored branches likewise provide familiar footing as I slide and stumble through the slurry beneath.
                  Upon reflection, I find it more than likely that the world never worked the way I thought it did, and it will continue to confound my expectations. Trash heaps, compost piles and dumps everywhere are full of discarded narratives these days. Some may be retooled, repurposed or recycled, others left to rot and return to their constituents, that can then be reconstructed into another, hopefully serviceable story. Some of the more durable tales we tell ourselves involve the ever-increasing pace of change, and accelerating ferment that leaves us all breathless, clinging to familiar, nearby objects and ideas as we try to deal with the vertigo. Though this narrative may contain more than a bit of truth, I suspect that some of its power comes from the way it reflects our individual, linear lives, and the way which our bafflement, paradoxically, seems to increase with our experience.
                  I hope that the less erratic cycles-the days, the seasons, the years-continue to roll, wobbly though they may be. I find the structure provided by these implacable orbits a welcome remedy to anxiety about doom and disaster. It may be that, at some point, the wheels will come off completely and the whole enterprise grind to a halt, but until then I look to the seedlings breaking through the soil, the raucous geese, the up-reaching trees, the writhing worms, and the canny coyotes howling in the evening, for my newscast. They are all agreed that spring, once again has come.
                  Our first harvest each spring involves the digging of parsnips that we seeded the previous May or June, allowed to mature all season, then left in the ground over winter (unprotected, but in well drained ground that never floods) to develop a degree of sweetness that they never develop without that long cold treatment. We took the opportunity of a brief spell of good weather between storms to quickly get these “overwintered” parsnips out of the ground and will have them available for sale on the porch (self-serve) beginning today, Sunday, April 2nd. We put them in bags that weigh between 2 ½ and 3 lbs for $5 each. They’ll be out everyday as long as the temperature stays above freezing.
                  Although the weather hasn’t been conducive to gardening, we also have bagged potting soil and compost available, and will have seedling lettuce and other early vegetable seedlings available by around mid-April – check our website for the most up-to-date information. Please remember this is an honor system – exact change or check only. Come by and see the farm slowly shake off its seasonal slumber, waken and dress itself in green (with the help of its faithful servants), and begin to participate in the annual dance that reminds us of our real nature, our connection with the place we live, and provides us with the primal, perennial pleasure of good food, lovingly grown and prepared.
Hope to see you all soon,
-Brian Cramer, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm team
april_newsletterFrom left to right: parsnips in the root washer, tractor in the snow, artichoke seedlings

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