May 2018 Newsletter - Opening Day is near!

 
Although we’ve been busy in the greenhouse and the fields for months now, and have been attending the Union Square Somerville and Central Square Cambridge markets for a few weeks, and will be attending Central Square tomorrow on Memorial Day (regular hours!), our official ‘Season’ has yet to begin. We have decided that it will begin precisely at 11 AM on the morning of Friday, June 1st, at which point the farmstand doors will open up, revealing the fruits of our early labor. And I use the word ‘fruits’ loosely, because, although we may have a few strawberries by then, most of our offerings will be things like lettuce, arugula, radishes, kale, spinach, asparagus, parsley, cilantro, dill, endive, escarole, and garden plants. I guess some folks think of rhubarb as a fruit, and we’ll have plenty of that.
As we get deeper into June, we expect to see squash, basil, cucumbers, beets, garlic tops and chard, and we hope to see abundant strawberries and peas. For the most accurate and up-to-date list of what should be available each day check our website, but if you’re making a special trip for something specific, call during our open hours to see if it’s available. Be aware that our policy is not to hold items (except rutabagas) for customers, but at least you can find out whether we’re likely to have what you’re looking for.
When we officially open, our self-service offerings will be limited to plants and compost – farmstand hours will be 11-6 daily except Mondays, when we will be closed. In addition, we will be attending our usual three weekly farmer’s markets, two of which have already begun: Mondays from 12-6 at Central Square, Cambridge; and Saturdays 9-1 at Union Square, Somerville. The third market, Thursdays 2-6:30 at Belmont Center, will begin the afternoon of June 7th.

We hope you all had a restful winter and are looking forward to another season of fresh fruits and veggies from Hutchins.

Hope to see you soon,
-Brian Cramer and the Hutchins Farm Crew
 Opening Day is Friday, June 1st!

March 2018 Newsletter

With winter parked stubbornly over the region, the arrival of the vernal equinox seems somehow premature. The sun traces a longer, higher arc each day, the angle and quality of the light whispers of warm breezes riffling newly unfolded leaves, but buds remain firmly clenched against the cold, and wind-scoured snowfields persist where we had hoped to see slowly greening fields exhaling into the bright spring morning. Hopeful birds squabble, and speak of spring and summer as they scrape a meager living from last year’s leftovers, impatient like all of us for the world to come to life again.

There was a brief moment about two weeks ago as I contemplated the newly thawed ground, the first garlic leaves poking out from their straw blanket, the doughty parsnips sending up tiny new leaves, with ravenous deer pawing and biting at the knobby white roots, accepting mouthfuls of mud for a taste of the super sweet, newly thawed parsnips, that I thought spring had arrived early. I’m glad that my cautious nature (AKA a tendency to procrastinate) prevailed. With luck and some cooperative weather, our first forays into the fields–to seed the peas and spinach, plow and fertilize the areas that will be planted to other early crops, to dig the patient parsnips—will happen right on schedule, around the middle of April. I’m often asked if climate change has affected when I plant and what I plant, and I suppose to some degree it does, but it seems like the most salient feature of climate change is violent unpredictability rather than some gentle warming and lengthening of the season. So I’ll stick with my planting dates for the moment, and maybe take a few side bets on unusual crops or additional plantings into the fall.

Farm activities this time of year include pruning apples and blueberries, machinery and building repair and maintenance and seeding and transplanting in the greenhouse. The pace is measured and deliberate, though repeat nor’easters cause a few stumbles. Within a few weeks, the tempo of the season’s music will pick up, and we, the dancers, will begin our increasingly furious dance, familiar and brand new at the same time. More stumbles will doubtless ensue, but hopefully we know our steps well enough that the humble magic of seed and soil and water and work will result in another season of plentiful harvests.

For our gardeners, our 2018 plant catalogue will be on the website soon, so keep a lookout on our social media and website for the announcement of its arrival. The first harvest, mentioned above, is really a holdover from last season: parsnips, sweetened by a long winter sleep. Parsnips are a problematic crop, with their strange-shaped, flaky seeds, which require up to three weeks to germinate (emerging like late risers among the newly germinated carpet of weeds that sprout more promptly), the roots requiring another four months after that to grow to maturity. The amount of effort required to raise a crop of parsnips is out of proportion to the economic value of the crop, but the value of the first freshly harvested produce to winter-weary folks can’t be calculated on a balance sheet. We eagerly await the time when we can get in the field and harvest each year, and hope to have parsnips for sale on the porch, self-serve style, beginning in early to mid-April.

Alongside the parsnips, we’ll have the usual bagged compost and potting soil for gardeners, to be followed by the earliest garden plants (spinach, lettuce, onions) in late April or early May. Also arriving in late April, if history is any guide, will be the first asparagus of the season, delicious harbinger of all the fruits and veggies that follow.

As we await these mundane yet extraordinary developments, those who wish to get a more complete understanding of the historical and current role of agriculture in the town and the region may wish to attend the Concord Ag Committee’s Spring Forum, featuring a presentation by Brandeis professor Brian Donahue, entitled ‘Wildlands, Woodlands, Farmland and Community: Farming in Concord and New England’, to be held on Thursday, March 29th at 7PM at the Willard School Auditorium.

                  Check our website for the freshest, most up-to-date information about what we have available and what may be coming soon. We hope you all have an opportunity to come visit this season, whether it be once or many times, to restore and refresh a connection with a place and community through the communion of good, healthy food.

Happy first day of “Spring”!
-Brian and the Hutchins Farm Crew

March2018From left to right: Snowstorm on March 13th, Onions in the prop house

November 2017 Newsletter

With another season at an end, Hutchins Farm prepares for our winter lull, the enforced leisure the northern vegetable grower feels- and chafes at a bit, but appreciates in contrast to the hectic bustle of the rest of the year. Not that complete hibernation is an option, or even a month-long Hawaiian vacation. Just a period when the cold provides a ready excuse to loaf a bit, sleep longer; when the impossibility of growing crops frees the monomaniacal mind of a grower to explore realms unrelated to tomatoes and tractors. The irony is that, now freed to spend happy hours preparing intricate meals, one can hardly find any decent ingredients.

 

The relief that comes with the end of the growing season, as the last lettuce is cut and the last carrot dug, is tempered this year by the news that Dan Kamen, who over his four years helping manage the farm has provided copious amounts of both inspiration and perspiration, will be moving with his wife Rachel to Dayton, Ohio. Dan is the finest co-manager I could have hoped for, with a real passion for farming, with intelligence, energy, enthusiasm, humor, and creativity. In his relatively brief time with us, Dan initiated and innovated lots of changes, improvements, experiments and systems, many of which have become our standard way of doing things. Our apprentice program was started at his urging, as was our holiday CSA, the expansion of our cold storage capacity, and our improved wash up station. This winter, I can imagine the periodic panic I’ll feel during the usually placid ritual of leafing through seed catalogs as I face a season without his help. Naturally, we’re trying to fill the position, but I’m pretty sure his absence will be felt for a while.

 

This season was a bounteous one, and that is in no small part due to our tireless crew led by the returning duo of Sammi Brown and Ben Clark as co-harvest managers.  I finally realized my lifelong ambition of never having to say ‘Sorry, no lettuce today’ during the entire season (major thanks to Sammi, who kept on top of the greenhouse schedule). The rain and cold of the early season delayed the arrival of tomatoes and put a quick end to strawberries, and the beans were not as plentiful as usual, but most all other crops did either well or exceptionally well. Blueberry bushes were heavily laden, eggplant was enormous and endless, we had a good run on corn until the worms finally arrived. Spinach, carrots, beets, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower-all abundant, some still in evidence.

 

The real proof of our success lies in the enthusiasm and kindness of our customers, old and new, who visit the farmstand (or a market) regularly and whose patronage for our enterprise is the engine that drives our efforts. We are grateful to be able to do this work, hard and uncomfortable as it sometimes is, more often interesting and rewarding, and it is all of you who allow us to continue. Thank you!

 

Our Saturday morning market at Union Square Somerville and our Monday market at Central Square Cambridge will continue until Thanksgiving, and our self-serve offerings on the porch will continue as long as vegetables and weather hold out. Anyone who is still in the market for a large (25#) bag of carrots or (20# or 50#) potatoes should contact us to set up a pickup – price and variety information are on our website.

 

Here’s hoping we all have a restful and peaceful winter, and hope we see you next year!
-Brian Cramer
and the Hutchins Farm Team

 From left to right: Pumpkins on the stone wall on Halloween, rainbow carrots, view in November

Closing Day Information and Bulk Order Sign-up 2017

 

 Finally a frost to break the sultry, tropical weather we’ve been having. We welcomed it with relief rather than the usual panic as a normal event (even if it was late in coming), a comfort in these roller coaster days of mayhem and uncertainty. And this tardy mid-October frost found us ready-not to protect our delicate summer annuals and coax a few more squash and tomatoes from the tired plants, but to let them go to their reward and embrace the bittersweet season of death and decay, not to mention of increased leisure time for exhausted farmers.

 

No growing season (at least none that I’ve weathered) is a complete success or a complete failure, but on balance we had a very good run this year. The early spring was cold and much wetter than it has been for the last several years, which caused some disappointed assumptions, foiled plans, and a serious case of scab on many apple varieties. Rain continued to fall even as it warmed, so constant that the word ‘irrigation’, much in circulation the previous year, rarely passed our lips. Even as the rain clouds dampened our desire to water, they hampered our ability to kill weeds-the resulting lusty stands of pigweed and galinsoga reproach us still, barely touched by the recent frost, dropping enough seed to ensure their progeny for a hundred years of frustrated farming.

 

Like many farmers, I’m a bit prickly when it comes to talk of the weather. When weeks of drought are broken by a shower, maybe a tenth of an inch, and people call it ‘rain’, I often stare at them in exasperation, knowing that if I stick my pinky into the soil, I’ll hit dry before I get to the first joint. On the other hand, when people congratulate me during extended periods of rainy weather, assuming that if some is good, more is better, I get equally exasperated. I assure them that rain is not an unmitigated blessing, that most of the vegetables grown in this country are grown in the Western desert, that fungi and bacteria-plant pathogens-thrive in moisture, and that, as a prudent (and lucky) farmer with good irrigation infrastructure, I can make it rain when I want to.

 

As factually accurate as my testy response is, the ‘truth’ is more nuanced. I can, indeed, make it rain when I want to, if I have the time and energy and if the creek don’t dry up. Furthermore, the layout of our fields, the nature of our irrigation delivery systems, and the complexity of our planting layouts can make irrigation complicated and time consuming, not to mention somewhat less than optimally effective. The truth is that, on balance, the rain was a blessing. There, I admitted it–but don’t now assume that I’m thrilled every time it rains or I’ll have to tell you about California and Arizona again.

 

Potato Bulk Order Sign Up
One crop that seems to have benefited from the rain is potatoes-we will be doing our usual end-of-season potato bulk order sign up, with some minor changes. We will have our usual trio of varieties available in 50 lb bags for $40, with a number of other types available in 20 lb bags for $22.
Those interested in 50 lb potato bags can select from three varieties:
  • ‘Kennebec’, our old standby, a great all-purpose, white flesh potato with good flavor and excellent storage (sold out)
  • ‘Keuka Gold’, a new Cornell introduction with large size, good storage potential, and similar flavor and texture to ‘Yukon Gold'; (sold out)
  • ‘Carola’, our favorite yellow-flesh variety, smaller on average than the others, with good flavor and firm texture. (sold out)
In addition, we will be offering 20 lb bags in five varieties:
  • Adirondack Blue’, a dark purple potato with purple flesh and high anthocyanins (sold out)
  • ‘Adirondack Red’, with red skin and red flesh (sold out)
  • ‘Peter Wilcox’, with purple skin and yellow flesh, (sold out)
  • ‘Chieftain’, a fluffy white flesh red
  • ‘Russet’, excellent for baking and mashing
As always, we have finite quantities of all these varieties, and those who sign up earliest will be more assured of getting their preferred potatoes. In case of shortages, we encourage you to include a second choice variety (and even a third choice) when you sign up. Sign-ups can happen in one of two ways:
  • e-mail-send your order to info@hutchinsfarm.com. Please let us know how many 50 lb bags and of which variety (from those listed above), or how many 20lb bags and of which variety (from those listed above)
  • in person at the farmstand on our ‘official’ sign-up sheets;
As we log orders received, we will confirm via e-mail, and when the bags are ready to be picked up (most likely the last week of October) we will contact people again. Those who wish to get bulk potatoes but are unable to pick up during the last week of October can make arrangements for pick up at a later date.

 

Carrot Bulk Bags 
We have plenty of beautiful carrots this fall, so many in fact that we’re not bothering with sign-ups for 25 lb bags-we’re just going to have plenty of them on hand starting October 24th. They will be $28 each. Interested parties can just pick one up at the stand rather than signing up. If you are a farmers market customer we can send them in for a market pick up instead – just email us to make arrangements.

 

Farmstand Closing Information:
We will close for the season on Tuesday, October 31st at 6pm. As per our usual practice, we will make any additional produce available self-serve on the porch after we close for as long as the weather permits and the produce holds out. Please check our website for updates. Just a reminder that the Cambridge Central Square Farmers Market and the Somerville Union Square Farmers Market will continue until Thanksgiving. Thank you all for a wonderful season, and we hope to see you at the stand soon!
-Brian Cramer
and the Hutchins Farm Team

 Pumpkins on the porch

Concord's Food, Farm and Garden Fair - This Weekend!

Concord’s Food, Farm and Garden Fair
This Weekend!
August has ended, and summer is on the wane, but our crop variety and abundance are on the increase. Summer crops (apart from cucumbers) like corn, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are still coming on strong, with the late summer/early fall veggies like broccoli, winter squash, potatoes, turnips and cauliflower beginning to make appearances. Also, we’ve begun picking what should be an enormous apple crop!
Just a reminder that this weekend, September 9th and 10th, is the annual Concord Food, Farm and Garden Fair, which begins on Saturday with the 12th annual Ag Day market in downtown Concord. Hutchins Farm will be represented, along with about ten additional Concord farms and a variety of local organizations that promote agriculture. Ag Day will run from 10 AM to 2 PM right on Main St., which will be closed from the roundabout to Walden St. Come on down and see the bounty Concord has to offer!
Because of the Ag Day market, this week we will not be attending our usual Saturday market at Union Square, Somerville. Our apologies to our Somerville customers! We will be back next week (September 16th)
The Farm and Garden Fair continues with garden tours on Saturday afternoon-get information online at https://www.ccfoodcollaborative.org/ or at the Garden Club table at Ag Day. Then on Sunday, a number of Concord farms will be hosting farm tours-a tour of Hutchins Farm led by our vegetable production manager, Dan Kamen, will begin at 1 PM Sunday September 10th. No signups are necessary, just show up at the farm stand before the tour begins. Tours require walking on rough (dusty) farm roads and may include encounters with unfriendly weeds and stinging insects-good footwear is suggested, and folks with allergies to bees or wasps should take appropriate precautions.

Hope to see you soon!
-The Hutchins Farm team

 From left to right: Ag Day 2013, gala apples, cherry tomatoes, Ag Day 2016

Hutchins Farm Potato Harvest Volunteer Day

 

Come help us harvest potatoes, Saturday Sept. 2nd, 9:30am – 1pm!

 

With the success of last year’s volunteer days we decided to do it again! While the 2017 season overall hasn’t been as rough as last year, just like last year we’re having a tough time hiring for our fall field crew to replace the folks who are heading back to school. So, we’ve decided to reach out and ask our loyal customers if they would like to pitch in and help us bring in the potato crop again.If you would like to volunteer please reply to info@hutchinsfarm.com! If there is limited interest we may have to cancel the event, so if you’re keen, please make sure to RSVP.

We will be meeting in the potato field – further directions and parking will be provided to our intrepid volunteers. (Not the same field as last year!)   Once we have assembled, Vegetable Production Manager Dan Kamen will tell you a little bit about potatoes, how we grow them, the varieties we grow, and how we’ll be harvesting them, and then we’ll get to it! If you have to leave early that’s ok, however it is important that you can be there on time for the instructions and explanation of our harvest systems at 9:30am. Digging potatoes may not seem that complicated, but organization is key!

Make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and closed-toe shoes or boots. Gloves are recommended. Water bottles are always a good idea. Because we live in such a litigious society, all volunteers will be required to sign a liability waiver. Children 10 and over are welcome as long as they are accompanied by their parents. So if you would like to spend a little time outside on Saturday helping us out, please RSVP! We will be very thankful for the hand.

Thanks,
-The Hutchins Farm team

From left to right: Potatoes freshly dug, near the potato field, last years amazing volunteers hard at work!
www.hutchinsfarm.com

August 2017 Newsletter - Mid-Season Update

                  Just a brief note to update you all on the season in progress-in a word, it has been wetter. Which might seem like a positive thing, but definitely not an unmitigated blessing: many fields have remained too wet to work until recently, foliar diseases have appeared earlier than usual on tomatoes and potatoes, weed control efficacy is compromised as the dislodged weeds quickly reroot in the moist soil with gray skies overhead. On the positive side of the ledger, we’ve needed to irrigate very little so far, germination in crops like carrots and parsnips has been generally strong, and consistent moisture can be a real boon to crop quality if other factors (like disease) don’t intervene.

                  Along with wetter, it has also been cooler, which presents some difficulties as well. Certain crops have clearly benefited from the combination (garlic did well, lettuce looks great, peas were abundant) while other crops have been stymied by one factor or the other-strawberries melted under the frequent rains, beans don’t particularly enjoy the cool weather, tomatoes are only now starting to come out of their adolescent sulk to become the productive adults we all hope and expect them to be.

                  Corn got a bit of a late start, but plantings look good, and supplies should be adequate to ample for awhile. The blueberry crop is enormous-it’s all we can do to try and keep them picked. They look as though they may produce farther into August than is usual. Melons and watermelons are producing well, peppers and eggplants have begun to mature their fruit, and the aforementioned tomatoes, despite the disease promoting weather, are beginning to ripen what appears to be a creditable crop. May the good Lord keep the late blight far from our fields.

                  After last year’s disappointing (nonexistent really) apple crop, our biennial bearers set another monster crop this year, like they did in 2015. Unlike 2015, the spring was extremely wet and rainy, perfect conditions for rampant infection by apple scab. We took vigorous measures to try and control the spread, with some success I believe-some scab prone varieties may not be plentiful (though they have lots of scabby fruit on the trees!), but less susceptible and resistant varieties should be very abundant.

                  Also of note: Our long-time partners at Bondir Restaurant in Cambridge are doing us the distinct honor of hosting a ‘Dinner with Hutchins Farm’ on Wednesday, August 9th, spotlighting produce from Hutchins in every dish. Liza and Brian, along with other Hutchins luminaries, will be present to give awkward, embarrassed speeches (short) about the special synergy that is created when local farms work with local chefs in a seasonal framework-Jason Bond and his team display a deep understanding of what we do, and how to use and highlight the unique attributes of truly fresh produce grown in its season, recombining and transforming it into peerless culinary creations: the highest aspiration of any self-respecting fruit or vegetable, after all. For more information about the event please see Bondir’s website: www.bondircambridge.com or give them a call at 617-661-0009.

                  Guess this turned out to be not so short. Happy High Summer to all, and hope to see you soon at the farm, and fingers crossed for a bountiful August!

-Brian Cramer, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm team

From left to right: honeycrisp apples growing, blueberries ripening, corn rows getting taller    
www.hutchinsfarm.com

Dinner with Hutchins Farm at Bondir Restaurant in Cambridge MA

Join us for dinner! Bondir Restaurant is hosting “Dinner with Hutchins Farm” at their Cambridge restaurant featuring our produce!

We’ve gotten to know Chef Jason Bond through his support of local farms, and we are excited to have dinner with you all! Bondir is committed to highlighting New England’s bounty and we’re thrilled to see their creativity in action with our produce.

So, please join us as we celebrate summer, sustainable growing and seasonal eating!

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
Bondir Cambridge
$68 Per Person / Reservations Available 5PM to 10PM
Please Call 617.661.0009
or Reserve Online at www.bondircambridge.com

May 2017 Newsletter – Opening Announcement

Near weekly nor’easters and cold cloudy weather have characterized this spring, with one brief heatwave to keep us guessing. After two dry springs, our comfortable assumptions of where we might be able to plant our early crops have been punctured, to the detriment of our beautiful, orderly planting plan, now shredded and mingled with other obsolete and irrelevant documents. Despite the cold and dark, crops are surviving and even thriving-a few of our earliest tomatoes, planted in late April with prayers and row cover to protect them, were touched with frost, but have since shaken it off and, though they look a bit anemic, have started to put on stature, and send out flowers to lure the sun back. The black hand of the frost mysteriously spared our earliest corn, planted just a few days after the tomatoes, without row cover and only the scant protection afforded by our hopes and desires-also anemic, definitely alive, getting discernibly larger. The basil sulks under the inadequate protection of its row cover-I imagine I hear it grumbling as I go by.

                While their heat-loving, semi-tropical field mates suffer or simply endure the (to them and to us) inclement weather, the peas positively enjoy it, and seem to grow appreciably day to day, along with their cool weather compatriots: the spinach, the lettuce, the beets, the onions. Potato sprouts are popping out of their ridges sporadically, announcing their imminent emergence with subtle fractures in the soil. Potato beetles, recently emerged themselves, take note. Garlic, already having braved the New England winter in their Spartan straw beds, shrugs off the vagaries of spring, with only the yellowing tips of their broad, dark green, strap-like leaves hinting at some resentment, some regret, some unmet desire.

                And the apples-what a show! In April the orchards stirred to life, each tree with its unique constellation of slowly swelling buds, exploding into exuberant, ebullient, magnificent bloom that covered the orchard like a fragrant blanket. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the trees so covered with flowers, and they doggedly kept at it as the weather refused to cooperate. For a long time, the apple’s show went unappreciated by its primary audience, the fair-weather bees who stayed napping cozily in their holes and hives, the trees blooming in vain, glowing bright under the dark, cold, dripping skies.

                But some sun did shine, some days grew warm in the afternoon-first the bold bumblers (warm in their puffy coats) visited the waiting flowers, then the small, multifarious, anonymous wild bees, and finally the honeybees in their vast sonorous numbers, still dwarfed by the astounding number of blooms. Beneath the saturating hum of the buzzing bees, one could fairly hear the trees exhale with relief on those rare sunny afternoons–or maybe it was me. Of course pollination is only the first step on the long, uncertain road to an apple, but it is an absolute prerequisite.

                We’ve entered a new season and we’re on the verge of opening our doors at the farm. Both the Cambridge Central Square market and the Somerville Union Square market have opened, and Belmont Center will follow their lead later in mid-June.  Garden plants are still abundant for those risk-averse (wise?) gardeners who like to wait until Memorial Day to put in the tender tomatoes, eggplant and peppers that will reward them in August and September. Produce has begun to come in as well, with asparagus, lettuce, spinach, arugula, bok choy, radishes, cilantro, dill and greens all making appearances, to be joined relatively soon by endive, escarole, chard, kale, parsley-and, of course, strawberries. We will open for the season on Tuesday May 30th, with our regular hours of TuesdaySunday 11am-6pm. As always, please check our website (www.hutchinsfarm.com) for updates.

                 We hope you can find time to stop by and visit as the days grow longer and warmer, and the seeds sprout, the fruits swell and ripen, the full variety of vegetables perform their alchemy and transform soil, sun, and water into the flavors and textures that enrich and enliven our meals and our days.
Hope to see you all soon,
-Brian Cramer, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm team
may2017

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