The long, slow warm up continues—I usually conceive of spring and fall as transitional periods, but the year seems to have stalled and settled into endless spring: Cold mornings, winds with an edge of winter, slowly unfolding buds and leaves, the sun, already high overhead, yet stingy with its warmth. And, as was the case last year, very little rain—the long, drizzly period in April gave the illusion of precipitation, but looking at rivers, ponds and wetlands, it’s apparent how little rain actually fell. Cold weather and frosty forecasts have kept our greenhouses full of plants that, in other years, would be outside hardening off or planted already. We’re also a bit behind on our plant offerings for gardeners, but that’s probably a good thing, given the persistence of cold mornings and the wild, bitter winds.
That said, we’ve begun putting in our summer crops. Our first tomatoes and corn have been in for over a week, purple and fairly shivering with cold. Our earliest peppers and eggplants were planted this week, and those tender babies, the cucumbers and squash, unhappy in the extreme, have spent their first night in the cold soil. The hardier crops (when a farmers use the words ‘hardy’ and ‘tender’, they are almost always referring to plants’ tolerance to cold and frost) like lettuce, arugula, radishes, etc. have been in the ground for a good month now, with little growth to show—only the spinach has really seemed to enjoy the protracted spring, and the peas seem quite happy as well.
Beginning last weekend, we attended our first farmer’s markets of the year: Union Square on Saturday morning and Central Square on Monday. Our porch has been stocked with self-serve offerings for a while already, including (usually) abundant asparagus, occasional sorrel, nettles and rhubarb, to be joined by spinach this weekend. In addition, we have a selection of garden plants (mostly vegetables and herbs) and lots of bagged compost and potting soil.
Before it became apparent that spring’s transition to summer was going to be slow by recent standards, we had decided to open up the farmstand for limited hours for a couple weekends before we ‘officially’ open. Although our product selection is more modest than we had hoped, we do plan on opening up from 11-4 on the weekends of May 21 and 22, and May 28 and 29. We will open for the season with regular hours on May 31st (Tuesday through Sunday 11am -6pm.) Our earliest tomato plants have sold out, but we should have a limited selection of tomatoes from our larger second planting available this weekend, along with peppers, eggplants, herbs and other plants. By the following weekend, we should have our full array of tomato varieties available, and an expanded selection of produce from our fields. For the most up-to-date information about what is available, check our website.
We enter a new season with all the trepidation and humility appropriate to practitioners of a livelihood that is completely dependent on the weather—but farming isn’t really that much different in that regard to any other business: most peoples’ livelihoods depend on equally unpredictable economic or political ‘weather’. We (Gordon, Dan, Liza, and Brian) are joined this season by Adam Hommeyer, our new Perennial Fruit Manager, who will be continuing the tradition begun by John Bemis, tending our orchards and blueberry plantings. We’re also joined by two highly motivated apprentices—Samantha Brown, who worked with us last summer, and Benjamin Clark, who joins us after a season at Freedom Food Farm in Raynham.
We hope to see all of you in the near future, when you can (hopefully) commiserate with us about the terrible heat, the regular early morning rains followed by clear, sunny days, and how heavy all those harvest crates full of beautiful, delicious produce are.