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!
and the Hutchins Farm Team
From left to right: Pumpkins on the stone wall on Halloween, rainbow carrots, view in November
November 2017 Newsletter