Early March and we’re still in the grips of deep winter, with bitter winds scouring the snow covered landscape, and stars glinting like ice in a frozen night sky. Sure of nothing, I’m fairly certain that’s all about to change-hopefully, the change comes in a gradual, measured fashion, but I wouldn’t put money on it.
In any case, one of the most comforting things to do in discouraging weather is to peruse the pages of seed catalogs, with their glossy photos of impossibly beautiful vegetables and flowers, their promise of interesting novelty in the context of the timeless turning of the seasons. Full of hyperbole and equivocation, long experience teaches that, in the context of a seed catalog, ‘mild’ usually means ‘tasteless’, ‘medium-sized’ often stands in for ‘puny’, and so forth. That said, the prose found in seed catalogs is an interesting (occasionally brilliant, in the case of the Fedco catalog, until recently penned by the very funny, very lefty CR Lawn) subset of the larger, largely vapid realm of advertising copy. Having tried my hand at writing variety descriptions in our own (colorless, digital) catalog of the plants we offer for sale every spring, I’m always fascinated at how various, usually anonymous, writers of catalog copy deal with the inevitability of repetition, the difficulty in differentiating two varieties that, apart from the name (and the price?) may be essentially identical. A good thesaurus, and careful rereading to minimize avoidable repetition, are essential. Caveat Emptor.
Our humble plant catalog, largely a rehash of older versions, is updated and available on our website under the tab “Produce Information.” We’re committed to focusing more attention this season on consistently producing a wide variety of garden plants for our gardening customers, so come mid-April, keep a look out for the first arrivals. And be assured that all of our offerings (unless otherwise noted) are varieties grown on the farm because of their outstanding qualities, and the descriptions aren’t simply lifted from seed catalogs, but reflect our actual experience with these crops and varieties. Once mid-April rolls around, we will as always attempt to keep an update of what is available for sale on the front page of our website.
Also coming soon to lift the March malaise, the Concord Ag Committee is presenting its annual Spring Forum-this year’s program features local food establishments that are committed to using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, explaining their philosophies and practices. Participating establishments include Saltbox Kitchen, Papa Razzi Trattoria, The Concord Cheese Shop, and Newbury Court kitchen. The forum begins at 7 PM on March 21st at the Harvey Wheeler Center in West Concord-come be inspired by how professionals incorporate a seasonal, locavore ethos in their offerings.
We have a number of returning faces this year at Hutchins on our crew and with that also comes an exciting announcement: we are thrilled that Mel from Field Edge Flowers is returning to grow certified organic blooms at Hutchins Farm once again this season! Field Edge Flowers will be selling lots of simple bunches at the Hutchins farm stand just as they did back in 2016, but this season they also have expanded to offer a weekly CSA flower share:
From Mel: “A generous bundle of 25-30 stems of fresh, organic blooms and greenery carefully arranged and wrapped in paper….and handed to you by the farmer herself, every week for eight weeks! Over the course of the season, everything Field Edge Flowers grows will appear in your bouquets–we are planning on lisianthus, sunflowers, dahlias, and zinnias, and all of the many little bits and bobs that we grow and that you can’t find at your local flower shop. Once the CSA season starts (we let you know-weather dependent-usually in late June or so), pick ups will be at the Hutchins farm stand on Tuesdays from 2-6 pm….so you can grab your veggies for the week while you are there!”
For those of you interested in purchasing a flower share, more information can be found on Field Edge Flowers website: https://www.fieldedgeflowers.com/csf-shares and for any questions about Field Edge Flowers or anything else flower related Mel can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
While we have been spending this winter dreaming and planning, we also have been hard at work. The apple orchard pruning has just finished for the winter, and the blueberry bushes are the next project to tackle. Planting schedules are written (and will probably be rewritten ten times over as mother nature changes her mind over and over this spring), and we have begun seeding in the greenhouse – and already spent a few nights fretting about the temperatures. The joys of March!
We hope you are having a warm and cozy winter,
-Brian Cramer and the Hutchins Farm Crew
Apple trees at dawn, March snow, Leeks emerging
March 2019 Newsletter