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Farmstand Opening: May 2021 Newsletter

As the May weather wildly oscillates between Aprilesque and July-like, without the rain that usually accompanies such dramatic swings, we keep faithfully consigning our plants and seeds to the dusty fields, sprinkling them with a hopeful libation if they’re lucky, then trusting to the fickle rain gods and the tribe of gremlins who preside over the functionality of our irrigation equipment that they will survive, then thrive, then provide a bounteous harvest in good time. If there’s one important lesson I’ve learned in my short tenure mucking around in the stony soil of this part of Concord, it’s not to underestimate a plant’s determination to live and thrive (except maybe cucumbers?). Of course it helps that we’re putting in thousands of plants at a time, so we scarcely notice the loss of one or two (or half a dozen), which is different than the experience of a typical home gardener, to whom such a loss can be a crushing tragedy. But the tenacity and grit of all those tender, awkward, innocent plants never fails to amaze, how they suffer privations and indignities never imagined in crop production guides and agronomy textbooks (which are likewise rather dry) and yet go on to mature into respectable, productive members of our farm community, some of whom would look at home in the glossy pages of a seed catalog (with a little retouching). At least enough of the time to keep us planting, weeding, watering and hoping.

So we’re entering a new season. Really it’s already begun, but we officially open the farmstand on Tuesday, June 1th, so that feels like something new beginning, even if we’ve had garden plants for sale self-serve for well over a month now, and produce like asparagus, spinach and rhubarb have been familiar on our porch for weeks. I’m not sure what prognosticators, prophets and pundits are saying, but 2021 feels like it’s going to be a good season and a good year, as we slowly shed the learned habits of fear, suspicion and insecurity and get back to a good working relationship with the world. After a year (or more, depending what and when you’re counting from) of tumult, mayhem and uncertainty, the world seems in the process of righting itself, and here most of us remain, still aboard, gasping for breath, hoping for a stretch of calm long enough to make the storm that passed seem anomalous and distant.

Of course the storm still rages outside our protected corner of the world, and other storms threaten, but humans can’t survive in a constant state of crisis—we need the reassuring stability of repetitive, recognizable cycles, a trust and faith in the future based on understanding and experience of the past. Here’s to a calm, boring 2021, with plentiful gentle breezes, light rains, hot summer days, sudden lightning revealing thunderheads at midnight, frogs partying in their ephemeral vernal pools, frosty November nights, the comfort of things experienced many times, expected again and again, each time different and the same.

We’re particularly thankful for the calmness, stability and experience of many of our team this season, including Brian Daubenspeck, Ted Thompson, Huey-Harn Chen, Dave and Kathy Rice, Abby and Caleb Cramer, and Jon Bergan, returning as our new Harvest Manager after farming a number of years in Vermont. While many of you know Huey from our farmers markets, she is also an adept member of our field team and will be altering her role this year to include managing our greenhouses and taking over our cut flower operation. You may still catch her at the occasional market, but look for her flowers in the farmstand soon!

Speaking of the farmstand, this brings us to our current Covid-19 protocols… as many of you are well aware, the governor is lifting all business restrictions on May 29th. We are very happy that almost all of our staff has been able to receive their vaccines, and are thrilled to see Massachusetts vaccination rates rising, and covid cases decreasing. That said, for now, our staff will continue to wear masks in the farmstand building, and we kindly ask you follow suit, even if you are vaccinated. You do not need to wear them while outside browsing for plants, enjoying the picnic tables, or chatting in the parking lot.  Just please keep in mind good distances and be aware everyone has different comfort levels right now! We will still be offering hand sanitizer at the door, but no longer enforcing its use. We will still be limiting the number of customers in the stand for a bit, but not as limited as last year – while our stand building is extremely open air (we joke it barely has four sides!) we all know how crowded it can get, so we are going to slowly ease into bringing us to full capacity while monitoring the numbers. And of course, our food safety and sanitization procedures in the stand will continue on as usual! We expect to be able to relax covid related policies even further as the summer goes on – and we are thrilled to be heading back to a regular farmstand experience!

Since they were so popular last year, we will again be offering our “Farmers Choice Bag of Veggies” for touchless curbside pickup as we get later into June and have enough variety to make these work – be on the lookout for a social media and website announcement when the time comes for those. No need to sign up now (in fact you can’t!) they will be just available to sign up week by week as you see fit.

Thank you for all your cooperation and patience this past year as we navigate this new world together. We know it has been hard (it certainly it has been hard for us!) but as always you, our wonderful customers, have been a highlight – your continued support has sustained us and kept us going. We’ll be open our usual hours of Tuesday-Sunday 11am-6pm starting on Tuesday June 1st. We’re excited to kick off the 2021 season with a little bit lighter shoulders and more pep in our step – we’re excited to see you all again!

-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm Team
Potato Planting May 11th, 2021
Spinach about to be cut May 26th, 2021
Farmstand Opening: May 2021 Newsletter
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