March 2022 Newsletter: Spring has arrived!

Spring has blown in on late March winds, thickening the twigs, with the innocuous flowers of the early blooming trees suddenly appearing, looking like they’ve been there all winter just waiting to be noticed. Along south-facing walls, drifts of snowdrops bloom, and showy purple crocuses erupt from the midst of lawns newly revealed from their recent snowy blanket. In the fields, the winter rye begins to grow faster than the geese can keep it cropped, and the few crops that braved the winter—garlic and strawberries to name a couple—begin to shake off their cold-induced torpor and think about turning green.

One crop that is usually beginning to stir at this early date is the humble, cold-hardy parsnip, but this year the deer have completely cleaned us out. Normally locked out by the frozen soil, the warm early winter weather in December and January allowed them to dig and devour every last parsnip from the three beds we had left untouched last fall in hopes of digging them early this spring. I guess we may need to start fencing them all winter long, and add them to the ever-expanding list of crops that deer favor.

We have a head start on spring thanks to our greenhouses, which are quickly filling with the future inhabitants of our fields (and your gardens). Ranks of early seeded onions and leeks have been joined by our first plantings of lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes—and, impatient farmers that we are, even crops that we usually direct sow in the soil (beets, cilantro, dill, spinach) are growing in trays, protected for a few weeks so they will mature just a bit earlier when we get them into the soil next month.

Absent the parsnips, our earliest offerings will be confined to plants, soil and compost for our gardener customers—bagged soil and bagged compost from McEnroe Farm are now available, to be joined by some hardy garden plants sometime in early April, and perhaps some cut bunched tulips not too long after. As usual, these items are offered self-serve style on our porch, cash or check only.

Toward the end of April or beginning of May, we should begin to see that eagerly awaited harbinger of spring; asparagus, with lettuce, spinach, radishes, arugula close on its heels and with them, the season of warmth and growth begins in earnest.

We begin the growing season with a strong team of folks, some of whom have been with us for a long time: Ted Thompson, with several years at Hutchins under his belt, begins his first year as assistant farm manager, while Huey-Harn Chen returns for her sixth season and reprises her dual roles of greenhouse and cut flower manager. Jon Bergan will be towering over the crew again this year in his capacity as harvest manager, and Dave and Kathy Rice will also be with us again; Dave managing our orchard and blueberries, and Kathy ensuring our farmstand is running smoothly. We have perhaps a record number of returning crew members this season as well, so the fields and stand will be filled with many familiar faces (Hi Abby, Susan, Theo, Nate, Sirena, Liv, Samantha, Katie, Lizzie, Arden, and Michael!)

We hope to see you as well in the weeks and months that follow, to join us in celebrating the progress of the new year, marking the arrival of each new crop in its season, some with fanfare (strawberries, sweet corn, blueberries, tomatoes) some with more of a shrug (rutabagas come to mind). Whatever the new season brings, the only sure thing is that the new ‘normal’ won’t be quite like the old ‘normal’, but if we want the future to be the kind of place we would like to live, we need to encourage the things we cherish most.

As always, you’ll find the most up-to-date information about what is available on the honor system self-serve porch on our website: www.hutchinsfarm.com – we do try and keep the “What’s at the Stand” page updated daily – it’s always timestamped with when it was last updated.

Happy Spring everyone! -Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm crew
Huey watering in the greenhouse
Baby Cauliflower
Cherry Tomato seedlings

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