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Spring 2024 Newsletter: Out like an Armadillo

Saying goodbye to March, and onward to April! We are told that April is the cruelest month—our experience of the dark months that precede it leads me to view that oft-quoted statement with skepticism. But in truth, for all its darkness and discomforts, the winter months seem more indifferent than cruel, while April, full of false starts, broken promises and backsliding, can feel downright malevolent at times.

To me, April comes as something of a relief after the cold doldrums of March. The frog chorus, which has a few brief rehearsals in March, becomes a regular feature on April evenings. The colorless landscape slowly dresses up for the upcoming summer in infinite shades and gradations of green, while the piercing winds of winter, smelling of distant wood smoke, are replaced by breezes and gusts carrying floral aromas and the smell of awakening life and decay. 

Other common aphorisms, like the one about March transforming from a lion to a lamb, seem to have it somewhat backwards this year. And if we wish to assign a metaphorical animal to April’s arrival, it would certainly have to be some sort of cold, watery creature, perhaps an eel. I’m hoping it goes out like an armadillo (by which I mean dry).

Regardless of the increasing variability of months and seasons, a farm must observe certain proprieties—we can tweak our schedules based on panic, assumptions and hunches, but no amount of climate chaos will alter the decorous and regular increase in daylength we experience. So we push our schedule a little here and there, but on the whole, we conform to old habits and hope the weather will at least occasionally decide to conform as well.

Speaking of climate chaos, the Concord Agriculture Committee will be hosting a talk on April 11th at 6 PM at the Concord Free Public Library entitled “Growing with Climate Change” about the impacts of climate change on local agriculture and ways in which local farmers are trying to soften the impacts and mitigate the risks. Erin Lane of the USDA Northeast Climate Hub will (remotely via zoom) give some perspective on current and expected climate impacts on agriculture in our region, followed by an in person panel of Concord farmers who will discuss some of the changes they’ve made or anticipate having to make to continue to prosper in an increasingly unpredictable climate. I hope you can join us at what promises to be an interesting event. Registration is recommended, but not required, and is free and open to everyone: LINK

Right on schedule, our bagged compost and potting soil from New York State appeared on our porch, ready to enrich gardens and support seedlings—we have McEnroe bagged compost in 40 lb bags for $15 each, or 5 for $65, and McEnroe potting soil in 22-quart bags for $17 each, or 3 for $47. Both of these products are OMRI-listed, meaning they are allowed in Certified Organic production. Sales are self-serve and on the honor system- cash or exact change only please.

Alongside these offerings should soon appear a limited but ever-growing selection of plants for your gardens and planters—look for rhubarb, onions, and herbs earliest of all, to be joined by brassicas (kale, cabbage, broccoli), lettuce and other cold-hardy veggies shortly thereafter. The listing of plants we anticipate having for sale this spring is now available on our website under the ‘Produce Information’ tab as a downloadable PDF called the “Plant Catalog 2024”, and as always for the most up to date list of what’s for sale on the self-serve porch please see our “what’s at the stand” tab.

We had left a bed of parsnips undug in hopes of digging them this spring, but unfortunately the deer muscled through our fence and made short work of them as early as last December. We recently plowed the field and the bottom half (beyond the deer’s ability to dig) of hundreds of chewed pieces of parsnips are now pointing skyward in some strange art project depicting best laid plans? But all the signs—swelling buds, greening grass, blooming crocus, snowdrops and daffodils—point to the impending availability of vegetables and fruit. Our crews have started trickling back in: we’ve uncovered our strawberries and garlic, pruned our fruit trees and blueberry bushes, planted our peas, and are poised to begin another season. We hope you can join us for another adventure around the sun!

Happy Spring!
-Brian, Liza, and the Hutchins Farm Crew  
Greenhouse filling up with seedlings
first plow of the season
Spring 2024 Newsletter: Out like an Armadillo
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