Let it Snow
What a winter! There is nothing like real cold and heavy snow for a farmer. When I’m not walking the dog, tending the sheep, or sledding with the kids this weather is a great excuse to stay inside with a hot cup of tea and dream about the acres of green that lie ahead after the thaw. The plus of all of this snow is that it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere and brings it down to earth – up to 12 pounds of it an acre! Mother Nature working while I drink tea, it doesn’t get any better.
We have actually been cranking things up around here the past couple months. The seed orders are in, we have one apprentice hired and a couple more circling, new plastic for the greenhouse just arrived, and half of the ewes will begin lambing before Valentine’s Day. It feels great to be looking forward to a year of hard work. Thank you all again for the making this feeling possible, I’m honored to be your farmer.
For all of you CSA “old timers” there are a few new things to look forward to this coming year. We have taken strawberries out of the upic field, allowing more space for flowers, beans, and peas…worry not, strawberries will still be part of your share, but we will be picking them for you. A strawberry root maggot infestation in the upic field in 2007 forced us to rotate this crop out until 2010. There will also be 80 feet of raspberries available for picking come the fall and more in the coming years if we all like them. What’s not to like?
In other farm news, we added a new full-time member of the farm crew this year, our border collie pup Nell. She’s just 10 months old but already showing signs of being a real farm workaholic. We have started a bit of training for her and the sheep (and me for that matter) and she shows great promise. She is both very focused on the sheep (translation: she always wants to go to the barn) while at the same time is reserved in her herding (translation: she doesn’t chase them over gates or fences). Her formal training is slow now because of the weather and the fact that most of the ewes are close to lambing, but we hope to start her up again full-time in the spring. Tom Settlemire, Sheep Guru and our sheep business partner has Nell’s sister Tibee and the two of them are like Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2 when they get together.
We have been receiving a steady stream of memberships since Thanksgiving but still have many more shares available. Those of you that haven’t signed up please do. Thanks to those of you that have, and please let your friends know that they too can join in the fun with food. We are coming up on the second payment date if you are on our winter payment plan. If you have sent in your $100 deposit, the next payment of $138.33 is up February 1. The next payments of $138.33 are due April 1, and June 1.
I hope all of you will find some time this winter to do some good reading about local food. First on my list of recommendations is “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. This is the nuts and bolts follow up to his bestseller “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” In this very readable guide he tells you what needs to happen so that we can all eat as well as he did in the “Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Beginning this next week the annual Midcoast Community Read will be jumping into Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Vegetable Miracle.” Kingsolver and her family take “readers along on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it.” This is a great point of entry into the “localvore” mindset and you have the added bonus of having the whole Midcoast as your book club! The library website has more info on the book and how to join in the read. http://www.curtislibrary.com/CRweb09/events.html
Hopefully you all have been able to take advantage of the two winter farmers markets we now have in Brunswick. One is located in the Fort Andross Mill adjacent the “Flea Market” on the first floor, the other can be found at Granite Farm, 93 Casco Road, just past the intersection of Casco and Pleasant Hill. They both have a good selection of local foods and are open every Saturday from 9am until noon.