Hello and happy greetings from Crystal Spring Farm!
We hope you’re staying warm and able to enjoy the abundance of snow! Three snow days in one week! We’ve enjoyed some moments here and there of relaxing and reading by the wood stove, but we have ample work to keep us moving outside as well.
While the vegetable fields rest frozen this is time when the animals on the farm take center stage. We have a very active group of winter pigs who have turned over the house garden in between heavy feeding of brewery grain and kitchen scraps. The 23 heifers (female cows who have yet to have a calf) on the farm this winter have spent most of the year on the back pasture behind the house but were happy to be indoors for the recent blizzard.
We know some of you are wondering when the lambs are arriving on the ground. The blizzard brought our first set of twins. As Seth was busy clearing snow for many (many) hours on Wednesday, Leila took charge of the care for the newborns. Unfortunately the mother was not producing milk, so Leila took over the warming, drying, and bottle feeding of these two littles, whom she named Hugs and Kisses (after being licked in the face). We make sure our pregnant ladies get plenty of fresh air and exercise by putting their silage bales away from the barn. We’re ready and waiting for more lambing action in the barn!
Seed orders are done and the packets and boxes have been trickling in each day. We are due to sow our first flats into our compost based potting soil (also just arrived) the first week of March.
We are very thankful that both Kristin and Tom, two of our star apprentices who are hunkered down with us this winter to assist with animal care, will be back for another season. Tom will be on the farm part time and Kristin will be our first full time assistant manager. She will be managing our farm crew and daily details of the vegetable fields to allow Seth to focus his attention on our new blueberry venture.
We just signed a lease on seventy-one acres of wild blueberries adjacent to the farm and are very excited to add this new farm product. We have a lot to do before harvest begins in late July, including hiring weevers and rakers, buying harvest equipment and putting in a new freezer.
With the blizzard snow cleared by Wednesday, on Thursday and Friday Seth began to renovate one of the barns to add a new vegetable cooler and freezer. We have outgrown the beautiful antique cork cooler in the CSA barn we have been using for the last decade. By adding this new unit we will be able to keep everything cool without having to stack crates to the ceiling! To make space for the new walk-in he is pulling out 30-40 yards of concrete that was the old three cow milking parlour from the 1950’s.
Many of you may have seen an article in the local papers this fall regarding the completion of our long term lease agreement with the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust. This was a team effort over many years involving blood, sweat, tears, many meetings, lawyers, consultants, revisions, and reams of paper, resulting in a fifty year lease. This a one-of-a-kind document will give us security that we can pass on to our kids or the next lucky farmer here. As always, we keep you, our customers and supporters at the forefront of our gratitude list. Your participation in this farm is the critical piece. Continuing to value local, organic food and knowing your farmer is the root of success for all of us. Thank you!
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If you have delayed signing up for 2015 now is the time. We do have shares left. The link to sign up is on our website, or you can click here.
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For those of you taking part in our payment plan, February payments are now due. Look for an email today with directions and a link to our online payment page.
The emails and phone calls have begun wondering about our dates for Farm Camp. We will update all the information, with dates, details, and registration on the Farm Camp page of our website by Wednesday February 4.
For the past year we have been working with Maine Beer Company in Freeport to convert their brewing by-products into animal feeds and fertilizer. Twice a week we pick up spent barley and a pasty product best described as yeasty, hoppy glop. The barley is a great addition to our pigs ration and both the barley and the glop are stellar field fertilizers that exceed sheep manure in their nutritive value. If you like Maine Beer Company brews (Peeper is magic in a bottle) you can drink with satisfaction knowing you are supplying your vegetables with valuable fertilizer!