What do farmers do in the winter? I don’t know about the other guys, but I’ve been busy … here’s a pic of me and hubby, hard at work. I bought a new computer (a necessary piece of farming equipment in the 21st century) and, as we were getting acquainted with it, discovered it has a camera in it. This photo was taken moments after I said, “I wonder what happens when I press this key?” Hubby, suspecting what was about to happen, exclaimed, “Quick, smile! smile! smile!”
In addition to the hard work of smiling for the camera, I started attending a beekeeping class at Codman Farm. The class is taught by Rick Reault, a member of the Middlesex Beekeepers Association and owner of New England Beekeeping Supplies. The first class was an introduction to the different types of honey bees – queen, workers and drones – and their life cycle. I learned that there are different species of honey bees (Italian, Cordovans, Buckfast, Russian, and others). Who knew? I’ve been bit by the beekeeping bug and can hardly wait for the next class!
I’ve just about finished making plans for the ’09 multi-farm Winter CSA – newly christened the Shared Harvest Winter CSA. Shareholders have provided wonderful feedback about the share and many of their ideas and preferences have shaped the ’09 CSA. A new farm, Riverland Farm, will join us this season. Rob and Meghan recently bought their own farm. Visit their website, click on “The Farm” to learn about the farm. I believe they will also be selling their produce at the Winter Fare in Greenfield this weekend. Picadilly Farm will continue to provide their tasty winter produce. (I encourage you to visit the Picadilly web site and take a look at their 2008 annual report. You will see that where you spend your food dollars really does make a difference to family farmers!) Apples from Cider Hill Farm and dried beans from Charlie Baer in Beverly will be included in the share this coming winter. The Winter Shares will be distributed from Busa Farm, which is on the border of Arlington and Lexington. We’re hoping to coordinate with Dennis Busa to make additional winter greens and other local products available during the share pick ups. I’ll put the finishing touches on the ’09 multi-farm winter share in the next week. I’ll send Shared Harvest Winter CSA information to ’08 sharers soon; the shares will be available to the public by March 1.
The other big winter project I’ve been working on is finding farmland. Unfortunately, I’ll not be returning to farm in Belmont this year; the landowners and I were unable to work out a lease agreement. I’m hoping to find 3 to 10 acres of land where I can grow vegetables organically and invest in infrastructure that will support a farm operation that is both financially and physically sustainable. The folks at New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, as well as many friends in the farming community, have been helping me search for land. If you’ve got a few acres in your backyard that are in need of a farmer, let me know!