Report from Riverland: Appreciating the Little Things

The farms that make up Shared Harvest multi-farm winter CSA made it through Irene in one piece. Below is a farm report from Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm in Sunderland, MA.

Dear Friends,
Well Irene came and went and so far the noticeable damage to the farm has been minimal.  We weathered the high winds and excessive rainfall though many of our tomato plants took it on the chin as the rain softened the ground and the wind pushed the trellis over.  We will still have tomatoes in the share for at least the next two weeks but the storm did shorten their lifespan.  The jury is still out on our potato crop a a lot of it is under water.  We were expecting a worse than normal potato year but now I’m not sure what to expect.  We will start digging next week and have more to report at that time.  Some of the cucurbit crops (winter squash, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini) sat in standing water which can cause rot… we don’t know for sure yet if any fruit was negatively affected.

The Connecticut is still expected to rise, threatening to flood the lower field entirely.  The bridge that you normally cross to u-pick is completely under water right now and the field is gated off by a moat (thankfully I haven’t yet noticed any ferocious creatures patrolling this moat).  From a distance it doesn’t seem as though many of the u-pick tomatoes blew over during the storm but it may be a few days until we can actually get down there to find out for sure.  U-pick in the lower field will likely be closed Tuesday but hopefully not beyond.  Keep your fingers crossed that the river doesn’t rise any higher and we may get out of this thing relatively unscathed!

Lately Meghan and I have been doing a little role switching (don’t worry nothing inappropriate!) where Meghan has spent some afternoons on the farm and I have spent that time with Cayden.  It has been a welcome and enlightening switch for both of us (I think??). I know I wrote about this in an earlier newsletter but it just struck me again as to how many parallels there are between raising a baby and raising a farm.

In both worlds… the work is never done.  Caring for and managing a farm well is physically and mentally exhaustive, it often involves a lack of sleep and more importantly putting the needs of it ahead of your needs. The needs of both a child and a farm are relentless and it is difficult to satisfy everyone of them all the time.  But along with the challenges of both come immense rewards.  During those moments that you are not feeling stretched thin you can truly appreciate the beauty in it all…a record melon year, a perfect onion, or an eggplant with a nose.  Above and beyond the rewards of the farm….having a baby has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  Feeling so much love for our boy, instantly, from the minute he was born was something that I imagine all new parents experience but I wasn’t ready for it (how could you be??) and I just didn’t realize how amazing that would feel.  It has and continues to blow me away each day when I see him do something new or we share a new experience.

For both Meghan and I this year has been a huge adjustment.  She misses being as involved in the farm and I miss having her in the field, in the share room, in the greenhouse, and doing all of the other behind the scenes work that she has done in the past.  Trying to juggle those pieces of the farm that she was once responsible for between me and the rest of the crew has been hard. The crew misses her also, as she is the fun boss and a much better sounding board for all the issues that happen in everyone’s lives.  We are still figuring out how to raise this baby and continue to raise this farm (who knows maybe once we raise this baby… he will raise this farm!!) and I’m sure we will be learning more every minute for the rest of our lives.  I knew that doing both of these things was going to be extremely challenging but I had no idea how rewarding they would be and while sometimes I’d like to trade more of one for more of the other… I wouldn’t trade either for the world.

On behalf of the crew that rocks the farm (Max, Olivia, Jason, and Sarah)…

Your Farmers
Rob and Meghan (and Cayden!!)