Jenny and Bruce Wooster, Picadilly farmers, sent this farm update. Picadilly Farm is one of the farms that makes up Shared Harvest multi-farm winter CSA.
Many of you have emailed and called, so I’ll give you a brief update from the farm, post-hurricane. Here, a few puddles and some soggy fields are the only remnants of the big storm. The rain gauge over the weekend read five inches precisely, certainly less rainfall than in places to the west of us, and a relatively manageable amount. We sustained no damage from winds or flooding. Our fields sit on high ground, well above the Connecticut River flood plain and about twenty feet above the streambed that surrounds the farm, so we’ve experienced none of the destructive flooding of surrounding farms and towns. Our canoe did come into play, though, as the Manning Hill dairy farmers used it to rescue some round bales of hay, before they floated away from their riverside field and down the Connecticut. Our animals weathered the storm just fine. All the moisture may bring lingering challenges, in regards to diseases in our summer crops, and loss of fertility in the fall “green” crops. In both cases, we’ll watch and see what happens, and act if possible/needed.
Of course, many farms in our region, especially to our west and south, have a different story to tell. Like the damage to roads and homes, the agricultural destruction appears to be widespread and heartbreaking – whole fields under water or even washed away. We’ll all know more about the extent of the damage as time goes by, and what we or others can do about it.
My family walked through our farm during the early hours of the storm, in part to check out our new drainage system around the farmstead. You may recall, this June we spent weeks working with Natural Resources Conservation Service of USDA to construct a long-planned series of grassed waterways around the farm structures and parking area. The goal is to funnel rain water during big rain events off these areas and through the fields, down to our stream, without carrying our precious topsoil away with the flow. This weekend undoubtedly qualified as a big rain event… and it worked! We observed water flowing quickly just where it was supposed to go, leaving the farmstead area easily passable by Monday morning. I humbly swallow every bit of grumbling I muttered about that project in June.
Overall, a very positive storm report from the farm. We hope you all weathered the storm well, with no lasting damage.
Jenny & Bruce