From the Farms…Reflections and Giving Thanks

Photo: Saturday, November 1st, join us for an end-of season, sure-to-get-dirty harvest for the food bank. In gratitude for all the nourishment we receive from this land, we'll harvest carrots, potatoes and more for distribution to area hunger relief agencies - the Winchester NH food pantry, and the Community Kitchen in Keene, who already pick up weekly surplus here at the farm. All ages and abilities are welcome. We'll have a hay ride for all ages, potluck lunch in the barn, and extra veggies for everyone to take home. 10am-noon, then lunch. We'll probably cancel if the weather is lousy, rain date TBD.

Picadilly Farm Bounty!

From Bruce at Picadilly Farm:
The season’s end crept up on us. Jenny, the crew, and I have been busy harvesting roots and tucking them into every empty corner of the barn, with hardly a pause….Looking back, looking ahead, and pausing for a moment right here, we’re grateful once again.Thanks to each and every one of you who joined us this year… Thanks for paying in advance, and thanks for telling us to grow organic, to treat the soil and each other well, and to infuse the harvest with this vital interest.

Fortunately, the harvests this year have been magnificent. We did have a relatively late-in-coming spring, and a too wet July, with fine-bordering-on-excellent growing weather overall. And, a better farm crew, we simply cannot imagine. Allegra and Harold managed the farm when Jenny and I could not, and the rest of our group has been consistently energetic and good humored. Together, we pulled it off.

Winter’s coming will give your farmers another chance to reflect inward, to settle down as the dust settles, and then tune up for 2015. I’ll be tuning up my nearly-recovered spine, that’s for certain!

These days, whenever I stop to to think about our farm life, gratitude just bubbles right up to the surface. I realize that who we become by the farming is just as central to the work as what we produce. I’m becoming more humble, more appreciative, and more awake to the wonders in our midst. Chalk it up to enlightenment, the narcotic haze I weathered from a cracked back in July, or both. In any case, this small plot of organic land out here in the Connecticut River Valley means a lot to a pretty fine group of us.

So enjoy the off-season, stay in touch, keep your compass true, and enjoy the harvest!

Bruce (for Jenny, Allegra, Harold, Adelina, Iver, Antonio, Alex, Willie, Heather, Sarah, Carol, Joe, Doug, Beckley, and Jesse)

Here is a note from the farmers and chicken-whisperers at Wingate Farm:

Dear Egg Shareholders and Customers,


Suzie and the ladies at Win-gate Farm

What a wonderful growing season it has been here at Wingate Farm! As the leaves change color and scatter across the pastures, we and our lovely laying hens slowly start to wind down. We have learned and accomplished a whole lot this year at Wingate, our second year of producing on the farm where I grew up. We are so very grateful for your support this season as we provide delicious, nutritious,  pasture-raised eggs to more families than ever before! You are the reason we feel that our job is so important, and you are the reason we are able to raise healthy, happy animals. Thank you. We would love to hear your feedback from any of you, and we are looking forward to the 2015 season!

Olivia Pettengil (and Susie Parke-Sutherland)

From Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm
This year as always we had our ups and downs.  We had crops that did wonderful and some that went down in flames.  We tried as best we could to stick to our best laid plans.  Most times we were successful in that and other times we were not.  We put another year in the memory bank along with all the lessons we learned and ideas that we generated.

crew at Riverland Farm

       Part of what keeps us doing this is the seemingly endless number of learning opportunities there are for us each year.  With the diversity of crops that we grow we are always learning a thing or two about one crop or several.  We rotate our crops to different fields each year and many of our fields have different soil types so we get to learn which crops grow well in which soil conditions in a given year. This bit of information alone always helps us as we plan for the future.  No two years are the same which can be nerve racking and frustrating but it also keeps things exciting and keeps us on our toes.
       In addition to the crops there are several other moving parts that we are dealing with on the farm whether it’s equipment, infrastructure, improvements, repairs, vehicles, etc.  We are always looking to improve the way that we do things here and looking for ways to make the operation run smoother.. the way I see it that’s our job.  In the end what we hope is that all this scheming, learning, failure, success, change leads to an improvement in your experience at the farm every year.  We strive to be the best that we can be and there are so many people that have a hand in making this farm what it is.
       Without further ado I’d like to thank several people from employees to community members and beyond for their contribution to this farm.  First and foremost I’d like to thank the farm crew for putting in the hours of grueling work that they have this year.  For cutting each leaf of salad that you’ve eaten this year, for planting each bed, for delivering in all weather conditions the makings of a meal for us all.  There were several employees we had over the course of the season… some are here still and some have moved on.  So here’s to Kelly, Sydney, Max, Mike, Pete, Juan, Rosalinda, Gildardo, Filimon, Rojelia, Ayda, Caity, Jena, Sara, and Gregg for keeping things on the ground rolling.  There are two wonderful people to thank for helping keep Meghan and me on the farm while our kids are well cared for.. thanks to Sophie and Ines for keeping Cayden and Charlie happy and healthy.
        There are many other people we’d like to thank individually.  Those that provided services, help, or land to the farm, these people helped enrich all of our farm experiences with work they did behind the scenes.  These people were and will continue to be a big part of what makes the farm successful.  Firstly we’d like to thank our parents for coming to help us out with Cayden and Charlie whenever they can.  Abbe Vredenburg our bookkeeper for keeping our numbers straight, Lynne Rudie who has kept our marketing materials looking sharp all these years, Tim Trelease and the awesome group of volunteers from Deerfield Academy… who have helped out in a big way with our garlic over the years.  Lydia Irons and Hannah Fuller-Boswell for keeping our muscles relaxed, Julie Pottier Brown and The Farm Direct Coop, Jenny and Bruce Wooster, Jane Hammer, and UMASS extension.  Those who helped us out with our delivered share on the South Shore.. Thank you Jamie Morey, David Bigley, the staff at The Derby Street Shoppes, and my parents.  Those who’s land we farm thank you for trusting us with our most precious resource Melanie Gaier and Tony Reiber, Kim Dacyczyn, David and Angela Graves, Carolyn and Jason Russell, Stanley and Norma Kozlakowski, and Chip Williams.

           Last but most to all of our shareholders.  You made the commitment to stick with us through thick and thin.  You put your trust in our ability to provide you with something that is worth your investment.  We thank you for all of your support each season.
We are on track for a great winter share this year.  Almost all of our storage crops have now been harvested though we still have some carrots left to get.  The high tunnel is full of spinach and we have lots of spinach in low tunnels out in the field.  We are happy that you are joining us to continue eating great Riverland Farm food all winter!
Enjoy the harvest!
On behalf of the farm crew…
Your Farmers,
Rob, Meghan, Cayden and baby Charlie!

Cayden and Charlie at Riverland