Havest Season 2015: Through the lens of the barrel washer

I seriously did mean to sit down and write a new blog many times this summer. 

Okay, maybe after we harvested the 3000 heads of garlic and hung it to dry in our newly repaired shed.  Nope. 

Okay, maybe after hauling in the thousands of pounds of fall potatoes and winter squash.  Nope. 

Okay, come on, after the 20,000th pound of carrot, surely I would have done it then?  No, it just didn’t happen. 

Putting our hearts into spring planting

Spring is the time when I wake up way before my alarm.

Spring is the time when the color green takes over my world.

Spring is the time of optimism for another good growing season.

Spring is the time of endless energy for projects.

And most of all, spring is the time of planting at Ripley Farm!

By the first of June, we’ve planted over 50% of our fields to this year’s crop of organic veggies.  Here’s photos of the seeds, plants, and people who have put them in over the past 5 weeks (a lot has changed over that time for sure!):

Welcome Carmen Allen!

At the end of April 2009, Gene and I thrust our fingers into the cool spring soil for the first time on our own farm.  Planting our very first vegetables as Ripley Farm rushed an exhilaration through our bodies and souls. 

We were following our calling to be stewards of the land, producing healthy, organic vegetables to feed Central Maine.  Less than a year into marriage, we had signed a lease in the fall of 2008 to rent our first farmland in Troy, in Waldo County.  We were living our dream together.

Melt, baby, melt! What we're excited about planting in 2015...

Coldest February on record.  Coldest March on record.

Its true that I do love winter, despite not being from Maine.  But this winter has even me saying "enough"!  Actually winter finally broke my back with its brutal winds a couple of weeks ago when I got "frost nipped" on my legs after being out all afternoon.

CSA: an act of faith

I am ready for spring.  Although it is still a while away, we are immersed in our annual planning process for the spring and summer.  It is during the winter that we make most of the decisions that govern our growing season.  Using lots of spreadsheets, we literally plan out ahead of time where and when each of our vegetables will be planted.  With close to 100 different varieties to go into five acres of land, it takes faith in the belief that spring will indeed come despite this snowy winter and consistently negative temperatures to get this significant job done.

CSA: Sharing the experience of eating in the here and now

On Wednesday when we were getting ready for the Winter CSA pickup later that afternoon, I said to Gene offhandedly, "What a nice farm share this week!  Its just how we eat!" 

Cheers to 2014!

Cheers to 2014!  It was another great year on our farm full of sunshine, smiles and satisfaction.  Thank you so much to our friends, family, and customers for your continuing support and care of us and our farm.  Your participation makes a hard job enjoyable and totally worth it!  Here's a look back at the highlights of 2014 in pictures...

Done! Reclaiming Ripley Farm in 24 photos

The first thing that we farmers do after the growing season ends is... AHHHH!  We take a much-needed breath of relief and rack out to reclaim our bodies and minds from the busy, busy summer behind us. 

Vegetable Variety Show

“Ooo, what about these mini colored peppers? Do you think they would be good?” asked Gene.  “Maybe, and the ‘Honey Bear’ acorn squash looks really nice.” I reply…  And the debate has begun at Ripley Farm! 

Fall 2014: short days, huge harvests, and farm expansion

"Is the season slowing down for you?"  Many people ask us this question this time of year. 

Yes and no.  We had our first frost that killed our summer crops on Friday.  We have turned under many spring and summer plantings and have green cover crops of oats, peas, rye and vetch growing all over the farm.  They days are getting shorter, and we are sleeping in a little later.  So, in that sense, yes, the season is slowing down.