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.
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.
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...
“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!
"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.
If you’re one of our fabulous customers, I’m sure you have noticed that we have lettuce available every week of the season for the CSA shares and our Orono Farmers Market booth. Lettuce is something so basic, so mundane seeming, and so ingrained into our work schedule that I almost take it for granted when we go out to harvest every week.
One of our CSA members who has been with us since the very beginning recently asked Gene, "So, 80 members this year, can you handle it?" Gene told me this later, and I laughed. "Of course!" I said, without much thought... This morning, as I listen to the sound of the wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Arthur on our metal roof, I reflect on the truly monumental task of growing healthy food for our local community. Making a living farming is hard work. With so many things out of our control, as farmers we sometimes feel stressed, frustrated or disappoin