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Do you take the winter off?

"What do you do in the winter since you can’t farm?”  This is the most common question we get as vegetable farmers in Maine.  Sure our growing season is short with a frost-free period between the end of May and the middle of September.  Zone four, I believe it is called.

With highs in the single digits in Dover-Foxcroft in February this week, I wish I could show you pictures of us on the beaches of the Caribbean taking the winter off…

Cooperators of the Year 2016 event at Ripley Farm

"We'll be there on Friday at 8am to start setting up," they said.  And they weren't kidding!  Just as our employees got here to start work that morning, several more cars rolled into the farm drive.  Soon after I could hear sounds of persistant banging on metal.  Sounds like they're working on the railroad, I thought to myself.  Clink, clink, clink... and I looked out of the window to see a white party tent being erected between our large hoophouse and the PYO flower garden.

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. 

From Seed to Salad: one weekly lettuce planting’s growth, regeneration, and beauty

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.

Reclaiming Ripley Farm

The thing I remember most about the first time we walked on what is now our dream farm at 62 Merrills Mills Road in Dover-Foxcroft is Gene's smile after he pranced through the tall timothy and red clover in the field tucked up out of sight from the road.  Hey, this beautiful eight acre field has a ton of space, he said.  There's no way we'd be able to sell more veggies than that, we told each other. 

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