At first, it might seem like winter is a boring time of the year on a farm. No markets, no farm stand, no hustle and bustle of daily chores. Everything is still and quiet, frozen under a thick blanket of snow. Especially in upstate New York, where winter often seems interminable, and the ground is dead and white for close to six months - almost half the year.
But in reality, winter is one of the most exciting times to be a farmer. It is a time to sit back, take a breath, and reflect on the year that just flew by us at breakneck speed. It is a time to learn from the mistakes of the previous year, and dream up even bigger, better, and more exciting things for the year ahead. It is a time of big plans, big projects, and the strangely joyous thrill of paging through seed catalogs.
Here in the north country, late winter also brings the sweetest season of all - both literally and figuratively! Maple syrup season is one of the things we look forward to the most. It is in reality the first "harvest" of the year, flavored with the exhilarating joy and optimism that comes with all new beginnings. This year, we leveled up our syrup operation with a new sugar shack and evaporator - another winter project - and were able to make many gallons of "north country gold." It will be available to purchase soon, so look for an announcement coming shortly.
Now the snow has melted, the spring peepers are singing, and the Little Salmon River is swollen with spring rains. Just like winter, every season on a farm brings new excitements of its own. I love walking through the woods on nice days, hunting for whatever new piece of the forest has sprung back to life overnight. First it was red maple blossoms, then tiny white spring beauties pushing up through the dead leaves. Now it is trout lilies, fiddleheads, and the rich wine-colored blossoms of red trillium. Just the other day we came across a seasonal favorite - ramps, also known as wild leeks. If you haven't been lucky enough to taste these delicious native alliums before, perhaps you can spend some newly found free time foraging. I will try to share a recipe soon!
Of course, every year comes with its own challenges. As farmers, we try and anticipate road bumps like unpredictable weather, failed crops, broken equipment, and our own foolish blunders. However, we never anticipated a road block like the one the world is currently facing. Through this time, we want to thank you for supporting local agriculture and small businesses like us. One thing we have learned from this pandemic is the importance of our local food system for keeping our community well fed and healthy. While our farm stand is not currently open, we want you to know that we are working hard to bring you another year of fresh, local, environmentally friendly food to help feed your family and your soul. We have peppers, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and more sprouting in the greenhouse, and this year's first order of chicks on the way. To be honest, life hasn't changed too much for us here on the farm - we are still planning, dreaming, and working to make this year bigger and better than the last one.
Thank you all so much - here's to staying strong and healthy in 2020!
*Is there something you particularly loved last year that you would like to see us grow again? Do you have suggestions for other things you would like to see at the stand? If so, send us an email or comment! And as always, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for updates on what's fresh at the farm.