It’s time to get acquainted, or reacquainted, after a long, long winter. So, I’d like to spring a welcome on everyone who’s pitched in to make this farming season possible. We’re enthusiastic to have the support of our CSA members and to reward that support the best way we know how: with crates of delicious, gorgeous vegetables. And, of course, I’d like to welcome spring. Maybe you can welcome it too. Make it feel at home.
When the potato leaves emerge from the soil, I know it’s high time to write to the CSA. After that gorgeous weekend of heat and rain, this week began with the opportunity to get acquainted with old friends: the sweet corn sprouts in a beautiful stand, and the potatoes. I react to these sights like one reacts to a rainbow or a wildflower. It’s a mix of awe and gratification, like the moments when we realize our connection to the beautiful life cycles around us. Yes, I get that from potato sprouts. You might too. It’s the morning after a rain. Every bird in the book is calling it’s heart out from the trees and the light is still that perfect cool light of morning. You barely remember that day of hard work planting out the potatoes when there they are. Potato sprouts. They have an other-worldliness, a look just barely post-subterranean. I like to celebrate their emergence, call to my kids and wife to come look, and remember I’m barely a soil particle in this field of happenings. And, just as I have had a part in their emergence, so will they soon be a food for me.
And you too! That’s what’s so much fun about this gardening business. After the seemingly endless work of establishing crops, we get to enjoy the crispy, juiciness of so many vegetable delights. Just as the work of farming sustains our need for purpose, the fruit of our labor provides sustenance. Maybe the attentive eater can taste both.
These are the days of planting. While the farm crew transplants our starts, the tractor readies the ground for the next plantings. At it’s best, it’s one of the many seamless cycles of vegetable farming. The days in the spring sun dries lips, hands. We relearn how to fold at the hips. Squatting becomes comfortable. Sore hamstrings turn back to leather. For the few new members of the crew, planting beds of onions can seem an infinity. Looking out from one 200 foot garden bed, you could see 386 more to plant, a month doubled over, plunging fingers into the subterranean. I see this, but it’s a small shadow on the real work of the farm, which is the months of harvest ahead. These transplanting mountains will appear to be hills from the vantage point of Midsummer.
We’re ahead for now. The tomatoes in the high tunnel are almost hip height. The stands of carrots, beets and scallions are dense and healthy. The kale, lettuce, chard, were all waiting for these warmer days. It has been a cool spring. Last year, on Mother’s Day, the strawberries were bushy, loaded with blooms. At the end of our family gathering, I rushed out to cover the strawberries because of a late frost predicted for that night. My mother and father, both strong and too stubborn to listen to my protests, joined me in the field. We shoveled the 200 foot trenches to pin the sides of the protective fabric cover that tents over the beds, a beautiful dusk behind us. This year, the Red Wing Blackbirds arrived two weeks later than last year. And strawberries will follow that lead. We’ll expect the first berries in the beginning of June.
It’s going to be an awesome season and we’re excited to share it with all of you!