The first month

A few nights ago, over a late dinner (they’re all late lately) and silly with exhaustion, I sniggered to Andrew: “You know, our eggs are at the grocery store now, and they have our logo on them. And our website. But there’s nothing on the website!”

I’ve been doing my best to keep farm updates coming via our Instagram account – snapping a picture and writing a pseudo-sentence has been manageable with my current to-do list. But, in honor if it being May 29 – one month since we closed on the farm – I am checking in to provide an update.

Here’s a ballpark list of what we’ve been up to for the past month:

  • Tilled up about 1/4 acre for veggies; turned the area into about 40 60-foot long permanent raised beds
  • Planted in about 25 of those beds so far: crops currently in the ground include asparagus, mescaline mix, beets, carrots, lettuces, Swiss chard, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, scallions, onions, shallots, leeks, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, basil, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
    • Crops still waiting to be planted include peppers, cabbage, fennel, parsley, oregano, thyme, summer squash, winter squash and melons
  • Set up an irrigation system in that 1/4 acre
  • Moved a bulk tank to store water to serve the irrigation system
  • Got our 85 laying hens out on pasture; this happened immediately after closing when we opened them up into a yard area surrounding the shed in which they were sleeping. A couple of weeks later we got our mobile chicken unit up and running. The hens are now in a moveable chicken house and get moved to access fresh grass and bugs every few days
  • Cleaned up three areas that formerly housed livestock and desperately needed a thorough cleaning before housing livestock again in a way that is healthy and safe for animals
  • Cleaned up a storage shed, moved it to the roadside, installed a small dorm fridge and renamed the shed our farm-shack
  • Began to sell our pastured, organically-fed eggs roadside and at Commodities Natural Foods
  • Began to sell our organically-grown kale and spinach roadside (the plants we are currently harvesting from are from a small garden plot that we had prepared from last summer)

 

That’s all that I can think of at the moment. I should note that when I say “we” I mean myself, Andrew, my Dad, and a few other friends who have been able to lend a hand. We love all of you.

Important updates involving our vision for this growing season:

  • Eggs will be available all week from the farm-shack
  • Veggies will be available Friday afternoon through Sunday at the farm-shack. We sold a little bit over this weekend; next weekend we will have a bit Saturday and Sunday, and starting the second week of June we should hopefully be rocking and rolling. To stay up to date with when we are harvesting and what is available, keep an eye on our Facebook page and Instagram account
  • Eggs and some veggies will be sold at Commodities Natural Foods in Stowe. Depending on how yields and labor are, we may supply other local businesses as well; we’ve had some informal conversations but nothing is set in stone
  • A note on our veggie philosophy for the summer: we’d like to incentivize people going out of their way and buying directly from the farm. Bear in mind prices will be lower and variety will be higher when you buy directly from the farm. We welcome your comments and ideas (what would you love for us to grow?). We also appreciate how supportive and understanding everyone is that we are a brand-new farm with rather full hands
  • If you live nearby and are interested in weekly salad greens, read the following:
    • We are considering a program to reduce packaging waste. You would provide a reusable Pyrex-style container of whatever size you like. We would weigh out how much salad mix would fit in your container and fill it weekly for a set price. If you are interested in more information, contact us at longwinterfarmstowe@gmail.com
  • We have a few pork shares still available. For more information, email longwinterfarmstowe@gmail.com

 

I’ll leave you with some pictures below. I spent a few minutes this rainy afternoon wandering the farm (and my Dad took our photo) to capture what’s going on for this update. Thank you for the good vibes and support. We look forward to nourishing the community!

Annie and Andrew Paradee

 

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Andrew and I today (Sunday 5/29) in front of the mobile chicken house. Our 85 hens gorge on grass, bugs and fresh air all day every day.

Garden May 29

Our small garden space growing peas, spinach, lettuce, kale, chard, arugula, garlic and cilantro

Farm shack May 29

Interior of the farm shack. Fridge for eggs, cash box for money, notebook for love notes and questions, a letter of appreciation from us with our contact information, kale in a vase, and veggies in a cooler…low tech is good tech!

Barn May 29

Farm-shack from the outside next to the barn (and our lovely Vermont Land Trust Sign!)

May 29

A portion of the larger field today: lettuces and Swiss chard with their driplines. And…so. Many. Weeds. We will have our hands full with weeding this year (and for all time, of course). We are trying to focus on what we’ve accomplished rather than what remains to be done.