Spring plantings, and other April thoughts…

So here we are the day after the horror that was the Boston marathon bombing.  Felt like a good time to get some things off the chest and also write about some positive things, as well. Yesterday was such a sad day for all Americans but especially for the community of New England.  We know life goes on and the person(s) who committed this awful crime will be brought to justice.  It just does not seem fathomable that a bomb would be used against civilians, but perhaps that’s the point.  The date will now forever serve as a reminder of something grim, like September 11, or December 14th, and hopefully we can repair quickly.  

Now to matters agricultural.   Here at the farm the date of April 15th was traditionally when we started to get lots of transplants into the ground.  Yes, we have planted somethings already, small amounts, and seeds like snap peas which can take the cold weather, but we hedge that bet knowing the risks.  And, we can absorb the loss if a big snow or cold snap came back through the region.  The plantings we are doing now are the big ones.  Now it is game time, farmers markets are gearing up, CSAs are 7 weeks away, and we gotta get down to brass tacts.  The face paint is on! The  seedling trays emerge from the greenhouses, maybe spending a night or two outside in their trays to “toughen up”, and then they are loaded into the trucks and taken up to the fields.  

The spring has been up and down temperature wise so we waited on our first seedlings going into the ground until yesterday.  With row covering over them they will be snug and safe from the wee bugs who will soon emerge out of the soil and through the air.   The  broccoli raab, beets, and radishes have all had solid germinations, as well as the asian greens.  They were all planted from seed.  The transplants we picked up last week in Massachusetts – 15,000 kale, 5,000 swiss chard, and 5,000 collards, as well as the first waves (20,000) of head lettuce – are now in on on their way into the ground.  The fields are starting to look like fields again!  It’s an exciting time at the farm right now and Quincy and Jed continue to lead the charge with thoughtfulness and diligence.  The importance of the proper start to a season cannot be overstated.  

The spring brings with it warmer air and the first of the “wild” crops we covet here at the farm.  For the past few years we have been harvesting ramps (wild leeks) off the property and they are one of the hottest trends in the farm to table world.  The best and worst part is the season :  it is only 4-6 weeks long.  You can make a nice profit selling these amazing little gifts from nature.  Look for them at your local markets.  So Yummy. The greens emerge from the forrest floor first,pushing out through the leaves, and are easy to spot with the dark green leaf attached to a red stem.  At the base, under ground, is the white bulb.  Hard to describe how wonderful these are.  And here is a fun fact:  the city of Chicago means wild onion or leek in Algonquian!  Sweet name…

So, there is some action here at the farm and the hustle and bustle of the place is starting to heat up.  The first seedlings are in the ground, fields are being tilled and we finally got some badly needed rain the other day.  The nights are still on the cool side but soon the warm nights will return.  We have great farm hands lined up for the summer, and currently we have a nice crew from Taft School three days a week.  We are looking forward to spring and will keep the updates coming to keep you all informed.  cheers. 

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