Happy New Year to you all, Farm-ily! Whatever holidays you celebrate, we hope your last two weeks included some time for recreation, rest, and renewal. Crops have little regard for Hallmark cards or calendar pages, bowing only to changes daylight and weather. Since we last harvested for you, 2020 has become 2021; more importantly for us, daylight hours are on the rise again. December 21st— the Winter Solstice— marked the year’s shortest day, its longest night, and the official start of Winter. Strange as it may seem, our first bitter cold temperatures (and snowfall!) were all technically part of Autumn. In early March when it seems like Winter has become a permanent condition, I’ll remind myself again and again that it didn’t truly begin until now.
Whatever the weather brings over the next few weeks and months, our high tunnel remains a literal oasis. Beneath its shelter we have rich green lettuces growing just inches from the frosted stubble of cover crops. Our members with children may remember the days of constantly adjusting their layers of clothing, adding socks in the chill and pulling back blankets in the sun. Our green babies the high tunnels require the same degree of constant attention: temperature checks throughout the day, doors propped open and siding rolled up, only to be quickly buttoned closed at the first sign of a chill. The reward for this hyper vigilance is crisp and tender salad in January, worth every moment of worry!
In between adjusting tunnel temperatures, this season is one where we our our eyes from the fields to the pack shed and equipment storage and the long list of ‘to-dos’ that weren’t done during the summer. Power washing the inside of a chicken coop isn’t for the faint of heart, but we’re grateful for the time to do what needs to be done. At the end of the day, conversations turn to crop planning and the new things we’re considering for spring. Seed catalogs are more engrossing to us than a New York Times bestseller; the possibility of fresh ginger, rainbow carrots, and a new seedless watermelon variety tantalize us from the pages of High Mowing Organics and Johnny’s Seeds.
With so much to look forward to, it’s easy to feel the energy of the new year rolling across the Farm. Each day is a little longer, and a little brighter. When the wait seems too long, there is a preview of seasons to come just behind the high tunnel door. Winter has a unique appeal, but one of its best qualities is that it is always followed by Spring.
Eat Well and Be Well,
Ashley, Collin, John, Alexandra, Gabe, and Finn the Farm Dog - Your Winter Willowsford Farm Crew