The News from Windflower Farm
What’s in your share?
- Pie pumpkins
- Swiss chard
- Sweet Peppers
- Sweet corn (from our farm)
Your fruit share will be peaches from Yonder Farm.
Jan, Nate and I washed potatoes yesterday to the happy chatter of Ayesha Roscoe on the radio. She interviewed a Brooklyn food writer as they prepared food together, discussing the simple joy of sharing a meal with a friend. The arrival of cool mornings is a reminder that these lovely summer days will come to an end soon. We start the morning in sweaters now, but by 10:00 am we are back to short sleeves. Our list of chores reflects a change in seasons. We planted the last crops of the 2022 summer season a week ago. Next week we’ll sow the greens – kale, chard, spinach, perhaps Yukina Savoy – that will go in our winter shares. Then it’s on to the overwintering crops that will go into 2023 shares: strawberries, spring onions and garlic. We are also beginning to prepare fields for cover crops. Old friends at the Farm at Millers Crossing have been producing a mixture of cereal rye and hairy vetch that does wonders for our soil. Seeding cover crops feeds the soil that will provide next year’s fertility.
What’s new on the farm?
How do you sustain yourself over the long haul? How do you stay sharp and engaged? “Are you in the ballgame?” My son’s teacher would ask when she saw him drifting off. If I have more than just a few minutes, I might get out for a romp through the fields, or I’ll go for a bike ride if I don’t want to be on the farm. If I have a little more time, I’ll paddle on the nearby Battenkill or at one of the ponds on the Taconic plateau. And if I have two days, I’ll go sailing.
I ran into a group of Vermont farmers I know at a marina about 100 miles north of here on Lake Champlain where I keep an old sailboat. Out of context, it took us a minute to recognize one another. We were all a little self-conscious in our sailing gear – certainly too clean, and the floppy hats and life jackets were a little incongruous. No dirty work boots here – sailors don’t tolerate muddy tracks on their decks. In the case of the Vermonters, three of them share an ancient Beneteau sailboat. The Quebecois who sail the lake are fond of French made boats, and old ones can be found cheap, they told me. In my case, to make it affordable, I share a sailboat with my brother-in-law. She makes up for being unsightly by not being the slowest boat on the lake.
Farmers, somewhat surprised to see other farmers in pursuit of a leisure activity in high season (“Weekend – what’s a weekend?”), did what farmers always do, we talked shop. The drought, new varieties, the no-till craze. We then talked about how we managed to escape from our respective 24/7 farm schedules. We agreed that it was by empowering our staff. They get to make decisions, they have more fun, our farms are better off with more engaged minds, and we get to go sailing! Clearly the stuff of an enlightened approach to personnel management, we agreed. Good, dumb luck, more likely.
We are truly grateful to have an experienced and dedicated staff who can help run our farm while we are occasionally off biking or canoeing or sailing. We are rested. We have de-stressed. We are excited to be back at work. And there is much to do.
Have a great week, Ted