Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ending of the 2014 Summer season

Farm News-Final Summer CSA

Each week CSA members receive a newsletter from the farm.  Occasionally I remember to post it on here.  This is the farm note from the final Summer CSA week of 2014

The end of each CSA season feels like a mark in the story of our farm.  How will we look back on this season?  What lessons will we carry that will make us better in the coming year? I have not always been a farmer, and I did not grow up in it.  But the past seven years of my life are each defined by a season of growing.  It is how I keep track of things, by counting the seasons.  I am not so good with the numbers because it is easy to forget what the exact year was that we went to that one farmers market, or what year it was that all the tomatoes died in all of New England.  I can count back in time by those more distinguishable events and track my own personal history in that way as well as the history of our farm.

Our farm is still so new and we are just beginning to exit the initial start up phase.  And after many years of figuring out where we want to be, I have to say I like the outlook from where I am now.  And the glue that holds our farm together, that ensures that we can wake up each day and go out and do what we love, work outside, grow healthy food without the use of herbicides or pesticides is our CSA and all of you.  By being a part of our farm you help to contribute to the economic stability of our farm.  A commitment for the season means that we do not need to spend the season running around trying to find outlets for all the food we have grown.  It means we can focus on taking close care of our animals, taking the time to move them around, to protect them from predators.  It means we can take the time to cultivate our crops and spread compost where they need it.  It means we can scout for bugs, destroy crops that may spread disease to other crops and generally care for our farm with a great deal of intention. 

There is a reason that growing crops organically and raising animals outside is not the standard of agriculture.  It takes a great deal more effort, time and money to farm the way that we do.  Chickens kept outside on pasture are subject to predators like fox, hawks and others.  A conventional pesticide sprayed on a crop once can take care of a bug problem for the whole season.  I plant multiple successions of many crops with the knowledge that bugs and disease will wipe them out before you all are done seeing them in your share.  And then there are the weeds, a field of carrots would be exponentially less time consuming and easier to grow with an herbicide.  Carrots grow slowly, they take their time and many times the weeds get a real head start on them.  We fight against this with tractor mounted weeding tools and human muscle and sweat.  And this human muscle and sweat is paid a fair hourly wage and given many of the fruits of their labor for free as well.  So by being a part of the farm you are doing more than getting your weekly allotment of food, you are contributing to an alternative and sustainable future in how we eat.

So as you look towards the coming season we hope you will choose to continue to be part of the growth of our farm.  If you are planning to sign up for the winter CSA and have not done so please do so soon, so I can focus, not on so much marketing of shares, but on kneeling in a field of carrots and digging them up for winter storage.  And if you have questions about anything, the winter, next summer, how to cook things, something you did not see in the share that you were hoping for, let me know.  Our direct relationship, at the pick ups and through our other forms of communication is another special aspect of being part of our farm.

Thank you so much for being a part of Groundworks Farm’s CSA community this season.  We hope you continue to grow with us for years to come.

Farm Crew


Sweet Potatoes



Weekly Harvest

We have the most formal CSA pick up!

Check out the store!

Sweet Potatoes in storage



Seeding Winter Carrots


Gold Potato Harvest

Good Morning!


I took this picture after weeks of irrigating.  Grateful to see some natural water!

U-Pick Flowers getting ready


U-Pick Herbs

U-Pick Garden


June: Farming and Forgetting to take Pictures


Spreading the bounty of greens!

Stringing up the tomatoes


Pictures of May

Hey There!

Well, a long hiatus from the blog can also be translated into an awesome summer on the farm!  And while my blogging has been sporadic the farm continues to thrive!  So what's been happening all summer and fall?  Here are a few pictures to tell the tale

April 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How to Never Feel Poor

I recently came across this and found it to be a wonderful description of this time of year. Enjoy.

How to Never Feel Poor
By Jenna Woginrich
From the book One Woman Farm

Hundreds of tiny seeds are outside in the little greenhouse: peas and lettuce, kale and spinach.  I grow heirlooms because I feel as if I am growing secrets. These plants are only for those willing to seek them because you can’t find them in stores.  My Amish snaps, my Rocky Top lettuce, my Russian kales as purple as Puff the magic dragon.  They are sleeping babes now, under warn comforters of soil and sunlight.  But in a few days there will be a sea of green life. 

It never gets old. You never feel poor.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Wintery Week of Watching

Kim here, the CSA member-turned-crew member. In my time as part of Groundworks Farm, I have moved through plenty of variations on those titles. The short version is, I got hooked on Margaret and Kevin's Kool-Aid (or, more likely, organic carrot juice) and decided to throw myself into my food system for a period of time.  I went from being a member when the farm was in Vermont, to being so connected that it was a huge loss for me when they moved the farm to Maryland. They offered generously to have me come join them, so last July, I did.

A couple of weeks ago, when Kevin and Margaret went on an experiential visit to some friends' farms in Vermont, I was put in charge of keeping things running here. It was supposed to be a quieter week, with no pickups and a smaller crew to manage, and was given mainly the daily farm chores and a list of soups to prepare for the Frozen Meal Shares. Seemed feasible, given I have learned everything I know about farming from these guys... just do as I'm instructed and it can't be so bad. They did leave me with some numbers for people who would help if there were problems, etc. BUT EVERYTHING FREEZING ISN'T REALLY SOMETHING TO CALL EMERGENCY CONTACTS ABOUT. (haha)

It was really cold that week--below freezing for at least 72 hours straight, in the teens for at least 36 of those hours, and windy. While I know there were other parts of the country which were much colder than we were, it seemed like a lot for me to manage at times. I do feel homesick for Vermont often, and even Vermont in the winter. But I can't say I've felt homesick for trying to farm in Vermont winter. Pig feed trapped in a frozen-shut trailer, a van wouldn't start so I had to drive around the farm in my Volvo, tubs of water covered in inches frozen solid and requiring a sledgehammer, running water going out all over the farm, which is quite inconvenient when trying to prepare soup. Also, I think I've discovered that lots of warm, non-cotton layers actually perform the task of keeping you warm purely by not allowing your sweat to turn to ice. So many little
 adventures, in what seemed to be straightforward chores and tasks. Of course, everything ended up fine, and plenty of soup was made, don't worry.

It was an honor to be "in charge" while they were away, and several times I have been glad to watch things so they can have some time off the farm. Through my six months here, I've gained so much respect for the amount of guts they have each day. Handling whatever pops up in the course of a day while still maintaining what needs to be done on a regular basis--it is no doubt that they ARE passionate about growing us all amazing food. They need to approve this blog post and are not ones for tooting their own horns too much so I'll keep the praise to that.

When I began to write, I got a little stuck, mainly because I wasn't sure what to say. I started to think about what perspective I would have on farming that would be insightful enough, and got stuck on the possibility that even explaining what Groundworks Farm is to me, or even who I am to Groundworks Farm, could take up a blog post. Seems a little self-centered to write about myself, but I don't think it's about me--it's ultimately about all of you, too. We are all connected because of this farm, whether our motivation is health, value, environmentalism, commitment to community, personal relationships, or something else. And because of that, we're doing something good for ourselves but also good for one another. Not everyone would have the desire or capability to move to a farm in order to contribute, but I'm thankful that my life has allowed that to be my participation for this period of time.

Your Farmer,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Wintertime on the Farm

It's been cold and chilly but things are still busy around here!