April 3 News
April 1 is my birthday and also seems to me to be the real beginning of the farming season here in this part of the world. We are finishing up our fruit tree pruning – about 2/3 of the way there, and will have to get the grapes, blueberries, red and black raspberries and blackberries done by the end of April.
We moved the chickens out onto pasture and cleaned out the chicken house. The grapes were the lucky recipients of the chicken bedding (first we put down cardboard). We are still doing some card boarding and haying of our established perennials – the berries above. Our goal each winter is to get all of our perennials pruned and tucked in early on because the annual plants take so much of our attention during the main growing season.
Clare is the queen of the seedling operation. Under her guidance we have started in the house attached greenhouse and quickly moved out to the in ground unheated high tunnel the following crops – lettuce, onion, leeks, kale, beets and chard. We are very happy with our open tray seedling process where we start seeds a little on the late side and then move them right outside as soon as they are germinated. Our attached greenhouse doesn’t get full sun, so if we leave things there too long, the plants get leggy. We use our favorite potting soil – Ideal, from our friend Mkie Lombard in Peterborough, NH. Then we spike it with a bunch of Advancing Eco Agriculture products – biologicals, micro-nutrients and sea products. The seedlings come up green and strong and get off to a phenomenal start.
Today is Brent’s last day. He has been with us off and on for 3 or 4 years and has become an important part of family, along with being a super farmer, planner, builder, mechanic and designer. We wish him well as he goes to a landscaping job in Chicopee that is ten minutes from his home as opposed to our hour and ten commute one way each day.
And we are happy to announce that we have hired Ingrid, who, amazingly, lives down the street from us. Ingrid will work close to full time for us and we are enthusiastic to have her with us. Besides me and Clare, we will be filling in with some working shareholders, some paid folks who will work one day and some summer teen help.
In case you were aware that we got a new dog on Saturday and that he immediately took off. Many thanks to the amazing community of folks who help find lost dogs. He was found on Dana Road last night and was brought back home to us. Special thanks to Deb Bachrach, the animal control officer from Petersham, and Ellen Anderson, who drove all over Petersham, Barre and Hardwick putting up posters, setting cameras and much more. We feel so fortunate that so many people will step in to help when there is a crisis – no matter how small.
The Summer CSA starts in just 2 short months. I can tell you without the least amount of hesitation that the food that you will receive from our CSA will be the tastiest, most vibrant food around. With our advancing no till methods, mineral and biological nutrition, cover cropping mulching, animal integration, we are constantly developing our agricultural system to make our food more abundant and nutritious. You can sign up on our website at http://mhof.net/home/.
And we still have a lot of wonderful food in our freezer for sale – beef, pork, chicken, and 4 kinds of stock, including the above and also turkey stock. Give us a call to set up a time to come over and shop. 978-355-2853 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And enjoy spring! Julie