The allium’s are up and thriving under lights, early cold tolerant lettuces stretching for light and celery to begin soon. So it feels like late winter but to be honest it is a winter of discontent. This morning a record low was set with a -13 degree recording. Ouch!!! We ate some parsnips as part of a roasted vegetable dish but they were harvested in November and stored, rather than having been freshly dug as typical when winter relents. The ground is buried under 1.5’ of snow and frozen solid. It’s not unusual to have snow and cold this time of year, our most memorable blizzards and severe storms often occur now. We feel the lengthening days and increasing intensity of the sun but the NOAA forecast remains frigid through the end of March. Makes me dream of warm weather vacations and the sight of green grass…
Yesterday the weather closed up everything for the ninth day of the winter. Cold and blowing snow, and another “Snow Day”. I read, tended plants, fixed food, and other busy things during our discontent. Of course I learned new things, amazed myself and managed to spend some time on fitness so when the spring does come, I’m ready to begin.
I learned about the father of modern Horticulture!! Liberty Hyde Bailey, from South Haven, Michigan. He had a miraculous career that spanned the end of the 19th century into the early parts of the 20th. A vigorous researcher and writer. There is a museum in South Haven about L.H. Bailey that is on our “intend to visit someday” list. Some cool quotes from Wendell Berry about the writings and importance of this man. Google Books and the Gutenberg Project has some works from Bailey that you can read on an e-reader or online.
Online I read about a farm I’ve admired, Trillium Haven Farm, and the challenges they have endured. All the best to Michael and Anja as they take a sabbatical for the 2014 season. We who grow food know the incredible commitments that are required to begin and carry through with our plans. The difficulties of the last many years have been felt by many. The policy makers say we need more farmers, more organic produce and more markets. We who produce, know that the massive oversupply that has come to market is a real problem. The only way to stay in this market is to raise outstanding produce and satisfy our customers. Both are a real challenge!!!
I began a CSA farm for a Kalamazoo NGO in 2011. The NGO and I weren’t a good fit so another farmer took over after less than a year. He was soon succeeded by another farmer. Now in year number four they are on their forth farm manager. When I moved on to Tillers International I felt that the NGO would probably continue to move through farm managers. I’m thinking that the group of us that have had short stints as Farm Managers should get together and have a bash the NGO bash…Ha Ha Ha!!! Maybe on another occasion I’ll get into the damage this NGO has and is perpetuating.
All for the end of Discontent!! Farmer Pete