April 3 2009

Well, here we go again.  Yesterday it was 60 degrees for the first time since November. It felt great. A little too good, in fact, as the freshly transplanted tomatoes in the greenhouses wilted a bit, because of the intense light and heat inside the  greenhouses. No complaints, it sure beats the ice and cold of the winter and the rumble of greenhouse furnaces burning propane. We had nine  unannounced people drive by looking for jobs yesterday, indicated they were stirred both by the springlike conditions and a need to get some employment. What most folks don’t understand about farming is that farmers who do this for a living just don’t come out of dormancy like bears the first warm day in April, stretch their arms, yawn and say ” I guess it’s time to start growing something for this year..”  We are in full swing this time of year, and do most of our hiring in February.  It is truly a year-round activity for the five core family members here. In between dealing with snow around the greenhouses, there are furnaces to clean, thermostats to fix, greenhouses to maintain, hard goods and seeds to inventory, stock plants to maintain, field machinery to service and a mountain of paperwork that has to be dealt with that seems to get larger every year. The 2009  greenhouse season actually started in December 2008 when I took my first begonia leaf cuttings and geranium slips.

So now we are in the thick of planting season in the greenhouses. Perennials potted up, annual seedlings being transplanted, moving about flats of leeks and onions for the field and the first of the grafted greenhouse tomatoes planted. Mike, Ray and Jenny have pruned the finicky peaches and we have been pecking away at pruning the blueberries when we can sneak away from the greenhouse responsibilities. Saturday is supposed to be nice, so I am in hopes of sneaking off with the little tractor to beginning removing straw from the strawberries and rhubarb. Sarah, Donald, Anne and the rest of the crew continue to plug away at the mountains of trays of rooted cuttings and seed flats  that keep appearing at the doors of the greenhouses. The welcome hum of activity is back after the dark winter.

Flavors of the Valley will be held this year on April 21st from 2-7 PM at the Hartford High School Gymnasium.  For those of you who don’t know about this event, it is an opportunity to meet farmers, producers and folks  related to the local food scene here in the Upper Valley.  We will have a booth there to discuss with anyone interested what it is that we do down here and the products we offer. Drop by and say hi.