Oct 9

The end is in sight. Or is it?  We close the  stand down for the season  this coming  Monday (Columbus Day) and as it has for the  past 6-8 years, right on time comes a wide spread frost.  We always have to respond to the same tired  rhetorical question—“Slowing down for you now,I suppose. Not much to do  but put everything away….” always with a knowing nod. Fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. As the days get shorter and temps start to cool down there is almost an urgency in the air to get as much accomplished  before the snow flies, because in the spring we will all be  consumed with the greenhouses and spring plant production.  So we spend  our days fixing and putting away machinery, mulching strawberries, perennial pots, garlic, rhubarb, patching up the greenhouses, cutting brush and the list goes on. In the dead of winter we are finally confined to the  office for tax work,seed orders and trying to lay out at least a rudimentary game plan for the farm for the upcoming season. Everybody gets some down time,but there is always something that needs attention.  We just dont all pack up for a couple of months and head to Florida. But then, who would really want to…?

This winter we will complicate things by doing a farmstand renovation. We have batted the idea around for a couple of years of having a commercial kitchen at the farmstand. Many New England  farmstands have them and we have recognized the benefits of them, but they  looked like a lot of extra money and  harder for us-more personnel management.  But recent events  have precipitated impending federal food safety legislation (Google California Leafy Greens Amendment and SB 510) that have us looking for an alternative income stream should the FDA make us loose  our capacity to service wholesale accounts. For me personally, it forced my decision to go ahead. Other members of the family found their own reasons to pursue the  stand renovation with a state certified kitchen, so we are all on board. But it  has been quite a process thusfar trying to talk to the  State agencies,utilities and municpalities. As we are trying to do as much of the construction as possible with the farm crew, I have  been acting as a “general contractor” and I must say that I have a  greater appreciation of what it is that a  general contractor contributes to the process of building something.  That said, we are poised to clean out the farmstand the day after we close for the season and start tearing the old structure down. So in essence we will be trying to cram reconstruction in around everything else that needs to be done.  It promises to be a very busy (and expensive ) close to 2010. Stay tuned…