Happy New Year!
It feels refreshing that it’s finally cold and snowy outside – when it’s balmy and muddy I always have the vague feeling that there’s something I should be doing outside, so the snow settles me in to make the garden plan for next year.
As some of you know (Fall CSA members) 2019 is going to be a different year here at Orchard Hill – we are changing directions, and will no longer offer a CSA – for the first time in 21 years! It’s bittersweet – a lot of members feel like extended family at this point. We will miss catching up with you each week. But I feel the need to explore other directions, and feel out the market without the commitment to growing lettuce for 100 each week! I’ll still be growing vegetables, and we will have lots of asparagus and rhubarb in the spring at the market – followed by strawberries! I’m pursuing organic certification this year to make it more viable to do some wholesale vegetable sales in the future.
This year we are going to be at the Horton Farmers Market in St Thomas (Saturdays 8am-12) and the Covent Garden Farmers Market in London (Saturdays 8am-1pm & Thursday afternoon 4pm-7pm). I’m planning to do a little catering, and some value-add foods to take to market as well. We won’t be taking interns this year – also for the first time in more than 20 years!
Jess Andrews will be staying on as my right-hand woman, with Ken, Martha and Aaron in supporting roles. Ken and Martha worked hard this fall installing wood posts and electric fence around the majority of the west side of the farm, in preparation for a custom-grazing operation – we will essentially rent out the pasture for the growing season to another farmers’ herd of cattle. Great for the cattle (excellent, organic, nutrient-rich pasture), and also great for the land – intensive pasturing where you mob-graze ruminants – moving them every day – is one of the best ways to encourage biological activity and organic matter in the soil. It also attracts insects and birds to the farm. Martha is planning to pursue organic natural dye production and Ken will continue to produce organic grains, hay as well as breeding and training Suffolk Punch draft horses (we just got a colt this year that he hopes to train into a gentle stallion to run with a small herd of mares). We are expecting another calf from Florence this year, as well as two foals from Sadie and Buttons.
If you’d like to continue receiving emails about upcoming events, markets and special sales, just add your email to this list – here’s the link:
And finally – a big thank you to all of you who have been a part of our extended family – or just eaten our vegetables! Thanks for supporting our local economy, and keeping our family here growing food for the last 40 years.
Take care and keep in touch – come see us at the market, and find us on Insta and FB
Ellen, Aaron, Ken & Martha (and Della and Frannie)