“A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year
At any other period—When March is scarcely here
A Color stands abroad, On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake, But Human Nature feels.”
It seems a bit silly to point out, but renewal abounds in Spring. Admittedly it’s not my favorite season, like most New Englanders, I find the rich colors and cool breezes of Autumn to be my lifeblood. Although, perhaps not like others, I find winter to be a time of beauty and fun, a chance to relax and enjoy the end of the long busy season. But as farmers now, I think both Matt I so much enjoy the immense excitement and possibly that comes when the snow finally melts and the earth awakens. It’s also, a mad scramble.
To say we’ve changed the direction of our farm is an understatement. When I look at the market garden area that will soon welcome CSA members and online market order picker-uppers alike, it’s hard to remember that this time last year…that wasn’t even an IDEA yet. Well, not a fully formed one anyway. We have gone from test orchard, to farm distillery, to no distillery, to forest farm with a clear vision for every portion or our property in 5 short years. We’ve spent a lot of time going, “well if we had known then, we wouldn’t have done this (or that).” But, no matter, we have things to do, progress to make and a farm to grow.
If you landed here, you may be seeking answers to, what on earth it even is we are doing up here. Or perhaps you just heard there was food involved and moseyed on over (that works on me 99% of the time). You may be trying to figure out what went wrong with the dstillery and want to know, “WILL THERE EVER BE WHISKEY!?” All in due time friends.
When we made the decision to put the distillery on the back burner (just there, not off the stove entirely), we needed a new purpose for the farm. I had had twins and was feeling more then a bit exhausted by the idea of keeping going with the farm idea at all. We knew we needed a new direction and didn’t really know where to start. Well, I didn’t, but Matt is always thinking.
After years of research on new farming practices, starting with Charles Dowding’s ‘No Dig’ principles, and moving to market gardening, Matt figured out a way combine it all with the Agroforestry (literally, farming of forest products like mushrooms, ramps and maple syrup), already going on up here. We were able to take a look at all 7 ½ acres, and come up with a basic plan, breaking the area into zones. He recognized that the area in the front woods, an area whose messy, unplanned-ness had bothered me for years, was not only relatively flat, but it got the most sun. The areas have shifted and morphed and continue to do so even now, but having a goal makes all the difference. Combining zones with sustainable/regenerative principles like, planting polyculture tree rows on contour, with keylines cut to maximize water usage, and chickens on the silvo pasture created in between to build soil. All these things have just created this beautiful symbiotic relationship with the land.
But we’re not done, not by a long shot. So much of this is theory until we put it into practice and see what works, and there’s only one way to find out. Do it. So much of what we do is doing the research, watching the Youtube videos, and then taking a giant leap. We often wonder how many people watch the video, have the motivation, and then are forced into a state of arrested development, unable to take that next step towards action because they become overwhelmed.
This is why we have a strong focus on education. Learn with us. See what works and what doesn’t. Let us take the leap and you see how you can apply it to your own life. Maybe it’s transforming your yard into an edible Eden, and helping build the soil and grow your own food in the process. Maybe it’s finding out how best to preserve or even just enjoy, the beautiful things you find at the farmer’s market or with your own CSA. Or maybe it’s by making a conscious effort to eat in season, and do a little research into your own local farm that has committed themselves to regenerative farming practices. Because if you aren’t going to do it, whether because you do not have the means to do so, or simply do not care to (I get it, trust me), it makes a massive difference to simply make choices that help..