Mary, our Field Manager, shares this week’s view of farming here at Pietree:
In a week where our natural world was blanketed with snow and encased in ice, we were barely able to play a dangerous game of “peek-a-boo” over and around snowbanks in an attempt to enter a roadway to our high tunnel.
A simple step forward onto an icy path sent our arms and legs windmilling with gleeful abandon resulting in graceless balance or the prostrating thump of a posterior.
I was in Pietree Orchard’s 20′ x 200′ unheated, but warm and cozy, high tunnel with the enjoyable task of taste-testing several varieties of kale, chard, spinach, mustards, and Asian greens before deciding which to harvest and give to Dean Walker to take the Norway Farmer’s Market on March 22, 2014! Linda, an integral part of the field crew, and I were able to harvest 16 bags of greens that were tender, sweet, succulent, and spicy. This was amazing because these plants were full-season field grown and harvested and then transplanted inside our newly constructed unheated greenhouse in the fall of 2013.
I loved experiencing the obvious resilience and intrinsic grace of these low-growing green leafy edibles being uprooted from the chilly autumn soil and surviving our deep-freeze winter! Though they did not continue to grow because of the cold, we extended our harvest and consumption of local and fresh goodness into the merry month of December! And now again in March! Our high tunnel is also the home of cilantro with tiny new aromatic leaves and many well established sage, rosemary, and thyme plants that over-wintered with vigorous health and are showing wonderful signs of new growth.
Now it is April and seeds for greens are being planted in pert little rows and broadcast with easy abandon in newly raked and fluffed beds of soil. Their tiny green leaves will soon emerge from the soil and greet a new season. With a minimum of tender care, these plants will grow with grace, beauty, and provide our plates with color and delicious sustenance. Happiness is always growing!
Pietree Orchard plans to offer fresh kale, spinach, chard, arugula, red and green leaf lettuce, Asian greens, and maybe, maybe, maybe some super sweet shelling peas as early as June!