October 27, 2018
Dear Spring Hill Members,
We just seeded next year’s garlic crop, which officially marks the beginning of Spring Hill’s 28th season. We are as excited as ever to begin a new season! From the beginning, Spring Hill has committed to creating a sustainable farm within the context of community. We began with eighteen households, many of whom are still part of the farm. Spring Hill grew slowly over time, eventually reaching a number we felt the land could sustainably provide for AND enabled Spring Hill to have a community that not only supported the farm but engaged in the work as well.
Over the course of those years we have tried quite a variety of things. Some of you may remember a Thanksgiving basket delivered in bushel baskets, or a winter share with deliveries in November, December and January. We used to make and sell jams and jellies and garlic braids. A few years back we tried a garlic share. This year we shortened the season by two weeks and switched up the fall share to two smaller deliveries rather than one big one. The farm has been in a constant state of adjust and readjust.
The time has come for a significant adjustment. It became crystal clear this summer that, though we love our work, we can’t continue at this pace any longer. We are most certainly not ready to retire but we do need to slow down. We’ve been talking with Spring Hill’s Core Group and with other farmers over the past few months to figure out what adjustments we could make that will allow us to continue farming for the foreseeable future. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we do have the outlines of a plan for next year.
Spring Hill Community Farm 2019 season:
- 14 deliveries: 12 weekly deliveries from mid-July thru September followed by two bi-weekly deliveries in October;
- Vegetables packed and delivered on Thursdays;
- Continue work commitment – preferably a harvest/delivery day (other options might include a work day at the farm, hosting a pick-up site);
- Continue to offer “Sustaining Membership” for those wanting to continue a relationship with the farm but don’t want or need the vegetables.
We hope you’ll choose to join us next year, but we know these changes may not work for everyone. It’s been difficult for us to acknowledge our limitations for precisely this reason. We know that some may prefer a longer season that begins earlier and goes later. We also recognize that Thursday deliveries may not work for everyone. Perhaps there are other reasons it won’t work for your household. If you decide that joining and supporting a different farm would be a better fit and would like some information as you search for that, we would be happy to share with you what we know of other farms and their systems.
We want you to know we are excited about the possibilities we see for Spring Hill. We imagine time to expand conservation practices on the farm, tending to the woods and the wetlands in addition to the fields. We’re excited about next year’s monarch habitat planting and potentially other pollinator plantings as well. We envision more energy for planning smaller gatherings around monarch butterflies, food preservation and the politics of farming.
Each of you has been an important supporter of this farm, some of you for one year, some of you for twenty-seven years. It has all made a difference for this land, this farm and for our family. We are grateful. Whether you choose to continue with Spring Hill or not, know that you have, against all odds, been part of building a thriving small family farm. We plan to do everything we can to continue down that path until it’s time to pass this farm along to younger farmers.
We will be sending out a survey very soon asking you about your plans with Spring Hill for the 2019 season. Your response will help us tremendously as we determine labor and supply needs for next year.
If you have any questions at all about the changes, we are happy to have a conversation; just give a call or send an e-mail.
With warmth and appreciation,
Mike Racette & Patty Wright