Week #7 Tuesday, August 20 – Friday, August 23, 2019

Farm News 

Every Tuesday and Friday is mini work day at the farm. It’s a day when several households make their way out to the farm and work together to make sure each farm member expecting a bag of vegetables actually gets one. The way we approach the day has evolved over the years. In the beginning, when there were just about 20-40 shares to pack each week, we did all the harvesting, washing and packing on the day the vegetables were delivered. As we added more shares and purchased a walk-in cooler, that changed. Tender greens are harvested the day before delivery giving them a chance to cool before their trip to the city. Many vegetables – zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli, beans and melons – benefit from being picked more frequently than the twice a week delivery days. They are typically picked every other day and stored in the cooler. Some vegetables are still picked the day of delivery, but are often harvested before people arrive while temperatures are still cool. They stand ready to be washed, trimmed, or bagged as more hands arrive. Herbs are an exception. It’s not unusual for a group to head to the field to pick and bunch basil or parsley. In addition to the all the work we do together in the pack shed, cleaning up onions and scallions, bagging beans and carrots, making the garlic look beautiful, there is often a work project ready to go for those interested in some field work. This year members have taken on mulching and harvesting garlic, transplanting and weeding. Last Friday’s crew brought a couple of loads of onions in from the field and set them out to dry in the greenhouse. These are all great many hands projects. Of course, amidst the work, recipes are exchanged, books and favorite podcasts shared and politics discussed. Always, always, always a delicious potluck lunch follows the work. We are so fortunate to have a community of people willing to share in the work. What a pleasure!

 In Your Bag

Melons
Potatoes
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Beets
Green beans
Eggplant
Zucchini
green & yellow
Bell & Jalapeno Peppers
Box of Slicer tomatoes + Pint of Salad Tomatoes
White Russian Kale
Basil
bunch

 Veggie Notes

As Kristin (who compiles the recipes) says, “looks like it’s a ratatouille week!” Eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, they’re all there. Check out the recipe she found. There’s also a recipe for zucchini quesadillas which looks pretty intriguing. Enjoy the green beans. We may have them next week. It’s also possible this is the last of them. We’ll see how it goes. The White Russian Kale has a little cosmetic damage. Ignore that, it’s so tender! Thinly slice for a nice salad or chop it and add at the end of cooking to eggs, a stir-fry or curry. These melons have been picked fully ripe. Eat ‘em up now or keep them in the refrigerator until you do! 

 Looking Ahead to Next Week 

We’re thinking we’ll have a cabbage, carrots and cilantro for you next week. It looks like there will be one more week of melons. We’ll keep the tomatoes coming as long as we can. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, August 27- Amy Cichanowski & Marc Beitz, Susan Schonfeld, Bernadette Knaeble, Anne Holzinger & Caron Moore, Carla Urban 

Friday, August 30 – Cassandra Herold & Martin Perkins, Elaine & Lary May, Amy & Ryan Woldt, Shelley Thron & Shelley desIslets, Julie Glanton

Week #6 Tuesday, August 13 – Friday, August 16, 2019

 Farm News

It’s been mid-season garden clean-up week on the farm. We mowed down the early broccoli patch. The first bean plantings got the same treatment. Cucumbers are next in line. The onion tops have flopped over (in some cases with a little help), a signal that they have stopped growing and are ready to be moved out of the garden and into storage. We’ll be working on getting them out of the field over the next week or so. As the days shorten some and the nighttime temps cool a bit, the growth in the gardens slow down. Most of our days now are spent harvesting, with just a small amount of time allotted for weeding, etc. However, we still continue to transplant and plant some fast-growing fall crops such as Swiss chard, beets, Black Spanish Radish and our favorite green from last year: Amara! Amara is sometimes referred to as Ethiopian kale, or Texel greens. Whatever you call it, it is delightful with a mild taste suitable for salad or cooking. We just planted a bed of Amara, and plan to plant another in the hoop house in about a week or so. Look for it in September and, in the meantime, enjoy the tomatoes, peppers and melons! A really big planting this past week was peas and oats (a traditional forage mix for grazing animals) in the pollinator patch. This cover crop will grow to about 18”to 24” yet this year before dying back in the fall. This will help hold the soil in place, keep soil temperatures moderate and provide a nice planting environment next spring for the Monarch Habitat with no more tillage required. 

 In Your Bag: 

Melons
Purple Viking Potatoes
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Cucumbers
Broccoli
(or perhaps beets)
Zucchinigreen & yellow
Bell & Jalapeno Peppers
Box of Slicer tomatoes + Pint of Salad Tomatoes
Arugula
Dill

Veggie Notes

These melons have been picked fully ripe. Eat ‘em up now or keep them in the refrigerator until you do! More will be coming. It looks to be a great melon year! This is the last of the cucumbers and broccoli for a bit. We have later plantings of both so look for them later in the season. The Purple Viking Potatoes have a creamy white flesh. They’re yummy baked, roasted or mashed. It looks like we’re hitting the height of the tomato season. Enjoy!

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

So, it’s beets NEXT week. I had thought it would be this week, but no, it’s next week (except for a few of you who may get beets if we run out of broccoli). We’ll have green beans for you as well, more peppers and tomatoes, possibly eggplant and potatoes; of course, onions and garlic too! Of Note: Harvest/Delivery Days We have a number of slots to fill for harvest/delivery days, most immediately, Tuesdays, August 20th & 27th and Tuesday, September 3rd. If you haven’t signed up for your day as yet, please do! E-mail Michele at mgersich@att.net to sign-up for your work day at the farm. 

Spring Hill Bags

We need them! Please remember to return your bag(s) to your pick-up site. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, August 20- Janet Peters & Alan Torborg, Sue Poore & Desmond, Jacki & George Betsworth, Sherm Eagles & Sue Conner, NEED ONE! 

Friday, August 23 – Leah & Paul Robinson, Angie & Andrew Barker, Rachel Brown & Lew Anderson, Nancy Dilts & Dan Philippon, Abby Nesbitt family

Week #5 Tuesday, August 6 – Friday, August 9, 2019

 Farm News

Many people have been asking us how this year’s farm changes are working for us. Last season we came to the conclusion that the work load and our energy levels no longer matched up. We needed to make some changes. We met with Spring Hill’s Core Group a couple of times last fall to begin tossing around ideas. We came to that first meeting with a proposal and they first listened and then asked really good questions. After taking time to ponder that discussion, a new and very different proposal emerged. We shifted from an 18-20 week season to 14 weeks, beginning in July rather than mid-June. Those extra weeks in June gave us time to get more plants in the ground and early cultivations and mulching done before harvesting began. What a huge difference that made in garden maintenance. Although there’s still some areas of the garden that are weedier than we’d like, and more mulching to do, it hasn’t felt like the same uphill battle that it has in years’ past. We also shifted from a Tuesday/Saturday vegetable delivery season to a Tuesday/Friday rotation. We wanted to have more flexible time on the weekends so that when our children and grandchildren came to visit, we could relax with them. We do still work on the weekends but it’s a different pace and we appreciate that a ton. In addition, we wanted to create time and space to think about the land beyond the gardens; the woods, the wetlands and the spaces in between. There’s so much more to think about and do in this regard, but we are starting with the pollinator and monarch planting mentioned in last week’s newsletter. Thanks for supporting the changes!

 In Your Bag: 

Cabbage
Fennel
Red Tropea & Yellow Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Wax beans
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Zucchini
green & yellow
Spicy Salad Mix
Colorful tomato mix!
Mixed herb bunch

Veggie Notes: We debated about the eggplant. We know it’s not everyone’s favorite. We know it’s the third week in a row. But, it’s so beautiful and it wouldn’t keep for another week in the garden. Try making some ratatouille, or baba ganoush or capanota or grilling it or, if need be, sharing with a neighbor! It’s been an amazing year for broccoli. This may be it until fall, possibly one final batch next week. If it’s too much, try freezing it.

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

Next week beets and bell peppers will make a showing, maybe jalapenos too. Look for more tomatoes and a nice bunch of arugula. We’re keeping a close eye on the melons. Soon! 

 Next Week’s Harvesters: 

Tuesday, August 13 – Beth Franzen, Lynne & Hans Dekker, Claudia Egelhoff & Jennifer Trombley, Loosen/Veeder family, Russ Heuckendorf, John Cushing & Martha Joy & Jordan Cushing 

Friday, August 16 – Doug Alecci, Athena Adkins, Billing Family, Melissa Partin & Brian Martinson, Robin Preble & Dan Hedlund

Week #4 Tuesday, July 30 – Friday, August 2, 2019

 Farm News

What abundance in the gardens right now! We’ve had plenty of rain each week and, since so far we’ve avoided damaging storms and plant disease, the gardens are bountiful. The garlic has all been harvested and it won’t be long and very soon it will be on to the onion harvest. We’re about to plant the last round of fall crops; a batch of beets and kale, maybe kohlrabi. Fall radishes get planted about now too along with some greens. Cover crops will be an important piece too as some gardens make the shift from vegetable production to cover crops.

Speaking of cover crops, we’ve begun preparations for our monarch butterfly habitat planting. You may remember that we are part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Program. The program is about ensuring that monarchs (and other pollinators) have the habitat they need as they migrate from Mexico to Canada and back again. Ten states have been targeted from Texas to Minnesota and Wisconsin. This year, we planted buckwheat to be followed by another dense cover crop planting that will winter kill smothering weeds and holding the soil in place. Then, NEXT spring we’ll be planting a little over an acre with milkweed and other nectar rich plants for monarchs. We could have done that planting this year but we’re hopeful that we’ll get a better stand of the plants monarchs love by doing it this way. We’re also putting in a planting for the honeybees very near their hives. Right now that planting is buckwheat which we will let flower for the bees and eventually that patch will be planted to a honeybee pollinator mix. 

 In Your Bag

New Red Potatoes
Fresh White Onions
Garlic
Carrots
Green Beans
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Zucchini
green and yellow
Spicy Salad Mix
Colorful tomato mix!
Jalapenos
Cilantro

Veggie Notes

Once again, these are new red potatoes. The skins are ever to tender which makes them delicious but not keepers. The spicy salad mix is a mixture of red mustard, mizuna, tatsoi, kale, and arugula. Try it with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard vinaigrette. It’s delicious! The tomatoes are just beginning. We tried a colorful mix this year of yellow and chocolate pear tomatoes and green tigers. They’re a beautiful addition to a cucumber salad.

Looking Ahead to Next Week 

The cabbage I mentioned last week will come in next week’s bag! We’ll likely have carrots again, more tomatoes and peppers, and probably either beets or fennel. We’ll keep those fresh onions and garlic coming. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters

Tuesday, August 6 – Sandra Haff, Erin & Taylor Carik, Louise Hotka & Jill Meyer, Nicole Gallagher & Shelly Johnson, Michelle Steffen 

Friday, August 9 – Laurie Reed, Sara & Blake Christiansen, Adele & Tom Reichel, Christi & Tim Anderson, Jenny Hokanson 

Week #3 Tuesday, July 23 – Friday, July 26, 2019

Farm News

More and more of our time is spent harvesting.  This is good.  It’s why we plant crops in the first place.  It also feels a little funny in an odd sort of way.  We begin our planning in January, order seeds in February, start up the greenhouse in March, begin field work in April, plant, plant, plant, weed, weed, weed in May and June and then by the end of July, we’re actually putting parts of the garden to bed.  How quickly it all goes.  It’s a bit like spending a good chunk of time preparing a meal, gathering friends and family, and before you know it, the meal is over.  It’s delicious, just finished up way too soon!  

Right now we’re focused on the garlic harvest with the hope of being done by the end of the week.  As soon as the garlic’s out, we’ll  look for a window to prepare and plant that garden to a cover crop.  The greenhouse, once filled with plants, is now home to the garlic as it cures. 

We did have to pause the garlic harvest midstream after a major storm blew through our region on Friday night; not too much wind damage here (tree branches rather than trees) but major stuff just to the north.  Trees down everywhere, major power outages, lots of clean-up work.  Although we didn’t get much damage, the storm came with over three inches of rain, and that was on top of the two inches we had last week.  The ground was more than saturated.  We hope to get back at the garlic harvest on Tuesday!

In Your Bag:

New Red Potatoes
Carrots
Beets
Fresh garlic!
Fresh White & Red Tropea Onions
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Zucchini
green and yellow
Lettuce
Collard greens or Red Russian Kale
Fresh herbs

Veggie Notes:

Fresh white and red onions this week!  These mild onions are great for salads and sandwiches.  You may notice some tearing on the lettuce leaves, particularly the red lettuce.  That’s the result of Friday’s storm.  The inner leaves look fine.  Some of the red potatoes are a little scabby.  The damage is cosmetic only and they are oh, so tasty!  The skins are not set on these new potatoes.  Plan to eat them sooner rather than later.  Try Kristin’s recipe! All the rain has kept the broccoli sweet and tender.  Pam Werley passed along a recipe for broccoli salad , a “must share” she said.    

Looking Ahead to Next Week

Look for green beans next week and maybe the first of the tomatoes too!  Eggplant may also make a showing.  We’ve got beautiful heads of green cabbage taking shape.  They may be ready next week.  We’ll have carrots too, a spicy salad mix and onions and garlic too.

Next Week’s Harvesters:

Tuesday, July 30 – Joelle & Carson Hoeft, Barry Schade, Hannah Steblay & Robin Schow,  Robbie Bray, Jane, Joan, Rebecca & Micheal Thompson

Friday, August 2  Max & Samir Keller,  Kathy & Mike Lauer, Michonne Bertrand, Sean & Mallory O’Brien/Mary Dolan O’Brien & Clark Furlong, Alex Fowler, Jon and Milo Black.

Week #2 Tuesday, July 16 – Friday, July 19, 2019

Farm News

It’s been a full week on the farm! It felt good to harvest and pack vegetables and to get into the rhythm that delivery days bring; lots of harvesting and washing on Mondays and Thursdays, more harvesting and packing on Tuesdays and Fridays and the mad scramble to get everything else done in between. The “everything else” includes things like fencing out the deer who also love your vegetables, staying on top of cultivation, trellising tomatoes and planting. We continue to plant! Just this week, we direct seeded cilantro, salad mix, and the last of the beans (a Romano type). We planted beets that will be transplanted to the field in a few weeks and we transplanted the last of the fall broccoli, savoy cabbage, and some cutting celery. Spring Hill members Cassandra and Martin got a ride on the transplanter on Friday, tucking in what will be September’s beets. Mike drove the tractor at about .1 miles per hour while Cassandra and Martin, in seats at the back of the transplanter, placed a cluster of beets into each hole that had been made and filled with water by the transplanter. It sure beats crawling along on hands and knees! This week’s big project was haymaking. It seems inevitable that we make the bulk of our hay when it’s hot and humid and indeed, that is what we did. We got a nice rack full of hay though and it should take care of most of what we hope to mulch. Lots of mulching has already been done. The tomatoes, peppers and leeks were mulched by Tuesday and Friday’s workers and we’re hoping this week’s crew will take care of the raspberries. Cucumbers, zucchini, melons, broccoli and Brussels sprouts were mulched early on and soon we’ll get to the next batch of zucchini and some of the fall crops. It’s always good to have the soil covered and especially so when we see forecasts of heavy rains. We hope you’re enjoying the vegetables and look forward to working with you this season! 

 In Your Bag: 

Napa cabbage
Kohlrabi
Fennel
Salad Turnips
Fresh garlic!
Scallions
Broccoli
Zucchini
green and yellow
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Basil bunch
Cilantro 

Please note: All vegetables from Spring Hill will need to be washed. We rinse just about everything here, but you’ll want to wash the veggies before eating them. 

 Veggie Notes:

The Salad Turnips, or hakurei turnips are a wonderful treat! They can be sliced and added to a lettuce salad or they could be sautéed and served over their steamed greens. This week brings the first head of Spring Hill garlic! It’s fresh out of the field and best stored in your refrigerator. The kohlrabi is amazingly sweet and tender! We like it best raw. Peel off that outer skin, cut it in slices for a nice crunchy snack or try the refreshing salad that Kristin shares in the recipe section. Kristin also has a nice recipe for a fennel/orange salad. If the fennel flavor is too strong for you, try sautéing it with garlic and olive oil over low heat until it’s’ nice and tender. The flavor mellows quite a bit when cooked. 

 Looking Ahead to Next Week 

We’re thinking new potatoes and carrots and fresh onions for next week! We’ll likely have another round of lettuce, more zucchini and cucumbers and maybe, just maybe, the first of the green beans. It won’t be long and we’ll be sending the first tomatoes of the season! 

 Next Week’s Harvesters: 

Tuesday, July 23 – Colleen & Joe Bartels, Marilyn Johnson & Dave Bostrom, Louisa Keleher & Greg Tromiczak, Mary Yee, Karen Schilling 

Friday, July 26 – Katy Podolinsky & Larry Schmidt, Amy & Lee Friedman, David Hemphill & Amy Votava, Harper family, Anna Kleven

Week #1 Tuesday, July 9 – Friday, July 12, 2019

 Farm News

Anticipation! Thanks for your patience. The later start (we used to begin vegetable deliveries in mid-June) has taken the edge off here and allowed us to get things a little more settled before the harvest season begins. With the cool, wet spring, it also meant avoiding tough decisions around whether to push getting in cold wet fields or waiting for dryer, warmer conditions. The soil thanks you! Waiting has been hard though. We’re anxious to hear from you about what you think of the later start. 

We are so happy to have Erin Link back on board this year. This is Erin’s third season at Spring Hill and we’ve come to rely on her skills and knowledge. Erin’s other work is at her own farm, EB Ranch where she tends to a herd of the critically endangered and rare San Clemente Island Goats. Erin milks a few of those goats and makes a wonderful goat milk soap. You can learn more about Erin and her farm here: https://www.ebranchllc.com/ . This year Avery Hansen also joins us a couple of mornings a week until school resumes. Avery is here to help mostly with harvesting but she’s up for just about anything. We’re happy to have her! 

 In Your Bag: 

Salad Turnips
Beets
(the beet tops have been cut and bunched separately – solely for packing reasons)
Radishes
Garlic scapes
Scallions
Broccoli
Zucchini
green and/or yellow
Lettuce
Red Russian Kale
Dill bunch
Italian Parsley/Basil bunch

 Please note: All vegetables from Spring Hill will need to be washed. We rinse just about everything here, but you’ll want to wash the veggies before eating them. 

 Veggie Notes:

The Salad Turnips, or hakurei turnips are a wonderful treat! They can be sliced and added to a lettuce salad or they could be sautéed and served over their steamed greens. Check out this week’s recipe for roasting them! We saved the Garlic scapes so we can send this special spring treat! Cut the scape into 1” long pieces up to the flower. Saute those pieces on low in olive oil until they’re nice and tender. Add them to your salad, eggs, anything where some mild garlic flavor sounds nice. The yellow zucchini is a new variety for us. Goldy is its name. Isn’t it beautiful? Broccoli is coming on strong right now. There will be a bunch in your bag. Look for extras at your site too! 

Storing your fresh herbs can be tricky. We store them washed and dried, in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

 Looking Ahead to Next Week 

Look for more broccoli, zucchini and lettuce. We’ll have fennel too and probably kohlrabi. Our plan is to harvest and send the first batch of fresh garlic. Cucumbers may make a showing and we’re thinking the napa cabbage will be ready as well. 

 Next Week’s Harvesters: 

Tuesday, July 16 – Karen Melander/Anna Ridgeway, Patricia Turner, Kathleen Weflan & Lou Ferreri
Ann Risch & George Boody, Brenda Beyer, Tom Wells & Bailey, Tammy Hansen 

Friday, July 19 – Elaine Eschenbacher & Michael Welch, Dave and Mary Hedenstrom, Jan Search & Dave Stockdale/Diane Claeys & Doug Jones, Ann Peterson & Steve Petermeier, Brie Reid & Alex Ross-Stuart & Michaela Klein

 

Deliveries Starting Soon

First, we plan to begin vegetable deliveries the week of Tuesday, July 9/Saturday, July 12. Look for an e-mail from the farm in about a week or so with your pick-up day and site assignment.

Second, many of you have already signed up for your work day at the farm.  If you haven’t, take a look at the harvest/delivery calendar here, find a date that works for you and e-mail Michele Gersich.  She’ll be happy to add you to the calendar.

Third, I believe there are Spring Hill bags out there from last season, including the fall deliveries which were sent out with no way to get them back if you didn’t attend the fall dinner.  If you have a bag, could you let us know?  We’re trying to get an accurate count of how many we have to start the season.

Finally,  In what has been one of the coolest and wettest springs ever, we thought you might find it interesting to read a crop by crop report:

  • Garlic:  despite a strange winter where we did not see snow until January and the garlic field was covered under a sheet of ice, we had emergence rate of about 90% on the German Hardy Red variety we have been growing for years.  Whew!  We were worried!  The unfavorable conditions have reduced the growth and vigor this spring, but all in all the crop looks good.  Interestingly, our other variety: Donnie Praska, which we sourced from our friend Erik Sessions in Iowa, had an emergence rate of about 50% .  Perhaps it’s just a bit too tender for our northern Wisconsin winters.  (We do like this variety, however, for its long-keeping ability so we may keep planting a limited quantity).
  • Broccoli:  the broccoli looks great!  We have been able to get our succession plantings (nine, for a grand total of 3880) in on time and additionally, it is all mulched with our hay harvested last year!  Go Broccoli!!!
  • Cabbage looks good and we have been judicious in our planting. Not too much, but just enough.
  • Carrots—the first planting looks good, with not too many weeds.  Yeah!!!!!!
  • Beets are beautiful and deer fencing is up to prevent unacceptable loss.
  • Onions and leeks are in and doing just fine.
  • Peppers hate the cold and wet, therefore they are pitiful.  We have covered them with a floating row cover to give them a bit of extra warmth—we’ll see.
  • Tomatoes—so far so good, the hoophouse tomatoes look especially good right now.
  • Potatoes are up and strong.
  • Cucumbers have finally settled in.  They did not like our cool, wet weather and we lost some but we have enough to carry us through just fine.
  • Green beans: three plantings are in, two are up, all are fenced from the deer.
  • The Brussels Sprouts are absolutely gorgeous –hoping they stay the course
  • Winter squash and melons are settling in and would appreciate a bit of warmth I’m sure.
  • Herbs: cilantro, dill, parsley, and sage are all fine.  The basil prefers warmer conditions, but we have succession plantings so I’m sure we will have abundance this summer.
  • Raspberries, rhubarb, and blueberries are all weeded and mulched and looking good!  Again, thanks to our early spring work crews for this!

There are, of course, other crops not mentioned but by and large they are doing ok.

As always, if you have any questions, please ask!

Patty and Mike

Signs of Spring

Spring is arriving.  Slowly.  Rhubarb is growing, garlic too.  The spring wildflowers are just beginning to create a carpet across the forest floor.  Spring Beauties, Blood Root, Dutchman’s breeches are all flowering in the woods and the bright yellow Marsh Marigolds line the stream bank.  Soon the trillium will take over.  We’re anxious to get in the fields but so far the wet cold weather has dictated the taking on of other tasks.  We’re building a new hoop house, finalizing field plans, getting equipment in order and of course tending the greenhouse. We purchased a new grain drill for planting cover crops this spring.  We’re pretty excited about it!  The size is a perfect fit for our garden beds.

With much anticipation and hope for the growing season,

Mike & Patty

Looking Ahead to 2019

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