The supply of frozen berries, greens and butternut squash soup put up for the winter is almost consumed. And, we've endured a lot this past winter. Endless snow and rain. Wars and revolts. The acrimonious threat of a government shutdown. Scheming associates. Friends moving on. Even exploding food trucks.
We need a place that offers solace, nourishment and community. Perhaps the name Restoration Farm is not accidental.
Becoming a member of a CSA is a leap of faith, committing to share in the success and (hopefully few) mishaps of the growing season. But when you think about it, dropping a tiny seed in the ground is perhaps an even bigger leap of faith.
The faithful return for a glimpse of the farm, and we walk the footpath to the fields again after many months. The stresses of the week fall away.
Many staff and volunteers have been busy throughout the winter, and the farm continues to evolve. New projects are underway to nurture and inspire members. For the first time, animals will be part of the rhythms of the farm. Head grower Dan Holmes talks about how these new endeavors weave into the fabric of Restoration Farm. He says it is all about creating a healthy cycle – a sustainable loop within the farm – where chickens are cared for and forage naturally, along with planting and harvesting vegetables, providing healthy food for members.
A new hen house is home to six breeds of heritage hens. Within six months, they will start to lay eggs.
Red and green lettuce is poking up through the brown earth in the Spring Field.
The ubiquitous kale – that vigorous, healthy green - is showing signs of life.
Twenty five members have committed to a monthly pastured chicken share. Tricia is managing the “Hardscrabble Chicken” project and she gives me a peak at the broiler hens in a brooder that were hatched just days earlier.
As they mature, the birds will live within a bottomless pen which allows them to access grass and bugs. The pen is moved to new pasture each day.
The herb garden has been expanded with beds for basil, additional herbs and cutting flowers.
This summer there will even be blueberries in the Sweet Field, in addition to strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Already, the lush green strawberry plants are covered with white blossoms.
As we walk along the berry fields Dan makes a comment that lingers in my memory. Good, healthy vegetables will always be harvested - that’s a given. But it’s the actions of the faithful members - who volunteer, and participate and create - that sustain the cycle of life at Restoration Farm.