And, so it begins again. It is the start of my fifth season at Restoration Farm. What once seemed like a tentative experiment is now a way of life.
As a novice member, I simply picked up my vegetables. Eventually, I would help with harvesting and seeding. These days I even grow some things on my own. Welcome to the evolution of my solidarity with the soil.
Opening Day at the Farm is a Mother’s Day weekend tradition. New and longtime members alike are invited to tour the farm. A plant sale encourages us to try our hand at a little backyard farming. This year, I purchase Swiss chard, kale, basil, parsley and two kinds of lettuce, which I will plant in a little patch in my yard. I’ve learned just enough about farming to be dangerous.
Head Grower Dan Holmes leads us into the fields. A patch of stubborn rain has just passed hours earlier and it is a glorious day. Dan takes us past the rows of spring vegetables and into the upper fields. Everywhere, there are luscious green shoots opening up and reaching for the sun.
Dan seems to revel in sharing stories of the farm – and his philosophy on sustainability – with members.
His wife, Head Grower Caroline Fanning has a touch of laryngitis. They’ve been working extra hours to assure that the farm looks superb for its spring debut.
“This is the best the farm will look all season,” says Caroline, only half-jokingly.
Indeed, Restoration Farm is a stunning patchwork quilt of green and freshly tilled earth. It’s like coming home again. I can’t quite recall when it’s looked so lovely. The freshness of spring at the farm is a tonic for the soul.
We travel across the farm passing laying hens and meat birds.
At Apple Trace, the eight heirloom apple trees pruned in March are now covered with new leaves. I think it will be a year of solid growth for those trees.
The sight of the old red Garlic Barn always makes me feel like I’ve journeyed back in time.
Shortly on the way are the strawberries, the bright green plants covered with white blossoms. This year – with the help of my new preserving skills – there will be strawberry jam to enjoy.
If winter was a season of anticipation, spring is that giddy, playful moment where life begins to dance at Restoration Farm. The dance is a gig – arms open wide, energetic and vivacious – and you simply can’t help but join in.
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