Valley Grows Day, a Pioneer Valley-wide day of giving, was successful on many fronts! Valley…
Field Notes: Crimson & Clover Farm
by Jen Smith & Nate Frigard
for the C&C Farm team
Our season is off to a great start so far. We had a bit of an odd spring with unseasonally warm weather followed by a long spell of cold and wet weather, but our spring crops have done very well. We had a banner first year of strawberries and peas and we’re moving smoothly into many of the fruiting summer crops like summer squash, cucumbers and eggplant. We were able to meet our goal of selling 300 shares this year and have been enjoying meeting all of our new shareholders and all of the new energy on the farm. We also have another remarkably fabulous farm crew. Stella, Abigail, Julie and our weeder team have been doing amazing work, keeping the farm and the CSA running smoothly, and doing it all with a smile. It probably doesn’t hurt that we sell ice cream in our CSA store now, I’m pretty sure our farm crew is responsible for half of our ice cream sales. We need it in a hot summer like this!
We’re also really excited about all of the winter projects we were able to complete. We were lucky enough to receive a grant from the MA Department of Agriculture that is focused on helping new farms with infrastructure development. We used it to do some major renovations to our share barn, which is a lovely historic barn but definitely needed a little sprucing up. The improvements include a snazzy new cement floor, beautiful new windows, a walk-in cooler, new lighting, new handcrafted tables, a big sliding front door, and a gleaming new coat of paint. The space feels transformed and we couldn’t be happier with it. We also renovated the barn’s front yard into a pick-your-own flower and herb garden for CSA members and added a swingset and a climbing dome for all the kids and kids at heart that visit the farm. Lastly, we welcomed a few new beehives and three pigs to the farm this season.
We’re still busier than ever and still learning a lot every day and every week about the farm and our soils, what grows well here and what doesn’t, and what folks are excited to cook and what site improvements we need to put on the list for the future. As Nate said in a recent farm newsletter:
Time certainly moves differently on the farm. It moves both incredibly fast on a day to day basis but also it moves incredibly slow when we think of all the time that we will spend shaping and creating this farm from one season to the next.
We look forward all of these changes, big and small, and getting to share this farm with you all as it evolves and grows into something that all of us can be proud of.
We signed our 99-year lease last spring with Grow Food Northampton. At the time I thought it would be plenty of time for us. But when I think of all the great projects I want to take on then I think that now we have less than 98 years! I think we’ll need more time!
Jen & Nate for the Crimson & Clover Farm team