Thursday, February 28, 2013

November post interrupted by Life.

Our parting gifts to John, Ryan, Emma and Willie.

Ryan's Guinea hog (pork) sausage and signage.
[February 28, 2013. Just found this post in the queue as "unpublished". It was written in November 2012 and somehow never got finished or published. . . until now.]

Tonight we are hosting a goodbye potluck for our farm crew. Willie leaves tomorrow, Emma and John and Ryan all move on in the next week.

Much of what Prentice and I do here--
One of Willie's goats, before he sold them.
have fun, grow vegetables, milk a cow, raise chickens, collect eggs, form a community, learn, work hard, sweat, get dirty, build things, fix things, wash things, pack things--is made possible and better by the help of interns/apprentices. 2012 brought four amazing humans to Village Farm from May-November. As we reflect on our season, financially, production-wise, inter-personally, we pretty much start and end "our gratefuls" with the crew.

We take the apprenticeship model pretty seriously.
We both began our farming careers as apprentices and we met on an oh-so-romantic sea side in farm downeast Maine. We work to create a healthy working, learning and living environment here at Village Farm. I say working AND learning AND living because we do all three in community. And the word, "healthy," of course, is relative. What I mean by healthy is honest, communicative, challenging, easy-going, flexible and accountable. The apprenticeship model, as we see it is a way for us to share our home, land, food and expertise with aspiring farmers.
Emma and John's garden.
Emma and Polly working on the earthen oven.

It is a model of working and learning that is not so much about master-apprentice but much more about immersion, working with, day in and day out and literally and figuratively "breathing in" the new information.

And we certainly learn, too. We never cease to be inspired and amazed by the people who sign on to this farm and family business as apprentices. 

The pictures with this post give you only the tiniest look into some of the projects that Emma, John, Willie and Ryan took on independently this year.

With all best wishes for your futures, we are gratefully yours,

Polly and Prentice, Joseph, Ben and Abe

Fall 2012 photos

Escarole and shallot stir fry.
The first fire in the earthen oven.
Saying good bye and thank you to John and Emma, Ryan and Willie, 2012 apprentices as we light the first fire in the new earthen oven.
Look what was left in the Village Farm driveway? Meet Findus, aka Mr. Lucky and Mr. Cuteness.
Paddling some shapes into the wet last layer of mud.
Posted by Picasa

News bits

Hello out there! It has been a looong time since I have been here to the Village Farm blog. I almost forgot how to log onto Blogger, in fact. But here I am, getting back into shape, so to speak, as our farming season gets underway.
How about some news:

. . . .We have a gaggle of CSA members signed up already. Yay! And thank you faithful supporters and new members! We are looking forward to another wonderful year of growing and eating ahead.

. . . We have leeks and some herbs sprouting in the basement and will start up the heat in the greenhouse this weekend so that the onions can get their early start, too. We will hang a curtain down the length of the house so as only to heat 1/2 the space for a few weeks. A heated greenhouse will mean that micro greens will be in the Coop and on Crown of Maine's availability list soon.

. . .We have three apprentices signed on for the season with a fourth in the works. 2013 will be the 6th year we have engaged students of agriculture here in our version of a labor for learning exchange. And we continue to enjoy the camaraderie, intelligence and hard work that each of those fine people have brought to the Village Farm. 

. . . The laying hens are upping production. These things happen in late February. I collected the most gorgeous basket of eggs this evening. Blues, greens, browns. . .

. . .The cows are eating hay and resting. They are such phlegmatic creatures.

. . .We have tapped some maples! 34 was the count I last heard. Boiling to come!

. . . We have met with all of our wholesale accounts and are planning great things. Mostly great things very similar to 2012's great things but it is always fun to try a few new varieties, new packaging ideas, tweaks to the planting schedules and the like. If you do not wish to be a CSA member, you can find our produce at the Belfast Coop, through Crown o' Maine, on the elegant plates of Swan's Way and Trillium caterers and at The Lost Kitchen. And if you are a child in the Belfast or Mount View school system, you may eat our vegetables in the lunchroom. 

. . .We will be at the CSA Fair at the Belfast boathouse this Sunday. Do stop in to say hello if you are in town that day. We will have eggs for sale and of course will be peddling and pushing our CSA shares.

. . .We have enjoyed reading some great articles in the press lately. This one in the NYT cites the advantages of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables as protective against heart disease and strokes. And Germs R Us in the New Yorker made us downright giddy as it elucidated a whole new branch of science for us. . .the study of the human biome. It, too, has much to say about the benefits of eating fresh, locally grown nutrient-dense and microbe slathered vegetables. (We wash all of our vegetables, of course, in fresh, cold well water but because of and thanks to the magnificent flora and fauna found in our soils, our vegetables will indeed be slathered with healthy, desirable and natural microbes despite the dunking.)

. . .We are so excited that the renovation of The Mill at Freedom Falls is nearing completion. The straighter and brighter building is just so proud looking on its granite foundation. And, it looks like Prentice's sister, Laurie, will be educating a class of young fry there this fall as her venture The Mill School takes form. 

. . . We are continually grateful for our community of friends and family and farm supporters. It is a great joy to be growing food for many of you.

Best wishes from Village Farm,