Last weekend we hosted our final winter share pickup and farm stand. It’s always a satisfying moment to close up shop and know we’ve fulfilled our customer obligations for the year. Overall we had a good season. It got off to an ominous start when our first spring transplants, the onions, were decimated by pests. But things evened out, as they always do, and turned abundant toward the end. How many of you are still buried in sweet potatoes?
This was our second year offering the winter share, and I especially enjoyed pitching the share to skeptics. I’m not normally a pusher when it comes to regular season memberships, because it’s a certain type of person that can handle that level of commitment. But the winter share is a no-brainer for anyone who appreciates quality and a good deal, at least in my humble opinion. You don’t have to be a gourmet to know how to use potatoes, carrots, and onions, and unlike the summer harvests, most winter share items don’t need to be refrigerated or consumed immediately. When stored properly, many winter crops can last three months or longer. The trick is knowing how to store them, and it was a lot of fun hearing members relate their different methods for stockpiling veggies, whether in a garage, basement, or porch. Admittedly, the food that’s still available in March isn’t a fresh as what you could buy at the store, but it is local and organic—an affirmation of the possibilities of eating seasonally.
In the excitement of end-of-season markets and holiday gatherings, the fields often become a distant afterthought. Not that anything is required of them at this dark time of year. Still, it feels unnatural to go more than a few days without a visit. As I was passing through the other day, I was struck by their quilt-like quality. Cover crop seeded at various points throughout the late summer and fall are now lying in various stages of dormancy, so that the whole farm looks like a cheerful, haphazard patchwork of greens, yellows, and browns. Most covers will resume growth in the spring, while others will winterkill. Regardless, knowing that the fields are tucked in and protected for the winter produces the same sense of peace as knowing we’ve satisfied our customers. Another year is complete, we have a winter of rest as our reward, and when spring returns, we will be ready.