As you may remember, we are not growing in the field down the street (otherwise known as the “park land field”) this year. One great outcome has been that we can focus a lot more energy on tending to our crops here at the farm and on maintaining and improving our herb, flower, and children’s gardens. Last weekend, we had a bunch of folks show up and work hard despite the alternating rain and drizzle–with incredible results.
Check out these photos of our awesome Saturday crew of volunteers and sharers, as well as a pic of our spruced up Children’s Garden, and read more about why we gave up the park land.
There are a few reasons why we are no longer farming the park land. We experienced two seasons of extreme drought and, because we didn’t have irrigation, subsequent crop loss. Meanwhile, we faced historically high deer and groundhog pressure, and we didn’t have the proper equipment to manage that field well. We were already leaning toward dropping it when, at the end of the season, I received an email from the person who was lending us the field saying they wanted it back.
Many people have asked whether they will receive fewer crops. The short answer: no. We’re still growing close to thirty different crops here at tiny Stearns Farm. But we are partnering with family-owned Sparrow Arc Farm in Copake, NY for our potatoes and winter squash. We will also be buying in sweet potatoes, likely from family-owned Piccadilly Farm in NH.
If you are concerned about this practice, it may help you to know that it is common for tiny farms like ours to outsource production of these crops for the reasons listed above. In fact, though you may not have known it, Stearns Farm has been buying in these crops to make up for any shortages we have had for much of our time as a CSA farm.
Both Sparrow Arc and Piccadilly farms use organic practices and are trusted, well-respected growers in the region. As mid-sized farms (Sparrow Arc grows on 100 acres), they have the proper equipment, land base, and scale to produce these disease-prone, pest-attracting crops that take up lots of acreage.
I am excited to support these regional farmers who share our values. See you in the fields!