From Farmer George of Taproot Farm, PA
We welcome our tenth spring on the farm with a deeper sense of place. Our lives and passions unfold here, and there's genuine joy in studying its nuances. We've come to know where to watch for signs that the season has changed. The Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived on the north meadow; then the Robins following the spring plow, happy for worms. Today the Towhee is calling, and sure enough, the dandelions are in bloom: both signs that it's time to plant potatoes.
At the onset of winter, the Gray Fox, who lived in the hedgerow all those years, was found frozen in the meadow. Although it preyed on lots of our chickens, we enjoyed our last fall together: the fox sitting in the sunlight, watching me plow back and forth, back and forth. Maybe our spring chickens will have fewer acquaintances this spring.
The farm lives and grows with us and around us. Although we steward the flatter fields here, the farm is our dearest prism of nature.
At the epicenter, where the greenhouses cluster on the hilltop, we're tricking the vegetables to think it's mid-May. The nursery greenhouse is a refuge of chlorophyll and sunshine where Ola [George's wife] spends days pressing seeds into soil. The first transplants have matured enough to begin our first plantings. Pulling the chisel plow through the field is another prism. It's enlivening to see the subterranean ecosystem. We circle around the field, watching every variation of surface, holding the tractor steady. This rich ground will grow our crops. It's the stage where we will toil for the next 8 months. It's the nutrition that will fill the kale and strawberries, and that, in turn, will be the nutrition for the community that supports this farm.
The food that we eat is one of the most tangible symbols of our connection to the earth. As a farmer, I find pride in providing as a pure a link there as we know how. In the next seven months, we will work to provide pure vegetables grown to Organic standards that our families and friends can feel good about eating. And we will do our best to work with nature to do it.
It's go time. Like the honeybees, the farmers get this slice of the seasons to produce enough for the whole year. And of course, we're pumped!
Cheers to Spring!