Winter Greetings From Farmer Tom

Another deep freeze upon us – temperatures in the single numbers and falling – a good day to sit by the wood stove, think spring and do some creative writing. To be perfectly honest, I’m thinking not just about the coming spring but about the coming summer as well. As many of you have been made aware, I celebrated my 70th birthday just a month ago and as a way to honor my admission into the septuagenarian club I am planning a cross-continent bicycle tour for summer ’22. No, this is not early onset dementia or a heart attack death wish, but a desire to travel to parts unknown using my own power while I am still able.

Of course this means that I won’t be here at Hope’s Edge Farm this summer growing the vegetables that many of you have come to appreciate and to even depend upon. BUT, even though I will not be here, there is a plan afoot to continue growing vegetables for your gastronomic pleasure. To this end, Rachel Olsen and Jason Rawn – two individuals who for the past two seasons have been involved in helping to produce the produce of which many of you have partaken – have decided to take on the tasks of tending, nurturing, harvesting, and distributing the roots, leaves, flowers and fruits that these soils so generously provide. Rachel’s husband will also be involved as tractor operator and equipment maintainer. (He will also be called upon more than he knows for galinsoga patrol.) Rachel’s 8 year-old daughter will insure that they all stay on task and will be available to consult on weed identification.

Although this crew is in many of the practical respects of farming a team of rookies, they are in heart and soul “old farm hands”. That is, they have come to recognize in themselves a deep attachment to the growing of food. While the practical knowledge can be learned, the heart and soul connection is inborn and it is primarily through this connection that food can be and is indeed coaxed from the Earth.

Rachel and Jason have also written a post outlining their vision for the coming season. As you will see they are planning a hybrid CSA-farm stand model. I will be here through the spring helping them get things started and should be back by fall (unless I get lost) to help with late harvest and clean-up. It is my hope that you, who have been my support throughout the years, will continue to support them through this, their rookie season.

As far as my bike trip is concerned, there are still many ducks to get in a row – not the least of which is getting in shape. One hope for this trip is to use this journey to bring awareness and support to the issues of food insecurity, food sovereignty, and food justice. This “duck” still needs some feathers to fly and so I will update you as she begins to grow her wing feathers. Until then stay warm, stay healthy, and stay in touch.