Thursday, November 22, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

We ended our normal, May-through-November season on Friday, November 16th: several lovely greens (that red butterhead lettuce is to die for), beets, and a LOT of fresh cilantro and dill in the U-Pick herbs--also still some hot peppers, despite the frost.  We used everything up, thanks to forethought on the part of our Farm Manager, Angela.  

Angela did a fabulous job in the most difficult of summers--drought, sporadic flooding rains, early frosts, hurricanes, unexpected critters--and yet the goodies kept coming, and Angela's wonderful, cheery optimism didn't flag, bless her heart.  We had our vintage honey again this year--many thanks to Brendan for his excellent article about "connoisseuring" honeys--and other bonuses, like some hoophouse potatoes at the start of the season, our own scrumptious corn, and other surprises.  

Next year there are new foods in the offing--several kinds of potatoes, more corn, asparagus, and even blueberries are in the planning.
Devorah and her Hoophouse Creations

But our new beginning at the moment--even as we end our "normal" season--is the start of our Winter Market, our own mini-farmers' market based on what we grow in our two hoophouses.  This endeavor is headed up by the estimable Devorah (see her with seedlings she's planted, left and below).   The idea of a winter market, even in very cold weather, is that we can grow certain crops if they get double-protection:  the larger protection of the hoophouse itself, and the smaller shelter of row covers on especially tender plants (the white curved coverings in the photo above) within the hoophouse.  The system is based on experiments done over the years by Maine farmers Eliot Coleman and his wife Barbara Damrosch.   For articles by and about Coleman and Damrosch, see here.

Hoophouse Winterbor Kale
The first Winter Market is scheduled for December 1st; we plan on Toscano and Winterbor kale, chard, radishes, carrots, Pac Choi, and cilantro.  Depending on how quickly they grow, we also hope for lettuce mixes, spinach, arugula, and scallions.  The next Winter Market is planned for December 15th (unless  the Farmers' Almanac is correct in its prediction of a mid-December blizzard, in which case it will be rescheduled!).

Red Hill Farm gives us so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, 2012.  We are blessed to have a four-season farm running smoothly despite the vagaries of the weather.    We're also grateful for the opportunity not just to bring you wonderful food but to try out our new blog format, with many thanks to Sister Ann Marie Slavin for her tutorial in getting it up and running.  (Sister Ann Marie authors the blog Franciscan Life.)  Here at Red Hill, blog-wise, we're still in the learning stages though:  "Baby steps, baby steps!"  Have a very happy and peaceful holiday, hopefully with friends and loved ones.


  1. Congratulations on your blog. It looks beautiful!

    I was wondering ... are your hoophouses heated?

  2. No, they aren't heated except by the sun and ambient temp!

  3. As well, during sunny days, the soil in the hoophouse absorbs the warmth of the sun, then gives it back into the air in the hoophouse at night.

  4. Your blog is looking great! Thanks so much for the mention and the link!

  5. I (Melinda) also owe a big THANKS to my blogger friend, Bix, for helping me with the HTML to get the "Recent Comments" gadget up and running. Thanks Bix! (Bix blogs at "The Fanatic Cook"; see blog list at left.)