Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When I made the decision to create Small Step I was warned!  "Summer sails through Vermont even faster when you are a farmer".  I believe that they are right!  It is almost the full moon of August, and the growing season is now slowing down.  Yes, it is still summer, and of course, there continues to be much work each day.  But, the weeds are under control and systems are in place- tasks get done with ease and efficiency and I am beginning to enjoy days off!  

We have embraced the weather of the past two months, it really couldn't be better.  Rain has come at night and a breeze has coincided with hot sun during the day.  I have actually called a couple 'rain days' when very few clouds were in the skies, just to get some office work done (or, yes, take an afternoon off!)  

The fields, rather the entire property, look fabulous.  I could never have accomplished this without the help of close friends who have been supportive with their time and skills since last Fall.  From the hoop houses and wash station, to the fields setup with drip irrigation and (almost) absolutely weed free- for the first year it looks pretty good!  Thank you Zachary for your building and stir-up hoeing!!

Wednesdays and Fridays are the busiest with harvesting from 6:30am-noon.  We then deliver the orders (two car loads) to restaurants and stores within our shire of a valley.  To this date, we are supplying vegetables consistently to The Big Picture, The Common Man, Green Cup Cafe, Mehurons, East Warren Community Market, Pitcher Inn, Center for Whole Communities, The Barn Door, Yestermorrow and Kingsbury Market.  Demand is there!  I love working with the chefs and supplying beautiful produce for their plates, but I am even more pleased with supplying our local grocery store- Mehurons.  This is an important purchaser that I hope to continue in the coming seasons!  It is exciting to think of next year and what Small Step Farm can grow more of (and less of)!  My personal favorites that will continue are: baby fennel, young head lettuces, trays of microgreens, baby summer squashes, artichokes, yellow peach tomatoes, and the specialty greens mix with bulls blood, kales and frisee.

Now that the first year worry of 'nothing growing' has surpassed, Small Step has begun to reach out to the community.  At the Big Picture Theater and Cafe there are photos on the wall and handbills scattered about, sharing our story with the customers who come to eat.  We have supplied about 90% of the Big Picture's produce for the past two months!  We were in the Warren 4th of July Parade, Oliver tractor creeping along!   Warren is quite an event- and Small Step Farm partnered up with the Big Picture Theater to celebrate and share our tiny donuts and baby carrots!  Next year the truck and tractor will be stocked to the brim, as the crowds were wild for both and we ran out before we were halfway through!  Thanks for the support everyone- it was a great day! 

We worked at Taste of the Valley with the Big Picture Theater, serving serving cucumbers stuffed with herbed chevre and pickled radish.  The Taste of the Valley is a showcase of all restaurants and food producers in the area, creating the best of what they love and sharing it through little tastes.  

And, most recently, we hosted two tours for the Vermont Festival of Arts- Art in the Garden Tour.  Each group, of around 30 people, learned of how the farm began and where the produce is going.  This was the first year the garden tour walked through vegetable fields in addition to home gardens.  All had thoughtful and interested questions about the production, certain small tools of the farm and of course the two young ladies who grew the vegetables.  

Amanda, who has kept me sane through the summer with her hard work and positive presence is going back to being a fourth grade teacher- summer vacation is over!  She has worked Wednesday through Friday for the harvest/delivery days and busting out larger farm projects.  And so, I invite interested folk to get in touch.  Specifically, I am looking for someone to work Fridays from now till mid-October.  Ideally this would be someone with true interest to be part of the farm and continue into next season with more hours.  Lots of possibilities.....

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