Late Winter Updates
For our farm visitors, the “doors” at Cedar Circle close for the winter season, but for us the work continues! While the days are shorter and colder, our crew is hard at work prepping, planning, and planting for opening day.
In the fall, our Veg Team got right to work on crop planning—deciding what to grow, mapping out fields, analyzing soil tests and developing our nutrient management plan, and creating timelines for seeding, transplanting, and direct seeding so we can hit the ground running in the spring. (It’s also super helpful to have detailed plans in place during the chaos of the season!)
You asked, and we listened! We’re adding a lot more variety this season, and bringing back a few crops that we haven’t grown in recent years. Here’s what we’re most excited about growing for you:
- Green beans and snap peas
- Rainbow carrots
- Purple scallions
- Buttercup and honeynut squash
- Sweet red eggplant
- Sashimi cucumbers
- Banana peppers
- Red Brandywine, Red Zebra, Paul Robeson, and currant tomatoes
Seeding (sowing seeds for transplants) has already begun—tomatoes to be grown in our greenhouse and strawberry plants for you to plant in your own gardens—and will pick up in the next few weeks as we start sowing leeks, onions, parsley, scallions, and spinach. Cold hardy crops like bok choy, spinach, and napa cabbage will get planted in hoop houses at the end of next month! As long as the weather cooperates, you can look forward to turnips, radishes, lettuce, bok choy, Napa cabbage, arugula, and spinach by Opening Day.
Plants & Flowers
New this year, as part of our “Perennials With A Purpose” initiative, our Annual & Perennial team is bringing in some wild native strawberry plants (Fragaria virginiana LE) for sale. Not only are they native, but they’re also our local ecotype (subdivision of a species that is adapted to a specific environment)!
We’ll start sowing seeds for the cut flower garden soon, too—a bit later this year so we can ensure the plants are strong and healthy by the time they’re transplanted into the garden in late May, after the last frost.
In the Kitchen
The quiet winter allows time for our Farm Kitchen team to prepare for the upcoming season. Produce from the fall is still being processed (chopped and preserved) so Gail has been working through onions, garlic, carrots, celeriac and beets. An exciting new position we’ve added this year is a Vegetable Processor; a person who will spend most of their time processing and preserving vegetables as they are harvested during the season!
Preparing batters and doughs for the most popular baked goods (like scones and cookies) ahead of time means we can dedicate more time during the growing season to creating foods using our own farm-grown produce. We’re also canning marinara sauce and pickling vegetables for Opening Day!
Get excited for Monday Meals and Pizza Fridays, starting the first week that we’re open in May!
In the Farmstand
With the farmstand closed for the winter months, we have time to reflect on the “guest experience”—the flow of traffic in the farmstand, ease of checkout, etc. And that’s exactly what Sam has been working on: reimagining the space, creating better flow for shoppers and more opportunities for education. He’s also communicating with vendors, focusing on sourcing products from local organic producers as much as possible; working on expanding our online order and delivery program (additional days and drop sites to be announced!); and, getting a team in place for the coming season.
Research & Development
Our R&D team is busy planning out projects for the upcoming season, mapping out processes, and creating timelines just as the Vegetable Production and Annual & Perennial teams do. (The work of these three departments is inherently intertwined!)
Look forward to hearing more about these projects as we collect data throughout the season:
- Use of Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) in High Tunnel Production
- Transition to Regenerative Organic No-Till Production
- Cut Flower Garden Ecological Transition
There are so many fun educational programs to look forward to this year: Spring Vacation Camp, school field trips, farm tours, and many more workshops for adults (and people of all ages). We’re excited for the inaugural year of our new Teen Farm Fellowship program, a 10-week, paid opportunity for teens to learn about sustainable agriculture and develop workforce-ready skills!
And, in a couple weeks, our Cooking For Middle Schoolers class will be competing in the JR Iron Chef VT competition on March 9th. Wish them luck!
Sending a warm winter “hello” from Ni and Steve, who are [usually] all snuggled up on a heated bed in one of our greenhouses!