With the summer solstice just around the corner, I wanted to write all of you and give you a peak into what this wild spring has been like for us on the farm!
This spring has primarily been about one thing: infrastructure. In March we found out that we were awarded a $72k Food Security Infrastructure Grant from the state of Massachusetts to install a 30' x 100' greenhouse and climate battery. This greenhouse will allow us to grow produce all year long, all while using less fossil fuels than a traditional greenhouse. We want to thank NRCS and Berkshire Ag Ventures for additional funding and financial support in making this project happen.
A climate battery greenhouse uses the thermal mass of the soil below ground to heat and cool the greenhouse above. Unlike other geothermal systems, our climate battery does this through a simple fan system. You can watch a video here from our designers showing how the heat energy charges the battery when the sun is out, and then uses the battery when it's cooler! The climate battery will help us use less propane to heat our tunnel in the winter, particularly when growing cool weather crops like greens and kale. Winter CSA here we come!
Most seasons we plan to harvest spring crops before market starts, but this year we had such many infrastructure changes that we didn't have any indoor growing space available for pre-market greens. Luckily, the outdoor North Adams Farmers Market is officially underway and we have lots of fresh veggies and flowers from the fields coming with us. You can find us at the St. Anthony's lot in North Adams every Saturday from 9am - 1 pm. You will probably see a new face at our stand at the farmers market this year: our new employee Juliette! Juliette is from Hopkinton, MA. This is her third season of no-till farming and she's very excited to meet everyone at market. Juliette works on the farm during the week, so she is just as knowledgeable about the crops and our growing practices as Laura and I. Let's all give her a warm Berkshire welcome!
This spring has been one of our biggest seasons yet. In addition to facilitating the building of the climate battery greenhouse, we also installed two unheated caterpillar tunnels for our tomatoes and peppers this season and are working on planting three rows of trees and shrubs to act as a wind break on the edge of our field. And that's all in addition to planting this season's crops! Phew! We are so lucky to have all of the support that we do in this community, and we are so grateful to all of you for making dreams like this come true. By the end of this season we will have four times as much indoor growing space than we did a year ago! That will mean more off-season produce in our community, and more productive and protected plants all summer long. With all of the variability that comes with climate change, indoor growing space is becoming more and more important to reliable growing.
My final update is that it is the last week for our ranunculus plants, so we have regular and large sized bouquets available in our online store for pickup at the farm stand this Saturday. We will also be bringing bouquets to market this weekend. I'm so grateful to have any ranunculus this year, they are such a special and beautiful flower. Each spring I look forward to their arrival as a sure sign that summer is around the corner. This season that was more true than ever when the tunnel that was protecting the ranunculus blew down in March, leaving them exposed to the elements. Despite this, they persevered! Use the button below to order, or catch us Saturday at market. Thanks for reading y'all, see you soon!