a gathering of winter growers

Sunset Farm Organics, Lyman, ME

A whole slew of farmers from NH and Maine got together this week to share information about winter growing. With some solidly established winter CSAs and winter farmers’ markets up and running now, it seems that more and more farmers are interested in growing year-round. We started out with an afternoon tour of Paul Lorrain’s farm in Lyman, Maine, followed by a farmer-to-farmer discussion at a local brew pub. Thanks to the organizers, Eric Sideman (MOFGA) and Becky Sideman (UNH), and the many skilled growers in attendance (including Eliot Coleman), conversation was lively, and plenty of valuable knowledge was exchanged. Farmers shared advice about varieties suitable for winter, to wash or not to wash (greens), heated vs. unheated tunnels, how to make sure your hoophouses don’t blow away in high winds, planting dates, which crops are most profitable, and other important things like how to farm year-round without burning out.

Here at our farm, with our small scale winter plantings, we’re happy to be eating spinach and baby kale from our unheated hoophouse through the darkest days of December, and very much looking forward to being on the other side of the solstice.

To see for yourself what local farmers are growing (and storing) through the winter this year, come to the Winter Farmers’ Market tomorrow in Rollinsford!