2016: Year in Review

With things beginning to gear up for Full Fork's second growing season, it seems proper to start this blog with a review of 2016. It was something of a whirlwind. A year and a half of planning finally set into motion.

Lots of projects happened. Last year we built:

  • A 9'x12' Walk-In Cooler (not pictured)
  • A small seedling greenhouse
  • A wash/pack station
  • A farm sign
  • A caterpillar tunnel for tomatoes and greens
  • A double deer fence to protect the produce (not pictured)
  • Established a 1/2-acre of strawberries for u-pick
  • And we had a well drilled! 260 ft. & 25 GPM!

That last project, the new well, was in part a move out of necessity. Last year was dry, with rain often predicted in the weather forecasts only to pass by as clouds overhead. Definitely one of the big challenges of 2016. Installing an irrigation system is a big project for this coming season, making sure the water is where it's needed when it's needed to ensure the farm's success.

Our workaround for the drought where there was such difficulty germinating seed through direct-seeding in the field - aside from carting water out in a 275-gallon IBC tote - was switching over to Salanova lettuce. It's a variety of lettuce that grows as a head but breaks down into baby leaves. I continue to have a love/hate relationship with it, but what it meant was being able to start seeds in the greenhouse and transplanting them out into the field. Salanova also allows the use of landscape fabric, meaning a LOT less weeding.

Ducks also happened last year. And a dog. And a house rabbit. And two geese. And chickens. And worms (for vermiculture). Full Fork is now home to a menagerie of animals.

And it's become/been a home to a stellar group of people already. Blessed to live with such kindhearted, humorous, and thoughtful individuals. All of us working on our projects, coming home to cook family meals over The Beach Boys or Michael Jackson or somesuch. Wonderful neighbors often stopping by to say hello.

Zak, Max, & Janel have pushed off, but there are reminders of them everywhere. Much missed. Haley & Emily arrived in the fall. Elliot is about to move over to Belfast. Emily & Jay, our newest housemates, will be staying for a year and landed just yesterday.

Winter was a welcomed change. Full Fork sold out of its last bit of salad greens the second week of January. Pretty good for a first growing season in the Northeast. It's been a time to read, to sleep in, to spend with Lindsey, to work in the woods, to snowblow the sides of the caterpillar tunnel. The pace of things ebbed ever so slightly, enough for introspection and restoration.

Now, tomato, huskcherry, and edible flower seeds are getting their start indoors. The days are lengthening. The caterpillar tunnel was seeded with baby salad greens, spinach, and arugula just yesterday. Almost feels like things are gearing up.

And then we hear about 10" of snow in the weather forecast for next Tuesday. A little bit more of this winter thing...

There's still time to go.