We have finished our last market and now we begin our hibernation for the winter. It has been an amazing year with some ups and downs. A few mishaps in the greenhouse led to not planting everything intended, however the crew pulled through and we made it up with consistent hard work. We completed our first season for our CSA and our relationship with Agricola is growing and evolving. Every year I try and take on a little more, improve what I have done in the past, and make sure I am building the foundation of a healthy ecosystem for our workers and the larger community. It was our first year at West Windsor Community Farmers Market and we really enjoyed being able to interact with our community directly. Now we will attend a few Farmers Conferences and sharpen our skills for next year. Crop planning, big ideas, season summaries, and field maps will be worked on and we will be ready to go, with baby Van on our back, next spring.
I love this time of year. The farm has moved right along with the seasons and while there was a flurry of activity during the summer a calmness comes with fall. Days get shorter, the temperature drops, and one by one we start harvesting the last of our summer crops. The farm really starts to hibernate in the last week of November. Our CSA’s last pick up is next week and our last market is right before Thanksgiving. We will continue to harvest here and there during the winter, however the day to day routine is less predictable. This is the time to rest up, summarize everything learned this season, and plan for next season. It has been an incredible year.
I have been anticipating this dinner since our chef, Josh, called me to ask when the best date for a large dinner on the farm would be. September is my favorite month for many reasons, but one of them being the farm starts to fall in line with weeding, harvesting, and planting. After a chaotic August when everything is growing, including weeds, September starts to cool down and offers a chance to get on top of the tasks that were missed. Our crew did an amazing job weeding, planting, mowing, and organizing the farm to handle 154 guests for dinner out in our field. I have been following “Outstanding in the Field” since I first started farming in 2009. They mix together food, art, and community into a rich experience that lasts in memory.
The Friday before the dinner was hectic but we were hitting our stride as a crew. The “crew” only consists of myself and two others. We run very effieceintly and every person carries their weight, and then some. I have been training my crew for my departure. My wife went into labor on Friday afternoon while I was washing Toscano Kale for the market. I called Andrew while he was in the field harvesting tomatoes and said “it’s time” and he knew what to do. Andrew was now acting as “temporary Farm Manager” and he finished washing, harvesting, and preparing for our markets during the weekend. There were a couple other tasks to complete before the big dinner, and he accomplished them with ease. It was wonderful have a good crew be able to step it up when you need them.
Van Pelt was born on 9/14/13 at 8:09am. It was a wonderful experience and everyone remained healthy. The big dinner was the next day. Everything was covered, however I was able to sneak away from the hospital to see how it all played out. I was greeted by handshakes and congratulations and a much needed glass of wine. “Could you give some opening remarks?” I was asked. “Sure, but my head is in the clouds right now,” I responded. The Outstanding in the Field crew talked about their history and invited me up to talk about why I farm. It was natural and great to share my view of agriculture. I gave a farm tour to dive deeper into how we produce vegetables along with some viewpoints about health, community, and passion. The tour ended at the amazingly long table in between our tomato field and our kale field. Everyone sat down and looked excited about the night that was about to unfold. I said my goodbyes and left the field to be with my new born son and wonderful wife, feeling like I was standing on top of the world.
Now Hiring for 2014
Join Us At The Table
Agricola, our own restaurant serving rustic American food and festive drinks located on Witherspoon Street in the heart of Princeton Borough is now open.
Great Road Farm will be the supplier of fresh, authentically grown ingredients including vegetables and pasture raised eggs.
Make your reservation now.