Saturday, March 26, 2016

SPRING 2016 NEWSLETTER to friends near and far


Laura Timmerman & Robin Creamer
910 Greenfield Rd.
Leyden, MA 01337

March 25, 2016
Hello Friends!

Once a year we like to send an email to lots of friends and family, near and far, farm members, farm friends, and colleagues.  This is one way of letting people know what we and our little farm are up to, and to invite people who live nearby to become farm members.  Somehow 2015 went by without this annual email so there is even more to report than usual!

A note from Laura: "The main thing for me is how much Sweet Morning Farm has become a shared project, especially in the last two years.  In 2007, I had the idea of trying to sell some vegetables to a few willing friends.  (Thank you, dear guinea pigs!)  That year I discovered that I loved growing food for others and the following year started our CSA.  Since then the farm has steadily grown and it has been a lovely journey.  Over time, Robin has become more and more involved in the farm so that now it is a truly a shared enterprise, as well as a shared life.  It is an unexpected blessing to be able to share this love of growing things with Robin."

As our little farm grows in size, knowhow and variety, one of the deepest pleasures is connecting with people who also enjoy and value good, nutritious food.  People who recognize the specialness of really fresh, locally-grown food.  Eating locally-grown food strengthens our community while filling our bellies with goodness.  

We hope this email finds you all well!  We are well, and have enjoyed a mild winter with a good balance between farm work, socializing, and some much needed rest.  Every year we continue to grow, and we are very excited for some projects we have planned for this year including construction of a new high tunnel and expansion of our growing space.  While we slowly grow in a physical sense, we are also learning about and trying better methods of growing produce, which helps us to increase production in the limited space of our tiny farm.  This continual learning and improvement is part of what makes farming fun for us.  It is always exciting to grow quality crops, and we feel that we get better at that every year.  In 2016 we plan to focus on producing some favorites like cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, and summer squash earlier in the season, as well as having more variety and reliable favorites throughout the main farm share season.  

Another area where we continue to expand is our tiny orchard!  Tree planting season is just around the corner, and we plan to put in about 20 new trees of all sorts in early April.  While most of our trees are still too young to bear,   We are very excited about what we have growing, and fruit is something we plan to include more and more often in the shares in years to come.  We like to try new varieties of vegetables and fruit for fun.  For example, this year we are putting in some Olallie berry plants and paw paws.  Most of the apples we grow are heirloom types; they are just so appealing. 

Speaking of expanding, we are hoping to sell more FARM SHARES this year, and now is the time to sign up!  We are again offering two sizes of shares.  People have been signing up and there are only 8 shares left!  Please call or email if you'd like to sign up or want more information.

A short description of the Farm Shares:
20 - 22 weeks, starting June 2 or earlier
Pick Up Thursday afternoons at the farm in Leyden
$400 - Big Share
$135 - Mini Share
All shares include flowers and PYO garden

SIGNING BONUS - Pay in full by April 1 for a free dozen eggs!  (Bonus period extended from March 20 due to the lateness of this email)


New farm members & friends!
Shiitake mushrooms! - Last year we were very excited to pick our first crop of log-grown shiitake mushrooms!  This is a new enterprise for us and we are still learning the ropes, but we expect to harvest more this year and to gradually increase production over the next few years.  In fact, some new spawn arrived in the mail just the other day so we will be inoculating some more logs soon!  
Going to the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market
Being interviewed by CISA for a farm profile
Being interviewed for an article in Edible Pioneer Valley magazine (2014) 
Finding new places to bring our ducks and chickens for quality processing
Connecting with other farmers more and more
Going to the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ conference in December 2015
No Late Blight on our 2015 tomatoes!  - a reminder of what the tomato season should be like every year
Learning new techniques to help us grow healthy food, more efficiently and with fewer weeds
Applying for a grant to build another high tunnel and getting it!
Learning a lot about maple sugaring
Hosting a Farm Picnic for our farm members and friends
Raising some turkeys
Starting to wholesale a few things, mostly eggs and microgreens, so far
Putting most of the farm into a Conservation Restriction, protecting the land from development forever  (2014)
Getting a kitty! (2014)



Building our new high tunnel and using it to grow more winter crops
Trying out some new varieties of chickens, especially Whiting’s True Blue
Planting some paw paw and mulberry and dwarf cherry trees
Developing a farm business plan/long range plan
Growing some oyster mushrooms
Clearing more space for vegetables and fruit
Doing our very best to grow really fantastic food to share!

We both feel enormously lucky and grateful be able to farm.  It’s a pleasure every day.  The work feels good.  It’s challenging physically and mentally, and so satisfying.  We live in a beautiful part of an amazing planet.  We are nurtured by the beauty and awesomeness of the natural world.  
Thank you for being part of our journey, for encouraging and supporting us on the way.  Just sharing our news with you and knowing you are “out there” is a big help.  If you are interested in taking part in the farm in other ways, you are welcome.  

Robin and Laura
Sweet Morning Farm
910 Greenfield Rd
Leyden, MA 01337

PS  If you would like to receive more frequent emails about our farm activities, just let us know.