There is something to each individual moment unique and special. It easy to find ourselves wondering where has the time and in this case the year gone. Full of wonder, growth, struggle and a lot of good food, we would be liars if caught saying anything short of the year being tremendous. 2022 was a year, much like all the others; winter, spring, summer and fall. We know what to expect from the seasons and what our plates will look like based on the earths relationship to the sun. But how boring it would be to not zoom in and look at the things that make each year special!
This year, any free moment not spent tending to crops was spent moving fencing around to keep the sheep fed. There were trials and tribulations to this but it’s safe to say the Middlefield sheep had a good year, full of green pastures. Those of you who read Here Comes the Sun Angel knows that March 23rd was a special day here at Star Light, we were visited by a Sunangel, and thank goodness she is here to stay.
Our little Sunny was born with a star on her nose and a yin yang on her head. Her star felt like a sign that she belonged here. Her mark of duality reminds us that nothing is forever. Just as excited as we were to welcome this new being into our lives, we had the sorrow of saying goodbye to the OG sheep of Star Light, Alice and Angelina. David wrote beautiful testimonials to them: Thinking of Alice and The End of an Era. The Durham farm is not the same without “the girls”, and they’ve left their mark. Even now under a certain tree that Alice and Angelina spent most of their summers, our eyes play tricks on us making us think maybe they are still here.
Speaking of farm animals; our series Cats in the Nursery + Dogs in the Field came to mind when thinking of our favorite blog posts from the year. That bubbly feeling we have in our bellies during the early spring is hard to put into words but these letters do so nicely. It has become a trend that we get a little over excited early spring, planting seedlings too early then having to back track by double (or triple) covering things when the temps drop again.
Thankfully, aside from a few marigold casualties all our early spring transplants survived and made it to their full potential. That’s not to say everything went according to plan this year. Our ginger and turmeric, or lack there of, sadly did not live up to our expectations from the previous year. The seed which is shipped from Hawaii in February froze during transit. The seed company replaced it for us but this set back was just the beginning of a long list of reasons the ginger was behind schedule. The result was small, lack luster pieces rather than the crown jewels we are accustom to. As a result, the determination to get it right in 2023!
One crop we felt very good about this year was our cucumbers. The new high tunnels in Middlefield came equipped with fancy insect netting built into the sides. Try as we might there is no stopping the cucumber beetles. However, these netted sides, along with the fact that cukes hadn’t been planted there in the recent past resulted in a wonderful early crop of sweet, thin skinned cukes. Cucumber Yoga kept us limbered up, well fed and most importantly hydrated. These cucumbers might have been the only way we survived the crazy heat waves this July and August, them and the mid day trips we took to Millers Pond.
This summer we fell in love with a new (to us)crop, Callaloo. After years of encouragement from a Cityseed customer we purchased a packet from True Love Seeds and got to work. Actually, it was quite easy to grow, commonly known as amaranth, Callaloo didn’t need much from us and our little plot produced well. Tender enough to eat the whole plant, this Caribbean delicacy thrives in the summer heat when other hearty cooking greens like spinach won’t grow. Once our Callaloo stopped producing we found another new love, Komatsuna. Aka Mustard Spinach, this crop cooks like boy choy but has the same favorable harvestability of collard greens. Meaning we can plant it once and harvest from it several times. We inter-planted one small row of Komatsuna with some bok choy and were able to harvest it for a few months. There’s no doubt that both of these crops will be making a bigger appearance next year.
2022 was also the first time we played around with some regenerative agricultural practice. By incorporating the chickens into our crop rotation we added fertility to our soil which increased our crop yields. For example the sun gold tomatoes we planted after the chickens went to work thrived and we were harvesting them into November! To hear more about this reread our post: How it Started vs How it’s Going and For the Love of Garlic and Soil. When we first started cultivating in Middlefield there was not much life in the soil. By adding generous heaps of compost and rotating the chickens we are starting to see the return of the worms!
We feel so grateful to be part of this community; the good food people who understand the importance and seek out local produce, the fellow farmers, and farmers’ market staff that keep things running smoothly. From year to year it is difficult to say what exactly it is that has changed, but most things usually do. There is one thing however, which is unwavering and consistent. That is all of you, without all of the people out there who support the good food movement, what we do would not be possible. We are forever grateful, hoping for wonderful Holidays and a great New Year to you and all of yours. We would be certainly out of step if we did not take another opportunity to thank the crew that helped us get through the year; Sam, Lydia, Lindsay, Isa- thank you so much! We also had some volunteers this year we need to thank ; Eleanor, Sue, Alex and James- thank you for lending your hands to help with weeding and garlic planting! Our resolution for 2023 is to tidy up the farm, keep things organized, and take more time for rest and recreation. We look forward to another great year growing with and for you all. Is there a particular variety of something that we grow, have grown, or you’re interested in seeing us grow or want to tell us about? We’d love to hear it. Thank you to everyone for making 2022 the amazing year it was.