Category Archives: Farm Notes

Summer Update

As our dear friend and regular helping hand on the farm, Ellen often says during weeks with weather like this: “if we stand still for just a second, we might just hear the plants growing.”  Temperatures have been high, sunshine has been plentiful, and while we are busied with the Sisyphean task of irrigating the plants, it does seem like they double in size every time they get a good drink of water.

Combining that with enormous enthusiasm for the 2021 Seedling Sale it is no wonder June has flown by in instant.  We hope that your gardens are getting everything they need and are taking off as we begin to enjoy a diversity of produce that grows more bountiful every week.  We want to express our gratitude for everyone that came out to buy some seedlings this year:  you not only provide early season support to our farm, but when planting a garden (however small), you are joining us in being a part of our  incredible, robust, localized food system.  There is richness and great community strength in the web of farms, neighbors, co-ops, and chefs that keep us all well fed.  Thank you.

We had a wonderful strawberry crop this year.  A heavy fruit set and minimal pressure from disease and pests led to an abundance of berry pints at the co-ops and markets, which has been cause for much excitement.  It seems that some deep part of our psychology is activated by these first red fruits of the season, coded into an old part of our visual perception that our nomadic ancestors developed for this very purpose of noticing the ripest fruits. Evolutionary theory aside, we are excitedly following the path of our more recent ancestors and cultivating another crop for next season.

Its not yet July, but the season has hit its stride and the sweet corn is definitely past knee high.  We are grateful every time another variety of produce hits our table and are looking forward to an increasingly crowded table of offerings at the Farmers Market.  The Plainfield Farmers Market runs every Friday from 4pm-7pm – hope to see you there.

Happy Summer – stay cool out there!

Announcing the 2021 Littlewood Farm Seedling Sale

Greetings and happy spring from Littlewood Farm!

April has kicked us off to a roaring start this season with a streak of beautiful days for getting outside and getting plants going.  Our greenhouse is filling up quickly as plants take full advantage of the long sunny days.  While we were more than happy to do the same, we are grateful to finally have some overdue rain and a chance to put the word out about our upcoming plant sale!

We are excited to announce that we plan to allow in person shopping once again this year.  We will ask that visitors wear a face covering when shopping and respect each other’s space.  For those interested, we will continue to offer a pre-order option – simply reach out by phone, text, or email if you prefer shopping that way.   Opening day will be May 9th with hours from 9-2 every weekend and by appointment or chance during the week (we are never too far from the greenhouses this time of year!).   Check out the 2021  Seedling Sale page for more information on what varieties we are growing this year and please reach out with any questions as you start your garden planning!

Spring planting season is among the most hopeful times of year and it seems to go without saying that we are all ready for a fresh start.  With sunshine, a new year, and renewed optimism,  we find ourselves somewhere between ‘let plant just a little bit more’ and ‘are we biting off more than we can chew?’  This is nothing new for the vegetable grower and so we hope you will join us again this year in embracing the excitement, uncertainty, and love of growing your garden.

 

 

Fall Update

Between the maturing winter squash, the sowing of cover crops, and mornings that tempt the rekindling of our wood stove, it is beginning to feel a lot like fall on the farm.

While there is still a little bit of summer left on the calendar, we have certainly had a summer’s worth of heat and many of the crops are are showing it.  The Virtual Farmers Market page is beginning to fill out with fall offerings and we are saving the summer’s bounty in jars as much as possible.  We are taking orders now for sauce tomatoes ($20 for a 10lb flat) and bulk cherry tomatoes ($36 for a 12pint flat), which can be made into sauce or dried with olive oil and salt into an incredible ingredient for your kitchen.  We are also prepared for another wave of pesto making with bulk basil boxes available at $25/bushel or $15/half bushel.  We hope to offer bulk winter squash, potatoes, onions, beets and carrots as well this year a little later on.

Oven-dried cherry tomatoes
Oven-dried cherry tomatoes

 

 

The Approach of Peak Harvest

With the first full day of rain in recent memory, we find ourselves catching up on indoor work and bracing for the incoming storm.   We hope you all can stay safe and that the hazards of heavy rain on a very dry landscape are minimal.  These weather extremes remind us of the importance of regenerating soils and, in our very fortunate case, maintaining them.  Healthy land is resilient and one of our primary goals as a farm.

On a more exciting note, we are approaching peak harvest season! While this year has required a tremendous amount of irrigation and gratitude to the Winooski River, the heat loving crops are loving life and we are hopeful that we will have equally tremendous harvests.  Kicking off the freezer stocking effort this year, we have made a full winter’s supply of pesto and are ready now selling bulk boxes of basil for you to do the same!

$15/ Half Bushel Box and $25/Full Bushel

Call/Text or email us to arrange an order (802) 881 3240

Finally, we would like to extend a big thank you to those who have supported our friday produce delivery over the past few weeks.  While we really hope to get back to our Plainfield Farmers Market next year, it is very nice to know that we can provide this substitute service in the meantime.  If you haven’t yet tried buying direct, take a look at our Virtual Farmers Market page and consider jumping in on this week’s orders!

Until next time, be well and stay safe.

 

The Seedling Sale Continues

First of all we want to thank everyone who supported our seedling sale this year.  We know it wasn’t quite the same this year to grab-n-go with your orders, but we are so happy to have helped you with your gardens and hope they are starting to take off with this warm weather.

The seedling sale will continue so long as there are healthy plants in need of a good home and there are plenty in that category! Successive rounds of eager looking tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, flowers, herbs and hanging baskets overflowing with blooms are waiting for you still.  We will be taking down the webstore temporarily as we make some changes, so please call us to place an order or arrange a time to come browse our selection.

‘Changes to the webstore’ you ask?  With the Plainfield Farmers’ Market taking a temporary hiatus, we will be making our fresh produce available for pre-order and pickup through our website.  Much like the seedling sale, we plan to post an availability of produce to fill up your bag with as little or as much as you would like.  We will then pick your items fresh for a market pickup in town. Details to come soon…

We are also very happy to be working this season with our friends at Tamarack Hollow Farm! They are offering weekly produce boxes – $25 for an assortment of local, organic vegetables.  We have been contributing our early season greens and are really excited about the cooperation within our community to feed itself.  Check it out at TamarackHollowFarm.com

 

Suddenly Summer

Its Memorial Day weekend and somehow it feels like it snuck up on us!  After an extended cool period and some mid-may blizzards, we suddenly find ourselves in full blown summer weather with full weeks of sun and highs in the 80s (90s??)  The to-do list on the farm begins to quickly outpace our ability to check things off and the plants are beginning to grow before our eyes.

A huge thank you to everybody that has bought plants from our seedling sale so far.  We really appreciate everyone’s patience as we manage pickups and helping everyone get the right varieties for their garden.   We miss talking with everyone in the greenhouse about gardening techniques and our favorite varieties, but we look forward to catching up with it all next year and appreciate your continued support in the meantime.

Seedlings will continue to be available until they sell out. Cucumbers , melons and squash will become available starting next week.   An up to date availability can be found at our webstore at any time: https://my-site-108817-109115.square.site/

Happy gardening everybody.  Enjoy the well deserved sunshine and hope for a little rain.

 

 

The 2020 season or “Produce in the Time of Covid-19”

“Rely on your community and your community comes through” was the hopeful refrain running through my mind last night as I fell asleep, accompanied by a dramatic swell of classical music that Kagen insists on currently playing in the background of our days.

Hello to all.  There’s really nothing to say about these unprecedented times that wouldn’t be an understatement. Despite the need to take some creative measures, our 2020 farming season is underway! Rest assured we are still planning on growing the same amount of quality produce and bedding seedlings as in years past. We are taking care to keep ourselves unexposed to Covid-19 and are especially grateful for the Plainfield Co-op’s curbside pickup of groceries service.  At this time we are not encouraging any visitors or volunteers on the farm property.

Our full Bedding Plant Sale will still be happening, albeit in a different format. As of now we are brainstorming some sort of no-contact “curbside” pickup system. A full list of offerings will be regularly updated on our website, orders will be placed by phone or email, and pickup of plants will be by appointment. We will continue to update everyone as we flush out the idea more fully.

On a brighter note, our spring spinach crop is looking lush in the hoophouses! You can find it for yourself (over the phone of course) at the Plainfield Co-op, along with our lettuce mix and, starting next week, cilantro!

Stay safe, Stay healthy, and Stay home! We are appreciating the simplicity of home cooked meals in the yurt, and continuing to enjoy the bounty of last years harvest (beans, beans, and more beans!) combined with the tender greens of spring.

We are so impressed and inspired by the way Vermont businesses and communities have acted so quickly and innovatively to adapt to this current reality. Be it the our educators adapting to new technologies, farmers and farmers markets coming up with safer ways to disseminate local products, or distilleries switching gears to produce much needed supplies. When the global or even national chain of supply begins to degrade, the resiliency of small community shines through.

We will continue to be in touch!

Kagen and Elise.

 

 

Bulk Potatoes and the Future of Farming

We had the opportunity to attend the National Young Farmers Coalition’s annual convergence last week.  This was an incredible opportunity to meet our fellow farmers from around the country and learn more about the organization’s work and the future of agriculture.  Farms, though so central to our modern life, face unprecedented challenges moving  into the future and it is encouraging to see what can be accomplished when people unite there voices.  The up and coming generation of farmers is advocating for an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable future that we are proud to contribute to whenever we can.  Needless to say, it was a welcome boost of inspiration as we enter the winter, when the farm hibernates, and you should check out youngfarmers.org.

We returned to a transformed Vermont – blanketed in snow, thoroughly frozen, and certain that our season in the field is over.  So now we will be tucking in greenhouses, plotting for next season, and selling off the last bags of potatoes.

If you are interested in putting away some medium sized, gold potatoes for the winter, we will be selling them in bulk $0.80/lb starting at 25lbs.  Call Kagen at 881-3240 if interested.

 

Where Did the Summer Go?

It seemed like overnight all of the leaves had turned and fallen.  It is too easy to miss the signs of seasonal change playing out before us when we are busying ourselves with harvests and fall field preparations.   Suddenly it is getting dark by 6pm and I wonder not only where the day went, but where the growing season went.  The next thing you know, there is snow in the mountains and we know we have to start thinking about preparing the farm for winter.  The farm exists not in episodes, but cycles, and while it is tempting to think of fall as “the end of the season,” we are now sowing the spinach and greens of spring.

I want to thank everyone who enjoyed Littlewood Farm produce this season, supported our local food businesses, and especially those of you who attended our Plainfield Farmers’ Market.  We had a wonderful year for the market, saw tremendous growth and energy, and cannot wait to continue building our lovely little town’s Friday markets.  We will be back the first Friday of June next summer.

Before we let go of the 2019 growing season, however, there is the matter of decorating our homes and selves with pumpkins and spookiness.  We will have Jack-O-Lanterns availiable at the Plainfield Coop as well as at the farm through Halloween.  Pumpkins will be on display outside of our barn when you pull in, priced individually based on weight ($0.60/lb), to be purchased on the Honor System if we are not immediately available.

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Mid Summer Update *Bulk Sale*

August is here, and so are the vegetables! Daily harvests are keeping us busy here at the farm, but we are doing our best to carve out time to slow down and enjoy this beautiful time of year.   We hope everyone else is finding time to do the same! Speaking of spare time… we are ready to start taking orders for summer bulk items to assist you with your canning/ freezing/ fermenting needs. We’ll list items and prices below. Also, sweet corn is ready! Find this ephemeral delight at the Plainfield Farmers Market for the next few weeks.

Bulk Items!

Basil, $30/bushel
Paste Tomatoes $2/lb.
Cucumbers $2/lb. (half bushel weighs ~10 lbs.) Specify pickling or full size
Hot peppers $3/lb. choose: Jalapeno, Poblano, Anaheim, Garden Salsa, Serrano, Hungarian Hot Wax, or a mix.
Juicing/Processing Carrots $0.50/# – oddly shaped. Great for juicing, baking, shredding, or even as a treat for your horses and goats!

As always, bulk sales are on a first call, first served basis. Orders can be picked up at the Plainfield Farmers Market on Friday evening, or at the farm by appointment. Thank you all for your support!