Winter is always a very disorienting time for me. At the start I imagine myself recharging energy packs that I’ve burned out and used up over the course of the previous season. Weeding through July, seeding through May, harvesting each week and wrapping up in November means I get to shut off my alarm for a few weeks, right?
And then the thoughts start trickling in. The food thoughts. As I sat bundled up with my space heater at the stand leading up to the holidays, I daydreamed about butternut squash, roasted apples, hot bean soup. I thought about all the berries I’d been freezing through the summer, tucked away in my freezers and waiting to be blended into summer-nostalgia smoothies in January. I daydreamed about stir fry. All the stir fry.
I’m a quick study in my meal prep. Hand me a vegetable, and I’ll roast it or throw it in a wok. It’s one of my most satisfying activities as a grower and as a homeowner. It’s nearly midnight as I write this and I want to pull out the last of my beets and do this right now.
Anywho. It’s about this time, just past the new year and straight on through February, that I start to feel the first tug of excitement for the growing season again. The seed catalogs begin to arrive. My heart soars. I pull boxes of potatoes out of the basement and assess my seed stock needs. My mind turns to potting soil and tomato stakes.
And tomatoes. So many tomatoes. I’ve reeled myself in over the last few years, paring down my tomato choices to less than a dozen instead of the twenty-plus varieties I used to plant. 2018 marks my sixth growing season in the Lehigh Valley, and I’ve taken a more pragmatic approach to what I am ordering and what I’d like to grow. Of course, I still have a whole box of exciting and hard-to-pronounce herb seeds from Strictly Medicinals, but you have to keep some of your darlings.
My farm stand opens again in April, with organic seeds and organically-grown plants and all folks will need to outfit a solid garden, along with the early spring veggies. I’m already planning, and I’m already stoked. If you had told me three weeks ago I’d be feeling this way, I wouldn’t have believed you.
My style of farming, like the seasons, is cyclical. I’m slowly emerging from the cocoon of exhaustion and into the light of what is sure to be an amazing year. We have a storefront; we have excited supporters and customers; we are about to have a whole room full of chicks and boxes of seeds; we have a renewed commitment to document this adventure for anyone who may be interested.
We can’t wait to share the journey, the dreams, and, most importantly, the food.
Liz is the owner of Crooked Row Farm, a certified organic vegetable, herb and egg farm in New Tripoli and Orefield. Her farm stand is located at 3245 Route 309 in Orefield. Visit http://farrmerliz.com for more info.