It is easy to say that winter tempers the speed of life on a farm. The rain dictates the timing and success of any transplanting that we might hope to do, and the crops that were already in the field have merely dug their roots deeper into the soil to wait out this period of low light and slow growth. However, winter’s more languid pace is also responsible for many of the season’s distinct flavors and undeniable charms.
The carrots and beets, while small, are given a superior sweetness from the recent cold-spell we’ve been experiencing; a salad that includes the decorative and delicious Winterbor kale is an excellent way to appreciate how this variety came by its name! Our long-awaited celery-root is due to be ripe in the near future, and many a delicious winter-squash soup continues to linger on the horizon. Our Meyer lemons are sweet on the trees, and nearly every day for the past few weeks, the morning has greeted me with the sight of a wide swath of frost-coated mint just outside of my door.
Still, winter is not all storage crops and small bunches — it’s preparation for spring! Our greenhouses are beginning to fill up again, as seedlings of lettuce, broccoli, chard, onions, and many other things are being sewn for our early plantings. Planning our crop rotations, ensuring we have our seeds queued up, and taking inventory of the necessarily tools and equipment for the coming season keep us all quite busy, even when the harvest is slower. It’s a time for preparing, and repairing, and anticipation. Goat-kids, a new flock of chicks, and a surge of spring crops will be upon us before we know it; we are doing our best to warm up and place our feet firmly at the starting line before the starting-shot of 2013 sends us racing ahead at full-speed.