As they say in sports, records are made to be broken. I really hope the one we set this season isn’t though…at least not while I’m still farming. The Boston Globe confirmed what I’ve been telling anyone who’d listen – that this rain was unprecedented. In fact, in records dating back to 1890 (gotta love New England), this was the wettest fall on record. And that was before the 1.5″ of rain last week, and with 20 days left of fall, technically. Here’s another good article this rain obsessed farmer somehow missed at the start of November. Highlights: from 9/1 to 11/6, it rained on 30 days v 8 days with clear skies. And since 9/1, we had 2 stretches (in 3 months!) where it did not rain for 3 straight days.
Ironically, seeing it in writing has buoyed me somewhat. I’ve lived in New England for only 9 years now, but my gut said this fall was NOT normal. I can now go confidently into next season knowing this will not happen again, at least not for a while. Even with the erratic weather we are facing thanks to climate change, the odds of a repeat of this season are minuscule. Which is good because this season sure had me thinking about the future and the sustainability of Potter Hill Farm and small scale farming in general.
Potter Hill is magical on a nice day, especially in the fall. But farming up here is not for the uninspired. I felt like I was fighting nature this whole season instead of working with it. Farming a north facing slope with clay just under the topsoil is challenging (wet) enough in a dry year. Try farming with three times the normal precipitation! And the reward? It needs to be more than the intangibles of working the land at some point. This was supposed to be the year the farm finally made some money for our family. I has some serious temptations to be a stay at home dad after the season ended – I would make about the same and work about 90 hours less per week, depending on your definition of work!
But I’m about as stubborn as they come, which is probably a necessity to be a farmer. So you’re stuck reading my rants for at least another season. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year!
If you read this far, your reward is that we have just enough left to justify another pickup. If you can believe it, lettuce (double covered) and a few other greens survived 8 degrees. Plus we have some roots left, and a number of salsas and sirachas as well, which make an easy and delicious gift at a holiday party. Everything is limited on the website. And sorry, no eggs! I sold the last of the ladies the day before Thanksgiving.