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John's farm update: The state of the farm

As 2021 draws to a close, I’d like to share with you that thanks to our loyal customers, a hard-working team, and some luck from the weather, it was a successful year for us.

As it always is at the farm, spring was busy for us. Once again, our garden center had experienced gardeners coming to us, and we also welcomed many new gardeners this year. Our field crew was also very busy. Planting season progressed on schedule, beginning with our new large tomato greenhouse and in our expanded hydroponic growing operation. With the doubling of our capacity from the previous year, controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is here to stay at our farm.

May and June were good growing months in our fields, free of frost, sunny and warm, and most of our crops got off to a good start. We had a strong strawberry season and good harvests of lettuces, greens, squashes, and cucumbers. July was a prime example of where “weather luck” comes into farming. The heavy rains and one of the cloudiest months on record affected the yields of many of our midseason vegetables. Fortunately, August came around to near normal weather, and frosts held off until late fall.

Once again, we owe gratitude to the multiple landowners who permit us to grow on their properties. Our pumpkin crop here on the “home farm" was ruined by the July rains. However, the large crop we planted on the Austin Furst property on Center Harbor Neck pulled through, and we salvaged a reasonable pumpkin season!

While our field crew took care of the farm work and our farm market and garden center teams helped customers, our kitchen and bakery team continued to set about their tasks at record levels. This area at the farm continues to grow at a steady pace, and of course, doesn’t have the weather challenges!

The warm fall brought about some of the best cover crop growth I have witnessed in recent years, as well as late harvests of warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, beans, and eggplant. We didn’t have our corn maze because the wet conditions of late June and July prevented us from planting it. It was another example of how “weather luck” comes into farming.

In a farmer's world, there is always the next year, a new spring, and hopefully a bountiful harvest season. Of course, like many other businesses, we will be faced with the uncertainty of supply chain shortages, increasing costs, and labor issues.

What I am sure of is this: The farm has a dedicated and talented management group, hard-working

people on all our teams, great vendors, a supportive community, and loyal customers. We will be able to face 2022 “head on”...and maybe even catch a break with really good weather!


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