19 July 2012

Visiting Four Season Farm

A month ago, we emailed farming celebrity Eliot Coleman and his wife Barbara Damrosh for advice about Long Lane, specifically with regards to preparing our hoophouse for its first season this fall. We asked them if they were available to skype sometime with us and share their wisdom and experience. Eliot responded promptly to our request, but instead of wanting to skype, he and Barbara graciously invited us up to their farm to visit. It was a bit difficult for us to find time to both visit Eliot together and tend the farm, but we managed to make it work.

After harvesting for Bon Appetit early Monday morning, we finally hit the road for Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. The journey took us seven hours in the car. The final stretches of Maine greeted us with breathtaking scenery of the sounds and wooded islands and winding roads of the North. I don't think I've ever seen land that can match the beauty of Maine in the last hour of our journey. We arrived later in the evening, but Eliot and Barbara welcomed us warmly to the farm. We were offered a place to cook dinner, veggies for our picking(those super-ripe, right off-the-vine grape tomatoes), and an invitation to sleep anywhere we desired.
The man himself
The next morning we woke early(and sleep-deprived because of constant mosquitoes) to work on the farm. Eliot set us to various tasks. He had us weeding, using tools, prepping beds, and transplanting crops. We had the opportunity to observe him working himself and he personally shared with us each all his knowledge. While showing us certain tools, for example, he even corrected our posture and hand placement. His apprentices demonstrated how they systemically germinate seeds at Four Seasons and also how they meticulously plan and beautifully plant beds. Seeing specifically how they utilize the greenhouses to produce scrumptious cukes and tomatoes will help us out a lot with planting and maintaining the hoophouse later this summer and into fall and winter.  
Note his tidy, efficient, and simple planting
Witnessing his operation in all its glory was truly inspirational. After forty years of experience, this man has farming down to a science. He is dedicated to simplifying and streamlining his work with the earth. Most of his plants are immaculately cared for and tended. He even grows artichokes, in his words, mainly "just to scare the Californian growers" He has a wonderful sense of humor and wit, good stories to tell, and is a wonderful talker. Absorbing his knowledge and witnessing his operations at Four Season Farm has inspired us to bring new techniques to Long Lane. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to play in the next Bingo game - I think I might have a good chance to win!
Is that 6 or 7 eggs EACH per day, or total?