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Posted 4/24/2009 9:27pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hello Farming Fans!

It's official: I am finally jazzed enough to write my blog. I apologize to anyone we've left in suspense regarding our latest activities . . .  I just checked in on my last entry. It seems to be many many ages ago. I was seeding the very first trays in the greenhouse, assembling the first series of water collection barrels, and getting the heat arranged.  Now there is so much more happening.

We made our first contact with the soil around April 1st. We used the disk harrow to chop up the remaining residue from last year's sorghum-sudangrass cover crop. The crop of persistent perennial weeds was dealt its first blow with the same pass - we have potentilla, campion, red sorrel, and some mysterious and vicious mustard weed making yellowy broccoli-lookin flowers as I type.  

We have assembled our fleet of equipment.  After much research on all makes of rototillers and spaders and fruitless pursuits of elusive used low-cost rototillers, we finally bought a new Italian made model called the Del Morino Holiday. It is 42" wide, so it does not erase our tractor's tire tracks.  This set-up allows us to create our beds in one pass. When we took the ride out to Devon Lane in Belchertown to pick up our new treasure, we ended up buying in an S-tine field cultivator, as well.  This tool has been excellent in our ongoing battle against the perennial weeds.  There are 14 shanks in three rows - 5-4-5, no moving parts, and it disturbs and uproots well-established plants without chopping them (thereby propagating) as a disk would and without inverting the soil profile as a plow would. 

In anticipation of this warm dry weekend ahead, we plan to go over all unplanted areas with the field cultivator with the hope that the weeds will shrivel and evaporate while I go fix up my farmer's tan at the beach.  We simultaneously hope that our plants, transplanted this afternoon, hold steadfast against the heat.  The plants - beets, beet greens, kohlrabi, and broccoli raab - were planted behind another new member of our equipment fleet: the Waterwheel Transplanter.  This cheery contraption, painted bright red and adorned with a 140 gallon yellow water tank, has three wheels, 12" apart, that roll along the soil making water-soaked holes every four inches.  Bolted behind are two seats, seemingly dismounted from the local laundromat and conveniently floating over the three rows just marked on our beds.  In a somewhat comical struggle, the two transplanters (like me and Chris) attempt to pull plugs out of our seedling flats and press them into the mudholes quickly squeezing the soil shut around them.  I definitely felt like I must be on the farming episode of I Love Lucy as i tried to fill each hole and remember to do every other hole in the center row. Inevitably we would have to shout "Stop!" and rush to catch up before continuing. Most farmers have what's called a "creeper" gear so the tractor can go incredibly slow. Sadly, we do not. The metrics of our transplanting scheme are suddenly expanding!! All the same, we are excited to have a good tool and maybe next year White Barn Farm can buy its own tractor that will have the creeper function.

Spinach, Bok Choy, and Napa Cabbage have been in the ground protected by fabric row cover for a couple of weeks now.  The spinach planted into my little hoophouse is ready to eat, even! Planting the onions is the next big project.  We have recruited my dad to drive the tractor on Monday, so Chris and I will get even more practice getting faster at transplanting.  One other pressing project is the potting up of all the tomatoes.  They were started in open flats so we could put lots on our heat mat at once and keep them all in the heated area of the greenhouse.  As plants move to the cool side of the greenhouse and finally graduate to the newly constructed cold frames outside, they make way for these flats to expand to many flats of tomatoes, each plant with a very cell of its own!  Any of you who thought you may like to come volunteer for a few hours, now is the time to give a call and set up a time to come by and do some greenhouse work with us. Wednesday may be showers, my obsessive 10-day forecast following tells me. Maybe that is the day. We could accept two volunteers at a time. Give me a call to schedule a time if you are interested! 774-210-0359

The first direct seeded crops have germinated and broken ground!  Peas (sugar snap and snow) were planted April 9, Full Moon and just before a rain.  A day later, we spun on two leguminous cover crops - bell beans (Fava Bean's petite cousin) and field peas (whose tendrils are its only redeeming culinary quality).  I was nervous about the following weather conditions. We had some hard freezes and then a long dry spell.  I was reassured by a dig into the dusty crust.  To my relief, there was moisture not far below the surface, and the peas had popped and sent roots down and were considering sending their beautiful hook of green leaves up.  Today, the emergence was strong enough that we could see the rows and hoe alongside them.  With the help of one of our future summer employees, we got the peas cleaned up and the electric fence assembled around them.  I watched a bunny bounding along the treeline as I put up the fence . . . This past Monday, our other future summer employee helped me plant some other direct-seeded crops into the quarter-acre plot I grew on last year.  We had to hoe out some of the Winter Rye residue from my foolhardy cover crop scheme, but then the seeding went fast with our two handy seeders.  We used the Earthway Seeder to do Cilantro, Carrots, and Radishes.  Then we moved on to the new Six-Row Pinpoint Seeder to plant Hakurei Turnips and Arugula.  The next few days brought plenty of rain. Now some warmth should give those seeds the green light!

The days are long. The work feels good. The sun feels good. It is time to include sunblock in my morning routine. I am consumed by all the planning and preparations and the demands of the plants.  Seems to be that overnight, we are cranking at full speed and there is never any question as to what to do. The plants have not been telling me to write my blog, folks.  I'm working on it. 

We are looking forward to some events:

Sat. May 2 there is an Earth Day celebration at Wrentham Elementary. We are going and so are the other Wrentham farmers: the Cooks from Cook's Valley and Kristin at Rabbit's Dance Farm

May 16 & 17 is our Plant Sale.  10am - 4pm both days. Located on 1A, across the street from the farm. We are currently potting up Vegetable, Flower, and Herb starts in the greenhouse. Stay tuned for more details.  A great selection of organically raised seedlings for anyone gardening this year.

May 23 is the Spring Fair at our friend Meryl's farm, Powisset Farm in Dover, MA.  We are going to go there, too. Maybe we will sell any extra plants leftover from our plant sale.

The first week in June is supposed to be our first CSA pickup.  Our roadside stand should kick off around the same time.  As the dates get closer we will be able to be more definitive.

Congratulations to anyone who completed reading this blog.  I have been holding back for so long. Believe it or not, I left out thousands of little events that may have been noteworthy. Next step is to put up some new photos  - keep checking for those!

Thank you for all of the kind support!

Christy at White Barn Farm

 

CSA member reminder: any final payments are due by June 1st. 

Posted 3/12/2009 5:10pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hey folks! 

White Barn Farm CSA is sold out for 2009! Don't fret - you can still come to the roadside stand on Tuesdays and/or Saturdays. 

It is balmy in the greenhouse. I have been keeping my shorts and flip flops stationed in there, believe it or not. With the sun shining, the temperature easily climbs to one hundred degrees!  We want the soil in the trays to heat up and signal those little seeds to germinate, so for now we let it get pretty warm. Since my last blog, we have finished seeding onions and scallions, we've seeded beet greens, beets, bok choy, napa cabbage, and spinach. I even got to the first of the flowers and a few perennial herbs.

The progress on the infrastructure continues, as well. My farm superhero father mounted the propane heater up high above the entrance of the greenhouse and got the ventpipe all arranged according to code.  Then the family's trusted plumber, Pat Coffey, came in to install the natural gas to LP conversion kit and run the pipe for the propane guys to hook up to.  He had the inspector come by and make sure it was all set.  Then the propane guys brought a tank and hooked it up.  Luckily, my dad had wired the thermostat already and we were ready to rock with backup heat in the greenhouse.  At this time of year, such a thing is a real blessing.  Several nights of waking at three hour intervals to feed the woodstove was enough to make us very grateful to have some backup heat to rely on. (All the mothers out there must be chuckling to themselves). 

Wednesday, My dad arranged the water collection system (a series of 55 gal. drums) that was donated to the farm by our farm start-up heroine, Gretta Anderson from Belmont CSA. All the pipes have been sealed and connected in an efficient fashion so we can fill up the system and pump water from there for the greenhouse watering.  Meanwhile, Chris and I isolated ourselves at Panera Bread (hey, could someone open a cool coffee shop around here?) to finish our greenhouse schedule. Now we have the whole thing sorted by date so we can just follow our plan! It was a good activity for a rainy day.

Thanks so much for all of the support, everybody!

All you gardeners out there, stay tuned for details about the May 16 & 17 Plant Sale!

Posted 3/8/2009 9:45pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Howdy there White Barn Farm enthusiasts!

This blog is mostly to announce that the Tuesday Boxed Shares are sold out for 2009!

 There are a couple of slots left on Fridays, but give a call before you mail a check, just to make sure there is a spot left.

I guess I have unsolicited free press to thank for the renewed interest in the farm. February 24th, the Sun Chronicle did an article on CSA's, following the Open Space Committee hosted "Community Farm Night" during which Kristen Lewis from Rabbits Dance Farm in Cumberland and Chris and I spoke about why local, organic produce is good for you, our planet, and our local economy and quality of life.  We tried to answer lots of questions and were really encouraged by the positivity and genuine interest of the crowd. A couple of folks signed up right on the spot! The woman who wrote the article attended the event.

Chris and I have been working like mad since we got home from our house and cow-sitting extravaganza in Vermont.  Chris' dairy-farming best friends from college finally took their honeymoon to lovely Costa Rica, while we held down the fort and did the barn chores (an experienced neighbor came in to do the actual milking). We had some good calm before the storm of spring farm preparations, enjoying some hikes in the sun and one day downhill skiing. Free beer-tasting at Otter Creek Brewery paid off quick with 2-for-1 midweek passes to Mad River Glen. We hit it on a perfect blue sky day and were reminded of how much we both enjoy skiing and should plan better in the future to take advantage of our seasonal lifestlye . . .

We successfully completed the first delivery of the meat James (same honeymooning dairy farming friend) had raised at his farm. Beef and pork shares were distributed to those from around here who had ordered. The hams and bacon are now back from the smokehouse and will be delivered sometime this week.  Beef is sold out for June pick-up, but there should be shares available again in the fall. 

Anyway - back to all the stuff we've been up to. We put up the 17x72 ft greenhouse with a double layer of plastic, inflated with a little fan for super insulation. The initial construction we busted out before Valentine's Day (when the head foreman, my dad, was headed for Caribbean vacation).  Since then we've been problem solving and inventing to tie up all the loose ends. Greenhouse doors that open smoothly and have functioning latches, corners to hold the roll-up sides closed until we are ready for major ventilation, creating a weed-proof barrier for the floor, getting a heater, a plumber, a propane company, firewood. and the pallets . . .

Folks, pallets and cinder blocks are like gold to us. Although big box stores pretty much work against the values I am most passionate about, Chris and i have found ourselves at Lowe's (yes, the new one in Plainville that just paved over so much open space within the last couple years).  We aren't quite sure what to make of it, but we have found above-and-beyond customer service, special pricing, FREE pallets for our special case, and an amazing delivery of a pallet of cinder blocks - some wild three wheeled forklift powered right through the mud and left the stack just outside the greenhouse. Can you imagine hand-loading 90 cement blocks onto a cart, into the van, out of the van, and then into place as our greenhouse bench legs? yikes. We have decided to just really appreciate the characters and of course remain loyal to Cataldo's for the daily run for that limiting factor of the day's project - box of screws, eye hooks, anything you can possibly imagine (except delivered pallets of cinder blocks).  Anyway, we are having fun and we pretty much feel like rock stars every time we go into Lowe's. I guess this is one of the perks of owning a business!  

We had two important deliveries at the end of February - it was critical that they arrived in the correct sequence and thank goodness they did. First, we got a set of pallet forks that chain right onto the loader of the tractor. Second, a flatbed pulled up with 9 yards of organic potting soil from Macenroe Organic Compost in New York.  It was arranged on 6 pallets, which my dad expertly unloaded from the truck, despite the fact that it was the forks' debut performance.  Two yards of potting soil were for our friend Kristen from Rabbits Dance Farm so we loaded that onto a trailer and took it to her farm in Cumberland.  

Today, Chris and I finally got to get our hands in the soil! It was finally onion-seeding day! Onions are triggered to begin bulbing by day-length, so it is important that they are a healthy and vigorous plant before the solstice, therefore they are normally the first crop to be seeded.  There are more flats to do, but we felt so happy to be sowing our first seeds together, listening to tapes on the cassette playing alarm-clock I hijacked from the bedroom, and soaking in some cosmic rays and eachother's company, of course.  I better wrap up this entry and head out to stuff as many logs as possible into the stove to keep those seeds warm overnight. Flowers are next . . .

 Thanks for all your support, everyone. Remember we will be doing our temporary roadside stand Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings if you couldn't get into the CSA this year. 

 Enjoy the new late night light. Chris and I stayed out until we could no longer see onion seeds tonight and it was 7pm when we got inside!! 

 

 

Posted 2/22/2009 3:25pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.
Pounding in the Ground PostsInstalling the BowsChris and Eliot putting up the purlinsPutting on the BaseboardsDrilling Holes for the BoltsChris putting up the hipboard123533786476.19.138.226.jpg
Posted 1/30/2009 10:33am by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hi Folks!

The days are finally lengthening. In fact, our French farmer friend, Jean-Claude, has revealed it is soon to be Chadeleur (officially February 2) - the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox! Whoopeee, I say!  Jean-Claude says celebrate with galettes, crepes, and cidre!

Despite the thick covering of snow on the ground today, sun is shining and wheels are turning in farmers' heads.  

Who thought farmers could be so stationary and nerdy, sitting in front of Excel spreadsheets and five seed catalogs for days on end?  Chris and I geeked out for four days of calculating and deciding on seeds, isolating ourselves in libraries and coffee shops.  I want you all to know that organic seed potatoes triumphed over conventional seed potatoes, despite the fact that they cost four times as much!!!! Good Grief! Higher Conscience wins at White Barn Farm.

To my enormous delight, our crop plan, field maps, and seed order are all finished. This allows us to estimate the quantity of potting soil we will need - so that order is in!  We went in with several other farmers on a bulk order of organic potting soil from Macenroe Compost in New York.  Hurray for cooperation between small farmers!

We also know the amount of greenhouse space we will need - we have picked up the parts of the kit to assemble the latest (hopefully the final) greenhouse at White Barn Farm.  Gretta Anderson of Belmont CSA gave us the opportunity to disassemble and buy a really nice 17'x28' greenhouse with a double layer of plastic (with a layer of blown air between for excellent insulation) and roll-up sides.  We decided to buy enough material to extend the length to 72' so we should have plenty of room to supply seedlings for 3 acres!  Yesterday my dad, the secret wizard behind White Barn Farm, took a road trip to get the parts from Ledgewood Farm in Moultonborough, NH where the farmer makes greenhouses in addition to running his own farm.  

Gretta also generously donated a rainwater collection system - a series of 55 gallon barrels connected by PVC.  She wanted to give them to a farm that has lots of roof area (our barn) and pays for water (our irrigation pond exists only in fantasy).  We need to build our packing/washing area anyway, so we are coming up with a design to mount several barrels up high for collection directly from the barn gutters that will then gravity feed out to a larger collection series in the greenhouse.  We can then pump out of those barrels to water our seedlings.

I have started my publicity tour. Sunday, Chris and I were part of the panel discussion at the first film in a series called The Green Reel. We all gathered at Agudas Achim Church in Attleboro to watch King Corn and talk about industrial farming.  We were able to plug our CSA and Liberty Farm's organic beef and pork.  Last night, I gave a slideshow presentation of my travels to farms in Europe and this past year's adventure starting White Barn Farm for Wrentham's Sohoanno Garden Club at the Fiske Library. I am cracking up a little bit about my publicity tour, but it really does feel good to connect with some new folks and feel some of the groundswell of enthusiasm for truly local, organically-grown vegetables. 

Other upcoming stints include Thursday, February 5: the Green Fair in Franklin and Wednesday, February 11: talk for the Open Space Committee at Fiske. More details are on the "calendar of events" page of the website.

Stay tuned! There are still CSA shares available and there is still time to order beef and pork from Liberty Farm in Vermont.

Thanks for reading!

Christy 

 

 

Posted 12/28/2008 10:42am by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hi Again, Everyone!

It is a gloomy Sunday here in Wrentham. 60 degrees, though. These weather conditions warrant a jog through the Trout Pond Conservation area, which I get to through the woods across the street from the farm.  I hope everyone had happy holidays. I spent a glorious couple of hours in the 80 degree hoophouse on sunny Christmas day, cleaning out the yellow leaves and hauling 5 gallon buckets of rainwater to do the very infrequent watering required to keep all the little greens thriving.  I am very impressed at the survival of the lettuce, the continual harvest of radishes, and the tenderness of the arugula.

December 13th we had a cyclocross race here, hosted by my cousin Thom's bike shop, International Bicycle Centers.  It is really best to read his descriptions and check out the pictures on his blog, http://wellonabigbikeya.blogspot.com/.  Christian and I attempted a farm fundraiser selling farm-based treats: Quesadillas with cheese, prosciutto, and arugula from the hoophouse, another version with curried leeks and kale, another with pesto from the freezer and my oven dried Principe Borghese tomatoes, preserved in olive oil.  I got out some frozen grated zucchini and whipped up some of my mom's zucchini bread recipe, served hot from the toaster. We sold some organic fair trade coffee and shortbread cookies to round out the offerings.  The turnout and positive spirit of the race was awesome.

The snowstorm on the Solstice had Christian and me snowed in at his place in Somerville, working on our crop plan for the 50 member CSA and the Saturday roadside stand . . . which brings me to the whole point of this entry: the temporary roadside stand will continue in 2009! Only it will be more glorious than 2008.  We are planning to offer a wider range of produce and certainly more of it.  We will set up the tent across the street from the farm - in the one open field that remains between Wampum Corner and the center of Wrentham.  Saturday mornings from late May to November, Wrentham-grown produce will be available for all those who feel a CSA share may provide more produce than their household can handle. I am hoping that it becomes a Saturday morning routine for the locals.  We had considered doing a Saturday Farmer's Market in the city, but decided it was more appropriate to our mission to try to build more community support for our farm by making our produce available to the greater community here. (Beyond the dedicated 50 CSA members we hope to have.)

Our friend at Liberty Farm in Vermont still has shares of organic pork and beef available.  There is a link to the order form on the Organically Raised Meat page. James has lovingly raised three cows and five pigs on organic pasture and local, organic grain for the pigs.  They will be taken to a federally inspected slaughterhouse in January and shares will be distributed at White Barn Farm in February. If you eat meat and have the freezer space, I highly recommend stocking up on this super high-quality stuff.  It is more of an initial outlay to buy large shares of meat, but it is actually much less expensive than buying organic meat of dubious origin from Whole Foods.  There is also a full range of cuts in each order but the price per pound is static - consider the grocery store price per pound on steaks and tenderloins.  I encourage those of you who absolutely cannot visualize your family consuming 50 lbs of beef to find friends or neighbors to split shares.  The meat is truly delicious - so far we have had exceptional pork chops and wonderful brined pork loin on the grill.

Best Wishes to all you farm supporters out there. I will be working on the computer and submitting my application to substitute teach, longing for the days of dirt under the fingernails.  Non-physical labor just doesn't have the same virtuous feeling as good old straight-forward farmwork. Maybe it's my puritan background. Can't wait to get crackin' . . .

 

Take Care and Thanks for Reading!!!

Christy  

  

Posted 11/27/2008 10:26am by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Holy Smokes, Folks!

I am writing from my best friend's place in Bozeman, Montana on Thanksgiving morning to celebrate my favorite holiday and announce White Barn Farm's appearance in the Boston Globe. There is a picture of me in my winter rye covered 1/4 acre on the front page of the Globe West section. good grief! a strange mix of pride and embarassment.

i figured i would address a couple of false statements: i did not keep heads of lettuce fresh in buckets (they were in coolers). and I never bundled pea tendrils, although i did cut and bag them. I definitely grew more variety than zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers. It is true that I hauled the harvest to markets twice a week, but only one was in Franklin and the other was in Providence (tue. wickenden st). very minor details. no big whoop, i like to say.

One important detail is that I actually have not yet sold the 50 shares of our harvest that we are offering for 2009.  It is true that we are using the CSA model described in the article, but shares are still available! You can print the sign-up form from our "Join the CSA" page.

Before the hustle and bustle in the kitchen is at full tilt, I will take a moment to give thanks for my friends and family and our fortune here in the U.S., where we have such incredible access to food. I am in Montana now and just came from visiting my brother and his wife and my niece and mom in Arizona. We can really feel lucky in New England to have such abundant water and general green. lots of organic matter to cycle into our life-supporting soil. (imagine the challenges of my friend Shanti in Tucson, growing a tiny garden in alkaline saline soil under a Tamarisk tree with no irrigation but that piped 1000 miles from the Colorado).

I always have had a problem with run-on sentences. sorry!

Thanks!

 

 

 

Posted 11/22/2008 6:21pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hello Everyone!

This is Christy Raymond, your local farmer from Wrentham's newest farm, White Barn Farm.  You are probably getting this email if you put your address on the list at the Franklin Farmer's market. Please feel free to pass this along to any other locals you think may be interested and certainly unsubscribe if you are not interested. I have a couple of great announcements - for me and for the whole community, I hope! The one-girl farm is no more. There is going to be a 50 member CSA in Wrentham. White Barn Farm is on the web. We have a source of pork and beef that you can feel good about.

I found a farming partner for 2009! Christian Kantlehner will be joining me to help the farm grow. We met at a farmer training workshop (CRAFT) and kept chatting farming when I went to work with Kathy Huckins at Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham, where Chris has been working for two years.  He became interested in agriculture at Green Mountain College in Vermont and has been in the field since his freshman year.  He has had experience at several other excellent farms in Massachusetts, including Belmont CSA, Vanguarden CSA, and Drumlin Farm.  He is a sufficiently seasoned vegetable grower and ready to start applying his knowledge. He is exactly the sort of character at exactly the point in his career that I was searching for to help me grow the farm.  Our farming ideals fit together perfectly and our growing preferences are perfectly complementary.  He loves growing potatoes, winter squash, and cabbages. I have always specialized in cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil.  Together, we should be able to supply the community with a long season of bounty! We are really excited to work together and obey our highest consciousness with regard to the soil and the whole ecosystem of the farm.  We also like to have a good time and hope to make Wrentham a little more fun. Who doesn't love to feast?

We have a new website: www.whitebarnfarm.org It still needs a litte work, but most of the content is there.  There is a blog, a photo gallery, information about us and our farming practices, and most importantly, information about the CSA we are launching in 2009.

We have decided to use the Community Supported Agriculture model as the core of our marketing for next season.  Basically, we are offering 50 shares of our harvest to 50 dedicated supporters who have paid in advance to allow us to purchase the seeds and supplies we need to produce their weekly veggie share.  The whole concept and the details are listed on the website under the "White Barn Farm CSA" menu. You can sign up for the CSA by printing out the form from the "Join Our CSA" page and mailing it with your deposit or full payment. Memberships will be filled on a first-come first-served basis so sign up early to get your preferred pick-up day.  I want to make sure to offer memberships first to those of you who have so loyally supported me in my first year.  A Boston Globe reporter interviewed me in early November for an article to be released anytime now, so I am not sure how fast 50 shares will sell out.

If you eat meat and are ready to feel good about where it comes from and how the animals are treated, we have a good solution for you.  Our "sister farm," Liberty Farm, in Vermont is offering shares of their organically raised pork and beef.  If you are interested, open this link to find more information and an order form: Liberty Farm Meat Order Form.

I hope this letter finds you in a spirit of celebration as our national gratitude festival approaches.  I certainly have never felt more thankful, nor more hopeful in my whole life! 

With hope for a more sustainable local food system in our little zone of southeast Massachusetts, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Christy Raymond, Farmer at White Barn Farm

if the website still leaves questions unanswered feel free to contact me by personal email christyraymond@wildmail.com or phone 774-210-0359

Posted 11/16/2008 5:38pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

     Goodbye "one-girl farm sprouting this year" - that was the caption on my makeshift easel/sign at my farmer's market booth this year.  I feel safe in saying the 2008 growing season is pretty much through.  There are my experimental fall crops thriving in the fields (escarole and white beans fans, take note) and the trial greens in the hoophouse doing surprisingly well, but certainly the intense pace and energy of summer is long gone. Anyone tracking my progress through my blogspot blog knows that i have not made one entry since May. Well - quite a few things have come to pass since then.  At the height of the season, I certainly teetered on the brink of sleep-deprivation driven insanity, but I feel that somehow I was able to meet most of the goals I set for this season and learn more than I could ever imagine I even needed to know.

     All in all, i gained some confidence in my ability to grow crops, and especially to make a crop plan, execute it, and keep successions coming.  I definitely was able to gain experience with all marketing styles.  I had some magic combination of farmer's markets (one local, one city), temporary roadside stand across the street from the farm, wholesale to Whole Foods in Bellingham, restaurant accounts in Providence, and a little pre-packed box for five dedicated supporters each week.  I worked pretty hard to sell what I produced on this mini quarter-acre farm or "farmette" as I like to tease.  Very little went to waste - the shelves have lots of jars of pickles and tomato puree and the freezer is packed with pesto and greens.  One very important side project was plowing the back field and seeding three acres to a cover crop of sorghum-sudan grass, for building soil organic matter. 

     The first crop for 2009 has been planted in the back field - garlic! Fittingly, my new farming partner joined me to put the seeds of the future into the promising dark earth here in the heart of suburbia.  Christian Kantlehner has been farming in the area for several years, most intensely for the past two years at Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham.  I met him at an eastern Mass CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) in mid-October when suddenly I realized that having lost my waitressing job and the days getting cold and short - i could squeeze in a moment for self-enrichment.  With the job description clearly written at home, i happened into a young farmer who fit it precisely. Essentially running the farm by myself (although absolutely not to minimize the enormous boost i got from my volunteers who worked a morning each week for veggies), I found it hard to be alone so much, although I loved the work and actually found great difficulty tearing myself away to visit my favorite place, the beach.  I was able to weather one year, but the idea of farming alone forever was a little discouraging.  Perhaps more importantly, in order to grow the farm towards sustainability, it would be physically impossible to do alone.  I decided to try to find someone who was a seasoned vegetable grower working at a well-established farm, who was ready to develop their own production methods and really begin farming on their own.  As I am not a great, experienced farmer I did not feel I could offer a mentorship in exchange for labor - I needed that special person who was ready to farm, who is a scholar of sustainable agriculture and anxious to apply their knowledge.  Christian's energy and enthusiasm have recharged my spirit and made the planning process for 2009 resound with hope and excitement for the future.  Our farming philosophies are absolutely congruous - we both feel strongly that putting poisons on food is bizarre, and that building amazing life-giving soil is the heart of an organic farm.  We chat farming techniques and choices constantly and reference our collections of books, journals, and especially the experienced growers in the lively farming community here in New England.

We have decided to use the Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, model as the core of our marketing for 2009.  We will offer 50 shares of the harvest, to be sold before the season begins and provided to shareholders once a week from early June to late October.  We have been working on this website, making lots of farm visits, and trying to hammer out the details of our production methods for next year.  Hurray for my newly refreshed optimism for the future of White Barn Farm!