Thursday, March 17, 2011

Farm Update-Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Let the Building Begin

The big news at the farm is that construction is really underway. We had a slow start last week as Pete & Isaac worked out the best way to tackle the construction. Originally, the plan was to build the walls in a greenhouse, but with spring seedling trays everywhere now, and more planted every day, the seedlings edged out the construction.

So, a flat spot was selected, snow cleared, and a deck was built that would provide the level surface on which the guys will build the walls. The walls sections are large - 20' x 24'. The plan is to be building walls while the soil is stripped from the construction zone, the foundation is dug and poured, and an adjacent greenhouse is moved. To wait for the foundation would add several weeks to the timeline of the project.

It took all week last week to finish the first wall section, because of the extra construction needed to get started, and because it just took a while get the system established into a good groove. A second wall was constructed Monday and a third on Tuesday. Pete's plan had been to build two of these a day and we hit that yesterday, with walls 4 and 5 completed After each is completed they are hoisted by excavator and stacked in a pile.

Meanwhile, Steve, Ben and and a couple of other guys began the work of clearing the site. Yesterday our excavator and dump truck were busy all day, scraping, digging and hauling. With luck we'll be pouring a foundation in a couple of weeks and then erecting the walls! Any building project requires seemingly endless research and attention to detail. Combined with a typical April planting season, the Spring will be very busy requiring much focus. We are all so ready for this mission, so looking forward to taking it to a new level.

~ Amy

This is the scene on the work site. Pete and Isaac are actually standing IN the wall in the first photo. They are constructing the walls on a platform, flat. That particular wall is an exterior wall of the freezer and it's 30" thick! The entire 30" will be super insulated. In the distance you can see the the start of the stack of completed walls, with the first two completed walls in the stack. In the second photo, the guys are preparing to put on the metal siding. The walls are completely skinned before they are stacked. The gerryrigged tarp allows construction in varying weather.

Melissa's Crop Update

Even though the snow remains banked up on the sides of our greenhouse, the starts room is chalk full of the vivid colors of spring. For about a month now Deb and more recently Annie have been working away at starting the first of our tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and bunching greens. Over the next couple weeks we will be working hard to get all that green planted in the greenhouses so that we can have some early spring veggies. Going into the ground over the next week or so will be tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, along with napa cabbage (photo above top), beets, turnips, pac choi, kale and more. I can’t wait to be eating some good food from close to home.

To make this all happen in an organized and efficient manner we have been working diligently at creating a system for crop planning. Believe it or not, for all these years, all the farm's crop planning information has been stored in Pete's head. Since the beginning of the winter months Pete and I have had many two hour sessions of pulling all those planting details out of his head and putting them on paper. Now thanks to the fabulous Craig Mckenzie we have a database that will organize all our planting dates, cropping info, crop and field notes throughout the seasons.

I try to sneak in brief trips to the greenhouses to lend a hand in planting and to catch a little late winter sunshine. The rest of the time, I have been plugging away at crop data entry and looking forward to the end in sight. It won’t be long until we are back at full strength with our full crew harvesting, washing, and sending food off to fill lots of plates. Happy soon to be spring! ~ Melissa

Scenes from the greenhouses Tuesday. While Melissa planted Napa in the rear of the head house, Annie seeded more trays, and Deb ran hoses and sprinklers to water the crops on the bright sun shiney day. Hundreds of trays and pots of crops are ready to be transplanted.

The Vermont Farm Fund

We met with Monty Fischer and Elena Gustavson from the Center for an Agricultural Economy last week to create the framework for the Vermont Farm Fund, Pete's concept for paying forward the donations we have received from all of you and our community. The very first topic of business and a critical piece was the fact that the CAE is willing to be the home of the Vermont Farm Fund, important so that donations to VFF may be tax deductible. We talked about the donations, the spirit with which they were given, the fact that they were not just local but statewide (and national too). And we talked extensively about how helpful it would be for the fund to not just give out this money one more time but how we might use the money to create something self sustaining.

We reached the following conclusions in this initial meeting: we feel the fund should be statewide; we love the idea of VFF being a small loan fund, so that money can continue to recirculate, but we are exploring grants as well; we are interested in supporting farm-to-school initiatives, small sustainable farms and emergency farm relief.

As yet nothing is set in stone. An advisory board for VFF will be created by the end of March, and we will start hashing out even more details then. And ultimately, an experienced, informed board of directors will be created later this year who will define the fund. Thank you for your donations. Thank you for this opportunity to rebuild, and thank you for your contributions to Vermont agriculture.

Tax deductible donations to Vermont Farm Fund can be made on line through the Center for an Agricultural Economy website.

Interviews with VPR and WCAX

Pete has had a several interviews lately, sharing details about the progress at the farm and about the Vermont Farm Fund. In case you haven't caught any, here they are, handy for your listening/viewing pleasure.

Click on the VPR logo to go to the VPR website and hear Pete's interview with Mitch Wertlieb.

Click on the WCAX image to go to WCAX and watch the interview.

Good Eats Summer Share - Jun 22 - Oct 12

Sign up by April 1 and receive 2010 pricing!

Visit our website for more details or to download a sign-up form.


The Localvore Share - a great mix of organic vegetables and high quality locally produced staples like cheeses, eggs, flours, grains, cooking oils and more. Sign up by April 1: $748 for the 17 week period ($44/week). After April 2: $765 for the 17 week period ($45/week).

The Veggie Only Share - same vegetables that Localvore members receive, but no local staples. Sign up by April 1: $476 ($28/week). After April 2: $493 ($29/week).

Pete's Pantry Share - brings you NO vegetables, just the same local staples included in the Localvore share. This share costs $272 for 17 weeks ($16/wk). Prices remain the same for 2011.

The Meat Share brings you a MONTHLY selection of local meats. The Meat Share features our own chicken and our own pork with beef and lamb from other producers we know and love (and who are excellent stewards of their animals and their land). $199 for four deliveries, one delivery at the start of each month of the four month share period. Prices remain the same for 2011.

Visit our website for more details or to download a sign-up form.

Drink Beer for Pete's Greens!

Rock's Art's limited edition Barn Raising Brown, a handcrafted beer created by brew master Matt Nadeau is available now for a short time. The beer will be sold throughout the state to restaurants and retailers, raising proceeds and awareness. Rock Art Brewery will be donating all profits from the Barn Raising Brown Ale to the newly created Vermont Farm Fund.

Additionally, Calmont Beverage and G. Housen Distributors will both be donating $2 for each case sold to retailers.

Fundraisers Coming Up

There are still a few fundraisers happening. Tonight, Claire's Restaurant in Hardwick will celebrate St Patrick's Day with the Go Green for Pete's Greens dinner and Open Mic Night. 100% of sales will be donated to the rebuild. Come on out and raise a pint of Barn Raising Brown, and sample Steven's version of corned beef and more of his delicious local creations.

Saturday, April 2 - Parker Pie Co. in West Glover will hold a fundraiser serving dinner specials featuring local ingredients, and Cats Under the Stars (a Jerry Garcia cover band) will play at 8:00 p.m.. Admission by donation with all proceeds going to the new Vermont Farm Fund.

Still looking for some good used items....

There was quite a variety of items that we lost in the fire, and we are slowly tackling the job of rounding up tools that we know we will need. Below is a list of items we want to purchase used, in good condition. If you happen to have any of these items hanging around, or know someone who does, please email with details.

2 push lawnmowers
2 weedwackers (larger size)
steel loading ramps for pickup
jacks - either hydraulic or screw type
kerosene or propane salamander heaters (we need 2-4)
pallet jacks (we need 4)
stainless steel bulk tank for greens washing, square or rectangular shape, roughly 4 ft by 6 ft, often times these are dairy bulk tanks, we need 2 of them.
ladders, extension or step, need several of various sizes

Note to Fall/Winter Members

Re: Share Credits, Refunds or Donations

If I haven't heard from you letting me know what you intended me to do with your remaining share funds, I have left a credit on your account. If you are signing up for the Summer Share and need to know what your credit is, email me, I'll be happy to check it for you.

If you have asked for a refund and haven't received it, or if you need one and have not yet asked for it, please email so that I can get that done for you.

Donate to the Rebuild the Barn Fund

Or copy this link:

Checks can be mailed to:

Pete's Greens

Rebuild the Barn Fund

266 S. Craftsbury Rd

Craftsbury, VT 05826

Tax Deductible Donations

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, please consider donating to the Vermont Farm Fund through the Center for an Agricultural Economy or to NOFA-VT's farm emergency fund.

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