We can now get excited about our local farms and their early spring offerings. We have good news to share about our two largest local produce suppliers.
We have just learned that Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, which has been delivering to us on Wednesdays and Fridays, will be adding Mondays to their delivery schedule. To keep our produce as fresh as possible, we don't always try to order enough of their produce to last from Friday until Wednesday. Now shoppers earlier in the week will be able to appreciate the bounty of their 75 plus member farmers, who bring to us traditional Amish farming methods as well as modern innovation. Lancaster is our major supplier of local watermelons, and we have never had enough room to bring in what we need to satisfy all of our members. With this extra delivery, we will get a good deal closer. By the way, the largest of these Lancaster farms is 25 acres but most of them are much smaller, as small as 1/4 acre. So if your bumper sticker happens to read "Suport your Local Organic Family Small Farm", look for the Lancaster label on our shelf signs. Learn a bit more at the Lancaster web site: http://www.lancasterfarmfresh.com/
On the other hand, Hepworth Farms, founded in 1818, is not so small. Amy and Gail Hepworth, seventh generation farmers, have been reclaiming land from farms that have fallen into disuse. Last year, they added 50 acres, which was devoted primarily to tomatoes. This year, they have added 50 more acres, and the Hepworths like to say that they are preserving the Hudson Valley, one farm at a time. Seven of the new acres are devoted to farming in "high tunnels". High tunnels (aka cold frames or hoop houses) reduce the effect of some environmental variables, allowing farmers to dare to plant early in the season, and also to delay the very end of the growing season. Their acreage now exceeds 400 acres. Learn a bit more about the farm, and view spectacular photography at: http://hepworthfarms.com/
This just in-first harvest of local burdock. This is a picture of David Stern of Rose Valley Farm, revealing his method of harvesting burdock. Note that the root is not pulled, nor dug up, but rather is harvested from the side.