RAFC

Evening Song Trip, Jan. 2020

This past week TJ (GM), Melanie (Asst. GM), Kelly (Produce Manager), and Justin (Marketing Manager) had the pleasure of venturing up into the hills of Shrewsbury to visit Ryan and Kara of Evening Song Farm to see how they continue to give the Co-op fresh veggies, even in the depths of winter.
Evening Song Farm is perched on a hill looking down on the Mill River in Shrewsbury, where the original site of the farm was swept away in Hurricane Irene.  Since 2011, Evening Song has been able come back from the devestation of Irene to grow and expand their hillside farm, working towards and receiving Organic certification in 2018.

At the top of the dirt road you are met with a vista, bordered on the left with fields and the growing tunnels, and their barn/root cellar/CSA distribution/prep room on the right with a beautiful view of Mill River Valley.  In side the Prep Room is where Ryan and Kara, along with their dedicated staff, clean all of the produce.  Some goes to the Rutland Farmers Market, some to CSAs and some straight to our Produce cooler here at the Co-op.  

Each part of the farm has a piece of New England ingenuity, from a repurposed washing machine that spins greens, passive cooling in their root cellar – needing only the smallest amount of energy to keep things cool, even in the height of summer, to small fans directing air between the layers of plastic in the wind tunnels – ensuring necessary insulation to the ever growing greens housed there even to temperatures of -20 F; each part is well thought out, re-evalutated, and constantly improved.

This constant renewal was an interesting aspect of Organic Farming that we had not put our finger on before.  To be Certified Organic comes of course with guidelines and strict accounting of everything going into the plants being raised, but it also means that organic farmers must continue to innovate and look for more sustainable solutions.  Now that the farm has been successful for the past few years, Ryan is researching “no-till” farming, a soil-preservation process that he hopes to implement in the next 5 years.  Organic farming is not thinking solely about this growing season, but how to improve your processes over years, if not decades, of hard work.

It was a pleasure and an honor to be able to tour the farm, see the fresh greens growing in winter soil, and learn more about what it really means to be a Certified Organic farm in Vermont.  Thanks Ryan and Kara!

2 comments on “Evening Song Trip, Jan. 2020

  • Dottie Stanley says:

    I own a farm ( and farmhouse) in Mount Holly that is not being used and was wondering if you needed extra land and a barn to expand your business. The farmhouse I rent to skiers during the season from Nov. 15th-April 15th (although they only come up when the snow flies and the skiing’s good). Also I rent to a gal in the summer from New Mexico. I think you may have looked at the land/space years ago, but ended up in the spot that was ravished by Irene on 103. I’m so glad to see the wonderful situation you now have in Shrewsbury.
    I just wish I could use the farm for something — gardening, animals..whatever. I live 4 miles away just down from the Crowley Cheese Factory. My folks bought the farm in 65 and would spend 5 months there (Memorial Day to Halloween) then got to FL. for the winter. I spent my summers there while going to school, then moved to NYC in order to work on B’way. However,
    I got my start at the Weston Playhouse, and have done many shows there, as well as Northern Stage in WRJ. I live here permanently now, and have just cleaned a lot of “stuff” out of the barn. It has an interesting history, and various folks have used it (farmers and horse owners) over the years, but now they’ve found their own places and have moved out. I would love the land to be used again, so am starting with you folks to see if you can use it, or might have any ideas. Thanks for reading this long missive, and please feel free to call me at 259-3676 or email me as well. Would appreciate at least talking to you about possibilities:)
    Best,
    Dottie

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