by Ryan Parker
Special to The Weekly
A rainy spring day starts what promises to be a rainy spring week. No problem here though. A farmer’s work is never done. I think an hour or so of a damp day is a good time to catch you up with happenings at the farm.
Things are going crazy in the seedling house. At this point it’s getting tight in there and space is at a premium. I’m hoping to get a few more seedlings out into the garden and then start prepping the greenhouse beds for transplanting the tomatoes and cucumbers.
Farmer’s market season is here at last. Many reading will still, for some reason, not have signed up with a local CSA [community supported agriculture] shares that provides year-round veggies. But even those with CSA shares usually still look forward to farmer’s markets because they herald the coming of such wonderful diversity for the palette.
The Hampden Farmer’s Market will take place 2-6 p.m. Fridays, through November, in the parking lot of the Hampden Town Office.
We’ve added several new vendors increasing the diversity of offerings to include everything from vegetables to grass-fed, free range chicken, from cut flowers and seedlings to delicious baked goods of all shapes and sizes.
Finally, out in the garden things are really getting underway. Due to the late spring and the cold that’s been hanging on things are a bit slower and transplanting is a bit behind relative to other years. But this week promises to be a wonderful time to transplant (cloudy, rainy, little to no wind — perfect conditions for baby plants to transition out of the shelter of the seedling house and into the wide world). I’ve been at it for a while and last week one of the women who works for us at the farm helped me transplant all the onions and shallots to the garden. They’re loving this rain. Plus, we’ve got lots of other things I’ve stuck in [the garden] when I’ve had the chance.
With all the early items we farmers have been preparing and the promise of more to come this is really a wonderful time of year for those with the discerning local palette. Grab your market baskets, reusable bags, some friends and head out to your local market. Say hello to the farmers you haven’t seen since fall, swap stories of the difficult winter (let us vent – it’s been a hell of a ride these last few months) and peruse the many offerings that will fill your family’s plates with all that Maine’s farmers have to offer. Local Food. Eat well — be well.
Ryan Parker is a farmer, writer, artist and musician. He lives in Central Maine with his wife, two children, a golden retriever, some pigs and chickens. He raises pastured and forested animals and grows a diverse range of vegetables without synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or taxpayer subsidies.