Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets
I don’t think anyone would doubt that farmers have very busy lives. Last fall, I visited a number of the farmers that work with us at Price Chopper. They all carved time out to spend with me and show me some of what they do. As you might expect, they all described pretty long days – there is only so much time in the growing season, and so many things to do to keep a farm successful.
I also asked them all about vacation, and winter was unanimously the time they used to take trips and attend conferences. My bigger question was, what farm business happens over the winter that helps them successfully transition from season to season?
Brian Reeves of Reeves Farm outlined some of the work they do. Winter is down time, and the pace is very different. December brings work on taxes, and reviewing farm systems like drip irrigation, and machine needs, as they look to close out the last year and prepare for next. With that in mind, Reeves Farm has ordered a new corn planter, which will arrive in the spring. December also brings seed catalogs, and planning the tried and true crops and the new varieties for next season.
In the late fall, when all of the winter squash was finally harvested, they found themselves with a bumper crop. Storage was a huge issue – they have enormous bins they use for pumpkin and squash, and they can move them around with various farm machines. They were storing the bins everywhere – it was pretty tight. This wasn’t the first year they found themselves short on storage, but they decided it was going to be the last year.
It can only be good news when we learn farmers are expanding their capacity to grow and manage a bigger crop, especially our vegetable farmers. Check out the new packing barn annex they are adding on the original building – it is huge! It is a big step for a farm to take on a project like this – the last time they built was in 1992. You can see, when they go, they go big, because they are not going to be building again for a long time.
Vacation plans for trips to warmer climates are on the horizon. We will check back in with Brian and his family as the weather warms up a little, so we can get an inside view of the energy of spring. Meantime, stay warm and enjoy our winter crop of squash and apples – find a great recipe here!