Written By: Ellie Wilson, MS, RD Senior Nutritionist, Price Chopper Supermarkets
Spring in the Berkshires – Kinderhook Creek Farm
The cold weather was leaving Kinderhook Creek farm more slowly than the other farms I have visited so far this spring – but there was still plenty of action to be found there. The combination of a deeply cold winter, a slow spring thaw, and elevation (875 feet above sea level) put Kinderhook Creek Farm on a slightly different timeline compared to farms in valleys and flats. Warm weather usually catches up across the growing season, so rarely is there any change in harvest time that can be felt by those of us waiting eagerly for their crops.
Corn varieties were chosen some time ago, and the seed is in farm storage waiting for the earth to warm up just a little more. The cold weather actually has some soil benefits – it helps to keep some pests controlled.
Sweet, delicious and popular bicolor corn is the primary crop of this farm, though they also plant field corn, hay, and a market garden, raise Angus cattle, and grow yellow corn for specific markets. As they wait for the ground to warm, equipment is being readied after being maintained, repaired or updated this past winter. The corn planter was out in the yard – farmer Larry Eckhardt was showing me the seed closer in the picture I have here – the wheel pushes dirt onto the seed after the machine plants it, the equivalent of tapping it with a hoe.
The big green tractor got “new sneakers” this winter – $4500 worth of tires, which includes the special service for installation – Larry and his families do not have the special tools for big tractor tires in their farm shop. Farmers have some unique costs – that tire bill made me feel a little better about the new tires I need for my car this spring!
I wished Larry and Heather and their two sons warm, sunny weather for planting, and we will check in on them in a few weeks to see what is “growing on”!