Sunday, March 29, 2009

Haygrove Skinned!

What a fantastic thing to wake up this morning feeling my aching bones, knowing that I earned every single sore muscle yesterday accomplishing the project that had been nearly 2 years in the making!  
What an amazing day - we had so many people come out and help us.  No small thank you goes out to our friends that woke up early on a Saturday to help us!  Nick, Jane, Rob, DD, Ron, Glenn, Becky, Adam & Emmett.  You should know how grateful we are to you - this wouldn't have been possible without your help!  We got the most perfect possible day that we could have gotten - sunny, warm, and windless.  Blessedly windless!  We had a plan - we had job assignments, and the whole process took us 3 hours - a whole hour less than we anticipated!  The order of operations went like this:  hoist the sausage of plastic onto the top of the house, flop one end over and clip it into place, pull the sides down, pull it taut all along the length, rope the tension into it, then rinse and repeat until we were done.  It went exactly according to the plan, and having no complications with the weather was icing on the cake.  All that remains now is to build the doors (simple plastic ends) and the plastic skirts along the outside.  We plan on prepping the beds this week, and seeding in them next week!   Here's some fun pictures of the process, as well as some more great videos.  Enjoy!
Spencer giving the order of operations - note the frost on the ground.

Hoist the plastic on the ridge, and pull down until it is evenly draped.

Drape that plastic!

Cinch it taut!

Secure the ends with clips.

Rope it!

Here's a video from the day before - threading the plastic down the middle bay.

Skinning the first bay of the hoophouse...

Skinning the last bay.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Haygrove Plastic Unrolled!

The past two days have been days that were long difficult to picture how they would happen!  On Wednesday we helped our friend Adam at Adam's Berry Farm get the plastic onto his two Solo Haygroves - a thoroughly illuminating experience!  After helping him with that, we could picture how our process would go with much more clarity.  First task was how to get 1500 pounds of plastic off of the gigantic roll we were sent.  It boiled down to running up to Queen City Steel, asking to borrow two 10' steel pipes (one to use to lift the roll, one to use as an axle through the roll), schlepping those down to our field in the back of our Subaru (bet they never thought their cars would be used in such a way!), and go ask Intervale Compost Products if we could hire one of their guys and their huge front-end loader (oh, and please bring any chains you have) to help us suspend the roll of plastic to get it all unrolled.  We got that all organized Wednesday afternoon, and scheduled 8:00 am on Thursday to get it done.  All told, it went quite smoothly!  We are thrilled that that part of the job is done, and now all we have to do is get the plastic on the top and secured down with a series of tension ropes!  We're looking to start that project Saturday morning at 7:00 am out at our field.  We expect it to take a total of 4 hours.  We'll be providing donuts and coffee to all that would like to join us!  We need at least 10 people to make this happen - please contact us if you can help!  Email us at to let us know if you can.  Thanks in advance!  Hope to see you there!  Meanwhile, enjoy this time-lapse video of today's process!
The video of the unrolling out process...

We had great help for this project!  Thanks a ton to Adam, Becky, Jessica, Andy and Nick - we really appreciate your help and muscle.  THANK YOU!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Outstanding in the Field

We have been asked to participate with the group Outstanding in the Field this year!  We are thrilled, as we have enjoyed their amazing cookbook, and have been told over and over that we should host an Outstanding in the Field event.  We will be partnered with Steve and Lara Atkins of The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, which we're thrilled about!  Not only are they one of our favorite restaurants to work with, they were just nominated for a James Beard Foundation award (the Oscars of Food)!  The Outstanding in the Field event at Half Pint Farm will be on Friday, August 14th, 2009.  It promises to be an amazing event with incredible food!  Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 20th - the first day of spring.  If you think you would like to attend, you can look at the schedule here.  We'll see you at the farm!  
In other Half Pint Farm event news, we are going to host a Vermont Fresh Network Farmers Dinner as well!  No date has been set for that, but we'll post something here as soon as we know when it is!  Thanks for your interest in Half Pint Farm events!  We're excited to host and share our farm with everyone!  Now, back to the greenhouse to start growing some food!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Slow Food Awareness!

A million thank yous to all you Vermonters who came out to support the Slow Food meeting I organized today.  It was an amazing sunny Spring-like day and over 50 folks came out of the sun to Pauline's Cafe to learn a little more about Slow Food and how us Vermonters and particularly us Burlingtonians would like to organize ourselves.  THANK YOU!  What was particularly interesting was the sentiment that there is a definite need for an organization that supports the consumers' (in Slow Food parlance, that's co-producers) quest to understand and get a new appreciation for food.  There was such an enthusiasm for: educational potlucks (learn how to cook something specific together - recipe sharing, etc.), as well as not creating a new chapter, but galvanizing an effort under the current Vermont chapter.  Also, a nice voice arose from people looking to identify with a food community.  Such powerful stuff, and oh so motivating!  The other overarching feeling coming out of this meeting was, "Let's have more events, and let's have them now!"  I must say, I was also impressed with the level of folks' commitment to helping make events happen.  WOW!  What a difference a change in season, some sunshine, and some terrific company with like-minded foodies makes!  It was a pleasure to meet so many amazing folks with such great ideas.  I can hardly wait to start working with them!  I also gained the awareness of a local food blog I did not know about previously: Hippo Flambe!  Check it out not just for the super duper cool name, but some inspired recipes and captivating food stories.  Thanks, Robin!  
We got home from this great event just in time to thaw a chicken we grew last Spring for dinner.  Spencer spatchcocked it and grilled it.  We had a side of Anishinaabeg Manoomin wild rice with that amazing chicken - and it was the most incredible rice I've ever had.  It had a deliciously smoky taste that went perfectly with the grilled chicken.  To top it all off, we had glasses of our homemade carrot wine we made with Arethusa Collective Farm's 2007 fall carrots.  Absolutely perfect meal...  All of this would have been enough - just another Slow Food dinner in the Welton household; but then there on 60 Minutes as we were eating, was a report on Alice Waters and her influence on Slow Food in America!  
Couldn't have planned it better myself!   Enjoy the video - interesting, and timely.  Also timely was the article in the NYTimes this past week about Michelle Obama's efforts concerning good healthy food.  It's a great time to be involved in food, people!  So let's invite someone over, make a meal, pick up our forks and enjoy each other's company - conviviality.  It's where it's at!