I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment growing food at the Sugarsnap Farm in the Intervale. There are plenty of buzz-words that attempt to encapsulate the idea: farm-to-table, farm-to-plate, etc.
But I’ve tried to use my time at the farm to get past the buzzwords and to tap into the strongest voices in the local food movement and hear their complete ideas – in the form of audiobooks and podcasts.
I’ve listened to Michael Pollan, Kristin Kimball, to name a few. Most recently I listened to Novella Carpenter’s Farm City, the Education of an Urban Farmer. She has a wonderful line that was so good I had to stop the audiobook in order to figure out how to bookmark it. She says, “Production of food is a beautiful process: germination, growth, tending, the harvest – every step a miracle, a dialogue with life…” This resonated with me so much because I recently told several people how much satisfaction I had gotten watching a handful of seeds arrive in the mail, go in the ground, transform into a crop in the field, get harvested and packed into boxes, and finally head up the hill from the Intervale to the chefs in the Sugarsnap kitchen.
And Burlington’s Intervale is a wonderful place to grow. As a region, it has it’s pluses and minuses. The mosquitoes were exceptionally thick this year, their numbers bolstered by a steady supply of rain early in the summer. The rain finally swelled the river to flood stage which only affected our farm slightly. Other Intervale farmers were not so lucky and got hit much worse. But regular flooding over the millennia is why the soil is so rich and loamy. One gets spoiled working this soft, deep, sandy loam. Weeds tug out of the ground without much argument and crops grow wonderfully without much coaxing.
The Intervale as a community is a great place too. I really enjoy being surrounded by other farms and farmers, all of us growing food sustainably for the larger community.