Friday, October 07, 2011

Fall Pig Roast

Just in from a walk with Karl the Wonder Dog. The morning is awakening with raspberry red sunlight pushing from the east to brighten the day. The noisiest part of the morning is the crunch, crunch, crunch of the maple leaves which are rapidly leaving naked branches everywhere. Peak foliage in this area was last Monday and Tuesday. The colors are still nice but just not the same, but that's no reason not to get in the car and head into Vermont to enjoy the beauty.

Fall is the quickest season for me. My list of things to do is ever so long but frosty cold mornings and short afternoons have a way of making things speed up. There are all kinds of special events in Vermont in the fall and it's not easy squeezing everything in. This weekend will be very busy with parties, music, crafts and great food everywhere. I am sure there will also be many, many fund raisers as local towns still try to rebuild from the waters of two, really three, devastating summer storms.

A couple years ago we received a notice from our insurance agent that if we joined the Vermont Farm Bureau, we would get a discount on our insurance. We have had Nationwide Insurance since 1989 but with a house, a business, car, truck, farm equipment, workers comp, etc., the premiums were noticeable and anything to bring them down sounded great. We joined.

Nationwide is a great company although admittedly we have little record of claims to back that up. In fact I actually felt guilty calling when my brand new truck met a flying deer one morning several years ago. But the fact that our agent talks to us all the time gives us confidence that we really are protected, most flood related issues expected. And during the floods beginning back in May, our agent was regular with excellent email postings of all manner of important info for all various farmers in Vermont, flower farmers included.

With Farm Bureau membership comes the opportunity for meetings and decision making but we were always too busy. But last week we received an announcement that even tired, end-of-season flower farmers couldn't pass up. A free pig roast. The Washington Country Farm Bureau to which we belong was planning a pig roast in Berlin, Vermont at Fresh Tracks Farm on Route 12. We had heard of Fresh Tracks through the Vermont Grape and Wine Council so the chance to visit a vineyard and a winery and have a pork roast too was too much to pass up. It also meant we could attend our first meeting and listen to other farmers. The pork was being provided by Gaylord Farm so that would give us a chance to learn about another farm. All the foods were Vermont grown and that made the event even more special!

As we drove home, we were really pleased me made the effort to go. Yes, the food was terrific and I ate too much pork and not enough baked beans, but what we learned about farming and how farmers were impacted by the floods was most forceful. Yes, we had personally lost fences and plants, fertilizer and some land in the floods but we didn't lose 30 acres like one farmer and end up with a bed of useless gravel, or buildings or equipment or an entire season's worth of food or feeds crops like others. There was another reminder to check corn carefully as corn that had been flooded might well be full of sand and gravel and impact on livestock and machinery. Corn might look ok but was possibly/probably full of mold and much of it was not fit to be eaten by any animal. The list of cautions continued but it all translated to examples of what makes farming an everyday challenge.

As you get out an about in the next week looking at Vermont foliage, keep an eye out for farmers. If you get a chance, thank them for doing a great job and being there no matter what bad times they experience. And support your local farmer because they're hard workers and they bring you food you can trust. It's the way to go.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the sun is sparkling off the frosted grasses. The temperature will rise by noon and it will be a beautiful day. Enjoy Vermont, it is special for many reasons!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
We are open this week dividing daylilies and pulling annual flowers. Stop and see us!

No comments: