Farmer Glenn says…
Another winter begins to loosen its icy grip as temperatures nudge upward, giving us the queue that it is time to prepare for another season of tilling the soil and coaxing seedlings up to mature and produce another harvest to feed our community. We are excited, fresh from some quieter days spent with family and friends to recharge and to remember why we love doing what we do. Farmers have a passion for work and production, but I do love the fact that we have a break, a season we can rest and collect our thoughts. My son asked me yesterday if there was anything else I could have done with my life if I had taken a different road many years ago, and honestly, I was stumped. I have never really considered doing anything else. Growing food is a most honorable profession, and it has taken all my wits and stamina to make a living doing it, but I love it. It makes so much sense. It is never boring or the same each season. We never stop learning and being humbled by our acceptance that we are never completely in control.
I have also learned along the way the importance of building a balanced life. Living on a farm is tricky because we are surrounded by work that always calls to be done, and it never is completely. One of my greatest victories in life was to learn to relax and to savor time with family and friends, even if for just a couple hours. They are what I work hard for, and it does not make sense to put time together off to the future when all I know I have is today. This balance has made all the difference in establishing a very special culture at our farm centered around love, mutual respect, hard work and fun.
It has been a blessing to work with such talented and hard-working staff, and to have so many truly appreciative customers who we think of as family. Karen and I almost can’t do enough to show our appreciation, but we sure do try. We are also so excited to have our sons working the farm now. Gregg is working in all areas, including the field, donut production and the new food truck, and Chadd is developing our hard cider line, and believe me when I say he will soon be making some of the best ciders in New England. Karen and I have been building Cider Hill Farm from scratch for 40 years, and though we still feel like kids, we are not. We recognize that all our decades of hard work won’t mean much if we don’t build a team and a plan for future generations of Cider Hill Farm success. We are in the midst of that process now, and are excited for how the farm is becoming re energized with fresh ideas from our younger staff, and sons. But don’t worry, Karen and I just love what we do too much to ever go too far. We still get up every day and put our boots on, and get outside and get dirty.
Lastly, I want to express my gratitude to all who have held our son Chadd close to their hearts as he has fought a very hard life long battle with Lyme disease. He is far from being in the clear, but has gained a purchase on life again and shows promise that he might be getting an upper hand on this very difficult to treat disease. It has been a painful and at times heart breaking journey, but we dare to be hopeful and to dream that he may yet enjoy life triple fold to make up for all the years he missed. While we celebrate Chadd’s continued improvement, we prepare to say goodbye to Karen’s brother Tommy, or as most know him, Tweety. He is losing his battle to Stage 4 cancer, and is moving into our home for his last weeks while in hospice. You may know him for his serious work on the donut machine, always teasing the children by holding up a few donuts on his stick behind the glass window, or for all the years he has worked down in our CSA area, carrying every bin of produce for each member, or playing harmonica for the kids. I can not tell you how much you have all meant to him, even if you don’t know him. Tweety had a very hard life, and his later years spent at Cider Hill Farm have given him a renewed sense of worth, of knowledge that he has value. He has such an infectious laugh, and those piercing blue eyes that reveal his soul. Karen and I will miss him dearly, but we want to let you know he has found peace, and loves you all. If anyone would like to give him some final cheer, please write him a little note, and send it to him at: Karen Cook, 201 Market Street, Amesbury, MA 01913. He will be with us just a few more weeks.
Well, I know that I should be talking about new varieties of corn, and what events will be coming up this year, but I feel like talking about life tonight, so that is what you get. We all anxiously wait for opening day May 4 (my birthday!) to get the ball rolling again and to see you once again on our farm. This year is going to be great. Yes, it will be. See you soon!