I thought this might be a good time to welcome in the 2019 season and let you all know what we think of it so far! Well, wet and cool weather comes to mind. Our apple and peach bloom periods were at least a week behind what is considered normal, which really means everything is a week behind. In fact, last week we had to postpone our scheduled CSA startup to today. Our greens and strawberries needed a bit more heat to be harvestable. We were able to kick off our strawberry picking season last Saturday. Usually, the first couple days are hit or miss, and then all at once, all fields turn on and we have plenty. Keep in mind that the primary strawberry lasts only 3 weeks, with the 20’s of June the offering the best picking.
The apples and peaches appear to have set a strong crop for us which is such a blessing with the poor weather we had during bloom. We are very grateful for all our pollinators! The raspberries and grapes suffered some winter damage, but we still expect a moderate harvest from them, while the blueberries have never looked better. Our hard-working field crew has caught up with our vegetable planting schedule, and the frequent moisture has quickly greened up our fields. Bottom line is we are feeling quite happy with the prospects for growing bountiful high-quality produce for all of you!
A couple not so glamorous but extremely important projects we are working on this year are the installation of an irrigation system which draws pure water from recently drilled wells on the farm and transports it to every field and plant on our 145 acres, and the construction of fruit and vegetable washing station that exceeds the new food safety regulations recently imposed on all farms and food processors.
In addition, if you haven’t already, you may want to take a look through our new website. You may be surprised to see all the new programs we are offering such as our new Discovery Camp, Farm Tots, Yoga, Farm tours, various Festivals, and August Food Truck Friday Nights!
I also want to let you know that our Cider Hill Cellars has just added a few more awards from the world’s largest hard cider competition, the Glintcap (Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition) in Michigan, to include a Gold for our Spring Cider as well as our and Strawberry Harvest Cider, and a Bronze for our Raspberry Harvest. This follows last year’s Best in Class for Summer Cider, and a Gold for our Ice Cider. Not too bad for newcomers to the hard cider industry! We always say we strive to be the best because that’s who we are, and you all deserve nothing less. Some of these ciders are temporarily out of stock as we only use fruit produced at our farm, and we have to wait for our season to progress to accumulate fruit for replenishing our supply. We do have tastings every week though, so please check out the website for when they are offered.
I could go on and on about what we do here because Karen and I are just so proud of our crew and all they do, and how they love this farm as much as we do. After 40 years of building this beautiful little corner of Amesbury into a viable farm business, Karen and I are embracing the next generation of young leaders who we hope and pray will continue our legacy for keeping Cider Hill Farm strong, vibrant, and a place you will all love to visit, and shop, and explore, and relax for years to come! We are not going anywhere, but know this has to happen while we still have a kick in our step!
See you soon!