Entering the End of the Season

{The fall landscape from Holy Hill}

We are just a week out from our first Holiday Share delivery (LAST chance for sign-ups!) and are doing some final clean-up, tidying up the packshed, tucking away storage crops so they don’t freeze with overnight temps in the teens, and reflecting on the season gone by. There have been a lot of big changes at Regenerative Roots in 2017, lessons learned, ups and downs. Anne and I (Dennis) separated at the beginning of the season. Relationship shifts are always challenging and this was a hard summer for us. We are grateful for all the support we received, and are are hopeful that with time, and honest & open communication we can continue to make Regenerative Roots better. Anne and I continue managing the farm, alongside Clint, our friend (and co-worker from Tipi Produce many moons ago). Clint and his partner Kass moved from Nebraska last fall, and shortly thereafter were joined by baby Jasper. They have been an absolute joy and wonder to live and work with. They also brought a lot of seed saving projects that we’re excited to explore more in future years. This year saw lots of beets, leeks, kales, carrots, squashes, herbs, flowers, and more produce their seed stalks and ripen up bags and bags of seed to sell, save, plant, and select for years to come.  I continue to love this place where we are; the people in our community and the joy of growing food for them really makes this a wonderful home. The weather was unusual (like most years, at least something is unusual). A really wet spring made getting into the field a little challenging, and a surprisingly cold summer meant not so many tomatoes but also beautiful greens, broccolis, and cabbages, not to mention extremely comfortable weather to work in.

{Clint, Anne, and Emily put in garlic for next season!}

And as much as November (already!) marks the end of the season, it’s a farm and there are never any true endings. As softly as the leaves drop from the trees, we’re already turning our thoughts to 2018, seeds, and more veggies! Seed catalogs will start showing up in our mailbox over the next month, we are stashing our coolers with lots of biennial crops to grow out for seed next year (the plants take 2 years to produce seed, so you have to harvest the entire plant to plant back out in the spring), and we are starting to accept sign-ups for the 2018 CSA! There is always an ebb and flow – this time of year is decidedly more ebb – but things never stop moving.

One of my favorite things about this time of year – and let me tell you there are many, many things! – is firing up the woodstove. Walking downstairs to a chilly house, filling it with logs and starting a fire is my morning ritual most days. Putting a pot or two of water on top to heat up for tea or coffee, sitting right in front of it and basking in the heat and staring into the flames. Drinking a mug of hot tea, enjoying the quiet of the world before it wakes up. We didn’t have nearly as much of an autumn as last year, but I’ve been savoring every moment of it. As our farm work has wound down, I have enjoyed going on hikes in the Kettle Moraine (particularly Holy Hill and the Ice Age Trail around it!). I’ve been getting back into tutoring English (as a foreign language), and have even been thinking about getting certified as a massage therapist! Anne has been wrapping up her yoga teacher certification program, and is currently working on designing a yoga program for farmers, while Clint is actively exploring the possibilities of developing a business around vegetable seed. We love the flexibility that farming gives us to explore these things and of course the fulfillment we get from digging in the dirt and watching seeds make their awe-inspiring journey to bountiful plants (and back again!).

–Dennis 11/7/17