By Tara Kelly
I was listening to the radio on my way to work this morning and the announcer was talking about the arrival of fall weather and foliage in the mountains. This change in seasons translates to a change in the type of work we do in our office mirroring the change that is happening out in the farmers’ fields. Here’s a peek into what’s going on.
As the weather changes, some things remain the same for awhile longer. We are still harvesting food from fields, picking up bulk amounts of food from farms, and capturing unsold produce from the Rutland farmers market and then delivering to area food shelves and other meals programs on a weekly basis. We’ve had great volunteers supporting this program all summer long, including some youth groups from the Youth in Agricultural Project in Danby and from Farm and Wilderness camp in Plymouth and the dedicated Weatherhogg family from Grace Church. We are always inspired by the farmers and the volunteers all giving back to the community. It is our great privilege to connect the pieces with the help of Thomas Dairy and Green Mountain College which both donate cooler space to store the products as they move from the farms to the 16 organizations around the county that serve people who need extra assistance obtaining enough food to feed themselves and their families.
FARM CLEAN-UP / CROP MOB
As we stretch into October, gleaning will slow down and farmers will be fully engaged in the hard work of tying things up for winter. RAFFL will be organizing willing volunteers to provide a short-spurt of extra help to farms in our area who have generously donated to Glean Team this summer. The concept of “Crop Mobs” has been popular around the U.S. in the past few years. Join us for a few hours as we help area farms complete any big end of the season project or cleanup. We could spend the morning pulling up black plastic, pulling out pepper stalks, or mulching garlic fields. We could spend the afternoon washing veggies, stacking bins, or sweeping barns. Interested people should contact Sam email@example.com or 417-4006.
LAST OF THE SUMMER FARM TOURS
There is one final tour of our Real Farms, Real Food, Real Rutland summer series. This tour will take place at Yoder Farm in Danby on October 13th. Ryan and Rachel Yoder will share some of their innovative methods with growing and threshing dry beans, popcorn, and creating apple products from hidden orchards. Kids are welcome. Pre-registration is requested. More information firstname.lastname@example.org or via our website or by calling 417-1528. Stay tuned for winter tours in the works.
Farmers interested in upcoming workshops about setting up attractive displays that sell, efficient site design on farm, and more should contact Garland at 417-7096 or email@example.com
TWILIGHT IN THE MEADOW
Finally, we are deeply grateful for all of the support that lead to a successful Twilight in the Meadow last week. This event is an important fundraiser to support our programs. And it is so much more. It is an opportunity for us to connect more deeply with many people as we celebrate farms and the food they produce. Each year we are overwhelmed with gratitude from the many local folks who make this event possible. Celebration Rentals, the local tent company, is always easy to work with and the folks at Wood’s Market Garden have been perfect hosts.
A highlight this year, Carris Reels helped us to get creative with tables making a couple of different sized reels which helped creative a festive and casual atmosphere. We LOVED them! Carris Reels donated the reels and several volunteers took them home to enjoy for years to come.
Forty-seven different farms, cheese producers, bakers and specialty food producers donated food ingredients prepared by 6 caterers to feed 250 guests, including 30 farmers who were able to join us. Thank you to Drop-In Brewing Company, Woodchuck Cider, Snow Farm Vineyard, Brown’s Orchard, and Misty Meadows Spring Water for providing the local drinks for these thirsty people! 125 businesses and individuals generously donated items to our auctions. And, the entire event hummed along thanks to the 56 people who gave their time, energy and focused attention to detail to make it all work.
We rotate this event around to different farms each September, so stay tuned for next year’s location!
Originally published in the Rutland Herald.