Pooh Talks: Spring on the farm, go time, and Edgewater Farm: Home of the Absolute Genius

Lots going on this week. Nothing like a couple of warm nights to bring out the buds on the maples and

dogwoods, push the daffodils along and get the perennial beds waking up. It also starts to ratchet up

the tension among the folks here because so much has to happen in short period of time. Coffee flasks

and cups are everywhere and consumption is definitely on the rise.

We have been dutifully working in the greenhouses, and the tomato greenhouses are indeed coming

along nicely. Two little hives of commercial bumblebees are helping with the pollination of the first

two houses that we planted. By the weekend we will have four greenhouses planted two tomatoes and a

house of cucumbers planted as well. We now will have to split our greenhouse time with outdoor

activities. Our retail greenhouses will open to the public for the season starting this weekend. Not a lot

of sales, but a chance for the greenhouse crew to get it’s A-game on in terms of building displays,

making sure the credit card machine is in daily order and the houses watered before opening doors

at 10 AM. It is an early opportunity for local gardeners to drop by, poke around, see what is going on

all the while getting a dose of humid air and the welcoming smell of damp peat moss from the


The Jamaican crew returns to Edgewater Farm this weekend. Some of these guys have been coming

here to work in New England for so many years , it is hard to say whether they are leaving home or

coming home. This will be year 18 for Roy Mitchell coming to us from his own Jamaican farm. He has

had many titles attached to him over the years. We have always referred to him as The Farm Social

Chairman, because he never met a party or cookout of which he did not approve. Because he has been

seen on the front page of the Valley News more times than the Vice President of the United States, he

is referred to by some as “The Esteemed Mayor of Plainfield”. But the one I prefer is Roy

Mitchell….Absolute Genius.

Many years ago we were doing a video regarding our CSA. The person


doing the video was going about interviewing various employees. While interviewing Roy, he remarked

that he had heard from the crew that Roy was the fastest, most productive picker on the field crew, and

when he asked to what he could attribute that ability for hand harvest, Roy turned to him and

responded: “Bill, it is because I am an absolute genius…” It still cracks me up. All the Jamaicans

have a pretty good sense of humor, which is great because a sense of humor is essential to doing the

sometimes tedious and mundane job of farming. It nicely compliments the sense of purpose and

commitment they demonstrate while attending the various chores. Last year we were transplanting

melons in brutal heat, and Jasper was doing a remarkable job of setting plants, making sure they got

enough water and were placed properly so they did not stress out and wilt …..all the while the sun was

baking our brains. At the end of the day, I said that I really appreciated the extra effort he made to get

the job done really well in the oppressive afternoon heat. I told him I wanted to purchase a six pack of

beer for his extra effort , and inquired which brand he would like. He looked up, expansively

opened his arms to the sky, laughed and said “Cold and wet, Pooh! I drink it all! Lite to stout!”

Suffice to say, with their help things will start clicking at a quicker pace. The onions will go in first and I

suspect that within 10 days Ray and Mike will have the bulk of the potatoes in the ground. So not only

will the potato seed arrive from Williamstown this weekend, a call tonight from Nova Scotia informed

me that the strawberry plants are landing this weekend as well. It seems hard to believe three weeks

ago there was ice and snow in the fields and I was full on with long underwear. We are in the

agricultural season’s equivalent of the top of the second inning….So many things to do, and how to get

organized to get the most done in a day?

So it seems officially that spring is here. The river is doing some flooding (victimizing one greenhouse

furnace, but no crops yet..) but the very warm moist nights of the last week definitely tell us that spring

has sprung. Most of the farms fleet of aging trucks and cars are finally working their way through the

inspection process and tractor batteries are being charged up. There are even pictures on social media

of George laying over perfect furrows of soil with the land plows. Who knows? But here goes….!