Category Archives: farming

Green Again

Spring always creeps slowly into the winter-brown Vermont hills and then explodes. This, the other foliage season, a riot of green, seems to arrive in the space of three days. And in the space of two weeks we go from skiing (bottom photo, Mt. Mansfield on April 22nd), to plowing (top, East Montpelier), to bicycling, paddling and mowing the lawn. Summer’s so short it’s a good thing that when spring finally gets here it pounces.

 

Also posted in kayaking, mountain biking, mountains, rivers, roads, Skiing, Snow, Spring, Vermont, water

Snow, Wind, Etc.

Just another February day in East Montpelier, although it changed from a sunny, windy one whipping the snow off the barn below to the quiet, overcast scene above in about 30 minutes. Next up: Using a Sony RX100 in a snowstorm.

 

Also posted in agriculture, black & white, Snow, Travel, Vermont, Weather, Winter

Plainfield Flower Farm

It was 20 below zero here this morning so, to warm you up, here’s a look at the Plainfield, VT, Flower Farm last spring. Bram Towbin and Erica Da Costa have an acre of peonies and about 50 acres of lilacs and snowball viburnum, grown for the cut-flower market. From their hillside in Plainfield their budding flowers travel to urban flower markets around the Northeast. They are picked before they bloom so that they open after they reach their destinations. It’s hard work, art and science to grow them and pick them at just the right time. I worked on a photo story about the farm from the time the lilacs leafed out and the peonies poked through the ground until harvest. Thanks again to Bram and everyone for helping me. More pictures below, and a gallery is here.  

Link to gallery.

Also posted in agriculture, Colors, Vermont

Biking Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands

Two generations and a Croatian flag in the town of Stari Grad on the island of Hvar in Croatia’s Dalmatian islands. I had the good fortune last week to be traveling there with a Vermont Bicycle Tours group. Tourism in Croatia, on the rise in the 1980s, evaporated with war in the 1990s, but it is booming now. It’s no wonder: the clear, blue water of the Adriatic, a sunny and mild climate (even in September), stunning scenery and cityscapes, architecture that dates to the Roman Empire and earlier, fascinating Mediterranean culture and cuisine and people who are for the most part very friendly, despite the turmoil of the past 20 years. I met these two after following a man hauling grapes in a motorized cart through the narrow cobblestone streets and into his konoba (wine cellar). Below: a view typical of the islands — Pucisca on the island of Brac; a resident of the Brac hilltop town of Skrip, from which the limestone to make Roman Emperor Diocletian’s palace in Split was quarried; VBT cyclists in action; and building with stone on Brac. Limestone  is everywhere — there’s far more stone than soil —and everywhere it’s in use, from pathways to walls, terraces, roofs, tiles and virtually every building. Vineyards and olive trees are everywhere too. Lesson learned: It’s not a good idea to eat an olive directly off a tree. Click here for a gallery from the trip.

Also posted in Bicycling, Croatia, Europe, exercise, roads, Travel

RAGBRAI 2

 

More from the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, in all its glory: Above, a mountain bike stunt rider at the bike expo, Sioux Center. Below, they got the color scheme just right at Mid-State Milling in Clemons; sustenance on Day One near Sioux Center — all egg sales to benefit the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra; and knocked out in Webster City, despite (or because of?)  the eggs, the bacon, the pork chops, the multiplicity of pies, the walking tacos and the watermelon. Bottom, buena vista in Buena Vista. If you want to see the world’s largest popcorn ball, the Obama-Romney dunk tank, and polkaing bike shorts in the Czech Village, click here for even more from RAGBRAI! And a RAGBRAI video is here.

 

Also posted in agriculture, alternative energy, Bicycling, Food, Iowa, People, RAGBRAI, roads, Travel

Cyrus, Elahna & Irene

When Elahna Sobel-Faryniarz saw the damage Tropical Storm Irene did to farmers’ fields in Vermont last August, she decided to help. She set up a lemonade stand along Route 14 near her East Calais home and started selling, eventually taking in $40.50, which she sent to the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation in Middlebury. Her gift was part of the total of $2.4 million so far donated to the fund. This spring Elahna visited the Scribner family’s Settlement Farm in Middlesex, where Cyrus Scribner, above with Elahna in one of the farm’s greenhouses, gave her a tour.  Settlement Farm received a $5,000 grant from the Vermont Farm Disaster Relief Fund to help deal with the destruction the Winooski River did to the farm’s fields, one of about 200 farms to receive grants from the fund so far. More is here. 

Also posted in agriculture, Food, Hurricane Irene, People

Making Fresh Tracks

Christina Castegren and Kris Tootle have done what Vermont farmers of 50 years ago would have considered unthinkable: On the remains of an old hill farm in the central Vermont town of Berlin they have created a vineyard, complete with acres of cold-tolerant grape vines and a solar-powered and geothermally heated winery and tasting room. It’s called Fresh Tracks Farm. I photographed them and Fresh Tracks for Dirk Van Susteren’s article in the Boston Globe. Below, some of their wines during a Friday-night wine tasting this spring.

 

Also posted in agriculture, alternative energy, Food, People, Spring, Vermont

Hay Barn

 

From the archives: Hay barn, Adamant, VT, 1982.

 

Also posted in agriculture, black & white, Vermont