Farmer Beth Kazmar of Tipi Produce recently queried local farmers for answers to the very common question, “What do farmers do in the winter?” She compiled their responses below.
– Sleep . . . . .
– Clean the house.
– Get a haircut.
– Reintroduce yourself to your children. “Hi there, I’m Mom and this is Dad.”
– Go overboard on Thanksgiving. Fill your Thanksgiving table with the fruits of your farm and your friends’ farms. Remember, this is our harvest holiday.
– Find the surface of your desk. Catch up on record keeping.
– Evaluate the season and plan for the next one. This is a big project, and absorbs a lot of our winter attention.
– Keep up with winter office chores: data entry for labor hours and harvest data, field rotation planning, crop planning, employee interviewing, customer survey analysis, educational presentations, and the processing of CSA registrations.
– Ski or snow shoe every day that you can. It’s a great way to explore and appreciate your farm in winter.
– Play hockey and go ice skating, running, indoor biking or swimming (keeps those core muscles strong).
– Look up (not down!) for star gazing.
– Read a lot. Read for pleasure. Read something other than repair/owner manuals. Read seed catalogs (that counts as pleasure!).
– Sign up for new magazine subscriptions.
– Chop and haul wood so you can be toasty by the fire.
– Cook lots and lots of food.
– Wood working, shoe making, basket weaving, soap making, bird watching, sewing, spinning, knitting — time for all those other interests!
– Enjoy the long nights with our kids over good meals with time to talk (compared to shoveling our faces and going outside to do a few more things before the last light)
– Subscribe to Netflix. Watch a long, multi-season TV series, even if it’s embarrassing.
– Get back into yoga and Zumba classes.
– Log in recipes, etc. for future newsletters.
– Keep washing your stored produce to sell to customers and at farmers markets.
– Catch up with friends and family. Make time for your nieces and nephews.
– Plow snow.
– Take a vacation someplace warm. Better yet, sign up as a Farmer to Farmer volunteer in a warm country.
– Host potlucks.
– Attend conferences, learn, and hang out with other farmers!
– Read, learn, and research for next year.
– Visit other farms, staring into the snowy fields (“This is where the onions were; you can still see some kale stalks… “). Wish you could actually visit other farms mid-season.
– Build tools and equipment for the next farming season. Properly repair all the equipment we limped along with during the season.
– Have lots of “farm meetings,” which is just Husband and I discussing everything.
– Do the taxes . . . bleh.
– Place seed orders in January. Order too many hot peppers. Again.
– Fire up the greenhouse in late February.
– Begin planting outside in April. Winter is over, finally! Start stockpiling those magazines to read next winter.
Erica Solis of Emancipation Acres reminds us: “For those of us with animals, things don’t change that much! Less pasture rotation and more keeping water from freezing. :-)”