Last year, I had the pleasure of partnering with Crossroads Community Farm to photograph life on the farm in support of their digital marketing needs, and to help document the amazing changes that take place over the course of a year. The farm, run by Cassie and Mike Noltnerwyss, has been providing organic food for the local community for 15 years. Through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, produce at the local Co-op, and sales to area restaurants, they are feeding the community in a healthy and sustainable way.
Don’t let the big machinery or summer bounty fool you. Farm work is a very manual process and lasts nearly the entire year. Well before the first blooms of spring arrive, the farm is buzzing as Cassie & Mike prepare the greenhouses, plan their crops, order seeds, and begin seeding. As the ground thaws and spring rolls in, tiny greens go into the earth, one by one, only to be harvested by hand in a couple of short months.
In June, the lucky recipients of CSA shares are delighted with the first of many harvests, with spring greens and the knowledge that rare treats like handpicked sugar snap peas and strawberries are on their way soon. As the days continue to warm and lengthen, the farm begins to overflow with a rainbow of colorful veggies as favorites like tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers ripen. Before we know it, the sweet corn has gone from knee high to harvest time.
Fall rolls around with less planting and more harvesting, always with an eye on the fickle Wisconsin weather, hoping frost doesn’t show its cold hand too soon. Not to be outdone in beauty by the summer harvest, vivid root vegetables like carrots and beets, potatoes, and hardy greens are ready to be dug up and put into storage to keep the goodness going well into the winter months.
A trip to the farm is a joy for the senses: the bright colors, the wide open sky, the fresh smells, the tastes of samples from the field. The work put in is truly a labor of love by the farmers and their crew. The scenery changes over the course of the year from white, to brown, to green before the cycle repeats itself again. It was exciting to show up each time and be amazed at how quickly the view had changed with plants having had grown, or been harvested, tilled, or something new put in its place.
What a joy for this city girl to spend time in such a place with wonderful people, working hard each day to provide something so simple, yet so powerful as organic food. The produce is truly delicious, especially considering the time, effort, care, and work put into growing it, and sharing it with the community. I hope you enjoy this peek into life on an organic farm as much as I had photographing it. Also, remember to thank a farmer. 😉
For more info on Crossroads Community Farm, check out their website at http://www.crossroadscommunityfarm.com. Enjoy!