It had been dry—really dry—in the weeks leading up to my visit to Winter Street Farm in the late spring of 2020. As unusual as the drought was, it was one of the more quotidian concerns of that deeply unsettled season. Here in the northeastern U.S., uncertainty for farmers is now the norm. We see frosts a month late or early, and increasingly erratic precipitation patterns that are always surprising in the moment, but never in hindsight. Adding to that uncertainty was the novel coronavirus, which upended lives and broke food supply chains.
What would it be like to try to start a farm from scratch in the context of this global crisis?
This is what I was wondering as I navigated through the zigzag intersections of Claremont, New Hampshire. Suddenly, the light turned soft and moody grey, and the first fat raindrops streaked the pollen on my windshield.
The roads lifted up out of the town and into woodlands broken by pastures and homesteads. I passed through sheets of rain, until a sign advertising “CSA shares available” appeared at a country intersection. The rain cleared; across an open pasture was a yellow house with an attached greenhouse and barn.
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