A meaningful path

**This blog post was written by Sarah Dobson, who works at Abundant Acres Farm. In the spring, Sarah took on the job of producing seedlings for the farm. She also harvested every week with the crew, and participated with the team in all farm jobs. When Sydney had to leave, Sarah took over the job of harvest and inventory management together with the Warehouse Market crew.**

As the 2020 season wraps up here at Abundant Acres, we cannot express enough gratitude to those who chose to support Abundant Acres and The Warehouse Market. This week marks the last week of Farm Shares. The importance of supporting local food production through the farm share  model cannot be understated. It’s been a wonderful challenge to ensure that the 200+ folks who invest in this farm get an excellent variety of top quality produce. Growing vegetables during a pandemic did not come without its challenges, especially for the wonderful humans who run our market in Halifax. It’s also been an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to grow food during such turbulent times.

As an inexperienced farmer, there was most definitely a steep learning curve when I arrived here in April. I cannot express enough gratitude to David & Jen for their trust in young, aspiring farmers. It’s also been a pleasure to work with such a wonderful crew. Our managers, Raphaelle, Sydney and Justin have supported those of us with less experience in a profound way. There has never been a period in my life so steeped in new knowledge and information. I’m so glad that I’ve found a place where I can apply knowledge so tangibly – something I was frustrated by after finishing university. It’s also worth mentioning that learning how to grow vegetables, whether it’s botany 101 or how to drive a tractor, has also rekindled a childlike sense of wonder that I think many of us feel dwindle as we try to forge a meaningful path. I’m so glad that my first season farming  was spent here at Abundant Acres on this incredible land with such incredible humans! After this season I look forward to a lifetime of learning better vegetable growing practices with a broader goal of improving conservation and food security in Nova Scotia and beyond! 

Although the season is wrapping up, with fields once bursting with vegetables now covered in rye grass or silage tarp, harvests growing smaller and co-workers making their plans for the winter, I’m so happy to have the opportunity to stay here through the winter months and keep the luscious, cold-hardy crops grown in our greenhouses pumping. As much as we’ll miss juicy red tomatoes, glossy eggplants and crisp, sweet peppers there is something to be said for eating seasonally and appreciating that fleeting abundance. As frost creeps in, it’s encouraging to know that those hot summer days will stay top of mind as we plan next season’s crops.

Here are some of Sarah’s photos from the season:

Kale is thriving beside frosted eggplants and peppers
Hoop houses in the morning light
Moving a hoop house. Four more to go!
Raphaëlle weeding in the pasture field
Kale, eggplants, and peppers, with ryegrass in between the beds
Planting oat cover crop
Rye cover crop where carrots once grew
Purple tomatillos
The whole crew digging carrots
Where the dock ends on the Cogmagun River
Getting the new greenhouse ready for winter!
First frost, Sept 20
Sydney and Jayson harvesting hakurei turnips on a September morning
Pole beans were such a fun vegetable to grow
The farm sits on the muddy, red banks of the Cogmagun River. Observing the magic of this tidal river that twice a day swells from a small, trickle of a stream to a vast, powerful river is amazing to see while working in Fox Field
Matt brought quince from the orchard in Avondale that is available at the Warehouse Market (Photo: J Greenberg)
Lianne bagging greens outside at the Warehouse Market. The Market has been moved inside but because of COVID restrictions, sometimes we move jobs outside to allow more people inside at a time (Photo: J Greenberg)