Louisa Enright's Blog

Mainely Tipping Points

Turkey Tracks: Golden Brook Farm

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Turkey Tracks:  May 20, 2013

Golden Brook Farm

Old friend and former neighbor Gina Caceci visited last weekend, and I think we talked nonstop for three days.  It was so good to see her.

One of the things we did was to go up Howe Hill to Golden Brook Farm to get some spring greens–which are filling Susan McBride Richmond’s hoop houses now.

These spring greens are the best spring tonic I know.

Susan and her husband Chris added two more BIG hoop houses this year, and no one is more delighted than me.  I have so loved watching Susan and Chris, little by little, work on their house, their barns, and their land.  Truly, Golden Brook Farm is a real farm, selling beautiful produce, eggs, and seasonal turkeys.

Here are two of the four hoop houses.  Eliot Coleman of Maine pioneered the ability to grow food year round in Maine’s winter in these hoop houses.  That book is, I think, FOUR SEASONS GARDENING.  You can’t sprout seed in the darkest winter months, but you can plant fall crops and harvest and eat them all winter long–with the help of interior coverings.  The back hoop house is the newest one and was installed just a few weeks ago.

Golden Brook Farm hoop houses

Here’s what the inside of a working hoop house can look like.

Inside Susan's Hoop House

Look at this lush planting of pea shoots–a favorite spring green in Maine:

Hoop House Planting bed 1

Or, this one–a kind of cabbage:

Hoop House Planting Bed 2

Here’s Susan herself.

Susan McBride Richmond

One day last summer I walked into one of these hoop houses that was filled with ripe tomatoes, basil, and other herbs.  I have remembered the rich heady smell for all this past long winter.  Warmed ripe tomatoes, basil, and herbs…  What a treat.

I planted Sun Gold cherry tomatoes myself and augmented with cherry tomatoes from Susan’s crop.  I cut them in half and dry them and have them all winter for salads or just to eat.  They’re so sweet they taste like chewy candy.

Think what you might be able to do in YOUR yard with even a much smaller hoop house.  They come in all sizes, and some are on sliders so they can be moved to new dirt while the old dirt recovers.  You can often find used ones.

Here’s a picture of the back side of the forsythia hedge that lines the road outside the farm.  It’s spectacular, even from the back side.  Forsythia in Maine lasts for weeks and glows against the sky or with the light on it.  We know spring has truly come when the forsythia blooms.

Forsythia Hedge

2 Responses

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  1. Forsythia – my first encounter was at our Bellevue house and I loved it for its promise that spring was on its way. For that sentimental reason, It was the first thing I planted at our North Carolina cabin and now I love it because the deer don’t touch it.

    Bonnie Sinatro

    May 26, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    • Sorry to be so slow replying. Have been outside for days now–catching up after eight days of rain. The grass was almost a foot long! I love the Maine Forsythia so much because it’s one of the first really showy plants that blooms in the spring–and in the cool weather it lasts for such a long time. When the light catches it–oh my! We now have lilacs everywhere–the air is so sweet.


      June 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

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