It seems like just last week fall had finally arrived, and yet here we are greeting the distantly familiar cold wind and blanket of white snow that accompanies winter in New England. Alas, this is quintessential of Vermont weather. Fall one day (perhaps with a splash of summer in the afternoon), and full bore winter the next. While we weren't fully ready to say goodbye to the ephemeral vibrancy of autumn's colors, we are allowing ourselves to ease into the reality that our field work is largely complete for the season. Of course, there is always more we could have done to prepare for the snow, but we're finding gratitude in that we yielded a successful hemp harvest and were able to squeeze in some fall bulb planting before winter made its appearance. Literally, the tulip bulbs were planted and heavily mulched mere hours before the snow arrived (currently praying for their survival). Now we pivot towards continuing our post harvest labors and beginning a new cycle of reflecting, planning, and formulating. This of course means we have a bit more time to connect with our community near and far, and so we welcome you with our first blog post and a window into what we've been up to and where we're going.
As most farmers, we set out this season with an immense amount of gumption and dreams of all that we wanted to accomplish. Items on the docket included:
Cultivating a quality hemp crop
Receiving our organic certification
Increasing our medicinal herb and perennial collection
Improving our soil conditions with on-site nutrient cycling
Integrating ducks into our regenerative farm system
Rolling out our brand and hand-made products to the world
Getting involved in community events and connecting with humans inspired by regenerative agriculture
Well, we're proud to say that we were successful in many of those pursuits, and then some. That's not to say our overzealous aspirations weren't put in their place a few times (hello, wettest spring ever), but now that we stand on the other side of harvest season we're allowing ourselves to feel proud of what we manifested. As young farmers with limited resources it can sometimes feel like we're small fish in a very crowded and competitive industry, but looking back on our season reaffirms that we've got a whole lotta heart and our efforts really resonate with people. It's been the little gestures of kindness, like the heartfelt product testimonials and notes of support from new and old friends alike, that remind us that our mission is one worth working towards.
These days now find us working through processing our certified organic hemp crop, lovingly hand-harvested by our team and some wonderful friends and family. We take great care in this step of harvest as it is deeply important for us to maintain the quality of our flower and honor the plant's spirit. Currently, we're spending hours upon hours bucking and trimming our crop by hand, preparing it for market and product formulation. We find that doing this work by hand allows us to preserve the developed trichomes, which house some of the plant's most therapeutic constituents such as aromatic terpenes and cannabinoids. It also honestly feels good to treat our plant relatives with respect and care. It's tedious sometimes, but most certainly a labor of love. Speaking of labors of love, our resident herbalist, Sarah, is very thrilled to have some reprieve from field work to be able to hole up in the apothecary and develop some of the herbal creations she's been dreaming of all summer. We're excited for some new products and small-batch seasonal offerings drop very soon.
We're also gearing up for some local maker's events in the Greater Randolph area in the coming weeks. It's important for us to cultivate a presence within the community where we farm, in fact it's written into the very backbone of this business. Needless to say, we're excited to share some of our offerings with our neighbors and friends and bring more folx into the worlds of regenerative agriculture and herbalism. Come find us at the following events:
Nov 16-17: Northfield American Legion Post 63 Craft Fair, Northfield High School (Note: Same weekend as the famous Darn Tough/Cabot Hosiery Sock Sale in Northfield!!)
Nov 20-Dec 28: Chandler Center for the Arts Holiday Market, Randolph, VT
And, if you're not in the Central Vermont area, never fear for we'll be hooking it up with flash sales and special offerings during the upcoming holiday season.
Alas, back to the trimming and formulating we must go, but the Hillside Botanicals team extends a cozy and restorative welcome into the winter season ahead.