Today I had a little diversion from the normal busy Saturday.
After picking a sink full of lettuce (again!) and checking all of the sheep for signs of internal parasites (looking for signs of anemia), I left Roy with his tractor and the kids and LOTS of fencing to stretch in the back pasture, and headed up Route 2 toward Andover, CT to the Hurst Family Farm.
Tom Hurst puts in a yearly bulk order of sweet potato slips and shares them with us, so it was time to make the trip up there to pick them up while they were still fresh and healthy.
When I arrived today, I first saw Tom and his boys in the lower field planting…what else? A slew of sweet potatoes! No, you don’t actually plant the potatoes themselves, as you do with white potatoes. Tom orders “slips”, which are vines that are started down south, then uprooted and quick-shipped alive and ready to be planted.
A little further up the driveway I saw these handsome guys – Tom’s oxen team – having a much deserved break after plowing the sweet potato field. Tom finds that using the tractor with the plow compacts the soil quite a bit where the tires pass, so, apart eliminating from the noise and pollution of the tractor, there are other very practical reasons for using the oxen!
At the top of the hill lies their hand-built country store.
I love the wraparound porch — complete with rocking chairs and a picnic table, the shade is very inviting on a warm summer day!
Inside, the exposed post and beam interior lends itself to the charming country style, often handmade merchandise that is for sale there. A friendly Hurst family member is always there to welcome you and help you with your purchases.
To the left of the store lies the family built post and beam sugar house, resting quietly in the off season.
And to the right are the greenhouses, mostly rebuilt/replaced after the heavy snows damaged them two winters ago.
There’s also a spectacular post and beam bank barn down the back for the hay, equipment, oxen and cows — sorry I didn’t get a photo!
They also have a newly begun apple orchard, hay fields and acres of organic veggie gardens!
It’s always hard to say goodbye when we visit the Hursts! But alas — work awaits me at home! After a quick lunch we were down in our own garden planting tomato plants and sweet potato slips. It’s looking so nice down there — be back soon with a garden blog with plenty of photos!
Until then — we wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. We pray for those who have given their lives in the service of our country, and for the families they have left behind. And we thank all retired and current military personnel for their commitment to keeping us safe and free!