It’s one of those classic early days of spring. The air feels crisp and windy, but the warm sun is shining bright, promising to wake the earth up soon. For most farmers, the ground is still too cold to grow field crops. Garden rows are tucked into blankets of hay and cover crops, just starting to feel the first warm rays of the sun. Now is the time for thinking ahead and preparing for the busiest time of year – the summer season. Seeds are purchased, equipment and tools are tuned up, and long-term plans are made. What to grow this year? Here at From the Farmer, we are planning ahead as well, carefully selecting what will appear at our customers’ doorsteps in the first days of spring.
On our most recent visit to Hummingbird Farm, everything looks quite dormant at first glance, just like any other farm. Boxes and pallets are stacked high, waiting to be used again as the sound of the boiler clicks on and off with that familiar hum. Through the sliding glass greenhouse doors, you can see light and the very tops of tall, mature tomato plants climbing towards the atrium. Step inside, and it’s summer again. The intoxicating perfume of ripening tomatoes fills the air and it’s humid and warm. Lively hues of green, red yellow and orange fill the nearly two acre space, a total departure from the still fairly colorless outdoors.
Jennifer Sturmer, the proprietor of Hummingbird Farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, started her farm back in 1984 and we’ve been buying her wonderful tomatoes for a number of years. Coming from a background of botany and a true scientist at heart, Jennifer has perfected the idea of balance within her greenhouse. Rather than trying to eliminate harmful critters with pesticides, she uses predatory insects to mitigate them instead. Because the tomatoes are grown in a soilless environment, she is able to start her season and harvest the fruit quite a bit earlier than our field tomato farm partners. With the right kind of partnerships – like the one we have with Hummingbird – we’re able to bring in just shy of a thousand pounds of her ripe and flavorful tomatoes each week. This enables a large part of what Jennifer grows to be accounted for, and we’ll all get to enjoy that juicy goodness of summer in our deliveries as early as next week.
Our farm partnerships are of the utmost importance to us here at From the Farmer because they create mutually beneficial relationships. By working together and creating the most streamlined processes, our farmers can be sure where their food is going before it’s picked, and we know exactly where we’re sourcing it from from week to week. It takes the guesswork out of the risky decisions of what to grow and where to sell. Because we buy regularly from them, our farmers are able to plan and grow their operations knowing that they have a consistent consumer base. As a From the Farmer customer, you are a supporter of the long-term livelihood of our farmers like Jennifer, and the food they work to grow with great care.