A Note from Layton at Quail Hill Farm | A Mast Year for the Farm

November 5, 2021
Quail Hill Farm

Our 32nd season of Community Farming in Amagansett will soon conclude, the long arms of autumn wrap around rows of sweetening broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, carrots, parsnips and more. Meanwhile, late season flowers (cosmos, celosia, zinnias and marigolds, among others) linger, indefatigable, to adorn sills and tabletops across Amagansett. Elsewhere on the farm, roughly three quarters of our beloved silt loam is bedded down with “cover crops,” seeded to conserve precious topsoil for the next six months or so until the cycle of farming begins again.

The cyclical nature of vegetable farming, of a life lived close to the land, can be a great comfort given the vicissitudes of daily life, particularly in these persistently uncertain times. This season marked our second living and farming in the midst of a pandemic, and true to form the Quail Hill Farm community created space to gather, harvest, and celebrate the little victories of 2021.

If last season was the opening of a door, this year we walked through, together. Early season CSA sign-ups were strong (and yes, sold out for the second year running), and a new sliding-scale CSA fee structure meant that we were able to provide free and reduced-price shares for more than 50 families in our community. At our first annual Memorial Day Plant Sale, scores of members filled their arms with flower, herb and vegetable starts— optimism in its purest form. And throughout the CSA season, a crew of greeters staffed the Greeter Station, welcoming members to the rows on Birch Hill.

As I write this, the forest floor around the Farm Shop is littered with tiny caloric treasures— hickory and beech nuts abound in what ecologists are calling a “mast year.” An abundance of tree nuts will, in turn, catalyze population booms all the way up the food chain. Mast years are also a strategy for resilience: when all of the trees in a forest coordinate to over-produce its seed, they all enjoy shorter odds at propagating future generations of their kind.

The Quail Hill Farm community is concluding its own mast year of sorts, in which we welcomed more CSA members and fed more families through food access programs than ever before. Hopefully, in time, the efforts we championed during these pandemic years will create a groundswell of transformation that will foster a food system on the East End rooted in equity, resilience and justice.


To learn more about Quail Hill Farm contact Layton Guenther, Director of Quail Hill Farm at There are still spaces available for the Quail Hill Farm Winter Share. The program runs bi-weekly from Thanksgiving through the end of February. Click here to sign up.

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