Blog

Late August In the Fields | A Note from Layton

Quail Hill Farm
August 23, 2019

By Layton Guenther

As the late summer wanes, I felt it prudent to take a moment to write in acknowledgment of our place in the arc of the growing season. After an early growing season punctuated by steady, if not torrential, rain, followed by nearly five weeks of drought, I’m being approached by many farm members who are anxious to know: What’s happening with the farm these days? 

In spite of best laid plans, this season has presented profound challenges to our staffing: myself and four workers comprise the full-time staff at Quail Hill Farm, Scott and two others are on-farm part-time through the season. For the past eight weeks, we haven’t had a single week without losing a person to injury, illness or planned time away. To put this in perspective: losing one person for even one day at Quail Hill Farm is like losing a significant percentage of our total labor for the farm on that day. This has led to a natural trough of weedy beds and late plantings, all of which you’ve noticed as you peruse the fields on harvest days. 

Carrying on in the spirit of cooperation, we have been bartering with our farmer friends at Amber Waves Farm: in exchange for potatoes (which they do not grow, and we have in great abundance), we receive tomatoes and eggplant from their fields to offer you at the Stand. We’re lucky to be in community with such a dedicated group of growers in Amagansett. It’s part and parcel of the spirit of Quail Hill Farm that buoys this community in times of excess as well as dearth.

While it’s been a tough go this summer, things are looking up! Just this past week, we completed our first round of cultivation (and irrigation) on our fall crops: cauliflower, autumn squash, sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts (to name a few) look incredible, and will relish our late summer weather as August gives way to September. In the meantime, we have an amazing crop of tomatoes on the horizon, and will continue to do our best to keep the fields clean as a whistle for you to enjoy the late summer harvest. As for this weekend, we are foregoing our weekly market stand in Sag Harbor to put extra effort into crops for the stand — look for leeks, radishes, parsley, garlic, wheatberries, and more.

Now in my seventh season of farming the land at Quail Hill, I believe in the unending resilience of this type of community farming: connecting you, our members, to the land by opening our gates to you each week is the lifeblood of this project. We value your feedback and engagement with the community farm, so THANK YOU! The opportunity to grow food for this group, in this place, is such an honor… and we couldn’t do it without you.

See you in the fields,

Layton