Welcome December. The days have become frigid, the nights downright bitter, as we descend into the darkest days of the year. Here in the western mountains of Maine, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of new snow, the Winter Solstice, and the bright and shiny New Year. Or─I am anyway, lol.
This week is the final week of Runamuk’s 2022 CSA. Once I have finished my baking for the week, and assembled the orders for customer pick-up, I will be on “vacation”. A sort of─winter hibernation hiatus─if you will. For this farmer, all that really means is that I will not be baking or putting orders together for customers. Naturally, I still have livestock to tend, holiday baking to do, and the farmstay to manage, so no tropical destinations for yours truly.
Even still, the extra time and freedom from (some) responsibility allows this farmer to tackle projects that have been waiting all year for my attention. Like cleaning my house… I’ll also take stock of 2022 with my annual review, make a plan for 2023, put together my (many, many) seed orders, and prepare myself, my family, and this farm for another growing season. In between all that, there’s still the holiday gift-crafting, baking, and making to do for gift-giving, as well as family gatherings to attend.
I won’t lie and tell you that 2022 was a perfect season for Runamuk Acres. Financially, it seemed like everything that could go wrong─did go wrong. Stagnation in our CSA program, my own impulsive decision to do without the income from renting my spare rooms, a broken hay-wagon, car-troubles and the pig project, all cost dearly. I’ve managed to keep the lights on somehow, but I am still trying to dig myself out of the hole I created.
When I think back on this 2022 season, however, what stands out most is how lush and healthy things looked. After four seasons working the soils, composting, amending the gardens, and rotational grazing, you can really see the difference it’s made. Parts of the gardens, where I’ve been able to put energy into amending the soils, produced bountiful crops that were downright sexy! The grasses and forbes on the field were thick, and as tall as this five-foot-six farmer. And─oh! the prolific wildlife!─so many birds, deer, turkeys, and the air teeming with flying insects in the late afternoon sun. To this farmer and steward, that is a most beautiful sight to behold. My heart swells to know that this is the direct result of my own blood, sweat and tears. For me, it’s worth every hardship.
It’s all part of this journey I am on…a journey of food and self-sufficiency, community service, and love for nature. Those stumbling points along my path are merely opportunities for growth. 2022 taught me how to improve my CSA so that it better serves the farm. It taught me a lot about raising and selling pork. And─this season led me back to offering farmstays and fabulous farm-to-table breakfasts, which I’m actually pretty excited about.
Runamuk is now offering exclusive farm-to-table breakfasts for guests to our Farmstay. It’s a unique opportunity, I think, for visitors to experience farm-life and eat some real food straight from the source. There are myriad things to see and do in this area to fill your days. The mountainous region of Western Maine is a veritable outdoor playground, with plenty of adventure the whole year round. Weary travelers checking late even have some options for dinner.
My ultimate goal is to expose more people to real food, where it comes from, and the connection we have through that food to the natural world around us. I want to share my love for this amazing planet we are so fortunate to find ourselves in existence upon. It is my hope that with this work, I might educate the public about the importance of practicing tolerance for the wildlife we share our backyards and neighborhoods with. Aspiring to lead by example─proving that we do not have to overcomplicate life to lead a good and meaningful existence. Living more simply and lightly upon the Earth creates a sustainable future that ensures the longevity of humanity.
When I come to the end of my days, I want to know I did everything I could to avoid contributing to the global ecological problems we currently face. I want to be able to look into the eyes of my children, and grandchildren, without guilt or regret. To know that I did everything I could to ensure their livelihoods and existence. I want to know that I fought the good fight─and that I honestly gave it my all. Because, we all know in our hearts that taking care of this planet is the right thing to do. #justsaying
When people visit Runamuk Acres, this is the message I hope they take away from this place.
CSA Members Wanted
In January of 2023, enrollment for Runamuk’s CSA Farm-Share program will open to the surrounding community. It will be the first time in two years that we’ll have opened the program to the community. Last year, I retained most of my existing CSA members, only accepting a handful of referrals. This is a pretty big deal for the farm, and I am stoked.
Enrollment opens in the New Year, with a 10% bonus credit for new members when you join our CSA. Runamuk’s CSA is a little different from most, in that─there’s very little commitment and a lot of flexibility. Our members pay as little ($50 minimum), or as much as they can afford, to establish a credit with the farm. Once you have a credit with us, you’ll be added to our mailing list to receive a weekly email farm. That email tends to include a brief farm-update, any issues or notes to be aware of, and the link to an online form which lists whatever products the farm has available that week. Availability varies from one week to the next, and from season to season, but typically we have something available every week.
To place an order, customers select the items from the list in the amount that they want. Or select nothing at all and skip a week or two between orders. Add more funds any time, and get a 10% bonus credit just for renewing your commitment to our farm.
Please click here, to learn more about our CSA Farm-Share program.
Gift Certificates Available
Enrollment may not open til 2023, but gift certificates are good as cash when it comes to subscribing! They’re also great for use on our farmstand. I might be biased, lol, but the gift of local food, and a closer connection to their local farmer, is the kind of gift that keeps giving all year long. Your friends and family can thank you again in June, when they’re enjoying Runamuk’s snap peas, again in August when the tomatoes are in season, in September when the squash harvest comes in, and─I’m willing to bet─again in November when we take our lamb to harvest. Click here to buy gift-certificates online, or stop by the farmstand to get them in person.
Once, I used to dread these darkest days of the year. Like so many folks in the northern hemisphere, I’ve struggled with my share of Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder. Yet, somehow, over the years, I’ve learned to embrace the darkness. I’ve learned to lean into it, and now I welcome December with open arms. No longer do I fear the long incarceration that winter brings. All through the busy summer, I look forward to the slower pace that comes with the cold and snow. I relish the time for reflection, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to bask in a little self-love for Farmer Sam.
With snow in the forecast for the weekend, the morning is quiet and still today. The sky overhead looms gray and foreboding, a sure sign of the impending weather. With baited breath, the landscape awaits it’s blanket of snow. Almost like a child waits to be tucked in at the end of a long day. The local community waits too, having spent the week in preparation. We are all of us eager─in one way or another─to welcome December. Snow is a big deal up this way. Sugarloaf, the Maine Huts & Trails, and the ITS trail system criss-crossing the wilderness─all provide recreational access to Maine’s vast woods and waterways. Folks come from near and far to enjoy the outdoor playground we have here in Western Maine. Runamuk’s farmstaybnb will be ready to welcome─and feed─adventurers. Foodies wanted.
Thank you for following along with the story of this female-farmer! It truly is a privilege to live this life, serve my family and community, and protect wildlife through agricultural conservation. Check back soon for more updates from the farm, and be sure to follow @RunamukAcres on Instagram or Facebook! Much love to you and yours, my friends!