It’s winter on the farm, and that means a slower pace of life and more time with family. But the work hasn’t stopped! We chat with Farmer Jonathan about soil health, completing the farm circle with a new flock of sheep, and the incredible potency, flavor and aroma of the hemp flowers this year.
Ned: Hi Jonathan! How are you and the family?
Jonathan: Hello again! All is well here in Paonia. The season has finally turned into winter and the farm has been put to bed. There are still plenty of projects in the works, but the crop is in and the majority of the work is behind us.
Ned: How was autumn on the farm? How did the harvest go?
Jonathan: Autumn on the farm was great, but not without its challenges. Mother nature came into play this year, which led to the longest harvest yet. An exceptionally rainy October made for a very slow harvest/drying time for the plants. The good thing about this was that the hemp flower underwent a slow curing process. A slow cure translates to the well preserved plant essence that I've spoken about in the past. The potency, flavor, and aroma of the hemp flower is incredible this year.
Ned: What will winter be like on the farm?
Jonathan: Winter on the farm is QUIET. Now that the dust has settled, we are able to assess the previous season as well as make plans for the next. We are working on designs for our irrigation infrastructure that will greatly improve efficiency and capabilities, which will directly affect plant growth next season. There is plenty of maintenance to be done on all of our equipment that we have been using. This is also when we take soil samples to determine soil health and the needs for the next crop. A little bit of knowledge here goes a long way. The formula evolves, the techniques are refined, and we build upon what we have started. We always look forward to winter on the farm. The growing season is all consuming and we appreciate the slower pace and more time with the family. Time is measured by how many days we spend on the ski slopes, as opposed to in the hemp field. The woodstove cranks non-stop and we find time to reflect on the past and dream for the future.
Ned: Anything new or exciting going on?
Jonathan: The most notable thing moving forward is our effort at being more sustainable as a farm. It has become increasingly clear that the more in-house and on-farm we are, the more healthy and sustainable the farm is. In a time where supply chain, freight and delivery issues are more common, the obvious solution is to create farm health right here on the farm. One way to achieve this is by introducing livestock into the equation. I've always believed that animals complete the circle on a farm and bring with them many benefits, including soil fertility. All the organic fertilizer in the world doesn't compare to what a flock of sheep can do for a farm when managed properly. There are some amazing livestock resources here in this valley and we are excited to carry on the traditions and heritage breeds that we have access to locally.
Another way we hope to achieve farm health while becoming more self reliant is by creating our own plant fertilizers. Although we have been doing this to an extent, we are committed to embracing these methods and perfecting them. Certain plant species have amazing nutritional and biological properties that when extracted or fermented, act as supercharged fertilizers. By growing and or wildcrafting these plants we will be able to harness their energy and fulfill the needs of the hemp crop as well as the soil health as a whole. Again, it's part of the farm circle, plants feeding plants, animals feeding the soil, a family nurturing the land, which in turn will provide for us and the many people that have come to benefit from the power of hemp.