WHEELOCK - With every frost that the morning brings, winter is closer and farms in the Northeast Kingdom are harvesting crops and storing food before the frost overtakes them. The Chandler Pond Farm in South Wheelock is in the process of moving crops into the root cellar below the house.
Rob Martin, Co-Manager of the farm, moves the vegetables so they can continue to gather water from the moisture in the cellar.
"We really don't grow much in the winter. Obviously the environment doesn't allow it, and we're sick of growing things throughout the summer and we're trying to look for a break," said Martin.
The break will come after the harvest is in the cellar and the young plants are beginning to sprout in the greenhouses. Martin stores vegetables in the cellar to later sell at the St. Johnsbury Winter Farmer's Markets. While spinach plants take root in the temperature controlled greenhouse.
"There's been a big push lately to increase winter production through the greenhouses," said Martin. The farm will put laying hens into the greenhouses to maintain egg sales throughout the winter.
Money gets tight in the spring with fewer items being taken to the market during winter months and spring startup costs once the snow melts.
"That's what is really fascinating to me... is managing all this," said Martin.