Field Report: Red Fire Farm at Henrietta's Table
By: Katherine Brooks
Mid-week deluge aside, is it finally time to shake off the cold and perk up for spring veggies? Granby’s Red Fire Farm hopes so. On April 21st, they’ll put their best spring-dug produce front and center at Henrietta’s Table for a farmer-focused wine supper along with Westport Rivers Winery and Robinson’s Farm in Hardwick. Expect pastrami salmon crostini and crab cakes to start, salads of local greens, smoked and grilled free-range duck breast, and Taza chocolate pudding for dessert. After salivating over the menu and all those tasty offerings, we chatted with Ryan Voiland of Red Fire Farm to get a sense of what he’s most excited about this spring.
Chowder: So what edibles do you hope to see come out of the ground in the next few weeks?
Ryan Voiland: April is by far the leanest month for local vegetables. Although the ground in the fields has thawed and we’re planting loads of peas, greens, and onions, none of these plantings will begin to ripen until late May or June at the earliest. Meanwhile we must sustain ourselves with the last of the root vegetables stored from last fall’s harvest (we still have carrots, rutabagas, gilfeather turnips, storage radishes, and beets). In April we also have the last of the salad greens and spinach from the winter high tunnel crops.
Chowder: What spring crops are you most excited about?
RV: We’re excited about all of our crops! We have a few established plants of asparagus that will yield a crop this May and strawberry season will come in early June.
Chowder: Did you plant anything new for spring?
RV: This year we have plans to grow a more extensive selection of exotic storage winter squashes. We will also be planting a special type of red potato called New York 129, a variety we’ve been wanting to grow for years.
Chowder: Any unusual vegetables coming up?
RV: They’re not unusual to the farm crew but the public still isn’t familiar with Hakurei turnips. Planted in the early spring, these are an amazingly tasty white turnip that make for a great raw salad ingredient. The leaves have a surprisingly pleasant sweet flavor when cooked.
Chowder: What else are you looking forward to with your April harvest?
RV: A break from harvesting! In April, we focus on planting in the fields and in greenhouses to get things started for the summer harvest season.