Spring is coming…so they say…

by Vermont Rice

An almost unreal weather reversal in Vermont these last few days.  Temps topped out over eighty on Monday.  Yesterday the wind switched from south to north and brought with it an inch of snow!  I am in the middle of getting rice planted, despite an early spring season which has offered very few decent days for working outside.  The key project right now is getting our hoophouse rebuilt with better features to be a rice nursery.  In northern climes, rice is typically started under frost protection and transplanted into the rice fields at 5-6 weeks old.  At any rate that’s what we do.

Today was to be my day to reassemble the hoops.  But just now I went out in that north wind for about five minutes before calling it quits.  I am actually not such a terrible wimp normally when it comes to weather, but 20mph winds with temps in the 20s turned out to be more than I could make myself tolerate on the 16th of April.  Nevertheless, one way or another, the rice is getting planted out by Friday.  By then the temperatures will have moderated a lot and the projection from there is pretty favorable.  For right now, the unpleasant (I wrote “foul” but then went back on it.  It’s not foul, just a little inconvenient) weather provides all the prompting I need to sit inside and write a nice long post.


So what about Ceres you might ask?  She is still parked under the pole barn where we built her, also waiting for the spring, as you can see.  We have been planning and scheming these last few months, and now emerge with a plan to take our sailing barge south again in less than 10 weeks time with a new load of cargo.  We hope to revisit Mechanicville, Hudson, Kingston, and other points, while making our way to Croton by June 18th where we will be hosted by Ferry Sloops at Shattemuc yacht club, offering an up-close view of our barge and goods for sale.  From there we take a short hop across Croton Bay to participate in Clearwater Revival, on June 21st and 22nd.  We are extremely excited about participating in this festival celebrating Pete Seeger’s legacy in the Hudson Valley.  We plan to offer goods for sale at the festival’s artisanal farm market and also to offer information on the project at the working waterfront exhibition area.

Beyond that the plan is still a little hazy, but it is likely we will head back to the northern part of our route to acquire more cargo from farms, with hopes to return to the south by July 12th to participate in the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance‘s City of Water Day.

Our 2014 crew is really coming together!  VSFP is proud to be working with the MiddCore Plus program at Middlebury College, and Meade Atkeson will be joining the crew as Ceres resumes trading.  Also, 2014 Binghamton University graduate Matt Horgan will be coming aboard for the June voyage.  Steve Schwartz has expressed interest in returning as our capable skipper, though this is yet to be confirmed.  Lastly, Andrew Willner, former New York / New Jersey Baykeeper will be holding the reins of the project for the first part of the season in the capacity of Acting Director.  Were you wondering how I was going to keep that rice growing while going down the river in June on a sailing barge?  Well, this is my answer — I’m staying behind in the mud with my plants and leaving the adventuring to others this time.