Winter Days at Red Gate Farm

Farmyard Tails: Dreaming of Green
By Jennifer Bennett, HF Contributing Writer

Young children are invited to explore and discover the wonders of the farm in winter right here in the hilltowns!

As we ring in the new year, on the farm we are busy preparing for the year to come. There are lots of things happening. There are monthly activities for kids and their families to prepare, warm eggs to collect, neighbors to catch up with, and thoughts of an amazing year to come.

Our first seed catalogs have arrived, our own seeds are undergoing their germination tests, and our minds are racing with veggies to come. But, we need not look far. This year we decided to try our hand at winter growing in our unheated greenhouse.

On Tuesday when it was six degrees outside with wind gusts up to 45 mph, our little greens were happy in their home at a balmy forty-seven degrees! So, when my bones are feeling frozen, I just hop on down to the greenhouse and thaw out a little while gazing at all the lively greens. Who needs a Caribbean vacation anyway!?!

We do indeed have a fabulously fun winter planned for our community. Join us every second Tuesday through April for Mornings on the Farm, a program geared toward the littlest farmers (ages 0-4). We also have our Family Farm Days happening on the last Saturday of every month. Both of these programs have a different theme for each class.

Our Annual Snowshoe Hike is planned for Sunday, February 7th. If you have come before, we’d love to see you again. And, if you have never come, now is your chance to try a new winter activity with a great group of people. We have many pairs of extra snowshoes to lend!

Not sure what to do for February Vacation? We offer Winter Farm Fun, a vacation camp for children ages 4 – 10. The age groups are split to ensure that each child has a wonderful time exploring the farm and forest. This is a great time for kids to explore winter in New England with new friends. Send them down, they’ll thank you.

SAVE THE DATE!!! Fire & Ice returns on Saturday night, February 20th. This is an event not to be missed. Come sledding under the lights, sit by the bonfire, and enjoy a winter barbeque. Don’t worry – S’Mores will be plentiful!

Don’t forget, every Saturday at 3:30 we welcome you to help us with the afternoon farm chores at our Young Farmers Program. So, if the kids are feeling antsy, come over and make them work! But realy, it is fun and you may learn a little something while you are here.

If you are out searching for local winter produce, be sure to check out the Northampton Winter Fare on January 9th, and the Greenfield Winter Fare on February 6th. While you are there stocking up on gorgeous winter squashes, succulent greens, and savory cheeses, be sure to stop by our booth to say hello!

Happy New Year! And, Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer BennettJen is the Program Coordinator at Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA. She lives in the woods with her husband, two teenage daughters, a trusty dog and a frisky cat. A gardener for much of her life, Jen enjoys cooking with her harvest, canning and preserving foods. She sees nature as her home and can be found outside during all manner of weather. A graduate of Goddard College (BA with an emphasis in Ecological Education), she is at her happiest when she is able to share her love of farming and nature with children and adults alike. Her column, Farmyard Tails, shares events and explorations that happen on the farm while educating children about farm life.

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