Winter Projects After Covid

by Gary Mount

farm store porch newWell, it is not exactly “After Covid”- That is still with us, but many projects got postponed the past 2 years. We are happy to say that we- and our staff- are learning to cope with Covid. Everyone has followed our family’s example and all staff are fully vaccinated and boosted. We still have staggered lunch times and socially distanced lunch tables but thank goodness many of our staff work outdoors in the fresh air.

And thinking of our staff, we welcomed a new worker from Afghanistan three weeks ago. He and his family arrived in the US, live close to the farm, and working here is his first American job. We wish him well and appreciate the extra help.

But about the winter projects. There is never any end to the ideas that the Terhune team thinks of (Pam, Gary, Reuwai and Tannwen) and each year it is a rush to completion. A big hurray is due to the Terhune Deer Fence team for finishing replacement fences on two farms and a new fence on one farm. As growers of fruits and vegetables, we could not farm here without excluding the deer. There is such a high deer population in this area, and they like to eat everything we grow. The two replacements upgraded our very first year fences, put up over 25 years ago. We are now much better fence builders with taller posts and better fence wire available and we know how to avoid failures of the past. However, deer are very adaptable and learn fast. We hope that we have learned faster. The new fence we build is on the farm we purchased last year at 32 Van Kirk Road. Fencing totals: 3 farms, 140 acres, 15,000 feet of 8-foot-high woven wire fence, 10 gates, and 650 12-foot-long posts. Just terrific—What’s not to like?

Another big project is repair and upgrade of the solar installation on our new barn that was built in 2010. When finished, the project will increase our solar output to just slightly less than that needed for that building- that will be great! (we could make the solar even bigger but it is not financially prudent to exceed the actual electrical power used) We are looking forward to working with Advanced Solar Products who installed our two systems and this project will complete the solar possibilities on our barn and winery. All of the solar is roof mounted so there is no Impact on our farmland nor any increased run off. What’s not to like?

Another project was improvements to the Terhune farmstore. It was built long ago- in the 1920s- and I have written about it in the past. It is on our webpage; use this link to read about it.

The farmstore needed some work. The main building, front porch, rear porch, and the attached vegetable cooler all needed new roofs. Adding a leaky bakery roof and we had a lot to get done. We closed the farm for one day (unheard of) and Chuck’s Home Improvements, now called Precision Builders came and did the whole job in one day and they even cleaned up afterwards. . I could not believe it! Very impressive.

The farmstore was not finished. The front porch needed replacement. Built 35 years ago, it not only was in bad shape, but it made our store inaccessible to handicapped customers. Our new porch, designed by Vince Picente of Inside Architecture, looks great, is larger, has better steps and handrails, and has a handicapped accessible ramp. When our contractor Denarksi Builders started the project, I saw a handicapped customer who was watching the work. She was sitting in her wheelchair, practically in tears. It seems that up until now she had not been able to make it into our store. I was impressed-moved-stunned. I don’t know the word to use. I hope that I get to see her come back-in the farmstore!

high tunnel april 2015The last winter project is the most unique. Not unique because of its name which is a “high tunnel”- but what it does for our farm. High tunnels are sort of simple, they are unheated greenhouses and with this winter’s addition, we now have 6 high tunnels. They are covered in plastic about 30 ft x 100 ft, have doors on both ends and sides that roll up. We open them when it is hot, close them when it is cold. The crops are grown in the dirt floor and our tunnels are part of our organic farm. It does not sound so unique, but it allows us to pick fresh lettuce, mixed greens, kale, herbs, spinach, and chard all winter long. For our farm like ours that stays open all year, that’s unique. We plant in September, pick all winter, and even get an early planting of tomatoes in April. What’s not to like?