The sap was running, birds were chirping in the early morning light, and winter coats were headed for hibernation. All signs pointed to spring. Even folks who thrive on snow sports were starting to accept that perhaps winter was coming to an early close.Winter will eventually release its grip on the Northeast - read more in this Dispatch from the Northeast: Click To Tweet
Then… March. A series of four major winter storms rolled through the Northeast in just three weeks. No area escaped unaffected. The coast was battered with heavy winds and damaging floods. Southern New England saw wet snowfall knock out power to homes and businesses. Massive snow totals were recorded in feet rather than inches across the Adirondack, Green, and White mountain ranges in the north. Many in the Northeast let out a collective sigh, we had seen this movie many times before, yet it continues to surprise us.
The storms also dropped snow across the 1,000 family farms in New England and New York who own Cabot. While some enjoy ‘snow days’ from work, Cabot farmers know no such term. The cows must be milked and the chores must be done.
The children of the Peckham Family who operate Elm Farm in Woodstock, Connecticut shared these thoughts:
“The news of another storm approaching means, earlier mornings in the milking parlor in case of frozen pipes. Snow removal is a priority in the morning so the milk truck driver can make it to the barn to pick up the milk and deliver it to the creamery. What keeps us motivated for warmer weather is servicing the tractors in preparation for corn planting!”
Storms also canceled school and daycare for many, leaving parents scrambling for childcare options. At Liberty Hill Farm in Rochester, Vermont that means Ella gets to hang out with her Grandmother and help prepare food for guests at the farm’s inn. Perhaps a turkey pot pie can help the time pass as snow falls?
As farms prepare for the busy spring season ahead, there are farm meetings to attend and crops to get in starter pots (or CowPots!) for those that have farm stores, like the Freund’s Farm in East Canaan, Connecticut.
While the snows covered the ground, temperatures stayed warm enough for the sap to continue to run. Whether by horse or modern tap lines, sap was collected and steam began to rise from sugar houses. While maple sugaring is a hobby for many, it is also an economic driver in these parts. In fact, many Cabot farmers produce maple syrup as an added revenue stream on the farm.
Those aforementioned snow sport enthusiasts returned to the hills, paths, and trails grateful to once again be dancing upon a fresh bounty of powder in the mountains.
As it tends to do, winter will eventually release its grip. “The Four Nor’easters of 2018” and the feet of snow that seem unlikely to ever melt, will soon be a memory. The sun will shine, trees will bud, ponds will thaw and crops will go in the ground. The snowy memories will fade around a summer barbecue and come this time next year… the surprise and shock of major snowfall in March will be as strong as ever. It’s just what we do up here in our corner of the world. Check out this crew of Cabot employees on a recent Flannel Friday… hardly a frown among us.