Winter Work: How Farmers Finish up the Year

Share this post

What does winter weather mean for you? A change in work wardrobe from grey to black? From seersucker to faux fur? Maybe a change in your bike commute? We contacted two of the farmers we work with to find out how the approaching winter affects their work.

On the west coast, we spoke with Torrey Olson of Gabriel Farm in Sebastopol, CA [N 38 ° & W 122 °] who supplies us with a wide assortment of Asian Pear varieties, Fuji Apples, and Fuyu Persimmons.

winter on the farmIn the east, Ken Kauffmann of Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in lovely Bird-in-Hand, PA [N 40 ° W 76 °] presides over 110 acres of apple and stone fruit trees with several generations of Kauffmans.

FG: Do you track the weather?

Torrey: I have a weather station. In spring I watch the satellite for frost and wind.
Ken: I check Skybit (an online agricultural weather service).

FG: Are there any weather proverbs you like?

Torrey: You mean, if the sunflowers are pointing east? No, I use google weather.
Ken: Weather proverbs have fallen by the wayside since electronic systems. When I was a kid we would have a contest to see who could predict the weather using signs like a halo around the moon or sundogs.

FG: What are your winter chores?

Torrey: Pruning, except in the heavy rain. It’s hard to look up in the rain.
Ken: Pruning apples now, and peaches in March. Our fellows work outside down to 10 °. We also do equipment maintenance, repair the fruit ladders and bins.

FG: A lot of farm conferences are in January. Do you go to any?

Torrey: The California Small Farm Conference is a good one.
Ken: I enjoy the Tri-State Horticulture Conference in Hershey, PA.

FG: Complete this sentence: “Winter is a good time to”¦

Torrey: Catch up. Winter weather is what lets the farmer get a break.
Ken: A time to reflect. Visit with friends and family.

- Heidi Lewis


Subscribe to the WEEKLY BITE

* indicates required


Recent The FruitLife articles:

Summer fruit varieties and when you’ll be seeing them
July 9, 2019
Beehives, swales, and vermicomposting, oh my!
April 29, 2019
Spring fruit varieties and how to enjoy them
April 16, 2019
A tribute to the “Lemon Lady” of Redwood City
March 11, 2019
The FruitGuys New Year’s poem
January 8, 2019
Sowing the seeds of entrepreneurship
October 31, 2018
Give the delicious gift of farm-fresh fruit and healthy snacks
October 4, 2018
Summer to fall transition brings new fruit into the rotation
October 2, 2018
Bring some fruitful fun to your workplace on Tuesday, October 2
September 27, 2018
Farmer suicide is a public health threat and could hurt our food supply
August 14, 2018

More recent articles:

Summer muffin recipe
July 18, 2019
Assumptions can harm both recruiters and job seekers
July 16, 2019
Simple summer salad dressing recipes
July 11, 2019
Easy summer pasta recipe
July 4, 2019
How to create a dress code that works all year
July 2, 2019
More employers are getting serious about time off
June 27, 2019
Two Easy Recipes for Canning Stone Fruit
June 25, 2019
The health benefits of honeydew melon
June 20, 2019
The delicate flavors of white peaches and nectarines
June 13, 2019
Don’t let plantar fasciitis pain break your stride
June 11, 2019

About Us

Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.