Dear Upinngil Patron,
With winter upon us and the cold settling we’re excited to have our Hoop House full of tasty delicate greens, which we’ve been harvesting on Tuesdays. In this end of year newsletter we want to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Upinngil Team. Below you’ll find a little blurb on each of our six year-round employees. Following that we have a few examples of holiday gifts unique to Upinngil, a chance for you to share your love of the farm with family and friends, including the new Upinngil Gift Card/Member Card. Also, starting on the 1st of December we now have a device for accepting EBT/SNAP cards (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), if you are a SNAP family or know a SNAP family please spread the word.
The Milk Price increase: You may have noticed by now that we increased the price of plastic milk gallons to $7.50, it’s been four years since our last milk price increase. In that time we’ve managed to delay a price increase by focusing on energy and labor efficiency/savings: installing our solar array, purchasing our plastic containers in bulk, renovating and streamlining the the dairy facility. Our goal with pricing is threefold: to keep Upinngil sustainable for generations to come, keep product affordable for our most local community here in Gill, and pay our employees a living wage.
Employee Showcase: The Upinngil Team
Upinngil founded in 1989 by Clifford Hatch and Patricia Crosby. Clifford is from a long tradition of faming, the Hatches and Lymans having settled and farmed land in around Granby, MA since colonial times. In 1988 the family moved to Tricia’s childhood home on Center Road in Gill with their two children Sorrel and Rhys (Malcolm came along nine years later.) The farm has grown and evolved much since then. In 2007 Sorrel came back from college breathing new life into the farm, and the team has grown almost every year since then. Sorrel and Isaac were married in 2013, and now live with their two children at the big farm house attached to the farm store. Upinngil now supports six year-round employees. We’re extremely proud of our current team and want to make sure all of you, our customers, know how vital each team member is to the working of the farm. This way the next time you pass one of us in the store you might have a name to go with a smile. From left to right:
August Bingham “Bam Bam,” has been with the farm for two years. Job description: rabble rouser
Isaac Bingham “The Door Man” has been with the farm for four years. Job description: infrastructure improvements, carpenter, milks cows, makes cheese, ceramic artist and chainsaw sculptor, helps Sorrel with product and lay-out design, customer relations, communication, volunteer coordinator, writes the Upinngil newsletter. Also known as “Action Man.”
Jodie Stafford “The Nanny-Baker” has been with the farm for seven years. Job description: Jodie bakes Upinngil’s Little Red Hen bread, cookies, muffins, and scones, working with Sorrel to develop new recipes and bakery products. Jodie has become part of the family, she’s Auntie Jodie to young August, and offers invaluable help to Sorrel juggling the kids, placing orders, managing the store, bottling milk, and helping customers.
Simon Eaton “The Man for All Seasons” has been with the farm for seven years and has become Clifford’s right hand man. Job description: evening cow milker, production manager for Market Garden and Hoop House, winter salad harvester, strawberry season crew leader, drives tractor, plants and cultivates field crops, maintains equipment, manages potato cave, assists with the wheat harvest, and manages milling and grain sales.
Kelli Clemens “The Shopkeeper” started this spring as a morning harvester and was a perfect fit. We’re thrilled to be able to keep her on part time for the winter months. Job description: manages the Farm Stand, in season harvesting the morning veggies and summer salad mix, helps Simon with the strawberry crew, washes bottles, packages cheese, and increasingly more involved with sales and store management.
Sorrel Hatch “The Farmer’s Daughter” has been with the farm for 29 years (since it’s founding when she was four years old). Job description: Sorrel is the linch pin that holds us all together. Many distinctive features of the farm Sorrel conceived, developed and then taught to employees: the Little Red Hen Bakery, the Market Garden, the Farm Stand, Upinngil’s much sought after salad mix, the CSA program, the chickens and their many magical moving coops, Upinngil’s self-check-out and honor system, the pick-your-own flower garden. Sorrel works non-stop juggling her two boys and all that is Upinngil, which at this point can’t be done without the support team we now have.
Everett Bingham “Bit-a-Budha”(as his big brother named him) has been with the farm for seven months. Job description: being cute
Clifford Hatch “The Engineer” has been with the farm for 28 years. Founder and Owner. Cliff and Tricia still live on Center Road where he raises the calves and keeps a flock of chickens. Cliff has had the vision and fortitude to see the farm through the early days before our valley was excited and supportive of local agriculture – from the original business of Finnsheep and Apiary, trying to support a family selling at farmers markets – to today’s location at 411 Main Rd with the Farm Store and it’s three distinctive products among many others: Milk, Strawberries, and Wheat. Cliff manages and oversees all aspects of the farm: the planting, cultivating, and harvesting of the field crops, tractor driving and equipment maintenance, payroll, bookkeeping, herd management, cheesemaking, and still insists on milking cows every Sunday morning. During the precious moments he’s not farming (usual during the winter months) you’ll hear his “whistle blowing” above the store running his model trains.
Sarah Porrovecchio “The Cow Wrangler” has been with the farm for three years. There’s some debate whether she should be called the cow wrangler or the cow whisperer, in any case she does both. Job description: morning milker, manages cow health, breeding and calving, bottles milk, makes cheese, maintains and rebuilds fences, manages pasture rotation and mowing, tedds and rakes hay. How she manages to get it all done never ceases to amaze us.
Eileen Palumbo (not pictured) “The Activist” has been with the farm for one year. Job description: tends to the Farm Store, stocking, organizing, customer service, helps Clifford run the Strawberry U-pick, bottle washing, and a tremendous help to Sorrel managing the store. We look to Eileen to keep us all informed on the latest progressive issues.
- Upinngil’s Own Wreaths and Swags: made entirely from compostable materials, balsam fir, winterberry, dried flowers, pinecones, and other natural materials. Categorized as “PRODUCE”. So a great way to use up any remaining money on your CSA card before the end of the year.
- Upinngil’s new Gift/Member Card: We now have a swipe-able Gift Card packaged in a holiday envelope. For regular customers, it can also be reloaded and reused as a Member Card. 5% discount if you load $100 or more with cash or check. The credit card company takes 2.75% of every sale, this is a way of diverting some that cost back to our customers as a savings.
- Upinngil Baking Mixes: This year our neighbor cleaned out her basement and gave us several boxes of old style canning jars. They cleaned up beautifully and we’ve packaged our signature Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie mix in them for holiday gifts.
- Upinngil Gift Baskets: Make your own Upinngil Gift Basket. We have baskets, ribbon, tissue paper, decorative greens and cones – all complimentary – to help you put together a beautiful assortment of goodies for a loved one. Also makes a great “hostess” gift for the next holiday party you attend.
- Little Red Hen Baked Goods: Always happy to take orders if you have a favorite cookie, scone, muffin, or bread you want to share with your family!
This week’s Farm Lunch:
Main Dish: Pot Roast with roasted veggies: A prime cut of beef, but from an older animal so started it at 7am in a dutch-oven, stewing low and slow in a broth of onions, red wine, rosemary, and tomato. Added turnips, carrots, cabbage, and squash for the final hour.
Sides: Roasted potatoes. Gravy. Jodie’s Brioche rolls. Cliff’s Quatre-Vents cheese (like a double-decker Camembert!). Simon’s salad mix, lightly dressed (a very primo cut from the winter hoop house – growing really well this year!)
Dessert: Freshly churned maple ice cream, still soft like a maple frosty. Very well received by the crew! 🙂
Farm lunch is a weekly, year-round tradition. Every Thursday Sorrel makes lunch for the family and employees. Next time you see us chowing down at the picnic table come over and say hi : )
The New Year is just around the corner, so that means keep an eye out for Upinngil’s annual End-of-Year Survey, an opportunity for us to hear from you. Every year the feedback we get through this survey helps shape Upinngil in the following year. It’s also time to start thinking about the 2017 CSA, sign-up will begin in February.
Please don’t hesitate to email or call with questions. Throughout the week we post breaking news on the right hand side of the website.
We look forward to seeing you in the coming week,
The Upinngil Crew