Because of this year’s extreme cold combined with 110 inches of record-breaking snow, maple sugaring was late to start and slow-going. For the first time, our open house was cancelled entirely. Spring finally broke through in mid-March with sap flowing irregularly. Kayleigh and Doug collected from 200 buckets in Concord, but the extreme conditions prevented tapping in Carlisle. Miraculously, by April the team had boiled 1,100 gallons of sap into 31 gallons of syrup (textbook 40:1 ratio) while simultaneously planting seeds in the greenhouse.
We grow about 150 different species of plants at Gaining Ground—vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs. Most of our seeds come from Maine and start arriving at the office in January and February. Always organic, and whenever possible we choose non-GMO (genetically modified organism) seed sources. A special partnership with elementary school readers in Concord and Belmont helps plant these high-quality seeds into our fields.
Gaining Ground volunteer David Outerbridge always has an eye open for time-consuming tasks. He wants the farmers to be free to give their full attention to growing produce and working with volunteers. So, after years teaching high school English, followed by a restless retirement teaching continuing education in Newton and tutoring international students at UMass Boston, David has discovered he is happiest when removing obstacles to the smooth operation of Gaining Ground—especially if a physical challenge is involved.