Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where it's warm in a Wisconsin winter

It's been a mild winter, and even for someone like myself where the only thing between me and Florida is a two-car garage, I can't complain. Regardless, I look forward to the first day when I can chuck my hat and gloves, breath deep moist air and smell wet dirt and growing plants. And on March 3, with a couple inches of wet snow on the ground, I unexpectedly did just that. And I only had to go as far south as Evansville, Wisconsin.

When I'm not gardening or spending time with family and friends, I work on an oral history project to collect stories from people who moved to the Kickapoo Valley region between 1965 and 1985. It's the same period of time when my family moved to just outside rural Gays Mills Wisconsin from Milwaukee, and when I first started to learn gardening from my mother. Today's adventure today took me 30 miles south of Madison, where I interviewed Steve Pincus, who's life adventures included a stint a few hills over from where I grew up. Today, he and his wife Beth are vegetable gardeners on a grand scale, with a wholesale vegetable operation and 500 community supported agriculture (CSA) subscribers each season. Jay and I have subscribed to the Tipi Produce CSA for at least four years.

After my interview with Steve, Beth took me on a tour of the greenhouses; and that's when got to hang out in a warm, damp and bright place that was 82° and did not require an outside heat source other than the sun. It made me realize how wonderful an enclosed space and the sun offer even in our climate. As Jay I consider where were going to move next, (we sold our house! Closing date April 30) I wonder if room for a greenhouse somewhere in the yard might be a consideration?

Steve Pincus of Tipi Produce in one of their balmy greenhouses. This one required heat for the CSA seedlings. but another smaller one only used the sun to keep it warm.

The Tipi Produce Family, Ari, Steve, Beth Kazmar and Sophie.
Thanks Steve and Beth for the balmy afternoon under gray skies with inches of snow around us.  I'm sorry I didn't take a photo of Beth to include here, this image borrowed from their website.

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