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Monday, September 18, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 15

Howdy folks,

We are expecting several inches of rain over the next two days. I am anticipating that the rain will wipe out the remainder of our field tomato crop (I am keeping my fingers crossed for the cherry tomatoes). I didn't put tomatoes on the list this week for that reason. On the up side, the rain is really good for our fall lettuce, radishes, arugula, and salad mixes. It is going to be a slog out there the next few days however I am grateful that hurricane Jose is weakening and I have those whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria which is currently building in the eastern part of he Caribbean.

Over the next few weeks I am handing the blog over each week to one of the farm apprentices. I am looking forward to hearing their perspectives of the farm and to take a little vacation from writing.

Winter Share sign-ups are officially open! There are 3 distribution; 2 in November and one in December.

1) November 3-4: pick up either Friday 2-6 or Saturday 10-2
2) November 17-18: pick up either Friday 2-6 or Saturday 10-2
3) December 8-9: pick up either Friday 2-6 or Saturday 10-2

The shares will be larger than our average summer shares and consist of broccoli, sweet potatoes arugula, shallots, lettuce, winter squash, onions, leeks, garlic, potatoes, popcorn, herbs, carrots, and more. The first share will have more leafy greens and as we progress into December you can expect mostly crops that store the longest such as roots (carrots, beets, radishes), tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes), alliums (garlic, onions, shallots) and winter squash in the share. We will have recipes and storage guides to help you make the most of the winter bounty.

The link to sign up is:
https://secure3.convio.net/ttor/site/SPageServer?pagename=powissetfarmcsa

This weeks share:
Arugula
Bok Choi
Peppers
Beets
Carrots
Lettuce
Potatoes
Fennel
Eggplant


Your farmer,

Zannah


Monday, September 11, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 14

Howdy folks,


 
Still cleaning onions
Here we are at week 14 of the summer CSA. It is hard for me to believe that we only have six more weeks of the summer CSA left. This summer has really flown by. The maple trees along Powisset Street are turning their fiery reds and oranges. I hope that this year we will witness more spectacular fall colors then last year. Everything suffered with the drought last year and as I remember it the fall leaves were pretty dull.


Look for our cool new labels on items
in the farm stand




I don't have much to report from the farm from the last week. As my farm mentor Amanda used to say, with an emphasis on the "st", the weather has been outstanding the past few weeks. I love this time of year on the farm. Cool and dry. The days have been shortening for several months now but I am only starting to really notice it as we pack up after the CSA.  The last thing we do on those nights is take out the compost and close up the field gates. As we progress into fall we have to wonder into the inky darkness to complete those chores. I am ready for the farm to quiet down a bit. Fall encourages farmers to slow down and winter forces farmers to take a pause. We have just a few more bulk harvests to get out of the fields over the coming weeks. The sweet potatoes are up next. I think the popcorn will be ready in short order as well.

I have gotten lots of inquiries about the Winter CSA. It is happening again this year! Signups will be online this year. Our IT team is working on updating the website and the link to sign up will be coming in the next week or two.

In case you haven't had time to put up
your own tomatoes we have
Powisset grown pureed tomatoes
available in the farm statnd!
Harvest Fest!
Please join us for harvest fest this Saturday! The farm stand will be open and you will be able to pick up your share however the Pick Your Own Fields will be closed to picking on Saturday. There will be many vendors and events at harvest fest. The cost is member: 9/person, $24/family and non-member $15/person and $30/family. Follow the link to learn more:





http://www.thetrustees.org/things-to-do/greater-boston/event-33152.html?srregion=&srrelated_property=56508840&srevent_type=&dateType=srevent_start_date&srstartDate=&srendDate=&x=9&y=9

**Parking on Saturday will be in the event field on the other side of the barn from where you usually park for pickup**
**the CSA will be open on Tuesday and Thursday until 6:30 to offer more time this week to do your pick your own your share**


We had a special visitor while weeding beets on Thursday
In this weeks share:
Potatoes (red and blue)
Onions
Garlic
Lettuce
Arugula
Carrots
Peppers
Tomatoes (still holding on but really slowing down)
Cooking greens (the kale is still rebounding, please be patient with your farmers as we coax it back to health)

Your farmer,

Zannah





Monday, September 4, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 13

Howdy folks,

We have briefly entered into fall over the past week. A friend of mine who farms on the north side of town even got a little bit of frost on Saturday morning on his sweet potatoes. No signs of frost at Powisset but it has been cool and crisp. We've been adding to that fall feeling as we harvest our winter squash. This is one of my all time favorite harvests. The whole crew works together and I am always blown away by the beauty of these delicious fruits. This week we will be enjoying one of my favorite squashes, delicate. Delicata  is a winter squash though it is belongs to the same species as most types of summer squash, Cucurbita pepo The fruits are torpedo shaped with green or orange pin stripes running lengthwise. Unlike many winter squash the flesh of delicate is edible making them very easy to prepare with no need to peel them.

Other happenings on the farm this week include a lot more coyote activity. I witnessed one hunting the Canada geese on Sunday morning. Just as I arrived she sprung out of a vegetable field. She didn't catch one but it was quite dramatic. Sunday also marked the Outstanding In The Field dinner. We had an incredible meal that included Powisset vegetables and pork, created by chef Josh Lewin and his talented team at Juliet in Somerville. If you are unfamiliar with Outstanding In The Field check out their website: http://www.outstandinginthefield.com/.




In the share this week:
Ripe peppers
Delicata squash
Potatoes
Onions
Fennel
Lettuce
Radishes
Tomatoes
Carrots

No cooking greens this week as we are between plantings. We've been battling flea beetle and fusarium wilt (a fungus) all season in all our brassicas (kale, collards, cabbage). Our third planting of kale needs a bit more time to grow before we start harvesting it.

If you are looking to something to do with your fennel this week here is a recipe to roast it:  http://www.food.com/recipe/roasted-fennel-406749
I really like roasted fennel on pizza or tossed with pasta with fresh tomatoes, Italian sausage, and mozzarella.

A little note about ripe peppers as well. Powisset has the unfortunate honor of supporting a pepper fly population. The pest is hyper regional. one farm may be effected while the next farm over is not. These flies lay there eggs on the calix (green top that attaches to the stem of the pepper plant). When the egg hatches the larva then bores into the fruit of the pepper. This week we will do our best to cull the fruits that have been affected. If you find that you have an infected pepper fear not. You can remove the soft spot that the larva creates. The rest of the pepper is perfectly good.

Reminder that next week the CSA will be open until 6:30 on both Tuesday and Thursday. This is because on Saturday the 16th we will be celebrating our harvest festival. The CSA will be open on the 16th however the pick your own fields will not be open for picking.

Your farmer,

Zannah




 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 12

 The Trails and Stewardship Teams built a pergola
in the pollinator garden 
Howdy folks,

It has really felt like fall around the farm over the past week. This morning I chased a few Canada Geese out of the fields. They are migrating through and a sure sign that fall is on the way. I also spotted a young coyote trotting through the fields this morning. We made eye contact for a bit then he turned and trotted off. The fields are full of mice this time of year so the coyotes and hawks become quite active.
With the cool nights the summer crops are slowing down. The weather also brings a heavy morning dew which is great for keeping greens from drying out as we harvest them. I love these clear crisp days. They are great for harvesting winter squash, onions, and sweet potatoes. It is however pretty dry out there and we have been utilizing our newly upgraded irrigation system.

Our summer squash and cucumbers have succumbed to powdery mildew as well as downy mildew. Other summer crops are looking a little tired. We are however about to enter a time of year when greens like lettuce and mustards flourish once again.
Weirdo winter squash discovery
Over the last two weeks we have said goodbye to several summer crew members as they return to college. We are feeling the loss in the labor force as well as missing their stories and jokes. These last weeks of august can be hard. The crew is shrinking and those that remain are tired. The fall harvest will get heavier but soon we will have fewer chores pulling us in so many directions. We will be able to focus just on the task at hand; harvest.

The weeds are certainly slowing down and we will eventually manage to clean the fields up but it still feels like a jungle out there. I've been systematically mowing areas as we harvest the crops that have been growing there all summer. We will continue to mow, disk and cover crop as the fall progresses. By the beginning of November we will once again be putting the farm to rest for the winter.

Upcoming events:

The Fall Harvest Fest is fast approaching! The day will be filled with arts and crafts, food vendors, farm tours, and much more.
The day of the festival is Saturday, September 16th. This is a CSA distribution day. Pick Your Own will be closed on September 16th.
We will stay open until 6:30 on both Tuesday (9/12) and Thursday (9/14) to try and accommodate folks. I apologize ahead of time for any inconvenience this may cause folks. We are expecting a large turnout on Saturday.
Irrigating fall carrots
For more information on Harvest Fest please follow this link:
http://www.thetrustees.org/things-to-do/greater-boston/event-33152.html?srpage=2

In this weeks share:

Potatoes
Tomatoes
Onions
Garlic
Choice of cooking green
Lettuce
Fennel
Peppers
Eggplant

PYO:
Cherry Tomatoes
Husk cherries (ripe fruit tends to fall to the ground, don't  be afraid to harvest these as well)
Tomatillos (ripe fruit tends to fall to the ground, don't  be afraid to harvest these as well)
Hot peppers
Sample a few raspberries
These two have been awfully frisky on these cool mornings

New in the Farm Stand

We have some exciting new items on offer in the farm stand including:

Maple Brook Mozzarella - delicious with our tomatoes

Grey Barn Prufrock Cheese - this cheese is out of this world delicious

Sidehill yogurt - if you are looking for a slightly more nutritious snack than the outstanding Crescent Ridge ice cream that is also available in the farm stand

Your farmer,

Zannah
 
 














Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 11

The crew harvesting onions and shallots
Howdy folks,

We have past the halfway mark for the CSA and with that I want to do a brief check in about where we are at in terms of value of that food. Thus far the share value has averaged out at $43.37 per week. The first few CSA distributions tend to be on the light side and as we progress into late summer and fall the value of each weeks share increases. Last weeks share value was 59.75.

Last week we spent hustling to get more fall crops transplanted and the first of our winter storage crops harvested. The clear dry days we have had have been perfect for onion harvesting. It has been one of the best onions harvests I've experienced and we have crammed them into pretty much every available space in the barns and high tunnel in order to let them cure. Like garlic, storage onions need to be laid out in a dry area in order for them to release excess moisture and for their skins to toughen. These onions need at least a few weeks to cure. If cured and stored properly they can last up to 6 months.

Another of my favorite late summer tasks is harvesting winter squash. Our crop looks great and we will start bringing it in this week. This year we've grown a variety of my favorites including kubocha and delicate squash. Winter squash also needs to cure in order to toughen the skin for long term storage. We are going to have to get creative with our storage space as the onions are taking up so much space already. This is a good problem for a farmer to have.


Onions laid out in the high tunnel to cure 
We've been chipping away at the weeding of the herb garden. We did not get as far as I would have liked but it will be open again for picking this week (thank you for your patience). The farm is super weedy this year and frankly its driving me bonkers. We have had really great growing conditions with ample rain. This has meant great crops and robust weeds. My timing has been off a few times with tractor cultivation and  when that happens we often resort to hand weeding which is cumbersome and slow. Being at peak harvest time we don't have much extra time to hand weed so here I am with a really weedy farm. If you feel so moved to pull a few weeds while you are harvesting your pick your own please have at it.

Tim laying out nice sized onions in the high tunnel
This weeks share:
Tomatoes
Peppers
Onions
Potatoes
Eggplant
Summer squash and Zucchini (this is a maybe, we have downy mildew and the plants are going down fast)
Cucumbers (also a maybe due to downy mildew)
Lettuce (I've been reminded that summer lettuce can be bitter, try a sweet dressing or use olive oil to balance the bitter flavor)
Beets
Cooking greens


PYO:
Cherry tomatoes
Hot peppers
Herbs
Flowers
Raspberries (there are not enough for folks to pick a 1/2 pint however please feel free to walk through and sample a few. Please be mindful that there are other CSA members who would also like to taste the raspberries.)

Your farmer,

Zannah

 

 







Monday, August 14, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 10

Howdy folks,

Don't miss the newest addition to our tractor fleet next time you're at the farm

It's been a very busy week at the farm and I am feeling a bit strained sitting in front of the computer
rather than fixing the broken boom sprayer, figuring out the electrical issue that has the John Deere tractor out of commission, the list goes on. Therefore I'm going to keep this blog to the nuts and bolts.

In this week's share:
Fresh onions
Lettuce
Cooking greens
Tomatoes
Summer squash and zucchini
Cucumbers
Celery
Eggplant
Carrots
Beets

PYO:
Cherry tomatoes
Hot peppers
Tomatillos
Flowers

This week we are going to close the herb garden in order to give us a chance to get a handle on the weeds. Please be respectful of our efforts and steer clear of the herbs for this week.

Thanks!
Your famer, Zannah

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 9

Howdy folks,
 
Cultivating fall radishes. Before

It's week 9 (A-L for people with a half share) of the summer CSA. This week finds us finally harvesting tomatoes. We have had a mix of cool cloudy days and hot muggy days throughout the summer. The cool cloudy says have really slowed production of some of our summer crops, like tomatoes and eggplant. Fear not, they are both present in this weeks share.

We have almost reached one of my favorite miles stones in the season. Around mid August the weeds that we often struggle to reign in all season begin to slow there growth. This summer it has been a mad dash to try and keep up with the weeds. It seams like whenever we get one area of the farm under control another one has been taken over by lush amaranth, lambs quarters, and galensoga. I'll take a weedy farm over a farm struggling through a drought any day though.

This past Friday Tom, the well contractor, returned to the farm to excavate and lay a new irrigation line from the well out to the vegetable fields. Tom and his team were able to complete the work very quickly and with little disruption to the farm operation. We may notice some disturbance on the right hand 

Cultivating fall radishes. After
side of the driveway. The upgrade to our irrigation is nearly complete. Tom and his team will soon return to test the system and give us the all clear to fire it up.

This week we have a special guest star in the farm stand:

FRESH ORGANIC WILD MAINE BLUEBERRIES

For sale by the pint or in 10 pound boxes. Blueberries will be located in the refrigerated case in the farm stand. The Maine blueberry season is short. Get them while they last.

In this weeks share:
- Lettuce
- Peppers
- Tomatoes
- Eggplant
- Summer squash/zucchini
- Onions
- Carrots
Tom and his crew laying the new water line
- Cucumbers
- Basil

PYO:
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot peppers
Perennial herbs
Flowers

We are going to give the kale and chard a break this week. I want to get a handle on the pest pressure in these crops before we plant our tender fall broccoli and spinach transplants.

Your farmer,

Zannah