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Monday, July 25, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 8

Dust bowl
I've been pondering what to write for this weeks blog post. My mind is consumed with thoughts on the drought. I have been meditating on the big picture as I watch global warming play out across New England. Powisset is not terminally unique in our struggles with the weather this year. I have been checking in with my fellow farmers about the condition of their crops. Across the board farmers are struggling to keep their crops alive and triage what to irrigate. At Powisset we have been spending a good deal of time moving around irrigation infrastructure.
When the soil is this dry and this hot for such an extended period of time biological activity will stop in the soil.  The delicate systems of bacteria, microbes, and invertebrates (like worms) that make up our soil web slow down or stop in this type of weather. This makes it even more difficult for our crops to thrive.

The Boston Globe recently published an article on the drought. I've posted the link here if you want to read more about the drought in this region:

http://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2016/07/24/west-coast-style-weather-strikes-northeastern-us

Colorado Potato Beetle infestation
This season we are also battling a pretty epic Potato Beetle infestation. As you pick your cherry tomatoes this week I invite you to squish at least 10 Potato Beetle. Potato Beetles eat anything in the Nightshade family. That includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Their damage is quite evident on the cherry tomatoes. I have used an organic control on the PB's in the cherry tomatoes but the most effective way to control them is to squish them.

We will continue to focus our efforts on irrigating and controlling the Colorado Potato Beetle. We have been putting a lot of effort into keeping our tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant alive. I am hoping that our efforts will begin to pay off in the coming weeks as we see their fruits ripen.

Mark the dentist and Andrew
The farm team has also been putting a lot of effort into trying to source crops that we are lacking from other farms. Unfortunately because the drought is so wide spread we have found few farms that are able to sell to us. This week we are sourcing corn from Valenti Farm in Needham for the CSA.

Thank you all for your continued support during this challenging growing season.


CALL FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

You are invited to enter the second Powisset Farm Photo Competition!  Register & bring in your photos by August 5th. Exhibit & Voting August 6-27 in the barn. All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 108 acre property). Photographers of all ages, and all skill levels are welcome. Come be part of the fun! For complete show guidelines, and to register, email toddimmick@gmail.com or pick up a flyer in the barn!

In the Share this week:
- Summer squash
- Zucchini
- Cucumbers
- Potatoes
- Beets
- Lettuce!
- Garlic
- Corn

PYO
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew





Thursday, July 21, 2016

 Upcoming Events

Looking ahead to future events...if you can't make the July 29th Friday Farm Dinner, come to the August one (Aug. 26th)! This event will feature pizza from Blazing Hearth Pizza, a wood-fire mobile catering company based in Medfield and we are thrilled to have them join us at the farm! Click here to register or for more information.

Many of you have come to a Powisset Barn Dinner which is essentially a potluck with the goal of using as much produce from the farm as you can in your shared dish. Well, the next one is Sunday, August 14th! There is no cost to attend this dinner but we do ask you to RSVP as spots do fill up quickly. You are welcome to bring beer or wine to share with the table.

A Powisset piggie photo
submitted by Kim Benner
for last year's competition
Thursdays continue to be Story Hour and "The Beet Bunch" (a kids craft or activity) Day. For future weeks, we have changed the time of The Beet Bunch to be between 11-1pm so that those who do want to come to Story Hour can just stay for the craft if they want. We will be set up under the big white tent.

CALL FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
You are invited to enter the second Powisset Farm Photo Competition!  Register & bring in your photos by August 5th. Exhibit & Voting August 6-27 in the barn. All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 108 acre property). Photographers of all ages, and all skill levels are welcome. Come be part of the fun! For complete show guidelines, and to register, email toddimmick@gmail.com or pick up a flyer in the barn!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA Week 7: Pesto Week!


Preying Manits
As I write this post I can hear the rumble of thunder. A mighty summer storm could bring some much needed rain to our fields. Unfortunately the storm has passed and we got very little rain. Tomorrows temperatures are supposed to dip from the mid nineties to a much more comfortable 80 degrees. It's been brutally hot and the edges of the farm are looking scorched. We have been moving our overhead irrigation system from field to field watering 6 beds at a time. July is often a challenging time on the farm. The harvests are getting longer as we pick squash and cucumbers. But we still have lots of field prep and planting to do for our fall crops. We are pulled in many directions, there never seems to be enough time, and it is beastly hot. Sigh.


Keeping it cool in the carrots
While I mull over the challenges we are having this season on the farm I am also aware of all the things that I am grateful for at Powisset this year. I try to make a gratitude list every day.

My list today includes:

- The crew, they are incredible. These folks have shown up every day in blistering heat to harvest, weed, transplant, and move irrigation.

- Our irrigation (it's limited but way better than having none).

- The Powisset CSA members. This is such an incredibly kind, funny, and spirited community. Thank you all for your support.


Moving irrigation
- The rest of the Powisset staff. You may not know but their are many people who work at Powisset Farm but don't work in the fields. These folks take care of our trails, pay the bills, answer phones,  and plan and execute programs across the Charles River Region. We couldn't do what we do without them.

- Brian Huckins, who fixed our broken cultivating tractor, as well as the greater farm community of Eastern Massachusetts.

- The leopard frog that greeted me in the wash station this morning.

- Beneficial insects!
Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew

What's in the share this week:
Basil
Garlic
Summer squash
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Scallions
Potatoes

PYO:
Flowers

WHAT'S NEW IN THE STAND THIS WEEK:
- Powisset sausage!
- Ground beef from Appelton Farm
- Hand woven fiber arts by Cathy Zola





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Upcoming Events at Powisset


Hi everyone! I am back from vacation and refreshed and ready to tell you all about our upcoming events and programs at Powisset!

Tomorrow (Thursday) is the first session of a new program called The Beet Bunch. The Beet Bunch is a drop in program for kids, where moms and dads can pick up their veggies in the farm stand while the kiddos work on a little craft project. Most activities will take 15-20 minutes. The Beet Bunch will be held from 1-3pm every Thursday in the outdoor Kids area.

This Saturday, Christiane will be in the kitchen starting at 10am (until roughly noon) for What's In Your CSA: Tips & Tricks for Utilizing All The Veggies in Your CSA. She will show you how to store and chop the veggies in your CSA and will even delve into some simple recipes. This program is free and registration is not required. You can stay for 5 minutes...or for 2 hours.

On Saturday, July 23rd at 10am, Nicole Lewis will be in the kitchen showing us the many varieties of pesto which are possible at Powisset Pesto using farm fresh produce. 

Don't wait to sign up for our Friday Farm Dinner on July 29th! The past couple of dinners have sold out. The menu for this dinner includes: crostini, pulled pork, tasoi and bok choy salad, shaved fennel, carrot & cucumber salad, David's signature smoked potato salad, oven roasted veggies, strawberry shortcake and more. Powisset produce will be used throughout this meal, beer and wine will be available for purchase and the South County Rounders will be gracing us with their musical prescence.

Isn't July National Ice Cream Month? Well, how appropriate that we are holding I Scream, You Scream We All Scream for Ice Cream on Saturday, July 30th. This class is an intensive ice cream workshop for adults. A kids version of this class will be held on Thursday, August 18th.


CALL FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
You are invited to enter the second Powisset Farm Photo Competition!  Register & bring in your photos by August 5th. Exhibit & Voting August 6-27 at the Powisset Farm barn on Powisset Street in Dover. All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 100 acre property). Photographers of all ages, and all skill levels are welcome. Come be part of the fun! For complete show guidelines, and to register, email toddimmick@gmail.com or pick up a flyer in the barn!

Lastly, for those of you who had intended on applying for our Makers Day on Aug. 27th but missed the July 12th deadline, don't fret...applications will still be accepted until July 18th.

I hope to see you around the farm for one or all of these events!

Nicole

Monday, July 11, 2016

CSA week 6

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 6

Oh deer...

Hello from the vegetable fields at Powisset. Over the past week we have suffered some major damage from our four legged forest dwellers. The deer breached our fence and grazed upon the hearts of all the mature lettuce that was ready to harvest. They found the romain hearts particularly delicious as they ate those first. We have shored up our defenses but unfortunately the breach means we will probably have a break from lettuce for at least a week.

Sungold
The past few weeks have been a challenge. We are currently experiencing a moderate drought. The extreme heat and lack of rain is causing some of our crops to go directly to seed before we can harvest them. We have also seen set backs from pest pressure (not just the mega fauna). We have had two generations of radishes and salad turnips severely affected by root maggot. Root maggots are as unpleasant as they sound. They burrow through the roots making them inedible. We are adding new generations of crops to our plan to compensate. Fortunately our heat tolerant crops are doing well so far. The cucumbers and squash are coming on and producing heavy yields. I spotted the first ripening cherry tomatoes today. It will be a few weeks yet before they are ready to harvest but they are on their way.
All of that said, I would like to have a check in with folks about the share so far this season. I have had a few individuals ask me about this year's share size as compared to last year's. I would like to remind folks that last year was a banner year and CSA members got a 166% return. That's incredible and unfortunately unsustainable. We will have seasons that are gangbusters, average, and some that are disappointing. The CSA model is built on a relationship between the farmer and the consumer. You invest in us and we work our butts off to give you the freshest, healthiest vegetables that conditions allow. My goal every season is to give a return of 110% - 120%. These numbers reflect the industry standard. I track share-value over the course of the season. We have 14 weeks left. You will see an uptick in high value crops. As mentioned in previous posts,
we have tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, and so many more crops to come. 
Curing garlic in the hay loft

Thank you for your patience and support.

Zannah, CSA Manager

We have some new local items in the farm stand:

- Nola's Salsa is an incredible fresh salsa made in Boston
- Spindrift Soda in Cranberry Raspberry, Grapefruit, and Orange flavors
- Kate's butter
- and so many flavors of Crescent Ridge Ice cream
The best salsa around
What's in the share this week:
- Summer squash and zucchini
- Slicing cucumbers
-Pickling cucumbers
-Choice of cooking green (chard, kale,collards, escarole)
- Carrots
- Lettuce (this is the last round for a few weeks)
- Green onions
- Fennel
- Cilantro

PYO: Flowers and fava beans


Monday, July 4, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 5

Broken tractor
Howdy folks. The fields have perked up a bit from the spurts of rain we got last week. We are still behind on rainfall for the summer but it sure was nice to get those thunderstorms. As with the crops, the weeds do better when we get rain. We spent a good amount of time last week weeding. We weed using tractors, hoes, and our hands. One of the tractors we use for mechanical cultivation (weeding) broke last week adding to the challenge of keeping the weeds at bay. Hand weeding is by far the most effective tool we have in the seemingly unending battle. Seed, transplant, weed, harvest, repeat. Welcome July!

The first crop of tomatoes have started to set fruit. It will be a few weeks yet until we begin to see ripe tomatoes but it is a sure sign that we are into July. Other signs of the shift into full blown summer is that the summer squash is in and the cucumbers are not far behind.

For those of you who have been wondering what to do with garlic scapes check out this simple recipe for garlic scape pesto:

10 garlic scapes
1/3 unsalted pistachios
1/3cup parm cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients but the oil in a food processor. Finely chop then slowly add olive oil.

It's great on pasta or veggies

In the stand this week we have some new items:

- Single serve ice cream from Crescent Ridge
- Spindrift lemonade

Also checkout Bushel and Crumb Pies in the freezer


CALL FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
You are invited to enter the second Powisset Farm Photo Competition!  Register & bring in your photos by July 17th. Exhibit & Voting July 21-August 11at the Powisset Farm barn on Powisset Street in Dover. All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 100 acre property). Photographers of all ages, and all skill levels are welcome. Come be part of the fun! For complete show guidelines, and to register, email toddimmick@gmail.com or pick up a flyer in the barn!


In the share this week:
- Lettuce
- Arugula
- Choice of cooking green
- Garlic scapes (these also hold in the fridge for several weeks)
- scallions
- summer squash and zucchini
- choice  of root crop
- Bok Choi

PYO:
fava beans
flowers
herbs



Zannah, on behalf of the farm staff







Monday, June 27, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA Blog: Week 4

We are finally fully staffed!!! Last week we welcomed Zane as our third apprentice. Powisset Apprentices are vital to the farm operation. Apprentices support all aspects of farm production from seeding to planting to harvesting. Please give Zane a big Powisset welcome next time you see him on the farm.
Staffing has been a bit tricky this year. This has been the case for all the farmers I know in this region. We have all new staff this year. This has meant a steep learning curve as well as longer days for all the farm staff. The crew is beginning to get into a rhythm with transplanting, weeding, and harvesting. Last week we shifted from items that needed to be weighed to items that were bunched. Bunching is a new skill that needed to be taught to and practiced by the crew. If you pay close attention over the course of the season you will witness the crew honing their skills. They will build calluses and their hands will memorize the quick movements required to bunch 400 bunches in a few short hours. Each bunch of radishes or beets will eventually look more like a flower bunch than a bundle of roots.
 
I would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who shook their booty last week and brought us some rain. Please do it again this week, and if  you have the time do it for a bit longer. It is dry. The warm breezy weather we are having is great for a beach day but it is hurting our crop production. Plants are maturing smaller and even going to flower before they reach maturity. These are tough conditions. We are doing our best to set up irrigation and triage which crops need the water the most. Please continue your rain shuffle, we need it.
 
In your share this week:
 
Lettuce
Arugula (for real this time)
Beets
Broccoli
Napa cabbage or Bok Choi
Choice of cooking greens
Garlic Scapes (I like to pickle them)
Summer Squash!
 
PYO
After last weeks hiatus we have peas!
 
Don't forget to checkout all the goodies in the farm stand as well.

 
 


Bushel + Crumb will be offering special order pies for July 4th weekend. 

 

The pies will be available for pickup at the farm on Saturday, July 2nd from 10-1. Pies are open to all! You don’t need to be a pie share member to order. We’ll have two varieties - Strawberry Rhubarb with Ginger Oat Crumble and Blueberry Maple  Place your order by Thursday, June 30th to reserve a pie. Order online at http://bushelandcrumb.com/pies/ Happy 4th!

 
Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew