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Monday, September 29, 2014

What's a Winter Share?



Picture this: a chilly fall day at the farm, leaves fully turning yellow and red and orange, the barn door wide open, filled with our farm crew layered in sweaters and jackets and hats and knit gloves with the little cap on them, turning them from gloves to mittens then back to gloves again.  Inside the barn is humming with people and the tables are packed with fresh, crisp greens, earthy roots and sweet squash.  Bags of onions and carrots and parsnips to one side and lettuces, kales and broccoli to the other as you pass from one table to the next.  With the twinkle lights on in the farm stand side of the barn, you are pulled in to take a peek at the special fall treats; apples and dry beans, pies and Powisset eggs.  

I love the winter share time of year.  Each pick up is like a small fall festival, our farm crew filling the tables with our abundance of winter veggies, our members happy to be at the farm in this beautiful time of year when the light looks different in the barn and we all slow down just a little to enjoy each moment of light as it moves across the fields.  Like the veggies that fill the share, each pick up feels nourishing, filling me with warmth and sustenance to help motivate me through the cold harvests and even colder mornings that are to come.

Join us this season for our winter CSA!  Find how much better kale and carrots taste when they are chilled by their first frost.  Roast cauliflower and turnips together as soon as you take the share home.  Hang with us at the farm on a fall Saturday, and be delighted if you get to the farm and we have hot cider to share, or taste the squash and whole garlic cloves fresh from the smoker that we will coax Allan to bring out to the farm again this fall.  

The winter share is four pickups between, October 25th and December 13th.  The atmosphere is festive; the share is abundant and thoughtful.  Many items are pre-bagged for you and there is always additional produce available in the farm stand for those of you making mashed potatoes for 50.  The share is full of things that will store for a long time and we provide a detailed guide on how to store the vegetables as well as some delicious recipes.  (the storage guide alone, is totally worth signing up).  
 
I hope you will join us for this year’s winter CSA.


Details on the winter share:

What’s in it (most likely):
Greens & more: lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radicchio, spinach, salad greens and/or arugula, kohlrabi, herbs
Roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, celeriac, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, storage radishes, daikon, parsnips
And: onions, shallots, leeks, butternut squash, popcorn, hot peppers, garlic, dry beans and more

The pick-ups are:
October 25
November 8 & 22
December 13

The cost of the share is $300
Please join us this season! You can sign up at the barn, or email meryl at: mlatronica@ttor.org


See you in the fileds, (i'll hopefully be wearing some awesome knit gloves!)

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew



Two more weeks of summer CSA:

We have two more weeks of the summer CSA to enjoy with you. (the week of october 6th is the last pick-up week). We hope you enjoy the beginning of fall on the farm!  As our summer season comes to a close, we hope you will reflect on your experience at the farm.  If you have anything you want to share, we welcome any feedback that may be helpful in improving our farm for future seasons. You can reach meryl at: mlatronica@ttor.org and tessa at: tpechenik@ttor.org


What’s in the share this week (most likely):

Full: lettuce, spinach or salad mix, bok choi or radicchio, kale or chard, carrots, potatoes, delicata winter squash, garlic, onions, tomatillos and hot peppers, celeriac and purple top turnips.

Small: lettuce, spinach or salad mix, kale or chard, carrots, potatoes, delicata winter squash, celeriac and purple top turnips, onions, tomatillos and hot peppers, carrots

pyo: pretty done for the season…see what you can find in husk cherries and in the flower garden

**next week: sweet potatoes, acorn or butternut squash, radishes, kohlrabi**




From the Powisset Farm Kitchen

This Thursday, October 2 | 5:30-7:30PM

SLAWS!

Enjoy coleslaw? 
Join Powisset Cooks! in the field for a short harvest 
followed by an exciting hands-on exploration in the kitchen with our Culinary Educator. 
You will learn new and easy ways to create exciting variations of the old standby. 

Here is the link to register for the class


 Please email Rachel if you have any questions: rkaplan@ttor.org

Monday, September 22, 2014

After the Frost



Last Saturday morning, on my ride up to the barn- eggs on toast balanced precariously in the basket of my bike, coffee spilling everywhere in my left hand-I saw the inevitable, unmistakable evidence of our first frost.  The temperature had dipped to just below thirty degrees in the fields in the early, early morning of the 20th of September.  The tomato plants, already on their descent from beauty, were pushed over the edge of brown into very brown.  The glowing green vines of sweet potatoes melted into each other and appeared black between rows of light green lettuce and bright green cover crops.  When we attempted to harvest squash that morning, the fruits themselves where translucent and frost injured…making me realize that we have never had summer squash this late into the season!  And the beans! Oh the beans! Our late pick your-own-crop to make up for weedy summer crops perished overnight! 
chard. before the frost.

At the end of the day, I strolled the fields with paper and pen to assess what crops remained for this last part of our summer farm share season and what we’ll have for our winter shares.  The first frost is a reminder to me not only to hurry up and harvest whatever summer crops I want to squeeze out of the fields, but it is the sort of like seeing the crossing guard holding a giant stop sign in my face.  Stop planting, meryl.  What’s in these fields is what you have.  Aside from filling the greenhouse or hoop house with winter greens, the field plantings have to stop.  The days are getting shorter, the soil is getting colder.  What’s planted is what we have.  

So I make a long list, filled with sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips, onions, garlic, radishes, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.  I make plans for our crew of what to pick and where to store it.  We transition from being growers to being pickers, sorters and cleaners.  I start to see every nook of the farm as a possible place to store vegetables.  I think about quantities to give out, things to hold for our winter markets, and summer crops to open to the gleaners of the world.  I think about all the corn I wish I had frozen and all the tomato sauce that I could still make if I went to collect fallen fruit later today.  I think about all the sauerkraut I hope to ferment in my new ceramic crock.  I realize it’s really fall.

onions to be cleaned and sorted
Fall on the farm.  Long underwear and hats for cool harvest mornings.   Slow, cold, hands trying to bunch kale as fast as they did in the summer months.  Extra cups of coffee.  Donuts, lots of donuts.  Hours and days and weeks of harvesting the same crops of carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes.  Pulling up tomato stakes and twine and plastic mulch and reminiscing about summer that was only a few weeks before.  Planning for next season.  In fall I think about all the things I want to do better, do differently, and do more creatively.  In fall, I’m already scheming for next season.   In fall I am closer to more than one day off in a row.  In fall I start to see my friends off the farm.  In fall I realize that what we planted is what we have.  And what we have will be delicious.

Welcome to fall at Powisset Farm.


See you in the fields (I’ll be wearing a winter hat from now on),

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew


what a beautiful crew of onion harvesters!

What’s in the share:

Full: lettuce, kale, choice of other green, leeks or onions, carrots & beets, potatoes, tomatoes (we think), purple top turnips, maybe the last of peppers & eggplants

Small: lettuce, choice of greens, leeks or onions, carrots & beets & turnips, potatoes, tomatoes (we think), maybe the last of the peppers & eggplants

PYO:  hopefully raspberries & husk cherries, flowers




Hello Again from the Powisset Farm Kitchen!
(This time with the correct web links)

We are grateful that so many of your have inquired about using the Farm Kitchen for so many different cooking and food related projects!  Whether you want to try a new recipe, bake large quantities of food, we are excited to offer our Farm Kitchen as a community resource! Please join us for “Kitchen Improv” at Powisset Farm. During the hours of our remaining CSA pick-up times we welcome you to use the kitchen for any kind of food production as long as you are not intending to sell what you’re making (we do not yet have the proper licenses to make this happen and we hope to offer this as an option sooner than later). Please fill out the doodle poll https://doodle.com/eiaztds3vamyftwt  to secure your time slot and then email Rachel rkaplan@ttor.org with what you intend to make/prepare. We look forward to seeing you in the Farm Kitchen! **requests for use of "kitchen improv" time must be approved by farm staff**


Today’s Powisset Cooks Workshop!
Tuesday, September 23 | 5:30-7:30PM
From the Fields: Herb Breads and Tasty Herb Dipping Sauces
http://www.thetrustees.org/things-to-do/greater-boston/pc-4.html

Herbs are one of the many unsung culinary heroes; when used well, herbs can add so much depth and flavor to a dish. Join Powisset Cooks! in the field for a short harvest followed by an exciting hands-on exploration in the kitchen with our Culinary Educator. You will learn new and easy ways to infuse herbs into breads, sauces and more.

Contact Rachel rkaplan@ttor.org for more information



IT'S FALL . . . IN A CRUST!

The pie bakers at Bushel + Crumb are at it again. This week they are heralding fall with what sounds like a winning savory pie: a buttery crust filled with layers of butternut squash, onions, apple, gouda and cheddar with rosemary and thyme. As usual, we'll have a small number up at the stand, starting Thursday. This is their last savory pie of the season!






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hiking the Mountain



After falling to sleep to the sweet and unfamiliar sounds of raindrops on Saturday, I dreamed of water soaked fields and quenched roots, filling and feeding the cells of our needy plants and cracked soil.  When morning came, I slowly opened my eyes just a sliver, hoping for gray skies and a sleepy dog, curled beside me.  I pulled the floral bedroom curtain aside, really just a square piece of random fabric rummaged from the thrift store, and watched as the sunlight poured into my room, rousing the dog and making me frown just a little.  Even though the air felt cool, the sun warm on my face, filling my room with light, I couldn’t help but feel lonesome and left wanting for a really good rainy day.

I didn’t dwell too long in my sunny day pout.  The dog barked me right out of bed and we strolled down the farm road, greeting the people picking tomatoes for the preservation class on my way to set up irrigation in our winter radish field.  With the water set up and the sun still out, I decided to leave the farm, whose dry soil and aging tomato plants were starting to make me feel a little weary on my one day off.  I packed a lunch, grabbed the dog and drove out to Wachusett Mountain.  I had never climbed to the top and today was the day.

On the ride out to the nearby peak, listening to a really great Jenny Lewis album that makes me smile and reminds me of my sister, I remember the mountain metaphor that I wrote many years ago and feel compelled to force my farm crew to hear year after year.   Several seasons ago I wanted to express to a new crew what was in store for them.  Perhaps there isn’t much that can prepare a beginning farmer for the hours of weeding, hot sun, dirty hands and simply exhausted months that they are about to embark on for most of their waking hours.  But I wanted to try to give our team the sense of the ups and downs that a farm season can bring.  Climbing a mountain, or the entire endeavor of going on a serious mountain climb with a group of strangers, seemed a suitable metaphor.

So at the end of the first week of our farm season each year for the past several years, I read out loud my “mountain metaphor” to our crew.  It describes the excitement of a new season and how spring will be filled with getting to know new coworkers and the awkward ways our bodies will readjust to the physical work of farming.  It describes early summer and how wonderful it feels to pull the first harvests out of the fields, the feeling of displaying our crops in the barn and sharing the harvest for the first time.  I go on to remind (or maybe to reassure) us that at some point in late summer, harvesting that once was so exciting, can feel tedious, difficult or even challenging in its repetitiveness.  I may even suggest that the stories and quirks of our co-workers that once seemed so lovely may become somewhat irksome.  But, I follow this, with the promise of fall. That the late summer heat, and challenges are lightened once fall arrives.  The weeds slow down, the tasks seem (even if they aren’t) less urgent.  The chill in the mornings allows for layering in cozy sweaters and hats as we harvest and soon that same lettuce is as beautiful as it once was in the spring.  And after fall is winter, the end of a season.  A celebration awaits us and a reflection of all the things we loved, all the successes we shared, all the things we learned, all the ways we want to grow, change, improve.  And then we plan to do it all again.

I parked my car, let the dog out, pulled my soft, blue backpack out of my car, filled only with water, snacks and an extra sweater and began to climb this small mountain on Sunday.  Henry led the way and I followed close behind, focused on each step as I climbed and navigated the slightly steep, rocky trail.  The farm season has so many peaks—the first harvest, the first time a new apprentice really learns how to drive a cultivating tractor, the first time we work with our summer crew, the first bite of tomato, the first big broccoli harvest.  A Farm isn’t climbing just one mountain. It’s climbing an entire mountain range.  Every day, every week, every month there are peaks and views to admire, good snacks to eat at the top.  And every day, every week, every month there are those hard climbs, those difficult descents, those challenging moments with your fellow hikers (or weather that just won’t do what you want).  I love being on the hike.   With every step, I felt focused and proud and satisfied, just like I do during a good day of farming.  And I even made it to the top.


See you at the farm, or on the mountain,


Meryl & the Powisset farm crew



What’s in the share:

Full & small: lettuce, choice of greens, potatoes, beets, carrots, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot peppers, leeks, onions, (choice for small), popcorn
PYO: cherry toms (almost gone), husk cherries, raspberries, flowers



Hello from the Powisset Farm Kitchen!

We are grateful that so many of your have inquired about using the Farm Kitchen for so many different cooking and food related projects!  Whether you want to try a new recipe, bake large quantities of food, we are excited to offer our Farm Kitchen as a community resource! Please join us for “Kitchen Improv” at Powisset Farm. During the hours of our remaining CSA pick-up times we welcome you to use the kitchen for any kind of food production as long as you are not intending to sell what you’re making (we do not yet have the proper licenses to make this happen and we hope to offer this as an option sooner than later). Please fill out the doodle poll to secure your time slot and then email Rachel with what you intend to make/prepare. We look forward to seeing you in the Farm Kitchen! **requests for use of "kitchen improv" time must be approved by farm staff**


Also coming soon to the Farm Kitchen – The next Powisset Cooks Workshop!
Tuesday, September 23 | 5:30-7:30PM

Herbs are one of the many unsung culinary heroes; when used well, herbs can add so much depth and flavor to a dish. Join Powisset Cooks! in the field for a short harvest followed by an exciting hands-on exploration in the kitchen with our Culinary Educator. You will learn new and easy ways to infuse herbs into breads, sauces and more. Limited to 12 participants, so sign up quickly!

Contact Rachel for more information

Monday, September 8, 2014

From 100 to 400


The farm truck just drove by my kitchen window.  About a dozen orange harvest baskets are stacked on the new flat bed, overflowing with weeds and old flowers from the flower garden.  CSA member and flower garden work share, Kathy, rides along with the bins, legs stretched out along open truck bed. Earlier this afternoon, Kathy told me that she had become ‘one with the weeds,’ this season.  True statement.  And as any volunteer or work share knows, we won’t hesitate to pull you into the patch of tall grass and spiky amaranth with us any day of the week, with the simple instructions, “pull” echoing from our lips.  
 
I walk outside to check on the irrigation, running for the past couple hours in the youngest cucumber planting and prepare to move the water over to tiny spinach plants, begging for moisture.  Down the farm road, a familiar painter pulls his car next to the pig pasture and sets up his easel and canvas and sets out on his work for the day.  Just beyond the artist, I see the Neighborhood farm crew packing and unpacking their cooler, organizing their veggies for the week of markets ahead.  I throw some “seconds” tomatoes to the chickens and peek in on the mama pigs, sleeping back to back in their long shed.  
garlic in the share again!

I step into the pick-your-own shed and see the turned over pint containers, empty shelves where the quart containers once were and search for the many missing scissors.  And I remember last Saturday; one of our busiest CSA pick up days that we have ever had!  Nearly two-hundred shareholders picked up during last Saturday’s pick up! That’s half of our entire membership!  In the first two hours alone, we had one hundred shares checked off our trusty clipboards.  I stood under the slight shade of the PYO shed and remembered back to when we had a total of one hundred members –throughout the whole week! I so clearly remember the days when we would pick for thirty or forty members in a morning.  Three of us, hustling, packing and moving veggies from fields to barn with a tiny wooden cart and mostly broken down blue dodge ram.  Now, we pick every day for one hundred to two hundred shares.  And on good days, when we have enough help and are slightly rested, we finish before lunch and are back in the fields weeding as the barn doors open and the distro begins.

Yesterday, on a Sunday walk with my partner and that crazy farm dog, we ran into some wonderful (they bring treats!), long-time shareholders, who commented on how quiet a day it was at the farm.  It is true that the quiet days are happening less and less every year; replacing it, a steady hum of activity, energy, trucks passing by, farm crews growing and shareholders multiplying.  I love the quiet days, the walks into the back fields, or my morning field walks on my own.  But the reality of people really living with this farm, truly enjoying and connecting with this farm and fields in real ways—taking the time to pick each week, or walk the fields, or stay late after the farm slows down to have a picnic dinner on the lawn—these are the moments I know that the farm has so far surpassed what I thought it would be during that first year.  I look back on the quiet days with fondness and treasure the moments where I can find them. I also want to celebrate, with you all, the life, energy, noise and many peaceful moments that we have all helped to nurture, sustain and grow on this beautiful farm.

I’ll see you in the fields, (I’ll be the one setting up irrigation by moonlight until the rain comes),

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew


***speaking of busy days at the farm….***

If you would like to be at the farm during our quieter hours, please visit us on Tuesday or Thursday.  Here are our hours: Tuesday: 1:30-6:30, Thursday: 10am-6:30pm and Saturday: 10am-5pm.  Those are the same as our pick your own hours. (although, we don’t mind if people come early on Saturday to do the PYO, come as early as 7am).  Remember, if you are sending a friend in your place; please remind them of our hours.  It’s quite a push to get everything ready by the time we open, so it’s tough when people come early!  Thank you!

***speaking of parking…***

Just to let you all know, we do have expanded parking areas coming soon, including a better and bigger area for handicap accessible parking closer to the barn entrance! 



 What’s in the share (most likely):
 
Full: lettuce, arugula, kale or chard, tomatoes and tomatillos, peppers, eggplant, carrots, onions, garlic, sweet corn (probably last week for this), maybe squash and/or cukes

Small: lettuce or arugula, kale or chard, tomatoes and tomatillos, peppers and eggplant, onions, garlic, sweet corn and maybe squash and/or cukes



What’s Cookin’ with Powisset Cooks!

Please note the schedule change for the next two Powisset Cooks! workshops:

THIS Sunday, September 14, 10AM-12PM
For the Pantry: Tomato Preservation

Do you have an abundance of tomatoes? Do you want to learn creative ways to savor these sweet treats of summer? Join Powisset Cooks! in the field for a short harvest followed by an exciting hands-on exploration in the kitchen with our Culinary Educator to create sauces, oven roasted tomatoes and more. Limited to 12 participants, so sign up quickly!



 
NEXT Tuesday, September 23 | 5:30-7:30PM

Herbs are one of the many unsung culinary heroes; when used well, herbs can add so much depth and flavor to a dish. Join Powisset Cooks! in the field for a short harvest followed by an exciting hands-on exploration in the kitchen with our Culinary Educator. You will learn new and easy ways to infuse herbs into breads, sauces and more. Limited to 12 participants, so sign up quickly!

 

Contact Rachel for more information



Bushel + Crumb Pies in the Farm Stand this week!

Summer is drifting away, but before we’re all wearing sweaters and trading sunburns for snowflakes, the expert pie bakers of Bushel + Crumb have planned a sweet ode to summer for their early September pie flavor: nectarine and blueberry with a lemon ginger crumble. Pies will be available starting this Thursday afternoon in the barn.


Get Your Sip On

We’re excited to bring a new product to the barn this month: Giv Coffee! Other than vegetables, coffee is likely the most near and dear item to our farmer hearts, and our coffee mugs are constant companions in the fields, next to tractor seats, on the truck dashboard . . . So we’re particularly thrilled that Giv not only roasts delicious coffee, but is also committed to integrity in sourcing and community investment. Giv was started in 2011 by a husband and wife team seeking to use coffee as a vehicle to connect communities in need with necessary resources, both abroad and locally. Already coffee connoisseurs and small-batch roasters, the folks at Giv Coffee began their organization with three critical goals: to source the highest quality green beans, with special attention to micro-lots, organic and farm-direct coffees; to purchase only fair-trade beans to ensure farmers are receiving a fair price for their crop; and, as the name says, giving back - $2 of every bag of coffee is returned back to the communities with whom Giv works. It tastes good and it does good, which is pretty great for your morning cup of joe. 

coffee team!

being really good at his job. thank you!