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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







Monday, July 31, 2017

Summer CSA: Week 8

Howdy folks,

Wrapping up another epic garlic harvest
In addition to transplanting, weeding, and harvesting we spent the past week bringing in our garlic crop and hanging it in the rafters of the hay loft. Over the next few weeks the garlic will cure. The skins will lose excess moisture and the flavor will become much more potent. We will grade the garlic and hold onto the largest heads for seed garlic to plant in November for next year's crop.

Today our new well pump was installed. We are upgrading from a 1hp pump to a 5hp pump. This upgrade should greatly improve the volume of water we are able to pump and our ability to irrigate the vegetable fields. In addition to the new pump, we are also having a new waterline dug from the well head (located across from the workshop at the front of the farm) to the green house. Previously, the irrigation water traveled through the barn plumbing and out to the fields. By removing this step, we should see less loss in water pressure from the well to the fields. The waterline is going to be installed on Wednesday and Friday. The line will be buried below the driveway and parking areas. If everything goes according to plan, parking will not be disrupted on CSA days. If there is a need to change the parking for CSA pickup, I will send out a special blog post in order to relay that information.

Last week I had a few CSA members ask me for recipes to help use up their zucchini and summer squash, so I am including a few links below to recipes:

Sunshine winter squash looking good.
Winter share sign-up coming soon
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1013043-greek-zucchini-fritters
https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/3660-zucchini-salad
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/17643/chocolate-zucchini-cake-iii/
http://www.marthastewart.com/1014060/sausage-stuffed-zucchini

This week's share:
- green peppers
- head cabbage
- onions
- lettuce (just one head this week)
- carrots
- summer squash and zucchini
- cucumbers
- choice of cooking greens
- garlic

Tomatoes are just starting to ripen. We won't have enough for the CSA this week but watch out, they will be rolling in soon!

Your farmer,

Zannah


Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer CSA Week 7

Week 7



Cosmos
Zinnia
This week we are hustling to bring in the garlic harvest. The cooler weather will make this epic task a bit easier than what I have experienced in years past. I feel as though the garlic harvest always takes place during the hottest week of the summer, not this year!After we pull the garlic from the ground it is bundled and hung in the eaves of the hay loft in the main barn.. There it will hang for several weeks so that the heads can cure and we end up the storage garlic that you are probably most familiar with. Once the garlic has fully cured we will cut it down and grade it. The largest bulbs we will save as seed garlic to plant in the fall for next years crop. The rest of the garlic will be distributed in your shares throughout the rest of the summer and fall, as well as part of the winter share.
This week we are taking a break from lettuce in the share. We have loads of other delicious summer crops coming in like eggplant and basil. Lettuce really shines in cooler weather and although
The greenhouse is full of fall crops including these beets
 it is 58 out as I write this, the 90+ degree temperatures we had last week did not do our lettuce any favors.
This week we are also hustling to get our a lot of our fall crops direct seeded and transplanted. Once the tomato crop comes in (it's looking really good out there!) our afternoons will be taken up brining in the harvest leaving little time to seed and transplant fall beets, leeks, broccoli, chicories, and roots. This is a big week and I am thankful for the cooler weather.


Small share: Odd week, folks A-L this is your week!

Direct seeding fall greens and roots


In the share this week:
Eggplant
Cucumbers
Summer squash and zucchini
Carrots
Basil
Fresh onions
Cabbage
Choice of cooking greens

PYO:
Herbs
Flowers

Your Farmer,

Zannah


Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer CSA Week 6


Summer CSA Week 6

We are really into the summer harvest now.  July brings heavy cucumber harvests as well as the threat of weed and disease pressure. The plants are heavy with fruit and the air is thick. Must be mid July! Here is a quick pickle recipe to help you use up all of your cucumbers. Follow this link: https://smittenkitchen.com/2014/07/easiest-fridge-dill-pickles/ for some outstanding refrigerator pickles.


We have another robust share this week.
- Lettuce
- Cucumbers
- Fresh onions
- Choice of cooking green
- Fresh garlic
- Fennel
- Beets
- Napa cabbage
- Summer Squash and Zucchini


There are many programs that occur at Powisset Farm in addition to the CSA and farm stand. This week we are highlighting the 4-H Club:



Planting the 4-H garden at Powisset Farm

July marks a time of transition for the Powisset Farm Hens & Hogs 4-H club as we say goodbye to two graduating high school seniors, both off to college in the fall. Our club co-leader, Kim Benner, is also stepping down after four years of enthusiastic and dedicated service (James will be in DC). The club welcomed a number of new members this year, bringing our total to 15. They hail from Dover, Needham, Sherborn, Southborough, Walpole, Wellesley and Westwood. While club members are heavily involved with our pigs and chickens, they participate in the larger life of the property through farm chores, hikes, cooking projects and special events. The summer months mark the time when club members who will show a pig work closely with their animal to develop skills for the show ring. You’ll likely see one or two practicing on the Powisset pig pasture in July and August.

The next 4-Hclub enrollment period is in September. For more information, contact Melissa Gilbert at mgilbert@thetrustees.org or (508) 785-2818.
Your farmer,

Zannah

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer CSA week 5









Howdy Folks,

It is week five(odd week) of the summer share. The crops are really cranking on the farm right now. Transplant, weed, harvest, repeat. The weather has really been idyllic. After the many challenges of last years drought it is so satisfying to look out on the fields and witness so much abundance. The cucumbers have really hit their stride this week. You will be getting 4 pounds! Salad season is definitely upon us. We are also flush with lettuce this week as we have several plantings that have matured at the same time.

I'd like to give a shout out for broccoli raab. It's related to the mustards and spicy greens that we grow. It is fantastic sautéed with garlic (also in the share) and spread on pizza. It also pairs well with Powisset Italian sausage.


In your share this week:

Lettuce (3 heads, it's salad season!)
Cucumbers
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Napa Cabbage
Bok Choi (
Broccoli Raab
Fresh Garlic
Cilantro
Choice of Cooking Green
Radishes
pollinators abound at Powisset
If you have grown weary of bok choi and aren't quite sure of what to do with four pounds of cucumbers here is a recipe that will help you use both:  http://www.justasdelish.com/bok-choy-kimchi-with-cucumbers/

The flower garden is beginning to fill in and in the coming weeks we will have flowers available as part of your share. This week, flowers are available for purchase by the bloom. Clippers are available at the farm stand.

Zannah, your farmer on behalf of the crew