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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sorry for the Delay...Sign-Ups Coming Soon!

Hello everyone,

It seems I spoke too soon last week!  There was a delay at the printer and the sign-ups did not go out to your homes on the day we had planned!  We have followed up with them and registrations should get to you by the end of this week.

Many apologies!  In the meantime, enjoy this delightful picture of me and Tessa and that incredible farm cat, Simba!

registrations are on their way! 

See you at the farm soon,

Meryl

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CSA Sign-ups and a New Roof!

On Saturday morning, March 1 2014, I decided that it was time to get out of my winter funk and get to work.  And I really had no choice.  The greenhouse was waiting, shivering in the cold temperatures of February, with no roof on it!
old roof coming down!

After seven years, we were finally replacing the plastic roof of our greenhouse.  The week before March 1st, Tessa and I grabbed shovels and tractors and went to work clearing the sides of the 26ft by 75ft structure—breaking through layers of ice, making our way to the gravel and earth that hasn’t seen daylight for months.  We bent and lifted and used muscles that had we had neglected to use since our last CSA pick up.  We finally freed the sides from the snow and in the gray of the slightly snowy and rainy afternoon we took blades to the layers of plastic that had, for so many years, sheltered us from the rain and wind and provided light for our plants to grow and thrive.  On ladders at opposite ends of the greenhouse, we started from the peaks and sliced along the ridges and down along the sides.  Game on.  This roof was coming off.  We freed the massive piece of poly and pulled it until it cascaded down the south side like a waterfall, onto the icy ground before rolling it up, burrito-style, and dragging it away from its former home. 

The next day we replaced base boards and cleaned wiggle wire channels (ask me about wiggle wire.  I love it) and duck taped all the little edges that would be in danger of snagging our beautiful new plastic.  Yes. Duck tape is a major part of replacing a greenhouse roof!  We covered our fans and greenhouse supplies with plastic bags and installed new blower fans.  Once the skeleton of our structure seemed secure, we were ready.  And then the wind started to blow.  And for that last week of February, the wind blew, the temperature dropped and the greenhouse waited.  And we waited, knowing that even with the slightest breeze, putting on an 80ft by 60ft piece of ploy would prove impossible. 

That brings us back to March 1.  March first, the morning the wind stopped long enough to put the roof on the Powisset farm greenhouse.  At 7am on March 1, 2014, I pulled myself out of bed, I shook of the winter haze—the many hours behind a computer screen, the cold, ice-covered everything making it near crazy to work on tractors, the planning and ordering and counting seeds—I put away the inside work for the day and pulled on some coveralls and work gloves and headed outside. With a crew of talented community members and farmers, we worked like a baseball team making a double play—seamlessly pulling on layer one and two of plastic, securing each edge and cheering each other on as we did so.  On March 1, Powisset Farm got its new greenhouse roof, and began its new season.  The lion roared and the farmers cheered and the greenhouse filled with warmth and promise and my winter funk was gone. 

 
soon the seedlings will be here!
Shake off the winter anytime with us and come visit the greenhouse!  I’ll be seeing onions, leeks, broccoli and shallots this week and dreaming of June when our first harvests begin!

Welcome to the start of the 2014 season!

See you in the greenhouse,

Meryl LaTronica
(Powisset Farm Manager)





CSA Sign-ups have begun!

powisset farm carrots
Hooray and welcome to a new season at Powisset Farm!  For returning members, our registrations were dropped in the mail today and you should be receiving them by the end of the week!  If for some reason, you don’t see it in your mailbox, please let me know!  We will be accepting CSA renewals for the next month! So now is your chance to secure a spot in our 2014 season!  In early April, we will begin offering shares to the folks on our waiting list, so make sure you register as soon as you can!  If you know of people who want to join the Powisset Farm CSA, please send them to this link: http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/csa/powisset-farm-csa/our-csa/buy-a-share.html  where they can join our waiting list.

There is one major change this season, which is that we are offering two different size shares.  A full share or a small share.  A full size share is for those of you that are content with the current CSA share!  It is enough to feed a family of four (or more) or two to three adults who cook at home quite a bit!  A small size share is for those of you who have been feeling overwhelmed by the amount of produce and are looking for a smaller amount of food each week.  Both shares will run for about 20 weeks (no less than 19 weeks, no more than 21).  Both shares will have a variety of items each week, but the small share will have fewer items and smaller quantities.  The full share will remain essentially the same as it has been, with maybe a slight increase in the quantity of an item. 
 
spinach! soon!
You will also see on your sign up form an opportunity to renew your TTOR membership and make a donation to our food for all program. 

Click here: http://www.thetrustees.org/membership/   to check out information on Trustees membership.

Last season Powisset distributed over $15,000 worth of produce to our food access partners; The Holliston Food Pantry, Medfield Food Cupboard, The Dedham Food Panty, The BNAN Produce to Pantries program and the Bowdoin Street Health Center.  Through CSA member contributions in 2013, we were able to raise $4100 to help support the cost of growing that food for donation.  Thank you to all who participated!  We hope to continue our donations this season and are grateful for whatever way you are able to help support our work!

We are excited to start signing up members and putting together this year’s CSA community!  As always, let me know If you have any questions! mlatronica@ttor.org



  
Housing for Farmers!


It’s that time of year where our amazing new crew of farmers are arriving in Dover to begin their season of learning and growing at Powisset!  We are short of some farm housing again this season and are looking for a good home for some great people starting in April.  Do you have any available housing?  Are you willing to rent a room/in-law apartment or yurt?  Let me know!  Any leads are helpful!  
Any info…email: mlatronica@ttor.org

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day!

Today February began and brought one of the warmest days we’ve had at the farm in a while.  I ran into CSA members walking around the almost snow-melted fields.  I took the dog for an extra long walk around the farm before heading to the diner in Newton to meet up with family for per-groundhog day lunch.  As I drove back to the farm to get packing for my winter vacation week, I thought about how groundhog day is one of my favorite holidays and is January really over and oh my goodness are we really nearing the start of another farm season…

Groundhog day (besides being one of the best movies ever) is, for me, a wonderful pause in the middle of winter to remind me even though spring is on its way, it’s still winter.  And winter is one of the most important seasons in a year on a farm.  Since January began we have been packing our days with planning, organizing, interviewing and visioning our upcoming 2014 season. 

As it turns out, this season is shaping up to be a big year of change and growth at Powisset Farm.  Our barn construction project is soon-to-be underway, we are preparing to welcome one hundred chickens to the farm to do our own egg production this season, we are planning to build and launch a mobile farmers market and we are introducing our first ever “small” size CSA share. With all this growth, planning and preparation, Groundhog Day was a welcome event, to reassure me that even with spring and the new season on its way, full of excitement, there is still one more month until we drop the first seeds into warm soil and the season is officially underway.

I hope you enjoy your groundhog day by imagining the Powisset groundhogs peaking their heads above the soil to admire the beautiful fields, wondering if spring is on its way sooner or later.

From the still slightly snow-covered fields,

Meryl



CSA Sign ups begin March 1

We are now a month away from the 2014 CSA registration!  We will mail out the registration forms on March 1, so check your mail that week.  If we do not have your correct snail mail address, please let us know!  If you have any friends interested in joining our CSA community, please direct them to our website to sign up for our CSA waiting list: http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/csa/powisset-farm-csa/our-csa/buy-a-share.html







Call for volunteers!


Are you interested in becoming more involved with Powisset Farm this season?  Do you have an interest in farm-based education or culinary adventures?  Do you have time to offer a few hours a week to help us dream up ideas for workshops and the best way to use our new kitchen and expanded classroom space?  Are you interested in leading workshops or assisting with farm events?  Let us know!

Our farm will be going through some physical changes this season with the addition of our new kitchen and classroom space, an outdoor learning and relaxing area and a new flock of laying chickens.  We are looking for a small group of committed volunteers who are interested in helping us make the best use of our space.  This may range from brainstorming meetings, to hands on teaching of workshops, or just helping us to connect to community partners that may benefit from our new farm infrastructure. 

If you are interested in joining our Education and Outreach committee, please get in touch with Farm Manager, Meryl LaTronica at: mlatronica@ttor.org


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Last Chance for Powisset Farm Veggies!


This week we had our first snowfall at Powisset Farm.  The snow covered all the tree limbs surrounding the fields, covered all the branches of kale still hanging on in the cold pre-winter days, covered every inch of the farm road leading from the barn to the greenhouse and covered all the reemay that had been protecting the last rows of spinach that would now be impossible to harvest.  Winter at Powisset has arrived, but all is not quiet yet as we gathered our energy and our bins of veggies from coolers and began preparing for this Saturday's final winter share pick up! 

This morning, the crew grabbed bins of carrots, beets, celeriac, onions and more, to set to work pre-bagging our produce for the pick up this weekend.  Volunteers and past crew members joined Tessa and I in the greenhouse for a morning of sorting and weighing and bagging and laughing, reminiscing about the day we picked those carrots, or remembering how weedy it was when we harvested those onions, or how that heat wave nearly knocked us out when we pulled all those beautiful garlic bulbs from the fields in July. 

Today we'll clean and sort our glorious dry beans and bag them for the shares, our plan of adding proteins to our CSA, finally being put into action.  While we sort, we'll enjoy the last few days of field work with each other, before we re-focus on next year's plans, or spend days spreading compost solo on tractors.

We hope that you will all come out to the barn for our final distribution and farm stand, whether to pick up your share, or take home a bag of Powisset potatoes for the winter, or just to take a walk in the snow-covered fields.

Thanks for a wonderful year of being part of our Powisset Farm Family!

See you at the barn! (hot drinks welcomed...)

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew


What's in the share:
Dry beans, beets, celeriac, diakon radish, green cabbage, kohlrabi, onions, garlic, parsnips, potatoes, winter squash, carrots, watermelon radish, turnips & rutabega.

At the Stand:
(all of the above) and...shallots, sweet potatoes, hot peppers, popcorn, jam, honey, pork, cheese, beef, t-shirts, cards!

cheers to another awesome year!


 Holiday Pottery Sale on Saturday!

In celebration of the holiday season and the last veggie distribution of 2013, potters Lisa and Sue will be joining us in the barn from 10 am to 3 pm. Stop by to say hello and shop their beautiful pieces. 





Thursday, November 21, 2013

Garlic Marks the Spot



Yesterday we stood in front of 16 beds of just-planted garlic, doing some math.  We had planted 24,000 cloves of garlic.  Those cloves will hopefully turn into 24,000 bulbs.  Those 24,000 bulbs hopefully making their way through the soil, up through the leaf mulch and up towards the sky some time in April, the first green thing we will see growing in the 2014 season.  Hopefully, growing strong in well-composted soil, setting its roots as I write this, laying quiet for the winter, feeling the spring sun, sparking its growth for the new season.  Planting garlic is hopeful.  Planting garlic is like saying, ‘yes, we will be farming next season.’  Planting garlic is trusting that those tiny bulbs know what to do; we just have to give them the space to do it.

Spreading those last few buckets of mulch over the last few patches of bare soil is, for me, as much about believing in the future of these fields as it is signifying the end of the 2013 growing year.  The more years that I farm, the longer the seasons become, until it feels like there isn’t ever much of a start or and end.  Harvesting and planting share most months of the year.  Hiring and re-posting and training new teams seem to begin as soon as we’ve just found our rhythm.  Budgets and fixing equipment and taking down and putting up fences overlap and keep us looking forward and back at the same time.  And then there’s garlic. 

washing roots!
Holding an orange bucket filled with cloves, I walked along the bed, across from my friends, my team.  The cloves find the perfectly spaced depressions in the soil.  Six inches apart, three rows, sixteen beds.  Someone crawls behind me pushing the cloves in the soil, root side down.  A day and half we work on planting.  A day and half we work on mulching.  Then we stand, doing math in front of a half-acre of garlic, a planting of hope for the future and a ritual of closure for our farm team. 

Come say goodbye to your 2013 farm crew this Saturday at the barn as we host our third winter CSA pick up and farm stand!  The barn will be open from 10-3pm this Saturday the 23rd and on Saturday, December 14th from 10-3!  Now’s the time to stock up on veggies and see the farm and farmers, before we settle in, like the garlic, setting roots and preparing for next season!
what a crew!

See you at the barn,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew




Winter Farm Stand!
This Saturday, November 23 10am-3pm

parsnips!
What’s at the stand:
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, celeriac, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, kale, spinach, lettuce (we hope), garlic, onions, shallots, hot peppers, sweet peppers, butternut squash, cabbage, cilantro, leeks, radish, eggs, pork, beef, dry beans, honey and more!

Special Vendors:

  • Jordan Brothers Seafood, there at 10am until their product runs out

  • Alan Chilton will tell you all about his new firewood enterprise!

  • Appleton Farm Dairy will be sampling their milk!

  • The Norfolk hunt club will tell you a brief history of the club as we watch the horses ride by:
  •  **12:30 for the talk—riders come by a little after 1pm.

  • Powisset Farm Cider Press!  Come press some apples with us on our bike powered cider press!







Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gift of a Warm November Day! (Winter Share Pick Up #2 and Fall Farm Stand)!!



This morning I woke up to find that the frost that had so completely covered the farm fields yesterday, had hardly returned in the early morning hours, and I could take the dog out through the farm without my teeth chattering.  At morning meeting, the five of us full-time Powisset farmers, sat together, finishing breakfasts and warm cups of coffee and reviewed our plan for the day.  This gift of a warm November day was not to be squandered with a lingering morning meeting.  We quickly adjourned and our crew headed to the fields while Tessa and I finished piecing together the puzzle of what the contents of our last three winter share pick-ups would be.  After feeling satisfied with our plan and deciding that growing ginger was the coolest thing that we had done this season, we looked out at the sun through the office windows and let it lead us out to where the crew was picking leeks.

i love leeks
The rhythm of the leek harvest made me beam with happiness and I pulled off the extra sweater that I didn’t need and hopped off the truck to join the dance.  Some of us pulled the long alliums from the soil where they had remained since May.  Others cleaned and bunched the sweet veggies together—some bunches filled with five or six slender leeks, others made up of only two giant leeks.  Each one, the perfect handful, in line for soups and scrambled eggs of the future.  I fell in line by grabbing a large harvest knife and chopping the less-edible dark green leaves off of the bunch, creating a “v” shape with the swift movement of my arm and wrist as I held the bunch out in front of me. 

kasey, jon & tessa after a cold day of harvesting!
We quickly filled bins, each of us proud of the bunches we had picked and banded and cut.  We headed to the parsnips and then to the potatoes, then to remove the dahlia tubers from the flower garden, then to un-trellis the raspberries.  Our walking turning to running as our energy grew with each vegetable we picked.  The knowledge of the impending cold weather making for cold harvest days was driving us forward.  The sun and our conversation kept us in good spirits as we worked. 

As I write this, the crew is out there harvesting even more potatoes and I am eager to join them.  Our wonderful crew will finish their season at Powisset in just over two weeks, leaving Tessa and I to the soon-to-be quiet office and chilly December work days.  For today, I am going to relish in their company and their incredible team work.  I am going to enjoy a day in the fields without a winter hat.  And I am going to enjoy the picking this week because it is preparing us for this Saturday’s second winter share pick-up and farm stand, where the barn will be filled with our produce and with you!  A festive fall day at the barn, seeing everyone filling their bags with sweet carrots and bunches of leeks is one of the best moments this farmer can have.

road radish
I hope to see you in the fields before it gets too chilly!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew






Winter Share #2 and Fall Farm Stand!  
This Saturday, November 9, 10am-3pm

This Saturday is the 2nd winter share pick up and another awesome fall farm stand!
At the stand there will be:
beans, beets, carrots, celeriac, broccoli, radish, garlic, turnips, kale, cabbage, lettuce, peppers, onions, shallots, leeks, winter squash, rutabega, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, radicchio, hot peppers, cilantro, kohlrabi, Powisset farm Ginger!!!! and more!!

There will also be Powisset Farm pork, Moose Hill Farm eggs and lots of jam and honey!
Jordan Brothers Seafood will also be at the farm but last time were only here from about 10am-12pm--so be sure to get here early if you are looking for some fish!

We are so excited to see you! The stand is open to all from 10am-3pm!

See you there!
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Winter Share Distribution and Farm Stand!

Saturday, October 26th from 10am-5pm is the first day of our winter CSA pick-up and the opening of our winter farm stand! 

Highlights of the farm stand:
  • Fresh organic Powisset Ginger!! Yes!! Powisset farm grew ginger! It is beautiful and delicious and available at the farm stand! YUM!
  • Smoked Powisset Pork!  The bacon is in as well as the smoked ham! We also have lots of fresh pork: country style ribs, spare ribs, sausage and pork chops for sale!
  • Moose Hill Farm eggs! always tasty!
  • Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, kale, lettuce, hot peppers, onions, leeks and more! Now that the frost has touched these crops they are sweeter than ever!
Come visit us tomorrow! The farm will be festive and full of life! And all the farmers will be bundled up and happy!

See you there,

Meryl and the Powisset Farm Crew!

Powisset fresh ginger! just harvested!