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Monday, August 27, 2012

To Feel Nourished (is a good thing)




Nourish:
 -to provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth; feed
 -to foster the development of; promote
 -to keep alive; maintain

Last Saturday I was excited to run into some CSA members that I have known now for six farm seasons!  We talked about recipes, weather, crop health, tomatoes and our summers.  And then the word, nourish, came up.  I was asked about how many people Powisset Farm is feeding this season.  I glanced out to the fields where children were chasing one another around flowers and weeds and tree stumps while I tried to calculate the answer in my end-of-the-week, tired brain.  I turned back to our member and responded that we were probably feeding over 700 people each week from what we are growing here.  Between our CSA members, farm stand, off-site CSA partnership with The ReVision Urban Farm and our four weekly donation commitments, there are many people tasting the harvest this season.  He looked thoughtfully around the barn and then back at me and remarked on how many people and creatures we are nourishing here.  People, animals, insects, land—all of us are growing and thriving on the farm community that is feeding us.  This farm is nourishing us just as we continue to grow and strengthen it.

I zipped out in the farm truck to pick more basil bunches soon after that conversation and witnessed a young hawk devour a small field mouse in front of me.  A mom picking in the fields with her young son called out to him to check out this amazing site! “I saw it!” he yelled back.  I moved quickly in the herb patch and a scared a baby bunny and watched it dart away from me into the tall grass.  I looked up to see CSA members scouring the drooping cherry tomatoes to fill their quarts for the week.  Life and nourishment was all around me.  I remembered in our second week of picking this season, one of our seven year-old members holding up a strawberry and declaring that, ‘if we were to look up heaven in the dictionary, we would find a picture of this strawberry!’  For me, hearing that comment nourished me as much as the berries did (maybe more).

Years ago, when I was 18 years old, I left Holliston, MA for the reds and browns of New Mexico, on my first every cross country road trip.  My trip was organized by driving from food co-op to food co-op, purchasing rice milk and dried fruit in as many states as possible.  Pulling into places where there was attention paid to both food and community, felt comforting and nourishing.  I wasn’t very aware of a local food movement or had much idea at all about what it meant to grow food, but I knew that it felt good to arrive in a new place and be able to eat well—to be fed, both body and spirit.  I feel proud to notice that our farm builds, supports and feeds our farm ecosystem—land, animals, insects, our farm crew, our volunteers, our visitors, our CSA members and our families.  We are nourishing many things.  I feel very full!

See you in the fields,

Meryl (on behalf of the farm crew)
ps...this week i'm on vacation!  So give a big high-five to our amazing crew and assistant manager, Tessa for running the farm while i'm away!


What's in the Share this week:

Up in the barn:  swiss chard, lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, carrots (and maybe beets), eggplant, garlic and more.

Out in the fields:  take as many cherry tomatoes as you want--those plants are going down fast!  swiss chard, husk cherries, hot peppers


At The Farm Stand:

There are blueberries around for only one or two more weeks! So, come and pick up a pint when you come to the farm--available Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday!
And pick up some delicious fish from Jordan Brothers Seafood--at the farm every Tuesday from 1:30-6:30pm! 


Winter Shares!

Start thinking about winter shares! We will begin selling our shares, and announcing dates for the pick-ups next week!  Let's get excited about lots o' roots!



Monday, August 20, 2012

Late August is a time for picking!


The end of August marks a pretty big transition for most of the people in our farm community.  For you, our members, many of you are finishing up summer vacations, coming back into town to regroup for fall.  Many of you are bringing children home from camp and going back to school shopping-preparing for a new school-year routine. At the farm, our summer crew members are finishing up their last few days at the farm to return to their undergrad or grad programs, teaching jobs, or life off of the farm!  For the full-time farmers, we have to make our own adjustments as we loose these wonderful pickers and weeders.  At a time when our heaviest and most productive crops (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes) are rolling in, we have to push through the late summer heat to fill bin after yellow bin of tomatoes, and basket upon basket of peppers.

Another farmer once told me that August 15th marks the beginning of the end of the weeds!  I’m not sure I really believe her, but I like to spread that rumor throughout my full-time crew.  As the days start to shorten, our crew gets smaller and the weeds slow down a bit, our crew gets in a steady rhythm of harvesting, washing and sorting beautiful peppers and juicy tomatoes.  We begin to feel the slightly cooler air in the mornings and you may even spot me wearing a sweatshirt for the first hour of harvest these days. 

Even though we know there are many more days of heat in our future, we can’t help but be excited about this late August time, when change is in the air and the Powisset Fall Festival is in the not-to-distant future.  But, before that happens, enjoy the tomatoes, summer greens and muggy days in the cherry tomatoes!

See you in the fields,

Meryl (on behalf of the Powisset Farm Crew)



What's in the Share:

Up at the barn:  tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, carrots, beets, potatoes, choice of herb, choice of green (arugula, bok choi, red choi), 

Out in the fields: cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, husk cherries, chard


Pottery at the farm this week!

The Powisset farm stand is busy these days, with farm produce and maine blueberries for sale and local eggs in the fridge every Tuesday and Saturday!  And this week, our favorite potters, Lisa and Sue will be back with their awesome (and often farm inspired) pottery!  Come visit them at the farm this week on Tuesday 1:30-6:30 and Saturday 10am-5pm!
 

 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week Eleven!

flowers at Powisset!

This morning I opened up our harvest records on Tessa’s computer in her cozy office up in the barn that looks over the distribution area.  As I turned on the computer and waited for the files to reflect on the screen, the two big, soft, hybrid couch/arm chairs that were procured from the dump this spring, were calling my name to curl up and catch a few more moments of slumber.  Last week, August revealed its true nature to me and the Powisset farm crew—we struggled to keep our energy up through each hot and humid day.  At one point last week, I turned to Jess and Jon while as we finished up a cuke and squash harvest and were about to turn our energy to the tomatoes, and proclaimed that I simply could not harvest another vegetable until I got some Gatorade and chips into my body! So it was—we stopped, drove to the market and took a 20 minute snack break!  August…the tomatoes are coming on full force, we are rounding the half-way point on our season, the days are getting shorter, just as they are getting hotter!

The excel spreadsheets displayed on the computer and I pulled my gaze away from the soft chairs calling to me and dismissed my thoughts of where I could find a bag of chips for an 8am snack.  Week 11.  The spreadsheet was open to show what we had distributed in the share last week, and the empty, week 11, columns were waiting to be filled.  How is it our eleventh week of our CSA season?  Our plan is to distribute 20 to 21 weeks of vegetables to you this season in order to reach or exceed the value that you paid for your share as well as provide a full season of vegetables to you. So far, we have distributed $381.95 worth of produce to you this season—the combined value of what we distributed at the barn and out in the pick-your-own fields. 

Each vegetable has value—compared to other CSAs, farmers’ markets, supermarkets, distributors—we find an average price that reflects those comparisons, as well as the prices of seeds, fertilizer, crew costs, fuel and more.  I will post our price list up at the barn, and we welcome questions from you any time about those prices.  Then we track what we put in the share each week, in order to track the value of what you are taking home. Most of the time there is very little difference between Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  The times there are differences, we try to make up for in changing the amounts of produce, to make sure that the share value remains consistent through the week. 

Now that we are at our halfway point and our crew has sadly only about three months remaining of their season here, what have you enjoyed? What would you like to see more of in the fall?  Please feel free to pass along your ideas, hopes and dreams for your 2012 season! contact me at: mlatronica@ttor.org or catch a crew member in the field anytime!  We want to make sure that the second half of the season brings you joy in the form of carrots, rutabagas, winter squash, tomatoes and beautiful time at the farm! 

See you out in the fields, as we begin the second half of this incredible 2012 season!

Meryl (on behalf of the Powisset farm crew)


What's in the share this week:


What's in the barn: Tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, carrots, beets, komatsuna, arugula, basil, cukes or squash

What's in the field: lots o' cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, beans, chard


Blueberries!

Hey ya'll!  A reminder to you that there are blueberries available at the farm this week.  You can find pint containers at the farm stand fridge for sale on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  And if you are interested in picking up a five pound box for all of your jam needs, please get in touch with Tessa to place your order as soon as possible!  You can reach Tessa at: tpechenik@ttor.org  

Blueberry season only lasts a few weeks, so get your blueberries while you can!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August has arrived!


purple basil is awesome!
This morning the ground was damp and the air was cool as I walked the fields creating the harvest list for this week.  After Saturday and Sunday, which were some of the sweatiest days ever on the farm, I welcomed the cool breeze, damp grass and warm sunlight on my face.  I passed by the place on the farm where this season’s garlic had been growing.  It’s been at least four weeks since we harvested that crop on a sweltering day in late June.  Since then, we have mowed and disc harrowed and seeded that field with a heavy cover crop of oats.  This morning, the oats were finally popping out of the ground, starting their task of growing tall and stretching their roots deep in the soil to promote healthy soil simply by growing, holding the soil and eventually being turned back into the earth.  Seeing the cover crop growing where there once had been garlic reminds me, once again, of the constant changes that occur on our farm, and the race to keep up with the seasons, the crops, the weeds and the harvesting.

In the meantime—the tomato harvest continues!  We were pleased to distribute ½ a pint of cherry tomatoes in the pick-your-own field last week—just a taste of what is to come!  And, our early tomato fields continue to turn out ripe tomatoes, despite some disease and a tough rain and wind storm last night.  We are patiently waiting for our main crop to ripen—the large green fruits staring at us as we walk by them in the fields.  This year we have 15 varieties to harvest. Some old favorites, like Japanese Black Trifele, Brandywine and Pink Beauty—and some new varieties, like Indigo Rose (a plum-looking tomato) and Lemon Boy (round and yellow).  We are constantly scouting for disease and doing our best to protect our plants from the Late Blight that continues to do damage to many farmers’ crops this season.

August can certainly be a month of rapid and multiple changes on our farm.  Those fields of cover crops, like the oats, start to grow where there once was spring and summer crops.  The tomatoes, peppers and eggplants demand all of our free moments, our hands turn a dark brown from picking—a dirt that doesn’t fade until October.  Our part-time summer help goes back to their non-farm jobs, and we return to the task of taking on all of the harvesting with out them! Luckily, the melons will ripen, providing the sweetest of treats to help us get through a long, hot, harvest day in August.

See you in the fields!

meryl (on behalf of the Powisset Farm Crew)
Our barn! As seen from the veggies fields!

What's in the Share:

Up in the barn:  herbs (choice of basil, sage or parcel), celery, carrots, tomatoes, peppers or eggplants, red mustard greens, potatoes, squash or cukes, garlic

Out in the fields: cherry tomatoes, beans, chard


Saturday Farm Stand at Powisset Farm!

Powisset farm has now opened it's farm stand on Saturdays from 10am-5pm!  Please spread the word!  Our farm stand is open to the public. We will be selling Powisset Farm produce and flowers as well as local honey, jam, granola, eggs and more. The farm stand is a great way to pick up extra produce for your week, as well as provide non-CSA members a chance to take home some Powisset produce!
 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Get your blueberries!

The blueberries are back!

Summer is here and so are the blueberries! We've partnered again this year with Blue Sky Produce to bring you fresh wild blueberries from Down East Maine. For a special few weeks in August, pints of these sweet treats will be available in the Farm Stand (now open on Saturdays as well as Tuesdays!).

For those of you looking to buy in greater quantities, we will be arranging for the delivery of bulk blueberries. For $25, you can purchase a full 5 lb. box (each box holds 6 to 7 pints - roughly a $30 to $35 value):

  • To place an order for a bulk box, email Tessa Pechenik, Assistant CSA Manager at tpechenik@ttor.org
  • Folks wanting to pick up their boxes on either Tuesdays or Thursdays must get their orders in on the previous Friday (for example, email Tessa by this Friday, August 3rd, and you may pick up your fruit box when you collect your CSA share the following week). 
  • For those who'd like to claim their bulk boxes during our Saturday distribution hours, your orders must be in by that Monday (for example, if you're planning to pick up on Saturday, August 11th, please have your order in by Monday the 6th).
It may seem a bit complicated, but the aim is to bring you the fruit as fresh as possible!

To keep things simple, please have your payment ready when you pick up your fruit box; and feel free to email Tessa with any questions; tpechenik@ttor.org

Here's to a sweet summer!