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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!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Farm Stand and Winter CSA Starts!

In the next few weeks, the Powisset farm crew will be hard at work pulling out the beets, carrots, radishes, rutabega, cabbages and more in preparation for our upcoming winter CSA season.  We will be covering and uncovering spinach, lettuce and radicchio--protecting the tender greens from both the cold nights and the from the deer that have decided to breach the fence and devour row by row of late season greens.  We will be getting ready to re-roof (or re-skin) our greenhouse and ready our fields in order to plant our garlic.  And we will do this all in rain pants and hats and vests and scarves as we settle into the chilly weather over the next few weeks. 

In the midst of all this harvesting, our farm stand is open this Tuesday and Thursday from 1:30-6:30 and Saturday from 10am-5pm! Come stock up on Powisset pork, eggs, beef and all your fall veggie favorites!  We are also open on November 9, November 23 and December 14 from 10am-3pm!


Our winter share still has a few open spots!  Join us!
The dates are:
October 26, November 9, November 23, December 14
Pick ups are at the farm from 10am-3pm

Please make sure to check out last week's blog that has the share value for the 2013 summer CSA season and be in touch with me at: mlatronica@ttor.org if you have any questions to ask or feedback to give.

See you in the fields or up at the barn!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew



Friday, October 18, 2013

How a Season Feels and Share Value Report



This past Tuesday, I woke up and rushed down to the barn to grab the harvest log and meet with the crew in my usual, beginning-of-the-week frenzy.  I pulled a new sheet out from the log book and as I began to write the harvest list, remembered that we didn’t need those 200 heads of lettuce, or 150 bunches of carrots.  It was our first Tuesday since May that we didn’t need to load the truck up with hundreds of pounds of produce for the distribution ahead.  For most of the season, our week on the farm is organized according to the rhythm of the harvests, of the distributions, of the times when you begin arriving at the barn to collect the week’s bounty.  Without that deadline, my Tuesday morning energy lost a little steam and I let out a small chuckle to my crew, who were, at that moment, probably wondering why I came into the office like a steam roller, ready to get out to the fields! 

It’s taken me a few days to adjust to this shift from summer CSA to winter CSA, but I am getting there.  Our crew, now just our five full-time farmers, head out to the fields each day to pick thousands or pounds of roots, take down hundreds of row feet of tomato stakes, and process the last of our shallots, onions and garlic, cleaning and sorting and weighing until the light becomes dim in the barn.  As we work on our hands and knees in the cooling fall soil, spread a good distance from each other, I can take good, long breaths in between pulling each potato from its dark, moist, hiding spots and think about the 2013 summer season.

At this time every year, I am reminded that the value of our CSA goes beyond our “share value report.”  Powisset Farm means something different to each of us.  For some, it is simply a place to get local, organic vegetables.  For others it is a place to connect with your friends once a week, while picking cherry tomatoes in the field together.  For others, it is a place to let your children run free in the flower garden and watch your littlest ones walk their first few steps.  For some of us, it is where we learn to farm, or drive tractors, or eat swiss chard for the first time.   

I love writing the share report because it allows us all the opportunity to compare how we felt about the season with what was actually provided to you up in the barn and out in the fields.  I always wonder, does the share report change how you feel about your farm season?  Does it seem surprising?  This season we focused on providing variety without overwhelming you.  We did our best to offer some choices, while staying true to our model of a CSA, where we encourage you to try new things.  We worked hard to offer extras in the stand, like honey, eggs, yogurt, cheese and pies that would make your stop at Powisset even more fulfilling.  

Every season has its joys and its challenges.  This season we had a great onion and leek crop and were able to offer alliums almost every week in the share.  We had beautiful carrots that almost lasted all the way through the season.  Our tomatoes were delicious and plentiful, without making your house too overfilled with the beauties.  Our lettuce crop was OK, but our hope is to do more small lettuce mixes and more consistent head varieties next season.  As usual, we want to do better at growing spinach and other greens, while making sure you are not overwhelmed with cooking greens you don’t want.  For me, our spring festival, summer potluck and volunteer drop-in afternoons were joyful highlights that reminded me that there is more to this farm than growing great vegetables.

What were your joys?  What was challenging to you about our CSA season? Please feel free to share with me your feedback about this 2013 growing season.  This is our farm that we are creating together and as we move into the planning phase for next season, we hope to incorporate your thoughts!  (please get in touch with me via email at: mlatronica@ttor.org if you want to share your experience).

Thank you all for another great summer season at Powisset Farm.  You all make this farm the wonderful place that it is.  I am lucky to work these fields and fill this barn with food that feeds us all. 

I hope to see you next season or at our winter markets!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew
(I will be continuing to update the blog weekly through the end of the year, and then monthly in the winter months)






Powisset Farm 2013 Share Value Report

Our 2013 farm season ran for 19 weeks, beginning on June 4th and ending on October 12th.  
The value of the share distributed at the barn (not including pick-your-own crops) was $625.48.
That is an average of $33 per week of Powisset veggies, not including PYO crops.
Including PYO crops, the value of our farm share this season was $825.73! 

We compiled our share data by tracking the amount given each week in the share multiplied by the price of each vegetable.  In our report you may see a range or a fraction of a bunch given—this represents when a vegetable was part of a choice—maybe you could choose between kale or swiss chard, we would enter that in our records as distributing a half bunch of each item. 

As you can see, we exceeded the amount that you paid for your share!  Each season, we strive to provide you with the produce that you paid for (this season our share price for TTOR members was $590) and maybe a little more.  Our produce is grown in accordance with all organic standards and growing practices and our prices are set based in comparison to organic and conventional prices at nearby supermarkets, farmers’ markets prices and neighboring CSA prices, also taking into consideration the cost of running our farm.  This season, in response to your feedback, we strove to provide you with a well-rounded bounty each week that would feel plentiful without being overwhelming.

Our report below shows you how much of each item you received during the 2013 season:


Crop

Units distributed to each share:
Price per unit:
Value in share:
Arugula-bunches
6 bunches
$2.50/bunch
$15
Basil-bunches
5.5 bunches
$2.00/bunch
$11
Beets-bunches
8.5 bunches
$2.50/bunch
$21.25
Beets-loose
3.5 pounds
$2.50/pound
$8.75
Broccoli
10.5 pounds
$2.50/pound
$26.25
Cabbage
4-6 heads
$2/head
$8-$12
Carrots-loose
2.5 pounds
$2.25/pound
$5.50
Carrots/bunches
10 bunches
$2.25/pound
$22.50
Cauliflower
1.5 pounds
$2/pound
$3.00  
Celery
1.5 bunch
$2/bunch
$3.00
Celeriac
0
$1.50/pound
$0.00
Chard (not in pyo)
3-4 bunches
$2.50/bunch
$7.50-$10
Cilantro
3 bunches
$2/bunch
$6
Collards
1 bunch
$2/bunch
$2
Corn
2 dozen (1/2 dozen for four weeks)
$5/dozen
$10.00
Cucumbers
12.5 pounds
$1.25/pound
$15.60
Eggplant
15.5 pounds
$2/pounds
$31.00
Escarole
1-2 heads
$2/head
$2-$4
Fennel
2-3 bunches
$3/bunch
$6-$9
Green Garlic
1 bunch
$3.bunch
$3.00
Garlic
5 bulbs
$1.50/bulb
$7.50
Garlic Scapes
3 dozen
$3/dozen
$9.00
Specialty Greens bunches/heads (tatsoi, mizuna, broccoli raab, bulls blood, komatsuna, bok choi)
12 bunches/heads
$2.50/bunch or head
$30.00
Hakurei turnips
9 bunches
$2.00/bunch
$18.00
Kale
8.5 bunches (not including pyo)
$2.50/bunch
$21.25
Kohlrabi
2-3 bunches
$2.50/bunch
$5-$7.50
Leeks
3-5 bunches
$2.50/bunch
$7.50-$12.50
Lettuce
23 heads
$2.50/ head
$57.50
Lettuce mix
1.5 pounds
$3/pound
$4.50
Melons (watermelons)
2 pieces
$3/piece
$6.00
Onions -loose
7.5 pounds
$1.50/pound
$11.25
Onions -bunched
3.5 bunches
$1.50/bunch
$5.25
Parsnips
0
$1.50/pound
$0.00
Peppers, bell (green, colorful, sweet)
10 pounds
$2.50/pound
$25.00
Peppers, hot (not in pyo)
1 pound
$2.50/pound
$2.50
Popcorn
2 ears
$1/ear
$2.00
Potatoes
15 pounds
$1.50/pound
$22.50
Pumpkins
1 pieces
$2.50/piece
$2.50
Purple Top Turnips
3 pounds
$1.25/pound
$3.75
Radishes-bunches
6-8 bunches
$1.50/bunch
$9-$12
Rutabaga
1.5 pounds
$1/pound
$1.50
Scallions
7 bunches
$2/bunch
$14.00
Spinach
3.5 pounds
$4/pound
$14.00
Summer squash
16.5 pounds
$1.25/pound
$20.63
Sweet potatoes
6 pounds
$2.50/pounds
$15.00
Tomatillos
2.5 pounds
$2.50/pound
$5.00
Tomatoes
27 pounds
$3/pound
$81.00
Winter squash
8.5 pounds
$2/pound
$17.00




Total share Value without Pick-your-own:


$625.48

The total value of PYO crops offered was $200.25.  That is an average of $10.50 per week over 19 weeks.  We know that you didn’t always make it out to the fields to participate in the pick-your-own part of our CSA, so you probably didn’t take home all $200.25 worth of PYO produce this season.  But, most of you spent time picking and we are proud to have a CSA that continues to provide the opportunity for you and your friends and family to get your hands dirty, find joy in picking your favorite bean, and bending low to get that last pint of husk cherries.

 Below is our Pick-your-own report for 2013:

PYO crop
Units Distributed
Price per unit
Value in Share
Bush beans
4.5 quarts
$2.50/quart
$11.25
Chard
10 bunches
$1.75/bunch
$17.50
Cherry tomatoes
10.5
$3/pint
$31.50
Dill
10-13 bunches
$1.50/bunch
$15-$19.50
Fava beans
2 quarts
$2/quart
$4.00
Hot peppers
4 pints (roughly 30 pieces)
$2/pint
$8
Husk cherries
6 pints
$3/pint
$18.00
Kale
8 bunches
$1.75/bunch
$14.00
Peas
6 pints
$3/pint
$18.00
Strawberries
6 pints
$3.50/pint
$18.00
Flowers (including sunflowers)
12 bouquets
$3/small bouquet
$36.00
Popcorn Stalks
Up to 25


Herbs from herb garden
unlimited


Raspberries
3 pints
$3/pint
$9




Total Value PYO Crops:


$200.25










Total Share Value:
$825.73