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Monday, July 29, 2013

The Waiting Game

I’m not a particularly patient person. I don’t like waiting at red lights, or in lines, or for the oven to preheat. Most often, I like to have the things I want, when I want them. When I first came to farm work, I was attracted to the immediacy of this experience: the instant gratification of sinking your hands into cool soil, or tasting that first strawberry of the season, as it teeters between sweet and tart on your tongue, and meanwhile you’re already reaching out to pick another fruit. You spend an hour weeding a bed of carrots, head down, hands in constant motion, and when you look up, your sense of reward - a clean bed, another check off the to-do list - is instant.
But the longer I do this work, the more I realize those moments of immediacy, while so pleasing and deserved, are actually spread out across a very wide expanse of waiting. We wait for things to grow, to ripen, to die, to multiply, to arrive. The summer onions in the share this last  month were seeded in the greenhouse in March, planted in April and cultivated and weeded and cared for until they were finally ready to be picked in July. After the rains last week, we waited for the soil to dry out enough to tractor cultivate. Walk the bed, look at the soil, pick up a handful, is it too wet? I think so, let’s wait another day and see. . . 
We wait for the frost to melt before we can pick our kale on November mornings, and for the peas to flower on their trellises. We wait for the first heart-shaped leaves of broccoli seeds to break through the surface in their greenhouse trays and for the tiny shoots of garlic to pop up through the layers of mulch in the spring. When it’s dry, we wait for rain; when it’s raining, we wait for a break in the weather. This week, we’re waiting for our tomatoes and watermelons to ripen.  These summer fruits are so close and it’s hard to keep being patient. The tomato plants are hanging heavy with green fruit, and the melons beckon but are still a tease. Will they be ready tomorrow? The next day? How much longer do we have to wait?
The more waiting I do in this job, the easier it comes; and bit by bit I am learning to be patient. You just can’t rush things on the farm. As much as we want the fields to bend to our whim, there’s only so much we can do to hurry things along. We get tractors into the fields as soon as we can in the spring, and fill our heated greenhouse with green, growing plants in defiance of the snow piled in drifts outside. But other than planting and caring and watering and weeding, what we do is wait. The seasons will cycle this year as they are meant to, spring became warm and turned into summer, and these long, hot days will eventually cool and darken come fall. The tomatoes will start to blush red or orange or pink, one by one, and while we wait, soon the whole tomato field will glow with color.
 I suppose there is a real value in waiting, and in surrendering control to the natural pace of the seasons and crops. Instant gratification is wonderful, but it is sometimes too easy or too forgettable. Waiting lets you anticipate, expect, and feel hopeful. Waiting encourages us to muse for weeks over recipes; or sit sweaty and knee-deep in the July weeds of our winter squash field, while imagining eating those butternut when we’re wearing sweaters and watching the leaves change color. Waiting allows us all to build excitement, so when that watermelon finally arrives in the barn, warm from the fields and almost splitting open in its ripeness, we can truly savor that food.  Perhaps, in the end, waiting is really more of a gift than a chore. It is an invitation to pause, a suspended moment of anticipation, in the otherwise hectic and busy life of the farm.

See you in the fields, 
Tessa (on behalf of the Powisset Farm Crew)

Cherry tomatoes starting to ripen!

watermelons! we want to eat you!

green fruit on our tomatoes
the crew scouts the tomato field for ripe fruit

What’s in the Share:

In the barn: Salad mix, basil, choice of cooking green, onions, red and striped beets, green and purple mizuna, carrots, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, maybe tomatoes, maybe watermelons.

In the fields: dill, parsley, chard, kale, sunflowers, and a taste of cherry tomatoes and raspberries!

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.

For those of you looking to buy in greater quantities, we will be arranging for the delivery of bulk blueberries. For $27, 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 at
  • 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 2nd, 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 Wednesday (for example, if you're planning to pick up on Saturday, August 10th, please have your order in by Wednesday the 7th).
It may seem a bit complicated, but the aim is to bring you the fruit as fresh as possible! We’ll also have a paper sign up sheet in the barn, if you’d prefer pen and paper to email.

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.

Oil and Vinegar Tasting!
Our friend Jill from Gustare Oils and Vinegars will be hosting a tasting during CSA distribution hours on Tuesday and Thursday of this week. Gustare, which opened in 2009 on Cape Cod, is owned by Catherine and Dave Ferraresi, who after living abroad in Europe for over a decade, returned stateside with a desire to share their passion for high quality, healthful oils and vinegars. Stop by to taste and let us know if you’d like to see any particular flavors in the farm stand!

Bushel + Crumb Pies!
This week, we’re excited to try the third pie flavor from the expert pie bakers at Bushel + Crumb! If you are a pie share member, please remember to collect your pie; and if you’re not, look for the pies in the farm stand. This week’s flavor sounds interesting: carrot, beet and za’atar. Apparently this was the overall favorite from their tasting trials!

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