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Monday, October 7, 2013

What Makes a Great Farm Season?

By noon on October 7th, the sky had cleared, the sun was shining and I was getting ready to make the harvest list for our nineteenth (and final) week of our Summer CSA.  I listed veggies down a torn yellow piece of paper, numbering as I went, trying my best to craft a share with a great mix of crops that would send you all off into late fall with a few weeks of Powisset farm in your fridge, or on your counter—reminders of the summer season that just ended and of the farm that fed you through the last four and a half months.  As I wondered out loud in my kitchen about quantities and whether or not we should distribute rutabaga or turnips or both, I thought about what makes a season a great one. 
harvest morning

As grower of the veggies and keeper of the veggie list, I have many thoughts on whether or not this has been a great season and many questions about how to even judge or measure the greatness of a season.  Is a season great because we have harvested over 100,000 pounds of produce?  Is it a great season because we have exceeded our share value by over $100?  Is it a great season because we harvested almost 4000 bunches of beets, 11,000 heads of lettuce and 6000 bunches of carrots?  Is it great because we have donated nearly $10,000 worth of produce?  Or is the measure of a great season about whether our farm apprentices worked hard, enjoyed their time and learned more about farming.  Is it about having an incredibly talented part-time crew that made harvest mornings fly by and arugula bunches look bride-worthy.

Should I measure the greatness of a season on how tired I am, or how many times I needed to ice my back or on how many days I had to order pizza because I was too busy and tired to cook.  Or is the measure of the success and greatness of a season ultimately up to you, our members, and whether or not you feel satisfied in your experience at our farm?  Did the vegetables taste good?  Did you get enough of the things you had wanted?  Did our barn and farm feel welcoming, friendly and peaceful?  Did you pick any flowers or watch the leaves change color in these fields?

To me the greatness of a season is the weight of all those veggies plus the feel of the soil, hot on my knees in summer and cool on my hands in the fall.  It’s the quiet shuffle of people picking cherry tomatoes in August, looking through thick green branches to find a perfect sun gold bite. Greatness is teaching an apprentice how to manage a 70 horse-power tractor for the first time and watch as she turns a field over for planting.  Greatness is being tired at the end of the week but still being able to laugh with my crew and want to go out and pick kale in the dark just so I can have a vehicle for my garlic consumption.

The growing has been hard, the weather has knocked me down and made me dizzy, some crops didn’t come out as I expected or ripen at the right moment or ever get big enough to harvest.  Yet, farm dinners and festivals filled me with joy, picking melons and eating them in the field on a hot summer day made me grin from ear to ear, and evenings alone on the tractor, working the compost piles, gave me peace and satisfaction.  Greatness, I think, was happening every day this season at Powisset Farm.

See you in the fields and thanks for a great season,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

Winter CSA - Last Week of Summer CSA - Farm Stand Schedule

field of fall broccoli
 **There is still space in our winter CSA for more members!  Please let us know in person or by email ( in the next week if you would like to sign up for a share!**

Just a reminder that this week (!) is our last week of our summer CSA.  Our farm stand will be open until October 26 during regular distribution times on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Come to pick up veggies, eggs, pork, beef and more!  Our farm stand will also be open during each of our winter share distribution days: October 26, November 9, November 23 (pre-Thanksgiving) and December 14th from 10am-3pm.  

celebrating fall with bushel + crumb pies! 
  & pre-ordered holiday pies
the pies are back this week, for a final sweet treat. this week's flavor highlights fall in its finest: a spiced apple and pear pie!
if you are a pie share member, please remember to collect your pie from the farm staff. we'll also have a few pies for sale if you would like to purchase one.

in November, bushel + crumb will also be offering a special holiday pie, to be picked up the week of Thanksgiving at Powisset. these will need to be pre-ordered, so check their website and blog for more details (, or grab an order form from in the distribution barn this week.

What's in the share:

In the barn:  potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabega/turnips, kale or chard, lettuce, peppers, eggplants, onions, butternut squash, carrots,

In the fields: parsley, husk cherries, corn stalks, hot peppers, raspberries

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