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Thursday, December 18, 2014

What a Year! Also, Pies Needed!

Dedham Food Pantry
Urgent need for pies! 

December 2014
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ALERT! The food pantry urgently needs 110 baked pies for this Saturday's turkey give-away to our clients. Make a family's holiday season brighter by donating 9-inch bought, baked or frozen pies! 

Drop off times at the food pantry this week are 3-4:30 pm on Thursday and 8am -1 pm on Friday

Also, please consider the Dedham Food Pantry as your 2014 tax deductible organization.  Click here to make an online donation.

DFP Photobook

Check out the Photobook section of our website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Let There Be Light ... and Yummy Latkes!

Latkes. You've heard of them. You've probably eaten them. If this picture doesn't arouse your taste buds, perhaps reading about one of my favorite time honored food traditions will inspire you to create the delicacy connected to the holiday of Chanukah that starts tonight!

Photo courtesy of Anne Innis
CSA Member, PEP Team Member &
Overall Powisset Cooks enthusiast

Last Sunday in the Powisset Farm Kitchen we gathered for a workshop on Potato Latkes and Lantern Making. Eleven kids and eight parents explored the farm in it's quieter, winter mode. We hand-grated potatoes and parsnips for our latkes and made lanterns out of recycled 2 liter soda bottles.
We used two different latke recipes - one that I consider traditional and one that is a more modern adaptation. Traditional and modern may be somewhat subjective classifications to use for cultural food practices as traditions often vary from family to family. My family uses the food processor to grind the potatoes for our latkes into a mush-like consistency. Egg, salt and matzo meal or flour are then added to help the latkes stick together. This is our tradition. A family that is dear to my heart, though not related to me, insists that potatoes for latkes must be grated, ideally by hand, as this is their family tradition. 

Many moons ago I had the opportunity to attend the annual Latke Cook-off at the James Beard Foundation in New York City. Two top chefs and one Jewish grandmother competed in a blind taste test to see whose recipe would win. We were presented with sweet potato leek latkes, zucchini feta latkes and variations on the classic potato latke. At the end of the evening the Jewish grandmother was awarded first prize for her simple and delicious potato latke! When it comes to creating foods from our past there is a nostalgic component to taste that is separate from objective flavor. In order to set your taste buds up for success in these situations it can help to clarify whether you're embarking on a new culinary adventure or hoping to replicate the past. 

Here are links to the two recipes we used 
Traditional Potato Latkes by Claudia Roden from The Book of Jewish Food 

Both of these cookbooks are wonderful for different reasons. In this moment I am particularly enthralled with Jerusalem. This cookbook is stunningly gorgeous and everything I've eaten lives up to the quality of the aesthetic presentation. Check it out if you haven't already and Ottolenghi has six other cookbooks!

The KEY to both of these recipes is rinsing, straining and squeezing out the potatoes after they've been grated. This process removes all of the potato starch that can make the latkes soggy. Ideally you want your latke "batter" to be relatively dry.  I can't stress enough the importance of the rinsing, straining and squeezing process. The relative dryness of the batter, in combination with a good amount of oil in the pan, leads to easy frying and crispy latkes.   

While our latke were frying on 4 burners of our induction stove top, we transformed recycled 2 liter soda bottles into beautiful, tissue paper covered lanterns. Kids and parents approached the craft project with creativity and enthusiasm. Some lanterns were decorated with snowflakes, while others features dogs, hearts, and many other shapes. We melted a single candle into the bottom of the 2 liter soda bottle in preparation for our departure from the workshop into the dark night.

As you know, the daylight has decreased in the last months and the amount of darkness has increased. This will shift after the Winter Solstice this Sunday - the amount of daylight will slowly increase. Chanukah is a time to bring light into the darkness. By lighting candles and eating foods fried in oil (as oil was once used to burn wicks and create light) we celebrate our ability to transform darkness into light. Whether we are frying latkes, creating lanterns or spending time with family and friends, there are so many ways to bring light into the darkness.

We ended the evening by tasting our two different latke recipes.  Success! Warm and crispy, the latkes were enjoyed plain or with the addition of applesauce and/or sour cream. In the words of one participant, "the potato and parsnip latke was delicious, but the plain latke was fantastic!" Our bellies happy with our potato treats, it was time to head out into the night with the candlelight of our lanterns to light the way home. 

May we be blessed with abundant light in this holiday season -- light that illuminates, heals and brings joy and peace into all of the dark places! 

Photo by Anne Innis
Rachel and The Powisset Farm Crew

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Last Awesome Winter Market of the Season!! This Saturday!

Powisset 2014 Crew! Thank you to an incredible team!

This afternoon, I made it down the treacherous farm road in the pounding rain and sleet to find shelter in the greenhouse where I was prepping and bagging onions and garlic for this weeks' share.  The rain was so loud as it fell upon on layers of plastic between me and the storm that I couldn't even listen to Amy Poehler's book on tape that I have been caught up in for the last couple of days.  So I put my phone away, took a big sip of my room-temperature coffee and sorted through yellow and red onions to the sound of raindrops. 

Sorting and bagging produce can only mean one thing...we're getting ready for this weekend's final winter share and winter market!  Hooray!  Pleas join us at the farm as we come the "official" (more or less) end of our 2014 CSA season.  The stand will be open and stocked with our produce, the last of our pork, and eggs from our chickens.  We will also have other goodies like; honey, jam, apple sauce, granola, freshly baked baguettes, frozen blueberries from this summer's wild harvest, coffee, beans, local flour and more!  We'll be at the farm between 10am-3pm!  It's even looking like this winter storm will pass by then, so you can enjoy a sunny walk around our fields when you get here.

See you at the farm,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

This Saturday!

The stand will be open from 10am-3pm this Saturday, December 13th!
You can pick up your winter share at that time, or shop from the stand!

In the share:  carrots, garlic, onions, winter squash, cabbage, celeriac, parsnips, diakon, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, kohlrabi and maybe kale and lettuce mix or other greens!
In the stand: all above, plus shallots, hot peppers, leeks, rutabega, beets, herbs and maybe other greens!
Bulk boxes: half bushel boxes of potatoes and onions for sale for $20 each. 

Last Chance for Pottery This Season 
and An Extra Special Guest!

This Saturday our beloved potters, Lisa Walker and Sue Brum, will return to the barn for the final pottery sale of the year! Take home the gift of hand-crafted pottery for a loved one or for yourself. And if you’re looking for the perfect hat to wear while you sip your holiday nog out of your elegant pottery mug, look no further than the textile artwork of Kathy Zola. Kathy hand-knits and weaves her pieces with a variety of fibers (she even repurposes used plastic shopping bags and turns them into beautiful placemats!) to create hats, scarves and more. Stop by on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm to chat with the artists and admire their wares.

Egg Shares!

We have a limited number of Egg Shares still available – as of this writing, there are only 15 spots left! If you’d like to continue to enjoy Powisset eggs this winter (Have you ever made a so-called Dutch Baby? Take a gander at this:!), please email Tessa at to sign up.

Join Powisset Cooks! for our Upcoming Workshops:

Sunday, December 14 | 2-4PM

Join  us to learn fun new ways to incorporate farm fresh veggies into school lunches!

Sunday, January 11 | 10AM-12PM

Walk, snow shoe or cross country ski around the farm trail and then warm up with Stone Soup created by participants!

From the Fields: Farm Chowder
Wednesday, January 21 | 5:30-7:30PM

Come experiment with different chowder recipes and learn about local, seasonal fish options!

Email Rachel with any questions!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Powisset on Paper

Before I began my training as a farmer, I spent some time living in Washington, DC. I was fresh out of college, looking to move somewhere new with my partner and was a rabid fan of The West Wing, so DC was the natural choice. I floated around for a bit before getting a job at a non-profit, through the regular channels of my twenty-something adrift peers at the time: starting as a temp, moving on to secretarial work and finally landing a job as an entry-level grants administrator. 
I loved the organization and the work it did, but not so much my own day to day. I’d find ways to fill my time – recreationally re-organizing my post-it drawer (by color! by size! free form!), or taking lingering trips to the kitchen for coffee refills – but I couldn’t avoid the heart of the work, which involved spreadsheets and spreadsheets of budgets. Before long, there came a moment of realization. I remember very clearly sitting in a meeting, failing to keep pace with my supervisor as she ran through line item after line item on a particular budget and thinking in a panic, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing here. I’m terrible at math, I hate this stuff, and I’m in way over my head.’ To my boss, the numbers had meaning. They represented tangible things, and she liked the challenge of making them fit neatly together into some larger mosaic. But to me, it was like looking at an eye chart when I take my contacts out – I could see that something was there, but couldn’t quite make it out. No amount of squinting and moving my head made any of it any more clear. I wasn’t able to grasp how the numbers meant anything beyond being just numbers. There was no connection to the work that these figures supported in the real world.
I quit my job soon after and moved up to Boston. I missed New England and needed a change of scenery, plus I had heard some interesting things from my partner’s cousin, about a farm she was working at with a funny-sounding name in a town called Dover.
These days, I’m still not a huge fan of budgets, or numbers at all, for that matter. It probably doesn’t help that I’m still terrible at math. If anyone had told me in my teen years that I would most certainly need to use math in my adult life, I probably would have stopped wasting so much time rolling my eyes at my parents and watching Dawson’s Creek and tried to keep my math textbook open longer. Alas, while it’s too late for me to become a budget whiz, some things have changed for the better. Today Meryl and I sat in the farm office, cats on laps, and began the work of drafting the budget for next season. I found myself looking down at the numbers, afraid to see the lines across the spreadsheet start to blur, but I realized it feels a little different now than it used to.
With a handful of farm seasons under my belt, I’m beginning to see these numbers as more than just formulas on a page. I am finally able to connect them to the work that we do. Each line item of the budget prompts long talks and visioning about what the particular work of next season will look and feel like. What will our crew be, what equipment do we need to sustain our work, what will our seed order look like, how much does potting soil cost, do we need to replace parts of the electric fence, do we need to renew our CPR training. . . ?
It’s a stretch of the imagination: to be sitting in the office in the early days of December, wrestling numbers that will only take on shape in the windy days of next April when we put up the deer fence; or the oppressive heat of mid-July, when we wish we had thought to invest in new tomato stakes because the old warped ones we thought we could get another year out of are bending ever more deeply under the weight of plants on the cusp of harvest. It’s a rare moment when the current season, not yet fully retired, intersects with the new season, still an unformed thing out there in the ether. And all those incidents of challenge, reward, humility and harvest that take ownership of our lives in the thick of the farm season start with this – a spreadsheet and some numbers. It gives budgets a new magic that was absent for me in those DC days. We’ve since formed a truce, these budgets and I. It’s a small victory, but I’ll take it.

Hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings!

Tessa (on behalf of the Powisset Farm Crew)
My partner and family and I enjoying a stroll on Thanksgiving

Final Winter Share Distribution and Farm Stand next Saturday!

As a reminder, our fourth and final Winter Share pick up and Farm Stand will be next Saturday, December 13th, from 10 am to 3 pm. We'll be loading you up with all that we've got left, so no need to hoard your carrots and potatoes quite yet - you'll be getting plenty more. We'll also have some special guests with us to keep the barn festive with holiday pottery and beautiful hand-knit pieces for sale.

Announcing the Powisset Egg CSA!
A dozen beauties

Don't fret! The carefree days of fried egg sandwiches and Spanish omelets don't have to end this winter because we're excited to offer an Egg CSA! From the beginning of January through the end of May, come to the farm for fresh eggs, collected with love from our hens right down the farm road. $100 buys you a dozen a week for 5 months! (that's $1 off, per dozen, each week). Email Tessa at for more details and to reserve your spot.

Get your Winter Joy On!
This Sunday, outdoor enthusiast and all-around awesome human Reuben Blanchard will be offering a free workshop at the farm. Here are the details in Reuben's words:
The winter offers so many opportunities that are not there throughout the rest of the seasons. It is a beautiful time of year, especially in New England, but it is also incredibly easy to just stay inside. At this workshop, we’ll talk about how to get outside and enjoy it!
We’ll start with what most people mess up: dressing correctly for the weather. From there we’ll move on to other activities. Anything from the joy of outdoor fires, to tracking animals in the city and woods, to exercises that make you stop paying attention to the cold, and start paying attention the world around you.
We’ll spend time both inside and outside in the woods for the workshop, so please do your best to dress accordingly!
Sunday, December 7th, 10am-1pm, Free. Meet in the Powisset classroom. Email with questions or to reserve a spot.
All ages are welcome, but anyone under 14 needs to be accompanied by an adult, please.

Join Powisset Cooks! for our Upcoming Workshops:

Sunday, December 7 | 3-5PM

Potato pancakes and lantern making -- the perfect combination of activities to brighten any holiday season!

Sunday, December 14 | 2-4PM

Join  us to learn fun new ways to incorporate farm fresh veggies into school lunches!

Sunday, January 11 | 10AM-12PM

Walk, snow shoe or cross country ski around the farm trail and then warm up with Stone Soup created by participants!

Email Rachel at with any questions! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Farm Kitchen Abundance!

This was a busy week in the Powisset Farm Kitchen!

On Thursday we made Sauerkraut and Kimchi using cabbage from Powisset and Vanguarden CSA (Chris Yoder, you rock!). Thanks to Audra Karp, Powisset Farm CSA member and fermentation expert, these delicacies were demystified and explored in all of their glory.

Here are a few of the secrets we uncovered:

  • Salt is KEY
    Regular old salt with nothing added is great and Audra prefers sea salt.
    Use one heaping teaspoon per pound of vegetables.
    Let the salt do the work for you of breaking down the vegetables; you don't need to constantly massage or stir the cabbage and vegetable mixtures.
    I thought fermentation required a special kind of crock. Much to my surprise and relief, Sauerkraut and Kimchi can be made and stored in any clean glass jar with a lid!
    We mixed all of the the Sauerkraut and Kimchi ingredients together in a bowl and added the salt. Once the salt worked to pull the water out of the vegetables we stuffed all the ingredients into glass jars, pressing everything down until the vegetables were covered in their own liquid.
I have three jars sitting on my counter and I'm eager to share my creations! Happy fermenting!

On Sunday we brought the day's unseasonably warm weather into the Farm Kitchen and created four delicious, warming, winter soups. Thanks to my current culinary crush, Peter Berley, for these amazing soup recipes:
  • Carrot Leek 
    I wouldn't have thought to pair these vegetables in a soup and the natural sweetness of the combination really struck me. Using an immersion blender to finish the soup creates not only a smooth, creamy texture, but also speeds up the process of merging the flavors. I could eat this soup every day. Yum!!!
  • Borscht
    Served warm, this recipe brings across the simplicity and richness of beet flavor and color.
  • Rutabaga with Sizzling Spice Oil
    In my experience, Rutabaga is one of the unsung root vegetables (along with parsnip, turnip and radish) of the world. By combining sauteed onions, garlic and freshly ground caraway seeds this recipe unlocked the rutabaga's deep flavor and sweetness. Again, the immersion blender joined all of this tasty goodness together to create a rockin' winter treat. Three cheers for the Rutabaga!!!
  • Winter Minestrone with Parsley Pesto
    True to Minestrone form, this is one of those "meal-in-a-pot" soups. Complete with vegetables, beans and pasta this soup has it all...and then some! Topped with an easy to make parsley pesto, this soup only got better. Thankfully, unlike basil, our usual go-to for pesto, parsley is still in season; this hearty herb can withstand a lot of cold. This pesto is a great addition not only to the other soups we made, but also to so many other dishes. In fact, the pesto was so good that there's already a pesto making workshop in the hopper for next year! Stay tuned!
It's so fitting to have an overflowing kitchen on the week before Thanksgiving. Together we harvested, washed, peeled, chopped, diced, salted, sauteed, boiled, blended, served, tasted and delighted. Workshop participants tried foods they'd never eaten before (rutabaga, celeriac (a.k.a. celery root) and pesto) and particularly enjoyed sharing time with others in the Farm Kitchen.

May we all be blessed with abundance on this Thanksgiving and the ability to take a moment to recognize and give thanks for all that we have.
I look forward to seeing you in the Farm Kitchen!
Rachel & The Powisset Farm Crew

Join Powisset Cooks! for our Upcoming Workshops:

Sunday, December 7 | 3-5PM

Potato pancakes and lantern making -- the perfect combination of activities to brighten any holiday season!

Sunday, December 14 | 2-4PM

Join  us to learn fun new ways to incorporate farm fresh veggies into school lunches!

Sunday, January 11 | 10AM-12PM

Walk, snow shoe or cross country ski around the farm trail and then warm up with Stone Soup created by participants!

Email Rachel with any questions! 

Looking for Help Caring for our Chickens!
Do you love spending time with chickens?
Are you around this winter?
Would you like to receive farm-fresh eggs in exchange for some basic chicken care?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please email Meryl to find out more information!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Getting Ready for Winter!

At the end of the work day today, I walked around the fields checking the irrigation outlets one by one.  As I stomped around in my winter boots, rain pants, extra thick gloves and four sweatshirts, I could feel the ground freezing into place with each clunky step.   A week ago, I had met up with my tractor repair man for our annual field walk and irrigation line evacuating session.  His truck carries an air compressor, and we have outfitted one of the irrigation risers with an air attachment.  In mid-to-late fall, he drives into the field; we hook up our special outlet, turn on the air and clear the water out from under the fields, protecting our system from the damaging effects of freezing.   I open and shut valves and run back to the truck when the generator shuts off and talk with Gary about farming and life and whatever else is on his mind that afternoon.  The ritual went according to plan and we congratulated each other for getting the job done before the really cold weather sets in.  

So as the sun was heading down and the weather report was warning me of temperatures in the teens, I took a cold walk through the nearly veggie-less fields to make sure no water was hanging out, waiting to freeze.  With a shovel over my left shoulder I made my way to each outlet, opening and closing the values, flushing the remaining drops deep into the pipes below the soil, tucking it away for winter, hiding it at the bottoms and elbows of pipes a few feet below me.  I replaced the covers, and pulled out the mouse nests that were tucked in the corners.  I walked across our fields-named for the states-Washington, Colorado, New Mexico and over to Maine.   A shell of frost encased the soil as I walked.  Where I had been sinking, I now stood tall on ridges of once muddy soil.  The sun was about to set.  Winter is on its way to the farm and we are getting ready.  

See you at the farm!  Dress warmly!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

Third Winter Share Pick-up & Farm Stand!
This Saturday, November 22 

At the farm stand & in the share:
carrots, potatoes, shallots, onions, leeks, butternut and delicata squash, spinach, lettuce mix (most likely), rutabega, garlic, beets, celeriac, cabbage, kale and more! Plus eggs, pies, pork, beef, cranberries, coffee, applesauce, honey and lots more produce at the farm stand!

Come see us at the farm!!  

Special Holiday Pies!

It’s the time of year to unabashedly eat your heart with some delicious seasonal pies. We’ll have a few holiday pies in the farm stand freezer to take home if the mood sways you, but you can also order a large variety of pies directly from Bushel + Crumb. Here are the details from our favorite pie-makers:

It's November, which means it's time for Thanksgiving pies! Brighten your holiday table with a variety of sweet and savory Bushel + Crumb pies.
For a full description of the different pie varieties and to order your pie online, visit
Pies will be available for pickup at Powisset on both Saturday, November 22nd and on Tuesday, November 25th from 4pm-6pm. On Saturday we are excited to offer a selection of frozen, unbaked pies.  Simply pull from your freezer and pop in the oven on Thanksgiving morning for a fresh-baked pie (or stock up for the cold months ahead).
Feel free to contact us at with any questions about Thanksgiving pies.

A New Potter Joins Us in the Barn!

For this Saturday’s pre-Thanksgiving Winter Share and Farm Stand, we’ll be joined by Judy Ogilvie, a community member and talented potter who will be bringing her unique clayware to the barn. Here is a bit about Judy in her own words:

My name is Judy Ogilvie.  I am a retired school librarian who is following a long-held dream - to be able to throw clay pots.  Every step of the process of creating something from clay is a fascinating undertaking, from wedging up a ball of clay to the finished product.  Every time I sit down at the wheel I learn something new, maybe about the feel of different clay bodies, maybe about the science of why some pots hold their shape and others collapse.  Then there is the magic of glazing.  No matter how well you know your glazes and kiln, when that kiln is opened there is always a surprise inside!  I look forward to bringing my pottery to the Powisset Farm barn and hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  

Get your Berries!

Winter is right around the corner, and just when you feel like it’s freezing outside and you don’t want to get out of bed and it gets dark somewhere around 2 pm and all there is to eat is celeriac, have hope! Remember those sweet wild blueberries from Maine that herald the long and lazy days of August? We’ve got these treats stocked in the freezer, ready to come back to your kitchen and sweeten up the holiday season. So far - in our many exhaustive tasting trials as a crew - we haven’t found any way to eat these that we don’t like: throw the frozen berries into your morning bowl of cold or hot cereal, put them frozen onto your yogurt or ice cream, make muffins, make pies, make scones! The list goes on. If blueberries aren’t for you, we’ll also have fresh cranberries from The Edible Yard, to either eat right out of the bag on your drive home or for your Thanksgiving staple dishes. Taste the real rainbow! 

From the Farm Kitchen:

Join us for in the Powisset Farm Kitchen to warm your bellies and feed your mind! 
The following workshops are coming up:
Thursday, November 20 | 5:30-7:30PM

CSA member and fermenter extraordinaire, Audra Karp, will guide us in the process of creating easy, delicious, sauerkraut and kimchi that you can make at home. When Audra is not fermenting everything in sight she works as a Homebirth Midwife!
Sunday, November 23 | 10AM - 12PM

Winter there a better way to stay warm from the inside out?!
Farm Fun for the Whole Family: Potato Latkes and Lantern Making
Sunday, December 7 | 3-5PM

Potato pancakes and lantern making -- the perfect combination of activities to brighten any holiday season!

Email Rachel with any questions!