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Monday, June 30, 2014

Picking Peas

This afternoon I walked through the overflowing rows of peas with a good friend.  We chatted as she filled a container with shelling peas and her almost eleven-month old grabbed onto pea tendrils that brushed against her tiny hands.  As we picked and talked I realized that I had not spent any time eating or picking or enjoying these rows of tender pods.  It felt special to reach into the massive plants and wind my way through the leaf-mulch pathways and come out on the other end, full, smiling and hardly remembering that cold day with the crew when we laid the peas, by hand, into the cool spring earth. 
carrots this week!

I am lucky because I get to hear from some of you about how you experience the farm.  There are the vegetables that we share; the crunchy lettuce, the first carrots of the season, the taste of freshly picked broccoli—all of us eating along with the seasons together.  We share the practice, the ritual, of bringing food from the farm to our kitchens and creating something from the simple to the extravagant, feeding ourselves and our loved ones.  But the experience of being at the farm, the way it feels, is different for all of us. 

Lately, the theme seems to be this sense of stepping away from your day-to-day as you know it; slowing down, taking a deep breath.  The farm offers many of you a break from your routine (even as your visits to the farm become a part of that routine).  At Powisset, you can walk down the farm road, slowly.  You can carefully choose each sprig of parsley, imagining how it will add depth to your salad, or beauty to your counter.  I like the moments when I can see that slow-down, the chatting in the rows of herbs, or the savoring of a snow pea as you taste it before deciding to fill your pint, making sure it’s how you remember it from last year. 

broccoli harvest continues!
For me, the farm is my workplace and my home.  It is the place I am the busiest and loudest version of myself and it is also the place I can be the quietest and most reflective.  My experience of the farm changes with the weather, the crew, who our CSA members are and how many weeds are trying to take over my world.  It feels different during my morning field walk and my evening field walk.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays-so different.  All of these experiences are the farm to me and all of yours are the farm to you.  I find strength and comfort in the places where our rituals at the farm intersect and overlap.  I think I’ll head out and pick more peas just to walk down those rows and see what you’ll be seeing this week.

See you in the fields,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

What's in the Share:

Full: lettuce, arugula or greens mix, kale or chard, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, scallions, choice of roots: radish/beets/fennel, cilantro or basil
Small: lettuce, kale or chard, scallions, choice of roots, broccoli, cilantro or basil, carrots

pick-your-own: lots of peas! parsley/dill/greens

Our new kitchen space!

Just a reminder to fill out the survey which will help us to hear how you all want to use our new space. If you have not yet filled out a survey during CSA pickup, please click below to fill out our short survey. Thank you for making time to share your input with us!

Get your July 4th pie this week from Bushel + Crumb!

Open to pie share members and non-members alike. Be the hit of the BBQ! Two varieties will be available: Wild Maine Blueberry Maple & Savory Sweet Pea, Herb and Ricotta. We're taking special orders through Monday online at: 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Present Harvest, Future Harvest

Powisset Farm, almost at dusk. photo:k.benner
It’s a beautiful, sunny, warm Monday.  I can hear weed whacking out my window and the sounds of the part-time crew chatting and laughing as they hoe the tiny weeds emerging in the pepper field, not too far away.  My dog and cat are lounging on the couch—taking up all the good spots.  I’m finishing up lunch and I glance at the calendar for the week and take a deep breath in awe of this being the last week of June! Four weeks into the CSA and I’m caught in that place between feeling like I’ve been doing this forever or for only a day.  

We are at the point in the season where those first plantings of lettuces, spinach, broccoli and arugula have come and gone.  Harvested, mowed, and turned under deep into the soil to become food for new successions of the plantings.  Those precious first seedlings that provided awe and were a platform for teaching the nuances of planting, cultivating and bunching are already a memory.  The same crops that I held in my hands and sank into soft earth with the perfect mix of love and purpose, I am now ruthlessly erasing from existence.  On a farm like ours, space is always needed, so I have to be swift to move through the fields, making quick decisions to save or not save those last ten heads of lettuce at the end of the bed.

This week we have winter squash to plant and our watermelons and the rest of our sweet potatoes! So, I mowed the broccoli stalks from last week’s harvest, plowed-in the old rows of bolting spinach, saved a few beds of huge lettuce heads and made new sections of field ready for the fall crops to hold court for the remainder of the season.  Four weeks into the season and we are already planting and weeding crops that will be harvested for the winter CSA.  This work of preparing for the future often makes it hard for me to stay in the present.  But I suppose that’s a struggle for life…how do we enjoy the harvest of today while planning and caring for the future harvests.  For now, I’ll try to do as the pets do—take a moment to take up the good spot on the couch and appreciate this day, the first Monday of Summer!

See you in the fields!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

What’s in the Share (most likely):
Full: lettuce, choice of greens, kale, scallions, garlic scapes, cabbage, beets, 
choice of turnip or radish, broccoli
Small: lettuce, choice of green, scallion, garlic scape, choice of roots, broccoli

Pick your own: peas! Parsley, kale

Events n' things at Powisset this week:

Tuesday: Jordan Brother's Seafood vendor at the farm
Friday: 2pm-3pm: Flower Power Hour: volunteer drop-in time
Saturday: 8am-noon, volunteer drop-in time

Meet Tessa Pechenik:
Assistant Farm Manager. Awesome Person.
Did you ever wonder if there was a mastermind behind the beauty of the Farm Stand, or the clever tips on the chalkboards above the vegetables?  Did you ever wonder whose artistic eye arranges the honey and jam jars and brings in the beans, meats, granola and cheese!  Let me introduce you to Tessa, Powisset Farm’s amazing assistant Manager!  Tessa is the leader of all things post-harvest (in addition to all her amazing field work)! She keeps things moving from the field through the wash station and into the barn with the perfect balance of speed, efficiency and attention to high quality.  She has trained three seasons’ of apprentices in the art of cooling and cleaning vegetables and has nurtured and grown our farm stand and distribution area into a truly beautiful spot for picking up vegetables.  Powisset is lucky to have this incredible farmer working our fields.  Here she is in her own words:

Hello! My name is Tessa and I’m thrilled to be sharing the 2014 season with you all!

Powisset has been my farming home since the summer of 2009, when I first came here as a volunteer. That August afternoon of harvesting onions - gently pulling the plump allium globes from the field and nestling them one after the other into a bag - was more significant than I could have imagined at the time. I came back each week to spend an afternoon on the farm and before long I was hooked. With the help of the patient crew, I learned how to seed in the greenhouse; how to wield a hoe in the war against weeds; how to carry bins overflowing with veggies out of long rows; and how to really taste and appreciate food when it is grown with such care. It really is no wonder that once I started to spend time here, I dug in my heels and refused to budge.

My favorite farm tasks include harvesting kale in the early morning - rapidly snapping off crisp stems and gathering the leaves that still hold dew; and anything to do with hot peppers, which I think are beautiful and present exciting culinary possibilities. And tractor work, of course. Any time I can be driving around the fields on an ancient piece of farming history, I’m thrilled. Everyone looks good on a tractor.

When I’m not farming, I’m usually cooking, getting lost in Noanet with my partner, Reuben, or attempting to read while actually falling asleep. Before living and working in Dover, I lived in Washington, DC, a city I genuinely miss - although not as much as I miss my hometown, Oakland, California. But the seasonal cycles of New England, which play out so beautifully at Powisset, are irresistible and come summer in the farm fields, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

photo: k.benner
Happy Birthday to Powisset’s 4-H Club!


Congratulations to Powisset Farm’s 4-H club!  The club celebrated its third birthday this past week with a small celebration at the farm with its awesome members and their leaders, Melissa Gilbert and Kim Benner!  Our 4-H club has been working with our pigs (and chickens when we have them) for three seasons now.  Each season, the members of the club care for, and show pigs at the Worcester State Fair!  Last season we even had a pig show here at Powisset Farm and we’ll try to host one this season as well!  Our members are between 8 and 15 years old and are committed to learning about animal care and having fun at the farm!  Happy Birthday to our club!

4-H club! photo: k.benner

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Milk Shares at Powisset Farm!

Awesome News…It’s not too Late to Sign-up for Powisset Farm Milk Share!

New Shares Start July 7!

This season, leave your wallet at home and enjoy fresh, nutritious & delicious milk every day of the week with our new Milk Share program. The milk is from Appleton Farms’ Jersey herd– also part of The Trustees farm family – located in Ipswich. The milk comes from healthy cows raised and grazed on good land by good people. 

How It Works:
  • Pay up front for your milk share, and then come to Powisset Farm for your weekly pickups:
    • Tuesdays 1:30–6:30PM
    • Thursdays 10AM–6:30PM
    • Saturdays 10AM–5PM
  • Share season is now 16 weeks: July 7, 2014 – October 20, 2014
  • One milk share includes one 1/2 gallon of milk per week:
    • Skim
    • 1%
    • Whole
  • Cost is $80.
  • Questions? Email us at or give us a call, 978.356.5728.

Monday, June 16, 2014

When the Fields are Full

This morning I stepped into my rain boots, pulled the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head, grabbed my slightly muddy pen and crinkled notebook and walked out to see the fields.  I unhooked the pulsing electric fence and watched the summer crew stop to greet our new flock of chickens before pulling into the fields through the gate near the greenhouse to head out for Monday morning onion weeding.  On my notebook are columns labeled; “harvest this week,” harvest next week,” “hand weed,” “plant,” “mow,” and “plow.”  There are columns listed by the name of the tractor that will cultivate each specific crop.  There are columns for what to fertilize and what to trellis and even what to give up on…though you can usually find those things in the, “mow,” column. 

I started with the favas, beautiful black and white blossoms, the beginning of the massive beans.  Then to the peas, which are showing signs of peas, finally.  Each state (we name the fields after states) filled with different types of crops, each falling into one or two or three columns on my to-do list.  Mow the spinach from last week’s harvest, weed the baby arugula, fertilize the eggplant, set up the cultivators for the squash and cucumbers, hand weed carrot plantings 3, 4 and 5.  Oh boy.  Every five feet, a new bed of growing, hopefully thriving plants, stared me down.  I bowed my head and wrote feverishly at points or paused and scrawled slowly, thinking about the priorities for each of these rows.  I peeked out from the large blue, soft hood I was finding shelter under in the early morning hour of a new week at the farm and started to see, really see, that the farm was full.  

I was filled with a sense of relief and panic and the same time.  Relief that there was a reason this mornings’ list was so incredibly epic.  All that rain last week, plus every inch of the farm being filled with plants, equals a whole lot of work.  Panic, because I peered over at our cold frames—the waiting room for plants to go from the greenhouse to the field—and wondered, where the heck are those going!?  When the farm is full I feel satisfied.  When the farm is filled, I realize we have outgrown our fields.  When the farm is filled, I usually start plowing more land.  When the farm is filled I remember the days of growing 6 beds of onions instead of 26 and 12 rows of potatoes instead of 53.  When the farm is filled, so is my notebook, full of work for the week ahead.  I pull back my hood, let the morning sun warm my face and get to work.

See you in those full fields,

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

What’s in the Share (most likely):
Full: lettuce, kale, broccoli, scallions, garlic scapes, beets, radishes, turnips, choice of greens
Small: lettuce, kale, broccoli, choice of radish or turnips, beets, choice of greens, garlic scapes

Pick your own: Strawberries (we hope), …peas soon….

Strawberry season:  Dear Powisset members, as you may have noticed, strawberry season began last week and it should continue this week and next….but we are not having the most awesome strawberry season…sadly.  We lost half our crop this winter to deer (boo!) and the cold spring damaged our crop enough to set the plants back a little.  We have already planted another 15 beds for next season and our raspberry crop will be ripe for the end of summer…so more berries are coming…but we just wanted to give you heads up that this won’t be our best strawberry season!  For pick-yer-own happiness please check out: Sunshine Farm in Sherborn, or Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon:

Events and Awesomeness at Powisset Farm this week:

Tuesday: Jordan Brothers Seafood during pick up hours!
Friday: 2pm-3pm Flower Power Hour: Volunteer in our flower garden with us! Weed, plant & mulch!
Saturday:  8am-12pm: Volunteer Drop-in hours! Come lend a hand in the fields! 
Saturday: Vendor (and CSA member), Julie Ambrosino will be at the farm with Wildtree All Natural culinary spice blends and oils for Sale!

Check the Freezer!
Have you checked the Powisset freezer yet this season? We have whole chickens from Eden Pond Farm of Bernardston, MA and a fresh delivery of sausage links and ground pork from Brambly Farm in Norfolk. All wonderful and pastured products. And coming up, we’ll have a fresh batch of various beef cuts from High Ridge Meadows in East Randolph, Vermont. Take some home and let us know what you think!


 10 weeks of beautiful blooms arranged by Powisset Farm flower growers especially for you!
 Powisset Farm (37 Powisset Street, Dover, MA) in our CSA barn
  Tuesdays (1:30 – 6:30) or Saturdays (10 - 5)
 the beginning of July - ending the beginning of September

What you can expect:
  Each bouquet will feature fresh picked, sustainably grown focal and filler flowers tastefully arranged for your home, office or as a gift. Large, vibrant, mixed flower bouquets including your summer favorites: Sunflowers, Dahlias, Snapdragons, Zinnias, Asters, Celosia, Black Eyed Susans and other exciting and unique blooms.
How it works:
  At the beginning of the season, when you sign up for your share choose which day makes the most sense for your pick up day, Tuesday or Saturday. Flowers will be harvested the day before and kept cool to maintain freshness and extend their vase life.
  $100 ($10/week for 10 weeks) for a $150 value. You’ll be getting a high value product while supporting our farm and the expansion of our flower production. You’ll also be supporting flowers grown locally without harmful chemicals, by farmers working in a healthy working environment.

 If you’re interested in signing up or have questions please email Kasey -

Notes from a Shareholder:

Greetings, fellow Powisset shareholders!

I'm so happy to be part of this community of CSA members - people who care enough about what they eat and where and how it is grown to commit up front to support a local community farm. You all know how amazing the produce is that we bring home each week eager to eat, raw or cooked, simply sautéed or integrated into a more complex recipe.

My family and I know we are so lucky to live so close to a CSA farm, "the farm" as we refer to it in our family, the farm that nourishes us every month of the year (even some onions, shallots and a single turnip from the Winter Share made it through until this very first week of our summer share!).
I have been a CSA member for about 11 years, at Powisset since it opened, and at Waltham Fields before that. Finally, about 3 years ago I realized that I knew what to do with every single vegetable that came home in my share! I was amazed as in prior years there was often a bag of radishes, or space-satellite-looking kohlrabi, or a head of escarole that sat a little too long in my fridge because I just hadn't figured out what to do with it.

Now I know what to do with all the vegetables, and although love all the lettuce, carrots and cucumbers we can get, I seek out the kohlrabi, the watermelon radishes, and I select my beets and radish bunches not based on the beets or radishes in the bunch, but on the freshness and beauty of the greens that top them (yes, I'm one of those people who takes from the beet top discard bin). Although my kids still don't like to try all the vegetables we get, they go crazy for the peas, the husk cherries, and of course, the strawberries and the tomatoes!

But the one thing that makes being a shareholder at Powisset one of the best things in the world is knowing my farmers. I mean, REALLY knowing my farmers. Having the opportunity to see them at work, to help them in the greenhouse or in the fields, to talk to them about vegetables and tractors and weeds, and also about what to do with too many daikons -- that is the most special thing of all.

Have you met all the farmers? Do you say hi to them when you go to the farm? I haven't always known every farmer at Powisset, but this year it's my goal to meet and know the name of each farmer I see there. To learn from them and to chat with them and to find out how they are doing, what they love and what are their challenges.

Meryl and the rest of the crew love when people take the time to say hi, to learn about them, and to show their appreciation. Say hi, tell them what you cooked last night with the bok choy (or bring them a bite of something you made that was fabulous!), tell them what your kids said while out in the fields picking strawberries, and tell them what you love most about being part of Powisset Farm.

I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. Say hi to your farmers. Nourish the souls of those who nourish our bodies. Oh, and if you have any beet tops you don't want, send them my way!

Melinda Rothstein

Monday, June 9, 2014

The People at Powisset

Hello, Silo!
Farming, like most of life, is unpredictable.  Some days I make a plan and it unfolds before me, graceful and smooth, a perfect medley of planting and cultivating and all the tasks are completed just as we flow into the next one.  There are high fives and high kicks and smiles and dirty knees and a feeling of satisfaction for a day well planned.  Then there are days when, at 7:30am, one vital piece of equipment breaks and the plan shifts.  And then it shifts again, and then again until the plan I had may as well be written on a stray piece of toilet paper on the bottom of some guys shoe at an Alice Cooper show.  Those days usually end with me wrestling with some piece of equipment until dark, trying to get ready for another day and another try at "the perfect plan."  Today I finished at dark, welding that broken piece of equipment, with the help of some friends, laughing a bit at another day where the plan turned out to be not the plan. 

after the rain
But this blog is not about a weirdly planned day, or a late night tractor maintence emergency--that's just what I've been doing for the last few hours--It's about the you.  It's about how in the last week I remembered why I stay up late to fix equipment and rush out early in the fields to get my plan out to a great start. It was to be able to harvest our vegetables and get you all out to our farm.  I want to start referencing Field of Dreams right now and talk about 'if you build it they will come,' because that's how it felt this week.  Each of our pick up days last week were filled with old friends and new members, each excited to take home the first share.  There were tiny babies and growing toddlers, making memories about fields and flowers and turnips!  And on Sunday, as our farm operation rested, we were host to hundreds of bicyclists who were participating in the Bikes Not Bombs bike-a-thon.  New energy arrived at the farm this week, in the form of people.  We are Powisset Farm.

See you in the fields,

Meryl and the Powisset Farm Crew

What's in the share this week (most likely):
(a lot like last week)
Full: lettuce heads, lettuce mix, bok choi or broccoli raab, radishes, turnips, green garlic, arugula
Small: lettuce heads, lettuce mix or other green, turnips, radishes, green garlic

Vendors & Events at the farm this week:

Tuesday: Jordan Brothers Seafood vendor, there during pick up hours
Saturday: Pottery Sale! From 10am-5pm! With our favorite Powisset Potters!

Hello from the new Powisset Farm kitchen and classroom!
(A note from our newest crew member: Rachel Kaplan)

I am honored to spearhead the new educational endeavors at the farm as the Farm-Based Education and Outreach Coordinator. After ten years of working in the fields, I am switching gears and focusing on new and exciting programmatic ways to create deeper community connections around food and farming. If we have not had the pleasure of meeting, please introduce yourself to me the next time you’re at the farm.

For those of you who have not yet seen our new space, I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it will knock your socks off! Thanks to the talented design and construction team, the kitchen and classroom look as if they’ve always been part of our barn. 

In August we will roll out culinary programs for our community and I can’t wait to spend time with you in the field and in the kitchen, creating delicacies that will warm your belly and building community that will warm your heart. Stay tuned for more information…

Along with the launching of our new barn space, we have our first ever Powisset Farm volunteer committee. We asked community members to help us shape the future of educational programs at Powisset and ten folks came forward to join us in an exciting conversation about how Powisset can best serve the community. We are grateful for their support, enthusiasm and overall pep (PEP is the group’s acronym – Powisset Education Programs)!

Meet Rachel!
Last, but certainly not least, we want your opinions! We created a survey (with a lot of help from PEP) to hear how you all want to use our new space. If you have not yet filled out a survey during CSA pickup, please click below to fill out our short survey. Thank you for making time to share your input with us!

I look forward to seeing you all in the kitchen!

With gratitude