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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

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