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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

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