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Monday, October 6, 2014

Sweaters, Soups, Pies and Sleeping In

On this Monday morning, I let myself sleep in.  Monday mornings are normally scheduled with bright and early fields walks with Tessa, or are reserved for leading crew members to harvest pounds of roots or squash or tomatoes, or are filled with the mountains of office work that I am forced to put off throughout the previous week when the fields call me out to them.  But this Monday, this beautiful October morning, I slept in.  Now I know that things are changing.  Now I know that we have truly started to wind down our season and head into the quieter, shorter days of fall and winter on the farm.  

After a calm breakfast (different than my usual: eat toast while putting on shoes and rain pants as I am brushing my teeth and heading out the door five minutes late), I walked out to the tractor barn, surveyed my options and jumped on our biggest beast for some morning tractor work.  Like I have said before, tractor work grounds me.  On the tractor, I get a new view of the fields, I pass the radishes, now ready to harvest, and the green cabbage and the almost pick-able broccoli.  I make mental notes for the week or for the month.  I stop, step down and look close at a row of cauliflower.  Or I drive slowly, looking far off into the distance, seeing the whole farm at once.

I arrive at a field where summer squash and cucumbers used to be, tucked between baby red Russian kale and tender arugula that we will bunch for this last week of summer shares.  I place the two gangs of discs into the field, all twenty sink into soft and moist (for the first time in a long time) soil.  I put the tractor into gear and drive ahead, incorporating the old stems, leaves and fruit into the earth.  This is where garlic will go.  This season, we have already grown lettuce here and summer squash and cucumbers.  And now, for a fourth time, I prep the soil for something new; for next season.  

After incorporating our soon-to-be garlic fields, I retired that tractor so that I could jump on another one, to mow.  The little, red, tractor (the first one I ever purchased for this farm) had been resting out in the fields, near the peppers.  As I let the tractor warm up I sat looking out at the pepper fields.  Rows and rows of dead or dying plants, lots of weeds and lots of colorful, rotting peppers looked back at me.  I remembered seeding them in then greenhouse in April, planting them in late May and harvesting them throughout the summer.  And, now, what was left would be turned back into the soil, weeds and all.  I engaged the mower, and turned into the field.  Every couple of rows, my felt my heart twinge, foot ready to press the clutch to stop, wait, maybe there were more peppers to glean.  But it was time to let go.  It was time to move on, time to start sleeping in.

Tessa and her partner Reuben reminded me today about the bittersweet closing of a farm season.  We spend our winter planning, our spring and summer and fall working to fulfill our farm plan and at the end of it all, we mow it all, or disc it all away.  What remains is what we began with, empty fields.  Old fruit and stems peek out from dark soil to remind us of what we had planted, but the rest lives in our hearts, minds --and of course bellies.

It’s been an incredible season of growth, change and lots and lots of vegetables at Powisset Farm.  I am looking forward to our winter share and fall farm stand.  And I am also excited to mow the peppers and have many more quiet, sleep-filled Monday mornings!

See you at the farm,  (I’ll be the one looking every-so-slightly more rested),

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

Thank you!

Thank you for coming to our farm each week and sharing in this place and in this food with us.  We have all made Powisset a special place for this season and for the future.  I hope you will visit us this fall at the farm stand, or join our winter CSA (it’s not too late!!).    We know it’s not always easy to get to the farm each week.  But every time you walk into the barn and share in the bounty of the fields that week with us, we are filled with joy and pride in our farm community.

What’s in the share:

Full: lettuce, carrots, arugula, radishes, leeks, onions, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, winter squash, garlic, kale or chard, potatoes or parsnips

Small: lettuce, carrots, leeks or onions, sweet potatoes, winter squash, garlic, choice of greens, potatoes or parsnips

PYO: see what you can find in the raspberries!

Fall and Winter Farm Stand

so many onions.
The leaves are turning and falling and it’s officially the deep harvest season at the farm. While our summer CSA is winding down, our Farm Stand will continue to be open on Tuesdays (1:30 – 6:30 pm) and Saturdays (10 am to 5 pm) through November 22nd. We’ll have all our Powisset veggies (sweet potatoes! onions! winter greens! lots of roots! winter squash! And much more), as well as some special products just for the season. 

We’ve hunted around for those seasonal treats we look forward to at this time of year and are excited to be sharing them with you up in the barn. Here’s a look at what to except: Fat Toad Farm caramel (think alpine goat milk + sugar + apple season) from Vermont, maple syrup from Harms Family Farm in west Mass, applesauce from Cooks Farm and Bakery in Brimfield, organic flour for all your holiday baking needs from Alprilla Farm up there on the north shore, and beautiful dried beans from Farmer Charley Baer (he’s just pulling those crops into his barn this week). We’ll also have the usual honeys, jams and a new batch of Giv Coffee to enjoy, alongside frozen maine wild blueberries and local cranberries to impress your family come pie time. Come say hello to us this fall, stock up on goodies, support the farm, and keep us from getting too lonely.

Pies this week!

Bushel + Crumb will be bringing us one of their last pies of the season: Salted Caramel Cranberry Apple. It’s sweet, salty, and tart – the culinary trifecta!

Sweaters, Soups and Pie Barn Potluck on November 2nd!

Do you like soups? Does this time of year make you want to reach for a second serving of a tasty homemade pie? Do you love sweaters because everyone looks awesome in sweaters? Perfect! Come join us for a fall potluck dinner in the barn to celebrate the end of the season with food, music, cider pressing and the company of one another. We’re planning a chilly farm walk from 3 to 4pm around the farm and the back fields, some bike-powered cider pressing to live tunes from 4 to 5, and a potluck dinner in the new kitchen and classroom space from 5 to 7 pm. Put on your best fall sweater, bring a soup or pie or anything else you so choose to share, and join us for a relaxing fall Sunday at the farm. All are welcome, but space is limited, so please email Tessa at to reserve your spot. 

News From the Powisset Farm Kitchen:
bread making!

It's hard for me to believe it's only been two months since we launched Powisset Cooks! in our beautiful Farm Kitchen. So much has happened in the Farm Kitchen in these last eight weeks that it feels as if time has expanded and that these workshops have been part of the farm for the whole season. 

In August we made sassy salads, pickled pounds of produce, and explored the wild edibles that grow right under our feet. September brought more canning practice as we put up the bountiful tomato harvest. In the herb bread and herb dipping sauces workshop we learned not only how to use kneading as a form of cathartic release but also how to infuse herbs into our bread baking and cooking in simple, fun ways. At the end of September we offered our first family focused culinary workshop - Field to Lunchbox: Creative Solutions for Lunchbox Boredom. I smile every time I think of the children in the workshop willingly and excitedly drinking the bright green juice from the massaged kale salads we made. Who says kids don't like vegetables?!

The Powisset Cooks! workshops are only possible because of the support we receive from SO many people. I am grateful to all of our community members for your kindhearted generosity:
*Co-teaching workshops with me!
*Washing dishes generated during the workshop!
*Taking pictures of the workshops to document this wonderful new addition to the farm!
*Brainstorming workshop ideas!
*Joining me on shopping trips to outfit the Farm Kitchen!
*Serving on the PEP (Powisset Education Programs) committee that guides the educational work of the farm!
*Attending workshops!

Extra Big THANK YOU to:
Reuben Blanchard
Kristin Brophy
Ken Cmar
Tod Dimmick
Holly Smulski Fennel
Missy Gramer
Suzanne Greenwald
Christine Heer
Anne Innis
Leah Jurman
Lauren Leonard
Nicole Lewis
Christiane Oberli
Dawnielle Peck
Rene Schweickhardt
Beth Zschau
The Powisset Farm Crew 
The Powisset Staff

If YOU would like to volunteer to support Powisset Cooks! in any way, please email me at

Also, most importantly, although the Summer CSA comes to a close this week, Powisset Cooks! workshops are YEAR ROUND!

Our next workshop will be Tuesday, October 14th from 5:30-7:30PM
For the Pantry: Root Veggie Storage Tips & Tasty Recipes

Click on the below link to see a full schedule of Powisset Cooks! workshops.

I look forward to seeing you in the Farm Kitchen!

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