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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Words of Farewell!

As spring stretches its legs, the snow still seems reluctant to melt. That hasn't stopped us from charging forward though, and the greenhouse is filled with onions and the first rounds of scallions, cabbage, kale, broccoli and lettuces - each seed turning out new measures of growth each day, regardless of the cold outside. So stay warm, please cross your fingers for a thaw, and in the meantime read on to hear some parting thoughts from Rachel and me . . . AND come celebrate with us for a goodbye potluck this Thursday, March 26th from 6-8PM at the farm!

Rachel and Meryl chat in the field
It’s been almost two years since I came to Powisset Farm. Arriving in the midst of a major life transition, I was looking for a new farm home, a place and a community in which to ground myself. Meryl, Tessa and the entire Powisset Farm team welcomed me with open arms. I fell in love with the beautiful fields, the iconic barn, and, most importantly, the people that give life to this piece of land.
Rachel and crew rock the daikon harvest!

As we began to wrap up the 2013 season the winds of change blew stronger. Plans for the barn renovations solidified and we talked about who would shepherd the farm through this new stage of growth. It has been a pleasure to support the farm as we added the Farm Kitchen and Classroom to the repertoire of what Powisset has to offer the community. I’ve met so many wonderful people in my role as the Education and Outreach Coordinator: groups of school and corporate volunteers, members of the Powisset Education Programs Committee, TTOR staff throughout the state, CSA members, farm visitors, and Powisset Cooks workshop attendees. For me, community is the focal point of farming. Developing relationships with a myriad of farm supporters not only broadened my connection to this particular farm, but also deepened my sense of hope as food brings people together. Vegetables, joy, flowers, gratitude, eggs – there is so much abundance at Powisset and I look forward to the ways in which the farm will continue to grow.

In moving on to new and exciting adventures, I want to reiterate my gratitude to the Powisset Farm Crew. Your individual and collective dedication and warmth makes hard work easier and it has been an honor to work with all of you.
Rachel (in center) - who is a canoe expert, no joke, on a summer staff outing
Thank you all for the wonderful chapter of my life that is Powisset Farm!
With love and gratitude,


Watering onions in 2010
One of my favorite memories of Powisset is also one of my earliest: on that sweltering August afternoon, so significant now in hindsight, when I first came to the farm. I remember so clearly those initial moments – the first time I met Meryl, covered in tattoos and dirt and radiating her particular joy; when I met the crew, equally filthy and cheerful and already a seasoned team, with a language all their own; and the first time I saw the fields, green, lush and overflowing, heavy with food under the full weight of the season. That afternoon we picked onions under an unforgiving sun – pull the bulbs, put them in the bag, repeat, over and over, dragging an increasing weight down the bed. Midway through the day, the clouds rolled in and a thunderstorm suddenly cut through the heat, firing crackling rods of lightening off into the distance and bringing a curtain of rain in to the dry fields.  As I trailed after the crew to throw bags of harvested onions onto the truck to pull them safely into the barn, I felt a new pulse rush through my heart. Such vibrancy and sensation in that moment. Such tangibility and urgency and visceral push. It was like learning to breathe for the first time, or learning to speak a new language. Dramatic, I know, but true.

That initial memory still feels as vibrant as the moment I lived it – but it’s since been joined by countless others: I remember listening to the farm crew teach me how to pick kale with two hands. I remember the summer we watered endless rows and rows of tomatoes with tiny watering cans in a field that didn’t have irrigation. I remember weeding rows of carrots on my hands and knees, my nose so close to the ground I hardly noticed coming face to face with a dead bunny, quiet and still with no discernable injury. I remember cultivating our brussels sprouts on a tractor and hopping off at the end of the row only to discover I had accidentally annihilated half a bed and instantly bursting into tears (I’m still sorry about that, Meryl!). I remember years of looking forward to whatever new bathroom art installation Paul would have carefully put in place. I remember getting fed fresh baked bread and chilled butter by Christiane while sitting on the back of the farm truck. I remember driving a tractor down the farm road, pausing to shift gears and chugging forward only to find I had wrenched the entire shifting knob off the machine. I remember long and hot days, filled with sun; I remember cold and wet days, when it got dark at four. I remember seasons of songs and jokes and donuts and reaching new limits of exhaustion, joy and growth.

Donut Break, so critical to organic farming

The truth is, in the last five and a half years, Powisset has become my home. I grew up here, fell in love with friends here, turned a new decade older, cried, fought, regretted, felt proud and lived. In large part, that attachment is due to the crew and to you - the community and CSA members - without which, the farm wouldn’t be filled with this overflowing life that drives it forward. This place is truly special, and I hope you know how grateful I feel to you, my community, for welcoming me, sharing the ups and downs of the season and allowing me to become part of your farm family. As I like to say, we cannot grow food in a vacuum, and every farm needs a community of devoted eaters. It is the support and appreciation of people like you who make long hours worth it, who remind us of the significance of this work, and who are helping to change the shape of our food culture. We all eat, but choosing how and what you eat has a power that is often overlooked. It may be hard to chew through pounds of local rutabaga, but it is honorable work, in my opinion.
Getting my tractor cultivation on

I’d like to take a moment to express my profound gratitude for the many crew members, workshares and volunteers, with whom I’ve had the true privilege to sweat alongside of over the years. Sometimes I think working at Powisset is like getting to work in the daily company of your heroes, and each person brings so many gifts, it’s really mind-boggling. And or course, without the talents of Meryl LaTronica, this farm wouldn’t be the place it is, but words fail me to explain my thankfulness on that one.

Well, this is long enough, but hey, one last blog, I thought I could take some artistic license. Thank you for letting me in to your farm life. It has been an honor to be in community with you. My partner Reuben and I are headed to Bowdoin, Maine next week to take on a new adventure. I don’t plan on being much of a stranger to Powisset, so I hope we cross paths again. Until then, keep in touch if you’d like (, or come visit, as I’d love to see a familiar face.
High fives and kale bunches,

Tessa Pechenik

1 comment:

  1. Country life is a good life, as far as I'm concerned. Springtime is the best, I think, when the buds start popping. The little farms of 100 acres or less are pretty much gone now. So it is good to hear about places that feature CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture. It's a way to get back to the earth.