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Monday, June 29, 2015

The Magnificence of Soil (and our love of it)

“We impress students with the spectacle of millions of stars in the heavens, but neglect to awe them with the miracle of millions of living organisms in a single teaspoon of fertile soil.” – Eliot Coleman (2007)
our beautiful broccoli
Soil is alive.

Or it is teeming with life. In addition to the visible critters whose existence we more readily acknowledge (earthworms, beetles, voles…), an astounding array of microbes also make a home of the dirt. Their numbers—“millions… in a single teaspoon of fertile soil” are as staggering as their diversity. Some of these microbes are pathogenic, but many form intricate networks of interdependencies with the crops we plant–– for instance, helping decompose organic matter and make its nutrients newly available to feed our food. We can only grow vibrant veggies with decent yields when we nurture and maintain the soil’s structure and biology. As farmers, we are at the mercy of the conditions set up by the invisible microbial world—at times it helps us, at times it hurts us, and it shifts in response to our actions. Decisions about crop rotations, compost treatments, pest control strategies, and tractor cultivation are all shaped by this necessity for healthy soil. The Powisset farm crew that you were introduced to in Meryl’s last post may be about twelve humans strong, but if you count the microbiota that we employ, we’re millions!

Yes, the soil lives and breathes and changes over time and space like you and I. At times, when the rain is scarce and the over-eager sun makes dust of the earth, it’s easy to forget the soil’s humbling vitality. But on that humid day after a rainstorm has quenched the field’s thirst, while I dig my fingers into the warm earth to give the rootball of the tomato I’m planting a firm press, the aliveness of the soil is felt. And it is small-making in a magnificent way. I think Eliot Coleman, just as awed as I, got it right when he asked, “What better medium than a compost heap for students to come face-to-face with life, death, and the processes that keep our planet alive?”

I hope the awe finds you too, and I hope it reaches your children!

How lucky are we to have access not only to beautiful, fresh, and healthy food, but also to this sort of learning experience? The satisfaction of knowing what a potato plant actually looks like above ground; the delight of crawling through the strawberry patch and guzzling the red treasures; the appreciation of earthly rhythms that comes with watching a season unfold from start to finish; the knowledge, both cognitive and felt, that the soil is alive— all push us towards a reverence for the earth. This sort of reverence is a gift in its own right, but it is also a necessity. For as our climate changes and our societies shift, a thorough connection to our food systems will leave us better equipped to adapt and adopt practices that foster both ecological and cultural vigor.

Let’s be thankful for the agricultural education that Powisset provides. And always remember: dirt made your lunch!

See you in the fields,
Andrea Schindler, on behalf of the Powisset Crew

What's in the share this week:
Up at the barn: lettuce (red butterhead, or romaine), beets, carrots!, radishes or turnips, scallions, broccoli (most likely), cabbage (three different to choose from), summer squash, choice of cooking greens

In the fields: kale, parsley, the last of the strawberries, shelling peas

In the Barn
As we enter week four, I am feeling a bit more settled in my role as Distribution Coordinator. Along with the food leaving the bins and shelves, I am enjoying seeing members picking up their shares and connecting with friends and other members. I enjoy seeing children playing in the open space and trying to find the farm cats James & Simba. I am enjoying the connection that is happening everywhere.

What is the "share table?"
Have you noticed the share table in the distribution area? This table is set out for you to exchange veggies that you don't want. If there's something in your share that you absolutely do not want, leave it on the share table for someone else to take. And if you see something on the share table, feel free to grab it. Although we HIGHLY encourage you to try all the veggies you get in your share - farm fresh is so delicious.

New in the Farm Stand

This week Bushel & Crumb will be delivering their pies for the pie CSA on Thursday. There will also be plenty for purchasing, too! Expect to find savory pie, Strawberry Rhubarb and Blueberry Maple. Grab a pie (and some Crescent Ridge ice cream) to take along to your 4th of July celebration!

Also new is CSA member Kathy Zola's handmade goods. Check out her beautiful hand crafted potholders, facecloth (with soap) and bags knitted with cotton yarn and shopping bags (yes, you read that right!).

Dehydrating and Winter Food Storage
Saturday, August 1st

Does it break your heart when you have to throw out that big, beautiful tomato from your farm stand because the yield is bigger than your weekly needs?  Have you thought about making tomato sauce but don't want to deal with all that goes into canning?  Come to this class!  Margie Dillenburg (one of our dedicated volunteers) will show you how her $30 dehydrator changed her winter by giving her farm fresh goodies all year long - and it doesn't require the space or effort that jarring/canning does.  Learn how to never throw out your wilting veggies again, and to maximize your share to be eaten all year long. You will learn how to dehydrate many veggies and fruits, there will be samples, a storage demo, and before/after examples, as well as a demo on how to RE-hydrate and use these foods when you take them out of storage.  $25 TTOR members; $35 non-members.

Star Party & BYO Picnic Dinner!
Powisset Farm • 37 Powisset St. • Dover
Friday, July 24, 2015 | 7:00-9:30PM

Join us and our local Astronomer for Powisset Farm’s Star Party! You will see and learn more about the stars, planets and moon. 

BYO Picnic Dinner will begin at 7:00PM and star gazing will begin at sundown, or approximately 8:00PM. FREE for TTOR members; $5 suggested
donation for non-members.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Farm Season Line-Up

One of my first and most awesome farmer mentors used to compare the farm season to the baseball season.  The spring training, the early season games, the all-star break and the striving to make the playoffs, all make for a perfect description of the flow of the farm season.  What I most love about the baseball metaphor is the thinking about our farm crew as a team.  Each of us learning our positions, honing our skills in order to be flawless on defense.   Together, crafting the perfect batting order; finding out who is great at lead off and who is our clean-up hitter.  Each farmer on this incredible team pushes hard through each day and through the long season we’ll have our wins and we’ll have our losses.  All season long, you, our members will get to enjoy the delicious bounty from games well played.  And at the end of the season, we’ll all remember the highlights, the glorious triumphs and note the things we all want different for next year.  Because the thing about the farm season, like baseball, is there’s always next year!

Here’s the line-up this year:

meryl, in the winter woods of western mass
Hi! I’m Meryl, Powisset Farm Manager for the last nine years in these beautiful fields!  This is the thirteenth year of my farming career! Yikes! I grew up down the road in Holliston, MA, headed into Boston for college and then spent a few years on the West Coast and in Mexico before returning east to try my hand at farming!  The years I have spent at Powisset Farm have been the most fulfilling, joyful, challenging and awe-inspiring.  I have grown as a person, a farmer and a manager and am deeply grateful to every crew member, volunteer, visitor, CSA member and friend who touched this farm with their hands and hearts.  You all made it the special place that it is today.  This will be my last season managing at Powisset, so I am enjoying every last moment here!  I hope you will join me this year, in celebrating our incredible farm and community!

The full time crew:
devin, loving donuts
This is Devin’s second season on the farm as an apprentice, and his second season farming! He digs most farm tasks, but really loves the joys///challenges of operating tractors, strategically packing the walk-in cooler to the brim with bins of vegetables, and harvesting tomatillos (what? yes). Farm life has really taught him many things, but he especially loves the idea embodied in a quote by Masanobu Fukuoka that: “the ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings”. While unsure of what will come next after this growing season, he will always have bounds and bounds of energy to contribute to building a more just, ecological, and compassionate society. That's a promise. When not farming, Devin is usually holding a cat, riding his bicycle, eating ice cream, dancing like a fool or going on adventures. Also, consider this:

Russell, being outdoorsy, like he does
Hello! My name is Russell Gutterson, and I’m one of the assistant growers at Powisset Farm.  I grew up in Westwood, MA, worked on the summer crew here at Powisset a few years back, and am excited to be here for the full season this year.  For me farming is all about connecting people to each other and the landbase that supports us through our most basic interaction with the environment: the food we eat.  And I’m thrilled to be part of that here at Powisset. 
becca, rocking strawbs harvest

Hello world! My name's Becca and I'm super psyched to be an assistant grower at Powisset this season. After having an incredible time on the summer crew in 2013, I couldn't resist the temptation to come back to these fields for another delicious season.  I'm in the midst of getting my BS from UVM and I am hopeful that I will continue farming veggies once I graduate a mere 330 days from now.  When I'm not farming I can be found sleeping in my bed, trying to start Gran (my '96 Toyota Camry), eating foods I shouldn't be eating, snuggling the farm cats, and hanging out in The Cottage.  Go team!

kyle, being cool in the forest
Kyle is a full time grower-apprentice who aspires to one day own and manage his own vegetable farm.  He is a recent graduate of Boston University where he studied marine science and has since applied his love of the natural world to growing and cultivating plants.  Kyle is extremely excited to be a member of the Powisset Farm team and hopes to grow the best vegetables possible for our CSA!  Also, he is always looking for new recipes and cooking ideas and would love to exchange culinary knowledge anytime.

New position! Meet our Distribution Coordinator!

nicole! looking profesh, as always!
I’m Nicole Lewis – the new Distribution Coordinator which means I’ll be managing the Farm Stand and the CSA Distribution. I’m so thrilled to officially be a part of the Powisset Farm team!  I’ve been a CSA member here for 8 years and also been a member of the PEP (Powisset Education Programming) Committee for the past year. As Meryl can attest, I’ve been bugging her for years about working here at the farm. And as much as I love my vegetable gardening (I have 11 garden beds at home!), I’m not quite ready for the farming life – so being a part of the Farm Stand and Distro area is perfect! My background entails a colorful combination of early childhood education, public health education, restaurants, and most recently early parenting education. My interests and skillsets are varied as well:  photography, making my own beauty products, gardening, cooking, fitness, wellness and the farm-to-table “movement.”  I live in Medfield with my hubby, two daughters (ages 11 and 7) and a cat. I can’t wait to connect with all you all! See you on the farm!

New Hire!: (picture to come!)

Nicole just started as Engagement Site Manager at Powisset Farm. Nicole comes from the educational travel industry where she worked for 9 years on the management and development of travel programs all over the world. She also volunteered as the Events Manager for Slow Food Boston, organizing events from cooking classes and tastings to cookbook author talks and swaps, introducing the community to the bounty of local foods, chefs and artisans.

Her love for the outdoors, hiking, food, cooking, and savoring the area’s local farms is what also brought her to the Trustees. She hopes to bring similar events, programs and passion to Powisset Farm!

Nicole will be working with the farm, CSA and stewardship staff to continue growing the excitement at Powisset Farm. We are thrilled to have her on our Northeast region engagement team.

She can be reached at:

Summer Crew & Work Shares!
We have an incredible part-time crew and volunteer crew that makes a whole lot of magic happen at this farm!  I'll introduce them later! 

The crew! After our first harvest of 2015!

What's in the share this week:
in the barn: lettuce, beets, radishes & turnips, scallions, garlic scapes, choice of greens, broccoli!
in the fields: strawberries & peas!

What's New in the Barn?
The first two weeks of the CSA and Farm Stand have been so much fun. It's been so interesting to see what everyone is excited about - ice cream seems to be the top contender...along with the veggies, pie, bread and the Blue Moon Power Booster bars!

I'm excited to announce that the beef has arrived! Our beef is coming from High Ridge Meadows Farms located in the hills of East Randolph, Vermont. This family farm raises grass fed beef. They pride themselves on their animals that are raised using organic standards with ample room to graze on their certified organic pasture. Check the big white freezer in the Farm Stand and grab some for meals this week. Maybe steaks or ground beef for grilling to accompany your farm fresh Powisset Farm veggies?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Killdeer and Farm Magic

baby killdeer
I love killdeer; those beautiful brown and white birds that nest in our vegetable fields every year.   Every spring when we start plowing the fields we find tiny nests with four tiny eggs, hidden among the garlic, or in the middle of that spot in the fields that we really need to plow because that's where our onions need to go.  The mama birds sound the alarm as we get near their nests--we hop off tractors and walk slowly in the fields, trying to find the soon-to-be baby birds.  This season I couldn't find their nests.  I would hear the alarm of the adult birds and stop mid-plow to seek out and mark their nests.  So many days, i looked and looked for the hidden nests, straining my eyes, scanning over weeds and dry soil.  I was beginning to feel out-of-touch with the creatures with whom i share this land.  I was feeling sad, thinking about dragging tools through the fields, demolishing the ground nests that I couldn't find.

Weeks of hearing but not seeing was starting to weigh on me and I wondered if i would ever see a nest or my first mini bird, newly hatched, running through the fields.  I even had a thought that maybe no kildeer would be born on the farm this year.  What would that mean?  Yes, I was actually losing my hope in the kildeer...and maybe spending too much time thinking about them.  As I pondered the future of all of us in this changing world, I heard the squawk of that skinny-legged, farm, sand piper.  I followed it as is it did it's broken wing dance away from me.  I was in the soft neck garlic, a weedy, end-of-bed patch.  I knew I was close.  And then it happened.  I saw, free from it's mother, a nest of four, perfect, camouflaged eggs.  I backed away slowly and let her return to her nest.  I smiled and breathed a sigh of relief-there is life on this farm!

this week's lettuce!
Later that day, in two separate fields, far from each other, I spotted two different families of killdeer, each with two adults and four tiny, fluffy, baby killdeer, scampering around the farm.  I laughed to myself about my own anxiousness to see the process of their life.  I was so concerned about finding those nests with the eggs that I had actually believed that growth and life (of the killdeer) had ceased.  But, in one day, life and growth and a bit of farm magic, taught me a little about trust.  Trust that the farm creatures know what to do.  Trust that the farm plants and farmers know what to do.  Trust that the farm season will happen (is happening) even in the days when I worry the most about its growth and success. Oh, the killdeer, teaching me valuable lessons since 2003.

See you in the fields!

Meryl & the Powisset Farm Crew

Summer Barn Dinner:
Saturday, June 20th, 6:30pm
this is a potluck dinner at powisset farm in our barn! so fun! to reserve your spot or spots, please email Tod at:   this is a free event.
Come, join the farmers for a wonderful feast at the farm!!

What's in the share this week:
in the barn: lettuce, spinach, broccoli raab (a green), garlic or garlic scapes, scallions, beets/turnips/radishes (a root), maybe broccoli
in the field: strawberries

Update From the Barn:
The first week of the CSA distribution and the Farm Stand was great! Thank you to all who came out to pick up their shares and shop in the Farm Stand. And thank you to Lisa WB Walker and Hog Wild Pottery for coming Saturday. It was also so great to see everyone enjoying the farm this week.

In addition to the vegetables and strawberries, the Powisset Farm eggs, the Crescent Ridge milk and ice cream and the Blue Moon breads were a hit! We hope you enjoyed them along with your veggie shares! This week we are adding some quart-sized whole and chocolate milks and a few new flavors of ice cream. On Thursday, Bushel & Crumb will be delivering their wonderful CSA pies. We will have some on hand for selling as well...but they go fast so get 'em while you can. 

COOKING CLASS - Strawberry Shortcake, Triple Threat
Saturday, June 27th, 10-12pm
Join us in the kitchen for this hands-on cooking class. We'll take a walk into the fields to pick strawberries, bake the shortcake and whip cream to make this favorite summertime dessert.
$25 per adult
$35 per adult/1 child
$10 for additional child(ren)
Nicole Lewis and Anne Innis will be co-leading this class. 
To register, please contact Nicole Lewis, Class limited to 15.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Red Lettuce and the Start of our CSA!

i picked strawberries! you can too!
The first vegetable we harvested this morning for the start of our 2015 CSA season was a beautiful red lettuce, called, Vulcan.  If you’ve been a part of our farm community for any number of years, you know that red lettuce isn’t my favorite.  I normally grow greens.  Frilly ones, leafy ones, butterheads and and romaines rule my crop plan.  Maybe a few speckaled ones here and there.  But this year, we decided to start with this bold, brilliant, buttery red lettuce.  Something different.

Vulcan, it turns out, is the name of the Roman god of fire and metalworking.  I love that we are starting our year out with the energy of fire and creative construction!  As we harvested the tender lettuce together, burning through the rows, wielding harvest knives and pulling bins, and stacking the truck high with produce, I glowed in the light of the fiery leaves!  Harvest has begun! A new season, a new variety of lettuce to inspire and nourish us!  I can’t wait to share it with you!

Welcome back to these glowing fields!

the cat is ours...who left their monkey at the farm?
 Meryl & the Powisset crew

Pick-up times & Farm stand hours:
tuesdays: 1:30-6:30pm
thursdays: 10am-6:30pm
saturdays: 10am-5pm

What’s in the share:

In the Barn: Lettuce, spinach, arugula (probably), bok choi, kale, green garlic, radishes & turnips
PYO: strawberries

Powisset Farm Stand Update:

Welcome to Powisset Farm Stand 2015!

I’m Nicole Lewis, the new Distribution Coordinator which means I’ll be managing the Farm Stand and the CSA Distribution area this season. I’m excited to be a part of this wonderful community and I look forward to meeting you in the barn. Along with the wonderful vegetables from the farm, the Farm Stand will host a variety of foods and goods to complete your plate. My hope is that you can gather everything you need for a meal (and more!) right here in the barn. Here are some highlights:
  • We have Crescent Ridge supplying our milk and ICE CREAM! Yes, we are selling quart size ice cream this year along with delicious milk and chocolate milk from Crescent Ridge. 
  • The fabulous Powisset Farm eggs!
  • Fresh baked baguettes and bread from Blue Moon CafĂ© and occasionally from fabulous CSA member,  Tod Dimmick. 
  • Peter’s AMAZING honey and jams which are beautifully displayed on the handmade shelving unit that he made special for our farm with 300 year-old pine boards saved from his old family farm in Bremen, Maine. We are so lucky to have the gift of Peter on our farm! 
  • Harm’s Family maple syrup to add to morning pancakes, baking needs and I recommend trying it in coffee. Yum. 
  • And a variety of Baer’s Best dry beans.

In the coming weeks we’ll also be rolling out: Eden Pond chickens, Beef from High Ridge Meadows, Powisset Farm pork, Bushel & Crumbs pies, salsa, and more! Merchandise  items coming, too! In addition to Powisset Farm t-shirts we look forward to hosting  Lucy Two Shoes’ hand-lettered tea towels (with hysterical sayings!), the return of pottery by Lisa WB Walker and Hog Wild Pottery and other local, handmade goods !

Speaking of pottery, Lisa WB Walker and Hog Wild Pottery will be at Powisset Farm during this Saturday’s June 13th CSA and Farm Stand selling their functional one of a kind pottery. Both artists create their dishwasher and microwave safe pottery at Potters Place, a cooperative pottery studio and school in Walpole. Local food picked and served in local handmade pottery; it’s the farm to table connection.

See you in the barn!


Summer Barn Dinner:
Saturday, June 20th, 6:30pm
this is a potluck dinner at powisset farm in our barn! so fun! to reserve your spot or spots, please email Tod at:  

Powisset Photo Contest!

Calling all Photographers!  The Powisset Farm Photo Contest is Here!

Attention all photo enthusiasts: you are invited to enter our new Powisset Farm Photo Competition!  Register and bring in your photos by the new deadline of June 19. Exhibition and judging in the kitchen area will take place from June 20 through the Saturday CSA distribution day on July 25.  All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 100 acre property).  Photographers of all skill levels are welcome. For complete show guidelines, and to register, email

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

CSA Starts on June 9th!

farm at sunset
After weeks and weeks with no rain, I am finally taking some much needed 'inside time' while the fields get quenched and our crops and weeds finally get the message that it is time to grow! 

We've been busy at the farm! We spent the last several weeks watering all the acres all the time in order to keep things alive (and hopefully growing a little).  We joyfully welcomed hundreds of our community members to the farm this past weekend with the 8th annual Powisset Spring Festival!  And, now we are working, filled with deep gratitude for the rain and for the people that make this farm an incredible place to be.

In a week from today we will open our big barn door for the first pick up of our 9th season!  Our CSA has grown from 100 members to 400 members, and our spirit and joy and number of harvest bins have grown along with those numbers! I am eagerly awaiting the first harvest of kale and radishes and garlic and red, buttery lettuce that we will all take home next week and start sharing the Powisset Farm bounty for another season!
before the rain

We'll see you soon! First Pick up: Tuesday June 9th, or Thursday the 11th or Saturday, the 13th! (pick one of those days to come for your first veggies)!

From the fields,

meryl & the powisset crew

Pick up times and NEW MEMBER ORIENTATION!:

Pick-up times & Farm stand hours:
tuesdays: 1:30-6:30pm
thursdays: 10am-6:30pm
saturdays: 10am-5pm

New Member Orientation:
Saturday, June 6th
we will start promptly at 10:30.  orientation will last about 45 minutes.
learn the details and logistics about having a CSA share at powisset farm!

Powisset Photo Contest!
Volunteer, jeff, with a baby goat at Spring Fest!

The Powisset Farm Photo Contest is Here!

Attention all photo enthusiasts: you are invited to enter our new Powisset Farm Photo Competition!

Register and bring in your photos by the new deadline of June 19. Exhibition and judging in the kitchen area will take place from June 20 through the Saturday CSA distribution day on July 25.  All photographs must be taken at Powisset Farm (anywhere on the 100 acre property).  Photographers of all skill levels are welcome. For complete show guidelines, and to register, email