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Monday, September 28, 2015

Sounds of a Powisset Farm Apprentice



The hum of Powisset, through the ears of a farm apprentice:

Sometimes I think that I experience my life here at Powisset Farm primarily through my ears.  There are a lot of things that make Powisset the magical chunk of Earth that it is, but it’s the sounds that really get me. 

I hear the whir of fans in the greenhouse. I hear harvest knives trimming leeks. I hear the cacophony of chickens when I walk into the coop, and I hear farmers laughing while weeding beets. I hear water rushing through irrigation tubes and scattering out of sprinkler heads.  I hear the low rumble of the transplanter carrying people and plants down another bed.  I hear singing in the wash station, and I hear “Back in Black” as Meryl gets a call.  I hear the beautiful mayhem of a Saturday morning distro – kids running, scales creaking, tongs clanking, bins sliding, people chatting. I hear Henry barking because she heard something.  I hear Simba meowing because he’s stuck again. I hear nothing but the hushed whisper of swaying trees, and then I hear nothing but the jubilant blare of the farm truck horn.  I hear coffee brewing in the morning, and crickets and toads at night.   Everyday my ears happily pick up a small fraction of the innumerable sounds comprising the collective hum that is Powisset Farm. 

Other times – maybe in the quiet at the end of a long day, with light fading, birds chirping, and the farm at peak serenity - I find myself aware of the things I don’t hear.  I don’t hear the wind blowing through the thousands of food deserts, both urban and rural.  I don’t hear the pens scratching ink across the bills of sale of small family farms. I don’t hear the whining of conveyor belts at factory farms.  I don’t hear the toxic chemicals leeching into the water tables of otherwise farmable land, now poisonous to its inhabitants. I don’t hear the grumbling of hungry bellies, all around the world, and also right down the road in Boston. 

It is at moments like these that I have to remind myself that this wonderful place and all of its emanating noises do not exist in a vacuum.  The sounds coming from these one hundred acres are part of a larger story unfolding all over the globe, and one that is still being written.  The best sounds of Powisset Farm fill me with immense gratitude for this place and the time that I have here, while at the same time underscoring the need to remember places distinctly devoid of such sounds.  With pride in the place where I work, limitless faith in the amazing people that I work with, and the belief that every sound produces an echo somewhere, I feel thankful to be part of the hum here at Powisset Farm.

From the fields,
Russell and the Powisset Farm Crew


Whats in the share this week:


We are winding down to our last three shares of the season! woa!
This weeks' share will be a little smaller before our final two shares when we distribute more roots and squash and hope that the broccoli and cauliflower do their thing and show up for us to enjoy!  It's been a tougher fall for us than usual, as the fall crops which need water and cooler weather have been met with drought and super hot temps--we wish we had more plentiful greens for you--they are coming...slowly!  

Remember if you want to participate in our winter veggie share, there is still room to sign up!

in the barn:  lettuce, chard, tatsoi or arugula, peppers, apples! (it's been so fun to give you a taste of these the last few weeks), leeks, radishes or turnips, carrots, sweet peppers/eggplant/tomatillos, maybe the last of the tomatoes, maybe broccoli!
in the fields: the last of the flowers, raspberries and cherry tomatoes

powisset gourds!

funky spuds. (my new band name)

veggies boxed up for donation to mattapan food pantry

In The Farm Stand


Yes, We're OpenAlthough the CSA will be done the week of October 13th, we will be keeping the Farm Stand open through October! The hours will remain the same through the end of the month:

Tuesdays 1:30-6:30pm
Thursdays 10am-6:30pm
Saturdays 10am-5pm





Events: Past & Future

Powisset Farm was full of activity yesterday as Beantown Jewish GardensBJEP (Boston-area Jewish Education Program) and Temple Beth Zion held a Sukkot Festival to celebrate the feast of the harvest. The day included many activities from harvesting in the fields to making kale salad in the kitchen, a sauerkraut mob, and of course building a Sukkah. However, the most popular activity by far was riding the cider press for samples!

 And...for future events, I am very excited to announce that our very own Nicole Lewis (also known as N1) will be teaching some upcoming (fun) classes. In October, Just for Fun on the Farm: DIY Manicures with Jamberry (Oct. 20th) and Baking with Einkorn (Oct. 27th) for those of you who have either purchased or have been curious about Einkorn flour which we recently started selling in the farm stand.

And lastly, in light of the lunar eclipse, I do have to share an amazing photo that "our local astronomer" took last night. We will be holding our next Astronomy Night on Saturday, Oct. 17th. Not only will we get to view the moon, stars and planets, but preceding this, Al Navarro will be sharing a brief overview of how ancient astronomy was intertwined with agriculture. Since he is clearly an amazing astro-photographer, feel free to come on by to get some tips on your own shots.

We have many more events and while we can't mention each one, you can find them all here.








Crescent Ridge Home Delivery SPECIAL

Have you LOVED getting Crescent Ridge milk at Powisset Farm? We will continue to carry it though the days the Farm Stand is open (see above section) but if you would like to receive home delivery service during the winter months, there's a great special Crescent Ridge is offering! Sign up and the delivery fee will be waived for four months! To take advantage of this offer, type in POWISSET in the “Who referred you?” box located on the registration page at www.crescentridge.com. Please note it may take a day or two for the waiver to be applied so if you see an initial delivery charge, not to worry, it will be removed once approved. Enjoy!



More beef is coming!

Keep an eye out this week for beef in the freezer. Lots of great fall and winter cuts will be abvailable! 



Recipes of the Week

Are you loving the apples in the share these past two weeks?!? Since it's apple season and we've been getting this little surprise item in the share, I thought it would be fun to do a couple of apple recipes. This first one is for Apple Rustic Tart. This is a wonderful recipe I got from my mother-in-law (not sure where she got it). It's a lovely alternative to apple pie.

Apple Rustic Pie
Ingredients:
2 Tbl butter
1/4C brown sugar
2 Tbl granulated sugar (I've done this recipe without this and just used brown sugar)
2-4 pounds of peeled and sliced apples (golden delicious and granny smith are usually recommended for this recipe ut I say go ahead and use whatever apples you want!)
2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
a refrigerated pie dough (if you have a great pie crust recipe then certainly use that but if you're looking for something quick, go ahead and buy the pre-packaged kind).
Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a small pan over med-high heat. Add the sugars and cook until dissolved (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place dough on a pie pan or on a flat baking sheet. If using a cooking sheet put parchment paper or aluminum foil down first. Roll out to dough into a 14" circle. Add the apple mixture to the middle of the dough and fold the edge up and over the edge of the apple pile. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Eat and enjoy!

Note: If you prefer softer apples you can cook the apples with the lemon juice, spices and butter/sugar for about 15-20 minutes and then add to the crust and bake as usual.

Apple Salads
I love salad with apples in it! There's the classic favorite Waldorf Salad  but this Chopped Autumn Apple Salad is perfect for this time of year.

Ingredients
6 to 8 cups chopped lettuce
2 medium apples (or pears if you prefer), chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
8 slices thick-cut bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled (omit if you don't like or eat bacon)
4 to 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
For dressing
Store bought Poppy Seed Salad Dressing and 
Balsamic Vinaigrette. Or take a couple tbl spoonfuls of mayo, add some balsamic vinegar and mix.


Directions
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, apples, cranberries, pecans, bacon and feta cheese. Drizzle generously with the dressing, followed by some of the balsamic vinaigrette.




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Leaves Turning


Yesterday I was driving around the roads near the farm on my Monday-bagel-for-lunch-run when I noticed that I was surrounded by trees with colorful leaves.  The leaves were turning color!  Does this mean it’s actually fall, I wondered, as I was wearing my first sweater of the season.  Trying not to get too distracted by the canopy of trees and the Neighborhood Farm Fields along Hartford Street, I thought about the time in between when the leaves are green and when they are red, orange, yellow and all the other hues of the fall rainbow.  


Of course, I should ask Andy, our farm apprentice/tree expert for the real explanation of what’s happening to the leaves….but beyond the scientific explanation I was thinking about our noticing of the transitions around us.  I wait and wait for the leaves to pop out in the spring-and this season it took so long.  I remember looking up at the trees each day, in the long days of spring, trying to decipher each bud and having a hard time believing that the leaves would ever arrive.  And then one day, they were there, glowing green, covering every branch and I felt sad that I missed the moment they emerged, but was glad they were here.

And then for weeks, I have longed for fall to arrive, for something like cooler weather or leaves changing to let me know that I had made it to the homestretch of the season, in my last year.  And without noticing it happening, the leaves turned.  I was sad I missed the moment, but glad that it had come and am grateful for this season, full of beautiful things. 

It’s the noticing of the changes happening that I (and maybe you also) miss on the farm.  We know we used to be smaller.  We know we started with one table, some hand written paper signs and one lightbulb swinging from its cord to illuminate our pick-ups.  We know at some point we didn’t have an herb garden or a flower garden or chickens or a weedy raspberry patch.  We missed the moment they came, but we are glad they are here and how they feel like they have always been a part of our farm.  We know we started with five acres and are now up to 16 or maybe more and we missed the exact moment that it happened, but we’re glad that it did, as those fields feel like they’ve always had our veggies tucked in clean and weedy rows.  And the people, so many crew and csa members and visitors have come and gone through the farm.  And I remember working with tara and molly and aviva (our first farm crew) like it was yesterday, bringing up vegetables with a garden cart to a dark wash station at the end of a fall day.  I don’t remember when or how the farm crew went from four to fifteen, but I know that it’s changed and I’m sad to miss the teams I’ve loved over the years, but glad for this crew, who feel like they’ve been here for years.

Like the turning leaves, our farm has and changed from green to red and back again. Still the same place, but in a different stage of our growth, each stage beautiful, each stage necessary for our farm to grow out in circles, our trunk growing strong and tall and wide. 

See you at the farm,
Meryl & The Powisset Farm Crew


What's in the share:
in the barn: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos/hot peppers, lettuce, turnips/radishes, arugula/kale, herb choice, chard/spinach, acorn squash!, beets, apples (just a taste) from UMASS orchards

in the fields: PYO is winding way down! just some cherry tomatoes and raspberries..this would be a great time to enjoy a walk around our back fields...with the time you used to give to picking!  it's beautiful back there!

The Ride for Food!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all who supported my with a donation or a cheer or a high five!! Last Sunday was the Ride for Food http://www.threesquaresne.org/
and I rode 25 miles!! yay!  And I reached my goal of $1000!!
Hooray and thank you for all of your support!

before and after pics:
 
before! looking excited!


after! me and dawnielle! We did it!!



In the Farm Stand


Fall is definitely in the air. I've pulled out my light sweaters for the morning but I'm still wearing flip flops. This transition of season is always bittersweet for me. I love the change, the smell in the air and the colors that Fall brings but I know that winter is also on it's way. What better way to make this transition warmer than with a fall pie?  Bushel and Crumb will be back this Thursday with their last savory selection of the season. It's a winter squash, onion, cheddar, and gouda pie - everything fall wrapped up into one delicious pie! Come by and grab one for dinner. The last sweet pie will be on October 8th and then holiday pies will be ordered.



We're also very excited to welcome back our pottery friends Lisa & Sue this Saturday, September 26th. Lisa WB Walker and Hog Wild Pottery will be selling heir 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. Visit www.lisawbwalker.com and www.hogwildpottery.com to see all that they offer.













Recipes of the Week


What are those white and pink marbled shelling beans in the share!?!?! Those are called Dragon Tongue beans and not only are they pretty, they're delicious! Not sure what to do with them? First you need to shell them out of the pods. Then rinse them and soak them overnight, like a dried bean. Then use them as you would any other bean. This morning I tossed them in a crock pot Pork Posole soup that is slowly cooking as I type this. For more inspiration, check out these recipes:

Dragon Tongue Herb Spread or Dip


Succotash with Bacon & Croutons

Monday, September 14, 2015

Events, Events, Events!

What's in the share this week:
in the barn: tomatoes, sweet corn (last week), peppers, leeks or onions, potatoes or carrots, tomatillos, lettuce, radishes or turnips, arugula or spinach, maybe beans
in the fields: we are coming to the end of PYO season...just some raspberries, husk cherries and maybe cherry tomaotes


The ride for food!! This Sunday!


Have you thought about donating to the ride for food??  This tired farmer is riding...and it's going to be awesome...if i can make it all 25 miles!!

....although i am tired...I am still SO pumped to have finally signed up to participate in The Ride for Food! Please join me in supporting this awesome event and organization, Three Squares New England, http://www.threesquaresne.org/ .  In their words; ‘Three Squares New England (“TSNE”) raises money and awareness for organizations that actively provide the good, nourishing food that our neighbors and their children need now to lead healthier, less stressful lives.’

Please consider making a donation to my ride! I am hoping to raise $1000 for the event team, which will support a wide range of hunger relief agencies throughout greater Boston!  

FYI - the last CSA summer share pick up is the week of October 13, 15 & 17.

For Tuesday pick up this week (9/15)
Heads up there is road work and paving going on. You will be able to get here but please be patient, follow the detour signs and give yourself a few extra minutes to get here.

Upcoming Events at Powisset!

Next weekend is a busy one at Powisset! We are hosting 3 events and I hope you can join us for one...or all!

From Nest to Table: Saturday, Sept. 19th at 10:00AM: First we will say hello to the chickens, learn about their daily routine, and partake in their egg collection. After we are done tending to them, we will head to the kitchen where we will make brunch, using the eggs we have just collected!

Trustees Membership Drive & Ice Cream SocialSaturday, Sept. 19th at 1:00PM: Learn about The Trustees while eating homemade apple crisp (baked by our own Wayne Ciuollo!) and ice cream donated by Crescent Ridge. We have several awesome raffle prizes and at 2:00PM we will be offering a walk down to see the animals with Melissa Gilbert, their amazing caretaker.

Cooking with Annie at Powisset: Bounty of the FieldsSunday, Sept. 20th at 2:00PM - Learn how to make 3 dishes with veggies from the farm! The menu includes Melanzane Involtini al Forno (Baked Stuffed Eggplant), Beet and Goat Cheese Napoleon, and Ricotta Gnocchi with Blistered Tomatoes with chef/instructor extraordinaire, Annie Copps.

And....Meryl's Going Away Bash...

I hope that you all can come out so that we can give Meryl the proper send off she deserves! We are changing the date from Sun, November 1st to Saturday, November 14th. Please RSVP to one of the "Nicoles" at nlewis@ttor.org (N1) or nnacamuli@ttor.org (N2).


Recipes!!

Last week the recipes section got added later in the week so I'm not sure all of you saw the recipes.  Here they are again in case you missed it.

Leeks and kholrabi! Leeks are from the onion family and have a white bulb with large, overlapping, leaves. I recently learned that they are also one of the Welsh national emblems! Kholrabi is from the cabbage family and has a gnarly bulb-like shape with greens atop. The whole plant is edible either raw or cooked. Here are a few ideas on what to do with both vegetables.

Leek Recipes
You can use leeks in place of onions in most recipes but they also can stand on their own. Here are some 
creative ways to enjoy leeks.

Leek & Olive Tart With Two Cheeses
Creamed Leeks


Kholrabi Recipes
I love to use Kholrabi as a slaw or mixed into a cabbage slaw but with Fall around the corner, I thought sharing a roasting recipe would be fun and timely (although the weather these days makes me want to keep the cold slaw recipe on hand).

Roasted Kholrabi
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut four kholrabi bulb about 1/4 inch think and then cut in half. Toss with 1 Tbl. of olive oil (or other favorite cooking oil), 1 garlic clove (minced or crushed), salt and pepper. Place the kholrabi in a single layer on  baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minut (tossing or turning once in between). Sprinkle with parmesean cheese and bake for an additional 5 mnutes to brown the cheese. Serve and enjoy!



Monday, September 7, 2015

Labor Day at Powisset


I can’t think of a labor day that I haven’t spent at Powisset farm in the last nine years. It’s the beginning of September and taking a day off in the height of tomato season is hard to imagine and until this fall, I’ve always lived on the farm making it challenging to spend a summer holiday anywhere but here.  This Monday I found myself back at the farm, even though i’m now a commuter!  But this Monday was different.  For the first time since april, I realized that I had Monday all to myself!  I woke up late (late!..okay, it was 7:30) and took my time with those cups of coffee.  I folded laundry (a non-farm task!) and walked the dog along my new city streets where she still barks at everyone!  When I was ready, I hopped on my pink bicycle and petaled it out to dover from Jamaica plain.  A holiday ride!  And when I got here, sweaty but invigorated , I realized the true delight of this Monday holiday!  I was alone at the farm.  

me and james. almost solo farm time.
Alone.  This doesn’t happen any more!  Mondays, which used to be a day of prep for the week, a day of reflection and renewal, a day with a little less field work and less people has transformed over the last few years to a day of leading big crews in the field, meetings with coworkers and hours of tractor work, a full day on the farm, rounding out the six day work week.  But, labor day, oh sweet labor day…you gave me a quiet farm today and for that, I am grateful.  Of course, I ran around the fields setting up irrigation and got on the little red tractor to cultivate some fall lettuce, but I also listened to music while finally catching up on emails you sent and I made to-do lists, which cleared space in my brain for thoughts other than farm tasks and I watched from afar as james benner cooled the piglets with the hose and visitors watched him with awe and delight.  And now it’s 8:30pm and I should probably call it a day, but quiet, solo days at the farm are hard to come by and for me, I’m beginning to realize that I don’t have all that much time to continue calling this farm my own.  So I may a slow walk down to shut the chickens in for the night and breathe in the farm air before I’m swept up in another week of production and wild energy that Powisset farm carries, like a beautiful crashing wave,  into my life each week.  


I’ll see you in the waves,

Meryl  & the Powisset farm crew




What's in the share:
preserving some tomaotes!
in the barn: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, hot peppers, carrots, basil, lettuce, arugula &/or chard, radishes &/or kohlrabi, leeks &/or scallions, cukes & squash  (no sweet corn this week, but it will return for its last week, next week)
in the fields: shelling beans, cherry tomatoes (we hope)



Winter shares and Pork Sales now for sale!

Sign up at the barn!

What’s a winter share?

What’s in it (most likely & possibly more):
Greens & more: lettuce, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radicchio, spinach, salad greens and/or arugula, kohlrabi, herbs
Roots: potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, celeriac, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, storage radishes, daikon, parsnips
And: onions, shallots, leeks, butternut  (or other) squash, popcorn, hot peppers, garlic, dry beans and more

The pick-ups are:
Pick up #1: November 6th + 7th
Pick up #2: November 20th +21st
Pick up #3: December 5th
Pick up #4: December 19th

The cost of the full share is $300 (all four pick-ups)
The cost of the small share is $195: you must choose 2 pick-ups ahead of time!
Please join us this season! Please sign up at the barn.  You must pay at least a deposit to secure your spot in the winter share.

Pork Share!
Powisset Farm is offering a Pork Share again this season.  The pork share is about 22 pounds of pork (or roughly a quarter pig).  There will be sausage, loin chops, country style ribs, spare ribs, ham slices (or ham roast), smoked ham hocks or pig feet, liver or heart and bacon included in the share.  The price will be $195. If you are excited about getting a wide variety of pork from our very own Powisset-raised pigs, then this share is for you!  There will also be cuts of pork available at the farm if you just want a little pork and do not want to commit to a share.  

 There are a limited number of shares available; so we will sell shares at a first-come-first served basis.  Please contact Meryl at: mlatronica@ttor.org to sign up or with any questions.  You can also sign up at the barn.  Pick up for most of the share will happen in early October.

Upcoming Events:

Date change for Meryl's Going Away Party!

I hope that you all can come out so that we can give Meryl the proper send off she deserves! We are changing the date from Sun, November 1st to Saturday, November 14th. Please RSVP to one of the "Nicoles" at nlewish@ttor.org (N1) or nnacamuli@ttor.org (N2).

Trustees Membership Drive & Ice Cream Social

As a reminder, Powisset Farm will be hosting a Trustees Membership Drive & Ice Cream Social on Saturday, September 19th from 1-4pm. You will not only get a chance to learn more about the Trustees, but you will be able taste some of our home made apple crisp and Crescent Ridge ice cream (generously donated by Crescent Ridge!) but the afternoon is turning out to be an exciting one. At 2:00pm, Melissa Gilbert will be leading a group down to the piggery and chicken coop for a visit with our farm animal friends. In addition some of our wonderful neighbors and vendors have generously donated raffle prizes including a gift certificate from Chiara Bistro, a gift certificate from Blue Moon Bagel Cafe, a Thanksgiving pie from Bushel & Crumb, a goodie bag from Copper Kettle Bakery, a Powisset Cooks! class, and a mystery bag from the farm. Raffle winners will be announced close to 4:00pm. Lastly, anyone who signs up for Trustees membership on that day will get 10% off farm stand purchases for the remainder of September (excludes textile merchandise)!

Powisset Photo Contest Results

Visitors to the barn during July saw a collection of farm photographs, with an invitation to vote for your favorites.  The photographers for our first Photo Competition were Kim Benner, James Benner, Madeline Rothstein, Abel Sanchez, Tod Dimmick, Parker Harrington, Karen Cagan, Rita Cagan, Brian Gorman, and Erin Pritchett.  Photographs were all taken at the farm, and they are beautiful.  We’re hoping to do something like this again next year, so if you’re a photographer at any level, contact toddimmick@gmail.com to get on the list!   Congratulations to the winners, and thank you for being part of the fun!

THE ENVELOPE PLEASE:

The youth winner is James Benner for his photograph “Ears and Nose”
The adult winner is Parker Harrington for “Powisset from Slightly Above”

The Winners are eligible for a fabulous prize:  a dozen Powisset Farm Eggs!

Calling all artists, designers, and graphic gurus!  

To kick off Powisset Farm's 1st ever Book Club this fall, "Farm-to-Fable," we are hosting a Logo Contest!

So send us your brightest book and farm inspired artwork (PDF preferred over kale etchings), graphically capturing name and motif by:  DEADLINE EXTENDED: SEPT. 30th.  

Winner to be selected by a jury of award winning graphic designers (no pressure).  Look for the Book Club's calendar, reading list, NEW look, and t-shirts coming soon !

Contestants, please send entries to either Suzanne Greenwald (suzannebgreenwald@gmail.com) and/or Anne Innis (anne.foss.innis@gmail.com). 


Recipes

In the share this week you'll see some veggies that we haven't seen in a few weeks: Leeks and Kholrabi. Leeks are from the onion family and have a white bulb with large, overlapping, leaves. I recently learned that they are also one of the Welsh national emblems! Kholrabi is from the cabbage family and has a gnarly bulb-like shape with greens atop. The whole plant is edible either raw or cooked. Here are a few ideas on what to do with both vegetables/

Leek Recipes
You can use leeks in place of onions in most recipes but they also can stand on their own. Here are some creative ways to enjoy leeks.


Leek & Olive Tart With Two Cheeses
Creamed Leeks


Kholrabi Recipes
I love to use Kholrabi as a slaw or mixed into a cabbage slaw but with Fall around the corner, I thought sharing a roasting recipe would be fun and timely (although the weather these days makes me want to keep the cold slaw recipe on hand).

Roasted Kholrabi
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut four kholrabi bulb about 1/4 inch think and then cut in half. Toss with 1 Tbl. of olive oil (or other favorite cooking oil), 1 garlic clove (minced or crushed), salt and pepper. Place the kholrabi in a single layer on  baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minut (tossing or turning once in between). Sprinkle with parmesean cheese and bake for an additional 5 mnutes to brown the cheese. Serve and enjoy!

Greek Style Kholrabi Pie