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Monday, October 12, 2015

Last Planting

Last week I loaded up the push seeder, poured in the arugula seeds and carefully listened as the tiny “bundles of determination” hit the metal sides of the hopper and bounced onto each other, filling the basket.   I selected the seeding rate, righted the old-school walk-behind seeder and set out to plant my last 600 row-feet of greens at Powisset Farm.  A few days later, I climbed onto our largest tractor, turned the key and sat in the trembling seat for a moment as I let the machine warm up.  A few minutes later, I drove out to the fields, with plow attached, to prepare one of our fields for the last planting of the season; the garlic.  It was a perfect fall day; blue sky, sun shining through a leaf peeper’s dreamscape, hooded sweatshirt on, but not pulled tight over my head just yet.  I set deep the plow and watched this season’s cukes and squash disappear into the waves of cool soil behind me.  My last time preparing these fields for a planting.  Nine years ago I plowed these fields for the first time and even after all these seasons, I find the work as satisfying, calming, hopeful, exciting and joyful as ever.  

barn, 2007
When I first plowed these fields, I had a blank canvas. There were no rows or farm roads or even a correct way to lay out the rows.  I had a small red tractor and my intuition and imagination (and a LOT of support from fellow farm friends & teachers).   It was an afternoon in March of 2007 when I broke ground at Powisset to start our very first CSA season.  As I plowed, and sang (of course) I remember thinking that one day, these fields would feel like home.  One day, I would know these fields—the rocks and dips, the more fertile spots and the depleted areas.  One day, I would know this place.  As the months passed, I watched that field produce our first ever carrots, leeks, onions, broccoli and chard—some of the biggest we’ve ever grown.  

field/farm road, 2007
There’s a tiny hill between the farm house and the fields.  In the spring of that first season, I sat there, looking at newly planted onions, broccoli, rows of reemay, tiny green plants in a sea of brown soil.  At the time, I was starting to feel like Powisset was becoming my farm and I remember wondering, out loud, what it would be like in the years that would follow. Months and years have passed since that sunny day in April when I sat over-looking that small farm.  And I wonder, what have we planted here?

I could start by telling you about the hundreds of thousands of pounds of vegetables that we plant, care for and harvest every season.  I have felt full and nourished by what these fields have yielded for us over many seasons.  I have particularly loved growing and eating; onions, hakurei turnips, kale, broccoli, cauliflower and beets (to name some of my faves).  Yes!  We have eaten well! And we have shared that bounty every year with a community even wider than those of us who make it to the farm.  We have supplied fresh vegetables to food pantries, health centers, community events and even loved ones who needed some good medicine by way of farm veggies.  I will miss the vegetables.

our crews are THE BEST!
Another thing we have planted and grown is farmers!  So many farmers have graced this farm with their presence!  Some stayed for years, making deep impacts on every aspect of our farm and farm community.  Others dropped in for a season to strengthen our crew, drop pieces of wisdom and fly off to their own farm or other path in life.  Every single farm worker who came through these fields has made this farm stronger.  There would be no harvests if not for the hands and hearts of the people who I have been blessed to share my days with.  I will miss my fellow farmers.

And we have planted a community.  To all of you;  CSA members, visitors, volunteers, out-of-town guests, family members, tiny humans born in the last nine years…thank you.  Like the arugula seeds in the hopper last week, you too are “bundles of determination”(I got this phrase from a farmer in Canada).  You planted your roots in these fields, in the often-weedy pick-your-own sections, in the flower garden, in the barn, in and around the farm, at your dinner tables, in your kids’ lunches, in the stories you share about the farm in your life.  You have reminded me again and again what this farm has meant to you.  You have shared what it has meant to be able to pick your own beans or flowers and what it has been like to have this beautiful space as refuge from the busyness of your days.  You have shared your cheers with me and you have helped me make changes to try to make our farm stronger.  You have stayed with us for years, or you have just stepped into our community.  You have been a part of planting and growing our community; a community who supports farmers.  A community who supports farms.  A community who believes that we can participate in changing our food system.  Your roots are strong, Powisset Community.  I will miss my farm family.
i love powisset farm!

So, as I prepare in the next couple of weeks for the garlic planting, my last planting at this farm, I will be thinking about how much we have planted together and what you will continue to plant once I leave this farm.  I will spread the compost.  I will till the soil and prepare the beds.  I will mark the rows and teach my crew one last time how the garlic likes to be planted and share one more time with them how beautiful it is when the garlic peeks up through the soil in the coming spring.  And together, with our strong and dirty hands, we will plunge the garlic into the soil, a sign that this farm will have another season.  We have planted so much here and we have so much more to plant.

Love from the fields,
Meryl & the Powisset farm crew

What's in the share:
butternut squash, garlic, onions, choice of cooking greens (kale/chard/tatsoi), lettuce, lettuce mix, choice of roots (carrots/beets/radish/leeks), sweet or hot peppers, potatoes & parsnips 

Winter CSA and Farm Stand!

Hi! you! yes, you!  Join us for the winter CSA season!  We have LOTS of delicious crops still out in the fields waiting to be harvested, getting sweeter with every cold snap!  Join our full or small winter CSA, or visit us at the farm stand for all our your winter soup or holiday cooking projects!

Winter CSA: 
Two pick-ups in November and two in December!
full (4 pick- ups): $300
small (2 pick-ups): $195

In the share: greens (lettuce, lettuce mix, radicchio, spinach, tatsoi, kale, chard), broccoli and cauliflower, roots (carrots, beets, turnips, rutabega, winter radishes, diakon), potatoes and sweet potatoes, onions, shallots, leeks, garlic, winter squash and special dried crops like popcorn, hot peppers and dried herbs!  

Join us!  You do not have to be a current CSA member to join the winter share!  

Dates of Share:  
And...our farmstand will be open on these days as well!!:
Fridays: 1pm-6:30pm, Saturdays: 10am-2pm:

Pick up #1: November 6th + 7th

Pick up #2: November 20th +21st

Pick up #3: December 5th

Pick up #4: December 19th

Upcoming Event

Last call for our Pumpkin & Apples Kids cooking class taking place this Sunday, Oct. 18th at 2:00pm. Earlier that morning (8:00am), the 2nd Powisset Farm Trail Run will be happening. Join me! There are 3 distances to choose from - 1.5, 5.6 & 8.3 miles. The longer distances go into Noanet Woodlands.

Mark Your Calendars!
For those of you who participated in the Tri-town Hale/Trustees Hike last year, we are doing it again! On Nov. 7th, hike all 12 miles through Hale Reservation, Rocky Woods, including a rest stop at Powisset Farm...or tackle one of the shorter sections. Transportation available as well as food and good company along the way! Online registration will be coming soon. For more information please contact Nicole at or 508.785.0339 x3003.


  1. Hi Meryl, very nice article, Thanks for sharing this information.

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  3. This place is clean and has nice ambiance, more like modern than classic. Our visit was just amazing. I believe it was a treat to be at Los Angeles venues. It would be a treat to attend another event here.

  4. It looks like you have a good group helping you out there. Come harvest time it is so essential to have the right people working with you. A bad group can make for a really bad day and a bad harvest in general. Harvest time is hard but it can also be fun. We use the same group every year.

    Heidi Sutton @ Ag Source Magazine