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Monday, September 26, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 17

CSA Week 17:

We have passed the Fall Equinox and the temperatures are reflecting this important seasonal marker. Last night we experienced our first frost of the fall. As I walked the fields this morning I assessed the damage. We have time to say good bye to our the work horses of our summer crops; peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes.  I've been checking the weather pretty obsessively all season to we were prepared for the frost. The crew spent several hours Friday and Saturday laying out row cover on the crops that it is appropriate for. Our tender lettuce, salad greens, summer squash (I have never had summer squash continue to thrive this late into the season. Due to the extremely dry weather we have experienced, the diseases that usually hit our cucurbits have been at very low levels) look good under the row cover, continue to grow, and will be harvested for you over the next few weeks. Another effect of the frost is that some of the weeds we have been battling all summer were also fried, wohoo!

As our summer crops fade our fall crops are finally getting the temperatures they need to thrive. Broccoli does not form florets when the temperature is sustained about 80 degrees. This means that our beautiful stand of fall broccoli has been stagnate for the last few weeks. On my field walk in the crisp morning air with my sweatshirt hood pulled up over my ears I discovered that the broccoli is finally forming heads, the kohlrabi and cabbages are also reaching maturity.

Later this week we will be welcoming our beloved farm cat James home. As some of you may remember James broke one of his hind legs this spring. After 6 months James is fully healed and ready to rejoin his brother Simba here at Powisset. James has been recovering with farm friends Amy and her son Ben in Easton. I'd like to give Amy and Ben a big shout out, they have done an incredible job providing James a happy and healing environment.

In the farm stand:
- Eden Pond Farm pasture raised chickens
- Crescent Ridge Ice Cream: new flavors including seasonal flavors pumpkin and Graham Central Station
- Sweet potatoes from Piccadilly Farm
- Apples from Brookdale Farm
- Pies from Bushel and Crumb
- New craft beverage flavors from Spindrift and Green Bee
- and so much more

In the CSA:
- kohlrabi
- apples
- cooking greens
- garlic
- potatoes
- purple top turnips
- radishes
- ripe peppers
- winter squash

PYO:
- hot peppers
- open for tasting: cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, husk cherries (these did not have a chance to fully mature before the frost), raspberries. All of these crops are very limited, please take a taste and remember that there are 349 other CSA members who would also like a taste.

Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew










Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Past + Upcoming Events!


Last weekend we welcomed a group of seniors from the Westwood Council on Aging along with some children through the Westwood Public Schools for a pilot Intergenerational program, From Nest to Table. Attendees visited the chickens, learned how to pet and hold them, learned about their eggs and how to collect them. Following this visit, everyone convened in the kitchen to use those eggs to make mini quiches! We used Powisset Canadian bacon and loads of Powisset veggies - tomatoes, scallions, peppers and more. We will hold a similar, public program on November 12th. Sign up here!

What's Coming Up?

Our 4th Friday Farm Dinner is scheduled for Sept. 30th. Curious about the menu? Email me! nnacamuli@thetrustees.org! The dinner will be catered by Heritage Truck Catering Company and we will be entertained by the Railroad House Band.

The following morning, we are honored to have Renato Poliafito from Baked in NYC in our kitchen where we will be creating pumpkin whoopie pies, carrot cake cupcakes and an apple buckle. Rentao will also be selling and signing his cookbooks. There are only a couple spots left in this class so don't wait to sign up!

Save the date for these events and programs in October!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 16

Moon rise
Rain!!! It's raining right now. Sweet, steady moisture falling from the sky. How I have missed it.

The season continues to march steadily into fall. The peppers and eggplant have slowed considerably and the tomatoes are wrapping production for the year. Soon enough it will still be inky black at 7am and the fields will be coated with frost.

This past week we have been helping the farm into this fall transition. We have been chipping away at turning retired fields into the soil so that we can get cover crop seeded to take full advantage of this luscious rain. We seed a mix of oats and peas or rye and vetch in order to add organic matter and nitrogen to our soils. Cover crops also help to hold soils in place over the winter, preventing erosion from wind, rain, and snow melt. They also provide necessary habitat for beneficial (and not so beneficial) soil flora and fauna. Healthy soil is critical for us to be able to grow our crops and cover crops are an essential tool we have to help keep the soil in good health.

WINTER SHARE:

As we are progress into fall it is time to start offering winter shares. This years share will include potatoes, winter squash, onions, scallions, kale, broccoli, lettuce, radicchio, spinach, radishes, garlic, mustard greens, cabbage, collards, carrots, beets, etc.

storage radishes
We have reduced the cost of the winter share this year to $200. The share will be smaller than last years share. This is a change that I planned before the drought as it seemed that some folks were overwhelmed by the amount of vegetables they received last year. I am hoping the smaller size and reduction in price will make the winter share feel more accessible to you.

Sign-ups for the share are being done the old fashioned way for the winter share. Sign-ups will not be offered online. If you would like to secure your share please bring cash or a check to the farm stand during regular distribution hours. Unfortunately, we are unable to process credit card or debit payments for winter shares. A deposit of $100 is needed to secure your spot. Full payment is due by the first pick up.

There will be 4 winter share distributions:

Pick up #1: November 4th + 5th
Pick up #2: November 18th +19
Pick up #3: December 2nd+3rd
Pick up #4: December 16th +17th
 
Like with summer share pick ups you may choose which day in the pick up block you would like to get your share. Also like the summer share, all pick ups are done market style (you get to pick out  your own vegetables) on the farm.

The farm stand will also be open during winter share distribution hours.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:
- kale
- tomatoes
- potatoes
- cooking  greens (mustards, collards, etc)
- apples
- radishes
- beets
- winter squash
- a choice of summer squash, peppers, or eggplant

PYO:
- Last week there were not enough raspberries to offer them for picking on Saturday. If you were able to get your half pint last week please refrain from picking so that Saturday CSA members can get their share.
- hot peppers
- sunflowers

Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew
 


 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 15

Powisset Farm CSA: Week 15

Transplanting lettuce
The Powisset Farm Stand focuses on offering unique local products. We also source items from other local farms to offer crops that we don't grow, or haven't been able to grow this year because of the drought. For example, we have been sourcing sweet corn from Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon as well as several crops from Piccadilly Farm in Winchester New Hampshire. By bringing in these products from other farms and businesses, we are able to diversify our farm stand, offer you interesting products, and support local businesses.

A few products in the farm stand this week:

- Cantaloupe from Piccadilly Farm
- Apples from UMASS Cold Spring Orchard
- Frozen Wild Maine Blueberries sold by the pound
- Fire Cider from Shire City Herbals
- Real French Dressing from Crane Crest


This has been a tough production year at Powisset but through a lot of sweat and a few tears we are on target to reach at least a 100% return on CSA members investment in the farm. In a year that I have witnessed multiple farms skip weeks, cancel their CSAs, and make the heart breaking decision to shut down, this feels like an accomplishment.

I walked the farm today and witnessed summer slipping into fall before my eyes Tomatoes are petering out while pepper and eggplant production has also slowed quite a bit. Our fall and winter crops are looking great. Fall is when greens (like kale, lettuce, and mustards) do their finest work. Many of our direct seeded crops like radishes and mustards that would not germinate in the intense heat and dry conditions are having a resurgence. It will be a few more weeks before they reach their full glory. The carrots have also finally germinated, though they require quite a bit of water to reach their full potential. They are small but they are sweet and full of flavor,

I have had several conversations recently with CSA members and friends about what improvements to the farm will help us "weather" extreme conditions like we've had this year. In a year like this, our water needs have far outstripped the capacity of our well. Much time will be dedicated this fall and winter to increasing our water capacity. This summer I purchased equipment which doubled our overhead watering capacity as well as many extra thousands of feet of drip tape. We will continue to make improvements to the irrigation system so that we are better prepared next season if we another recording breaking drought.


In this weeks share:

Lettuce
Cooking greens
Basil
Garlic
Tomatoes
Eggplant
Peppers
Carrots or beets
Popcorn
Apples


PYO:
Raspberries
Sunflowers

***If you have pint and half pint containers taking up space at you house please return them to the farm and we will reuse them. Our stash of grocery bags has also run low. Clean out your cupboard and bring them to Powisset!***

Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Powisset Happenins'

What's Going on In the Farm Stand This Weekend?

CSA member Lisa WB Walker and Susan Brum will be selling their handmade one of a kind fully functional pottery on Saturday, September 10th in the farm stand from 10-2pm during distribution.  More information about the artists can be found here: www.lisawbwalker.com and www.hogwildpottery.com 

And here are some of the awesome items we will be selling....
  • Frozen wild Maine blueberries sold by the pound.
  • Fire cider
  • Berkshire maple mustard
  • Applewood Smoked Barbecue Sauce
  • Crane Crest "Real French Dressing"
  • Apples
  • New Trustees Shirts, Hats & Visors


Past & Upcoming Events

Fun was had by all at our 1st Annual Pig Roast on Labor Day. Participants gorged on pulled pork, cornbread, potato salad, baked beans, cookies and mud pie. To the right are some happy attendees who thoroughly pigged out.

We have 2 remaining Friday Farm Dinners in the 2016 season. Don't miss them!  Register for the September 30th Dinner  and/or October 28th Dinner here!

Photo Competition Winners!

And last but not least, I would like to announce the winners of our 2nd Annual Photo Competition organized by Tod Dimmick. Here are the winners! 
  • 1st Place: Amy Collins - Three Dimensional Pig
  • 2nd Place: DancPhoto - Barn in Blue
  • 3rd Place: - Bill McMahon - Silo
Congrats to all and thanks for participating! 








Monday, September 5, 2016

CSA Blog: Week 14


 
 
We are now five days into September. Today in particular feels like fall. The sky is thick from cloud cover as Hurricane Hermine rages to our south east. Unfortunately for us it looks like we will miss out on most of the rain fall. In preparation for the potential of a big storm today, we spent Friday of last week getting the winter squash harvest in. Our good friends from Neighborhood Farm and Chestnut Hill Farm chipped in and we were able to get it all out in one afternoon. The winter squash is curing in the green house over the next few weeks and some will be included in your share when it is ready. This week I am very excited for the return of kale and collards. Our earlier plantings were weakened by the drought which made them susceptible to the incredible pest pressure from flea beetle and thrips we experienced in July and August. Our fall brassicas (kale, collards, cabbage, etc.) are clean of pests and looking good. This is the time of year that we get to experience two seasons in the culinary respect as well as with our frenetic weather. Today it is in the mid 60's. Friday it is forecasted to be 90 again. Perhaps this will be the final day of intense heat before we sleep into cooler fall days.
With students returning to school, including most of our field crew we also have to opportunity to work with local college students interested to learn more about sustainable agriculture. This Friday we will be welcoming a class from Wellesley College. Over the next few weeks these students will help us to harvest and weed as they explore what local sustainable agriculture really means.

4H Club at Worchester Fair
Fall also means that if you have kids they may be looking for a new activity to get involved in. Did you know that Powisset Farm has an active 4H Club? Two weeks ago Powisset Hens and Hogs 4H club members participated in the Worchester County 4H Fair. Club participants included James with Betsy, Evan with Cruella, Merry with Arthur pigs they have been working with at Powisset Farm. Sister Josie and Lee showed their own pigs and beef cattle as well. All the participants (kids and livestock) had a great time. Please congratulate them when you see them around the farm.
A little back ground information about 4H: Massachusetts 4-H is a youth development program open to all young people ages 5 through 18 throughout the Commonwealth. It is part of a nationwide system connected to each land-grant institution of higher education and as such, has access to a wealth of resources and curriculum. In Massachusetts, 4-H is based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has offices in seven regions of the state.
Based on the Eight Essential Elements of Positive Youth Development, 4-H helps young people learn life skills under the guidance of trained, screened volunteers in non-formal educational settings such as clubs, camps and afterschool programs. These Essential Elements can also be viewed as the Five “C’s” – Competence, Confidence, Connection, Character and Caring.  When young people work on these characteristics they demonstrate a Sixth “C”: Contribution to self, family, community and the institutions of a civil society.
If you would like more information about Powisset Hens and Hogs 4H Club please contact our Livestock Caretaker Melissa at mgilbert@thetrustees.org
What's in the share this week:

Cooking greens (kale and collards are back!)
Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peppers
Eggplant
Garlic or Scallions
Lettuce
Fennel
PYO:The wetish (I'm not sure how much precipitation we will actually get) weather is going to effect pyo crops like the flowers, cherry tomatoes, and raspberries. What is available will be posted in the barn and kiosk like normal. We may have all of these options, we may have a combination.

Zannah, on behalf of the farm crew