First 2014 Winter Share Pickup Saturday in Arlington

Also check out shareholder Jackie Starr’s menu suggestions and recipe links, customized for this month’s share!

Romanesco Broccoli

Share contents for Saturday, October 25, 2014:

Use these within a week or so (or blanche or make a dish for freezing):
Lettuce-1 head, from Riverland
Bok Choy—1 head of large, from Riverland
2 broccoli or Romanesco, from Riverland
Mixed greens– a bunch or bag, from Riverland
Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!
Escarole—great in soups,  from Riverland                                                                                    Rosemary bunch, from Riverland

These will keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge crisper drawer:
Leeks (2 bunches)—keep whole or chop for soup and freeze (no need to blanche) from Picadilly
Salad (Hakurei) turnips – a bunch (cut off the greens and use them first), from Picadilly

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation):
Carrots – 5#, from Picadilly
Potatoes – 5#, gold from Picadilly
Beets – 2#, from Picadilly
Celeriac— from Picadilly, peel and slice or grate as an excellent salad or stirfry ingredient, steam and mash like potatoes,
Cabbage (red), from Riverland—if you are making sauerkraut or kimchi, do that asap
Fennel, from Riverlandnice grated into salads, or slice and roast with other veggies.

These will keep for many weeks in cool, dry conditions (40-55 degrees), like a shelf in your basement or unheated room as long as it doesn’t freeze; store in paper bags:
Garlic ½ #(can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2#, from Alprilla Farm

These will keep for a few weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:                                Acorn Squash, 3 pieces, from Picadilly

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 4#’s, from Riverland

Posted in How It Works, Picadilly Farm, recipes, Riverland Farm, What's in the share?, Winter CSA | Leave a comment

National Food Day

Every October 24 (this Friday), Food Day brings together eaters, chefs, farmers, families, local food advocates, food policymakers, and many more around the country in celebration of real food, food and farmworker justice, and healthy diets. All 50 states host events from cooking demonstrations and taste tests to panel discussions and child education. There is undoubtedly something going on in your area – find an event using this map on the Food Day website.

According to the Food Day team, some of the top 5 ways to “Eat Real” on a budget are to:

  • buy in bulk (we offer bulk buying of apples and veggies)
  • eat seasonally (our specialty…)
  • cook your own meals (what else can you do with 40 lbs of roots?) –> I must amend this :) Shared Harvest shares are a wonderful and balanced combination of fresh greens, squash, root vegetables, alliums, and other things….

What an appropriate way to kick off the Shared Harvest season. We like to share the real and whole foods being grown around us, as well as the fun of cooking fall and winter meals and storing produce in our homes, saving both of us trips back and forth.

Among all of the other resources, fact sheets and infographics created by the Food Day team for bloggers and others to share, I am most excited by their recommended readings. It’s time to put together your winter reading list…here are a few that have made mine:

Behind the Kitchen Door  by Jayaraman Sarumathi

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen and Charles Wilson

Bringing It To The Table: On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry

The full list is here. Lots of great children’s books listed!

Our first distribution is this Saturday….are you signed up?

 

 

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Farmers race to get cover crops seeded, visit the farm and harvest for the pantry on Nov 1

winter squash varietyFarming is a lot about timing: working with the seasons, the weather, the climate, and all the different growth habits and needs of each plant variety.  Careful planning and the grace and experience to deal with come-what-may…

From Jenny at Picadilly Farm:

Picadillygreenfield

with a lot of quick work today by their trusty crew, Picadilly fields will look like this come late November, blanketed in cover crop for good soil health through the year.

A cloudy harvest day today, and we’re anticipating quite a bit of rain tonight and tomorrow. There is always so much we’d like to finish before the rain falls. Today, we’re sprinting for our last opportunity to seed a cover crop – winter rye – on our fallow fields. Any later, and the grass is unlikely to grow enough to stand through the winter. The rye will help prevent erosion and topsoil loss over the winter and early spring months. We’ll try to have all of our fallow land seeded by the end of today – wish us luck!
Our regular share season continues for another three weeks, through the first week of November. We have beautiful fall crops, with rutabagas, Gilfeather turnips, parsnips, cabbage, butternut squash and tender greens…Thanks for supporting us in all the ways you have this season. We hope you enjoy the harvest!

Jenny (for Bruce, Allegra, Harold, Adelina, Iver, Antonio, Alex, Willie, Heather, Sarah, Carol, Joe, Doug, Beckley, and Jesse)

COME ON OUT TO THE FARM!
Saturday, November 1st, join us for an end-of season sure-to-get-dirty harvest for the food bank. In gratitude for all the nourishment we receive from this land, we’ll harvest carrots, potatoes and more for distribution to area hunger relief agencies – the Winchester NH food pantry, and the Community Kitchen in Keene, who already pick up weekly surplus here at the farm. All ages and abilities are welcome. We’ll have a hay ride for all ages, potluck lunch in the barn, and extra veggies for everyone to take home. 10am-noon, then lunch. We’ll probably cancel if the weather is lousy, rain date TBD.

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Connecting the fall color in the landscape to the color on your plate

Crystal Brook Farm in Sterling photo credit: Crystal Brook Farm

It is the time to drink in the New England growing season’s fantastic finale of color–wow!  Our appreciation of color is so intrinsic to our biology:  bright colors on our plate signal nutrients and flavor and the brilliance of fall foliage keeps us moving outside and getting those essential rays of sun even as the weather turns cold.  Brilliant, deep green grass means healthy land which supports the health of our food, our water resources, our oxygenated air.

If you get a chance to venture out of the city this weekend, here are some nifty opportunities to include farm tours, which can be a more intimate look at what colors our landscape and plates:

Only this weekend: 

last weekend to pick your own organic raspberries at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester, MA.

Child looking at Cranberry crate at Fresh Meadows Farm in Carver, MA.watch fresh organic cranberries being harvested at  Fresh Meadows Farm in Carver.  …the fresh organic cranberries you can order in November with your shares are picked using dry harvest (which involves much less bruising) and then separated from the chaff and hand sorted on this amazing antique wood conveyor machine.  Touring their fresh harvest operation is weather-dependent, so if Sunday and Monday live up to the dry forcast, head to their stand.  If it is drizzly in the morning, tours will view the wet harvest (for their frozen and juice berries), which is also a unique adventure.  Tours are gathered at the farm stand, which will continue to be open beyond this weekend, and selling delicious cranberry items (like orange infused sugar coated organic cranberries–special gift!).

If Carver seems a ways away for some of you, consider piggy-backing the cranberry tour on a day trip to King Richards Faire, an outdoor medieval village set amid a beautiful grove of trees in Carver…I’ve taken my kids there and we all had a blast, from the Shakespearean humor, real blacksmithing, roving pickle vendors, costumes, and human powered festival rides, games, and challenges (which are amazingly well-constructed and fun!)

This weekend and next:  Cider Hill is among very few orchards in our area still open for picking.   It is a beautiful farm with nice views from the top of the hill, and an interesting variety of apples.  And you can piggy-back a beach trip on this one (near Salisbury and southern NH beaches).

Anytime this month,

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Goats at Crystal Brook Farm in Sterling

Goats!  Crystal Brook farm, where we get our goat cheese for the Extras, is open for tours and farm stand sales Wed.-Sun…it’s a little off the beaten path, but the wide-open pastures are breathtaking (and a quiet getaway), and it’s only about an hour from Arlington.

Foliage in the hills and mountains!  Take a trip further west to see the foliage in the Berkshires, hill towns, southern VT.  Picadilly Farm is minutes from Northfield MA, out Route 2, and en route to Brattleboro–shareholders and friends are welcome to walk around the farm anytime, stop in and say hi and see their beautiful operation there, the view from the barn, and your fall carrots and kale thriving in the fields.  Picadilly has farming neighbors with animals on pasture with views. (Win-gate farm around the corner, and Manning Hill Farm in Winchester, NH–check their websites or call ahead for hours).  Then hike Mt. Pisgah right nearby, or…

Riverland Farm is in Sutherland, just outside of Amherst and Northhampton on the east side of the Connecticut River, along River Road/MA-47 in case you are the vicinity of those towns or visiting Mt. Tom.

Posted in Cider Hill Farm, Events, Fall Color, farming, Fun, Picadilly Farm, Riverland Farm, Winter CSA | Leave a comment

Apples, from Glenn’s home to yours

APPLES, part of your November share, come to you from the orchards of Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. Open until Christmas this year, Cider Hill is worth a visit – fun for everyone, with hayrides, pumpkins big and small, endless cider doughnuts, and of course, several varieties of apples to taste and pick.

On Friday, when it was fairly cloudy and cool in Boston, some Shared Harvest team members took a trip up to Cider Hill, where the sun was shining and a morning spent under apple trees was really our only option.

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The crew minus Jane, weighed down with apples (or not)

After a walk through the corn maze, ample apple picking, donut eating and checking out the animals and experimental hydroponic system, we were pretty spent. On our way out, we were lucky to snag a few moments with Glenn Cook, owner of Cider Hill (along with his wife Karen Cook). Like our other producers, Cider Hill is a small family operation and we love knowing that the orchards and fields have been managed by the same family for almost 40 years. Glenn, all smiles and high energy, is happy to send us apples for our core share, and additional/optional bulk and cider apples, just in time for Thanksgiving and the rest of the hectic holiday season.

Even though most of my apples are being unconsciously snacked on with peanut butter, I can’t wait to put my apples into slaws and sauce (Gala apples make fantastic applesauce). Hopefully, I have enough apples to tide me over until Shared Harvest begins. If not…I’ll have to go back. And while I’m there, I might as well get a few donuts.

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A perfect fall day

 

 

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Boston Local Food Festival: Thanks for coming out!

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A week after the fifth annual (but Shared Harvest’s first) Boston Local Food Festival, we have just about recovered from all of the madness: a chilly early set-up, doling out hundreds of samples of fresh Picadilly Farm sweet peppers and carrots with Crystal Brook Farm goat cheese, and having great conversations with all of the curious locavores  in the Boston area (and many from away!). If you have found our website since, or because of, the Festival…we look forward to feeding you this winter!

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Above: Elsbeth and Jane hold down the CSA explanations, while two sweet potatoes discreetly hold down our banner in windy downtown Boston. It takes some thought to explain, efficiently, what Shared Harvest is and does. But once folks understand our winter share program, it is rewarding to keep a lively conversation going amidst thousands of people and free food samples.

Sign up for your two, three, four or five month share today, and rest easy knowing that you will be eating locally into the winter and connecting with a new community.

If you missed the festival, or want to be reminded of the bounty to come, find us next at the Fall + Winter Farm Share Fair, hosted by Belmont Food Collaborative. Thursday, October 16, 5:30-7:30pm at the Watertown Public Library (123 Main St in Watertown).

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Cool mornings and we’re headed for those sweet carrots and kale

Mornings asking for sweaters are here again, and time to keep an extra blanket lying around, maybe get the firewood stacked, and definitely make sure you will be stocked with healthy vegetables for the rest of fall and winter.  If you haven’t already, time to sign up for Shared Harvest!

I’ll be at Arlington Town Day Saturday and also the Fifth Annual Boston Local Food Festival this Sunday.  So, stop by if you are out and about…you can sign up right at the table, get your questions answered, share favorite ways of putting up and storing fresh for the winter, chat about great ways you enjoy your farm share, hear how the farms are doing, etc.

Here’s some early September news from Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm.

Fall carrots looking great at Riverland, late August

Kale with morning dew at Riverland

Dear Friends,

The past couple of weeks it began to feel like fall was knocking at the door.  Then out of nowhere summer came roaring back in and it was downright hot and humid for a few days.  We are now experiencing the transition that happens every late summer as the “hot crops” begin to wane.  This year, however, it is happening a little earlier than normal and we are in a place where the fall crops have yet to really ramp up….

This is the time of year when we start to put some of our land to bed.  Many of the fields that had early season crops on them are now ready to seed down to a cover crop.  Cover crops prevent erosion from wind and rain, suppress weeds, build soil organic matter, and in some cases fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil.  It’s a comforting feeling turning a field from crop debris to dirt and finally to a thick blanket of green.  The term “putting the fields to bed” is appropriate as it does feel like we are laying them down and tucking them in with a thick blanket. This year we’ll be planting some land with Austrian winter peas.  These peas are incredibly hearty.  They actually can survive the winter in a dormant state and will then put on additional growth in the spring.  We’ll seed them with a nurse crop of oats that will die in the winter.  The oats grow quickly and will add additional cover to the land while the peas have a chance to get established.  These peas will add valuable nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil reducing the need for fertilizer for 2015 crops in those fields.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll plant our final transplants of the year.  Some late season head lettuce and bok choy will punctuate a transplanting season where hundreds of thousands of plants went in, grew out, and became food.  It’s a cycle that we are continuously repeating here on the farm.  As with anything that you do time and again you can take it for granted or it can become monotonous.  But when you stop and think about it for moment it doesn’t take long to remember how amazing the process actually is.

 

Enjoy the harvest!

On behalf of the farm crew Sydney, Mike, Max, Pete, Kelly, Juan,Caity, and Sara

 

Your Farmers,

Rob, Meghan, Cayden and baby Charlie!

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Strawberry Concert This Saturday Kicks Off Summer at Picadilly Farm!

Beckley with strawberry shortcake–Picadilly strawberries, local ice cream, and homemade shortcake with gluten free option. come sing, pick, and eat!

Join us this Saturday for our annual outdoor Summer Concert and Strawberry Shortcake with the Family Folk Chorale. Concert at noon, hayrides and Pick Your Own before. The forecast looks super for a visit to the farm – come on out! Looks good for strawberry picking this weekend! Please join us, and friends and neighbors are welcome.  FREE admission, donations welcome.  Bring a picnic and a blanket to sit on.  Hiking, river, Brattleboro nearby, so make a day of it!

From Bruce Wooster, Picadilly Farmer:

pick your own herbs, strawberries, and maybe greens and peas

Dear Shareholders,
In spite of a forecast for 45 degrees tonight, summer may be truly upon us. The sunshine and warm ahead comes at the right time for the harvests that are just around the corner – peas, strawberries, basil and summer squash. We’ve also just finished the main season planting push, with the winter squash all tucked into our farthest field. In just a week or so, we’ll start setting out fall crops, believe it or not – broccoli, cabbage, storage carrots, beets and rutabagas. All will be planted in the first weeks of July. Before this, though, we’ll take a celebratory respite from planting and weeding to celebrate the harvest [with our strawberry concert...]

Out in the middle of our big field, we’re finally finishing our own version of the big dig. Since last spring (yep, a year ago), we’ve been installing 1000 feet of  grass-lined waterway, along with three concrete road crossings, a rock-lined drainage chute, and hundreds of slope-stabilizing shrubs. Together they are designed to convey spring snow melt and excess rainstorm waters off our big field without taking the topsoil too.  Any day now, the excavator will be hauled away and the road grader will make it’s final pass. Thanks to the Hinsdale Gravel Company, Jay Roy Construction, and the Natural Resource Conservation Service for all their work. Now we’re well-positioned for years and years of bumper crops, with a little less to fear about climate change and whopper storms.

Around the edges and in between, we’ve continued to plant, harvest, and weed. The damp weather we’ve just come through, which can contribute to leaf disease and plant health problems, as well as make the weeding more challenging, has conversely been favorable for transplanting the two acres of winter squash just done, and has helped the sweet potato slips get their roots growing. Three cheers for our solid crew who make it happen.

Early last week, I was out mowing with the new, big, orange tractor — clearing space for our young piglets who arrived this past weekend, mowing the field where our Family Folk Chorale singers will camp this coming weekend, and more. Just like before, when I would use our old Massey Fergusen tractor, the mower sits wider than the tractor, with outside edges that the driver can’t quite see beyond the tractor’s rear tires. That put a little guesswork into the task of mowing, combined with shifting attention between the edge of what was just cut and a view of what’s ahead, to get the steering right.  Anyway, I was mowing along in the usual fashion, but in the new tractor, when suddenly I realized, “Geez, this thing has side and rear view mirrors!”  Sure enough, the leading edge was right there, easy to see and easier to guide than I could ever have imagined before. Now I just have to decide if life is better now, being so dialed in, or if the old formula of finesse and fine tuning showed the better measure of artful practice!

The harvest sure is gaining traction, and we hope you enjoy it.

Bruce (for Jenny and the crew: Allegra, Harold, Antonio, Alex, Keith, Heather, Iver, Anna, Adelina, Willie, Julie, Carol, Molly, Brian, Joe, Sarah, Doug, Beckley and Jesse)

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Late Spring at Riverland,

Here is the latest from Riverland Farm growers Meghan and Rob, who are busy raising vegetables and other sweet things!
Dear Friends,  

Cayden and Charlie checking on the status of the peas

     Happy Spring!  After a cold winter that we thought would never end… slowly but surely old man winter softened his grip and retreated back into his cave.   The plowing and planting season got off to a significantly later start this year than in the past couple.  Looking back in my records we actually planted peas a whole month later this year than we did 2 years ago and a full 2 weeks later than last year.  In general we got most crops in a little later than planned but even the things we got in on schedule didn’t do a whole lot of growing until May…
       It has been decidedly wetter this spring than last.  Last year we found ourselves pulling out the irrigation equipment before the calendar even turned to May and this year irrigation has hardly crossed my mind.  Despite the late start, in the last couple of weeks things have really started to take shape.  Our earliest plantings of beets, chard, broccoli, kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage, and kale have recently put on an amazing amount of growth.  The strawberries are covered in flowers and some green berries
 and the peas though small are starting to turn the corner.
       The last two weeks have seen us scrambling between rain showers to get all of our transplants in.  We had a pretty epic transplanting day yesterday putting in our main season tomatoes, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes.  All told over 14,000 plants went in the ground yesterday and there’s still plenty of planting to do!  There are some busy days ahead!! We’ll continue on the planting push while starting to switch gears toward preparing for harvest, wash room set up, and share room set up.

Sydney and Mike transplanting sweet potatoes

       Speaking of transplants…this year for the first time in our 8 year history we have an almost entirely new farm crew.  Most are transplants from out of the area while some are natives.  Given that there is so much new blood on the farm, it has lead Meghan and I into training mode this spring to bring everyone up to speed on our farming systems. We’ve found ourselves doing plenty of tasks that we haven’t done in quite a few years.  Overall the new crew is starting to hit their stride and just in the nick of time as things will certainly be ramping up heading into the harvest season.  We are happy to have Max Goetsman, Pete Wackernagel, Sydney Williams, Mike Fox, and Kelly Johnson make up our core full season crew and we are equally happy to have our Mexican summer crew of Hildardo, Rohelia, and Filimon headed up by Juan Hernandez who is in his third season with the farm.  We are looking ahead to a great season and are excited to get the harvest underway!
On behalf of the farm crew
Your Farmers,
Rob, Meghan, Cayden and baby Charlie

 

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Spring planting this Saturday at Picadilly, Concert in June

PICADILLY FARM OPEN HOUSE AND SPRING PLANTING DAY
Saturday, May 31, 10am-noon  Join us for a morning of farm walks and exploration. Plant some seeds with us in the greenhouse, or seedlings in the field. all ages and abilities are welcome. The sand pile is ready for all young diggers! 

STRAWBERRY CONCERT WITH THE FAMILY FOLK CHORALE, Saturday, June 21, 1pm,   Come breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the big sky, take a dip in the river nearby or a hike on nearby Mt. Pisgah.  But most of all, join us for fresh-picked strawberry shortcake and sing along with the Family Folk Chorale in Concert (singing an eclectic mix of folk tunes, including originals by our talented professional band members, and also Alastair Moock, John Fogerty, REM, some trads, etc.).  We usually also have hay rides and farm tours, too, so come see your veggies reaching for the sky.  This is a great time to visit the farm!

both events will be at Picadilly Farm, 264 South Parrish Road, Winchester NH (3 minutes from Northfield MA).

Spring farm news from Jenny at Picadilly:

Dear Shareholders,

A few days ago, I puttered out of the barn on our little Allis Chalmers G tractor, circa 1950. As I headed to the far southwestern corner of our cleverly-named “Field Two”, I passed Adelina planting zucchini seeds in the greenhouse, and Keith and Anna hoeing lettuce. Alex and Willie were tacking down row covers over tender brassica greens, to exclude the voracious flea beetles. Antonio was maneuvering the transplanter, with Allegra, Iver and Heather on the seats, plunking scallion seedlings into the moist soil. Our neighbor, using no fewer than four pieces of heavy equipment, was carving out a new waterway across our big field, an erosion-control practice designed and supported by the Natural Resource Conservation Service of USDA. Harold was likely out buying parts for the new walk-in cooler that he’s building singlehandedly in the barn. And Bruce was sorting out how to deal with the seized engine on our old Massey tillage tractor. In the glorious sunshine, I sowed about a third of an acre of spinach, arugula, radishes and lettuce, plus a carrot trial with varieties named “Jeannette”, “Romance”, “Resistafly” and “Yaya” (I’m pulling for “Romance”). Let there be no doubt: spring is in full swing on the farm.

And what a spring it has been! Overall cool temperatures have kept humans and plants alike hungry for warm sun. Rain has been plentiful enough, without any surprising deluges. All of our crops are coming along fine, perhaps a week or so “behind schedule”.  With great weather in the forecast – will we be so lucky as to skirt through the rest of May without more frost?
Our big thanks to you for joining us for this season. Your support has carried us through the spring, and right to the height of our planting season. Over the next two weeks, we’ll set out tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, basil, sweet potatoes, flowers and much more. Our spring expenses can be high with the expected (crew, seeds, fertilizer) and the unexpected (that seized tractor engine? The replacement 126-horsepower Kubota tractor arrived on the farm yesterday, and we parted with an absurd amount of money). Your financial support, coupled with your enthusiasm for nutritious food and regional economy, keep Picadilly rolling. We’ll do our best all season to field the curve balls and deliver our high quality, certified organic produce to you. We have high hopes for the harvest.

Jenny (for Bruce, Allegra and the crew)

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