January Share Pickup, Fresh Spinach!, Menu for the Month

Spinach harvest at Riverland last week (happening in a similar fashion today for tomorrow’s share box). The metal hoops supported the row cover which kept the spinach protected through the deep freezes.

We’re in the green for our share tomorrow!  With the relatively mild winter and moderate snow, Riverland’s winter greens have been happy under their winter cover and are accessible to harvest right from the field today.  In case we get a February dump of snow like we did last year  when the harvest became impossible*, Rob and Meighan at Riverland are opting to keep the bird in the hand and harvest both kale and spinach, instead of saving one for next month.   So, expect extra greens this time and perhaps put some up (freezing, soups, drying into kale chips) for next month, when we may just have cabbage.

See below for the share contents and also check out Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu for January, customized for our share contents this Saturday, to help you plan out the 3 weeks till the next share!

*For the curious: How do our farms grow greens in the winter?  The greens you’ll get in your share box tomorrow were transplanted into the field in late August or early September, and grew to their current size in about a month and a half.  When the days get really short and the sun is closer to the horizon, the growing essentially stops.  Then it’s just a matter of protecting the crop somewhat from the deep freeze–this is accomplished with either laying a row cover over short metal hoops (“low tunnels”) right in the field, or planting into a well-ventilated unheated green house (“high tunnels”) and letting it stay there in the ground to keep fresh until it’s cut.  At harvest, the greens must not be in a frozen state or they will be mush.  So, the cover and bit of sun shining on it, ideally keep the greens in an unfrozen state as the covers get pulled back or the farmers go into the high tunnel for the afternoon harvest.  If the tunnels are completely buried in snow and no sun can get through (like last February) or the weather is super cold, then the greens will be frozen and harvest must wait till another day.  Many gardeners know that a good covering of snow over spinach or kale will keep the plant alive, yet dormant, till the spring.  If you are hoping to harvest mid-winter, however, then you’d need the cover and a bit of sun.

Enjoy the share!

Share contents for Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016:

Use or process these within a week (keeps longer if fridge is cold, near 32 degrees):
Spinach, 1# bag, can be blanched and frozen for later use.  Kale, big bag (harvest will determine actual amount), can be made into soups, marinated salads, or dry kale chips all of which will keep longer.

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation, not tightly sealed):
Carrots – 6#,
Potatoes, white – 6#,
Beets – 3#,
Kohlrabi, 1—peel and slice or grate as an excellent salad or stirfry ingredient
Cabbage, 1 green—if you are making sauerkraut or kimchi, do that asap
Celeriac–mildly celery flavored root great for mashing with potatoes, roasting, or for soups and stews.  Peel and cut up.
Parsnips —
excellent for stews and soups, nicely pairs with curry flavors and ginger, also see Jackie Starr’s idea for parsnip muffins!  For the larger ones, you may want to remove the woody core and use that for making stocks (or just compost)

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:
Onions, yellow 2# (from Harlow Farms) Garlic ½ #(can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator)
Butternut Squash, 1 or 2–can store in your kitchen for a few weeks, cooler temps with ventilation for longer (not in a plastic bag), store in single layers/separate, not in pile.  Any with blemishes should be used right away or peel, chop and freeze.

These will keep for many months in room temperature, dry conditions (keep the dirt on and in a breathable paper bag or box:  Sweet Potatoes, 4#, Dried Herbs (rosemary and thyme)

These will keep for a year or more in dry conditions (closed jar), not too warm:
Dried beans 2# –your choice of black turtle, yellow eye, and Jacob’s Cattle          Tomato Puree, 1 jar–canned in jars, organic summer tomatoes from Riverland.  These are shelf stable so store on your pantry shelf–yum!

Posted in farming, organic, Riverland Farm, What's in the share?, Winter CSA | Leave a comment

December: It’s frosty out and we’ve got fresh locally grown!

The ground has already frozen many times in the Pioneer Valley where Picadilly Farm and Riverland Farm are.  Most if not all roots have already been pulled.  Kale and other hardy winter greens are still in the fields, though, and can be harvested just as long as the afternoon is above freezing temps.  And they just get sweeter the frostier it is.

Here are some tips on how to enjoy and store this winter veggie bounty.

Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu Suggestions for our December Share:  Shareholder Jackie Starr has pulled together 3 weeks worth of dinner recipes customized to our share contents list.  She welcomes us this way into her kitchen to see the possibilities she sees…very cool and helpful!

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing): 

Shares contained two of the following 3 leafy greens plus a bunch of green curly kale:

Siberian Kale, Lettuce, Young Arugula

Curly Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!

Store these in their holey bags in the refrigerator or Cool Cellar, high humidity
Beets, carrots, cabbage, celeriac, parsnips, rutabaga, winter radishes.

Potatoes do best in 80-90% humidity.  Ideally bring potatoes back to near room temperature in the week before you eat them (just transfer to your kitchen) to make them “Potato-ey” again, i.e. more starchy and less sweet.

Tips for all roots:  To maintain high humidity store in plastic bags with some holes for some airflow.  Carrots and other roots can do quite well also at 33-50 degrees buried in moist leaves or sand (you’ll need to periodically re-moisten the leaves or sand with a watering can.) If your roots become soft, it is likely they have become dehydrated and just need more moisture.  If they are rotten (discolored and with squishy brown-ness), it is likely they are too warm.  Cut off the rot and put the remaining (which would be just fine) in a cooler place.

Kitchen, pantry, basement, or cooler room 55-70 degrees, 70% humidity
Beans (dried), butternut squash, sweet potatoes will store for months at medium room temperature and humidity. If squash has any blemishes, use those first.  You can peel, chop, and freeze squash for later use.

Onions and garlic will store for weeks in the kitchen, but long term storage should be colder and lower humidity.  Can store garlic in closed jars in the refrigerator.

 

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

November 2015 share–a rainbow of color for our holiday meals

New England is turning more grey and brown, typical of November.  Our rainbow palette of fresh food will surely brighten the day, though.  Giving thanks to the hard work of all the farms this year–it’s been an amazing harvest!

The hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables.  If you’ve never had popcorn from the farm, please check out the tips at the end of this post and Enjoy!

 

 

See also Jackie Starr’s Fabulous menu suggestions customized to this Saturday’s share contents.

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing):

Brussels Sprouts, 2 stalks, from Riverland (pop off stalks and roast, steam, braise, or blanch for the freezer), from Riverland
Lettuce-1 head, from Picadilly
Bok Choy—1 bunch, from Riverland
Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!

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

 

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation):

Apples–storage variety, 5#, from Cider Hill.  Most sources recommend storing apples separately from other cold storage items as they have a ripening agent which may hasten other items past their prime.
Carrots – 5#, from Picadilly
Cabbage (red or green), from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap

Celeriac (celery root) from Picadilly–this groovy (okay, gnarly-looking) root in your box is full of flavor.  Peel and grate into salads or steam or roast to add to root mashes or soups. Will store for a long time, even if you use just half at first and store the rest in your fridge drawer.

Red radishes

Potatoes – 5.5#, white from Picadilly

Gilfeather Turnips, from Picadilly, delicious mashed like potatoes or french fried, these are milder and sweeter than turnips, are more like a rutebaga but with white flesh.  Listed as an heirloom by Slow Food.  Try them out–there are some champions–have fun playing “guess the weight” with the kids.  There is a whole festival celebrating Gilfeather Turnips in Vermont!

 

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 Harlow Farm in VT

 

These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:

Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Picadilly

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

Popcorn Cellar, cool, damp, or room temperature if using within a couple of months
Once a week, shell a few kernels and try popping them. When the test kernels are popping well and tasting good, shell and store the rest of the kernels in sealed, airtight containers. If stored popcorn fails to pop, it may be too dry. Add 1 tablespoon of water to a quart of popcorn. Cover and shake at frequent intervals until the popcorn has absorbed the water. After 3 or 4 days, test pop a few kernels to see if it is ready. A number of winter shareholders have had good luck putting the cob of popcorn directly into a microwave.

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

October Splendour

Our share this month is as colorful as this spectacular autumn!

Be sure to check out Shared Harvest member Jackie Starr’s Menu plan custom made for this month’s share contents.  With links to recipes for each item, she plots out a nice flow for using the most perishable items first and making and using a pot of stew or roasted veggie dish creatively in several different meals over the weeks.  It is a really delicious looking menu, conscientiously made to inspire and be practical.  She’s a working mom of 2 kids (at least), so she knows about busy, picky eaters and the helpfulness of a well-thought out week’s menu!

Here are some storage and use hints for this months share contents.  There is also much more info under the Storage tips and Recipes Menu

Beets Refrigerator or cold cellar in plastic bag with holes
Carrots Refrigerator or cold cellar, in plastic bag or buried in leaves.  Keep dark.
Store in a plastic bag in the back of the refrigerator. Carrots will keep for months this way. After being stored a long time there may be a white root substance on the carrot. Not to worry. Just peal it off. As long as the carrots are bright orange underneath they will taste wonderful. Organic carrots actually gain sweetness when stored.

Carrots and other roots can do quite well also at 33-50 degrees buried in moist leaves or sand (you’ll need to periodically re-moisten the leaves or sand with a watering can.)

Cabbage Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Fermented
Store cabbage in a plastic bag. When you take it out some of the outside leaves may look mildewed but not to worry. Simply strip off the outside leaves and the inside is as good as new. Cabbage will keep this way in the back of the fridge often for three months.

leafy greensCollard Greens, Kale, other leafy greens, Cauliflower Refrigerator, Freezer, Dehydrated, or Fermented.
These are not long keepers. Best to eat them within two weeks of the delivery. Immerse in cold water, wrap in a cloth dish towel, and place in your fridge. Or remove stems and slice or tear and blanch and freeze.  Or, ferment as per directions at the fermentation… link under storage tips menu.

Winter  squash other than Delicata moderate indoor temps, dry pantry Keep in single layers in a cardboard or seedling tray in your kitchen, pantry, or moderately cool basement area. Inspect regularly for blemished pieces and use those first.  If you have a lot that needs using right away, consider peeling, seeding, steaming and pureeing or cut in chunks for the freezer for later use.  Butternut is among the best for long term storage and makes excellent soups and purees to freeze for soups or pies later.

Garlic Cellar, cool and damp
Store in paper bags or open box. Likes to be stored at temps between 33 and 40 degrees.  A closed jar in the refrigerator can work as well.

Leeks Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Freezer
Remove any yellowing leaves, store in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in fridge. Or chop to desired cooking size and freeze.

Onions Cellar, cool and damp
Store in paper bags or open box.  The length of time that onions will store is highly dependent on the variety – the onions in the multi-farm winter share are storage onions and should last several months, especially if stored in a dark, cool area. Onions like to be stored at temps between 33 and 40 degrees. When onions start to sprout they gradually become unusable. If you see an onion sprouting use it as soon as possible. If onions become soft they are rotten and should be removed from storage.

Potatoes Cellar, cool, damp corner
Potatoes will usually store 2-3 months. Potatoes like to be stored at 45 degrees with high humidity. If possible store on flat trays. The benefit is the avoidance of the “bad apple” syndrome, and one can inspect all the potatoes as you use them up permitting you to take ones that are beginning to sprout. A soft potato usually means that it is rotten, but cut it up to make sure.  Plastic bags are not recommended for storing potatoes.

 

Sweet potatoes Moderate indoor temperature Unheated Entrance, Attic Space or Unheated Spare Room in paper bag or tray
“Sweeties” store best on trays or in paper bags at temps between 55 and 65 and relative humidity around 60-70%. They can do well in these conditions for many months. Plastic bags are not recommended for storing sweeties.

Turnips, Rutabaga Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Fermented

Cut off tops and use greens right away (or see greens section above)
Store like carrots, or grate and ferment like cabbage (sauerkraut).

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

Get Fermented!

Looking forward to the Boston Fermentation Festival this Sunday, October 4, 10am – 4pm at the new Boston Public Market.  Fermented foods including kim-chee, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, pickles, are among the most delicious and healthy foods you can eat, and easy to make at home.  In case you haven’t already caught the fermentation bug, check out our fermentation for taste, nutrition, preservation page here on the Shared Harvest website, or, attend the FREE festival this weekend for sampling, workshops, and the help desk.  You can also get locally crafted crocks. (I just use jars, but the crocks are nice for bigger batches.)

Since it preserves and enhances the food while keeping it uncooked, fermentation is one of the keys to eating fresh, local, nutrient rich veggies all through the winter here in New England.

Carrots, Riverland Farm

Carrots, Riverland Farm

And, for the most successful fermented foods, it is best to use the freshest possible and organic from a biologically rich farm. That way your needed microbes are already, happily, living right there on the veggies you are about to ferment!

 community potluck

Kim Chi making workshop at a Shared Harvest/Picadilly community potluck

Through Shared Harvest, you can order–direct from the organic farms here that grew them–a bushel or two of the freshest organic veggies, including cabbage, garlic, carrots, beets, radishes, kale…  Each month, you’ll get an email with the list of available bulk vegetables to order in time for the pickup day at your location.   Rule of thumb is that about 2 pounds of vegetables, when salted and pressed, fit into a quart jar.  So, a 20 pound box of cabbage (in the neighborhood of $18/box) plus a little sea salt, yields 10 quart jars of sauerkraut.  Voila! For less than an hour’s time of chopping and stuffing jars (simple, low-tech, no heat!), and a bit of time tasting the product over the next couple of weeks (yum!), you have plenty of kraut for a couple of months, plus unique gifts to give (and brag about)!

So, go for it!  Sign up for Shared Harvest, attend the Fest, get some jars (and friends to join in the chopping?) and you’ll be ready to get fermenting this fall!

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

Last Deep Winter (February 7) Share Box

Brrr….It’s a crazy windy day out there.  The upside might be that some of the snow from this past week will be blown off of the low tunnels at Riverland so that there aren’t mountains to dig into come harvest day this week. Remember these photos from last month’s share blog?  Well just imagine what the tunnels look like after last week’s storm! Riverland low tunnel spinach Jan 2015 Riverland low tunnels Jan 2015

Anyways…this weather makes me happy to stand at the warm stove and cook.  I just got Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu Suggestions for our share this upcoming week.  Check it out!  There’s even a sweet potato felafel in there and lots of other inspiring ways to enjoy the winter veggies.

Here are the shared contents (and storage/use advice) for this upcoming Saturday, barring any major weather-related difficulties.

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing) and store cold and moist in your refrigerator:
Spinach, about 1 1/4 pound , from Riverland

These will keep for many weeks in COLD, MOIST storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Beets, 2.5 lbs. from Picadilly

Carrots – 5 lbs., from Picadilly
Cabbage (red)from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap, cabbage will store for a while whole, just peel off outer leaves that may have dried a bit or turned brownish/blackish–the rest of the cabbage will still be quite good.

Potatoes – 4 lbs., from Picadilly

Parsnips 2 lbs. from Picadilly (more recipes here)

Optional surplus Rutebagas, Gilfeather Turnips, and possibly Celeriac from Picadilly (Please take what you’d like from the bulk bin at the distribution, these will not be in the share…check out the Recipes in the Storage Tips and Recipes drop down menu.  All of these are fabulous roasted, mashed or even grated into a salad.)

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 lb. (can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2 lbs., from Harlow Farm in VT

These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:                

Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Riverland

Dried Thyme-bouquet, from Picadilly–great for adding to those hearty winter stews and soups!

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 4 lbs., from Riverland and Picadilly–for a quick and easy snack anytime, make sweet potato fries in the oven (with a little chili powder and cumin!) or sweet potato ice cream!

Dried Beans, (choice of black turtle, light red kidney, cannelini, or sulfur yellow), hand sorted from Baer’s Best Beans will keep for the next year in dry storage, cold or warm.  As they are fresher now, they typically take less time to cook and need minimal soaking.

Tomato Puree (1 jar), Riverland’s summer tomatoes, pureed and canned by local processor, shelf-stable, no salt added.

Posted in farming, organic, recipes, Riverland Farm, What's in the share?, Winter CSA | Tagged | 2 Comments

Deep Winter Share–fresh picked spinach!

Riverland low tunnels Jan 2015

Here is Meghan inside the low tunnel–how did you think you get the spinach out from a snowy tunnel on a freezing cold day?

Riverland low tunnel spinach Jan 2015

Here’s how farmers in New England harvest spinach fresh from the field in the middle of winter!  Looking forward to the spinach in the share tomorrow, just harvested at Riverland this week.

 

 

 

 

See also Jackie Starr’s Fabulous menu suggestions customized for our January share (click on this link to see it.)

(Hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables.)

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing) and store cold and moist in your refrigerator:
Spinach, about 1 pound , from Riverland

These will keep for many weeks in COLD, MOIST storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Beets, 2.5 lbs. from Picadilly

Carrots – 5 lbs., from Picadilly
Cabbage (red)from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap, cabbage will store for a while whole, just peel off outer leaves that may have dried a bit or turned brownish/blackish–the rest of the cabbage will still be quite good.

Celeriac, 2 pieces, from Picadilly (aka Celery root–nice mashed with potatoes and other roots; more recipes here)

Kohlrabi-1 piece, from Riverland

Potatoes – 5 lbs., from Picadilly

Parsnips 2 lbs. from Picadilly (more recipes here)

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 lb. (can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2 lbs., from Harlow Farm in VT

These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:                

Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Riverland

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 3 lbs., from Riverland

Dried Beans, (choice of black turtle, light red kidney, cannelini, or sulfur yellow), hand sorted from Baer’s Best Beans will keep for the next year in dry storage, cold or warm.  As they are fresher now, they typically take less time to cook and need minimal soaking.

Tomato Puree (1 jar), Riverland’s summer tomatoes, pureed and canned by local processor, shelf-stable, no salt added.

Posted in recipes, Riverland Farm, What's in the share? | Leave a comment

December share box

Here are the share contents for December pickups (Arlington and Canton/South Shore/JP).  The hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables.

See also Jackie Starr’s Fabulous menu suggestions customized for our December share contents

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing) and store cold and moist in your refrigerator:
Kale—2 bunches, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips

These will keep for a few weeks in your fridge crisper drawer:
Leeks—from Picadilly, keep whole or chop for soup and freeze (no need to blanch)

These will keep for many weeks in COLD, MOIST storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Beets, 3 lbs. from Picadilly

Carrots – 5 lbs., from Picadilly
Cabbage (red or green)from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap

Celeriac, 2 pieces, from Picadilly (aka Celery root–nice mashed with potatoes and other roots; more recipes here)

Potatoes – 5 lbs., from Picadilly

Parsnips 3 lbs. from Picadilly (more recipes here)

Rutebagas

Winter radishes, 1.5 lbs., from Riverland

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 lb. (can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2 lbs., from Harlow Farm in VT

These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:                

Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Riverland

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

Dried Beans, (1 lb. light red kidney and 1 lb. black turtle), hand sorted from Baer’s Best Beans will keep for the next year in dry storage, cold or warm.  As they are fresher now, they typically take less time to cook and need minimal soaking.

 

 

 

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

From the Farms…Reflections and Giving Thanks

Photo: 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.

Picadilly Farm Bounty!

From Bruce at Picadilly Farm:
The season’s end crept up on us. Jenny, the crew, and I have been busy harvesting roots and tucking them into every empty corner of the barn, with hardly a pause….Looking back, looking ahead, and pausing for a moment right here, we’re grateful once again.Thanks to each and every one of you who joined us this year… Thanks for paying in advance, and thanks for telling us to grow organic, to treat the soil and each other well, and to infuse the harvest with this vital interest.

Fortunately, the harvests this year have been magnificent. We did have a relatively late-in-coming spring, and a too wet July, with fine-bordering-on-excellent growing weather overall. And, a better farm crew, we simply cannot imagine. Allegra and Harold managed the farm when Jenny and I could not, and the rest of our group has been consistently energetic and good humored. Together, we pulled it off.

Winter’s coming will give your farmers another chance to reflect inward, to settle down as the dust settles, and then tune up for 2015. I’ll be tuning up my nearly-recovered spine, that’s for certain!

These days, whenever I stop to to think about our farm life, gratitude just bubbles right up to the surface. I realize that who we become by the farming is just as central to the work as what we produce. I’m becoming more humble, more appreciative, and more awake to the wonders in our midst. Chalk it up to enlightenment, the narcotic haze I weathered from a cracked back in July, or both. In any case, this small plot of organic land out here in the Connecticut River Valley means a lot to a pretty fine group of us.

So enjoy the off-season, stay in touch, keep your compass true, and enjoy the harvest!

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

Here is a note from the farmers and chicken-whisperers at Wingate Farm:

Dear Egg Shareholders and Customers,

Olivia_Suzie_009.JPG

Suzie and the ladies at Win-gate Farm


What a wonderful growing season it has been here at Wingate Farm! As the leaves change color and scatter across the pastures, we and our lovely laying hens slowly start to wind down. We have learned and accomplished a whole lot this year at Wingate, our second year of producing on the farm where I grew up. We are so very grateful for your support this season as we provide delicious, nutritious,  pasture-raised eggs to more families than ever before! You are the reason we feel that our job is so important, and you are the reason we are able to raise healthy, happy animals. Thank you. We would love to hear your feedback from any of you, and we are looking forward to the 2015 season!

Olivia Pettengil (and Susie Parke-Sutherland)

From Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm
This year as always we had our ups and downs.  We had crops that did wonderful and some that went down in flames.  We tried as best we could to stick to our best laid plans.  Most times we were successful in that and other times we were not.  We put another year in the memory bank along with all the lessons we learned and ideas that we generated.

crew at Riverland Farm

       Part of what keeps us doing this is the seemingly endless number of learning opportunities there are for us each year.  With the diversity of crops that we grow we are always learning a thing or two about one crop or several.  We rotate our crops to different fields each year and many of our fields have different soil types so we get to learn which crops grow well in which soil conditions in a given year. This bit of information alone always helps us as we plan for the future.  No two years are the same which can be nerve racking and frustrating but it also keeps things exciting and keeps us on our toes.
       In addition to the crops there are several other moving parts that we are dealing with on the farm whether it’s equipment, infrastructure, improvements, repairs, vehicles, etc.  We are always looking to improve the way that we do things here and looking for ways to make the operation run smoother.. the way I see it that’s our job.  In the end what we hope is that all this scheming, learning, failure, success, change leads to an improvement in your experience at the farm every year.  We strive to be the best that we can be and there are so many people that have a hand in making this farm what it is.
       Without further ado I’d like to thank several people from employees to community members and beyond for their contribution to this farm.  First and foremost I’d like to thank the farm crew for putting in the hours of grueling work that they have this year.  For cutting each leaf of salad that you’ve eaten this year, for planting each bed, for delivering in all weather conditions the makings of a meal for us all.  There were several employees we had over the course of the season… some are here still and some have moved on.  So here’s to Kelly, Sydney, Max, Mike, Pete, Juan, Rosalinda, Gildardo, Filimon, Rojelia, Ayda, Caity, Jena, Sara, and Gregg for keeping things on the ground rolling.  There are two wonderful people to thank for helping keep Meghan and me on the farm while our kids are well cared for.. thanks to Sophie and Ines for keeping Cayden and Charlie happy and healthy.
        There are many other people we’d like to thank individually.  Those that provided services, help, or land to the farm, these people helped enrich all of our farm experiences with work they did behind the scenes.  These people were and will continue to be a big part of what makes the farm successful.  Firstly we’d like to thank our parents for coming to help us out with Cayden and Charlie whenever they can.  Abbe Vredenburg our bookkeeper for keeping our numbers straight, Lynne Rudie who has kept our marketing materials looking sharp all these years, Tim Trelease and the awesome group of volunteers from Deerfield Academy… who have helped out in a big way with our garlic over the years.  Lydia Irons and Hannah Fuller-Boswell for keeping our muscles relaxed, Julie Pottier Brown and The Farm Direct Coop, Jenny and Bruce Wooster, Jane Hammer, and UMASS extension.  Those who helped us out with our delivered share on the South Shore.. Thank you Jamie Morey, David Bigley, the staff at The Derby Street Shoppes, and my parents.  Those who’s land we farm thank you for trusting us with our most precious resource Melanie Gaier and Tony Reiber, Kim Dacyczyn, David and Angela Graves, Carolyn and Jason Russell, Stanley and Norma Kozlakowski, and Chip Williams.

           Last but most to all of our shareholders.  You made the commitment to stick with us through thick and thin.  You put your trust in our ability to provide you with something that is worth your investment.  We thank you for all of your support each season.
We are on track for a great winter share this year.  Almost all of our storage crops have now been harvested though we still have some carrots left to get.  The high tunnel is full of spinach and we have lots of spinach in low tunnels out in the field.  We are happy that you are joining us to continue eating great Riverland Farm food all winter!
Enjoy the harvest!
On behalf of the farm crew…
Your Farmers,
Rob, Meghan, Cayden and baby Charlie!

Cayden and Charlie at Riverland

Posted in farming | Leave a comment

Share Box for November pickup

Here are the share contents for mid-November pickups (Arlington and Canton/South Shore/JP).  The hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables. 

See also Jackie Starr’s Fabulous menu suggestions customized to this Saturday’s share contents.

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing):

Brussels Sprouts, 2 stalks, from Riverland (pop off stalks and roast, steam, braise, or blanch for the freezer), from Riverland
Lettuce-1 head, from Picadilly
Bok Choy—1 bunch, from Riverland
Salad Mix– a 3/4 pound bag, from Riverland
Kale—2 bunches, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!

 

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

 

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Apples–storage variety, 5#, from Cider Hill.  Most sources recommend storing apples separately from other cold storage items as they have a ripening agent which may hasten other items past their prime.
Carrots – 5#, from Picadilly
Cabbage (red or green), from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap

Potatoes – 5#, gold from Picadilly

Gilfeather Turnips, from Picadilly, delicious mashed like potatoes or french fried, these are milder and sweeter than turnips, are more like a rutebaga but with white flesh.  Listed as an heirloom by Slow Food.  Try them out–there are some champions–have fun playing “guess the weight” with the kids.  There is a whole festival celebrating Gilfeather Turnips in Vermont!

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 Harlow Farm in VT

 

These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:

Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Picadilly

 

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

Popcorn Cellar, cool, damp, or room temperature if using within a couple of months
Once a week, shell a few kernels and try popping them. When the test kernels are popping well and tasting good, shell and store the rest of the kernels in sealed, airtight containers. If stored popcorn fails to pop, it may be too dry. Add 1 tablespoon of water to a quart of popcorn. Cover and shake at frequent intervals until the popcorn has absorbed the water. After 3 or 4 days, test pop a few kernels to see if it is ready. A number of winter shareholders have had good luck putting the cob of popcorn directly into a microwave.

 

 

Posted in farming | Leave a comment