Recommended Summer Reading

Every week I read two farm newsletters, those of Waltham Fields Community Farm and Brookfield Farm. The essays written by farmers Amanda Cather (Waltham) and Dan Kaplan (Brookfield) are inspiring and educational. I also like to visit the Boston Localvore site to see what they’re up to.

With some trepidation, I read Veggie Notes, the UMass Extension weekly newsletter. It contains valuable information for farmers in Massachusetts. I’m always a bit on edge for a day or two after I read Veggie Notes. It’s not one of those ‘feel-good’, inspirational newsletters. It carries reports about the appearance and migration of various vegetable pests and diseases. The damage they do is documented in graphic photos. (Best to not eat breakfast while reading this newsletter!) Estimates are given about when the latest pestilence will arrive in eastern Massachusetts. Advice is given to conventional farmers about which fungicide or pesticide to apply. With alarming frequency they tell us, organic growers have few options. Ha! They didn’t read Dan Kaplan’s latest newsletter in which he asks shareholders to pray for lots of sun, heat and no rain for a few days. In Amanda’s newsletter #8, she writes about cabbage root maggot and offers a nice example of another kind of option that organic growers have – understanding and working with nature.

Waltham Fields newsletters,

Brookfield Farm newsletters,

Boston Localvores blog,

Veggie Notes,