Ready for a feast?

Great weather predicted for the Canton Shared Harvest distribution tomorrow! The boxes are packed, loaded onto the truck, ready to go. I imagine our farmers are sound asleep already, resting up for an early morning delivery.

We’ll have a lot of extra goodies to distribute to those of you who ordered them, including maple syrup from Warren Farm, mozzarella and burrata from Fiore Di Nonno, goat cheeses from Crystal Brook Farm, honey from Warm Colors Apiary, bulk black and kidney beans from Baer’s Best Beans, and bulk produce (garlic, sweet potatoes, cabbage and carrots) from Picadilly and Riverland Farms.

Here’s what you will find in your CSA shares tomorrow.

From Lover’s Brook Farm, Farmer Charley Baer
Light red kidney beans, 1 pound
Heirloom beans (Soldier, Money or Vermont Cranberry), 1 pound

From Riverland Farm, Farmers Rob Lynch and Meghan Arquin
Beets, 3 pounds
Cabbage, 1 head
Yellow Onions, 2 pounds
Garlic, 1/2# packed with onions
Parsnips, 2 pounds
Popcorn, 1 bunch
Sweet Potatoes, 4 pounds
Butternut Squash, 5 pounds

From Picadilly Farm, Farmers Jenny and Bruce Wooster
Carrots, 6 pounds
Turnips, 2 pounds
Winter radishes, 1.75 pounds (half misato, half black Spanish)
White potatoes, 5 pounds
Celeriac, 1 piece
Shallots, one pound


What to do with your Winter CSA?

Running out of ideas on what to do with all of those winter veggies? Then look no further. Join Personal Chef Sharon Shiner as she provides practical tips on how you can get the most out of your winter CSA.

The class will discuss the basics of roasting and stewing some of the more regular features of winter CSAs, as well as how best to use them in the winter classic, soups. Get ideas on herb pairings and other ingredients that will enhance the taste and flavor of your vegetables. Each participant is asked to bring one or two vegetables to work with during the class.

Sunday February 5th, 1:30- 3:30pm
$30, $27 Friends of the Farm
Location: Newton Community Farm

To register for this class please visit

Newton Community Farm is a 501(c) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to nurture a community that teaches and models sustainable agriculture and environmental practices on the historic Angino Farm.

What’s this?!

A few of the veggies in the share proved challenging to identify and “what’s this?” was a common question during the distribution.  The answer: “It’s probably either kohlrabi, winter radish or parsley root.” Photos of kohlrabi and black winter radish are below; more pics if you follow the links I’ve included.

Here’s what was in the CSA share distributed in Arlington on November 19: Apples (not in the photo), Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, collard greens, carrots, cabbage, escarole, fennel or parsley root, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, purple top turnips, potatoes, parsnips, rosemary*, salad mix, salad turnips, sweet potatoes and winter radish.

raw veggie snacks for the cook: carrots, salad turnips, kohlrabi and black radishes

What are you cooking with your share?

Today I’ll roast Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic, purple top turnips, sweet potatoes – all tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. In addition to these roasted roots, dinner at our house will include pork chops, collard greens, lettuce salad and apple pie. Tomorrow I will make soup for freezing – squash soup, sweet potato-leek-turnip soup and carrot soup. I’ve found that cooking and freezing part of my share works best for me. I am curious about how other people manage their share.

*Riverland Farmer Rob Lynch had a bit of a surprise a few days ago when he checked the herbs (sage) he’d planned for our share. It was gone. Not wanting you to be herb-less, Rob contacted a neighboring farm and bought in rosemary for the share. Hope you enjoy this special treat!

Report from Picadilly Farm: 5 inches of rain!

Jenny and Bruce Wooster, Picadilly farmers, sent this farm update. Picadilly Farm is one of the farms that makes up Shared Harvest multi-farm winter CSA.

Many of you have emailed and called, so I’ll give you a brief update from the farm, post-hurricane. Here, a few puddles and some soggy fields are the only remnants of the big storm. The rain gauge over the weekend read five inches precisely, certainly less rainfall than in places to the west of us, and a relatively manageable amount. We sustained no damage from winds or flooding. Our fields sit on high ground, well above the Connecticut River flood plain and about twenty feet above the streambed that surrounds the farm, so we’ve experienced none of the destructive flooding of surrounding farms and towns. Our canoe did come into play, though, as the Manning Hill dairy farmers used it to rescue some round bales of hay, before they floated away from their riverside field and down the Connecticut. Our animals weathered the storm just fine. All the moisture may bring lingering challenges, in regards to diseases in our summer crops, and loss of fertility in the fall “green” crops. In both cases, we’ll watch and see what happens, and act if possible/needed.
Of course, many farms in our region, especially to our west and south, have a different story to tell. Like the damage to roads and homes, the agricultural destruction appears to be widespread and heartbreaking – whole fields under water or even washed away.  We’ll all know more about the extent of the damage as time goes by, and what we or others can do about it.

My family walked through our farm during the early hours of the storm, in part to check out our new drainage system around the farmstead. You may recall, this June we spent weeks working with Natural Resources Conservation Service of USDA to construct a long-planned series of grassed waterways around the farm structures and parking area. The goal is to funnel rain water during big rain events off these areas and through the fields, down to our stream, without carrying our precious topsoil away with the flow. This weekend undoubtedly qualified as a big rain event… and it worked! We observed water flowing quickly just where it was supposed to go, leaving the farmstead area easily passable by Monday morning. I humbly swallow every bit of grumbling I muttered about that project in June.

Overall, a very positive storm report from the farm. We hope you all weathered the storm well, with no lasting damage.

Jenny & Bruce
Picadilly Farm

Report from Riverland: Appreciating the Little Things

The farms that make up Shared Harvest multi-farm winter CSA made it through Irene in one piece. Below is a farm report from Rob and Meghan at Riverland Farm in Sunderland, MA.

Dear Friends,
Well Irene came and went and so far the noticeable damage to the farm has been minimal.  We weathered the high winds and excessive rainfall though many of our tomato plants took it on the chin as the rain softened the ground and the wind pushed the trellis over.  We will still have tomatoes in the share for at least the next two weeks but the storm did shorten their lifespan.  The jury is still out on our potato crop a a lot of it is under water.  We were expecting a worse than normal potato year but now I’m not sure what to expect.  We will start digging next week and have more to report at that time.  Some of the cucurbit crops (winter squash, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini) sat in standing water which can cause rot… we don’t know for sure yet if any fruit was negatively affected.

The Connecticut is still expected to rise, threatening to flood the lower field entirely.  The bridge that you normally cross to u-pick is completely under water right now and the field is gated off by a moat (thankfully I haven’t yet noticed any ferocious creatures patrolling this moat).  From a distance it doesn’t seem as though many of the u-pick tomatoes blew over during the storm but it may be a few days until we can actually get down there to find out for sure.  U-pick in the lower field will likely be closed Tuesday but hopefully not beyond.  Keep your fingers crossed that the river doesn’t rise any higher and we may get out of this thing relatively unscathed!

Lately Meghan and I have been doing a little role switching (don’t worry nothing inappropriate!) where Meghan has spent some afternoons on the farm and I have spent that time with Cayden.  It has been a welcome and enlightening switch for both of us (I think??). I know I wrote about this in an earlier newsletter but it just struck me again as to how many parallels there are between raising a baby and raising a farm.

In both worlds… the work is never done.  Caring for and managing a farm well is physically and mentally exhaustive, it often involves a lack of sleep and more importantly putting the needs of it ahead of your needs. The needs of both a child and a farm are relentless and it is difficult to satisfy everyone of them all the time.  But along with the challenges of both come immense rewards.  During those moments that you are not feeling stretched thin you can truly appreciate the beauty in it all…a record melon year, a perfect onion, or an eggplant with a nose.  Above and beyond the rewards of the farm….having a baby has been the most rewarding experience of my life.  Feeling so much love for our boy, instantly, from the minute he was born was something that I imagine all new parents experience but I wasn’t ready for it (how could you be??) and I just didn’t realize how amazing that would feel.  It has and continues to blow me away each day when I see him do something new or we share a new experience.

For both Meghan and I this year has been a huge adjustment.  She misses being as involved in the farm and I miss having her in the field, in the share room, in the greenhouse, and doing all of the other behind the scenes work that she has done in the past.  Trying to juggle those pieces of the farm that she was once responsible for between me and the rest of the crew has been hard. The crew misses her also, as she is the fun boss and a much better sounding board for all the issues that happen in everyone’s lives.  We are still figuring out how to raise this baby and continue to raise this farm (who knows maybe once we raise this baby… he will raise this farm!!) and I’m sure we will be learning more every minute for the rest of our lives.  I knew that doing both of these things was going to be extremely challenging but I had no idea how rewarding they would be and while sometimes I’d like to trade more of one for more of the other… I wouldn’t trade either for the world.

On behalf of the crew that rocks the farm (Max, Olivia, Jason, and Sarah)…

Your Farmers
Rob and Meghan (and Cayden!!)

Come Be Part of Local Food, Local Farms and Local Economy!


CSA Fair Display, Arlington Robbins Library

Think it would be great to get a box of delicious fresh vegetables on a regular basis from farms and farmers you know and trust? Are you looking for ways to reduce your carbon food-print? Want to sign up for a farm share, but haven’t connected to a farm that delivers in your area yet?


Come to the second annual CSA Farm Share Fair in Arlington! Farmers will be on hand to tell you about Community Supported Agriculture how their CSAs work, what they are growing this year, and how you can sign-up for a farm share. The Fair will host over a dozen local CSAs.  Shared Harvest Winter CSA will be at the Fair. Rob Lynch (Riverland Farm) and Charley Baer (Baer’s Best Beans) will be at the Fair to answer your questions. Charley will be selling his wonderful heirloom beans. Picadilly farmer, Jenny Wooster and Busa farmer, Dennis Busa will be hand, selling their farm’s summer shares and chatting with fair-goers.

The Fair will be held in Arlington on Thursday, February 24, 4:30-7:30 pm at the Park Avenue Congregational Church, 50 Paul Revere Road.

Come meet your farmers on the 24th!

Ski to the Fair!?

Shared Harvest Winter CSA will be at the Cambridge CSA Farm Share Fair tomorrow – Thursday, February 3, from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. 2011 winter shares will be available, as will Baer’s Best Beans!

We’ve heard that the Fair will be the place to be tomorrow! So get grab your skis or strap on your snow shoes and head to the Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St in Cambridge and think SPRING!

Flaming-pink Watermelon Radishes and More!

Nice article in the Boston Globe about winter CSAs.

Green grows the bounty, even in winter
Shares of community supported agriculture bring fresh, local produce
By Aaron Kagan Globe Correspondent / January 26, 2011

For cooks used to supermarket produce, the rootsy offerings of a winter CSA — a community supported agriculture program in which customers buy their produce in advance — can expand one’s culinary horizons, especially when staring into a flaming-pink slice of watermelon radish.

These intensely colorful vegetables prove that the fair-weather dates of our growing season are not set in stone. In a winter CSA participants pay in the fall for vegetables they receive throughout the frigid months, thanks to simple technology such as greenhouses and climate-controlled storage space. Because cold temperatures concentrate the sweetness of vegetables such as spinach and carrots, winter CSA shares provide members with some of the most flavorful produce at a very welcome moment.

Read the rest of the story here.

Winter Greens!

I came home from the Carlisle Winter Farmer’s Market yesterday with lots of spinach from Dragonfly Farms in Pepperell. I’m pretty darned happy! Here’s what four pounds of spinach looks like:

January spinach, 4 pounds

January spinach, 4 pound

Isn’t it just beautiful???

I’ll blanch and freeze what I don’t eat this week. I recently found a sweet video of two veggie lovers in Missouri demonstrating how to blanch and freeze winter greens. Very useful information!

This year, Shared Harvest CSA has added four-pound quantities of spinach, chard and kale as “extras” to the share for those who sign up and order it by July 15. Picadilly and Riverland will be growing it. Great for shareholders who want to preserve leafy greens for January and beyond!