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).

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!

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.

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.

 

 

 

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

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.

 

 

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.

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,

IMG_5398-1024x682

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.

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

 

 

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!