Summer Shares starting first of June! May 31 early bird signup for winter shares

May has shown us a blast of summer and bit more winter, but the soil is warming and our farms are rolling along, with plants going in the field since mid-April–
“About four acres of crops are in the ground, including: just germinating spinach, carrot, beet, and radish seeds; greenhouse transplants of lettuce, scallions, kale, radicchio, peas, and kohlrabi; and somewhere around 75,000 potato seed pieces tucked in this week.”, says Picadilly Farmer Jenny Wooster.  Thousands more being tended in their cozy greenhouses.  And things are going well enough that both Picadilly and Riverland Farms anticipate share deliveries to start the very first week of June! So, here’s your chance to reserve your full season’s share of the freshest, high quality, organic food delivered to your neighborhood all summer and well into the fall.  Both farms have a few more shares to sell to hit their targets, so please spread the word!

Summer Farm Shares at our member farms:

Picadilly Farm Eastern Mass. Organic Shares (to many locations from N. Reading to Newton, Cambridge out to Bedford) . Before you know it, we will get the word that it’s time to pick your own strawberries at the farm! (All shareholders can come and pick.)

Riverland early carrots in the high tunnel

June’s carrots growing in Riverland’s high tunnel

Riverland Farm South Shore Organic Shares (to Hingham, Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield)

 

 

 

 

 

To help you help the farms during this, their season of financial squeeze (buying supplies, making sure equipment is in full working order, paying full-time crew now), we are extending the Early Bird discount for winter share signups until May 31.  That’s 10% off the winter share price for whatever months you choose.  And you get the discount even if you just put down the first installment (and pay the rest by Sept. 1).

Thanks everyone!

 

 

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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!

CSA Farm Share Fair in Arlington

I’m helping to organize a CSA Farm Share Fair in Arlington. It will be a nice opportunity to meet the farmers who grow your food. Our three-person team of volunteers (one of whom is headed to Africa for a month!) needs help spreading the word about the Fair. If you’re willing to put flyers around town, forward e-mail announcements about the Fair to friends, or if know how to set up and use Facebook or Twitter to spread the word, we would love to have you help us!

Last year’s Fair was terrific, in spite of gale force winds and pounding rain. I’m sure this year’s will be even better! I think Rob and/or Meghan from Riverland will be at the Fair on behalf of Shared Harvest.

Rob & Meghan at Riverland Farm

Rob & Meghan at Riverland Farm

I heard a rumor that Jenny and baby Jesse will be attending also.
Jenny and Jesse Wooster, leading 2010 Farmer Training Tour at Picadilly Farm

Jenny and Jesse Wooster, leading 2010 Farmer Training Tour at Picadilly Farm

December 11 share

Saturday was the last distribution of Shared Harvest CSA’s three month winter share.

Shared Harvest CSA Share, Dec 11, 2010

Shared Harvest CSA Share, Dec 11, 2010

Everything in the photo, except the cookbooks and brewing hard cider, was in the share. Here are the details.

Picadilly Farm
Parsnips, 2 pounds
Butternut, 7 pounds (2-3 pieces) and ‘bonus’ squash – acorn in this share.
White potatoes, 6 pounds. One pound of these potatoes was packed with the celeriac.
Celeriac, 2-2.5 pounds (it is small! the drought this summer really took a toll on the celeriac!) Here’s a picture of celeriac, along with a nice recipe for it.
Beets, 3 pounds

Riverland Farm
Carrots, 6 pounds
Green cabbage, 1 head
Leeks, 1 bunch
Onions, 2 pounds
Popcorn, 1 bouquet. Tips from Rob Lynch, Riverland Farm, on how to pop popcorn.
Turnips, 2 pounds
Sweet Potato, 4 pounds

Watermelon Radishes & Purple Top Turnips

Winter radishes, 1 pound. The radishes in the share were watermelon radishes. I think there might have been a few black Spanish winter radishes in some of the shares. The links have photos of the radishes as well as recipes.

Moraine Farm
Baer’s Best Beans,
one pound.

Busa Farm/Brookwood Farm
Lettuce, three heads OR two bags of kale & carrots. Dennis Busa grew lettuce in his greenhouse. We’d hoped to be able to harvest kale, but the temps didn’t get above freezing on Friday, and veggies harvested frozen have zero shelf life. The last twenty Lexington shareholders got the kale & carrots from Brookwood Farm, as did all shareholders who picked up in Canton. The extremely cold temps in Canton last week did in some of the December greens, so the Brookwood crew substituted with carrots they dug on Friday.