Hello Everyone! Happy Summer!
We were welcomed into the season with a clap of thunder and a downpour of much needed rain. We'll take it! The last big planting of the season is going in today (Winter Squash at Upswing Farm) and then we will settle into the routine of harvest, weed, and continue with smaller succession plantings to keep a continuous supply of fresh produce coming your way!
This hot, then wet weather has all of our vegetables growing like crazy. The weeds are growing too! This will be a short email, letting you know what is in the share, and a few recipes, then it’s back to the fields for your farmers!
We were all of us (Chris, Christy and Brittany) able to take 2 days off this weekend – the first in a while. A part of our experiment with “Super Farm” is to try and improve our productivity, increase the health of our soil and create more time for our families and ourselves. A farm cannot be sustainable if its farmers need to sacrifice their well being to keep it running. There is a strong stereotype that farmers should always be working (probably because they usually are). We are trying our best to work smarter, invest in tools and create systems that will make us more efficient, so we can have a successful farm without burning ourselves out.
One of the tools we invested in was a greens harvester. Invented by a teenage boy who lives and works on a farm in Kentucky, this tool is powered by a regular drill, and increases our rate of harvest for greens about 10 fold. We are still working out the kinks, but have been incredibly happy with it so far. It is not a cheap tool, at $559, but we pay our crew at least $12/hour. It would take one person about 1 hour to cut 30 pounds of greens with a knife, while the greens harvester can cut the same amount in about 7 minutes. Over the course of the season we harvest thousands of pounds of greens mixes, and the harvest hours really add up.
Check out this YouTube video from the website: Greens Harvester
Special Notes This Week: Eat your lettuce mix first, your head lettuce will last longer. The best way to store vegetables is in a plastic bag at the bottom of your fridge, preferably in the crisper drawers. Take off twist ties and shake or pat dry with a towel for extended storage.
Week 2 Share
Radishes – 19 delicious radish recipes.
Sweet Turnips – Great sliced fresh in a salad, these sweet spring turnips are also great sautéed, roasted and even grilled! Check out this 101 recipe for Sweet Turnips.
Bok Choy – Bok Choy and Salmon Recipe. Don’t forget to stop by Jordan Brother’s Seafood truck for some fresh fish to go with your vegetables!
Kohlrabi – We’re going to rely on good ol’ Martha Stewart for a Kohlrabi 101 lesson. What to do with Kohlrabi. At the bottom of the page there are a few recipes. Yesterday the crew here at the farm just ate it peeled and sliced with nothing else! It’s tender and sweet.
Swiss Chard – Check out these 21 Recipes for Spring Greens from the Huffington Post. There is one for swiss chard fritters and Broccoli, Swiss Chard, Bean Soup. I love my chard sautéed in oil with garlic and salt.
Spinach – Want to get fancy with your spinach this week? You could even combine your spinach and swiss chard to make these awesome Spinach and Cheese Triangles.
Romaine Lettuce – Caesar Salad. Sandwiches and burgers, this is some delicious stuff! Make sure to rinse well.
Bergman’s Green Lettuce – Salad!
Lettuce Mix – Salad!
Dill – Herbs are one of the greatest joys of a vegetable farm. Fresh, fragrant and fun, they can liven up any meal. Farmer Brittany made a quick dill dip with last night with 1 cup Greek yogurt, 2 TBSP sour cream, ½ bunch of dill, salt, pepper, finely chopped green garlic, and a tiny bit of hot sauce. Or you can peruse this LONG list of dill recipes: Dill Recipes
Broccoli – 10 Family Friendly Broccoli Recipes
Don't forget that the farm stand is open! There will be lots of great products to supplement your share, like locally roasted coffee, honey, maple syrup, fresh fish and if you need them, some extra vegetables!!
Nothing like a solid week of rain to make you truly rejoice when the sun finally comes out! No moderation for us New Englanders - straight from cold, wet rain and mist to bright, cloudless sunburn weather!
The plants are rejoicing, too!! The seedlings and seeds we planted in our fields in early April are beginning to come to fruition! (or whatever word you would use for harvestable greens, roots, and stems)
The first two weekends of the farmstand we had lettuce mix, spring mix (aka tender, baby mustard greens - arugula's cousins), arugula, baby spinach, baby bok choy, baby kale, and radishes. Those were all coming out of our high tunnels (that's what we call the unheated greenhouses in which we grow in the ground). Brittany is a master of precision and care when direct seeding and the time she puts into calibrating the seeders for different seeds and recording her work truly pays off with beautiful stands of cutting greens and perfectly formed radishes or baby bok choy (without thinning)!
Now we are transitioning our high tunnels into early fruiting crops - cucumbers and tomatoes. Now there are some veggies everyone can relate to!! So the early crops are out of the tunnels and cuke and tomato seedlings are already growing in their places! That means what you are going to see this weekend was grown in our fields, under the cover of Remay. What is Remay? Remay is a name-brand for a spun fabric that allows water and light to go through, but excludes insects and holds field heat in during the cold nights of early spring. This fabric can provide several degrees of frost protection, more or less depending on its thickness.
Because New England weather is so erratic and unpredictable, perhaps even more so as the global temperature rises - introducing more energy to the system, techniques that allow us a little more resilience are what keep us able to produce crops more consistently. Simple, passive technology such as unheated high tunnels and wire hoops with Remay, allow us to push the seasons even earlier and later. (Wait! I thought farming was a seasonal job - our winter break is shrinking!!!)
Please plan your week's meals around some of these wonderful spring vegetables! Search our Recipes page for some great ideas!
Is your garden ready yet? Or are you going to put a few patio containers out this year? Our seedlings are ready to go! Keep in mind the full inventory is not available until next weekend, during our annual Plant Sale. Our working inventory is online. I do not promise it is completely accurate until Plant Sale Eve at Midnight!!
This weekend will be the last weekend for the mini-6 packs of: Sugarsnap Peas
Also last chance for the earliest planting of Broccoli, Mixed Kale, & Lettuce Mix in the less expensive mini 6-pack size ($3)
We have plenty of early cold-hardy flowers in mini 6-packs ($3) to cheer up your yard: Calendula, Bachelor's Buttons, Marigolds, and Alyssum - in white or a purple/white mix.
The regular, larger 6-packs ($5) of a few other cold-hardy flowers are available too: Snapdragons, Chamomile, and Yarrow-Colorado Mix. Plus we will put out 4-packs ($5) of Feverfew-Magic Single, Nasturtiums (lily-pad looking edible leaves and colorful edible flowers) and Borage - a nice blue, star-shaped, edible flower that also attracts pollinators.
Perennial Herbs in 4-inch pots ($4.50) will also be for sale: Beergarten Sage, Lemon Verbena, Greek Oregano, English Thyme, and Mint (spearmint a.k.a. Mojito Magic).
We will have 4-inch pots ($3) of Basil for sale (even though it is probably not safe to plant it outdoors yet). and 6-inch pots of extra early, very productive Slicing Tomatoes - bred for intensive greenhouse production but sure to do great in a garden as well. It may be a good idea to let these grow in their pots for another week before planting - just in case of a late frost.
We continue to offer:
- High Mowing Organic Seeds
- McEnroe Organic Compost & Potting Soil
- Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer
Wrentham's Sohoanno Garden Club is holding their annual Plant Sale this weekend - Saturday from 9-12 in the center of Wrentham. They have all sorts of perennial plants from divisions.
Brittany will be representing her new project in Holliston, Upswing Farm, at the Holliston Business Association's Spring Festival this Saturday, May 14th, from 11am to 5pm. It is on the town green in the center of Holliston. Meet the superest super farmer there is, talk farming, talk veggies, and if you bring a check and sign up for an Upswing CSA Share - free bag of salad greens!! Veggies & Seedlings for Sale at this Spring Festival, too. Tell your friends in that neck of the woods!
We greatly appreciate your support! Thank you for shopping at our farmstand and spread the word - we are now open on Sundays! 10-2.
The Farmstand is Officially Open!
Sunday Farmstand has made its debut and is here to stay for the season.
- The stand is open every weekend in May: Saturdays & Sundays, 10am to 2pm
- Jordan Brothers Seafood at the stand is on Saturdays in May, 10am to 2pm
- We still have the farmstand (10-2) amidst our plant sale, May 21 & 22 (10 - 4)
- Summer Hours begin Tuesday, May 31st: Tuesday thru Friday, 10am to 6pm, and still Saturdays & Sundays, 10am to 2pm
- With the start of summer hours, May 31st, Jordan Brothers Seafood at the stand switches to Tuesdays & Fridays, 2pm to 6pm
What's for Sale this Weekend?
Lettuce Mix, Spring Mix, Radishes,Baby Bok Choy, Pea Shoots
seeds, seedlings, compost, fish fertilizer, and potting soil (see Plant Sale description below)
additions from our local community: eggs, honey, maple syrup, coffee beans
Our First Non-Perishable Crop! Grown Seed to Seed: Popcorn!!
This Weekend we are selling Edible Ornamental Planters - the kind that could be a great mother's day gift (Mother's Day is Sunday!!)or just a lovely addition to your patio
Quantities are Limited so Email to Reserve your planter, to be picked up at the farm Saturday or Sunday during farmstand hours, 10am to 2pm. Orders will be confirmed by Friday at midnight (but hopefully earlier!). Email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, phone number, which planter(s) you want to reserve and how many of each. If you choose the single herb planter, specify which herb you prefer.
- We are offering a round terra cotta pot with a Single Perennial Herb that can grow in there all season for $10 (Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, LemonVerbena, or Sage)
- We have an Oval Herb Planter (plastic with the terra cotta look) with 3 perennial herbs for $20 (Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme) - I wish it didn't look too crowded with the parsley - it could've been the Simon & Garfunkel Planter!
- And the Salad Bowl Planter: with Cut-and-Come-Again salad greens, edible flowers, and direct seeded Nasturtiums for $15. These are designed so that when the greens peter out, the edible flowers and herbs will march on and keep looking great.
Well, we do already have cold-hardy seedlings for your garden for the next two weekends, but the super-duper Eighth Annual Plant Sale fiesta is going to be held May 21st & 22nd. 10-4 both days, rain or shine. (Hint: we always hold the sale the weekend before Memorial Day weekend - it happens to be later than usual this year).
- At the big sale, we unleash all of the frost-sensitive crops. May 21st is the full moon in May, so according to folklore, that should be the end of killing frosts for the season (no guarantees, of course, so keep your eye on the weather report and have your bedsheets ready to protect your plants!).
- We will have all sorts of tomatoes, including a crazy selection of heirloom varieties, plus eggplants, peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, flowers, herbs (yes! Basil will be unleashed at this sale!), as well as more lettuce, kale, broccoli, etc. Emphasis on the etcetera!!!
- For your plant-sale-shopping enticement and garden planning pleasure, we always post the inventory on our website. I think it is going to be a "google doc" this year so that we can sort and adjust it more efficiently than on the old dinosaur table available to us on Small Farm Central's website (Yes, SFC, that is a challenge to your tech peeps!!)
- We sell High Mowing Organic Seeds for direct seeding in the earth or starting in your own cell packs. Available now.
- Avoid the blue juice! No need for miracle grow when you can use Neptune's Harvest Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer. Neptune's uses the scraps of Gloucester's fishing industry to create a stable fish fertilizer concentrate, now available in pint or quart bottles at the farmstand. Dilute according to the instructions - in a watering can is great - and feed your garden and containers that way. We feed our seedlings with "fish juice" every 7-10 days in the greenhouse (using a backpack sprayer) and always water in our potted up seedlings with fish sauce. A word to the wise: only make the amount you will use. You cannot store diluted fish juice. It is pH balanced until you add water to it - then it will go wicked, wicked stinky if you let it sit. If you have extra at the end of your "fishing" session, find something to dump it out on - perennials in your garden beds or even your grass is fine. Then rinse your watering can so it doesn't get gunked up. This fertilizer is just as immediately available to plants as the blue juice and contains the actual miracle growth properties lent to plants by micronutrients found in the sea. Available now.
- We carry McEnroe Organic Compost (40lb bag, $10) to amend your soil with. We carry McEnroe Organic Compost-Based Potting Soil (22Qt bag for $15) for seed-starting, filling containers, or using as growing medium in a small raised bed. Available now.
Community Supported Agriculture
There are still a few openings in the CSA program at Upswing Farm (pick up at 28 South St., Ashland, MA). You can choose the spring, summer, or fall share, or all three! This is the location where our superfarm collaborator, Brittany Overshiner, is getting Upswing Farm off the ground this year. It is where all the melons, sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplants, and others will be grown for the collaboration this year. Upswing Farm and White Barn Farm are working together to grow and market all of our crops together this year. We like to call it superfarm!
Farmstand CSA Cards
You can still join our Farmstand Community Supported Agriculture program by loading a debit card to spend at the farmstand whenever you want!
(Exceptions: not for plants at our plant sale and not for seafood).
After May 1st, we still add a 5% bonus to your card to thank you for your early commitment to buy our veggies all season long! (Something to keep in mind: the bonus is 10% from January 1st to May 1st each year).
How to sign up: Fill out the online form, then mail a check to White Barn Farm, P.O. Box 207, Wrentham, MA 02093. (We do not accept credit card payments for the Farmstand CSA cards). Make sure the name entered on the online form is written in the memo if it's not printed on the check. We will send you your card as soon as we process your payment. If you already have a card we can reload it remotely using your name or the last 4 digits of the card number. You can check your balance anytime using the widget found on our website, www.whitebarnfarm.org.
Hello Best Customers in the World!!!
Everything feels urgent right now and sitting indoors typing an email seems like it is not the most important thing. but maybe it is . . . so find the urgent information below and stay tuned for a follow up with all the tempting details . . .
Here is the important info:
Opening Weekend at White Barn Farm!
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, April 30 & May 1, 10am to 2pm, both days @ White Barn Farmstand
Look for the white tent across the road from 458 South St., Wrentham MA 02093 (this is 1A)
The Farmstand will be open all Saturdays & Sundays in May! summer hours begin in June.
*****also happening Sunday, May 1st, 10am to 2pm:
Find Brittany and Christy at the Bookstore Sale, while Sarah holds down the fort at the White Barn Farmstand in Wrentham.
Our talented Plant Sale Poster Artist, who also happens to be my best friend, Heather Willey, has finished her creation for this year's sale.
SAVE THE DATE: May 21 & 22, 10am to 4pm, both days.
Look for the posters and postcard versions around town!
- Spinach and Kale (planted in the fall and overwintered in our unheated greenhouses)
- Butternut Squash (the stellar cellar survivors)
- Pirate Popcorn - a buck an ear! (get it?) - on the cob - with instructions -
- Leeks - the lone field warriors
- things in such small quantities I probably should not mention them but I can't help myself: pints of garlic, quarts of small onions, watermelon radishes, different kinds of daikon radishes, kohlrabi, celery root. Limited Quantities! While Supplies Last . . .
- Franklin Honey - that beautiful, dark, fall honey - yes! you may still take daily doses of fall honey as a tonic for your spring allergies - it can't hurt!
- Sheldonville Roasters Coffee Beans. shove that bag of store-bought beans to the back! Tally-Ho, Quality Quoffee Tuhwalk!
- JORDAN BROTHERS SEAFOOD TRUCK. YIPPEE! Saturday Night Dinner should be spectacular!
- Massachusetts Maple Syrup from Harms Family Farm. I received a notice from the MDAR: It's Official - March is Maple Month in Massachusetts!
- Birchwold Farm Eggs . . . from hens that live right down the road in Wrentham - across from Joe's Rock. They free range a ton and eat GMO free grain. while supplies last, of course.
*********** CSA SIGN UPS! ************
Bring your Checkbook and Get it Done!
- There are plenty of Boxed CSA Shares available for pickup at the Upswing Farm site on the Ashland/Holliston line. 28 South St. Ashland, MA. Pick-ups will be on Thursdays 1pm to 7pm. There are three seasons of CSA at Upswing - Spring, Summer, and Fall. Do one or do 'em all! Do you have any contacts in that area? Spread the Word!
- The 10% Bonus on your Farmstand CSA Card Ends May 1st: If you are opting to participate in Community Supported Agriculture by loading a debit card to spend at White Barn Farmstand in Wrentham anytime we are open on anything we sell (except for plants at the plant sale and seafood), fill out the online form and mail your check - or save a stamp and deliver your check straight to Chris at the pop-up farmstand this Saturday, March 19th, 10am to 2pm. (Sorry US Postal Service! I do love you so . . .)
- There are a few openings in the Boxed CSA program for pickup at White Barn Farm in Wrentham at our farmstand on Tuesdays 10am to 2pm. We offer one "option" - a full share late May to late October (22 weeks, $625, payment plan available). Sign up for our Waiting List and we should get to you shortly!
and you can help!!!
Brittany Sidway Overshiner is amazing for many reasons. But you should see that girl whip up a beautiful, informative postcard on Illustrator. What a Whiz!!! and here it is . . .
If you feel like supporting agriculture in your community as you buzz around town visiting friends, attending social activities, kids activities, libraries, churches, your favorite local businesses, or at your workplace, then . . .
pick up some postcards at this Saturday's Pop-up Market
Spread the Word!
and thank you! you are great!
Hello White Barn Farm Supporters!
We have exciting news for the future of the farm! Our close friend, Brittany Overshiner, who happens to be one of the most competent farmers in the region, is going to join us in a novel collaboration effort.
FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE SHORT VERSION:
Warning: I have a notoriously rambling writing style - for those of you with less than 10 minutes to spend reading my version - check out the beautifully succinct press release that Brittany penned instead. Just follow the link below.
Brittany actually worked with us briefly in the fall of 2010, just as she was getting Medway Community Farm started and meeting her future husband, Kevin Overshiner. She introduced him to the world of farming and he went on to work with another great farmer of eastern Mass, Chris Yoder, who supplies the fabulous sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips at our fall farmstand in the barn. Kevin went on to help grow Medway Community Farm with Brittany and is the current Farm Manager there.
Brittany has a passion for preserving farmland and growing great food without exploitation (of people or the environment). Her dedication has lead her to do such things as live in “the cougar” (a trailer from Kevin’s mom that they parked at the farm) while the house on-site was ever so gradually remodeled by tri-county students. She slept on the floor in the greenhouse next to the woodstove, the sole source of heat for her tender spring seedlings, in order to stoke the fire every few hours in the middle of the night. She can harvest faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, is a crop planning whiz, and has an inspiring love for a properly cultivated farm. Watching her work in the fields or on the tractor, her joy is tangible. We share so many values and the desire to constantly improve our farming practices, building soil and growing better crops. When we heard she was leaving Medway, we (and many others in the eastern Mass farm network) jumped at the chance to find a way to work with her!
Meanwhile, Chris and I found ourselves moved by a presenter at the New England Fruit and Veg. Conference this December. Jean-Martin Fortier, author of The Market Gardener and farmer of a 1.5 acre plot in Quebec that grosses $100,000 a year, offers some truly promising techniques for transitioning to a no-till system.
Perhaps most interesting is the use of occultation, covering the soil with heavy black tarps to create a stale seedbed. Stale seedbedding is any technique that encourages germination of weed seeds in the soil and then kills them so you are left with a weed-free bed to plant your crops into. Other methods include flaming – going over weed seedlings with a propane torch, solarization – covering the soil with clear plastic, or shallow mechanical cultivation. This allows you to plant without churning up the soil (like with a rototiller) and the benefits of this are two-fold (at least): dormant weed seeds deeper than their ideal germination zone are not brought to the surface to sprout and the soil biology and associated soil structure is not disturbed. Rototilling sure makes a great looking bed, but the fluffiness quickly compacts, even after a single rainfall. If soil aggregates are allowed to persist, held together by soil fungi or the product of earthworms, soil air space is preserved and colonies of beneficial microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, can colonize crop roots to benefit from plant root exudates and in turn make soil nutrients available to the crops.
There is endless complexity and mystery to all of this process, but the health of soil and crops in minimal till systems is very clear. There are theories and perhaps even science supporting the idea that healthier plants with complete proteins and all of their micronutrient and mineral needs met are resistant to pest pressure. I liken it to humans taking vitamins to support immunity. Insect pests are one of the biggest challenges to growing organically and since we are not willing to spray poisons on our food, this alternative - growing extremely healthy crops by maintaining a vibrant soil biology and structure - is very appealing.
How does this relate to Brittany? Well, many of the most promising no-till techniques are very labor intensive. After seeing JM talk, I began to wonder how a 5 acre farm with an established tractor-based and conventional tillage system could model the systems outlined in JM’s book. My first idea was - we can fit 2 of these intensive plots on our farm if we had another farm couple helping us. I asked Brittany if she was interested and, to my surprise, she agreed to brainstorm with us. Almost simultaneously, another opportunity arose for Brittany - a 10 acre piece of farmland in Holliston, MA, including an orchard of 100 apple trees. It is owned by an elderly gentleman, “Mr. Nick” who is very interested in seeing the land farmed. One of the strongest driving forces behind the desire of Kevin and Brittany to live the farming life is to preserve productive farmland - especially in a region so densely populated and in which open land is under a very real threat of development. It is an opportunity they do not want to turn down.
Ideas of a cooperative enterprise started to form. The Holliston plot, named Upswing Farm, will be a kind of sister farm to White Barn Farm. Brittany will manage that field and grow the crops that take up lots of space and can be grown in long, single rows (manageable with the Farmall Cub cultivation tractor she owns). This will free up space and provide meaningful crop rotation at White Barn Farm. She will be at White Barn Farm at least three times a week managing the CSA, all direct seeding, and assisting in seedling production, cut flowers (yes - we are bringing them back!), and many more aspects of managing the farm. By pooling all of our complementary farming and management skills, we hope that in addition to completing the tasks that are urgent, we can work on the projects that are important to the future of both pieces of farmland. We can also pool our physical resources - greenhouses and other infrastructure, tractors and implements, all sorts of random tools and equipment.
Even our existing markets will be maintained and enhanced by the collaboration. We plan to keep the Roadside Stand and Boxed CSA program at White Barn Farm and also provide for a Spring, Summer and Fall CSA program with pickup at the Upswing site, and maintain Brittany’s presence at the Saturday Ashland Farmer’s Market. The Roadside Stand at White Barn is going to open one additional day - on Sundays from 10am to 2pm.
We are hoping that one of the greatest benefits of this collaboration will be the opportunity for us to experiment with some of these minimal tillage techniques. At this ambitious stage, sitting by the wood stove and dreaming, we are even planning to conduct somewhat scientific research comparing minimal till, medium till, and conventional tillage practices. Our goal is to optimize our farming practices for soil and crop health given our larger plot and existing tractor-based system. Very Exciting! Just the burst of energy White Barn Farm needed! Chris and I are so enthused about this collaboration and the ensuing possibilites.
Community support at the outset of this project is crucial for its future! Your payment in advance, through one of our CSA programs, helps us purchase the many tools and supplies we need to get this season off on the right foot. We would also be so grateful if you would spread the word to anyone who may be interested in supporting our collaboration at either site. If you know anyone in the Holliston/Ashland area - let them know about this new opportunity!
Thank you so much for reading! As I like to say, we literally could not do this without you!
Save the Date: White Barn Farm's Plant Sale: May 21 & 22
How to get involved:
- Get on the Waiting List to Purchase a Boxed CSA Share for pick up at White Barn Farm: 458 South St, Wrentham. (We are working through the waiting list now, it is likely we can accommodate you this year).
- Purchase a CSA Share for pick up at Upswing Farm: 28 South St, Ashland
- Purchase seedlings at White Barn Farm’s Plant Sale for your vegetable garden
- Visit Upswing Farm at the Ashland Farmers Market
- Purchase a Farmstand CSA Card to spend at White Barn Farm Stand at 458 South St, Wrentham (Opening Day is April 30th)
- Stay tuned for more offerings - tours, workshops, and flower shares
- Join our Mailing List and follow along with us on Facebook and/or Instagram
Contact Information:White Barn Farm
458 South St
Wrentham, MA 02093
28 South St
Ashland, MA 01721
Hello CSA Faithfuls!!!
I mentioned in my email to the general mailing list back in early January that I would follow up with a separate email to the Boxed CSA members detailing renewals and cancellations for 2016. Alas, it is February 1st, the deadline I had set for deposits to be in, and I am just now writing the email. I apologize - my brain has been experiencing some down time since we saw you all last.
Winter has been just fine. Chris' badly sprained ankle is healing well - he is now walking without a boot and driving. It is ever so much more convenient! We took a family trip to Martinique to brush up on our French and remember what summer feels like. I wasn't sure if we could afford a winter getaway this year but then by some crazy luck Norwegian Air has an insane deal on direct flights from Boston to Martinique (seriously, look into it). We stayed at a groovy deluxe camping setup called Airstream Paradise and were able to walk everywhere we wanted to go - to buy baguettes and French rose and play and swim at the beach across the street. It was absolutely lovely and we feel renewed and refreshed. We are deep into our crop planning and gearing up for some changes in 2016. More about that later . . .
Happy New Year! 2016???!!! What sounds like a futuristic year is now the present!
We hope you all had warm and happy times! Even if you are eating grocery store veggies these days. Yes, even I bought a California-grown organic romaine 3-pack this week. I was, however, really pleased with my rag-tag Christmas salad mix that I mananged to come up with for the family party. It was thinly sliced bok choy, tuscan kale, and red cabbage, a few handfuls of fresh growth on the arugula, the last few tiny red lettuces left in the high tunnel, chopped sprigs of parsley, and lots of chopped sugarloaf chicory. That was topped with shredded raw daikon and watermelon radish and it was a great hit. The perfect foil for the rich dishes traditional for the holidays.
Chris, Graham, and I had wonderful holidays with lots of family, food, and festivities. We managed to have a great time despite the fact that Chris got an avulsion fracture on his ankle (wicked bad sprain) on Christmas Eve playing pick up soccer. Christmas Day we went to Sturdy for an x-ray and he has spent every holiday gathering elevating his foot and hobbling around on crutches. He is truly a trooper, going through with our annual Holiday Hootenanny when we celebrate his birthday. We moved our Christmas tree onto the porch to make way for the Moonshine family band - a great group made of good friends and family. On his actual birthday, which happens to be his "Larry Bird" birthday - 33 - a friend took us to see the Celtics at the Garden! We finally borrowed this awesome scooter thing so he can place his knee on a rest while pushing himself along with the other foot. Graham and I find him zooming around in this fashion quite amusing. This kind of injury is very difficult for Chris who thrives on being active all the time. It is his right foot so he also cannot drive. Poor guy! All in all, couldn't have happened at a better time in terms of type of work to be done at this time of year. This injury could have really affected the local veggie supply if it had happened in July!
A new vegetable to add to your culinary vocab - Sugarloaf - it is kind of a white radicchio from the chicory family that tends to be very cold hardy and is lovely as a bitter green in salads, or grilled or roasted. I first met these pointy little guys in Switzerland, where they're called zuckerhut (sugarloaf). The teenage daughter at the farm I was staying at always sliced it into thin ribbons, soaked it in warm water for a few minutes to mild the bitterness, then served it with shredded carrots, canned corn (of all things), and a garlicky apple cider vinaigrette. I kept wondering where this family kept getting the iceberg lettuce. Finally Lejsa showed me their garden patch and harvested this little conehead right out of a light dusting of snow. I was very impressed and have been meaning to/trying to grow it ever since. Ours went in a little late so really you just have the hearts - but all the flavor is there. Enjoy!!
More Leeks fresh from the field! Plus their cousins Garlic & Shallots
Winter Radishes - Daikon, Purple Daikon, and Watermelon Radishes store very well in a plastic bag in the fridge and are excellent for peeling and shredding with a box grater on a salad. You can't ask for a more vibrant colormix than a salad topped with hot pink watermelon radishes, purple dakion, white daikon, and orange carrots.
Red Cabbage from White Barn Farm and Green Cabbage from Vanguarden CSA in Dover
Popcorn!! Here is your chance to be clever and crafty a la Martha Stewart: Popcorn Gift Idea
~ the Roasting and Mashing Wonderland section ~
Celery Root from right here at White Barn Farm
Yukon Gold Potatoes from Langwater Farm in Easton
Sweet Potatoes ~ Carrots ~ Parsnips from Vanguarden CSA in Dover
~ the BULK SALE section ~
Yellow Onions & Red Onions - 10lbs or more for $1/Lb if you want to stock up. Onions should keep well for quite a while in a cold, dry, dark spot (but not freezing).
Kohlrabi - also 10lbs or more for $1/Lb if you want to keep on hand a vegetable that you can have raw all winter. A welcome crunch to break up the comfort food routine. Chef/Owner at Chez Pascal, Matt Gennuso, has kohlrabi noodles on his New Year's Eve menu. Anyone got a spiralizer? The julienne blade on a mandoline also makes kohlrabi into a perfect form for slaw. The easiest is just to slice it into sticks for dipping. I always tell people, in reference to the enormous storage Kohlrabi variety, Kossack, treat it like a wheel of cheese - just cut off what you want to use at one time and go back to it later. Don't feel like you have to finish one of those bohemoths in one sitting!
Winter Squash - 10lbs or more for $1/Lb. Another very easy to store veggie. Ideal storage conditions are 50 degrees and dry. Maybe just in a basket in a cool part of your house.
~ Local, Sustainable Sources of Sugar ~
Massachusetts Maple Syrup. From Harms Family Farm in Brookfield, Mass. Their sugarbush is in Colrain, MA. (Did you know that sugarbush is the name of a maple syrup "farm"?) Taste it and your heart will swell with Massachusetts Maple Pride!!
Franklin Honey's beautiful, amber, fall Honey. Local, raw, and delicious with peanut butter on an english muffin (don't tell my diabetes educator!).
Eggs from Pat's Pastured, Bread from Iggy's, Coffee Beans from Sheldonville Roasters
~ White Barn Farm's Shameless Commerce Division ~
Gift Cards - for any amount over $10. Do you have school teachers, bus drivers, yoga instructors, personal trainers, massage therapists, landscapers, hair stylists, etc. that are extra special in your life? Show your gratitude with a little gift card from WBF :)
WBF Pint Glasses - 2 for $10 (normally $6 each), $5 w/ purchase of a $20 gift card, or get one free w/ purchase of a $50 gift card. We even packaged the last two deals in a little gift pack - complete with tissue paper and ribbons!
Cookbooks - From Asparagus to Zucchini and Farm Fresh and Fast, both put out by Fairshare CSA Coalition and an excellent guide for the procession of season vegetables produced by small mixed vegetable growers.
Come and Visit! We'd love to thank you in person for your season-long support!
Hey! That reminds me! Last weekend's Holiday Bazaar at An Unlikely Story bookstore in Plainville was great! The aesthetic was fantastic, the vendors were top quality, and the spirit was festive! Each of the vendors donated an item to be raffled for the Christmas is for Kids charity in Attleboro. Th raffle raised $500!!! I was so proud to put the money order in the mail on Monday! If you were a winner, don't forget to come to the farmstand to claim your prize!
Happy Holidays Everybody!!