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Posted 11/27/2008 10:26am by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Holy Smokes, Folks!

I am writing from my best friend's place in Bozeman, Montana on Thanksgiving morning to celebrate my favorite holiday and announce White Barn Farm's appearance in the Boston Globe. There is a picture of me in my winter rye covered 1/4 acre on the front page of the Globe West section. good grief! a strange mix of pride and embarassment.

i figured i would address a couple of false statements: i did not keep heads of lettuce fresh in buckets (they were in coolers). and I never bundled pea tendrils, although i did cut and bag them. I definitely grew more variety than zucchini, summer squash, and cucumbers. It is true that I hauled the harvest to markets twice a week, but only one was in Franklin and the other was in Providence (tue. wickenden st). very minor details. no big whoop, i like to say.

One important detail is that I actually have not yet sold the 50 shares of our harvest that we are offering for 2009.  It is true that we are using the CSA model described in the article, but shares are still available! You can print the sign-up form from our "Join the CSA" page.

Before the hustle and bustle in the kitchen is at full tilt, I will take a moment to give thanks for my friends and family and our fortune here in the U.S., where we have such incredible access to food. I am in Montana now and just came from visiting my brother and his wife and my niece and mom in Arizona. We can really feel lucky in New England to have such abundant water and general green. lots of organic matter to cycle into our life-supporting soil. (imagine the challenges of my friend Shanti in Tucson, growing a tiny garden in alkaline saline soil under a Tamarisk tree with no irrigation but that piped 1000 miles from the Colorado).

I always have had a problem with run-on sentences. sorry!

Thanks!

 

 

 

Posted 11/22/2008 6:21pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hello Everyone!

This is Christy Raymond, your local farmer from Wrentham's newest farm, White Barn Farm.  You are probably getting this email if you put your address on the list at the Franklin Farmer's market. Please feel free to pass this along to any other locals you think may be interested and certainly unsubscribe if you are not interested. I have a couple of great announcements - for me and for the whole community, I hope! The one-girl farm is no more. There is going to be a 50 member CSA in Wrentham. White Barn Farm is on the web. We have a source of pork and beef that you can feel good about.

I found a farming partner for 2009! Christian Kantlehner will be joining me to help the farm grow. We met at a farmer training workshop (CRAFT) and kept chatting farming when I went to work with Kathy Huckins at Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham, where Chris has been working for two years.  He became interested in agriculture at Green Mountain College in Vermont and has been in the field since his freshman year.  He has had experience at several other excellent farms in Massachusetts, including Belmont CSA, Vanguarden CSA, and Drumlin Farm.  He is a sufficiently seasoned vegetable grower and ready to start applying his knowledge. He is exactly the sort of character at exactly the point in his career that I was searching for to help me grow the farm.  Our farming ideals fit together perfectly and our growing preferences are perfectly complementary.  He loves growing potatoes, winter squash, and cabbages. I have always specialized in cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil.  Together, we should be able to supply the community with a long season of bounty! We are really excited to work together and obey our highest consciousness with regard to the soil and the whole ecosystem of the farm.  We also like to have a good time and hope to make Wrentham a little more fun. Who doesn't love to feast?

We have a new website: www.whitebarnfarm.org It still needs a litte work, but most of the content is there.  There is a blog, a photo gallery, information about us and our farming practices, and most importantly, information about the CSA we are launching in 2009.

We have decided to use the Community Supported Agriculture model as the core of our marketing for next season.  Basically, we are offering 50 shares of our harvest to 50 dedicated supporters who have paid in advance to allow us to purchase the seeds and supplies we need to produce their weekly veggie share.  The whole concept and the details are listed on the website under the "White Barn Farm CSA" menu. You can sign up for the CSA by printing out the form from the "Join Our CSA" page and mailing it with your deposit or full payment. Memberships will be filled on a first-come first-served basis so sign up early to get your preferred pick-up day.  I want to make sure to offer memberships first to those of you who have so loyally supported me in my first year.  A Boston Globe reporter interviewed me in early November for an article to be released anytime now, so I am not sure how fast 50 shares will sell out.

If you eat meat and are ready to feel good about where it comes from and how the animals are treated, we have a good solution for you.  Our "sister farm," Liberty Farm, in Vermont is offering shares of their organically raised pork and beef.  If you are interested, open this link to find more information and an order form: Liberty Farm Meat Order Form.

I hope this letter finds you in a spirit of celebration as our national gratitude festival approaches.  I certainly have never felt more thankful, nor more hopeful in my whole life! 

With hope for a more sustainable local food system in our little zone of southeast Massachusetts, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Christy Raymond, Farmer at White Barn Farm

if the website still leaves questions unanswered feel free to contact me by personal email christyraymond@wildmail.com or phone 774-210-0359

Posted 11/16/2008 5:38pm by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

     Goodbye "one-girl farm sprouting this year" - that was the caption on my makeshift easel/sign at my farmer's market booth this year.  I feel safe in saying the 2008 growing season is pretty much through.  There are my experimental fall crops thriving in the fields (escarole and white beans fans, take note) and the trial greens in the hoophouse doing surprisingly well, but certainly the intense pace and energy of summer is long gone. Anyone tracking my progress through my blogspot blog knows that i have not made one entry since May. Well - quite a few things have come to pass since then.  At the height of the season, I certainly teetered on the brink of sleep-deprivation driven insanity, but I feel that somehow I was able to meet most of the goals I set for this season and learn more than I could ever imagine I even needed to know.

     All in all, i gained some confidence in my ability to grow crops, and especially to make a crop plan, execute it, and keep successions coming.  I definitely was able to gain experience with all marketing styles.  I had some magic combination of farmer's markets (one local, one city), temporary roadside stand across the street from the farm, wholesale to Whole Foods in Bellingham, restaurant accounts in Providence, and a little pre-packed box for five dedicated supporters each week.  I worked pretty hard to sell what I produced on this mini quarter-acre farm or "farmette" as I like to tease.  Very little went to waste - the shelves have lots of jars of pickles and tomato puree and the freezer is packed with pesto and greens.  One very important side project was plowing the back field and seeding three acres to a cover crop of sorghum-sudan grass, for building soil organic matter. 

     The first crop for 2009 has been planted in the back field - garlic! Fittingly, my new farming partner joined me to put the seeds of the future into the promising dark earth here in the heart of suburbia.  Christian Kantlehner has been farming in the area for several years, most intensely for the past two years at Stearns Farm CSA in Framingham.  I met him at an eastern Mass CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training) in mid-October when suddenly I realized that having lost my waitressing job and the days getting cold and short - i could squeeze in a moment for self-enrichment.  With the job description clearly written at home, i happened into a young farmer who fit it precisely. Essentially running the farm by myself (although absolutely not to minimize the enormous boost i got from my volunteers who worked a morning each week for veggies), I found it hard to be alone so much, although I loved the work and actually found great difficulty tearing myself away to visit my favorite place, the beach.  I was able to weather one year, but the idea of farming alone forever was a little discouraging.  Perhaps more importantly, in order to grow the farm towards sustainability, it would be physically impossible to do alone.  I decided to try to find someone who was a seasoned vegetable grower working at a well-established farm, who was ready to develop their own production methods and really begin farming on their own.  As I am not a great, experienced farmer I did not feel I could offer a mentorship in exchange for labor - I needed that special person who was ready to farm, who is a scholar of sustainable agriculture and anxious to apply their knowledge.  Christian's energy and enthusiasm have recharged my spirit and made the planning process for 2009 resound with hope and excitement for the future.  Our farming philosophies are absolutely congruous - we both feel strongly that putting poisons on food is bizarre, and that building amazing life-giving soil is the heart of an organic farm.  We chat farming techniques and choices constantly and reference our collections of books, journals, and especially the experienced growers in the lively farming community here in New England.

We have decided to use the Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, model as the core of our marketing for 2009.  We will offer 50 shares of the harvest, to be sold before the season begins and provided to shareholders once a week from early June to late October.  We have been working on this website, making lots of farm visits, and trying to hammer out the details of our production methods for next year.  Hurray for my newly refreshed optimism for the future of White Barn Farm!