So sorry seafood fanatics, I somehow missed the memo that Jordan Bros. Seafood will NOT be here this Friday. Apparently, July3rd is the official holiday for our nation's birthday.
I apologize for inconveniencing any of y'all who had included seafood in your weekend menu.
Since I am pestering your inbox, I may as well share some thoughts that were rushing to my head as I harvested bunches of basil this morning.
With the upcoming holiday, my heart has been growing large with patriotism. not in the "'Merica" sort of way, more in the Serve Your Country Food sort of way. That is a phrase borrowed from one of my amazing friends, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, mastermind and leader of The Greenhorns organization, whose mission is "To Promote, Recruit and Support New Farmers in America" I could get lost on a tangent all about Severine - look up Maine Sail Freight, Greenhorns Documentary, or most influential women in food&wine for a start. But back to the breed of patriotism fueling my spirit of late - it's more like the Woody Guthrie "This Land is Your Land" sort of love for my country.
Growing food in the middle of suburbia is what I decided to do after my college education circuitously lead me to the concept of Sustainable Development. After attending Wrentham Public Schools since 2nd grade, going to KP North, and then KP High, I managed to get a full tuition scholarship to UMass Amherst (after #1 & #2 in the class declared noninterest in the school, the chancellor's award scholarship fell to my best friend and me who were luckily #3 and #4 at that moment in time). I vowed to never move back to boring Wrentham. I hoped one of my cousins might have an idea to keep my grandparents' home in the family and spare the land residential development.
Although as a child growing up in Rangeley, Maine I had enjoyed the idyllic setting of the Rangeley Lakes, Saddleback Mountain,beautiful rivers & waterfalls, meadows and forests, I still considered gardening to be yardwork, drudgery. In high school I clearly remember dreading raking leaves. Back in Maine, our evening entertainment was driving to Oquossoc to look for Moose or filling our cleaned out gallon milk jugs with the acorn picture on the screw top with fresh water from the spring. We lived in an adorable little cape my Dad built on Cottage Avenue, which was lined with wild strawberries and wildflowers that I would gather and bring to little old Mrs. Fox, our down the street neighbor. I collected dandelion greens for the other neighbors up the hill, and my mom would have us all foraging fiddleheads in spring and lowbush wild blueberries in summer, ala Blueberries for Sal. Kerplink, Kerplank, Kerplunk. except our blueberries went into small Ice Teasers (a brief 80's craze, I assume). When I harvest flowers these days at my family's homestead here in Wrentham and the moments of beauty strike me with wonder, I realize how much my childhood of gathering influences me. My mom grew big cultivated gardens, to round out the foraging. I remember the first time she steamed fresh spinach for me and put a pat of butter on top. I remember picking McIntosh apples from the trees my parents planted, the time my older brother Dave and his plastic cohort, Crane Man, "cut down the forest" in the raised bed that was my mom's carrot planting. I remember our fatso gun-shy beagle, Daisy, constantly hitting up our compost pile. I remember hiding in the rows of corn, to see if my parents would miss me. Do I digress?
That childhood planted in me a deep appreciation of nature and in particular, open spaces. Our farm sits on prime agricultural land - we have incredibly few rocks, level land, and although the soil is pretty sandy, our soil is made ideal by amending with organic matter - by addition of compost or growing and turning in cover crops (grains and legumes grown to feed the soil, not to harvest and sell).
Here are some reasons I think it is important for a farm to be here. Especially a farm that uses no chemical pesticides (we have used a certified organic insecticide exactly three times), no herbicides, no fungicides:
WATER TABLE. Rather than impermeable surfaces such as paved roads or asphalt shingled homes atop concrete foundations, the area on which we crop absorbs rainwater, filters it through the roots of our plants, networks of mycelium which run through the soil structure, and finally the soil particles themselves. We use compost and slow release certified organic fertilizers on our crops, not fully soluble fertilizers that can release excess Nitrogen and Phosphorous into our watershed.
HABITAT. The turkeys are one of our worst pests (they just love to demolish Romaine), but gosh darn it, it is pretty awesome that such a large wild animal can persist despite the immense infestation of humans in this region. Same for deer, fox, coyote, possum, raccoons, pesky squirrels, rascally chipmunks, darn diddly darn woodchucks. and what about the birds?? Goldfinches, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Robins, Mourning Doves, Nuthatches, Downy and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds, Purplefinches, sparrows galore, grackles, crows, Red Tail Hawks, and the Great Blue Heron commuting overhead from Lake Pearl to the Trout Pond. and what about the insect world? Yes it is infuriating to watch striped cucumber beetles devastate your curcurbits, or those nasty colorado potato beetle larvae squish their gross orange guts all over your shirt and your face. But finding the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on your parsley and seeing huge brown praying mantis, brachonid wasp eggs parasitizing tomato hornworms, darling ladybugs, aphidius colemani wasps mummifying aphids and hatching out of them. Madness! And then there is the plant world. and the microbial world. These creatures deserve to live just as much as human beings. We are an interconnected web of life, their existence is actually important to our own.
FOOD SECURITY. If so many people are going to live in this region, it is a good idea to preserve some prime agricultural land for producing food. In times of crisis, diversity is so important. We need little pockets of food production everywhere. What if the drought in California does not stop? What if transportation as we know it becomes impossible? I have a 2 year old son who is the seventh generation in our family to live at our farm. We need to think seven generations ahead as the native people of this land did. What if erratic weather patterns and strong storms ruin crops in a major food producing region? Small farms everywhere make our population more food secure.
NATURAL BEAUTY. Daily doses of beauty are what make life wonderful.
COMMUNITY. Human societies come together around food. Feasting is the most common form of celebration. A hub of local food producers gives a community a common bond. A farm has to produce more than they can sell in order to offer the best, most marketable produce. The excess supports the less privileged of us in the community. White Barn Farm donates to three food pantries a week: Plainville, Franklin, and Wrentham. We also donate plants to community gardens in Norfolk, Wrentham, school gardens, and at two YMCA gardens.
FLAVOR. Fresh food tastes delicious. Farmers who are passionate about their crops and become enchanted with the seed catalogs in the winter, and have the advantage of not having to ship their wares far, far away can grow varieties of crops that are selected for taste and beauty, rather than shipping ability.
BIODIVERSITY. This is covered by both habitat and flavor, above. Maintaining a market for seed producers who grow their seeds organically, open pollinated, or using old fashioned hybridizing is muy importante!!! Genetic Modification is pure human hubris, in my opinion. When you buy a purple kohlrabi, a lemon cucumber, siberian kale, etc. you are supporting vegetable breeders, and a continued diversity of vegetable varieties.
If you are still reading, you are a trooper.
Thanks for listening to my take on patriotism!
Happy Birthday USA! We wish you fantastic feasts!!!
- Cabbages - Napa, Green, Red, and our personal fave, "gnome"
Radicchio & Fennel (try something new on the grill!)
No shortage of variety in the Summer Squash department: Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Zephyr summer squash (w/the green end), Sunburst Patty Pan, and the light green Lebanese variety, Segev, (maybe even golden zucchini - not sure if they are picking yet)
Cucumbers! We have an entire high tunnel dedicated to trellised cukes. Traditional spiky skinned slicers, cutie picklers, smooth delicate slicers, and Picolino, a mini smooth skinned slicer
- the Allium (onion family) selection is at its height: Scallions, Garlic Scapes, Fresh Sweet Pearl Onions and Purplette, red pearl onions, Torpedo Onions. All excellent on the grill!! Scallions add that special something to a slaw, salad, egg scramble, etc.
- Beets - Roasted Beet Salad - try matching with diced fresh red onions, avocado and a balsamic vinaigrette.
- Lettuce. Salad is just what the body wants to eat when it is hot out!
- Peas!!! Farm Candy! Sugarsnap, snow, and even some shelling peas this year.
- Broccoli is still coming in
- Kale and Chard are still going strong for all you greenaholics.
- Fresh Zinnias and Black Eyed Susans will be available as soon as I have some time to put them together
- Kohlrabi - the new cult vegetable
- Those ruby red Radishes are just gorgeous on a salad and Bok Choy makes a wonderful salad with that magic peanut sauce. search our recipe page
- Finally, make it all pop with Fresh Herbs!! Parsley, Rosemary, Basil, and Mint, while supplies last!
- Also, there will be plenty of farm fresh Eggs, Franklin Honey, Massachusetts Maple, Iggy's Bread, and Sheldonville Roasters Coffee Beans
Friday, July 3rd, will be the 4th anniversary of me and Chris getting married at the farm! Our anniversary happens to fall on our 3rd annual Tie-Dye Friday for our farm crew, when we make tie dye t-shirts, socks, etc and have a cookout, during which we all bond and become a strong team for enduring the sometimes grueling work of farming day in and day out.
Some businesses offer "Casual Friday" to their employees, but at a farm you are way beyond "casual" every day, so we have instituted Tie-Dye Friday. Not everyone always remembers or has a clean tie-dye on Friday, but it is always a hoot when we all find ourselves standing strong in tie-dye harvesting on Friday morning! We get such a charge out of it that we are extending Tie Dye Friday to our customers!!!
Hello CSA members! Below is a list of what is included in your box this week, followed by some great recipes!
1 Red Romaine Lettuce: Romaine lettuce is great for salads, especially a homemade Caesar Salad!
1 Green Romaine Lettuce: Fantastic for salads, and it is perfect to include in a homemade Caesar Salad as well!
1 Bunch Radish: Add thinly sliced or grated radishes to your lettuce for a simple, lovely salad. or try this neat Radish Butter served on a slice of good French bread.
1 Radicchio:This is a bitter "green" and makes a wonderful foil for rich cheeses. An easy great way to use Radicchio is to just cut it in half, cut out the core and slice it in ribbons to add to your salad. Roasted Radicchio is also a fantastic way to use this green. Radicchio may also be grilled: Cut the head into halves or quarters, leaving the core in place (to hold the leaves together). Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Find a cool spot on the grill and turn the radicchio as needed to wilt it. After grilling, drizzle generously with olive oil and flavorful red wine vinegar; add S & P and serve.
1 Green Zucchini:Most people are familiar with our friend the zucchini! We've been loving cutting them lengthwise and drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper to put on the grill. I like to grill them before the other stuff so you are not tempted to undercook them as space becomes scarce or everything else cooks faster. A little bit of attention to getting the perfect tenderness on grilled zucchini makes a big difference.
1 Sejev Zucchini:This zucchini can be used just like a regular green zucchini! Try it in Zucchini Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!
1 Summer Squash: A delicious Marinated Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad is a great way use these veggies in your share this week!
1 Green Cabbage:It's surprising how sweet fresh cabbage tastes. These are the type of cabbage most often used to make cabbage rolls, too. Blanch whole leaves and roll a stuffing into them (rice, mushrooms, and ground beef are common, but be creative!), then bake in a casserole dish with tomato sauce or some combo of wine and broth. Cabbage can certainly be stir fried. I suggest browsing the internet for some creative slaw alternatives to the traditional mayo, vinegar slaw. I've had delicious Asian style slaws or ones with dried cranberries and nuts. You can also cook this cabbage down with onions for a lovely accompaniment to sausages or pork. How about cabbage curry? What about fish tacos? I always recommend making fish tacos when cabbage is around. Just grill or roast some white fish, thinly slice and chop the cabbage, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pinch of sugar to break it down a little while you prepare everything else. Make the special magical sauce - sometimes we do sour cream (maybe a little mayo? a squirt of ketchup?), lime, hot sauce. Meanwhile, fine dice some white onion and toss with chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lime juice. Use flour or corn tortillas -warmed on the grill or in the oven - to wrap up the fish, cabbage, onion & cilantro, and magical sauce. Serve with some rice (perhaps jazzed up with some butter, cilantro and scallions) and voila! ole! yee haw!
Garlic Scapes:Make some homemade Ranch Dressing using your Garlic Scapes this week. It will go great with the Romaine Salads!
Fresh Onions: Many of the recipes, inlcuding the Ranch Dressing and most Cole Slaws use onions! Enjoy!
Kohlrabi: Create some golden, crispy Kohlrabi Fritters! Yum!!
Fennel: If your already going to be doing some grilling, try making Grilled Fennel!
Kale: Enjoy your kale in a salad, smoothie, or make some Kale Chips!
Just a reminder to bring back your CSA boxes! We love to reuse them as much as we can. Another reminder that we are closed on Saturday, July 4th. Enjoy all your fresh veggies, and have a fantastic week!
Hello CSA members! Lots of wonderful new vegetables in this weeks' share followed by some great recipes below to use them with!
3 Lettuce heads: Enjoy your salads this week!
1 bunch Garlic Scapes: Create a delicious Garlic Scape infused pesto as a dip or as a pasta sauce.
1 bunch Scallions: Scallion Couscous is a delicious side than is great paired with fish, chicken or pork.
1 Napa Cabbage: Napa is much more tender and sweet than other cabbages. If you are making a slaw with it, a much lighter dressing can be used than with your usual green cabbage. I like sliced Napa in a wrap sandwich (particularly with buffalo chicken, parsley, chunks of blue cheese, and shredded carrot). It is mild enough to add to a regular green salad. It is also nice for adding to a stir fry for the last few minutes. A great stir fry to add Napa Cabbage to is a Beef and Napa Cabbage Stir Fry.
1 Kohlrabi: The bunch of small purple-skinned veggies that look like they just arrived from outer space. Kohlrabi is in the broccoli, cabbage, kale family and it is technically a fat stem, although it looks a little like a root. Indeed, it can be treated a lot like a root. It is good raw or cooked. The easiest preparation is to peel the outer skin and slice it into veggie sticks for snacking with a creamy dressing. (Hot tip: slice the bottom of the bulb off so it has a flat surface to sit on the cutting board – then use a knife to slice off the peel from the top down.) It can also be grated for a fresh slaw. I enjoy roasted cubes or rounds of kohlrabi – it doesn’t take long to cook through – it’s much more tender than a potato or a turnip. Kohlrabi can also make fantastic chips, with just a few additional simple ingredients.I looked up some recipes and found that kohlrabi is popular for Indian curries.
2 Cucumbers: Cool off this warm week with some refreshing Rosemary Infused Cucumber Lemonade!
Broccoli: Pasta salad is nice with broccoli. How about some sesame style noodles with broccoli served cold for lunch. Kids have been giving positive reviews of the fresh broccoli flavor – plain old steamed will do the trick there. Butter or mayo for toppings only if demanded. Lemon and Broccoli are certainly complementary in a pasta dish, particularly with a white wine sauce including butter and finished with parmesan.
1 Bunch Cilantro: A Crisp Cucumber Salsa is a great way to use the cilantro and cucumbers from this weeks' share! Great for these hot summer days!
Enjoy the share this week, and thank you for supporting the farm!!
- Sweet Pepper Plants: We sold out of sweet pepper seedings the first day of our plant sale on May 16th. We now have planted the farm’s pepper field and leftover plants have been potted up into 4inch pots for $3. See the updated inventory for details!
- We have potted up any remaining tomato plants into 6inch pots, which are $5. In addition, certain varieties of tomatoes that sold out early at the plant sale and were left over from our field planting have been potted up into 6inch pots. So check the list to see if any of your previously “sold out” favorites are back.
- Broccoli: Today we harvested the first broccoli of the season! While supplies last!
- Sugar Snap and Snow Peas: a.k.a. “Nature's Candy” are ripe and ready! See if you can make it home without eating them all!
- This weekend, Chris' brother Patrick is getting married to the Lovely Lesley at a summer camp in New Hampshire! We are proud to be providing flowers for their wedding reception and bridal bouquets. However, as a result, there may be a shortage of fresh cut flowers at the farmstand this weekend. If we are lucky, Sarah will put together a few bouquets and jelly jar bouquets for all to enjoy!
Also, due to the wedding, Chris and Christy will be absent from the farmstand. White Barn Farm will be left in the care of our fabulous farm crew (in order of tenure at WBF): Ben, Karen, Zach, Dan, Sarah, Paige, and the all-new for 2015 weeding crew! Maybe even more special cameo appearances by other WBF alums. So please be patient, compliment their good work, and only constructively criticize! They are sure to accept tips, verbal and otherwise this weekend! Just kidding about that last part (kind of).
We have the best customers in the world! Can’t wait to feed you all the good stuff cropping up in our fields!
Take it easy!!!
Christy, Chris, Graham, and the WBF CREW
Vegetable Bonanza! It's been another long day at the farm and it is already so late! But hurray for all of our tomatoes getting planted! Eggplant and Peppers are on deck . . .
Almost all of tomorrow's offerings were featured in this week's CSA box at White Barn Farm. Tuesday was the first share for our CSA Members, and I sent them an email describing all the goodies and giving some recipe ideas. Check it out on the blog to give you an idea of what's going to be happening at the farmstand or to inspire you to try a new recipe!
We picked all this goodness from our fields today:
Green Garlic. seasonal specialty! seriously, read the blog (skip the CSA pickup section) for a full description and ideas on how to use everything!
Spinach and Swiss Chard, Multiple Kales
200 Heads of Lettuce. Including big beautiful butterheads and gorgeous dark red romaine.
Arugula. bigger leaves by the bunch and smaller ones looseleaf
Mustard Green Bundles
THIS IS THE LAST SATURDAY FOR JORDAN BROTHERS SEAFOOD
STARTING IN JUNE (this coming Tuesday) THE TRUCK WILL BE AT THE FARMSTAND
TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS, 2PM TO 6PM
WHITE BARN FARMSTAND SUMMER HOURS START TUESDAY!
Tuesday through Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturdays: 10am to 2pm
We still have plants for your gardens and containers. I just updated the inventory this evening. And now that we are planting our plants from the field, we will pot up extras of popular varieties that sold out early, starting next week.
Looking forward to seeing you all. It's been a great May! Don't miss Arts on the Common tomorrow, too :)
Christy at White Barn Farm
- Pickup is at the farmstand from 2pm to 6pm every Tuesday until October 20th, week 22. Your box will be in the white van parked to the side of the farmstand towards Wrentham center. There is a table on the side of the farmstand shed where you will see the chalkboard list of the share's contents, a display share, and your clothespin.
- Find the clothespin with your name on it and drop it in the basket below so we know you picked up. At the end of the night, I can tell who didn't pick up by just looking at the pins left on the lines, rather than cross referencing a sign-in board and a list of 60 people!
- If you know you can't make it before 6pm, but would still like to pick up on Tuesday evening, we can leave it on the sign-in/display share table for you. Just call or text Christy 774-210-0359 or send an email. Let us know whether it will be every week or just a one time thing.
- If you forget to pick up your share, we can have it for you at the farmstand on Wednesday (open 10am to 6pm). Just call, text, or email to let us know you are going to pick it up. If we don't hear from you, we donate forgotten shares to family, staff, or the food pantry.
- If you know you are going to be away, you can send any friend, neighbor, etc. to pick up for you. Just make sure they know what to do and drop your clothespin in the basket. You don't have to let me know, but you can if you want.
- Bring your waxed box back each week and place it on the cart next to the sign in table. The boxes are pricey and can't be recycled like corrugated cardboard because of the wax, so I really want to reuse them. Some members bring their grocery bags and unpack their share right at pickup so they don't have to deal with remembering to bring it back. Try not to rip your box! Here is a video about how to break them down properly.
- I attempt to send an email each week describing the box and giving some recipe ideas. Managing the farm and my family is crazy and I do not always do it in a timely manner. If you have a smartphone, it's a good idea to take a picture of the chalkboard so you at least have a list of your veggies. good old pencil and paper work too! That way, the process of elimination or google can help you identify an unfamiliar vegetable.
- We have a recipe page on our website. There is a widget on the side that helps you search the recipe. type in a veggie name and some ideas should pop up. i also post each CSA email to the blog, so there should be six years of past CSA emails archived on there. I also recommend the cookbooks we have for sale at the farmstand, put out by a coalition of CSAs in Madison, WI.
- We welcome your recipes and ideas for using your share!
Hello? Hello! If you are not already on vacation or going to be gone, READ ON! We will be open on Saturday, 10am to 2pm, and the harvest is getting heftier around here. Our fields are yielding tons of greens, salad ingredients, and herbs for you!
If you missed the Plant Sale or still have room in your garden - we still have plants. Check out the updated inventory on the plant sale page of our website.
We are open the rest of the Saturdays in May: 10am to 2pm
Jordan Brothers Seafood will join us from 10am to 2pm with the most exquisite seafood around.
We harvested 100 bunches of spinach last week and sold every one! We challenge you as a community to do it again!!!
We have plenty of parsley, and a wee bit of mint and oregano. The basil plants for sale could easily be pinched back low to make them bushier and provide you with a few sprigs of fresh basil!
We have gorgeous Baby Romaine lettuce - red and green. It is so lovely you really could just wash, spin and serve with just salt and olive oil - Italian-style. But it is also a perfect base for a big mixed salad, of course.
Lots of fresh-cut Arugula this week. We have a Mustard Mix for you to try, too.
French Breakfast Radishes
No shortage of Bunches of Bok Choy, Kale, and Chard for your side of greens, egg scramble, massaged kale salad, bok choy salad, chard and golden raisins tapas . . .
We will have eggs from Puddingstone Organics in Middleboro and An Baile Nua Farm in Plainville - while the supply holds out
Franklin Honey and Harms Maple Syrup for Sweetening.
Sheldonville Coffee Beans and Iggy's Bread for weekend delight!
Looking forward to seeing everyone in the Wrentham area this weekend. Send your neighbor, mother-in-law, or cat to shop for you if you're gone ;)
Thanks to you all, we lead this crazy lifestlye!!!!!
Sending Gratitude! Christy and Chris and Graham at WBF