You never know what you will get for weather in New England; last year we were able to harvest greens until the end of Fall/early Winter…this year we are frozen out so there are no greens to harvest outside AND it has delayed the high tunnel/greenhouse production by a week or so. Well, that’s farming, and nature, and life. 🙂
Markets were great this year and our customers were great too! It’s a lot of work growing and harvesting and prepping all the crops we bring to market. And then there is the loading of the trucks, driving, setting up and selling at the actual market. Woof, it’s a lot of work, and that is why it is so rewarding when we have fabulous customers shop from us week after week. Thankfully we are done with most of the markets we attend so we can have a little break before it gets crazy busy again in the Spring. You can still find us all winter at the Armory in Somerville Saturdays, 9:30-2 and Sundays at 318 Harvard St, Arcade Bldg, Brookline 12-5 (except 12/22/13). You’ll be able to get amazing carrots, potatoes, turnips, squash and greens. Bonus – Kate will have her meats and eggs at both markets!
More about markets here
Most of the fields are cleaned up, and this week we have been spreading straw on the strawberries. We had an amazing year with the berries and we can only hope to have another delicious high yielding crop for 2014. We added 1500 new feet of raspberries this Fall. Raspberries are one of the great perks of CSA. We had many members venture out this season and harvest quite a few berries for themselves (truth be told, tons were eaten on site ;). Raspberries are a crop we do not offer in the CSA box, but all members are welcome to come pick their own. The first quart is on us!!!
We had another wonderful CSA season: lots of tomatoes and peaches, apples, corn, peppers, cukes and squash, lettuce and all sorts of greens and potatoes, etc,. We also harvested mini bell peppers and Jersey Wakefield cabbage (the pointy one) upon member request and we will continue to ad things to keep our Boston’s best CSA status. Expectations run high but that keeps us working hard to be the best! We actually planted dent corn and Chinese head mustard this year, but they got lost in the shuffle…which means 2014 CSA members should look for them in their own selection. It is fairly common around here to plan big plans and spend a year working out the kinks, the next year going great guns with whatever amazingness we are offering 😉 Make no small plans.
Winter is our time to plan the coming season and order seeds and plants. Even the sweet potato slips are ordered now! We also begin the process of applying for our H2A labor from Jamaica. Many of these guys have been working for us for over 20 years, so you can imagine they are really well trained now and we rely on them. I will be busy cleaning and painting and replacing worn items in their house while they are absent.
In the News
I don’t really want to start a fight about GMO and chicken from China, but if you don’t want either, you are safe with us! This year I prepared my first shell beans for dry sales and was delighted with the product and the response. The beans were completely GMO free, and sustainably grown. We will grow more next year with the knowledge that there are a lot of us out there who want an all-natural product. If you have not read about it yet, China has been approved to receive US and Canadian chicken to cut up or prepare and then ship back to the US. There is no labeling requirement. The US has managed to avoid this confusion thus far, but now, for some reason, has decided it is ok. If you are buying fresh chicken, it should be ok, just be aware if you are buying prepared, pre-cooked chicken, you may want to investigate the companies you are buying from if you are concerned about extraneous melamine, arsenic, avian flu, cadmium, or anything else that might trouble you 😉
Another reason to shop from vendors you can trust!
Here are two articles about the China processing: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/will-you-know-when-your-chicken-is-from-china-96753.html
and here’s the Wiki listings about food safety in China (it’s Wiki, you can take it or leave it) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_safety_incidents_in_China
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Summer CSA, oh how I miss you corn.
More about CSA here
CSA is the perfect gift for yourself AND is also a perfect gift for your loved one. When you think about it as a gift, it is a really good deal and you will be thought of weekly 😉 The price will hold at the old price of $350 for a small box and $500 for a large box until April 1. Remember, a large box is not double the quantity in the small box, but it is more ;). As of April 1 the price will increase to $375 for a small box and $535 for a large box. As much as we would like to hold the price forever, our costs have gone up across the board: health care, gas, soil, boxes, seed, labor, etc. We will hold the price for our early subscribers but will have to raise our prices to reflect costs of doing business in Massachusetts. Please also remember that we hire a lot of local help – even folks in the city, and we pay them over minimum wage 🙂 Take advantage of the old price ASAP! Call or email if you have questions or would like to chat: 508-867-7193, firstname.lastname@example.org
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|The Goshawk is still lurking about…but who cares about him when we have TONS of Bluebirds. The other day I was chatting with my neighbor and stopped mid-sentence when I realized the bluebirds were sitting on the alder berry in the urns a few feet away, stripping the berries off, and stuffing their little faces. IT WAS AWESOME! Stupidly, I took my phone out of my pocket to call Glenn instead of capturing the picture. Faith and I watch the turkeys every day, parading through the big field, and we know it won’t be long before the Spring strut begins.