Monday, May 24, 2010

FARM WEEK # 1 - Friday, May 28, 2010 - Full and Half Shares Starting!

Hello people!

Well, it's happening! The first picking for the shares will be this Friday, May 28. It will just be for the Full and Half Shares this week. Next Friday will begin the Mini Shares. Most likely I will be delivering by 12:30 or 1:00. You can help by having your cooler and extra containers ready and waiting.

I am pretty excited.

I picked 8 pounds of salad greens last Friday for the wedding of some dear friends. It served well as a warm-up picking for the shares. Little details were dealt with like tracking down my picking containers and special food-only scissors and just remembering how to clean a large quantity of greens. It also served as confidence builder. There is food out there in the garden, you just have to pick it.

THIS WEEK'S SHARES (full and half sized only)
spinach or spinach in the mesclun — this depends on how quickly it grows this week
pea shoots
dwarf bok choy or Chinese cabbage — these are small but starting to bolt so we may as well eat them.
(The turnips need thinning. The leaves are about 4 inches long. If you want some thinnings, let me know. Otherwise, the chicks and I will eat them.)

pea shoots
All parts of the pea plant are edible. You can harvest and eat the shoots, leaves and tendrils as well as any flowers or buds that may have formed.

Head lettuce and white turnips forming up nicely. The TOMATO and tomatillo plants are in the ground. 32 hills of 16 varieties of winter squash have been planted. The potatoes are up and looking stout. This week I am planting lots of BEANS - green, lima, shell and soy beans as well as cucumbers and more summer squash. Next weekend I'll be setting out peppers, eggplant, and okra. The NEW FIELD looks great and it's lovely to work down there with the sound of all the birds and the view of the pond across the road. I'll be home planting on Memorial Day if anyone wants to stop by for a tour or to help with the planting. The CHICKS are getting quite big. They have all their feathers now and I plan on letting them into their yard this week. The IRISES and PEONIES are starting to bloom and the new cut flower garden is getting filled. It is going to be glorious. The May Flies and Deer Flies have arrived. There's a GARTER SNAKE guarding the door to the chicken coop, keeping the rodents away from the grain. WEEDS are growing, some welcome and some not. Rob and I enjoy eating Stinging Nettles and Lamb's Quarters. It's a busy time.

See you soon!

Laura Timmerman
910 Greenfield Rd
Leyden, MA 01337

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FARM NEWS - May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010
Hello folks,

Not much news here this week but I am checking in just to establish a routine of connecting more often with you all. I have mostly been planting. The first beans and summer squash are in! This year I am trying a variety of bean called Empress. Seeds of Change catalog describes it thus: "Incredible flavor. Our very best snap bean for fresh eating, freezing or processing. A true work-horse!" Sounds good to me. I hope to make some Dilly Beans this year and also put some in the freezer for the winter. This is just one of many kinds of beans being grown this year. Yay!

I have planted some broccoli, cabbage and oats in the new field area. It was very exciting to start planting an entirely new garden. I also started moving perennial flowers such as Yarrow and Sweet William to the cut flower garden and it is starting to take shape. There is so much to do right now my head is in a happy whirl.

I bumped into this helpful web site that addresses the question of what to do with all those vegetables in your CSA share. It seems helpful to me.

Also found this article about CSF (Community Supported Fisheries) very interesting. It makes me wish I lived closer to the ocean.

The pea shoots look almost ready to pick so you can start looking at recipes for stir fry. The first planting of arugula is beautiful (and bug free, thanks to its cover!).

I am happily planting but am willing to share the joy of gardening. If any of you have the urge to stick seeds or plants in the ground, let me know. I am sure I can find something for you to do!

The shares will be starting soon!

Laura Timmerman
910 Greenfield Rd
Leyden, MA 01337

Friday, May 14, 2010

May Flowers

The shares have not started yet but if they had, the bouquets would be something like this.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

FARM NEWS - May 10, 2010

Hello to all you 2010 Farm Members! Welcome!

(This is a long message with details about getting started up for the season. Other messages will not be so long.)

I have been planting and planting every chance I get. Things are on schedule for planting so let's hope they will be on schedule for harvesting and eating! It's been such a beautiful spring. So sunny, and right now at the farm, the air smells lovely, full of lilac blossoms. It's a beautiful world.

The soil was dry so I am very grateful that Mother Nature will gave the garden a good soaking rain this past weekend. Thanks to farm member Doug Pratt I now have water pressure which makes the watering a lot less time consuming and a whole lot more satisfying. And many thanks to my son Rob for all the tilling, mowing and vine support building that beens happening around here lately. It looks good!

This is a time of year when I generally feel a bit of anxiety. There is lots planted but the plants look tiny and I worry about having enough for the shares. BUT, every year there is enough. It's just that plant growth really takes off in May. For instance the pea shoots are twice as big as they were a few days ago and the baby leaf lettuce has been picked three times for my dinner but the plants are so thick, you can't tell at all. I also peeked under their protective cover and the first arugula is getting quite big. *So never fear, we will have plenty for all.* I think my nervousness is a symptom of being a new farmer. In a few more years, I'll be more confident.

For recent PICTURES around the farm:

At this point I expect the earliest shares to include mesclun, pea shoots (for stir fry), white turnips, baby spinach, and radishes. Coming soon after will be garden peas, snow peas, carrots, baby spinach, head lettuce, and kohlrabi. This year I managed to plant potatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. And I have planted more fava beans and peas than in previous years. We have okra, pea shoots, Chinese broccoli, and pak choy for new items. So you can start thinking about recipes and feel free to ask about any vegetables. I hope to grow some sweet potatoes as an experiment this year. I am always open to trying out new crops. This is your farm. Let me know what you would like to see in the shares.

This week I am preparing the ground for beans, squash and tomatoes, transplanting flowers into the cutting garden, and planting Swiss chard and radicchio.

It's time to start thinking about your share.
If you are picking up your share, make sure I know which day you plan to do so - Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

Full and Half Shares will start on Friday, May 28. Mini-Shares will start on Friday, June 4.

Some of you farm members are old hands at this, but for new members, here is something to think about. Often, a person will think of what they want to eat and cook, go to the store, buy the ingredients and make their food. Or perhaps, they go to the store, see what is looking good, buy that and plan their meals from what they bought. (These items may have come from all over the world but they are in season somewhere.) With a CSA membership, we are all more closely tied to the growing season right here in Franklin County, MA. Each crop is ready at a particular time. Some, like pumpkins and peppers, take most of the season to grow and be ready; some, like spinach and peas, only like to grow in the coolness of spring and late fall; some can be replanted and harvested all season long. And then there is the weather! Cold rain can slow maturity, which sometimes means waiting for a crop to be ready and sometimes means a particular crop is available for a longer time and then bolts when the hot weather arrives. Hail can make holes in beautiful chard leaves just before they are ready. Or the weather can be just right for a bumper crop of tomatoes! Things vary every year. (Oh yes, and then there are insects and larger predators...)

This variation makes each season special. (Last year was marked by lots of rain and the terrible Late Blight on the potatoes and tomatoes, sharply reducing the harvest on those crops.) Every year there are some crops that do Really Well and are a source of delight.

So what happens in a CSA is that I work hard planting and tending those crops, Mother Nature does whatever she will, I pick what is ready as it is ready and give it to you and THEN you get to figure out what to make for dinner! It's actually fun, as well a delicious. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Each week I'll be sending out an email on Monday morning with a bit of news and a list of what will most likely be in the shares that "farm week". (I count the start of the farm week with the Friday delivery - Don't worry I'll label the email.) Nature sometimes has other ideas about it but usually I can make a close guess as to what will be ready. The most common surprise is that something is ready sooner than I expected. For the mini shares, I will include a list of what is available for minis that week. If you have a preference, email me before your picking day. I can usually accommodate your requests. If I don't hear from you, I'll just give you the "farmer's choice".

This email marks the first of these Monday morning emails, just to get us all in the habit.

EGGS: The hens are laying well. Eggs are available most every day. You can call or email. I also maintain a separate email list for eggs. Let me know if you want to be on that. It happens about 2-3 times a month, only when the supply is accumulating. If you would like eggs added to your share on any given week, let me know. They are $4.00 a dozen and like everything else at the farm, raised organically but not certified. The baby chicks have arrived and are happily peeping and growing. You can see photos at the facebook link.

If you are picking up your share, you can gather together or make a couple of large bags or boxes to use for your share. I will exchange them each week. I will keep track of your containers, if you label them.

If your share is being delivered, make sure you have a large cooler, preferably with cold packs, that can left in a safe and convenient spot. I will be delivering on Fridays, usually in the early afternoon. (11 - 3)

For all of you: I can use help gathering containers and packaging for the shares. These are all useful:
Large paper bags
Large plastic containers with lids (The ones that hold 1 pound of greens are a good size.)
Clean and dry produce bags from organic produce
Small glass jars for the mini bouquets - ones with a narrow opening, like olive jars or jelly jars.
Quart sized canning jars for the larger bouquets.
Large (2-4 gallon) heavy food grade plastic bags, big enough for greens. These get washed and reused.
Cardboard egg cartons

PAYMENT: Everybody has been really timely and reliable about paying their deposits or more. Thanks! Final payments are due by July 1, 2010.
Mini Shares: $100 (plus $25, if delivered)
Half Shares: sliding scale, $300.00 to $350.00
Full Shares: sliding scale, $600.00 to $675.00

Well, that's all I can think of to tell you. I will make an effort to keep future emails short.
Thank you for being part of the farm!

Laura Timmerman
910 Greenfield Rd
Leyden, MA 01337