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Ending. Beginning.

It’s nearly Christmas, but it has felt like early spring more often than not over the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know what the heck is going on out there, but we’ll take it.  As if we have any other choice.  I’m not sure if you are having this feeling, but I suspect that Old Man Winter is plotting some nasty scheme to make sure we all forget about this mild and pleasant December we’ve had.  My gut tells me that we’ll remember 2015 as the year we had 84 feet of snow in April and not the year of the very pleasant December.  But we’ll see.

We’ll be having our last veggie pickup of the year on Monday, so come get some roots for Christmas dinner.  Perhaps even some green things as well?  What’s listed on the website is what we HOPE to still have on Monday.  Get your orders in, and we’ll do our best to get everything you ask for.

As the year comes to a close, we’ll be officially moving all meat sales over to Short Creek Farm.  Dave and I would love to continue selling Short Creek grass-fed beef and pastured pork to you folks down in MA, while Paul continues to sell veggies from Potter Hill.  We have a fresh round of pork and beef in the freezer, including our first (!) 100% homegrown grass-fed beef.  We have been perfecting our sausage recipes, and we have a bunch of new varieties in the works.  Some of the new ones include Smoked Chili and Heirloom Pumpkin, Roasted Apple and Sage, and Quince and Roasted Onion.  Sounds good, right?  I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering.  And it’s not just the usual slobber.

Starting after the New Year, we’ll be doing a Short Creek drop-off at Potter Hill every couple of weeks.  We’ll send out a list of what we have available via the Short Creek Farm newsletter, so head over to the website and sign up for the newsletter, if you haven’t already.  More details to follow, but we plan to take your orders by email, and we’ll likely stick to the same Monday 4pm – 7pm schedule for pick up.

Happy Holidays to everyone!  See you soon!

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December Lettuce?

What a strange/pleasant fall it has been. I heard recently that it was the 7th warmest October-November on record in Worcester, and that was before this start to December. Usually anything green is hard to find this time of year, yet if you’ve made it up Potter Hill (in daylight) you know that the hill is alive! I won’t gloat too much for fear of it coming back to haunt us, and I’ve been reminded that last winter started out pretty mild, but I have to at least say it’s been VERY nice washing veggies in above freezing temps. That said, this freak weather won’t keep for long, so now is the time to stock up on (clean) roots.

I plan to wash a ton of roots Monday, so if you can’t make the usual hours, I can meet you at the farm for root orders of 20 pounds or more (any mixture of carrots, beets, rutabaga, Munchener Bier radishes, and celeriac). Just note on your order that you aren’t able to make it, and I will email you directly.

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Oh, and December lettuce? Unprotected? That’s as rare as hens’ teeth in New England. I made a limited amount of lettuce available on the website, get it while it lasts. Baby heads are 3 for $2.

 

 

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Better late than never

Five o’ clock and just getting the newsletter out the door.  Terrible!  And, yes, you’ve seen this picture before.  But it’s so nice, I’m gonna use it twice.

Busy day today, with vehicles taking over my life.  This spring it was tractors, this fall… trucks.  The new farm truck is a beast (2003 F350 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel – yeeeeuh), but she’s an old girl and needs some TLC.  Done already, mostly with the help of Mr. Mark Beauregard – left side ball joints, shocks, new tow plate, steering stabilizer, tie rod, new trailer wiring, new front wheels, right front wheel bearing, front brakes, locking front hubs.  Man, it sure looks nice when you put it all end to end like that.  Now just to fix the coolant leak (front oil cooler header, I think… I hope) and that nasty case of the shakes she gets between 45 and 50 mph.  Hmmmpf.

And then there’s the van, which failed inspection (in New Hampshire? are you kidding me?) due to just a touch of the ol’ New England special – body rot.  Looks like a patch job should have the Green Bomber back on the road soon.  And, for the grand finale, the transmission in my pickup decided to give up the ghost.  On the highway.  With pigs in the trailer.  Luckily, I was able to limp home in low gear with the trailer and avoid a tow truck convoy.  And so the pigs are happily rooting in their new home, and my pickup has a completely rebuilt transmission.

Ninety-nine problems, and most of them are trucks.

Paul will be up in the barn on Monday for pickup between 3p and 7p.  There are – amazingly – still some green things on the list, but it’s December. So there may or may not actually be green things on Monday.  Fingers crossed!

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Thanksgiving for Fresh Veggies

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, friends, turkey and maybe even some delicious Potter Hill veggies!

We’ll take some time off around Christmas, but there are too many great veggies coming out of the garden right now to miss a pickup. As always, get your orders in before Monday morning – you can now pick up your orders from 3-7 pm on Monday.

We are thankful for your support!

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Continue reading Thanksgiving for Fresh Veggies

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Everything but the turkey

It’s been a great summer and fall in the garden.  I’m not sure we’ve ever had so much good stuff for sale so late in the year.  Carrots, rutabaga, beets, celeriac, squash, cabbage, kohl rabi, and even some green things like cabbage, tatsoi, and kale.  Plenty of variety for your Thanksgiving dinner.  Here’s a few ideas…

Roasted rutabaga – One of my absolute favorite things, especially with these sweet white Gilfeathers.  Just peel and chop into smallish pieces, then roast on a sheet pan until golden brown.  It helps to cover them with foil for the first 20 – 30 minutes.

Steamed carrots – This one’s easy.  Peel, slice, and steam until just tender.  Toss with butter, squeeze a bit of lemon on top.  Salt.  These carrots are so good, they don’t need much.

New England style southern-style greens – This works best with some rich pork stock, as you might make from simmering a smoked pig foot for several hours in a low oven.  But you could use chicken stock, if you must.  Heat a couple Tbs of lard in a large pot.  Add 1 sliced onion, cook until translucent.  Add 1 chopped dried chili and a bunch of salt.  Add kale (or mustards) and cook until they start to wilt.  Add a cup of stock, stir greens around until they wilt down.  Add 1/2 cup cider vinegar and enough additional stock to just cover greens.  Simmer for 1-2 hours, until tender – mustards will cook faster.  Salt to taste.

Cold beet salad – Boil several beets until tender.  Slip skins off while running them under cold water.  Chop beets, toss with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, orange zest, and juice from one orange.  Crumbled blue cheese and chopped walnuts on top.

Fresh cabbage salad – Basically cole slaw, just not drowning in mayo.  Sliced cabbage, thinly sliced onion, chopped parsley, grated carrots (all colors).  Toss together with salt, pepper, olive oil, cider vinegar, some dijon mustard, and just enough mayo to make it a bit creamy.

Just add turkey, stuffing, and gravy for a proper feast.

Thank you all so much for your support this year.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

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Coasting

You know what’s fun?  Driving from New Hampshire to Massachusetts to work on the new farm truck, only to realize that you left the key in NH.  Man, I’m going to miss all of you, but I can’t wait to live in one place.  Arghhhhhhh.

The good news is that autumn seems reluctant to leave, or actually summer seems to be trying to make a comeback.  Enjoy it while it lasts!  There’s still tons of good stuff on the list – it’s pretty amazing for November that we can still offer such a great variety of fresh vegetables.  Thanks to everyone for continuing to support us by coming to get your groceries on Mondays.

Get your orders in, and don’t forget to order some meat!  Loads of ground beef available, and a great selection of steaks, too.

 

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Get your fresh greens while you can

With November right around the corner and the oak trees all orange and brown, it is undeniably autumn.  We still have some greens in the garden, but their days are surely numbered.  This week may be the last for lettuce, so have a nice big salad and think of spring.  Kale and mustards are still looking good, but you should get your fill of these hearty fall greens while you can.  Might even be a good idea to blanch some and put them in the freezer.  Frozen kale is great for winter soups and stews.

The greens will fade away as winter approaches, but then there’s the roots.  And we have tons.  Literally.  Roots will keep for weeks (or months) in a cool dark place with high humidity, so stock up for winter.  Get 10 pounds of any mix of carrots and beets for $15.  

Don’t forget to include some pork and beef when you are placing your vegetable order.  We’ve got plenty of ground beef and a good selection of steaks available.

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Goodbye, summer

We hung on to summer for as long as we possibly could this year, and even though the weather is still fine, things are looking decidedly like autumn. After last weekend’s little cold snap, the summer plants that were insisting they could still play ball in October finally succumbed to the inevitable change of season. Paul’s been busy on the tractor, turning old plants into the soil with the disc harrow, and laying down seed for a winter cover crop. The beef cows are on the best pasture, stockpiled since late summer and full of lush cool season grasses putting on a final fall show. The cool winds blowing in tell them it’s time to pack on the pounds for winter – good feed and seasonal harvest should make for excellent beef this year.

The cold did affect some of the cold hardy plants in the garden – celery and broccoli are more tender (though not quite as crisp), kale and rutabaga are at peak flavor. And carrots! As good as they have been through late summer, they’re even better now after some serious frost, a signal that tells the plant to send sugar to it’s roots to get ready for winter.

Oh, and there’s bacon.

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It’s all fall around here

It’s really feeling like fall now, each day of the last few progressively more crisp.  The leaves are really lighting up, especially the red maples that line the little creek and fill the swamp at the bottom of the hill.  The last of the winter squashes are out of the field and stored in the greenhouse, a slight protection against the looming weekend chill.  We picked all of the rest of the peppers before the coming hard frost, and tomatoes will come too after a few more precious hours on the vine.  After this Monday and possibly the next, what’s left of this last  summer harvest is slated for the smokehouse, the pickle barrel, and the freezer so you can look forward to seeing them return as ingredients in our handmade sausages.

The manure is out of the barn and piled up to make compost for next year’s vegetables.  Not the most fun job, but I am reminded why I ever decided to keep cattle in the first place when I see that glorious mountain of manure, the promise of fertility and good harvests to come.  We continue to plunge ahead into the long list of autumn tasks – there’s still corn to pick, cover crop to sow, pole beans to harvest, and many many roots to dig.

If anybody is interested in getting a taste of the joy that is fall on a New England farm, please let me know – we’d be grateful for volunteers!  There’s really nothing like picking corn down in the back field on a cool autumn afternoon.

As you look over the vegetable list to order this week, note that we are still stubbornly hanging on to summer.  This will change very quickly, and at this time of year, it can be hard to say exactly what will happen between Friday and Monday.  Please bear with us and enjoy the whirlwind change of seasons in the garden.  We’ll do our best to get you everything you order each week.

Finally, a quick survey.  Now that the farmers markets are over, we are entertaining the idea of adding another day of shop hours at the barn, if enough people are interested.  If we opened up the store on Saturday, would you definitely come and buy some groceries?  Perhaps a different day?  Just shoot me a quick email to let me know.  Thanks!