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Last Call for Veggies!

We’re having another pop-up party market to celebrate leap day…and the last veggie pickup of the year. It’s been a long ride for our roots, and yet, all good things must come to an end. We still have tons of beets and carrots ($1.50/lb bulk pricing for 10+ pounds), but the celeriac and rutabaga supply is dwindling. I put exactly the amount we have left on the website – when they’re gone they’re gone…until October!

Zach will be selling his fresh-baked breads, Sarah’s chocolate eggs will blow your mind, and Jeff’s been experimenting in the kitchen – there are some new varieties of sausage I can’t wait to try. As is our winter tradition, pickup is on Monday at Community Harvest Project (37 Wheeler Rd, North Grafton) from 4-7pm. See you then!

Choco Bunnies

 

 

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Why Grow Heirlooms?

We get this question a lot at Potter Hill. A lot. I have to admit, sometimes I wonder about the wisdom behind growing only older, fickle, and lower producing varieties of vegetables. Especially the financial wisdom. While¬†planning for an epic 2016 farming season and perusing the various seed catalogs, (Baker Creek, Johnny’s, High Mowing, and FEDCO if you need to know), I came across a great article in the Baker Creek seed catalog. If you are fascinated by unique, colorful, and exotic vegetables, this is the seed catalog for you! The writer’s first bullet point to the heirloom quandary is simple: Quality.

Modern seed breeding often sacrifices quality (nutrition and taste) for the convenience of mechanical harvesting, and shipping yuuge amounts of produce yuuge distances. Heirlooms are selected for taste over many generations, while modern produce is bred for things like tough skin that will survive their trek around the world. Many of our customers tell us that we have the best tasting tomatoes they have ever tried. The old-timers tell us the taste brings back fond memories, because it’s what they remember a tomato tasting like growing up.

But are we sacrificing sales for flavor? One of the books I am reading this winter is called The Lean Farm. A small farm in Indiana, similar to Potter Hill in size, applied the principles of lean concepts, developed by the founder of the Toyota Production System, to his farm. The farmer writes that he grew mostly heirloom tomatoes at first for the complex flavor, better texture, and aesthetics. Over the next few seasons, he realized heirlooms are what he prefers. His customers prefer standard red tomatoes, which he sells for less as they are less costly to grow. Now he grows mostly standard red tomatoes and has seen an uptick in profit.

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Are we losing out on sales to potential customers unfamiliar with a ripe green tomato that would knock their socks off if they gave it a chance? Or unwilling to pay the premium for the extra expense of growing heirlooms? What good is growing what I want to grow if that means I can’t financially support my (also growing) family? Those are the questions I’m pondering as I decide which heirloom tomato varieties to plant this season.

If anyone else is stuck in the Grafton arctic and not traveling somewhere warmer next week, we will be at Community Harvest Project on Monday from 4-7pm as usual. Stock up on your root vegetables, Simple Bread from Zach, and meat from Jeff. You can drop-in for your veggies and bread, but don’t forget to order the meat ahead of time.

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Snow Day!

My wife’s been wishing for a snow day all winter, and finally we have one! Despite the cracking of tree limbs and more coming down overhead, I do love the beauty of a heavy wet snow. And we still have power, somehow.

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I’ve been up to my ankles in alligators lately planning and preparing for spring, and with only a few veggie orders on non-meat weeks, I’m switching to every other week for the Monday pickup. That means this is an off week, so there will be no pickup on Monday. However, you can still find us and our carroty goodness tomorrow from 9am-noon at the Canal District Farmers Market. Hope to see you there!

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