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Hey, remember me?

Hey all y’all!  Yes, it’s Jeff, back to bother y’all.  And yes, that’s how I talk now.  Not sure why, seeing as how I moved to New Hampshire and not Alabama, but sometimes weird stuff happens and you really just have to go with it.  That’s farming in a nutshell – weird stuff happening?  Good, just go with it.  Ok, enough nonsense.  I have a million things to do today, as usual, so I’m going to keep this little reunion newsletter short and sweet.  Well, mostly just short, I’m running a little low on sweet these days.

Potter Hill Paul graciously invited me to reach out to everyone to remind you that you can order meat from Dave and I up at our new joint in NH – Short Creek Farm.  We’ve been selling sausages like crazy – a couple hundred pounds every week –  to all the good folks on the NH seacoast, and I wanted to remind you that it’s easy for you to get in on the action without driving up to Portsmouth or Exeter or Durham or Kittery or York… Oh my god, so many farmers’ markets.

Generally, meat drops at Potter Hill will be the first Monday of the month, but things can and do change.  Case in point, our next drop is this Monday, August 29th!  That way, you can stock up for your Labor Day BBQ.  So go ahead and sign up for our newsletter so you can keep track.

Here’s the way it works.  Look at the list of stuff we have for sale.  Look at the whole list – there’s some real treats near the bottom.  Send us a list via email of what you want, and be sure to get us your list before noon on the Sunday prior to the drop-off in Grafton.  I will make you an invoice and email it to you, and there’s a link right in that email that lets you pay for your order with a credit card.  Then just show up at Potter Hill as usual for Monday pick-up (and of course, don’t forget to order your veggies and cheeseand your Short Creek meat order will be bagged up with your name on it in the the chest freezer in the barn.

So tell your friends.  Tell your boyfriends.  Tell your girlfriends.  Put it on Snapchat so your kids know what’s up.  Put it on Facebook so your grandparents know what deal is.  Instagram it so I know what’s happening.  Wait… I said enough nonsense, so I better stop right here.

All the best to you and yours!

Your old friend,
Jeff

 

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Tomato Time

We progressed pretty quickly from a few tomatoes, to a lot of tomatoes, to time to sauce tomatoes! Unfortunately the drought has followed a similar pattern, despite the bit of rain we got last week. I didn’t even know there was a level up from ‘Severe Drought’ but there are actually two – a good chunk of Massachusetts is now on ‘Extreme Drought’ and we’re right on the border. Let’s hope the 10 day forecast of no appreciable chance of rain is incorrect, otherwise we might just get hit that lest level…’Exceptional Drought’.

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Our tomatoes are the only crop that’s truly loving this dry weather, but there’s still plenty of other Potter Hill organic goodness you can order on our market page. With such little rain, the tomatoes are all flavor – all varieties will be good for making sauce or heirloom tomato soup. (go heavy on the basil, you won’t regret it). We picked 80 pounds of cherry tomatoes in two day – help us eat them all or we’ll have to start pulling up plants! Sweet cherry tomato and sausage bake? Cherry tomato paste anyone? Put them in a single layer in jelly roll pans in the oven and cook at 225 for hours till they are shriveled. Stop there for sun dried tomatoes, or into the blender with a little salt (or not) for paste – from Sarah, everyone’s favorite chocolate maker who will be at the farmer’s market this week. Discounts won’t show up on the website (far too technical for this farmer), but they will be given when you check  out: 10% off for 5 pounds, 15% for 10, and 20% for 20 pounds or more. The same discount applies for cherry tomato pints! 10% off for 5 pints, 15% for 10, and 20% off for 20 or more pints.

After a week hiatus, Couet Farm’s award-winning cheese is back in stock! Franciszka specifically was the big winner, according to the American Cheese Society, but they’re all winners in my book.

Mark your calendars – Jeff will be down with meat next Monday (the 29th) just in time for you to stock up for your Labor Day BBQs.

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday morning. If you’re too busy to choose, you can order a garden bag for only $15 by replying to this email or ordering it online. We’ll pick all orders fresh Monday morning and have it available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday afternoon right on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Take advantage of this short window of time when the best produce around is grown in Grafton’s backyard!

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A Reflection

It certainly has been a challenging year taking over the farm from Jeff. Add a adorable newborn and an endless heatwave to the mix…well, let’s just leave it there, challenging. Fortunately, cousin Natalie was just crazy enough to come east to help us stay above water at home and on the farm. I have no idea what we would have done without her this season. Sadly her time with us is up, as she’s headed back to school on Sunday. She will be missed! Below is a refection on her two months here in Grafton.

Sunset Natalie

Potter Hill Farm has been my home for two months, and now it’s time to say goodbye.  When I think about Potter Hill Farm, I think about the sunsets that look like the sky’s been set on fire.  I think about the frogs that sound like rubber bands being pulled and plucked.  I think about when we let the cows into a field of wildflowers so tall it looked like they were wearing crowns on their heads.  I think about the chickens pecking at the polka-dots on my rain boots.  I think about the barn cat, Ivy, trailing behind us as we harvest for Monday pickup.

Nat Hay

Potter Hill Farm is more than a place, it’s a community of happy animals, fresh veggies, and wonderful people.  I’ve never met a more creative and hardworking person than April, Paul’s right hand man.  And Denali, our weekly volunteer, is an endless source of knowledge and dedication. I once saw a 9 month pregnant Jenni flush out a cow’s wound and treat it diligently just a few days before giving birth.  And there is not a day or night when Paul isn’t trying to make Potter Hill Farm the best it can be for his family and for his customers.

In a time when food is increasingly commercialized and depersonalized, I see Potter Hill Farm as a refreshing change of pace. There’s something about this family and this farm that does more than grow your food.  Paul knows of all his customers by name, and his customers know his baby by name.  We curate veggies with natural sun, water, and care rather than pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals.

If you haven’t already, I would encourage everyone to volunteer an hour or two of their time at the farm—get to know the people and place that grow your food, because, if you see what I see, you’ll find a one of a kind place with one of a kind people.  I might be leaving, but Potter Hill Farm and the memories I’ve made will stay with me forever.

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday morning. Despite the challenges, we have quite the spread of goodies. We may even crack open a watermelon before Natalie leaves to see if they’ve hit peak flavor. Our heirloom tomatoes will knock your socks off – with no rain, the tomatoes are packed full of flavor instead of water. If you’re too busy to choose, you can order a garden bag for only $15 by replying to this email or ordering it online. We’ll pick all orders fresh Monday morning and have it available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday afternoon right on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Take advantage of this short window of time when the best produce around is grown in Grafton’s backyard!

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Worth the Wait

There’s nothing like a just-picked Potter Hill heirloom tomato! IMG_3622You’ve probably seen round red tomatoes for sale at local farmstands for a while now. Though grown in a pot rather than rich soil, hothouse tomatoes are at least picked ripe, so they wouldn’t survive a fall off a semi on the highway…unlike the “fresh-picked” tomatoes in the grocery store! I will admit I’ve bought a couple hothouse tomatoes for burgers, but summer doesn’t officially start for me until I make my first my tomato basil mozzarella sandwich. I made one for my cousin the other day – “easily one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had”. Our friends at Couet Farm dared me to replace the mozzarella with their Fran de Maquis. Challenge accepted – yum!

On that topic, I can now refer to our ‘friends at Couet’ as our ‘award-winning friends at Couet’. Their Franciszka cheese recently won first place in its category at the American Cheese Society’s 2016 Awards Ceremony. You can now order Franciszka and all their other incredible cheeses for Monday pickups at Potter Hill along with your veggies.

In sadder news, the heat finally caught up with the blueberries and cucumbers. Cucumbers are down for the count, and the blueberries are on vacation for a couple weeks. With the minimal amounts of rain we had, I’ve been busy prepping the garden for fall crops. If we all do a little rain dance, we might be snacking on Potter Hill’s famous frost-sweetened fall carrots after all come November!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday morning. If you’re too busy to choose, order a garden bag for only $15 by replying to this email or ordering it online. We’ll pick all orders fresh Monday morning and have it available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday afternoon right on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Take advantage of this short window of time when the best produce around is grown in Grafton’s backyard!