Posted on

Flip Flop Season

Y’all Massachusettsans are crazy! It eked above 40 degrees today and I spotted the first flip flops of the season on a kid walking home from school. It’s as sure of a sign of spring as the robins that have been invading the hill the past couple days. In fact, I saw my first robin the same day as the snowstorm that never came – clearly they knew something the meteorologists didn’t! I haven’t gone so far as to get my sandals out of storage, but I did take advantage of the beautiful day to work outside and in the greenhouse all day. We’re supposed to get one more cold front coming through (on my birthday of course), and then it’s all 40s and blue skies from there. I haven’t been this excited for 40s since college!

With a lovely white blanket still on the fields, it’s looking like another delayed start to the season. It’s a shame too – with my beds already made from last year, I had lofty plans to seed peas a week ago…but I’m pretty sure they won’t germinate in snow! Regardless, it’s shaping up to be another fantastic year. With the newly minted CSA selling out in 5 days, I’m launching an alternative called a CSA Card that can be used at both the Monday pickups and the Wednesday Grafton Market. I tested it out on a few regulars last season and they loved it, as do I. It’s a super-flexible way to support the farm. The upfront expenses of seeds, supplies, and labor early in the season are steep, while veggies are a labor of love and patience. Without the revenue from pre-selling CSA shares and now CSA Cards, we don’t start earning anything back until the year is half over.

The CSA Card is essentially a gift card that you purchase at the start of the season and then use throughout the season. In return for investing in your health and the farm, you get a bonus added to your card. Plus you make my day, which is all the reward you really need right?

It’s all automated – it uses the same card reader that allows me to take credit card on my phone – so you get receipts emailed to you every time it’s used. And don’t worry, you’ll never forget it because I keep them on a keychain in my cash box. Easy peasy! Questions? Reply to this email. Ready to order? You can choose from the 3 levels ($300, $450, and $600) directly on the website!

Posted on

In Like a Lion

Wow, what a couple weeks! 70s in February, 70 MPH winds in March. You never know what’s going to happen next! Actually, I’m looking into the future now and there is delicious, handmade sausage in it. And chocolates? Jeff has clearly been busy in the kitchen as he has 14 different sausages for sale, plus lots of other goodies. As an added bonus, for meat customers only, we will have fresh eggs for sale…assuming the ladies survived this wind!

So, it seems like the CSA was a hit! I was hoping to get 5 people signed up in the first 5 days. How about 35?! And a few people on the wait list to boot. If you think you signed up but haven’t heard back from me, please let me know. CSA checks have started to roll in, just in time to help pay some big early season bills. This morning I put in a $2,500+ supplies order, to go along with over $1,200 in seeds ordered in January, and a $1,500 equipment order last week. The tractor needs to be split (again) and fixed and then comes almost 4 full months of work before we make our first sale in mid-June. Farming certainly is a funny business, so you can see why I’m so appreciative to all who took the leap and joined the CSA!

That CSA boat may have sailed, but fear not, there will be another boat that will launch as soon as I put the finishing touches on it. It will be a “CSA Card” and can be used at our regularly Monday pickups or the Grafton Market on Wednesdays. I did a test run with 5 customers last season, and they loved it! Stay tuned.

I’ve had a hard time adjusting to non-80s weather and not being in the pool with the little one, but fortunately February was quite kind to this wannabe snowbird. March seems like it may have a little more ‘tude, just like my 20 month old (going on 16). I’m itching to get my hands in the dirt, but I’ll have to settle for some potting soil as soon as it arrives next week. Onions will be first to be seeded, with so much more to follow. Can’t wait!

Posted on

Dreams of Weeding and Big Announcement

Hey y’all,

We’re back! And not just back in your inbox – we just returned from an epic vacation, our first in 5 years. Jenni had a veterinary conference in Orlando for the first week, while my mom and I chased Paddy Rose around the pool. We then met up with my father-in-law and ventured even farther south to sunny and hot Fort Myers Beach, where we did pretty much nothing but shop at farmers markets, eat delicious home-cooked meals (and lots of fresh citrus), and adore PR constantly. I intended and pretended to do some garden planning, but I gave up after only a couple days. I realized it’ll likely be another five years before we go on another vacation, so I soaked up all the sun and quality time with my girls as I could get. Best decision I’ve made in a long time!

Our last night there, I had a serene dream of weeding the garden. Weeding may not sound too peaceful, but it was preventative weeding rather than emergency weeding – a big difference! I’m a couple of months ahead of last year on all my big winter tasks (seed order, organic certification paperwork, etc), so maybe staying ahead of the weeds won’t be just a dream this year! Perhaps the warm weather inspired it, or maybe it was the anticipation of returning home to the season ahead of us. Either way, it got me wicked excited to get my hands in the dirt and to fill y’alls bags full of delicious organic veggies again!

But I’m not just invading your inbox to gloat about our fun in the sun. Drum roll please…ever since Jeff started Potter Hill Farm 7 years ago, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) has been in its future, but the timing hasn’t been right. Now that I’m going into my third year, I feel the time is finally right to add a CSA, and conveniently Friday is National CSA Sign-Up Day!

If you’re unfamiliar with the CSA concept, it is a direct relationship between our farm and you as a customer and community member. The upfront expenses of running a farm are steep, while veggies are a labor of love and patience. CSA members purchase a “share” of the harvest in advance of the growing season. This helps provide the farm with the capital needed early in the year to buy feed, seeds, compost, supplies, and pay for labor. In return, members receive a weekly “share” of the farm’s harvest – fresh, top quality, organic vegetables grown and harvested right here on our farm.

Please consider making a commitment to your health and supporting our farm! You can choose from a small and full-size share, and if you know anything about me, you know it’ll be a you-centric, flexible program. I’m even partnering with a local food blogger for simple ways to use your share. Pickup will be Saturdays (the Monday ordering system won’t change). Details as always can be found on the website. I’d LOVE to get my first 5 sign-ups by Friday, so please share this widely. And as always, reply to this email with any questions you may have. Thank you!

Posted on

Wild Weather Week

Happy New Year to you all! A newsletter wasn’t even on my radar, but with weather like this, I can’t pass up writing about my favorite topic. With the current tropical conditions, it seems like that brutal cold stretch is a distant memory. A memory I’d like to wipe clean from my mind. It seemed as if that bomb cyclone detonated right up here on the hill, with the fallout (wind) from the explosion cutting through the walls like butter. As I dreamed of a tin man and munchkins, I felt the house shaking and ready for takeoff. If you think I’m exaggerating, spend a windy night up here sometime. And then multiply that by 100!

Fortunately, the house stayed grounded and the worst inconvenience we endured were on again/off again frozen pipes for a week. Even more fortunately, those pipes only cracked and we don’t (currently) have a puddle in the basement. That, however, will change if we get the predicted 1.5″ of rain tonight on top of the large mounds of melting snow, although I’m much more concerned about what that amount of precipitation will do to our fields, which are still frozen solid. With no where to soak in, that water will run on down the hill with our topsoil along for the ride.

If we extrapolate the weather from the first full week of the year, we’re in for a wild ride in 2018. Indeed, it seems the only thing more erratic than our president right now is the weather. For the record, in this wacky week of records, consider the following;
-it’s currently 23 degrees warmer here than in Houston, TX right now
-Just 5 days ago, we set a record low of -9 degrees
-We just set a record high of 62 degrees today

In case you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to on the farm besides fretting about the weather, below are some pictures to give you an idea. And planning. Lots of planning. And lots of Paddy Rose. Stay tuned to hear all about our big plans for 2018. And more pictures of PR!