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Cookie Jar

Aha, caught red-handed! Paddy Rose has figured out if she climbs a few stairs, she can reach over and help herself to her favorite summer treat. Fortunately for the bottom line, cherry tomato production has overtaken baby’s consumption and we have buckets of them to sell y’all! They are flat out the best cherry tomatoes around, objectively speaking of course. You might also see them on a few local menus – without a Saturday market to sell at because of the holiday, Anzio’s happily heeded my tomato plea. And as always, Twigs Cafe up at Tower Hill ordered tomatoes and so much more. We went up there today for lunch – let’s just say it’s worth the drive on this lovely holiday weekend!

Speaking of which, yes we are absolutely still doing a pickup on Labor Day from 12-3pm (let me know if you can’t make this time). There is far too much good stuff coming in to deprive y’all of this incredible abundance. Jeff from Short Creek Farm is coming down with pork and beef, Fern Hollow Farm is bringing pastured chicken, and Sarah from Anna Banana’s has lots of chocolate treats – you get a prize if you can think of something good we won’t have for your holiday BBQs. Email Jeff directly with your order – you can order chicken and chocolate on our website just like your veggies and eggs. The forecast looks fantastic for Monday so go crazy!

Incredible sleeping weather and perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes don’t usually go hand in hand, but this season has been unusual from start to finish. 45 degree nights in August is NOT the norm, but it’s hard to complain with highs in the 60s and 70s! The third planting of cucumbers has not enjoyed the cold nights, but the zucchini doesn’t seem to be suffering so much. And if we get some warm nights like they’re calling for, watch out because we’ll be throwing buckets of massive heirloom tomatoes your way! I didn’t think we could possibly be more overwhelmed with this abundance, but we might just get there. Get the good stuff while the getting’s good, because who knows how long this will last!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 12-3pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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Abundance

I may be prone to hyperbole, but isn’t this the absolute best time of year? Warm days, cool nights, and LOADS of veggies. By my count, there are 27 different veggies you can order and that’s not to mention a few items that likely will be available…like Jimmy Nardello peppers, the absolute best sweet pepper evah!

Funny story about those peppers – they look exactly like a hot pepper but are fruity sweet. It’s essential that no seedlings get mixed up, which we’ve historically had no problem with. This year we threw in a bunch of extra seedlings because we had an empty row and who doesn’t want more sweet peppers, right? Well, turns out there a few impostors mixed in. And guess who had to (got to?) sample one fruit from each plant! In one of the oddest farm chores I’ve ever done, April and I took turns biting the ends off of 35 peppers. I’m still breathing fire from the two hot portugal peppers, but we’ve identified and marked the impostors so you can rest assured you will not suffer what we endured…unless you’re into that type of stuff! Yet another sacrifice made on your behalf from your favorite organic farmer!

Chocolates are back, and just in time for S’more season, Sarah from Anna Banana’s Homemade Goodness, has some fancy new homemade marshmallows dipped in every flavor you can imagine!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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When Life Gives You Lemons…

Grow spinach in the middle of August? Is that how the saying goes? I still can’t get over how different this summer has been from the epically hot and dry 2016 summer. And how different crops can be from one summer to the next. This time last year, I had tomatoes coming out my ears. Tomatoes are a high-value crop – last year’s bumper tomato crop more than made up for everything that withered in the drought. This year, tomatoes are more scarce but I have spinach, a cool season green that typically bolts at the first sign of summer. Another reason to grow a wide variety of crops, rather than a single crop like corn – if my tomatoes fail I don’t need a government bailout to save my farm.

That said, our heirloom tomatoes ARE back in stock. As is eggplant, cherry tomatoes, peppers, bok choi, arugula, tatsoi, new potatoes, french breakfast radishes, and tokyo bekana. Oh, and yes spinach! Whew, what a list…and that’s only the new stuff this week! If you’ve been a little too busy to order, I totally get it – I have a 14 month old after all. But the harvest is in and now is the time to support your favorite local organic farm. Now back to the harvest!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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Life’s a Beach

We’re headed to the mystical cape for the weekend. Never been but we hear great things! Typically we don’t see the beach it seems until close to the first snowfall, but a quick weekend away in the busiest part of the season couldn’t go too wrong, right?

The Monday pickup won’t change, other than a slightly shorter list for simplicity. We’ve started selling beautiful sun and wildflower bouquets. If you want one for $7.50, add a note when you checkout. And April will still be selling at the Douglas market from 9-12 today – go buy her out of veggies so she doesn’t have to haul anything back in her decent excuse for a farm truck.

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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We Got the Beet Back

And pretty much everything else. Finally, it’s starting to look a bit like summer on our veggie list. Lots of meaty vegetables to go along with your side of meat from the talented meat man from up north. Seriously, those are chops? Sign me up! Check out his meat list and send Jeff an email with your order. Add zucchini, new potatoes, beets, or cabbage and you’ve got one hearty meal. Plenty of cukes too from the second planting, mostly the green ones but the blondies are on their way too. AND rainbow carrots, first come first serve!

Looking for something lighter to go along with your grassfed steak? We’ve got that covered too. The next planting of baby lettuce looks incredible – let us do the dirty work and triple wash it for you. Salad in a bag!

I’m trying to temper my excitement though. Due to the frequent rain and heavy morning dews, every possible evil fungal disease is thriving. Late blight (tomatoes) and both basil and cucurbit (squash) downy mildew have all been confirmed in MA already, well ahead of schedule. Each of these diseases will take down the entire crop once it arrives on the winds of yet another summer thunderstorm. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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Bees and Peas

This week felt a lot like September, and that is NOT a complaint. Our heat-loving plants may not have appreciated this week’s relief, but I sure did. It’s usually sometime in mid-July that I question if I really truly actually like working outside. That was my mind-frame last week…a distant memory now. Now I feel rejuvenated and positively exhausted at the same time as we took full advantage of the weather to get a TON of things checked off the list. Let’s go down the yesterday’s list as an example.

-Harvest for a big delivery to the incredible cafe at Tower Hill ✔
-Get awesome picture of  our BEES on a sunflower with our house in the background ✔(photo cred April)
-Plant a late, risky third planting of squash, zucchini, and cucumbers ✔
-Make harvest list for today’s (Saturday) Farmers Market in Douglas from 9-noon. ✔
-Seed buckwheat and oats and PEAS in two fallow sections and disk in ✔
-Spread ground cover in preparation for next season ✔
-Find missing pig and put back in pen ✔
-Weed everything ✔ (for now)
-Pick cherry tomatoes! ✔

And yet, there’s still so much left to do! Our cherry tomato haul was just about enough for my cherry pickers and daughter to eat (she eats them by the handful), so it’s doubtful they’ll be available Monday. However, there will plenty of zukes and cukes, thanks in part to a friend’s farm in Ashland and pastured, organically fed chicken via Fern Hollow Farm in Sturbridge. Order away!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

 

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First Blush

I’m not the only one turning red after a week of fun in the sun! April, my ever trusty sidekick, found our very first cherry tomato blushing red on Thursday. The plants look fantastic after a rough start – hope for, but certainly don’t expect, to see them for sale Monday at the pickup. More likely we’re a week away from tomato bounty.

Your very favorite cucumber is just starting to come in. For the uninitiated, Boothby’s Blonde is a…well, blonde cucumber with extraordinary flavor. I sometimes forget the difference between it and a grocery store cucumber because I eat my year’s allotment of cucumbers during the summer and don’t buy any fall through spring. But then someone exclaims, ‘hey this cucumber actually has taste!’ after biting into them. With skin this thin, there is NO need to peel this blondie. The second planting is getting hit hard by the aptly named cucumber beetle, so get them while the getting’s good.

We have a perfect (almost) storm of herbs coming in. The basil, savory, mint, and cilantro we’re cutting right now are at their peak. Now if only we had dill to go along with those cukes!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

Continue reading First Blush

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No Rain, No Gain

What a difference a year makes huh? This time a year ago, I was grousing about too little rain. And a string of 95 degree days. Well, it hasn’t exactly been a cool summer, but the sky faucet seems to be stuck on. Severe drought to daily severe thunderstorms…sometimes I feel like I’m being hazed as a new farmer! A friend’s father once told me if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Maybe my first two seasons is my New York, and it’ll be clear skies and sunshine from here on out? I’m sure all this rain is a good thing in the long run, but it’s hard to see the farm through the weeds during this string of four days of pain.

I have to admit a little disappointment on this season after looking at that post from last year. I had been picking cucumbers and zucchini for a couple weeks, and the tomatoes just started rolling in. This year, we’ve picked a handful of zucchini, nary a cucumber, and there is not even one brave tomato threatening to turn. On the bright side, the onions have never looked so good – I can’t even step over them in the rows because they’re so tall! We will actually get eggplant and peppers this year as they look fantastic. And don’t even get me started about the greens – they’re like really, really green. Get it while the getting’s good!

The Douglas Farmers Market starts back up this week (9am-12), and your favorite organic farmer will be there along with your favorite farm baby. Come say hi and stock up! Or put in an order online and pick up your veggies on the farm Monday evening. Zucchini is disappointingly still first come first serve, but perhaps there will be a cucumber or two.

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.

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Pickup Party

Hope y’all had a wonderful 4th! Things are really picking up steam here on the farm, and so are our pickups. We had a fantastic turnout last week despite the holiday. This week will be even better as we have an extravaganza of good food! Organically-fed and pastured meat chickens from Fern Hollow Farm is the newest addition to the feast (yes you read that right, finally chicken!!). And all the oldies but goodies will be joining in too. The senior of the group, Mr. Jeff will be coming down from NH with his latest sausage creations. You need to email him directly to order, list can be seen here. Cheese, chocolates, veggies, and meat chickens can be ordered on our website…one stop clicking!

New veggies are being added daily as the harvest season really begins. If you’re looking for suggestions, our swiss chard and bok choi are out of this world right now. It’s a new, fancy, and gorgeous variety of bok choi so if you previously wrote it off, give it another shot. We’ll be picking the first of our heirloom zucchini, but there’s only enough for first come first serve. This is unlike any listless and tasteless “zucchini” you’ll find in the grocery store. Even other farmstands’ zucchini pale in comparison! Salt, butter and pepper is all that’s needed.

If you can’t make it Monday, come see us at the Grafton Market on Wednesdays from 2-6pm. The market committee (myself included) has done a lot of work to reinvigorate the market, and it’s been a roaring success so far. Just like the bok choi, give it a second chance if you’ve given it up for dead!

Pickup Procedures:
Put your orders in online before 8am Monday. We’ll pick it fresh Monday morning and have your order available for you to pick-up from 4-7pm Monday on the farm at 64 Potter Hill Rd in Grafton. Pickups are in the long white garage on the left across from the big red barn at the crest of the hill.