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Don’t Forget to Vote!

Not to take anything away from our civic duty, but we don’t just vote on Super Tuesday or in November. Nay, we vote every single day with our wallets and our forks. What we buy and consume directly shapes the world in which we live. Joining a CSA allows you to turn the daily necessity of eating into a powerful social and environmental action. Market demand is a powerful force – the ripple effect of this one choice is far reaching. Investing in this farm via a CSA Card is a vote for keeping local organic agriculture alive and well right here in Grafton.

Your support is truly appreciated. Income at this time of year, and a commitment to a full season of veggies, are so crucial to the planning of the farm season. Our traditional Saturday CSA filled up in three hours, but we still have plenty of CSA Card spots available. Take the plunge and invest in your health and help the farm grow TODAY!

How does the CSA Card program differ from our traditional CSA? Glad you asked! With the CSA Card, you get to choose what you want and when you want it. The card can be used at our Monday evening pick-ups (4-7pm) OR Wednesdays at the Grafton Farmers Market (2-6pm), and there is no commitment to coming weekly. Essentially it is a pre-paid card that you use up throughout the season. And you don’t even have to bring the card with you – it’s all automated…you even get email receipts after each purchase!

I think it can be summed up in one word: convenience. It’s like a CSA…but better? At least according to this happy card member: “The card is a great way to support local farming, easy to use and the fact that you select your assortment is much better than a normal CSA.”

Click here to learn more about the CSA Card, read more quotes from card members, and to sign-up!

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2020 CSA Registration Now Open!

Happy Spring everyone! Wait, it’s still February? I know better than to think spring is here to stay, but that won’t keep me from daydreaming that we’re out of the tunnel!

Registration for our 2020 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is now open! If you are unfamiliar with a CSA, it’s a relatively new and wonderful concept from the farmer’s perspective – 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, we don’t start earning anything back until the season is half over.

The CSA runs June-October and pickups are Saturday morning from 10am-1pm (self-serve after 1pm), with 3 “skip weeks” built into the price. Unlike boxed CSAs where everyone gets the same veggies, you will be able to choose between some items. Two sizes are available – the small is roughly sized to feed two adults, and the large is roughly sized for a family of four.

And you, my valued newsletter readers, get a one day head start to sign up before everyone else! It’s the best way to support the farm. Plus you’re locking yourself in to 17 weeks of delicious organic veggies…a true win-win! With so many returning CSA members, there are only 10 spots available this year.

Click here to learn all about the CSA and/or to sign-up. Last year, the CSA filled up in three days, so delay at your own risk! Join today and help me to sell out by National CSA Day on February 28th. Thank you for your consideration and support, and please share with anyone you think may be interested.

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Looking for that Special Someone

Sorry to disappoint but this farmer is taken. Yes, this lovely lady with questionable style (I love you but what are you wearing?!) is my forever valentine. Despite being way out of my league, I’m blessed to call this loving, caring, and hardworking gorgeous gal mine, all mine. In fact, my wife is really the one you (and I) can thank for all those delicious veggies. In addition to being an awesome mom, she’s a full-time veterinarian and subsidizes my farming habit. You know the only bacon I’m bringing home at the end of the day is the delicious kind.

But I am still looking for that special someone(s) to work with on the farm. There is a strong unmet demand for local veggies, meat and eggs in our area that I cannot supply on my own. If you’re not afraid of a good honest day’s labor, love to eat great food, and love the great outdoors, please reach out. Learn to grow your own and fall in love with farming. Here’s the link, please share widely!

And….that’s a wrap on the 2019 season! I got an overwhelming response after threatening it could be the last harvest. I cleared out the few remaining greens from the tunnel yesterday, and left the sides open over night in hopes the frigid cold kills any lingering pests. I’m looking forward to a blank slate in there to start the very promising (labor willing) 2020 season soon!

If you’ve made it this far, I have a little Valentine’s Day gift for you. There will be a few openings in the Saturday CSA program this year. Registration will officially open up soon, however, here is an early bird sign-up link hidden on the website. Feel free to share the love. Thanks for reading!

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Spoiled

Brr – the Potter Hill winter winds return for one day and I find myself dreaming of living farther south! Or at least farther down this hill. Maybe it’s just the February drearies, but this winter has positively spoiled me – I just can’t imagine living through a real New England winter ever again.

It’s been a running joke with many of you dedicated customers that every week I say this will be the last pickup until the spring crops start coming in. And then the greens in the tunnel grow some more and I’m forced to distribute more deliciousness to you all. So, I understand your skepticism, but I think this might be the last one!

When I planted the greens in the fall, I figured I had missed the deadline for a productive harvest. I thought we’d get a couple harvests out of it, but definitely didn’t expect to still be harvesting from them in the middle of February. I guess I’m not the only one spoiled by this extremely mild winter. Of course, I get to come inside a heated house at night. Not so much for those greens – you may be surprised to learn it is a completely unheated tunnel. The temps at night are essentially the same as outside. Nature’s resiliency is impressive. Let’s hope it’s far more resilient than we think, because we humans seem to be doing our best to test its breaking point. As far as I can tell, that can be the only explanation for news like this. We’re dousing Florida’s most vital and vulnerable waterways with millions of gallons of herbicides? So that the water grasses that filter all the runoff from destructive farming practices…..don’t get tangled in our propellers? 🤦‍♂️ Sounds like a topic for another newsletter.

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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February Feast

Hello February! I’m not usually a fan of February, but have you looked at the 10 day forecast? I have and it’s glorious – and that’s after the third warmest January on record! Not being raised here, the winters can really beat me down. This winter, the only beating I’ve taken is from the news (did that really just happen 🤯😡?) I still have flashbacks to the winter it snowed so much I could walk up to the roof on top of the roof raked piles. I feel like usually we are all ready for winter to end by February, except for maybe the most seasoned of you New Englanders. I find myself actually missing winter a little this year. For you weather nerds, here’s an interesting read on the weather trends to thank (or curse) for this mild winter. Is winter over? I hope not – I still have my seed order to finalize!

I can assure you that winter IS over in the tunnel. I can really feel the sun’s strength increasing on a sunny day – it had to be 80 in there when I went to open it up a bit belatedly the other day. The greens I tried to clear in January keep coming back! There even is a new green to add to the mix – some delicious spicy salad mix that I seeded way back in October just for kicks, never thinking it would produce. Help me clear these precious greens out so I can get a fresh start in 2020!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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Come Grow with us!

Do you have an inner rockstar farmer just waiting for the chance to shine? This is your opportunity! Whether you’ve never set foot on a farm but sick of your office job, or you’ve been farming for ten years and want to take on more responsibility, we have a position (or can make one) for you. Quitting your day job might not be as crazy as you think – not that long ago, I was working for the Census Bureau going stir crazy. After spending even just a few months with my hands in the soil, I knew I could never go back. Life is too short and precious to not love what you’re doing.  Please check out the job description and reach out to paul@nullpotterhillfarm.com if you are interested or know someone who might be.

There are many on this list who aren’t customers for a variety of reasons but have told me how much they appreciate this newsletter. This is your opportunity to help the farm – please spread this opportunity far and wide. Even if you aren’t ready to drop everything and learn to farm, maybe you know someone who would be a perfect fit. Ask around, share on FaceSpace and InstaBook, forward this email, and make some calls. Seriously, I need your help!

And for those of you I see regularly, you know how important this is to the sustainability of the farm. There is far too much (good) work to do be done for this farm to continue without a right hand (wo)man. 2019 was a solid season, but could have been wildly successful with consistent help. Do it for yourself if not for me! You will benefit from even better veggies, eggs, and meat.

FYI: No pickup tomorrow due to the cold, however, the forecast is calling for another thaw late in the week so look for an email later in the week.

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Love at First Kohlrabi

Happy spring everyone!? Is it too soon to think that we may get out of this winter without the usual bitter cold snap and extreme weather event or two? 65 degrees tomorrow and another downright reasonable 10 day forecast…what more can you ask for? You’re welcome, I just sealed the deal for an epic weather swing next week to 20 below.

On this first day of spring, I’ll be meeting with a couple hundred of my closest friends at the Northeast Organic Farming Association Winter Conference. Not only do I expect it to be fruitful personally as I always learn a few tricks of the trade, but it will be fruitful for you all as well! I will be restocking the root cellar with veggies from the best local organic farmers around (not named Paul) to complement our greens from the tunnel….including potatoes, yellow onions, golden beets, and that delicious garlic I keep getting hounded about. PLUS kohlrabi. Stick with me here (or skip straight to ordering fantastic local goodies in the middle of January).

Maybe because I don’t grow a lot of it and thus it’s not a staple in our house , I always forget how good kohlrabi is. I was reminded yesterday while shredding some to cook with my go to quick meal of greens, winter squash and Short Creek sausage. I had a raw slice of kohlrabi leftover and asked Paddy Rose if she wanted to try it and she agreed. I asked her if she liked it and she said nodded. Pause. All is normal so far as she is pretty good about trying something once and always claims to like it.

I then asked if she wanted more and she said yes. Wait, what!? I can’t remember the last time I heard yes as a response to any question posed to her, especially one about food. Later at dinner, while we were eating a delicious meal of shredded beef tacos made with a Potter Hill london broil roast (beef plug there – available on website as well – so good), she spontaneously asked for some kohlrabi! My favorite part about kohlrabi is the texture – it’s got the crunch of a carrot without any of the graininess. I think I finally pinned down the flavor after far too much thinking on the subject. Although they are not in the least bit related, I think it has a nice sweet, mild snap pea flavor. Go ahead, try some. They are as ugly as they are good! How about that for a pitch?

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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Decade(nce)

What’s better than starting off a new decade with some decadent greens ‘n things picked January fresh from the tunnel? Ending the last decade with a healthy dose of family maybe!

We are back from our epic Boston -> Chicago -> Rockford, IL -> Columbus, OH -> Boston holiday trip. Other than arriving home 6 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve with 2 cranky kiddos, it was a wondeful visit. It had been 2 years since I’d seen my 96 year old grandfather, so it was a pleasure introducing him to Nora, the newest great grandGrady. Paddy Rose is named after his wife, who died less than a year before she was born – seeing the special bond they share made all the hassle of traveling more than worth it.

But it certainly is good to be back. Fortunately there were no epic snows while we were gone, so I’ve been able to pick right up where we left off – eating lots of fresh greens from the tunnel. The list is still pretty impressive, being January and all! I even added a few salad turnip bunches that were seeded last decade (10/11) that are finally sizing up. There are still delicious roots to be had, and the limits are off on all the greens. There will certainly be another pickup, but the end is nigh – order away. Oh, and there’s beef!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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Last Call (For Reals)

Special Sunday (12-3pm) pickup this week! Yes, one more chance to get fresh greens in the middle of December. I realize most of you thought last week was the last you’d hear from me for a while, but I’m looking at Sunday’s weather and it’s just too good to pass up when I have all these delicious greens left in the tunnel. And technically I said last Monday pickup of 2019 so ha! If I don’t see you on Sunday, happy holidays and New Year!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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Last Call

Can you believe it’s mid-December already? I feel like we just got back from Thanksgiving and already we’re gearing up to head home again for Christmas. Tomorrow will be the last Monday pickup of 2019, and with the wild weather lately, who knows what will be here (or not) when we get back. In the same week I harvested in my shorts in the 50s (twice), it also hit 4 degrees. The only consistentcy has been the moisture. When it’s warm, it pours. When it’s cold, it blizzards. Sometimes it does both…like on Monday when the 1″ of rain quickly melted the foot+ of snow. Needless to say, the fields are sloppy.

Normally I wouldn’t even consider going into the fields to harvest when they’re like that but I had the genius idea of chipping all the paths this year. I didn’t sink a bit in the chips, but step off the path and you’re down a foot and a half in the mud! I came out of the field on Tuesday patting myself on the back about how smart and hardcore I was harvesting in mid-December. And then the Grafton girls track (cross country?) teams goes by in shorts and tees after running up Slaughter Hill to put me back in my place. Try as I might, I’ll never be a true New Englander.

As of now, there are loads of greens in the tunnel and even some spinach left out in the field. Surely there will be at least tunnel spinach when we return, but why chance the rest when you can eat greens picked fresh in the middle of December! We even currently have 5 different varieties of lettuce – why not try one of each? The greens limits are off on the website as I’d like to clear as much as I can before we go, and I’ve stocked up again on roots from friend Brittany at Upswing Farm. Order away and thank you all for your support this season!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie orders in online before 6am Monday. The website has been a little buggy so if you don’t see a wide variety of items or you see items out of stock, try refreshing your browser. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up from 3-6pm 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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