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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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Snow What

Well, that was an interesting week to be away from the farm now wasn’t it! Didn’t see that coming – there wasn’t a lick of snow in the forecast when we left the day before Thanksgiving. I was totally on top of prepping for the trip so that I could spend a stress free holiday away from the farm with our families in Ohio. Or so I thought. The forecast swung the day after we got there, and I anxiously watched the storm move West and the estimated snow totals continually rise. I managed to stay present (I think) throughout the extended family time as it was hard not to enjoy Paddy Rose and Nora adoring their grandparents so thoroughly. But the anxiety and snow totals continued to build over the weekend. Fortunately a friend was staying at our house to take care of the chickens (and those gorgeous greens in the tunnel), and he stayed up all night roof raking the not-yet-winterized greenhouse. In the end, the greenhouse roof only bowed a little and everything else fared just fine. It’s good to be back. Sort of – there was lots of snow to move. Like, a lot. The drifts up against the high tunnel were halfway up it , and it’s over 20 feet at its peak (drifts pictured below were after clearing most of it). But at least I can personally deal with nature’s curveballs, rather than some poor unsuspecting soul!

And yet, throughout the drama, the rugged Potter Hill veggies simply shrugged and moved on. You know you’re eating the good stuff when a low of 14 degrees and a foot and a half of snow don’t even bother them. The greens in the tunnel look great and are bountiful, so fuel up! Those snow covered baby carrots that were proclaimed the “best carrots ever” by our local carrot connoisseur? Pulled right up out of the UNfrozen ground yesterday after I cleared the snow from a patch. And somehow even tastier than before I left. The snow is actually an insulator and is welcomed by this farmer, at least until I have to try to find the carrots in said snow. But my half-baked plan to harvest them Monday is to clear most of the snow from a row Sunday afternoon so that the rain/big thaw on Monday reveals those precious orange sugar sticks. Then somehow harvest, bunch, and wash them in the pouring rain. Worth it!

I didn’t really plan to sell into December, so I ran out of some of my fall favorites. Rockstar farm friend Brittany from Upswing Farm in Ashland to the rescue! I stocked up from her so we are back to abundant watermelon radishes (!), sweet potatoes (!), storage carrots, purple top turnips, butternut squash, and celeriac. In fact, the list actually expanded this week to include beets and rutabaga – two crops I totally whiffed on this fall. Add in the fresh greens and eggs and it’s almost looking like a list worthy of the summer. Minus the snow. Order away!

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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Full of Thanks

There are so many things to be thankful for right now. Most immediately, I am thankful that our two bundles of joy slept all night for the first time in as long as either of us can remember Friday night. Combined with sunshine and warm (relative) weather yesterday, and a return to normal temperatures lately, I feel like I a million bucks. Even better, Monday’s forecast sure looks better than last Monday’s forecast – my hands are still thawing out! The last couple weeks made me rethink the wisdom (craziness?) of trying to grow great food for y’all right up until Thanksgiving. Crazy or not, we accomplished it this year and I am excited to share the wealth to show our appreciation for your season-long dedication to the farm. Some veggies will be straight from the fields, some will be straight from the tunnel, and some will be straight out of storage. All will be delicious and I hope will brighten up your holiday meals. Thank you for your support!

Greens for Thanksgiving? If it’s not already a staple in your Thanksgiving spread, it’s time to make it one! Many items are limited, especially the fresh stuff, so don’t delay if you want to assure yourself of a gorgeous light salad to balance out the heaviness of the rest of the meal. The lettuce heads are not nearly as big as I would have liked – next year! To give you some perspective for ordering, I’d say a head of the baby lettuce properly topped should provide enough salad for 2-3 adults. Fewer if they eat salad like this farmer 🙂

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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Tunnelicious

Happy Novembuary y’all! My weather app says it hit 12 degrees the other morning. Before I start rambling, Jeff from Short Creek Farm and mastermind/found of Potter Hill Farm will be bringing meat down to add to the mix. Inventory of what he has here – email him directly at info@nullshortcreeknh.com with your order.

Speaking of Jeff….he questioned whether any greens would survive the deep freeze, even in the tunnel. I overconfidently dismissed those concerns and told him I didn’t get a bit of cold damage all winter long last year in the tunnel. That’s not to say winter #1 in the tunnel was a success. Far from it! Nothing grew last winter because of how late I put it in and how wet and gloomy it was. In fact, I don’t think I sold a single bunch of overwintered greens despite religiously uncovering them every morning and covering them back up every night. Although I again put everything in (less) late this season, fall (winter?) has been much more forgiving this time around. Loads of sun, and cool but not COLD. We were rolling right along, confident that we’d get a good harvest despite the tardiness. Until 12 degrees happened.

That was a lot of overshadowing, so don’t be too alarmed. Just about everything still looks great, but I do have to admit that Jeff was right, as usual. My gorgeous mustard greens were frozen solid and the outer leaves wilted when they thawed. This despite being covered in the tunnel and having the same greens experience negative temperatures last winter without any damage. My only explanation is that they must not have been acclimated to such a precipitous drop! Live and learn, guess I’ll need to double cover them next year ahead of any arctic blasts. The damage itself is not as much of a concern as the shock to the plant. Fingers crossed the plants don’t hunker down and stop growing.

To my amazement, some (double covered) greens out in the field actually survived so this week’s greens will be a mix of gorgeous, pampered, and tender tunnel greens and weathered, hardy, “I’ve seen some things” greens from the field. I also stocked up from Upswing Farm in Ashland on some of the fall favorites that we ran out of, so you’ll be well vegetabled to go along with the best pastured pork around. RIP to the triple washed lettuce – I sure enjoyed it this season, but it’s just too cold to subject our hands to that anymore. Instead there will be a limited amount of juvenile (adolescent?) lettuce heads from the tunnel. Get it while the getting’s good!

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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Proper New Englanders

Brrr was it cold the other day! And colder yet to come next week. The veggies left standing are the plant-world equivalent to true New Englanders. That 22 degree night put an end to all the pretenders, so we’re left with mainly roots and some fresh greens sprinkled in here and there. The covered swiss chard and lettuce look great, and then there’s the spinach. I went out one cold night and realized I forgot to re-cover it! It was frozen solid but I decided to cover it anyway. The next day…100% fine and delicious. A true New Englander, that spinach.

On the other hand, a proper New Englander I am not (yet). I did wear shorts one day last week, so I’m getting there but I understand you don’t earn the title of New Englander until at least a decade here. I’m still a year out from that honorable distinction. Fortunately, we stayed on top of the fall clean-up so that I can now choose which days I want to work. The great news is that the next two Mondays look like my type of weather, and we still have a ton of great stuff left – expect to be able to get your goodies for at least two more pickups. And then there’s the tunnel, which looks fantastic though still a bit behind. I’m trying to resist the urge to start harvesting from it in order to maximize its bounty. I got my eye on some Christmas greens to cheer up your holiday plates! Expect next week to get your hands on the first of the tunnel lettuce pictured above.

I’m keeping the same earlier hours as last week (3-6pm) for Veterans Day. This is week 1 with a shortened list, but lots of veggies to choose from. Get ’em while they last!

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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