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LOL…not

Careful what you ask for. I did in fact complain about a lack of rain in my last discourse, so you can blame me if your basement is flooded. Whoever’s controlling the weather up there has a real sense of humor. In the preceding 2 months and 23 days, we got a total of 4.6″ of rain (and that’s Worcester’s totals – I bet we got half that). From Tuesday-Thursday, we got 4.5″ of rain. Oh, and there’s 2.5″ more on the way Sunday. Ha, real funny mother nature!

There’s so much going on this week you absolutely need to know about that you’ll have to wait a week for more biting commentary.

Seasonal Cooking Classes! Friend, food writer, and chef extraordinaire Tori, a local food writer, is hosting a series of seasonal cooking classes at the Grafton Rec Center and the next one is November 7th. The topic fittingly is Thanksgiving sides. Check out more here.
Potter Hill fruit? It’s true, we’ll be selling some apples from our backyard trees. Never sprayed so they sure ain’t pretty, but they taste great.
-You know what goes well with apples? Cheeeeese is back in stock for this week. They’ve added two flavors – pumpkin spice and maple – to their popular Adelisca cheese (a spreadable cheese enjoyed every morning by the Grady family on their eggs and greens). They recommend the aged raw-milk cheese Karolina would go best with apples.
Flower bouquets are also back. April’s been making some incredible bouquets lately so we decided to make them available for sale again. I won’t give away her secret recipe, but it will smell and look fantastic!
-Get the caramel apples before they’re gone – Anna Banana’s has some crazy caramel creations but only for the next 2 weeks.
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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Staying Alive

We’ve had a couple frosts up here on the hill, and yet none in sight over the next 10 days. Sure all that could change on the whims of a weatherman, but the crazy thing is the tomatoes are still alive. And eggplant, and peppers. Summer is hanging on like a hair in a biscuit!

It’s really, really hard to complain about 70s and sun all day every day, but I’m going to go ahead and try. How about some rain?! We’ve actually returned to drought status, which is highly unusual for this time of year. My weather app has been continually warning me of elevated fire risks – doesn’t it know it’s October? Late October even. I’ve been delaying putting down cover crop seed to prepare the garden for next year because it’s a dustbowl, but it’s now or never time according to a wise old man I consult with often up in NH.

What’s Great This Week
-If you thought the kale has been good this season (it has!), it’s going to be even sweeter with the recent frosts. The same will be true for our mustard greens, spinach, and incredible rainbow carrots!
-Eggs – The ladies have had a daily buffet of surplus greens lately. Kale, swiss chard, lettuce…they’ve been eating like the princesses they are. You are what you eat, and what you eat eats too!
-Fried Green Tomatoes – There’s always a narrow window of time you can get this fall treat and now is that time. I made the tough decision to take out a couple rows of tomatoes before the cold did so. We treasure these tomatoes so much that it’s the first time we’ve prematurely ended their season, but there’s been so much disease on them that they stopped being productive. So when life gives you lemons, make fried green tomatoes!

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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Frosty Paws

Brrr….out of nowhere, what a chilly morning yesterday! There was a bit of frost on my way down the hill and quite a bit more throughout Grafton, but it was a few degrees warmer (34) at the top of the hill and everything survived to see another day. You’re on notice tomatoes, the end is nigh! Possibly as early as Tuesday.

It certainly will be bittersweet when the end does come. I’m not going to lie, I may have done a little frost dance in hopes it might take a few things out. The tomatoes are already circling the drain (first come, first serve on Monday), but I just don’t have the heart to pull the plug. It’s been a fantastic season, but such a good season necessarily means there’s a never-ending list of things to do, which is pushed to the back burner while we harvest the abundance. Now that the Grafton market is over for the season, we’ll be able to chip away at that list! Hopefully.

Speaking of lists, the order list is down to…only 28 different veggies! Not bad for mid-October. If you don’t see something that gets you excited, you’re not trying very hard – try something new like salad turnips or watermelon radishes (so spicy!).

With the market season (almost*) over, we will start offering more add-ons to your orders like chocolates. Anna Banana’s candied apples are big, bold and beautiful. *Almost because there are still 2 Douglas Markets left – today and next Saturday 9am-noon.

State of the Garden Address:
-Get the last of your summer faves while there’s still time; bell and sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, maybe lovely late eggplant too?
-We’re on the verge of another spinach explosion. I can’t even describe how excited I am about this next planting that is just about to hit the shelves.
-Onions galore! Last season we really didn’t have any storage onions, so I’m thrilled about the hoop house currently full of them.
-Veggies beginning with L had a rough week. Leeks are sold out for the season and head lettuce is on injured reserve and probably too late in the season to make a comeback. Fortunately baby cut lettuce and our spicy salad mix will pick up the slack.

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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Homestretch

Before we dive in too deep, yes there will be an early pickup for Columbus Day from 12-3pm. Different time, same great place. Email me if you can’t make that time frame and I’ll set your order aside for you. If you can’t wait, come on up to Tower Hill’s Fall Fest tomorrow. You can find our veggies on their menu and for sale, along with fall goodies (cider donuts) from other local vendors from 11-3pm.

The LAST Grafton market of the season is next week, which makes this the home stretch. Please come out to support your local farms and vendors – the market hasn’t been particularly well attended this year except a slamming opening day, so we’d love to go out with a bang! It’s bittersweet to see it end – I love the market but I’m REALLY looking forward to a little R&R. And sleep.

Looks like we’ll finally get some rain starting Monday. It’s funny to be typing this after the start we had to the season, but we’ve been desperately dry lately. A month ago we were coming off a fantastic August and the garden was flourishing like I’ve never seen before. Turns out we just swapped months – a very Septembery August transitioned into a very Augustic September, capped by a stretch of 90 degree days. I’ll have to look back, but I’m pretty sure we didn’t get a lick of rain the entire month, which typically isn’t hard to come by in September. Here’s to a normal October!

Despite the thirsty crops, lots of great stuff is still coming in. If you’re around for the long weekend, these are my suggestions to stock up on:
-them green tomatoes. Yes, they’re ripe. And incredible.
Spicy Salad Mix – My best idea ever. Pair with a pear or apple, red onion, and Couet Farm’s Franciska cheese, which you can get at the market Wednesday.
-We’ve moved onto the next planting of spinach and it’s at its absolute peak right now. But don’t sleep on the chard and kale too!
Purple fingerling potatoes. Not the knock off purple skinned yellow flesh tots. These taters are purple to the core, and taste as good as they look.

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 noon-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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Routines

They’re hard to start, but easy to maintain. And oh so important in our life – a constant in the ever-evolving challenges of raising a toddler. My favorite routine is breakfast. My wife, 15 month old, and I sit down every single day and have bread, eggs, and greens first thing.

On the farm, we’ve settled into a pretty busy weekly routine…it goes something like this: harvest, harvest, harvest, plant, harvest, harvest, rest (yea right). Harvesting 5 days a week doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Little by little, we’re finding the time to prep the garden for next year – with plans to further our no-till experiment, we prepped 10 beds in a new field adjacent to the current lush garden. The goal is to make permanent beds so you’re only fertilizing where you grow, and compacting only where you walk…among a million other benefits. Sounds like a future newsletter topic!

I understand that it takes a little extra effort to add ordering veggies to your busy weekend routines, but you’ll thank me later. I wouldn’t be able to work as hard as I do without our wonderful breakfast routine. Eating seasonally will give you that extra boost to get over the middle of the week hump. I’ve always eaten well, but with Paddy Rose in our lives, we’ve made an effort to diversify our meals. I’ve never craved kale, beets, arugula, spaghetti squash, etc but if you’re anything like me, the more you get of veggies this fresh, the more you crave them. It’s a delicious virtuous circle that keeps me running strong even after a 12 hour day.

Here’s what I’m currently craving:
-Arugula – This salad. Can’t get enough.
-Beets – It finally cooled off enough to turn the oven back on. Add roasted beets to the above salad, or just add roasted beets to your daily diet. They’re that good. Oh, and no need to peel these gems – eaten fresh, the skin isn’t even noticeable. While you’re at it, go crazy and throw in some rainbow carrots.
-Short Creek’s Breakfast Sausage – Add to your greens and eggs in the morning and you’ll feel like a superhero the rest of the day. Yes, it’s a meaty Monday…order away!
-Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes – Order three and get one free! They won’t be around forever, it is officially October eve after all.

I hope you can make ordering your veggies over the weekend a routine for the rest of the season! Set a reminder to yourself to order first thing Sunday morning, or just click this link and order right now. There are only two more weeks of markets, and then my only reliable outlet for all this goodness is the  pickups on Monday, so you might as well get in the routine now!

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 Seasons Collide

It’s a foodie’s dream, a perfect food storm, the pinnacle of the season…the absolute best time of year as far as I’m concerned. Tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers meet butternut squash, leeks, and fall-sweetened carrots – sadly you won’t get to know each other well, but let’s celebrate the convergence of flavors rather than lament the inevitable.

 

Seriously y’all, we have so much good food up here we broke the system. The website for some reason will only display 34 items, so I had to remove a few of the less popular items to make way for sweet dumpling, acorn, and butternut squash! For snack today, Paddy Rose and I shared a roasted sweet dumpling squash – I got a few bites, but she ate most of it. She takes after her daddy…the kid can flat out eat. No salt, pepper, or butter needed, though that would have made it even better.

Meanwhile our heirloom tomatoes are so good they’re reaching legendary status. We have every color and flavor imaginable. Have you tried the tie dye red and yellow ones? Or Aunt Ruby’s German Green? Both are ginormous and fantastic, making a caprese salad that looks as good as it tastes. With the Grafton Market canceled because of the hurricane, you can still get your fill of them at Anzio’s, Tower Hill, UxLocale, Spring Ridge Farm, or Framingham State this weekend.

With this whacky weather, the tomatoes might be here today, gone tomato. You can see the whole trellised row rock back a few feet with each strong gust, employing the old ‘bend but don’t break’ strategy. I’m having flashbacks to this past winter listening to the wind howl and house shake as I type. My prediction is that they’ll power through and go nuts again with the second wave of warm temps headed our way! There’s likely still time for sauce making, so go crazy and load up. A 25% discount will be given over 20 pounds when you checkout at the farm (assuming the tomatoes survive!).

A few other highlights:
-Arugula, arugula, arugula: Just getting into the next planting. This is eat raw in your salad, yummy yummy so so good arugula.
-Cilantro: Make cilantro pesto, thank me later. Seriously, it’s a thing, my wife’s doing it right now for slow roasted pork shoulder tacos tomorrow night.
-Leeks and potatoes: Soup them together for later in the week when the temps drop into the 40s. We just dug up 3 buckets full of gorgeous new potatoes and I’d prefer you eat them than me store them!
-Greens: Kale, rainbow swiss chard, and spinach…you’re missing out if you don’t get one of each. You’ll kick yourself that you didn’t get 2 of each, believe me.

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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Summer’s Back!

It happens every year – a wonderful, delicious, and absolutely gorgeous onslaught of tomatoes. Sometimes I don’t even want to eat them they’re so darn purty. A little late this year but it’s hard to complain when we’re getting loads of bowling ball 2.5 lb tomatoes. You all should know what this means – it’s SAUCE time! In fact, I just made a simple quick sauce while writing this, and had it over a spaghetti squash – so good! Sauce discounts are 20% off for 10lbs or more, 25% off for 20 or more, and so on (reply to this email if you want “a lot a lot”). Your cart won’t show the discount because I haven’t figured that one out yet, but it will be taken on checkout. It is mid-September so get ’em while the getting’s good…here today, gone tomato!

Tomatoes aren’t the only ones enjoying this Indian summer. Or is it too early to call it that? We picked 50 pounds of zucchini from a quarter row today (Friday), after having picked the same amount from the same planting on Wednesday. Incredible. And don’t even get me started on the cherry tomatoes! The rainbow carrots were a huge hit last week, and there’s plenty more where they came from, while the greens continue to go gangbusters – we’ve had the absolute best spinach, chard, and kale lately.

Lest you think this farming thing is a breeze, it’s not all good news – the cucumbers succumbed to the cold nights and are the first casualties of an otherwise stellar fall. Next in line is basil, but this is the latest we’ve had it in years!

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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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.