Posted on Leave a comment

Shredded

I write these emails in my head (a scary place) all week – the subject was going to be ‘Swampfoot’ because I think it’s been two weeks since my shoes have dried out and Tanner said I was in danger of getting swampfoot, but that lovely hail storm yesterday changed my course. Every time I start getting really optimistic about the season (despite my swampfoot), something brings me back to the reality that I’m not at all in control…just along for the ride.

The hail storm was the killjoy of the end of a fantastic week that included our first market and first CSA pickup going off without a hitch. Fortunately most veggies are still covered and the hail wasn’t large enough to shred the (very expensive) covers. Any uncovered leafy greens would have been toast, but I don’t have my deer fencing up yet and deer love greens…so I guess, thank you deer? Unfortunately, the vigorous, leafy tomatoes suffered the worst damage. I’m hoping most of the plants just got a natural heavy prune, but not the one above. When the growing tip gets snapped like that, it’s a goner!

Despite it raining every day in recent memory, I’m not complaining yet. Instead of 1, 2 or 3″ rains like in the spring, these rains have been totally manageable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wet up here, but not to the point of stunting growth yet. Everything looks fantastic (minus the hail damage), so I’m stubbornly staying optimistic. For now!

We’re in a bit of a lull between harvest seasons. Summer deliciousness like cucumbers and zucchini will be coming soon, while the tenderest of greens like spinach have gone by. Everything is limited except lettuce and radishes – we’ve transitioned to our third plantings of both, and they are just as good as numbers 1 and 2! Please note, double check the quantities in your cart before checking out. There are issues with adding more than one of some vegetables. There does not seem to be any issues updating quantities from the cart page. This is a new issues and I am stumped – any website experts out there?

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on Leave a comment
Posted on Leave a comment

The Great Escape

Imagine having coffee on your back deck first thing in the morning and a deer runs by, looking a little stressed. Then you see two cows crashing through the tall grass. Are they chasing the deer? Huh – that’s a new one, even for Potter Hill.

That, in fact, was the highlight of my neighbor’s Sunday morning. As you can probably guess, Sunday was not the highlight of my week. I’ll spare you the details but 6 hours later, legs and arms shredded from chasing them through poison ivy, thorns, and dense brush and covered in ticks, we got them in a temporary pen down back…which they promptly broke out of the next two days. Fortunately they were less adventurous and stayed close by after their initial great escape. They’ve been better behaved since I upgraded their temporary pen to maximum security, but at some point, I’d love to have them back up by the house where they’re supposed to be. But I think I’ll leave well enough alone for now!

In other news, the first Grafton Farmers Market of the season is this Wednesday from 2-6pm! Please try to make it out and support your local market. With all the busyness of our lives, grocery home delivery, and what not, markets around the country are struggling. We (the market committee) have put in some serious work to keep the market fresh and exciting. All the oldies but goodies vendors will be there, as well as quite a few new ones. I will have lots of radishes, kale, spinach, chard, and (arguably) the best lettuce I’ve ever grown there if you can’t make the Monday pickup.

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on Leave a comment
Posted on

Right on Time

Nothing about this season has been on time, and the chickens certainly were not. In fact, they were 6 weeks late…but in this time warped season, their timing was perfect. I think for the first time in my chicken rearing, the chicken coop was done and in position when they arrived. Ok 99% done and finished the morning they arrived! This is my fourth season running the farm, and I managed the chickens the last year Jeff was here. Each year I’ve built a coop that I painstakingly planned out and then poorly executed, so this is my fifth coop I’ve built and the first one I’ve liked after finishing it. In fact, I think coop 5.0 is the one. The one that doesn’t get dismantled or parked in the weeds and forgotten about at the end of the season. The one I don’t have to re-build next season. What a concept! We’ll see if that optimism holds – chickens have a way of humbling me through their utter lack of common sense. Plus there’s a fox family I’ve been seeing constantly around our backyard. But I love hearing the happy chicken chatter, and they’re currently feasting on bolted arugula and lettuce in next season’s garden! Oh, and because they’re so late they’re already laying tiny eggs. Not enough for sale this week but surely by next Monday!

As we continue moving out of the tunnel to the fields, I’ve taken the website limits off the kale, spinach, perpetual spinach, tatsoi and yokatta na. They are abundant and looking fantastic, and so is the lettuce (yes, still). Also back (limited) on the list is just undersized but oh so perfect radishes. PLUS some great looking heirloom tomato plants. Choices in this round are purple, pink or a beefsteak. Ready to go in the ground!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Moving Out

Out with the old, in with the new. We cleared out the mustard greens from a row in the tunnel and the next day planted cucumbers. It’s about a month later than I was hoping to plant cucumbers, but I’m still learning the ins and out of the tunnel dance. The tomatoes are anxiously awaiting their spot in the tunnel but there is still SO MUCH lettuce in their future home. If you’re not having a salad per meal, it’s time to start before the salad abundance is gone. Yes, including breakfast!

In other exciting news, some of the harvest is moving from the tunnel out into the fields. I companion planted some tatsoi in between and all around the first round of cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage (which look fantastic). So in addition to kale, spinach, chard, salad turnips, and (STILL) unlimited lettuce, tatsoi has been added to the list!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Early Memorial Day Pickup

It’s that time of year, the field is filling up while the greenhouse is emptying out. On Thursday alone we planted a second round of cabbage and broccoli, along with lettuce, parsley, dill, cilantro, leeks, turnips, radishes, marigolds, and scallions. We’re still concentrating on planting season, but it’s nice to take a trip down to the tunnel for some early season greens. Soon enough we’ll move the harvest from the tunnel out to the field – the kale, swiss chard, and perpetual spinach we planted earlier in May are looking great and not too too far from ready. We STILL have unlimited amounts of lettuce from the tunnel, plus more spinach, salad turnips and swiss chard this week to go along with a smattering of other veggies. So that you can have unlimited salad at your barbecues Monday, I will have your veggies ready by 11am. I’ll bag up everyone’s orders at 130 and leave them in the garage for those that can’t make it early.

Now that there’s a bit of room to move around in the greenhouse, I have realized I seeded a good amount extra cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli seedlings. If you have room left in your garden and want to assure yourself ample veggies, order away via the link above! Although it’s a little late to put them in, they have been potted up and really shouldn’t be behind.

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Lettuce Feast (on Tuesday)

I believe it was Monday when I heard on the radio that it had rained 26 out of the last 32 days! Since then, we’ve had rain on 3 of the last 4 , so I guess we’re at 29/36 after another rainy Friday. Pretty incredible! I’ve heard from many of you that you’re missing the sun just as much as I am. However ,the sun will re-appear just when I don’t want it, and I will certainly complain about that too. I am a farmer after all and that’s what we do best.

Despite the rain, the fields dried up just enough last week that the soil can no longer be termed mud (arguably). We’ve been planting till we can’t see straight or the rain drives us out of the fields. In addition to 3,456 onion seedlings (roughly), we planted perpetual spinach, lettuce, kale, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, tatsoi and cabbage to name a few. It’s a wonderful sight to see the greenhouse beginning to empty while the fields fill up!

The chickens are due to arrive Monday and the coop is mostly still just a concept in my mind, so I’m pushing the pickup to Tuesday (same time, same place, sorry for the inconvenience). I unfortunately know from first hand experience that a chicken coop is a heckuva lot easier to finish when the chickens are NOT already in it! I’m on chicken coop 5.0 now I think, so hopefully this is the last year I build a coop…it is quite promising in my head.

Salad turnips, spinach, and swiss chard join the list this week and replace the arugula and spicy salad mix. But as is the theme this season, the real star of the show is the lettuce. And I quote, “your lettuce today was so crisp, so tasty, so beautiful on our plates, it was an absolute delight to eat.” ‘Nuff said, order up!

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Sunny Streak

A week of dry(ish) weather + the girls in Ohio visiting the grandparents + a backlog of to do items = one tired farmer! All of a sudden the fields dried up and we’re in the ground with kale, swiss chard and yokatta na. Onions, spinach, and lettuce are on deck, and lots more in the hole. May 9th may be a new record in lateness but I saw the writing on the wall and potted up everything. Fingers crossed they catch up so we have something to sell at the first farmers market! Speaking of something to sell, we have lots more green treats for you. There is more of everything available this week for those of you who just got our endless lettuce last week. The radishes are particularly fetching right now! Help me clear room in the tunnel for the tomatoes by adding another head or two of lettuce to your cart – you won’t regret it. Next week we’ll add spinach and swiss chard to the mix.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading this. I like to think farming is challenging, but I know it’s a walk in the fields in comparison to your jobs! And a special happy Mother’s Day to the two mothers in my life

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Greens Galore

Hello everyone – it’s your favorite farmer back in your inbox with lots of news to share and no time to share it! I’ll start with some really good news – the high tunnel is bursting with absolutely delicious greens right now. Screened from the typical ferocious Potter Hill winds and torrential rains lately, these greens haven’t had a bit of stress in their young lives and so are quite succulent. I got carried away planting lettuce – I think we planted around 500 heads and they’re all pretty much harvestable size, so it’s salad time y’all…big time! Order via this link. There are other delectable greens available, but they are a little behind schedule for now and so limited in quantity. The other good news is that Jeff is coming down with tasty sausages and the likes – it’s a long drive for him, so please encourage his visits by stocking up so I can pepper him with farming questions while he’s down! Here’s the link to what he has available.

In addition to ENDLESS lettuce, there is kale, radishes, arugula, yokatta-na, vitamin green, spicy salad mix, mustard greens, and scallion tops available for order (all are limited). After how much trouble the tunnel was to get up and running, it feels really good to write that…especially considering this is almost two months earlier than I typically would have anything for sale. Enjoy these spring treats while they last!

I can’t write a newsletter and not complain about the weather, especially when it’s been so downright rotten! This time last year, I had lettuce, beets, onions, potatoes, and spinach in the ground, outside the tunnel of course. This year? Nada, zilch, not a thing…and I don’t see that changing here directly with more rain coming. The seedlings are definitely ready to go but what is typically nice workable soil by now is fully saturated mud. We got 3.5″ of rain last week in just two days, and it’s rained at least a little every day since with more in the forecast! On the bright side, this time last year it went straight from a cold March and April to 95 degrees on May 2nd…so at least we’re actually getting a spring this year?

Veggie Ordering and Pickup Procedures: Put your veggie (and very limited egg) orders in online before 6am Monday. We’ll have your order available for you to pick-up starting at 4pm 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.

Posted on
Posted on

Come Grow with us!

“The satisfying nature of productive work, where you’re coming out with a product that you can get behind 100%, is of such a nature that there’s just no way that whatever salary you might be earning can equal that. So if you want to look back 50 years from now on a very satisfying life, this is the one you want to look back on.”

I came across this great interview from farming legend Eliot Coleman, who was asked what he’d say to young folk interested in farming. Young or old, if you think you might have the farming itch (or know someone who does), check out the job description and reach out to paul@potterhillfarm.com.

Every once in a while, just the right person comes along to take the farm to another level. Not long after Jeff started the farm, he joined forces with Sophie and got the farm off the ground. A couple years later, I came along and was eventually handed the reins. And a few years after that, April helped me to not run the farm straight into the mud. And none of us had previous farm experience! With 2 littles under 3 years old, I need to find the next ambitious Sophie/Paul/April to keep the farm on the upswing. Quitting your day job might not be as crazy as you think – I used to work for the Census Bureau after all, and not even that long ago! After spending even just a few months with my hands in the soil, I knew I could never go back to an office. Life is too short to not enjoy what you’re doing for 8+ hours per day. Come grow with us!

Meanwhile, back in the tunnel…is it August already? I’m not used to working so hard in the spring! This season extension thing is going to take some getting used to, but it will all be worth it when we’re (hopefully) picking beautiful heads of lettuce and big bunches of kale from the tunnel at the end of April! Before the rain yesterday, I snuck in a quick pass through the garden to see if I couldn’t get the tractor stuck. Pretty sure that’s the first time in the history of Potter Hill farming that a March tractor adventure didn’t end up in lots of mud flinging tire spinning. That was saved for later in the day, after the rain,  when the compost delivery guy got stuck. Hope y’all go out and get stuck somewhere in the great outdoors this gorgeous weekend!

Posted on
Posted on

Help Grow the Farm on CSA Day!

Wow – our CSA filled up in three days! 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. But don’t panic if you hesitated too long before hitting that submit button. We still have plenty of CSA Card spots available. I’m hoping to fill 10 of those spots today on National CSA Day. 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 from last season: “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 last year’s card members, and to sign-up!

Posted on