THIS WEEK'S NEWSLETTER
It's been a while since I last wrote. In the past couple of weeks we have:
- Seeded winter greens in our high tunnel.
- Planted next year's garlic.
- Said so long to Will, our terrific crew member, who worked his butt off all summer and is hopefully relaxing on a couch eating Doritos (or – o.k. – kale chips) at this moment.
- Said so long to our wonderful CSA shareholders, some of whom have been members of Town Farm since the very beginning, and each of whom we have now sent out into the retail vegetable wilderness. If you see anyone wandering the streets of Northampton with a watermelon radish in one hand, a collard leaf in the other, and a rudderless expression upon their faces, tell them it's all going to be OK. Tell them there are any number of ways to get a fresh vegetable fix in this valley, starting of course with our stand at Tuesday Market. (And if you have no idea why I'm saying all this, click here.)
- Tried not to say so long to this year's crop of celery, by draping it with row cover and by harvesting – really, at this moment – as much of it as we possibly can. This is because our celery this year is SO GOOD, and we can't bear to say goodbye to it just yet. Come get some for yourself this Tuesday at Tuesday Market. We will be there for 3 more weeks! Right up until the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Salad mix, 5 varieties of kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cilantro, bok choi, carrots, leeks, beets, arugula, spinach. All these vegetables. Up from the ground and from our hands into yours. We'll see you there!
Big news at market this week is spinach, along with broccoli, cauliflower, celery, carrots, lettuce, turnips, sweet potatoes, cabbage and – of course – lots more.
Big news in our house is pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup – here's a fine start of a recipe).
Big news for October is frost: goodbye green beans & tomatoes
Big news for Silas, Ben, & Blue are epic autumn sky bike rides in the Northampton meadows at the end of the day.
Big news for shaved ice fans (for next year) is ginger syrup with cardamon, pepper, & lemongrass – our whole house smells like it right now.
Big news for the farm in 2013 is that we will no longer be running our CSA. Here's the letter we wrote to shareholders, explaining why.
Big news about Tuesday Market is that it goes all the way until November 20th – two days before Thanksgiving!
Big news for this small mouse is this boy's hand.
Hope we see you this week – at market, at the farm, somewhere!
Oona and I took a two-day, kid-free trip up to Vermont last week. On the first day we napped all day and ate weird food. On the second day, we went to two farmers markets, toured a farm, and took a hike. It was a sort of vacation/retreat in which we took time to relax, talk, investigate, and begin to assess where our business is headed (or our two businesses, really, since we run both Town Farm & Tuesday Market). I'll report more on all that in the next couple weeks, but for now, let me just say a few things that I suppose we already knew, but were confirmed on this trip:
- One day of napping is not enough
- We will not be propagating crickets as a meat-substitute in the near future
- Farmers markets are really wonderful affairs
- Our humble little Tuesday Market is a pretty great farmers market, with an incredibly high concentration of really good food.
Come get some for yourself this week. An extraordinary array of fall greens. Mighty heads of cauliflower. Sly green beans. Hakurei Turnips so proud, and carrots so pleased with themselves you can't help but cheer them along. And lettuce, and tomatoes, and arugula, and – you know – lots more, too.
So see you at market. See you at the farm. See you crisply in this late September air!
P.S. We are done cranking shaved ice for the season. Wish us luck as we grease our right elbows and start conditioning for 2013!
P.P.S. Last chance to order a case of seconds tomatoes – this week and maybe next – for all you last-minute canners
Hi Friends –
All sidewalks lead to pie on this fine September Tuesday. Follow the arrows from anywhere downtown, and you will get your sweet, juicy reward.
More info about the pie contest is here. Friends, please consider baking a pie – for the joyful scrumptiousness of it, and of course to assist that many more people in getting their good food through Tuesday Market's FoodStampsX2 program.
At our Town Farm stand we are still loaded with incredible tomatoes and green beans. We also have some great fall crops coming in – gorgeous broccoli, fat leeks, dapper fennel, and delicious carrots by the pound. And that's just the beginning, so come on down and see what else is hopping out of the fields.
We can't wait to see you at the Pie Contest!
Hey Town Farmies --
This is one of the wilder times of year around here -- crops to pull in, summer workers heading back to school or jobs, our kids back to school with excitement and nervousness, and we are crazy enough, in the midst of this, to organize a Pie Contest and Fundraiser at Tuesday Market. We hope you can come. Tuesday, September 11th. Make a pie, eat some pie, help us serve pie and take donations, take part in the awesome raffle. All of these things together help us raise our goal of $12,000 for our FoodStampsX2 program at the market.If you are able to help out the day of the contest serving pie or accepting donations, please email us back. We're hoping to have people there betweeen 2:30 and about 6:30.
At market this week we will have:
Cilantro and Parsley
Green and Purple Beans
Asian and Italian Eggplants
Red and Yellow Bell and Sweet Jimmy Nardello Peppers
Red Russian and Green Curly Kale and Collard Greens
Red and Green Cabbage
Leeks and Garlic
Red Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, 2nds boxes of Tomatoes for $25
and, of course, Carrots and Beets. Maybe Some Fun Fuzzy Sunflowers, too.
For CSA members, after a month of not updating the week's share, I did it this week. So here you go.
Oona (standing in for Ben this week)
Hi Everyone –
Sweatshirts in the mornings and wilted watermelon vines make us think of fall, as do the tall, green cauliflower and broccoli plants. So even though we're coasting the crest of summer's wave here at Town Farm, all eyes are on the autumn harvest.
This week at market we'll have the last of the cantaloupes and the first of the collard greens. We'll have glorious tomatoes in total abundance, including our favorite heirlooms: Striped Germans and Green Zebras. We'll have 25lb boxes of seconds tomatoes available for canning & freezing ($25/box – call or text Ben ahead of time if you know you want one – 413 262 5489). We are also very pleased by our yellow peppers. Just come admire them, even if you aren't ready to commit.
Here are the Farm Hands in their bean house, which is in their garden, which is where they spend a great deal of their time. I understand Alya has openings for a couple more kids in her preschool, located here at Town Farm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more info.
Looking forward to seeing you sometime, somewhere this week. Be well!
Hi everyone –
We are so lucky that neighbors Jim & Dora allowed us to plant hundreds of sunflowers in their back yard! Come see some of them for yourself at market, where we'll also have an awesome array of heirloom and red tomatoes, green beans, incredibly delicious canteloupe, and a heckofalot more. We'll have 20lb boxes of seconds tomatoes available for canning & freezing ($20/box). Call or text Ben ahead of time if you know you want one – or just come by our stand and hope for the best. 413 262 5489. We'll also have seconds boxes in the share room on Friday.
Hey, sorry the newsletters have gotten less newsy lately. Time – that slippery substance – has been especially hard to get a hold of lately. Anyhow, hope we see you somewhere this week. Be well!
Hi Friends, just a few pictures this week. Hope to see you at market, at the farm, somewhere...
"Poppa, I am done picking cantaloupes in the tall grass with the bugs"
Glorious heirlooms of all sizes
Adam, Will, & Mia – our phenomenal crew – without whom none of this would be possible.
The Tropical New England: Maple, Coconut & Raspberry Shaved Ice
Not to be missed. More info about this year's Pie Contest here.
Greetings everyone –
We generally find one pest as pesky as another here at Town Farm, and we don't often get too excited about the arrival of the cornseed maggot, say, or our third infestation of flea beetles in a couple months. But when a gorgeous creature like the tomato hornworm comes along, we can't help but pull out all the stops. Our kids manhandle them. I break out the camera. And after we've had our fun, we'll even let the chickens "take them for a ride." Here are some pictures.
So the big news around here is watermelons. It's a really good year this year (especially satisfying after last year, which was pretty blah). They're sweet. They're juicy. They're red. They're yellow. And they're coming in fast. Find them at market (we'll have samples!). Pick them up in your share. There is nothing like a true watermelon at the height of the summer.
Shareholders, please click here to see what else besides watermelons will be in this week's share. Also some important info about PYO green beans.
At market we will have the first of our incredible cantaloupes, which long-time customers know are like no other melons anywhere. Plus the season's first leeks, gorgeous bell peppers, and more. Here's the complete list:
RED & YELLOW WATERMELONS, CANTALOUPE, BELL PEPPERS, ITALIAN & ASIAN EGGPLANT, CUBANELLE PEPPERS, FRESH SUMMER ONIONS, CUCUMBERS (crisp & juicy, here's a recipe for quickles), YELLOW SQUASH, ZUCCHINI, PATTY PAN (here's a great tandoori kabob recipe), ripe, red TOMATOES, SUNGOLD & MIXED CHERRY TOMATOES, GREEN BEANS, LEEKS, FRESH GARLIC BULBS, CILANTRO, DILL, PARSLEY, JALAPENO PEPPERS, RED CABBAGE AND TENDERSWEET CABBAGE, HEAD LETTUCE, CARROTS (Here's how we got them), BEETS, KALE (here's a great recipe for Massaged Kale Salad), SWISS CHARD, and SHAVED ICE!
Our shareholders already know the glory of our flower patch, but we figured there are plenty of market-goers out there who'd love to keep freshly-picked flowers on the table for the next bunch of weeks. So, for the first time ever, we are offering a PYO flower share, just during the month of August. Come pick a bouquet from our patch as often as you like (one bouquet per visit, any day but Saturday). Over twenty varieties of beautiful flowers! (Sorry, no hornworms included.) The flower share costs $50. Email us or come by the market if you're interested.
That's all (except for some pictures). We'll see you soon!
Silas picking watermelons this morning!
Helen & Owen from Farm Hands pre-school eating yellow watermelon this morning.
If you're a gardener growing watermelons for the first time, here's how you know when they're ripe. Look for the tendril that comes from the juncture where the watermelon stem meets the vine. When the tendril has turned brown and crispy, the watermelon should be ripe. Silas is holding the tendril in this picture.
Hello Farm Towners!
What a welcome rain this morning. All of our newly-seeded carrots are very pleased, and the crew and I are happy for the break from driving water from field to field. Here's how we do it, when we have to:
1. Fill up our thousand-gallon water tank from the well at our main field. The well discharges a whopping 125 gallons per minute, which would be even more impressive if so many of our crops weren't located elsewhere. Don't fill the tank all the way or the trailer will bottom-out.
2. Drive out to the field (notice dog & bike in tow).
3. Attach water tank to main line of drip irrigation and turn on the pump. 800 gallons will provide ample water for 3,000 row feet of crops for about one dry week. It takes about two hours to empty the tank. This time we are watering the melons, while the bees are busy pollinating them.
4. Set timer for 1.5 hours. Ride the bike home (with the dog) while the water is pumping.
5. Eat dinner. Jump in the pond. Yell & curse at disfunctional pump in other field. Pick tomatoes. Hold friend's baby. Help six-year-old gut & fillet first fish. There are many things to do while the melons are being watered.
6. Ride back to field. Disconnect main line. Cut open a watermelon & see how they're coming along. Get very surprised and text Oona a picture of an almost ripe watermelon! Drive the tractor & tank back to the well. Fill the tank again. Drive the tank to the next dry field.
OK, so, if you're a shareholder, click this link for all sorts of important information about this week's share.
Listed below is what we'll have at Tuesday Market this week, including tons of ripe, red tomatoes, gorgeous Italian & Asian eggplant, and Cubanelle peppers, which are sweet & tasty (as opposed to our jalapenos, which are hot & tasty).
ITALIAN & ASIAN EGGPLANT, CUBANELLE PEPPERS, FRESH SUMMER ONIONS, CUCUMBERS (crisp & juicy, here's a recipe for quickles), YELLOW SQUASH, ZUCCHINI, PATTY PAN (here's a great tandoori kabob recipe), ripe, red TOMATOES, SUNGOLD CHERRY TOMATOES, FRESH GARLIC BULBS, CILANTRO, DILL, PARSLEY, JALAPENO PEPPERS, RED CABBAGE AND TENDERSWEET CABBAGE, HEAD LETTUCE, CARROTS (Here's how we got them), BEETS, KALE (here's a great recipe for Massaged Kale Salad), SWISS CHARD, and SHAVED ICE!
We'll see you somewhere. Be well!