New England is playing its spring game with us, teasing us with warmer air and brighter sun one day only to pepper us with rain, snow, or hail the next, punctuated with gusts of raw wind. We know we need to wait out the back-and-forth until spring is sprung. I wish you patience.
From the Farmer
Saint Patrick’s Day is the traditional date in New England to put your peas in the ground. I’m not sure how often we’ve managed to do that, but it certainly didn’t happen this year. Instead, our field was still covered with a fairly good blanket of snow. I had thought, in late February when temperatures were reaching 70 and the ground was completely defrosted, that we might have an extra early spring, and I began making plans to work up the soil in the high tunnels. I’m glad I waited.
And honestly, there’s always so much to do in spring that a little bit of a late start in the field is usually welcome. Instead of working up beds in the field, we’ve been spending our days filling the greenhouse with seedlings. We took advantage of the extra time and started cleaning up and organizing the tool bays in the barn. And I’ve been working on training a new farm dog, Boyd. You’ll likely meet him this summer. Unlike Casey, who especially in her old age was not the most social being, Boyd is a people person—a leaner (meaning, he loves to lean into your legs while you pet him). A 1½-year-old Border Collie mix, he’s full of a youthful exuberance that makes it almost impossible to miss him when you visit the farm.
I’m very happy that Charlie Radoslovich, our assistant grower, is back with us this season. As is Dan Bensonoff, who will be wrangling our high school interns this summer. Having a crew of returning veterans is always a welcome treat for me, and I think their knowledge and experience enhances everyone’s time at the farm as well.
As always, we’ll be trying some new things this year—new crops, new techniques, a few new tools. I’ll write more about some of them in the coming months, but we’re always on the lookout for better and more-efficient ways of getting our work done; better varieties that are more productive or more disease resistant; better practices so that we’re not just maintaining the health of our soil but building it. While I don’t necessarily believe the adage “Innovate or go extinct,” I do believe that there’s always more to learn about growing nutrient-dense food sustainably and profitably―perhaps more so now than ever, as our climate becomes less stable. Perhaps “Adapt or go extinct” is a better phrase. So we just keep at it—trialing and learning, revising and relearning―and if all goes well, hopefully, making some progress. I guess this spring I’m not just training Boyd, I’m also trying to teach this old dog some new tricks.
“We must check the farm after winter.” “Oh no!! The scarecrow fell down. Let’s help him back up.” “The chickens are so pleased to see us, I think they missed us.” The sense of delight and excitement from our Farm Sprout friends at being back at the farm after winter was tangible. We skipped the paths, we were amazed by the garlic that we planted in October that can now be seen poking through the mulch, we delighted in getting our hands covered in soil. Thank you, farm sprout friends, for reminding me of all the adventures and wonders that are just waiting for us to notice and explore as we begin a new season.
You too can discover the joys of being at the farm. For preschool friends, join us for Farm Sprouts, elementary friends, join us for Early Release, and all friends, join us for Kids at the Farm: Summer 2017! And high school students, apply today for one of our intern programs.
Look what we made!
With the expert help and guidance of artist Julia Talcott, kids in our Farm Tuesday program used various printing techniques to produce this masterpiece. Thank you, Julia!!
Adult programming is returning, and we want to hear from you about what classes you would like. E-mail ideas and suggestions to Alison Scorer, education director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NCF Annual Seedling Sale
May 20 & 21, Noon–3:00 p.m.
It’s almost time to get your seedlings and start your home garden! Mark your calendar for the farm’s annual Seedling Sale, where you can get your seedlings for vegetables, herbs, flowers, and that favorite summer crop, tomatoes. We will be selling Vermont Compost again this year to help your garden grow its best.
Our greenhouse is already busy, and we’ve started hundreds of varieties we trust. So get the seedlings you know are great and support your local community farm.
If you would like to send in a preorder to be picked up during the Seedling Sale, click on preorder form. Preorders are due on May 13 and are only available to Friends of the Farm. Interested in becoming a Friend of the Farm? You can sign up at Friend of the Farm.
Volunteers Needed for Seedling Sale
May 19, 20 & 21
Each year we depend on the help of volunteers to make our Seedling Sale a success. Please consider joining us this year! We need help in three important ways:
Setup and Cleanup (Friday, May 19) – We need help on Friday (morning and afternoon), to set up and put out the plants.
Staffing the Sale (Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21) – We need many hands to make the sale go smoothly. You can help by welcoming the crowds, assisting shoppers, keeping the tables stocked with seedlings, or helping with checkout.
Putting Out Lawn Signs – We know from experience that our lawn signs are the most effective way to spread the word about the Seedling Sale in the community and bring new people to our farm. You can help by putting signs up on April 29 and taking them down on May 21 after the sale. You pick the neighborhood that is most convenient for you!
To lend a hand (and get in your CSA work hours) please sign up here or contact Emily at email@example.com.
A new growing season at Newton Community Farm begins. And we are gearing up for all that spring, summer, and fall at the farm bring: field work, educational programming, events, and a myriad of related tasks. In so many critical areas, we rely on the help of our wonderful community of volunteers to sustain the farm.
Attention, Field Work Volunteers! We’ve made a few tweaks to our field work volunteer hours. Starting in May and June, we will offer three field work volunteer sessions a week: Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10 to noon. Due to the large number of high school interns and education programs in the field during the week in July and August, we will only offer Saturday sessions during those two months. In September and October, we’ll return to three sessions a week. Please read our field work volunteer page on our Web site for more information, and please use the signup sheet to let us know you are coming. This year we will also be asking all field work volunteers to sign a waiver form, which you can find both on the signup sheet and on our Web site. You only need to sign it once a season; we’ll keep it on file for you.
Special Volunteer Opportunity for CSA members! Are you a veteran CSA sharer? We are looking for a few old-hand CSA members who would like to welcome people to the barn as CSA members pick up their shares during the first two weeks of the season. You will help orient new members, especially, in how the CSA works and answer any questions. Pickup is Wednesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m., so we will be looking for people to be in the barn those days in shifts from 2:00 to 4:30, and 4:30 to 7:00. Interested? Get in touch with Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, this is applicable to your CSA work hours!
Ongoing Volunteer Needs. Here are several areas where NCF is looking for additional volunteers this season:
Fundraising: Capital Campaign volunteers, mailing help, grant writing
Events: Event organizers and helpers for upcoming events
Communications: Communications lead, graphic designer (designing written material), media calendar liaison (updating event info online), newsletter writer (writing short articles for the farm’s newsletter), social media contributors
Finance: Finance Committee members
Buildings: Project oversight assistance for building and renovation projects.
If you would like to contribute to the farm in any of these areas, please contact me at email@example.com and note your name, interest, and any information about yourself that might be relevant to the work you are interested in doing. Please also get in touch if you have any questions or comments. I look forward to seeing you at the farm this season!
At the start of each season it’s time to remind readers about Newton Community Farm’s wonderful recipe collection, Shared Harvest, where you will find a treasure trove of great recipes contributed by farm members. You can add your own recipes by following the directions on the site.
Asparagus is one of the first sprouts to appear, and it is a sprout. I really like Citrus-Dressed Asparagus, which is easy to make and shows off the lovely flavor of the spears. Do poke around in the collection.
Here is another resource: Click ’n Cook, created by the Greater Boston Food Bank. You enter up to three ingredients that you want to use, and up come recipes for one or more of those items. I’ve tried it, and I recommend it.
Our farm stand will, hopefully, open sometime in mid to late April. Please check our Web site and/or Facebook page for updates.
The farm will sell its produce at the Newton Saturday market when it opens. It is located on Elm Street in West Newton and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the summer and fall.
If you want to be added to our mailing list, click on list
. For more information about the farm, e-mail our farm administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Web site at www.newtoncommunityfarm.org
(or click on the image at the top of the page).
updates on class listings, events, NCF news, and more!