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Thursday, May 19, 2016

May News from the Farm

Greetings from the farm,

Yesterday was a wild day at the farm.  We had new fencing going in by the Carriage Barn, 30 children from The Tower School learning all about compost, volunteers from EMARC weeding our garden beds, new signs being installed throughout the property and of course the preparations for The Trustees' 125th Anniversary Gala which will take place in the heart of the farm this Saturday.  We can't wait to experience the guests arriving to the farm by train car as the Appleton family did for years.  


In other news, the Jerseys are back out on fresh pasture and loving life in the lush green fields. Their first day out was on Mother's Day (a fitting way to treat our hard-working mamas with a special gift). We had over 200 people join us in traditional Swiss fashion to lead the cow parade to the new spring pasture.  It was a fabulous time and we want to thank all who were able to attend. 


Around the farm you will notice we have a new walking route from the Farm Store & CSA Barn to the Carriage Barn & Old House Visitor Center.  We are now directing visitors down the path through the field rather than down the road past the greenhouse and compost piles. Why? Our livestock and stewardship teams were unable to safely operate equipment with so many visitors walking through those areas of the operation. Shareholder pick-your-own will be entering from a new gate so make sure to come to our orientation day on June 4th to get the "lay of the 2016 land". We hope you will enjoy the new route when you are visiting or extending your share pick up with a walk to visit the animals or cheese kitchen.  

FROM THE CSA

Didn't snap a pic of the Jang but caught the farm team in action
After a crazy couple of weeks we are all caught up on transplanting.  The major spring crops are in the ground and looking reasonably happy.  Due to a couple of our tractors being in the shop we are way behind on seeding parsnips which might mean that we can’t harvest them until March of next year instead of this fall.  If that’s the case I might talk with Jenny and Bruce of Picadilly Farm about supplying us with some.  Our carrots and greens on the other hand have never looked better.  This is in part due to some changes we have made with our method of seeding and in caring for our direct seeded crops.   This winter we purchased a gently use Jang seeder from Andre Cantelmo of Heron Pond Farm.  He gave us a great deal and an excellent practical lesson on using this new tool.  The Jang is a little more sophisticated than our old Planet Jr seeder because it can be adjusted to separate and plant individual seeds at fairly exact spacing.  It also has the ability to seed 5 rows per bed instead of just three with the Planet Jr.   Growing greens at 5 rows per bed instead of 3 will, hopefully, lead to more refined and smaller sized “baby greens” without sacrificing yields.  We also switched from using un-sized carrot seeds to using pelletized carrot seeds.  Pelletized seeds are coated in a layer of clay to give them a uniform size and to prime them for germination.  So what are all these changes suppose to accomplish?  Better seed spacing and stronger germination means stronger stands of carrots with less man-power required for thinning and weeding.  Poor germination and hundreds of man hours spent on thinning have been the largest barriers to producing the volume of carrots that many of our CSA members wish to see.  This year we are still experimenting with our new tools and techniques but long term this could be a revolution in direct seeding for us. 

Don't forget to sign up for a spot at this season's welcome and orientation event on June 4th: sign up here


-Ryan, Leah and crew


FROM THE FARM STORE


A wonderful company from Cambridge, Honeycomb Creamery, is now making small batch ice cream with our Jersey cream.  You can find the new ice cream flavors like Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean, Maple Coffee, Chocolate Tasted Coconut, and Earl Grey Lemon in the farm store.   

You can also taste it at our upcoming Father's Day Bluegrass BBQ on Sunday, June 19th at 4PM





UPCOMING EVENTS AND PROGRAMS


Flavors of the Farm Culinary Event,  Saturday, June 4th |  5PM- 8PM

This once-a-year event provides an opportunity for guests to experience a behind-the-scenes farm tour of Appleton’s cheese making, dairy barn, and farm fields followed by a fabulous culinary demonstration and tasting by professional farm chef Carolyn Grieco. Using the farms’ products, Chef Grieco will pair each recipe with tastings of wine from Willow Spring Vineyards in Haverhill, Mill River Winery in Rowley, and Russell Orchards in Ipswich. Participants will learn new tips and techniques so that you can easily capture the season’s fresh flavors in your own kitchen. All guests will be given generous tasting of each seasonal dish and wine to compliment. Printed recipes and a take home gift included. Seasonal menu will include items such as Savory Herb & Cheese Custards, Radish Salad, Orecchiette with Farmstead Beef Sausage, Green Garlic, & Field Greens & Honey-Roasted Strawberry & Rhubarb Tarts with Jersey Cream.

Trustees Member Adults: $80 Nonmember Adults:$100


Wild About Greens Culinary Workshop |  Wednesday, June 8th 6PM

Vibrant edible greens are popping up on the farm and will be the star of this seasonal menu. Learn how to work with chard, collards, kale, and more as we create a complete menu including amazing starters, entrees, salads, and sides. Dishes such as Swiss Chard & Feta Stuffed Portobellas, Roasted Kale & Potato Salad, and Grass-Fed Beef & Black Bean Collard Enchiladas…….fantastic recipes for keeping it healthy and ‘green’ all season long! Chef Carolyn Grieco will lead this hands-on workshop including instruction, printed recipe booklet and a full meal. BYOB beer and wine are allowed. Members: $72. Nonmembers: $90

Father's Day Bluegrass BBQ  | Sunday, June 19th  4PM

Beer, bluegrass, and BBQ; the perfect recipe for Father's Day!  Bring a picnic blanket and load up the kids for a summer evening on the farm. We’ll have Heritage Truck CateringCopperDome Crust, and Gabi's Smoke Shack providing tasty food for dinner from their food trucks, our friends from Ipswich Ale Brewery and live music by local favorite Old Cold Tater. To top it off, ice cream from Honeycomb Creamery made with our own Jersey cream. A recipe for a super time!

Your family ticket pays for parking, lawn games, cheese samples, a visit with the farm animals, and live music from 5pm-7pm. Dinner from the food trucks and beer and wine, sold on site, are not included in your family ticket price.  Make sure to pre-register, these tickets will go quickly. Food and beverages are purchased directly from our vendors. Any proceeds help support our farm education programs. Trustees Members: $24 per family. Nonmembers: $30 per family.

Rise and Shine Little Farmers  |  Saturday mornings, 9am

Have you ever collected warm eggs from the chicken coop or seen how fast pigs will run for their morning helping of veggie scraps? This Saturday morning program brings families behind the scenes of our working farm. You’ll meet our cows, goats, sheep & chickens when you help with the morning chores (don’t worry, we will go easy on you!) We learn as we go and take advantage of whatever lesson the day has to offer. We conclude our farm adventure with a seasonal farm story. Registration online at www.thetrustees.org. 

Lastly, our Appleton Farm Camp is filling up quickly!  We are still looking for energetic and fun camp counselors (age 19 and up).  Please share with your friends and neighbors. Job description and application information can be found on The Trustees website.


P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

News from the Farm

Greetings from the farm,

The farm is bustling with activity in preparation for the summer season.  We all count the days until May 1st, but somehow it seems as if a week or two of April just disappeared from the calendar.  

A few things that you will see happening on the farm this month are the installation of new property signs updated with The Trustees new brand and logo, the May 21st Gala in celebration of The Trustees 125th Anniversary, and a new circulation route from the farm store to the Carriage Barn & Old House Visitor Center.  

Fields are plowed and many planted; the programming is ramping up with our Mother's Day event and weekend family programs; Mark and team are cleaning up downed limbs, making repairs to buildings, and mowing the grass already; while Sandy and the store staff increase the inventory as more customers come to shop with the arrival of nice weather. In the livestock department, we continue to welcome spring calves and have begun setting up the miles of fencing so our herds can head out to their spring pastures.  Kristian is busy in the cheese kitchen making his beautiful, creamy Jersey milk cheeses which will be ready to taste in early June while Susan in the office is getting all of the CSA renewals and information wrapped up.  

Thank you to all of the volunteers who were able to come to our spring volunteer celebration.  We appreciate each and every volunteer on the farm and loved sharing a meal together to kick off the upcoming season.

If you are visiting, come say hi to our three new Merino sheep who have joined our educational farm yard! Alana, Aleah and Molly will be helping children learn about fiber and wool.  




FROM THE CSA:
Sunny clear days and cool dry nights have made this a very pleasant spring so far.  With so little rain last week, we got the chance to break out some of our brand new irrigation equipment.  It was amazing to see the peas shooting up practically overnight after a nice long drink and I expect the carrots to be equally appreciative although we are still waiting for them to germinate.  Somehow we already seem to be struggling with a mountain of work and not enough hands to get to it all.  We’ve planted our first successions of cabbage, kale, chard, beets, and lettuce and we got all the new potatoes in the ground over at Moraine farm but we still have strawberries, onions, shallots and leeks to plant from last week and spinach and kohlrabi that desperately want to go into the ground this week.   A couple of fields still need to be plowed and I need to make beds for another succession of carrots. Unsurprisingly, my inbox is full of unread emails right now.  Fortunately we are looking to start a number of new part time crew members in the next few weeks.  That should be a huge help with chipping away at the work load.  Other than there being a lot to do things have been going pretty  smooth.  We’ll be sending out our welcome letter, CSA handbook and season calendar next week so look for that in your inbox.  Right now we are on track for a June 13th start date for CSA distribution so mark your calendars. 

Warm thoughts, Ryan

SAVE THE DATE: Shareholder Welcome and Orientation plus a Farm Store Open House. Saturday, June 4th. Details in your welcome email received this week.


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Mother's Day Spring Alpen Celebration
Sunday, May 8th 10AM-12PM
A fresh idea for Mother’s Day!  Spend the morning at Appleton Farms ushering in the season of spring, the fresh flavors of the farm, and the dairy herd’s return to pasture.  A tradition originating in the Alps, this day will include traditional Swiss treats and homemade breakfast goodies from our farm kitchen.  A fondue bar, live music, and more. Let the Moms relax and enjoy the festivities while the kids help us open the barnyard, meet the baby animals, and make a gift for mom. Flower crown making in the Carriage Barn for all to enjoy. Decorated with bells and flowers, the cows will end the celebration in a traditional cow parade to their new spring pastures. FREE for moms! Please register all other adults and children. http://bit.ly/MothersDaySpringCelebration

Rise and Shine Little Farmers- Saturday mornings at 9am
Have you ever collected warm eggs from the chicken coop or seen how fast pigs will run for their morning helping of veggie scraps? This Saturday morning program brings families behind the scenes of our working farm. You’ll meet our cows, goats, sheep & chickens when you help with the morning chores (don’t worry, we will go easy on you!) We learn as we go and take advantage of whatever lesson the day has to offer. We conclude our farm adventure with a seasonal farm story. Registration online at www.thetrustees.org. Click "things to do" and search by property- Appleton Farms.


P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April News from the Farm

Greetings from Appleton,


Update from the CSA Farm Office
As the weather warms up, CSA renewals and registrations for the farm are winding down.  We are excited to welcome some new families from our wait list!  In the office we are starting to prepare welcome packets that will include all the information needed for the upcoming 2016 season including the shareholder agreement and CSA handbook.  In an effort to better serve our CSA community, minimize waste, and reduce our usage of paper, we have moved to sending this information electronically to the primary shareholder’s email.  Please check your inboxes for our packet the first week of May to make sure it doesn’t land in your spam folder.  

If you have any questions about your share, please feel free to call the farm office at 978-356-5728, ext 4110 or email our CSA Manager, Ryan Wood at rwood@thetrustees.org with any specific questions about our growing practices.


From the Farm Store:
Eden Pond's pastured chickens are back in the farm store for sale and with all the spring calves being born, we have plenty of whole, 1% and heavy cream available. After a walk on the farm stop by for A & J King’s fresh pastries- cinnamon rolls, cookies, scones, and croissants- with a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate. 


WE'RE HIRING!

We're hiring multiple seasonal positions to lend a hand with our family programs & events, new pick-your-own flower field, summer camp and farmer's markets. 

If you love the farm, enjoy working with people, and have experience teaching children in an outdoor setting, inquire about our Education Assistant job by emailing Caroline at crouillard@thetrustees.org.


Green thumb and love to grow fresh cut flowers? Inquire about our Flower Fields Coordinator by emailing Beth at bzschau@thetrustees.org

Interested in spending your summer outdoors alongside a bunch of mini-farmers? Check out our farm camp educator positions at www.thetrustees.org

Want to take our show on the road and sell our Appleton milk and cheeses at our local farmer's markets? Email Beth at bzschau@thetrustees.org

Most positions require at least one weekend day. Interest in sustainable agriculture and an outgoing personality required.



THE FARM WISH LIST: Have what we are looking for? Email appletonfarms@thetrustees.org and thank you!
  • Chainsaw artist who can create some veggie friends for our lonely but well-loved  wooden carrot outside the farm store
  • Garden carts or wheelbarrows in decent condition

UPCOMING FAMILY PROGRAMS, CULINARY WORKSHOPS & FARM EVENTS:

Handpicked: Farm Dinner and "When Food Works for You" Talk with Core Retreats: April 16th 5PM
Enjoy a signature cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres on the porch at the 
farm house over looking the beautiful fields and gardens. Sample a farm fresh dinner created by local chefs followed by dessert and an enlightening talk “When Food Works for You” with Catrina Marie
Catrina Marie is a AADP certified Holistic Health Coach and international
yoga and meditation teacher with the Art of Living Foundation. She has
over 17 years of experience with alternative healing, preventative care,
spiritual based life coaching, and healing with food; learning and working
with internationally recognized experts in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. www.coreretreats.com

Appleton Farm Summer Camp Open House
Saturday, April 16 & Saturday, April 23 from 10AM-2PM
Calling all mini-animal lovers!  You asked, we listened.  Our new farm camp is coming this summer and we’d like to show you what a day in the life of a camper looks like here on the farm. Join us for a FREE drop-in camp sampler. Meet with our camp director, see our camp headquarters, and find out what Appleton Farm Camp will offer for activities, learning, and summer fun. There will be crafts, games, and activities all day for kids. Register for camp on site or take home information to share with friends.  FREE


April Vacation Programs: http://bit.ly/AprilatAppleton
Farm Felting
Monday, April 18 & Friday, April 22 from 10AM-11AM
Mason Jar Terrariums
Monday, April 18 & Friday, April 22 from 2PM-3PM

Spring Yarn Wreaths
Wednesday, April 20 from 10AM-11AM & 2PM-3PM


Farm Fiddleheads Pre-school program
4 weeks, begins May 3rd 9:30-10:30AM
Explore the rhythms of Appleton Farms with your pre-schooler. We’ll meet the cows, harvest the fields, wander the woods and dig into farm chores. Fiddleheads experience it all through age-appropriate sensory activities, stories, songs and crafts. Each program will last 1 hour and will have a different theme such as “What Plants Need to Grow” or “Meet the Cows.” Please pre-register. http://bit.ly/Farmfiddleheads

Mother's Day Spring Alpen Celebration
Sunday, May 8th 10AM-12PM
A fresh idea for Mother’s Day!  Spend the morning at Appleton Farms ushering in the season of spring, the fresh flavors of the farm, and the dairy herd’s return to pasture.  A tradition originating in the Alps, this day will include traditional Swiss treats and homemade breakfast goodies from our farm kitchen.  A fondue bar, live music, and more. Let the Moms relax and enjoy the festivities while the kids help us open the barnyard, meet the baby animals, and make a gift for mom. Flower crown making in the Carriage Barn for all to enjoy. Decorated with bells and flowers, the cows will end the celebration in a traditional cow parade to their new spring pastures.


FREE for moms! Please register all other adults and children. http://bit.ly/MothersDaySpringCelebration


P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Seedling city, opportunities to get involved, and special visits to the farm

Greetings from Appleton,

We have a few fun things to share from the past two weeks. Our Easter event was truly egg-cellent!  Over 300 people braved the chilly wind and came to celebrate the holiday with us. Thanks to all of you who participated and especially to our wonderful volunteers who helped serve refreshments, managed the crafts, introduced children to our chicks, calves, and bunnies, and worked our activity stations.  Missed it? Join us for our next holiday event: Mother's Day Spring Alpen Celebration



We also enjoyed a visit from Trustees President and CEO, Barbara Erickson, along with her executive team this week. Directors from our three regions and all of our major departments took part in a cooking class, farm tour, and the afternoon milking. Here, Livestock Manager Aaron Knight preps Barbara for her turn at milking.

  


In other news, we have a handful of seasonal employment opportunities available: part-time Education Assistant, PYO Flower Fields coordinator, and Farm Camp counselor positions. Please inquire with Beth at bzschau@thetrustees.org or see our website for more information.

News from the CSA:

The familiar hum of the greenhouse heater and the smell of warming soil fills the air as we start our greenhouse work. It is refreshing to just be standing inside of it, meticulously seeding tiny seeds thinking and talking about what the season will bring .After an extensive  clean out and repair session, we quickly filled every space the greenhouse has in just about a week! Luckily we have the use of the Moraine Farm greenhouse where we have already moved over 200 trays of storage onions and shallots. This additional space is key to being able to produce all the seedlings we need. We have since filled all the space up again, so hopefully we can get out in the fields and plow soon!

In the greenhouse you get to see a mini map of the whole farm (of course, without the direct seeded crops) where the successions for continued supply become apparent.  A lot of crops we see over and over:  lettuces and some greens, beets, summer squash cucumbers, fennel. Whereas other crops- peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, leeks and onions, have just the one seeding. Storage onions were seeded March 15 and they will not likely be harvested until the end of august. Solanaceous crops are seeded next week and they don’t really start producing until the end of July. All this makes a lot of our early greenhouse work especially important because we one get one shot. These little babies are nursed along, given room to grow, extra food, and extra care.  We then help them along to independence in the field, with initially a lot of support and attention hoping  they live healthy lives and produce for a us beautiful fruits and the happiness that goes along with them.  In the end, that all the TLC is totally worth it. They really do grow up so fast.

-Leah, Assistant CSA Manager

THE FARM WISH LISTHave what we are looking for? Email appletonfarms@thetrustees.org and thank you!
  • Chainsaw artist who can create some veggie friends for our lonely but well-loved  wooden carrot outside the farm store
  • Garden carts or wheelbarrows in decent condition
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: email appletonfarms@thetrustees.org for more info
  • Public Program Assistants
  • Monday morning greenhouse volunteers
  • Appleton Cooks! culinary class volunteers
  • Morning and afternoon barnyard animal care (chickens, sheep, and goats)

UPCOMING FAMILY PROGRAMS, CULINARY WORKSHOPS & FARM EVENTS:

From Cultures to Rinds: Cheese Making Fundamentals: Saturday, April 9th 1PM-5PM
Our cheese making classes are back! Spend the afternoon with Appleton’s new cheese maker, Kristian Holbrook for a hands-on cheese making class in our farm kitchen.  You’ll learn all the basics of making soft and hard cheese, make your own mozzarella and ricotta to take home, and get a behind-the-scenes tour of our dairy operation and cheese caves. Kristian will cover all the basics of cheese making and teach you exactly how to make delicious fresh cheese at home. Pre-registration required. Members: $100.  Nonmembers: $135. Registration and all the details at www.thetrustees.org

Handpicked: Farm Dinner and "When Food Works for You" Talk with Core Retreats: April 16th 5PM
Tour the dairy barn and learn how cheese is made at the farm
Enjoy a signature cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres on the porch at the 
farm house over looking the beautiful fields and gardens. Sample a farm fresh dinner created by local chefs followed by dessert and an enlightening talk “When Food Works for You” with Catrina Marie
Catrina Marie is a AADP certified Holistic Health Coach and international
yoga and meditation teacher with the Art of Living Foundation. She has
over 17 years of experience with alternative healing, preventative care,
spiritual based life coaching, and healing with food; learning and working
with internationally recognized experts in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. www.coreretreats.com

Appleton Farm Summer Camp Open House
Saturday, April 16 & Saturday, April 23 from 10AM-3PM
Calling all mini-human animal lovers!  You asked, we listened.  Our new farm camp is coming this summer and we’d like to show you what a day in the life of a camper looks like here on the farm. Join us for a FREE drop-in camp sampler. Meet with our camp director, see our camp headquarters, and find out what Appleton Farm Camp will offer for activities, learning, and summer fun. There will be crafts, games, and activities all day for kids. Register for camp on site or take home information to share with friends.  FREE


April Vacation Programs:

Farm Felting
Monday, April 18 & Friday, April 22 from 10AM-11AM
Warmer spring weather means its sheep shearing time on the farm.  But what to do with all that wool? Learn about the time honored tradition of wool felting. We’ll start by learning how to “card” the raw wool into soft fiber for spinning or felting. Afterwards, we’ll try our hand at making felt balls to be used for farm-fun necklaces. Wool, wood beads and decorative string will be provided, but feel free to bring anything special of your own to add to your necklace. Recommended for ages 6-9.  Trustees Member Child: $12; Nonmember Child: $20

Mason Jar Terrariums
Monday, April 18 & Friday, April 22 from 2PM-3PM
It may still be too cold for fresh flowers or green grass so bring some green life inside with an easy and adorable mason jar terrarium. We’ll create a miniature natural world with gravel, soil, mosses and plants that can stay on your desk or windowsill. You’ll leave with a mini terrarium of your own, plus the skills to make bigger ones at home. All materials provided. Recommended for ages 7-12. Trustees Member Child: $12; Nonmember Child: $20

Spring Yarn Wreaths
Wednesday, April 20 from 10AM-11AM & 2PM-3PM
Winter is over and the bright colors of springtime are here. Celebrate the season and create a beautiful decorative wreath for your front door! We’ll use bright colored yarn to make the base of our wreath and then decorate with felt flowers, ribbon, and items from nature such as lavender and mosses. We’ll provide all the materials and instruction. You provide the creativity! Recommended for ages 7-12.  Trustees Member Child: $12; Nonmember Child: $20



P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

News from the Farm and your 2016 CSA Crop List!

Greetings from Appleton,

This spring weather has us all a little frazzled over here at the farm.  65 degree days have us feeling like we should be much further ahead in our seed planting, spring clean-ups, farm camp preparations, and menu planning for our line up of summer farm dinners.  I think the 20 degree nights this weekend may actually be welcomed by the crew here at Appleton.  

We've wrapped up our maple sugaring and you can find the sweet and flavorful syrup in the farm store now. We also have plenty of milk, cheese and grass-fed beef stocked on the shelves so come on by and add a little local goodness to your weekend. 
  
FROM THE CSA: We thought it would be neat to include a list of all the different vegetable varieties that we plan to grow this season.  NOT included on this list are the veggies that we will be getting from our friends at Heron Pond (several varieties of storage potatoes), Picadilly (some fall carrots) and Marini's (the return of sweet corn).

Pictured: roughly $10,000 worth of seed purchases
There are a few new varieties that I am especially excited to try this year.  We added not one, not two, not three but FOUR kinds of Radicchio to the crop mix this year.  Each one is pretty unique but since this is a brand new crop for us we will be trying to determine which variety, if any, works best here at Appleton.  I can't wait to work these beautiful veggies into spring and fall salads at my house.  After a one year hiatus we are bringing back Oranos sweet peppers!  These pepper are extra early, extra sweet, extra reliable and even at over $0.40 per seed they are well worth the price.  For hot peppers we will be trying a new variety of habanero this season called Helios.  It is suppose to pack the same spicy sweet punch as regular habaneros but it actually ripens during our short New England summer.  Sugar dumpling winter squash are one of my favorite varieties but their short storage window made them a little fickle to grow.  We decided to swap this variety for Gold Nugget, a cute little single serving mini hubbard with pale orange skin.  We also added a variety of golden zucchini to our summer squash just for fun.  There are plenty more new varieties and old favorites on the list so check it out!  
-Ryan 

Basil varieties- Genovese, Napoletano, Eleonora, Mrs. Burns’ Lemon, Sweet Thai, and Sacred.
Bean varieties- Provider, Dragons tongue, Carson, Royal burgundy, Strike.
Beet varieties- Boldor, Chioggia gaurdsmark, Red ace, Avalanche, Cylindra
Bok choy varieties- Joi choi, Black summer
Broccoli varieties- Green Magic, Belstar, Arcadia, Fiesta, Bay meadows, Blue wind, Imperial.
Brussels’ sprouts varieties-Dagan, Nautic.
Cabbage varieties- Famosa, Ruby perfection, storage no. 4, tendersweet, Alcosa, Caraflex, Gonzales, Red  express, Omero.
Carrot varieties- Bolero, Nelson, Mokum
Cauliflower varieties- Denali
Celeriac variety-Mars
Celery variety- Tango
Chard varieties- Bright lights, Ruby red
Chicory varieties- Perseo, Bel fiore, Virtus, Dubuisson, Natacha, Indigo.
Collard  green variety- Flash
Popcorn variety- Robust Yellow
Cucumber varieties-Jackson classic, Marketmore, Olympian, SV4719CS.
Cilantro  variety- Santo
Dill variety- Bouquet
Eggplant varieties- Clara, Dancer, Nadia, Orient express.
Fennel varieties- Orion, Zefa fino, Preludio
Flower varieties-  Zinnia, Snapdragon, Rudbeckia, Cosmos, Dianthus, Celosia, Bachelors button, Procut gold, Procut orange, Procut lemon.
Garlic- German extra hardy, Music
Greens varieties – astro arugula, shanghai green pac choy, red Russian kale, spring raab, Siberian kale, tatsoi, arugula, southern giant mustard, red giant mustard, toscano, green wave, mizuna, sessatina grossa
Husk cherry variety- Goldie
Adult kale variety- Winterbor
Kohlrabi varieties-Kossack, Azur star, Kolibri, Quickstar, Winner
Leek varieties- King  Richard, Lexton blue-green, Megaton blue-green
Lettuce varieties- Green forest, Mirlo,  Panisse, Alkindus, Two star, Vulcan, Rouxai, Thurinus, Adriana, Salvius, New red fire, Skyphos, Starfighter, coastal star, Green star, Carioca, Cherokee, Concept, Muir, Nevada, Ruby sky, Winter density
Melon varieties- Sun jewel, Sarah’s choice
Napa cabbage variety- Rubicon
Onion varieties- Ailsa craig, Red long of tropea, Pontiac, Redwing,
Parsnip variety- Javelin
Fresh pea varieties- Premium, Sugar ann, Oregon
Pepper varieties- Ace, Carmen, Flavorburst, Oranos, Red knight ( sweet) Capperino, Devil serrano, el jefe, Hungarian hot wax, Red rocket, Helios, Tiburon, Thai hot ( hot)
Potato varieties- Red gold, Dark red norland, Anuschka
Radish varieties-Cherriette, White Icicle, Rover, Summer cross Daikon , D’avignon, Watermelon
Rutabaga variety- Helenor
Salad turnip varieties- Hakurei, Scarlet queen red stem.
Baby lettuce varieties- Foundation collection, Premier collection
Scallions- Guardsmen
Spinach varieties- Reflect, Gazelle, Space, Woodpecker
Strawberry varieties- Cabot, Earliglow, Jewel
Zucchini/summer squash varieties-Slik pik, Spineless perfection, Goldy, Gold star, Dunja
Sweet potato varieties-Beauregard, Covington
Tomato varieties ( non PYO)- Polbig, Defiant, Big Beef, Pink Beauty, Iron lady, Mountain Merit, Prudens Purple, Black Krim, Striped German, Plum Regal, Granadero,
Tomato varieties ( PYO)-Black cherry, Indigo cherry drops, Jasper, Mountain magic, Sungold, Sunpeach, Pink boar, Juliet
Turnip variety- Purple top white globe
Watermelon variety- Starlight
Winter squash varieties- Bonbon, Delicate, Jet acorn, New England Pie, Gold nugget, Pinnacle, Red Kuri, Winter sweet, Tip top PMR, Waltham Butternut

THE FARM WISH LIST- Have what we are looking for? Email appletonfarms@thetrustees.org and thank you!
  • 2-3 healthy, child-friendly rabbits with hutches in good condition
  • A "cooking with kids" expert who would be willing to advise our team on outfitting our teaching kitchen for kids
  • Chainsaw artist who can create some veggie friends for our lonely but well-loved  wooden carrot outside the farm store
  • Small chicken coop in good condition. We will pick up!

UPCOMING FAMILY PROGRAMS, CULINARY WORKSHOPS & FARM EVENTS:

Egg-cellent Easter Adventure: Saturday, March 26th
Say goodbye to the cold and celebrate the arrival of warmer weather here on the Farm! While we often associate eggs with the Easter Bunny, in many cultures eggs symbolize new life and are tied with the coming of spring. At this event, we celebrate spring, new life on the farm, and the bounty of fresh eggs produced by our hens. Go on the Egg-cellent Quest around the farm and learn about the journey from egg to chicken, collecting Easter eggs at each station to complete the Quest! Members: $20 per family.  Nonmembers: $30 per family. Registration and all the details at www.thetrustees.org

From Cultures to Rinds: Cheese Making Fundamentals: Saturday, April 9th 
Our cheese making classes are back! Spend the afternoon with Appleton’s new cheese maker, Kristian Holbrook for a hands-on cheese making class in our farm kitchen.  You’ll learn all the basics of making soft and hard cheese, make your own mozzarella and ricotta to take home, and get a behind-the-scenes tour of our dairy operation and cheese caves. Kristian will cover all the basics of cheesemaking and teach you exactly how to make delicious fresh cheese at home. Pre-registration required. Members: $100.  Nonmembers: $135. Registration and all the details at www.thetrustees.org


P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm

Monday, February 29, 2016

Appleton Farms March Update: Maple Days, Farm Camp, and Prepping for Spring


Greetings from Appleton! 

We've been collecting and boiling sap for the past few weeks and we have lots of sweet maple syrup headed to the farm store. The hours in the sugar shack (next to the Old House) can get a little lonely so we hope you'll come on by if you are on the property walking, visiting the store, or saying hello to the cows. Though the work keeps us busy, we certainly do miss the buzz of the share room at this time of year. 

Farm Camp coming this summer!
We wanted to share the news about our new Appleton Farm Camp launching this summer. Farm Camp will allow kids to meet our friendly Jersey cows and their irresistible calves, get creative in our teaching kitchen,experience the sights and smells of a real cheese cave, and explore the fields and forests for salamanders, hawks, and beavers.  All this fun and adventure will open the eyes and minds of our mini-farmers to the connections between their food, the farmers who grow and raise that food, and the land that supports us all. Open to children ages 5-13, our camp will offer both full and half day options. All the info and registration can be found here: www.thetrustees.org/appletonfarmcamp



News from the CSA:  The Supply Order
Most of us are feeling pretty relieved after experiencing what could be described as a New England micro winter.  After last year it is a pleasant change to be slogging through an early mud season rather than an eternal icy winter.  Although there are still plenty of details to be polished up and orders to be made in the farm office, it is also time to start thinking about cleaning out the barn and greenhouse.  Our first seedlings will be planted in just a few weeks time and if this mild weather holds out and the ground dries up we could be plowing in mid March!  This has created a real sense of urgency to finish as much office work as possible.  Plowing early means planting early and planting early means earlier yields and a more impressive selection for the first few weeks of CSA, but we can’t capitalize on this window of good weather if we are stuck pouring over supply catalogs.  

We refer to “the supply order” (rather than a supply order) when talking about the series of massive expenses we incur between January and March.  This includes seed orders, greenhouse supply orders, field supply orders, share distribution supply orders and many other odds and ends.  We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars worth of supplies, without which we would not be able to begin the season.  While the CSA business model does a lot to relieve some of the strain that the supply order places our cash flow, our budget still doesn’t allow us to be cavalier about how we use available finances.  For example we were forced to downgrade our Jacuzzi order from a deluxe model that came with massaging turbo jets to a package  that came only with a standard jets.  Eight jets per seat instead of sixteen!?  How are we supposed to make it through the season with that?

Jokes aside, putting the supply order together does involve a lot of compromise.  We cross reference as many suppliers as possible in search of cost savings and we end up doing a tone of product research.  Even with our best efforts to save money, we usually can’t afford everything that we think we might need.  Sometimes it comes down to a roll of the dice.  Should we invest in new irrigation supplies in preparation for a dry season or should we invest in extra frost cloth in case we need the extra bug and weather protection?  Should we repair our beat up deer fences or replace our beat up germination mats?   
  
The fun part about ordering supplies is that we get to consider how each new product that we hope to trial will improve our growing techniques in the coming season.  That new irrigation infrastructure could drastically increase our efficiency of water use, require less labor to operate and it could result in much more dependable seed germination.  Those new germination mats will self regulate based on soil temperature and they won’t shock us when they get wet!  There is no way to 100% guarantee that a single crop or single season will be successful but there seems to be a pretty apparent correlation between good planning coupled with allocating the necessary resources resulting in more desirable out comes when it comes to farming.   

-Ryan   


NEW to the BLOG: THE FARM WISH LIST

  • 2-3 healthy, child-friendly rabbits with hutches in good condition
  • A "cooking with kids" expert who would be willing to advise our team on outfitting our teaching kitchen for kids
  • Chainsaw artist who can create some veggie friends for our lonely but well-loved  wooden carrot outside the farm store

UPCOMING FAMILY PROGRAMS, CULINARY WORKSHOPS & FARM EVENTS:

From the Sugar Shack: Maple Culinary Class and Tour- Sunday, March 13th
The first part of the workshop will include a leisurely walk around the farmstead to show how sap is harvested and collected. The tour will wrap up at our sugar shack so you can see (and smell!) the transformation of sap to syrup. You'll gather in the farm kitchen for the second part of the workshop, where chef Carolyn Grieco will teach how to make some of the most delectable maple syrup recipes. Workshop ends with a generous sampling of all our delicious maple dishes! 

Sugar Shack Saturdays for Families: Saturday March 5th and 12th
Spend the day with us and see how we turn sap into sweet syrup. Start by getting creative with some maple themed crafts in the Appleton Old House then get outside and explore our very own sugar shack! Learn how we tap our trees every spring, see the evaporator in action, and taste the freshly made syrup. We will end back inside with a farm snack, including Appleton Farms cheese, apple slices, and homemade maple ice cream while we read a story about maple sugaring! 

From the Farm Kitchen: Spring Brunch Recipes- Sunday, March 20th
Inspired by the shift in seasons and the New England foods available in March, this class will deepen your appreciation for storage & hoop house crops, locally raised meat, farmstead maple and artisan cheeses. After we finish our hands-on class, we will enjoy our creations in the farm house dining room. BYOB mimosas if you'd like to.  Recipes will include items such as Pan-Roasted Appleton Grass-Fed Beef Sausage with Balsamic Onions, Skillet Cinnamon Bun Bread with Maple Icing, Spring Vegetable & Farm Egg Frittata, Lemon-Yogurt Berry Muffins 

Egg-cellent Easter Adventure: Saturday, March 26th
Say goodbye to the cold and celebrate the arrival of warmer weather here on the Farm! While we often associate eggs with the Easter Bunny, in many cultures eggs symbolize new life and are tied with the coming of spring. At this event, we celebrate spring, new life on the farm, and the bounty of fresh eggs produced by our hens. Go on the Egg-cellent Quest around the farm and learn about the journey from egg to chicken, collecting Easter eggs at each station to complete the Quest!

Registration and all the details at www.thetrustees.org


P.S.- Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about what's happening on the farm





      

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Crop Plan

Before I get into a long, dense and probably very boring description of our Crop plan, Susan Ferreira in the office has asked me to include an update on our renewal efforts.  We sent out an email as a final reminder this week to renew your share before we begin offering memberships to our waitlist.  Going forward we cannot guarantee a spot for renewing members as it will be first come first served.  If you are still interested in renewing but you are feeling that post Christmas emptiness in your wallet, please give us a call (978.356.1655) and we can work out an arrangement.  If you aren’t interested in renewing then please respond to our email with “Not Renewing” in the subject line so that we don’t bother you with further communications.  Thanks for your participation.    

If you have read more than a handful of these blog posts or spoken to a farmer in the shareroom or during one or our farm events, you might have heard references to the “Crop Plan”.  We farmers cite our crop plan eagerly and often (I can’t shut my mouth about it most of the time) but I don’t believe we have ever taken the time to describe in depth what the crop plan is, how we build it and how it guides our work over the course of the season.  Since this is the time of year when we spend the most time examining and developing the crop plan, it seemed like an ideal moment for a blog post on the subject.
The crop plan is the blue print used to guide a large portion of our growing season. It is a document used to schedule all seeding, planting, and fertilizing tasks.  It also contains notes on cultural practices, and growing techniques. Although the plan does not explicitly schedule field preparation tasks it does guide the timing of theses tasks.    

We build our crop plan as a table within an Excel document.  This makes it very easy to isolate information by specific fields which is important since the table contains nearly 500 rows and 25 columns.  We can, for example, sort by Tray size (Transplant trays come in many different dimensions and different sizes work better for different crops) then by Greenhouse Date (the date on which we plan to seeding each vegetable variety).  Then, using this sorted selection, we can compare the Number of Trays Needed to the Transplant Date to determine exactly how many trays of a certain dimension we will need over a specific period of time.  Since we reuse seeding trays several times over the course of the season, information like this helps to determine how quickly we can recirculate our tray inventory and therefore how many trays of each size we need to keep in stock!  This is just one of many ways that we can use the crop plan to guide our decision making.  

Excel is also a great tool for crop planning because it allow us to build formulas that determine everything from The Estimated First Harvest date for each specific planting to the exact Number of Seeds Needed for each crop variety.  Even before we begin plugging in specific crops and varieties it is immensely satisfying to build a complex crop plan and slowly worry out the bugs until we have a completed working mechanism!  I do realize how nerdy this sounds but seriously it is a lot of fun.
Once we have a functioning Excel doc. it is time to start planning the what, when, where and how much for each crop that we plant.  For the most part this involves identifying what worked and what didn’t work from the previous season, discussing why it worked or didn’t work and then making changes to the past seasons crop plan based on this.  To identify problems from the previous season we use everything from our memory of the previous season (notoriously unreliable), to the weekly harvest records and even the weekly postings on this blog.  We are attempting to create a plan that will result in a steady supply and broad variety of produce over the course of the entire CSA growing season.

Usually the problems we identify in the crop plan fall into three main categories; crop failures, overabundance, and mistimed harvest windows.  Crop failures either require us to determine if we should invest more resources into producing this crop in the future or if we should consider alternative ways to fill that crop’s niche.  Overabundance, a problem that results from an overwhelming volume of product that takes time to harvest and space to store, is easily managed by growing less.  Mistimed harvest windows are the trickiest issue to manage.  It can be very difficult to pinpoint why a crop matured earlier or later than expected.  To resolve a mistimed harvest window issue we need to consider variables of the weather, cultural practices, plant variety selection and obviously planting dates.

Once we have identified changes that we would like to make for the next season, the next step is to crack open our seed catalogues and begin working on variety selections.  Most of you have been around the block a few times at this point and know that there are many different varieties of even the most humble of vegetables.  Each variety boasts of different disease and pest resistances, different days to maturity, different yields, different flavors, different storability, etc.  It is tough to say exactly how much impact variety choice makes.  The difference between a Sungold cherry tomato and a Yellow Pear cherry tomato is huge but the largest difference that we have noticed between Mei Qing Choi and Shanghai Green Pac Choy is just the cost of the seed.  Still, making well considered variety selections gives us just a bit more of an edge on the challenges of the growing season.

The final step is to fill in the rest of the details of the crop plan and to tweak these details to cover our logistical needs.  We reference our crop rotation documentation and field data to determine which Crop Family will be planted in which Field.  We adjust Greenhouse Seeding Date, Tray Size, and Seeds Per Cell manage seeding resources and greenhouse space (running out of greenhouse space is a major bottleneck in our flow of production).  We adjust Number of Beds, Rows Per Bed, and Transplant Spacing, to save field space, impact yield, allow for more effect cultivation and to grow larger or smaller produce (Baby Bock v. full size for example). 

If we don’t end up with logistical inconsistencies then we have created a perfect crop plan.  To date this has never happened.  Even our very best plans are rife with little wrinkles: details that will be impossible to implement.  We just don’t have the resources to make every part of the plan work exactly as it is suppose to work and that’s ok!  We build a plan that we believe in, we work like heck to make that plan a reality and then we reflect on our efforts and make another attempt next season.  As long as we are building on our efforts each year the crop plan is a success.     


Bolded Texts are fields we use to organize the crop plan.