One of the most rewarding aspects of farming and working so closely with the land is the natural beauty you experience every day. No matter the season, nature inspires awe. Unfortunately, when we experience record breaking temperatures, extreme storms, or stretches of drought like we are in now, it is all farmers are thinking and talking about. The daily moments of awe have become focused on the rapidly changing landscape before us here at Appleton. We are adapting our practices to protect our crops and livestock each day that passes without rain. We hope you are conserving water at home and finding ways to reduce your impact on water supplies. Check out this nifty drought map for Massachusetts. It has lots of features and interesting ways to compare historical and regional drought conditions. The coolest thing about drought is this map! Drought Monitor Map
Farm Camp, our Friday Farm Dinners, the support of our faithful volunteers, and our early morning runners are still keeping the farm filled with vibrancy despite the drought. We are looking forward to this Sunday's Meet the Machines Summer Picnic where little ones can climb aboard our tractors and make friends with our farm yard animals. We hope you will join us! Register online if you are coming at the link above.
From the Fields:
In my updates from the last several weeks I have tried to communicate the harshness of the field conditions tempered with humor and cautious optimism. Unfortunately the time for putting on a bold face in hopes of a reprieve has passed. Uncomfortable as it is, it is time to be very frank. Many of the vegetables plantings have tipped from “just holding on” to “giving up”. Although the week’s forecast doesn’t show a high probability of rain outside of a passing thunderstorm, even if we should get the steady soaking rain that we need it will come too late for many of our plantings to recover. We have been trying to prioritize getting water to our most important crops to keep them from withering. These include carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, cucumbers and melons. We are only able to water for about 6 out of every 24 hours as our well continuously runs dry and requires time to recharge. Irrigation is keeping these crops alive but they are not thriving. When the temperature rises above 85 degrees, most of the plants we grow will not set fruit while crops like lettuce will attempt to go to seed. With continued stretches of 85+ degree weather we expect to see dips and stutters in yields. Without speculating too much on the short and long term effects this weather will have on the rest of our season, I can say that we are in for a rough couple of weeks out in the fields and in the share room and that the late summer/early fall hinges on getting some substantial rain and cooler conditions in the near future.
On the bright side Moraine farm does not suffer the same water limitations as Appleton. The winter squash especially looks very good in sharp contrast with last season’s crop. Soon we will begin harvesting our new potatoes from the Moraine fields. I am also hopeful that the fruits set before the blazing hot weather settled in will be of concentrated sweetness from all the dry weather. Sooner or later this dry spell has got to break.
In the Share
New this Week
In Other News:
Check out this great article about the Appleton CSA on Foodtank.com, written by one of our fellow shareholders, Kathryn Chiffer. Kathryn is an undergraduate student and the founder of "Project Lunchbox: Let's Eat!," an endeavor committed to empowering consumers, inspiring informed food choices, and instilling the belief that every person is capable of igniting change within the local and global food system.
From the Farm Store:
We hope our shareholders who picked up last Monday enjoyed our Farm Store Open House with samples and tastings from our friends at Mojo, Carolyn's Farm Kitchen and our own Appleton cheeses. Our August Open House will be on August 18th. Also, Freedom Ranger pastured chickens from Eden Pond Farm are back in the store.
Volunteer Opportunities: For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Flower Fields Volunteers: Thursday, Friday or Saturday mornings with Olivia. Weeding, watering, planting, and making flower bouquets for the farm store.
Food Festival Volunteers: Lend a hand pouring local beer or slicing cheese for samples at our upcoming food festival.
More Upcoming Events and Programs:
Graze the North Shore Food Festival
Join us for our first local food festival! On Saturday, August 20th, Appleton Farms will host Graze the North Shore, a food festival with local farmers, chefs, brewers, vintners and food enthusiasts for a day of summertime feasting. Graze your way through this one-of-a-kind summer event featuring generous tastings of local food, beer and wine, a pig roast, farm tours, cheese sampling, and live music by the Jason Spooner Band. Attendees will experience a true farmer to chef experience among the rolling pastures and historic barns here at Appleton Farms.
Tickets include all samples and must be purchased in advance. This event is 21+. IDs will be checked at the gate as well as by breweries and vintners. Full size beverages can be purchased directly from our vendors. Rain or shine. Buy your tickets now
Taking part are our friends from the following restaurants, breweries, and vintners:
Restaurants:Grassy Roots, Wenham, Eva's Butcher Shop, Danvers, A & B Burger, Beverly, Foreign Affairs, Manchester, Vidalias, Beverly Farms, Ipswich Clambake, Ipswich, Naumkeag Ordinary, Salem, Gulu Gulu Café, Salem, Flying Saucer Pizza Company, Salem , Flatbread, Georgetown, Kim Gregory Pure Pastry, Beverly, Tatiana’s Treats, North Andover
Breweries and Vintners:Old Planters, Beverly, Newburyport Brewing Company, Newburyport, Alfalfa Winery, Topsfield, Far From the Tree, Salem, Ipswich Ale, Ipswich, 1634 Meadery, Ipswich
We expect to host an additional 5-10 food and beverage crafters in addition to those above. Think your product or business would be a great fit for our event? Email Kathryn at email@example.com
Farm camp,Rise and Shine, Fun in the Farmyard, and Carrot Club continue each week! Find all the details and registration at www.thetrustees.org