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Friday, April 26, 2013

New cooking classes at the farm!

Check out this offering from the brand new "Appleton Cooks!" program:

Saturday, May 4th, 10AM
$85 for non-members, $75 for Trustees of Reservations members

Hints of spring inspire this menu featuring both sweet and savory dishes, perfect for every day or special occasions.  Spring foods and fragrant fresh herbs make an appearance in fantastic dishes such as Swiss Chard, Sausage, & Ricotta Quiche, Asparagus & Herb Salad, and Upside-Down Rhubarb Sticky Biscuits to name a few.  Come join us to cook, learn, eat, and be inspired for the upcoming growing season!

This program is part of Appleton Cooks! - the newest (and tastiest!) addition to Appleton Farms. What is Appleton Cooks? It's a year-round menu of programs designed for people who love food. Whether your're a beginning cook or a practiced chef, we're offering classes, workshops, and farm-to-table dinners featuring seasonal food fresh from the farm. Stay tuned for the official launch - coming soon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Many hands make light work

Thursday we had a superb crew of 40 volunteers from Whole Foods helping out in the fields. Not only did they plant 6 beds of potatoes and 3 beds of leeks, but they also completed one of the most dreaded tasks of the season: mulching the pathways for all 18 beds of our onions and shallots with straw! I know the apprentices are particularly grateful not to have to slog through all that mulching with only our small crew of seven.

We've also had some help from the Appleton Farmhands this week. Under the guidance of our fearless Farm Educator Becky, these students spent their April vacation lending a hand all over the farm and helping us to plant both potatoes and leeks. I don't know about you, but I'm getting hungry just thinking about this fall's soup-making possibilities!

Last, but certainly not least, our Monday greenhouse volunteers continue to keep us on track with our greenhouse seeding. This week they seeded our entire spring broccoli planting. We had to start transplanting leeks this week just to make room in the greenhouse for all the trays they seeded.

It's really hard to imagine how we would get a lot of things done without the help of volunteers. We have a fabulous, hard-working crew of apprentices, but there are only so many hours in the day! Thank you to everyone who has contributed this week!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fresh Faces on the Farm!

Back row L-R: Ryan W, Jon and Alex
Front row L-R: Ryan D, Lise, Rachel
and Stephanie
We just finished our first week with our new apprentices Alex, Rachel and Ryan! Look for their bios and photos soon on the staff bio page. In addition to getting oriented to Appleton and our farming systems, they've been busy working both in the greenhouse and out in the field. This week in the greenhouse we seeded flowers, eggplant, tomatoes, basil, bok choy and our third lettuce planting. We also thinned our cabbage seedlings, transplanted snapdragons into larger trays, trimmed the tops of our onion seedlings and moved the leeks out to the cold frames to harden off before transplanting next week. Out in the field we raked the rest of the straw mulch off of our strawberries, prepped fields for planting leeks, spinach, lettuce, and potatoes next week, and we seeded chard, a second planting of carrots and beets and almost 2 acres of field peas for spring cover crop. We tried to cover as much of the freshly seeded crops as possible with row cover as well this week, but we eventually ran out of material! Listing off everything that we accomplished makes us sound very busy, but in comparison to a typical week in June (when we work 6am -5pm), this week was leisurely. Right now we're enjoying being busy, but not too busy.

We are just about done filling in shares off the waitlist for the 2013 season. If you have friends who have been looking to join a CSA in the area and don't have a share for this season, tell them to check out Moraine Farm. Moraine is located in Beverly and is also operated by The Trustees of Reservations. Visit the Moraine Farm blog for more information!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

First Field Seeding of Spring 2013

Steph seeds carrots while Ryan makes beds for beets
It's been a productive week here at Appleton Farms.  With warming weather and drying winds the fields are finally ready to be worked again.  And not a moment too soon.  So much depends on getting a solid start early in the season.  It can really set the pace for the rest of the year.  Fortune favored us this time and we had both cooperative climatic conditions and working machinery.  Without delay we set steel to soil.  We tilled, we harrowed, we fertilized and finally we formed beds.  This allowed us to get beets, carrots and peas seeded into the ground.  To protect these still delicate seeds from heavy frosts and hungry birds we covered their beds with a row cover which is essentially a large white sheet of woven fiber which holds moisture in and allows sunlight to penetrate but which insulates up to 8 degrees and keeps curious birds out.  It's amazing what a big difference row cover can have on plant vigor!  There is still lots more soilworking and seeding to do in the coming weeks and months but I think it is safe to say that this season is off to a good start.