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Friday, March 21, 2014

New and familiar faces at the farm

I wanted to share the news with all of you that I will be stepping down as Manager of the Appleton Farms CSA to start my own farm in Concord, MA this spring. I'll be leasing land from the Town of Concord with Melissa Maxwell (who many of you remember from her years working at Appleton), and we'll be opening a CSA and farm stand there in June. I've really enjoyed working at Appleton over the course of the past 8 years starting as an apprentice in 2006. It's a little bittersweet for me to be leaving, as I've met so many wonderful shareholders, volunteers and co-workers during my time here. However, this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up (especially because Concord is my hometown and I'm excited for my new daughter to grow up down the road from her grandparents!). I hope that if any of you find yourself in the Concord area this year, you will come visit us at Barrett's Mill Farm. If you'd like to stay in touch, my new email address is

I'm confident that the CSA is being left in good hands and that this year's crew will work hard to make this season a great one. Ryan Wood, who brought energy and experience to the Assistant Manager position last season will continue to be a part of the management team on the farm. He will receive excellent support from property Superintendent Mark Bailey and his experienced staff. You will also continue to see our wonderful shopkeepers Jo-Ann, Kathy, Michelle, Sandy, Marya and Nancy every week in the shareroom. Superstar apprentices Jon Berube and Ryan Donnelly will be returning for their third season on staff as well. In addition to these familiar faces, over the winter, we hired some new crew members. Our three new apprentices Rachel, Rachel and Sean promise to bring a lot of enthusiasm and hard work to the job. I know you all will enjoy getting to know these new crew members, as well as chatting and catching up with those you already know.

I hope you all had a wonderful winter, and let's keep our fingers crossed for some warmer spring weather so that your farmers can get out in the fields and start planting!

Take care,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Greenery sprouting in the greenhouse!

Leeks and onions are already popping up in the greenhouse. It's refreshing to see some signs of spring at our snow-covered farm. This past Monday we had an excellent turnout for our Monday morning greenhouse volunteers. Together we seeded a total of 164 seedling trays! Not only did we finish seeding our Ailsa Craig and Pontiac (yellow storage) onions, but we also managed to seed our first fennel.

In addition to our regular March seeding projects, we seeded a small early lettuce planting that will hopefully be available in the Dairy Store before the CSA season begins. We're also planning some small earlier spring plantings of greens and pea tendrils as we explore extending our growing season a little longer. As part of that experimentation, last fall we put in a planting of Bridger onions and some scallions to overwinter. Hopefully those will be available before the CSA opens as well. Stay tuned this spring to find out when early veggies will be available in the Store!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First day seeding in the greenhouse!

We had a great group of volunteers in the greenhouse Monday helping us to seed our first leeks and onions of the year. With their help, we seeded our entire leek planting as well as a significant chunk of our Ailsa Craig onions for a total of 115 trays of seedlings! By next Monday we should see some green shoots poking out of those trays. Even if the ground is still covered in snow, it will begin to feel like spring in the greenhouse very soon. Next week we will continue seeding onions and perhaps our first fennel and lettuce plantings as well. If you're curious about what goes on at the farm in the spring (or want to escape the chill winter air), stop by and seed a few trays with us. We meet in the greenhouse every Monday 9am - noon. Questions? Email Ryan at