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Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 17

With the swamp maples and poison ivy coming into their fall glory around the property, it is clear that the changing of the seasons has begun.  What a funny time to be a farmer.  With so many storage crops in the share, morning harvests seem to take a little less time than they use to.  During the height of the season, a spare moment meant a chance for us to move a few shovel fulls of the mountain of work we had before us.  There is still plenty of work to do put each task does not demand our time and attention with the same urgency. 

We are making good progress with our goal of cover cropping the fields.  Rain would be much appreciated in this effort but the forecast hasn’t been cooperating.  So far the rain dances and blood sacrifices have tempted non from the old pantheons.  We may need to burn down a wood or slaughter a bull soon.  Even still, the rye seems to be germinating under these dry conditions and the winter peas can’t be far behind.

Thanksgiving shares are still available.  Pick up your sign up sheet in the share room.  If you would like to order pies along with your Thanksgiving share, please turn in your order form and payment before the 14th of October otherwise you can return your order form and payment anytime while supplies last.

What’s in the share: Greens, escarole, chard, collards, kale, onions, beets, potatoes, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, PYO herbs
What’s new: Cabbage, broccoli, sugar pumpkins 

Appleton Cooks Fall Schedule

Fall Fresh Crop
Wednesday, October 1st | 5:30-8pm
$60 Members, $65 Non-members
Head out into the fields to harvest then try out some tasty new recipes in Appleton’s state-of-the-art farm kitchen.
Harvest Table
Friday, October 17th | 6-8:30pm
$60 Members, $65 Non-members
Come celebrate the bounty of the season by preparing a special menu using pumpkins, winter squash, hearty root veggies, potatoes, and more!
Earth Oven Focaccia with A&J King
Sunday, October 26th | 1-3pm
$60 Members, $65 Non-members
Spend an afternoon baking with pros Andy and Jackie King of A&J King Artisan Bakers in Salem.
Thanksgiving on the Farm
Wednesday, November 5th | 6-9pm
$75 Members, $85 Non-members
Learn to prepare updated versions of some holiday classics such as Sausage, Apple, & Herb Stuffing; Roasted Onion Gratin; and Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish.
Gifts from the Farm Kitchen
Saturday, December 6th | 3-6pm
$75 Members, $85 Non-members
Come prepare a variety of sweet & savory food gifts. Class includes five gifts, fun packaging ideas, a printed recipe booklet, and a light meal.
To register please visit:

Monday, September 22, 2014


On Saturday morning we had our first frost of the season.  It came a full three weeks earlier than last year’s first frost and just a few days before the fall equinox.  By 9am the beans and basil were no more than a soggy mess while the sunflowers and cilantro managed to slip by without serious harm.  Frost isn’t just a killer of summer crops it also causes many of our fall crops to mature and sweeten.  For the farmers this is the beginning of chilly harvest mornings, icy fingers and soaking frozen dew but it is also a time of incredible sweetness and beauty.

I am shocked to report that we achieved a good deal of our goals for last week.  This almost never happens!  Although we still need to harvest our butternut squash, the majority of our winter squash field has been cleared and seeded with cover crop.  Our limiting factor on finishing this task isn’t time but rather space to store the harvested butternut and squash bins to hold them.  Onions are all harvested and cured and the field is prepped for seeding more peas and rye.  We still need to finish cleaning up tomato trellising and landscape fabric but we have made a solid start on our fall clean up. 

This week we hope to begin brining in our sweet potatoes which require a period to cure before they reach the share room.  We also need to thin our direct seeded Bok Choi and Napa Cabbage.  Last year we had great success with over wintering Bridger onions and we are hoping to expand our planting for this year.  This means laying beds of plastic mulch and lots of transplanting.  If we finish all of these tasks we may have time to begin weeding our spring planted strawberries.

With October around the corner and many of our storage crops in the barn or curing in the green house it is time to begin thinking about our Thanksgiving share.  After the regular CSA season ends you have the chance to sign up for one last supersized share to be picked up the week before Thanksgiving.  The share contains 40lbs of mostly storage crops and is great for either large family meals over the holiday season or for rich savory meals deep into January and February.  The cost of the Thanksgiving share is $80 and order forms will be available in the barn this week.  Please get your order form in as soon as you can.  Space is limited and we will open this offer to the public after the first three weeks.

What’s in the share: Lettuce, escarole, greens, yellow onions, shallots, garlic, spaghetti squash, delicata squash, chard, beats, kale, PYO herbs

What’s new: Red onions, acorn squash

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 15

It has been a little while since my last update so I would like to recap the last couple of weeks on the farm.  We had a little heat wave followed by a little tornado.  Separately these events might have been damaging but together they had the potential to be ruinous.  We must have a guardian angel in overalls because the damage to the vegetable crops was fairly minimal.  True, some of our cool weather crops bolted from the heat stress and many of our summer crops were greatly hastened in their decline but the greenhouses still stand, our deer fences still stand and none of our trucks, tractors or people were damaged.  We are in pretty good shape for the rest of the season and any gaps in production caused by the storm will be made up for with the abundance of the fall harvest.

This week we are hoping to find the time to finish harvesting onions and winter squash.  Clearing out these large sections of field will allow us to seed a cover crop of rye and peas which will protect our soil over the winter and enrich it for next season’s plantings.  Our goal is to cover crop as much of our fields as possible by mid October.  Also on the agenda this week is thinning and weeding our final planting of fall carrots and seeding our final greens for the season!  If we manage to get through these tasks I am hoping to tidy up some of our supplies left in the field from some of our summer plantings.  Tomato trellising needs to start coming down and landscape fabric and stakes (used to control weeds in the driving rows) need to comp up. 

Although summer is ending we are only about half way through the season.  With two full months to go we still have a great diversity of veggies ahead of us.  If you haven’t seen one of your favorite veggies yet there is a very good chance that it is still maturing.  Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, daikon radishes, watermelon radishes, parsnips, spinach and many more are still on their way.

  Whats in the Share: Lettuce, escarole, greens, chard, beets, kale, cucumbers, potatoes, leeks, yellow onions, shallots, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, celery, winter squash
Whats new this week: Kale, yellow onions, shallots, garlic, delicata winter squash

And now a message from our sponsors:

This SUNDAY is Family Farm Day!
Don’t miss the farm’s biggest celebration of the year.  Grab your friends and join us for some good ol’ fashioned fun on Sunday, September 21 from 10am—3pm (RAIN OR SHINE).  The family-friendly event features local healthy foods, music by Ben Rudnick and Friends, barnyard animals, and traditional farm crafts and activities including pumpkin painting, pony rides, and a hay obstacle course!
Trustees members: $20 per car.  Nonmembers: $25 per car.  Admission includes all activities.

Monday, September 1, 2014

And now a word from Beth O'Grady

Hello from Volunteer Services!

We hope you have all been enjoying a wonderful summer.  Now that September is upon us, we are sending out our annual plea for helping hands for our biggest event of the year; FAMILY FARM DAY!

This year the event will take place on Sunday, September 21st from 10AM-3PM.  There are morning and afternoon shifts to be covered. The success of this event has been dependent on volunteers for over 10 years- help us keep up this tradition that welcomes over 3,500 people to the farm.

Why lend a hand?

·         Appleton’s Education Programs rely on the revenue of Family Farm Day.  50 school field trips, service learning programs, and our public events and tours are made possible with the funds from Family Farm Day.
·         Teens can gain service learning or community service hours for helping out at Family Farm Day.
·         Volunteers help orient and welcome new families to Appleton, broadening the farm’s base of visitors, members, friends, and supporters.
·         Family Farm Day is FUN!  Spend a few hours helping out The Trustees in one of the most beautiful spots on the North Shore.
·         We have wonderful staff, but not nearly enough of them to run this event.  We need your help.

Recruit your friends and family to come and offer a few hours of their time.  We have lots of ways to help- we need help at the information tables, the barnyard animals, the pony rides, the face painting and farm tattoo stations, tug o’ war, the hay obstacle course, the recycle and compost stations, and greeters.   Choose your favorite or we can choose for you.

Please respond to Beth O'Grady, if you can volunteer and what shift you prefer to work for this year’s Family Farm Day and please share this email with friends and family who may be interested.

We THANK you in advance!!

Week 13

Shallots curing for longer storage

With September on the way we are looking ahead at a month busy with harvesting.  Storage crops such as onions and winter squash are at peak maturity now and we must find the time to collect the thousands of pounds of produce as well as the space to store and cure them.  It will be a few weeks before onions make it to the share room as they require a curing period in a warm dry location.  Curing greatly increases the onions storage ability and it makes them much easier to clean.  Certain winter squash varieties such as spaghetti squash and acorn squash are ready for eating immediately after harvest but these tend to have shorter storage potential.  Butternut squash requires at least a month to cure after harvest for its flavor to mature but a properly cured butternut will be great eating well into winter if you have the self control to wait that long.

Also on our agenda for the coming weeks is a great deal of thinning and weeding.  Carrots, beets, turnips, and rutabaga all need a great deal of time and attention to ensure a solid crop.  When you see the farmers kneeling hunched on the same stretch of bed and progressing at a snail’s pace, it is a safe bet that thinning and weeding is the task at hand.  Weeding the fall spinach is another big job that waits in our near future.

With so much still to do, it is with heavy hearts that we must say goodbye to several of our part timers.  Sam, Tim, and Becca, thank you for all of your hard work this summer.   It was a pleasure working with you and I hope to see you again next season.  Fortunately, we have a fresh new bunch of part timers starting in the next week or so to help us through the fall.  We look forward to welcoming them to Appleton  

What’s in the share: Lettuce, Escarole, beets, chard, summer squash, cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, celery, leeks, PYO flowers, herbs, cherry tomatoes, husk cherries
What’s new this week: Spaghetti squash, PYO tomatillos, dill and cilantro