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Monday, May 30, 2016

News from the farm- counting down the days!

Good morning,

Our first share distribution is only two weeks away! We are looking forward to welcoming all of you back to the farm on a weekly basis.  Before we jump into the details about what is happening on the farm and in the fields, we want to thank all of you who attended The Trustees' 125th Anniversary Gala at Appleton on May 21st. This spectacular event welcomed over 500 guests, with 200 arriving by antique train car and stopping right where Mrs. Appleton and many family members before her flagged down the train to Boston.  This event kicked off a series of celebrations for The Trustees' big birthday this year.  We hope you will visit our new site www.thetrustees.org/125th to check out some fun activities, amazing events around the state, and fascinating history about the organization's founding in 1891 created to honor this exciting year.

In other news, May is the height of field trip season here at the farm and over just the last two weeks, we have welcomed 217 students from 6 different schools from around Greater Boston. The children have learned about a variety of topics from dairy farming to local food systems, Appleton’s history and cheese making. Our new Merino sheep are being extremely cooperative, allowing the children to experience the amazing wool that according to the kids feels "just like memory foam!"


NEW FACES ON THE FARM:

We have new staff starting this week who we can't wait for you to meet. Ashley who was with us last year as our Education Assistant will be returning to manage the share room and our welcome center in Jimmy's Barn (the CSA Barn).  Ashley will be there on each pick-up day to help answer questions about what is thriving or struggling in the fields, why some crops may have limits, when crops can be expected, help with any billing or administrative questions, and support the wonderful crew of current share room staff and volunteers. 

Olivia, who has been working at the Clarke Farm in Danvers for several years after gradating from Montserrat College of Art, will be joining us to begin a public, pick-your-own flower field behind the barn.  This Flower Field will be modeled after ones we have operated at other Trustees properties (Long Hill and Stevens-Coolidge Place) with a goal of offering the public a fun and family-friendly activity to take part in and something special from Appleton to take home with them.  Flowers will be for sale by the stem and/or bouquet.  Shareholders will continue to have their own flowers planted within the crop fields as they always have.  We hope to recruit a group of volunteers who will lend a hand on Thursday mornings to weed both the Flower Field and the Shareholder flower rows. Please email Beth at bzschau@thetrustees.org if you are interested.  



FROM THE FIELDS:

 As you all know, it takes an entire year to produce healthy strawberry plants capable of producing enough berries to satisfy our CSA members.  Last year we planted our strawberries on a southern facing slope to catch the best rays.  Over the winter and early spring we covered these berries with frost cloth to protect the plants and create a more favorable micro-climate for berry development.  Although we plant several varieties, my personal favorite is "Early Glow".  These smaller-sized berries have superior flavor and, as the name suggests, they are usually the first to ripen in the spring. 


This past winter was fairly mild as far as the berries were concerned and beneath the cozy frost cloth, soaking up rays on that southern facing slope the Early Glow berries came off the starting block with a full head of steam.  We started to see a little bit of red out there early last week but with the sudden swing to summer temperatures the berries have been ripening like crazy.  “Oh no! We’re going to miss out on all those extra early berries.  The CSA doesn’t start for another 2 weeks.” is what you are probably thinking but worry not!  With the CSA Welcome Open House coming up this Saturday June 4th all of our CSA members are invited to attend and get a little taste of what’s to come while you’re here.  Follow this link to RSVP and we’ll see you Saturday.  Appleton Farms CSA Shareholder Orientation
While you are here learning all about this upcoming season, you can also sample goodies from the farm store, taste new cheeses from cheese maker Kristian Holbrook, find our about upcoming programs and events, and meet our partners from the Boston Area Gleaners.
Read on for a little more about the Gleaners and our partnership: Ever wonder how your neighbors in need might access fresh produce grown at small farms like Appleton? Be sure to stop by the Boston Area Gleaners table at this Saturday’s CSA Orientation event to learn about how this local organization organizes volunteers to go around to various farms in eastern Massachusetts to harvest surplus crops that would otherwise be plowed under. All of the produce they glean is then distributed amongst 500+ hunger relief agencies. You can even sign up to join them in their gleaning efforts out in the field - no commitment or experience necessary! They will have a table from 9-noon at the CSA Member Orientation event - please feel free to stop be to ask introduce yourself and learn more!

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  

*NEWSFLASH- CLOVER FOOD LAB WILL BE JOINING US ON FATHER'S DAY!

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, Clover Food Lab 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. 

Fun in the Farmyard  | Sundays 10am-3pm
Drop by our Carriage Barn anytime between 10am-3pm on Sundays to experience life on the farm and meet some of our friendly farm animals. Activities are partially self-guided and can include farm crafts, games, story time, playing with the goats, meeting a chicken and more. This event is free and recommended for ages 2-6, but all are welcome! FREE

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

    

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