We are fully underway! After a very slow and cold April we have been in the fields for the past few days. When spring doesn’t follow the schedule we get a backlog in the greenhouse as the seedlings wait to go in the ground. Last week every square foot of space was filled by plants […]
Open Fields!The crew has been working hard planting beets, chard, spinach, broccoli and cabbage the past few days. This time of year as the weather swings up and down planting also means covering with large fabric row covers to protect the seedlings from both temperature swings and numerous pests that emerge and have little else to eat but our tender crops. This step slows the process of planting our backlog of seedlings but Virginia, Alessia, Sarah and I have been powering through. There is nothing more exciting than trying to get a 40 by 350 foot piece of fabric to lay down in fifteen mile and hour winds at the end of the day. All in all, even with the slow release of winter's grip this year, we are on track to begin harvesting for all of you the first week or June.
Shares Going Fast...We still have both Brunswick and Portland-area delivered shares available although they have been going quickly the last week as everyone realizes winter is actually going to end this year. As always please sign up online (look for the green and orange buttons to the right of this page) where we have payment options.
Add-on the Best of MaineIn addition to vegetable share there are also some great add-on shares to make your weekly trip to the farm or delivered box even more satisfying. These are products that we love and want to share with all of you. Here's a list of this season's add-ons and the farms/artisans that produce them. Sign-up for them all here!
- Farmstead Yogurt Share: Cream at the top style from grass-fed Guersey cows at Wholesome Holmstead Farm, Manchester, Maine
- Farmstead Cheese Share: Hard and soft cheeses from Winter Hill Farm, Tide Mill Creamery, Wholesome Holmstead Farm and Barred Owl Creamery
- Organic Egg Share: Brown eggs from pastured hens at Sparrow Farm, Pittston, Maine
- Organic Mushroom Share: Maine grown organic mushrooms from Mousam Mushroom Co. in Sanford, Maine (new grower this year)
- Artisan Bread Share: Rotating Artisan Loaves from Standard Baking Co. in Portland (recent James Beard Award winner)
- Late Fall Vegetable Share: Our own storage and greenhouse produce November-December
- Fresh Fish: Order fresh fish weekly from Port Clyde Fisherman's Coop and pick it up with your share.
- Flower Bouquet Share: New this year!
Abundant Bouquets along with your produce! The best Mother's/Father's Day Gift!This year we are offering lush flower bouquets each week with you share. For twelve weeks from late June-September your bouquets will be cut and arranged from our dedicated flower garden (not upic). Anemones, exotic poppies, dahlias and sweet peas are just a few of the varieties. A weekly bouquet as a gift for your Mother or Father on their day will knock their socks off! This is a starter project by dedicated crew member and second year farm apprentice Virginia. More info and sign-up here.
- Spring is right around the corner here at the farm. Even though the snow is falling today (heavily) it won't stay around for too long and in no time the plants in the greenhouse will be out in the field and the season will be underway. As the farm comes out of its quiet season we have lots to talk about.
- 2017 CSA sign-ups
- Add-on shares
- What's happening these days at the farm
Sign-up for 2017 SharesThanks for all of the sign-ups for 2017 so far. Our new online payment system has worked like a charm with both full payments and the payment plan. If you haven't signed up yet click here. As always you have the option of paying online or sending us a check.
Add-on Share Sign-up Open:Add Great Local Food to Your Produce Each WeekOur 2017 add-on shares are now available for sign up. Eggs, yogurt, bread, mushroom and cheese are all listed and look for a note in the next week about flower bouquet shares as well. These shares are an easy way to add unique and outstanding products from our local farm/artisan friends to your weekly share. Follow this link for more info and to sign-up.
Fish at the FarmWe have partnered with a fisherman' cooperative to offer fresh fish picked up at the farm every Friday. Starting in June you can preorder from their long list of ground fish (plus crab and shrimp) and take home you catch with your produce. Order whenever you like and pay each time right on their website. Fish will be delivered on Fridays by 3pm. Here's a link where you can sign-up for a weekly email listing what they are landing and how to pay.
The Farm Transitions...Once the sun melts off all this new white stuff we are ready to kick into high gear. As always our first task outside is turning over ground from late last season, adding fertility (either with compost or organic fertilizer) and forming up new beds. By burying last years debris and turning up dark aerated soil help the ground warm faster, which is the only thing I use as a gauge as to when to start planting. Soil temperatures have become my touchstone in this new age of hyper-changable weather. I liken this standard to swimming in Maine. It doesn't matter if the air temp is 80 degrees June 1st, the water will quickly make you hypothermic at 38 degrees. The plants feel the same way (and they don't have the luxury of getting out!). Many damaged or lost crops in the spring have come from planting when its warm outside but not under our feet. First in the ground are peas (40°) then onions (45°), broccoli/cabbbage (50°), greens (50°), tomatoes/cucumbers (60°) and lastly the very sensitive peppers/melon (65°).
For now though winter is still here. It was slow to arrive this year but I have to say I'm happy to have a bit of snow and some cold to force me out of the fields and inside. For most of the year the office is a pit stop between pressing tasks outside. But when the blizzards start I can get deep with tying things up like making budgets, tax prep and general organization. Before the snow started in earnest Kristin and I were able to spend many days in the barns cleaning and sorting everything from bolts to tractor manuals, rebuilding the systems of organization that slide towards chaos over the season. Once things are organized it allows me to work on a new project or two before we hit the fields next month. For many years we have needed a better system to germinate seeds that do best with higher temps than we run in the greenhouse. Heat mats have been the solution but they dry out the soil in our soil flats and ultimately heat unevenly. Last year we had a double door reach-in freezer die and instead of sending it to the recycler I kept it, knowing it had a greater purpose. These freezers are super insulated and humidity tight- a perfect place to germinate seeds. After I had the refrigerant drained from the system I pulled out the compressor, evaporator and lots of associated wiring, leaving me with a metal box full of shelves. A friend welds aluminum so I had him make me a watertight pan to fit on the floor of the freezer and I added a water heater element wired to a waterproof thermostat. Once the pan was filled with water the element heats it up and maintains the temp that the thermostat is set to inside the cooler. Since the heat is made from warming water the chamber runs at about 99% humidity, which is perfect for seeds in flats. I added a few waterproof led lights and our first round of leeks germinated almost perfectly in just 4 days. Many more projects like a composting toilet, road repair and hay equipment service are just a few to squeeze in before March comes to an end. Stay warm, find your optimism and enjoy the strengthening sun (it will be back tomorrow). Seth and Maura
The winter routine has settled in here at the farm as we batten down, give everything a deep clean and make long lists of what to organize, repair and replace. Farming in the north is a privilege in many ways but this time of year makes me so thankful to that we have a couple […]
Rain catch up...into snowWe have had nice regular rain the past couple weeks and while we haven't caught up the ground is wet and the farm waterways are moving. Refilling our water table (which for us is the massive Brunswick Aquifer) is vital to us maintaining soil microbiology and fertility. A good snow load would be really helpful in keeping the positive trend moving in the right direction. I know I'm not popular when I say this but, BRING ON THE SNOW!
Late Fall Share a Grand SuccessWe are two pick-ups into our late fall share and the response for those who signed up has been overwhelmingly positive. It's lots of great storage produce like squash, beets, cabbage and carrots along with greens from our field tunnels. Everyone's bags have been very full on the way out the door. We hope to expand this program next year. Look for sign-up option coming next month.
Shares for 2017Thank you to all of you who have signed up with us for 2017. Your support now is so important as we have already started dipping into our 2017 budget with potting soil from Vermont, greenhouse and tractor biodeisel (from the best deep fat fryers in Portland) and seeds from Maine suppliers (Johnny's and FEDCO). As a member of this CSA, your family and the farm are linked. Your memberships now provide cash flow throughout the season and allows us to focus on growing the best food. If you have not signed up yet but would to here's the Brunswick link and the Portland area Delivered share link for our easy online system. *NEW THIS YEAR - For those who like to pay via credit card online, we now use a system that will AUTOMATICALLY charge your credit card. When you sign up and enter your credit card information, you will be charged at that time ($113 for Brunswick On-Farm Share, $115 for Delivered Share) , and then it will automatically charge that same amount ($113 or $115) until your balance is paid. We put many hours into this new system and hope it makes the payment plan process easier for all.
Thank You. Another farm season comes to a close this week. Farming is never boring and almost always challenging. 2016 will go into our books as the driest by far. We can be proud that we produced a strong crop and got more skilled with our irrigation systems. One of the great things about farming in […]
Thank You.Another farm season comes to a close this week. Farming is never boring and almost always challenging. 2016 will go into our books as the driest by far. We can be proud that we produced a strong crop and got more skilled with our irrigation systems. One of the great things about farming in the Northeast has been the regular supply of rainfall. The average for Brunswick is about 36" a year and for the most part this has been spread evenly over the whole season. Not this year. We invested in an irrigation system 12 years ago and have used it at some point during the season each year to keep us at one inch of water a week. Our current setup runs off of a well that we connect to our many fields via 30 lengths of aluminum pipe. This is labor intensive as we have to break down one field to set up the next. Two of our fields are over 1000' from the well so in 30' increments you can do the math...its a lot of pipe to move. Usually not a big deal but this year we were moving pipes and irrigating all the time...it was a big deal. Apart from a massive effort to move water this season we also saw the frost dates pull back in both spring and fall, giving us a longer season and new possibilities in the coming years for earlier plant dates in the spring as well as more successions of tender crops in the fall. Our crew this season was spectacular, putting in endless days pulling tons of food from exceptionally hot and dusty fields. But most important above everything we did was seeing you each week here excited about the harvest - we are ever grateful.
Oysters?This is the last week we will have Long Reach Oysters available. These are outstanding raft raised native oysters making a very short trip from Harpswell to your table. Pre order by 9pm tonight via email...$16/doz, $9 /half.
Sign-upsThanks again for the overwhelming signup enthusiasm. Your support now makes a huge difference for the farm. Still need to get on board? Here's the link.
What's in the Share?Lettuce Kale/Chard Cabbage Carrots Winter Squash Parsnips Turnips Rutabaga Onions Brussels Sprouts Sweet Potatoes
Red Turnips make a bold appearance this second to last week of the csa. When I say turnips many of you tune out but wait… These are the close relatives of the white salad turnips we have had the past couple weeks. Smooth and creamy they lend themselves to eating raw (we like to slice […]
2017Thanks again for the overwhelming signup enthusiasm. Your support now makes a huge difference for the farm. Still need to get on board? Here's the link.
The Last Week...Brussels SproutsLots of other good stuff coming too don't miss the last pickup...bring a box.
PotatoesWe finally have potatoes this week. As you may have guessed it was a less than successful crop for us this year. Biblical beetles and drought gave us very small tubers. What she have tastes great though...
What's in the ShareLettuce Asian Greens Kale/Chard Butternut Squash Acorn Squash Potatoes Carrots Beets Garlic Parsnips
Hurricanes that miss their mark, first frost, and the last two weeks of harvest. So many things to sigh and or exhale about this time of year. Like the trees this fall the season seems to have turned with the flip of a switch. Last week we were still in our short sleeves at […]
Hurricanes that miss their mark, first frost, and the last two weeks of harvest. So many things to sigh and or exhale about this time of year. Like the trees this fall the season seems to have turned with the flip of a switch. Last week we were still in our short sleeves at 7am and now we are rolling out the row fabric to keep the greens going while the temperatures dive. It's all dramatic and exciting if we step out of our working, but minute by minute we make our small adjustments and keep getting the day's work done. With all of my worrying and wondering about water this this year I have not had a moments doubt about our crew. We somehow ended up with some of the best people on the planet this season and their efforts every hour of each day made this season a great success.
Stock the Freezer SaleWe have a fall "Stock the Freezer" sale going the next couple weeks. Buy 10 pounds or more of our ground pork, ground beef, or ground lamb for a dollar off per pound. 10lbs Pork or Beef for $70, 10lbs lamb for $60... We also have 10lb flats of frozen tomato seconds for $10.
Last Week of Mushroom Share...Our mushroom farmer had a calendar error and did not deliver the last week of mushrooms last week. Make sure not to miss yours this week.
Thank you for signing up for 2017!!Our appreciation is deep for everyone who has signed up with us for 2017. CSA is a unique collaboration between your families and this farm. By joining now you put your money where your mouth is, supporting local organic food. You also get a great deal. Where else can you buy fresh local organic produce for around $1.50 per pound, pick flowers and strawberries, and swap recipes with the people who grow your food? Thank you! Still need to sign up? Here's the link.
When is the Season Over?We are planning to have our last harvest of the regular farm season the week of October 24th. The last pick-ups will be Tuesday the 24 and Friday the 28th.
What's in the Share?Lettuce Asian Greens Jale Arugula Chickories Carrots Sweet Dumpling Squash Kohklrabi Hakuri Salad Turnips Red Cabbage
Be careful what you wish for. For a couple weeks I have been hoping out loud for a couple three days of hurricane blow off. This is that nice fine rain that comes soft and constant and soaks the soil without washing a grain of sand away. We commonly get this kind of precipitation in […]
Thank You for Signing up for 2017Thank you to those who have signed up online in the past week! Knowing we can count on your shares early allows us to refine our plans for crops, order seed before the winter rush, and take advantage of end of the year pricing on big ticket items like soil, fertilizer and supplies. Most importantly it helps us focus on making the farm productive and healthy. If you haven't signed up yet here's the link.
Cipolinni OnionsThese little flat onions are pure magic. Sweeter than your standard onion they are great roasted in the oven, cooked slow on the stovetop or caramelized.
What's in the ShareLettuce Mix Tatsoi Baby Bok Choi Chard Spinach Carrots Delicata Radishes/salad turnips Cippolinni Onions
A PoemThings we don't have to worry about in a hurricane...
Problems with Hurricanes
A campesino looked at the air And told me: With hurricanes it’s not the wind or the noise or the water. I’ll tell you he said: it’s the mangoes, avocados Green plantains and bananas flying into town like projectiles. How would your family feel if they had to tell The generations that you got killed by a flying Banana. Death by drowning has honor If the wind picked you up and slammed you Against a mountain boulder This would not carry shame But to suffer a mango smashing Your skull or a plantain hitting your Temple at 70 miles per hour is the ultimate disgrace. The campesino takes off his hat— As a sign of respect toward the fury of the wind And says: Don’t worry about the noise Don’t worry about the water Don’t worry about the wind— If you are going out beware of mangoes And all such beautiful sweet things.
Another summer comes to a close and a light frost comes in on cue, even after a couple of blistering days last week. Expect it when you least expect it… Look for great greens in the weeks ahead as we move into our last month of harvests. We have the last of our tomatoes this […]
Time to Sign Up for Next Season!It's been an extraordinary season with some of the best crops of tomatoes, melon and squash we have seen in twenty years of farming. As we work through the unknowns that make up a successful farm season the one thing we can count on is all of you coming to the farm, happy to see what we have done. As farmers we love knowing exactly where our food is going and sharing stories with you each week about your fantastic grilled veggie pizza, wowing your dinner guests, or the successes in figuring out how to get the kids to eat cabbage (roast it!) In turn, we hope that you value knowing and seeing where your food is grown and the weekly experience of just being here in this beautiful place. Maura and I hope you will join us again for another year of great food and real community here at Crystal Spring Farm. Follow this link to sign up for the 2017 season.
Oysters come to Crystal SpringFor few weeks this fall we are offering a preordered oysters from our friend Lincoln Smith and Long Reach Oysters in Harpswell. These are native eastern oysters grown from seed over the past year on rafts off Great Island. We have sampled a few and they are briney with great flavor and good size. They will be delivered to the farm each Friday and ready for CSA pickup. Prices are 1/2 dozen for $9, a dozen for $16 and 3+ dozen for $15/per. Please send me an email order by the end of Tuesday for delivery on Friday. Here's a link to Lincoln's website.
What's in the ShareLettuce Mix Asian Greens Kale Napa Cabbage Chickories Green Tomaotes Sweet Potatoes Watermelon Radishes Onions
What's in UpicHerbs and Flowers...both waning
2-3 green tomatoes about a tablespoon kosher salt 1 cup cider vinegar 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons whole mustard seed pinch of celery seed 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 yellow onion sliced 1 green and 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced Slice tomatoes to about 1/2″ thick, removing stem and blossom ends and […]
Its the last fews days of an exceptional summer. Sometimes I speak of biblical plagues on the farm like unstoppable pests, unrelenting drought, etc. This summer my references trended more toward the miracles. Like wine from water or feeding everyone with a few loaves and a couple fish, we have pulled an amazing amount […]