Posts by: Seth

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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 Sale

We 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
 
screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-5-49-19-amBe 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 the month of September and in many years it catches us up from a dry August and also signals the end of summer as it brings in our fall fungus infections riding that tropical wetness. With September behind us this year I had resigned myself to irrigating right through Halloween (another first). I've been watching Matthew develop and grow since last week, hoping that it would stay alive long enough to spin a few plumes of wetness our way. Little did I know it would grow into the largest October hurricane on record and defy all the models as it keeps moving west (instead of east into the cold Atlantic). What this means for the farm is that you are getting some lovely red veined spinach this week instead of next. Small greens tend to fair poorly in heavy rain, spinach especially as it yellows quickly after having all it's nutrients washed from the soil. For the rest of the farm...we will watch as the forecast tightens through the week and look to lashing down greenhouses and tunnels, getting things under cover that could blow away in high winds, etc. Welcome to our new climate.

Thank You for Signing up for 2017

Thank 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 Onions

These 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 Share

Lettuce Mix Tatsoi Baby Bok Choi Chard Spinach Carrots Delicata Radishes/salad turnips Cippolinni Onions  

A Poem

Things 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 week and they are green. Those with some southern roots will look at this with excitement.  True New Englanders - get ready for a taste sensation!  Fried green or pickled tomatoes are a great way to send off this stellar tomato year. Click here for a couple starter recipes. To keep the southern theme going we also have the first installment of our sweet potato crop, fresh from the 85 degree curing room. They are sweet and nutty. Lots of great ways to enjoy these but 40 minutes at 400 degrees, salt and butter can't be beat.screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-12-43-46-am

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 Spring

oysters-half-shell-1For 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 Share

Lettuce Mix Asian Greens Kale Napa Cabbage Chickories Green Tomaotes Sweet Potatoes Watermelon Radishes Onions

What's in Upic

Herbs 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 place evenly on a baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with salt and refrigerate overnight. Drain in a colander for about an hour. Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery seed and turmeric in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Add onions and simmer for about 5 minutes before adding tomatoes and peppers. Return to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour everything into a sterile mason jar and refrigerate for at least two weeks. Enjoy as you would a pickle along with your meal or as a stand alone snack...
 
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 of great flavor and quality from a hot dusty few months. Years like this (once we pass through them) make me believe again in the strength of the farm as an organism, resilient beyond a bad season. As the days shorten and we move into cooler days (and hopefully some rainfall) I look forward to giving the fields a rest, planting them with something other than hungry vegetables and dreaming up another season. img_2808-1 How appropriate that we have winter squash and watermelon the same week of equinox? What could be better? This watermelon is one of my favorites. Peace is the variety and it is meant to be yellow (don't worry).

Watermelon Radishimg_2807

This new addition to the farm lineup is a favorite. These big radishes and flavorful and beautiful. It's hard not to take a photo before you enjoy them. Our favorite way right now is sliced thin with a splash of rice vinegar. We put them out anytime of day and the kids go nuts.  

What's in the Share

Lettuce Fennel Kale Chard Arugula Chickories Hot mustard Gold Beets Peppers Watermelon Watermelon Radishes Bok Choi (big!) Acorn squash

What's in Upic

Butter beans (use like edamame) Flowers Herbs...
 
The transition to fall is here and we have the produce to prove it. After a rip snorter of a storm on Sunday the switch was thrown and here we are. The farm woke up to 39 degrees this Monday morning and I had to start my day finding the hoodie I have forgotten about since I put it down in the barn in May. (Just as a note, this is the kind of farm problem I love). img_2786Enjoy the Sugar Dumpling squash in your share this week. It's a favorite of ours and does well simply roasted in a 375 degree oven face down for  about and hour. I love to pull it out, bathe it in butter, salt and maybe a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup before eating the whole thing (skin too, it's thin and tasty). Nothing says fall like a good excuse to turn on the oven and smell something lovely filling the house. Greens are back too. Spinach is in abundance this week along with some of our more interesting asian greens, all topped off with spicy watermelon radishes (they as very red inside).  

What's in the Share

Spinach Carrots Radishes Asian Greens Cabbage Winter Squash Tomato Leeks

What's in Upic

Edamame Cherry Toms (waning) Flowers/Herbs
 
September is the busiest month for us. Not because of the farm, or rather not only because of the farm. This month our kids go back to school and Maura goes back to her  counseling job at the middle school in Topsham. As luck would have it everyone began their school schedule today! Please find our produce list below and accept our apology for a very late newsletter...  

What's in the Share

Tomatoes Cabbage Fennel Carrots Garlic Beets Peppers Cucumbers Arugula Kale

What's in Upic

Flowers Herbs Cherry Toms Edamame
 

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What's in the Share

Tomatoes Carrots Beets Watermelon Cukes/Summer Squash Peppers Tatsoi

What's in Upic

Cherry toms Herbs flowers Tomatillos
 
More good rain this weekend and after it a cool dry breeze that said very clearly fall is coming. That air felt great but are not quite ready to transition yet. We still have weeks of tomatoes, peppers and watermelon (solidly summer crops) coming to you. IMG_6043IMG_6027Our other big transition is the loss of our summer crew. This solid group of high school and college kids have all gone to register for classes, begin pre-season practices or take a last week at the family camp. These kids are always focused and have an inspired work ethic as they keep up with the seasoned twenty somethings (or forty somethings) day to day and week to week during June, July and August. Beyond the obvious first job or summer job experience for these folks they are also doing something that is not so common by working with us -they are learning how to produce food. 100 years ago more than 40% of america was involved in agriculture, currently that number hovers around 2%. Most of these summer hands are women and in addition to learning the concepts behind growing food they are also learning the mechanics, quite literally. Many of them run our trucks, some of them run our tractors and all of them learn manual skills that in todays world they may never get anywhere else. We've had folks who are amazingly fast harvesters but had never held a screwdriver or turned a wrench before they arrived here. For most of them that is why they end up here, consciously or otherwise. There is a real hunger to see how the gears turn in a world where more and more is hidden from us by gigantic industry and small screens. In my 20 plus years on farms, few of these summer hand end up as farmers (they are sensible as well a smart) but all of them take away manual skills, an ability to work fast and a deep appreciation of what it takes to feed a little part of the world.

Late Fall Share

We still have shares in our late fall CSA. This is our "I don't want to stop coming to the farm just yet" share. Here's how it works... Every other Tuesday in November and December (including the Tuesdays before Thanksgiving and and Christmas) we will harvest fresh greens from our greenhouse along with carrots, cabbage, bok choi, chard and pair them up with storage crops like sweet potatoes, winter squash and beets to make a hearty share that will hold winter off. Like our yogurt, bread and cheese shares? You'll be able to continue these during these months as well (sign-up for these will be in September). For more info and to sign-up click here.

Pork

We still have some whole and half hogs available but they are going fast...if you are thinking about filling your freezer with high quality local meat that was raised with care grab a form at pick-up or fill one out here and get it back to us.

What's in the Share

Tomatoes Lettuce Asian Greens Kale Melon Peppers Broccoli Scallions Basil

What's in Upic

Cherry Toms Herbs Flowers
 
All streaks must be broken and after setting a dryness record for us at this farm (14 years) we are so happy to have moisture. The storms on Friday and following rain on Saturday and Sunday brought us just over 1.5". Not enough to dig us out of a drought but surely enough save the broccoli, carrots and scallions (in your share this week). You will notice a we are without greens this week and this is the result of relentless high heat and the minimal moisture coming from only from the irrigation gun. Rest assured our greens supply will be back in your shares soon (next week baring disaster) but in the meantime we have lots of good summer stuff to keep you busy. Look for beets, melons and roma tomatoes in the next couple weeks.

What's in the Share

Tomatoes Cukes Summer squash Carrots Peppers Broccoli Scallions Basil

What's in Upic

Cherry Toms Herbs Flowers
 
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