Cool nights and not so hot days bring up my appetite. I like to eat. During the summer eating is something fun, a creative moment of cooking something to begin or end the day. When fall comes I am hungry. This has to be a physiological connection to the coming of winter and the need to put on some reserves or maybe repair and replenish from summer work. No matter what the case I feel it every year and I heed the call. Dinners get bigger and involve heavier dishes with ingredients like onions, butter and bacon combined with carbohydrates like squash and potatoes. I do love this time of year, for many reasons but the food…is the best.

IMG_0319First Squash

The weather cools down and we have starch to keep you warm. Delicata squash is our first of many winter squashes for this fall. Sweet with smooth flesh and tender skin, them are easy to prepare. Here’s link to our recipe page.

Edamame

These furry little soybean pods are finally ready in upic. Edamame are quick to harvest, you can make them with little effort and they are fun to eat for everyone. We add them to boiling water for 3-4 minutes, toss them in soy sauce and put them on the table with whatever we are having with dinner. If you have never eaten them don’t chew the pod. Drag the pod through your teeth and the beans will pop out. Here’s an extensive article on this great quick appetizer and a snarky video on how to make them (you can make them in the time it takes to watch…).

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done – and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more?  We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version.

What’s in the Share?

Broccoli

Peppers

Cucumber or Summer squash

Kale/Chard

Lettuce

Chickories

Carrots/Beets

Cippollini Onions

Delicata Squash

What’s in Upic?

Edamame

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

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The sun has returned. This is today’s shot of the cucumbers and summer squash that were in the newsletter two weeks ago lost in the murky fog. This planting is just starting to yield and is much happier (as are we) with the bright days. The sunshine has also brought with it our cooking greens. Tatsoi and baby bok choi have been missing from our line-up but are back in aces this week.

We were able to fend off heat stroke and get a third of an acre of butternut squash out of the field and into the greenhouse where it will cure for the next 4-6 weeks. We pulled a respectable 7500 pounds which gives us a slightly better than average yield for this squash. We still have kombocha, delicata, sugar dumpling, and acorn to bring in over the next week as well. Get ready for the fall carbohydrates.IMG_0272

Renew Your Share for 2016

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up for 2016 already. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done -and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Bacon, ribs, chops; need I same more. We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version

What’s in the Share?

 

Broccoli

Baby Bok Choi/Tatsoi

Tomatoes

Arugula

Sweet Peppers

Cucumber

Tropea onions

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillos

 

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The last week of August is always a benchmark of sorts. Our last field plantings are going in and the big fall crops are coming out, or getting close. We just finished big seedings of greens like lettuce, spinach, kale and tatsoi and these crops along with radishes and salad turnips will be coming out of the ground in the last weeks of October as we wind down for the season. Planting now, we walk the razor between summer and fall and these crops get lots of sun and heat in September before slowing down considerably as we hit October, carrying their lovely flavors into the colder weeks. Our “big” crops of onions, winter squash and potatoes are all ready for harvest or very close. We began pulling onions this past week and have shallots and cipolinni onions curing in the greenhouse floor (except for the ones in you share this week).

Italian Summer

Fennel in your share this week along with its companions of peppers and roma tomatoes are a ready made meal. Chop the fennel and peppers coarsely and toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper before roasting at 425. Turn them after 20 minutes and add the romas, halved longways and roast another 20 until all are browning along the edges. Finish with some grated salty hard cheese (parm or percorino) and enjoy. The anise flavor of the fennel mellows and sweetens as it roasts, especially alongside the peppers. Add more tomatoes and saute some shallots, transfer it all to a saucepan with some ground beef or lamb and you have a great hearty chili as well….

Shallots

These small members of the onion family in your share are a wonder in the kitchen. Sweeter and stronger than onions (but without the tears when you cut them) they add great savory punch when minced fresh into salad dressings or subtle sweetness when simmered into your favorite dish. Try roasting them whole for a great addition to anything. Toss a few whole shallots that are the same size in several tablespoons of butter in a small pan over medium-high on the stovetop while you preheat the oven to 400. Turn them until they brown while the over warms them put the whole pan in the oven and roast until they are cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Add these into casseroles, top salads or just snack on their savory sweetness.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Time has come to sign -up for next year’s farm share. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done -and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Pork for the Winter

Nothing is more satisfying than a pork chop as you watch the snow fly… We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version

What’s in the Share?

Shallots

Beets

Tomatoes

Salad Greens

Sweet Peppers

Fennel

Cucumber

What’s in Upic?

Flowers

Cherry Toms

Tomatillos

 

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Humid air and dry ground. The weird year continues as we scratch up against drought conditions but have swampy air, going on two weeks now. These long foggy mornings are starting to give us some spectacular fungal outbreaks in the fields, problems we don’t usually see until a month from now. The worst of it is trying to take good shots for the newsletter though, everything is washed out and monochromatic blah. Relief is coming at the end of the week though and then fall on its heals…get ready.

Renew Your Share for 2016

Time has come to sign -up for next year’s farm share. Throwing your hat in with us now makes a huge difference for us as we plan our way towards another great season. Those who sign up now can take full advantage of our winter payment plan (not to mention its just done -and you don’t have to remember to do it later!). Your share is great value of fresh organic food that you know is grown well. Joining early allows us to work hard over the winter so we all can have the produce that makes our Maine summer taste so good. Click here for Brunswick Shares and here for Portland Delivered Shares

Golden Beets

FullSizeRenderI have been growing (or trying to grow) golden beets for almost 2 decades now and I finally am happy with the harvest. The variety you are taking home this week, Touchstone, is the fourth “improved” variety I can think of and the only one that delivers a tasty beet of good size that comes anywhere close to the red varieties. I find these beets have a more mild flavor than many of the red varieties but they are not quite as sweet. If someone in your household will not try beets, see if you can get them to try this one. We usually roast them (on a sheet pan, covered with foil @ 425) or boil them until tender, then slide the skins off and toss with olive oil or butter. Companions are goat cheese, lime juice, rosemary and or cumin, finished with sea salt. When I make them, I make a lot and put them in the fridge for snacking, adding to salads or tossing with vinegar and adding to the side of my lunch or dinner plate.

Beef Shares Sold Out- Order Whole and Half Pigs Now!

We will have more info on how to order pork at CSA pick-up, shoot us an email or click here for the digital version

What’s in Upic?

Golden Beets

Melon

Tomato

Basil

Kale/chard

Sweet Peppers

Ancho Peppers

Cukes

What’s in Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Cherry Toms

 

There is quite a bit of food coming off the farm right now, heading into late August after all.   This abundance can bring both excitement and anxiety.  So many different things to eat…how can we eat all of it?  What we try to remember is that vegetables harvested at the same time generally work well together in a dish.   This was the only way people could make a meal before the advent of air freight from South America and flash freezing.  This is the time to get creative and jump in.  A few ideas from this week’s share that are simple and delicious…

Tomatoes and kale braised in a heavy skillet with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Leeks and Broccoli roasted in a hot oven and tossed in butter and finished with fresh pepper.

Carrots and Cukes sliced and allowed to sit for a few minutes in rice vinegar and sprinkled with sea salt.

Beef Shares

Starting this week we will have beef shares available for sale at pick-up. This is grass-fed, grass-finished beef from the cows we had here at the farm  over the past year.  Enjoy some great grilling before summer comes to a close and fill your freezer with Crystal Spring Farm Grass Fed Beef this winter.   Grass-fed beef is high in healthy Omega-3’s and cancer fighting CLA’s not to mention it tastes great.  This is a smaller beef package than last year and contains 30 pounds of cuts that come frozen and vacuum packed. The price per share is $225 and we have 15 to offer this season and they will be sold first come first served at Tuesday and Friday CSA pick-up. This amount will fit into the standard size family freezer.

Each package will include:

  •  10-14 oz steaks including Delmonico, Sirloin, and NY Strip
  •  Several 2-3 lb Roasts
  •  1lb packages of Ground
  •  1lb packages of Kebobs and Steak Tips
  •  1lb packages of Stew Cubes

Pork for the Freezer
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We have a great group of pigs this year. Fed on grain from Maine Beer Company and Allagash Brewing, all of them look great. Order forms for our first round of farm raised pork will be available this week. Pigs are sold as whole or half and processed into cuts as you like them (all bacon is currently not possible).  If you have freezer space and would like to enjoy high quality farm-raised pork this fall and winter talk to us about the details at pick-up.

Farm Yogurt

Incredible farm yogurt will be a regular offering for sale at CSA pick-up…once again low for Tuesday unfortunately, but we will have a new delivery for Friday’s pick-up this week.  This rich cream-at-the-top product of Wholesome Holmstead Farm in Winthrop is some of the best I have ever had.  Perfect with fresh blueberries!  We are gauging your interest with the hope of having them deliver a yogurt/cheese share next year, so please continue to give us your feedback – so far it’s been very positive!

Crystal Spring Pork

We will have pork for sale by the cut  this week.  These are a group of pigs that spent the winter with us eating brewery barley and gelato-based dairy products and so far, they taste great. Browse through the freezer to shop for your next grilling event or Sunday breakfast.

What’s in the Share this week?

Broccoli

Leeks

Watermelon

Melon

Tomato

Kale/chard

Carrot

Lettuce/arugula

Cukes

 

What’s in Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

Cherry Toms

 

Tomatoes and cantaloupe today mean we are reaping our summer rewards. Enjoy!

Farm Yogurt

Incredible farm yogurt will be a regular offering for sale at CSA pick-up…we are currently sold out for Tuesday but will have a new delivery for Friday’s pick-up this week.  This rich cream-at-the-top product of Wholesome Holmstead Farm in Winthrop is some of the best I have ever had. Perfect with fresh blueberries! We are gauging your interest with the hope of having them deliver a yogurt/cheese share next year.

Back by popular demand…This Friday Only!

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries

We are doing one last blueberry order with delivery planned for this friday at the farm only. Orders are due in by Wednesday at 6pm. Berries will be offered by the quart (quarts are 1.7 pounds each, 3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9 each. Pick-up this Friday during our CSA hours (2-7pm).

Crystal Spring Pork

We will have pork for sale by the cut  this week.  These are a group of pigs that spent the winter with us eating brewery barley and gelato-based dairy products and so far, they taste great. Browse through the freezer to shop for your next grilling event or Sunday breakfast.

Stargazing at the Farm

Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust will be hosting a Stargazing event for this week’s pressed meter shower. Come to the parking lot this thursday and listen to astronomers as you watch the show. More info at this link.

What’s in the Share this week?

Kale/chard

Arugula

Summer Squash/cukes

Carrots

Summer onions

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Cantaloupe

What’s in Upic?

Green Beans

Flowers

 

We have garlic drying in the barn this year for this first time in a long time. Back in 2007 we grew a lot of garlic. That year we harvested a quarter of an acre and the yield was about 2000lbs. This was great crop for us and we used to put heads in everyone’s shares for weeks and weeks. We grew two varieties that were very complimentary in flavor and in the years we had been growing them had improved in our soil to produce big head with big cloves. Then in 2008 everything changed.

Trying to add some diversity to our crop we bought in some seed for a new variety from a grower in Canada that was supposed to be different in color and flavor. In addition to these traits it also had a fungal disease that we weren’t looking for. That fungus infected the garlic we were saving for seed and wiped out our entire crop.

Setbacks in farming are a dime a dozen but this one really hurt. Garlic, maybe even more than wine, is deeply influenced by new soils and climates. A sharply flavored white garlic grown in Maine may adapt into a sweet subtle red garlic if planted in Washington state or vice versa. About 10 years ago hundreds of known garlic varieties were genetically mapped and it turns out these are only seven all these varieties of hardneck, soft neck, sweet, red, etc. that are truly different. All these colors and flavors come from the plants reacting and adapting to their environment. So our garlic was truly “Crystal Spring garlic” and we felt its loss.

Since 2008 we’ve been waiting.  Two things have kept us out of garlic: the fungus in the soil and a good source of seed. Five years is the standard time for the fungus to work its way out of the soil.  The real challenge has been trying to find a good source of seed. After many conversations with other growers I found a farm in Maine that grows garlic seed and has not bought any new seed in over 10 years, ensuring that her crop is clean of disease. We bought 25 pounds last year and planted about 100 feet of 3-row bed. Of this crop about 75% will go back to seed as we try and build our base along with another 25 pounds of new seed from the same farm.  Planting all this seed means we will not have garlic for the share this year but with luck the 350 foot bed we plan to put in this fall will year some for next year, heralding the return of “Crystal Spring garlic”.

Farm Yogurt

We now have quarts of incredible farm yogurt for sale at CSA pick-up. This rich cream-at-the-top product of Wholesome Holmstead Farm in Winthrop is some of the best I have ever had. Perfect with fresh blueberries! We are gauging your interest with the hope of having them deliver a yogurt/cheese share next year.

Crystal Spring Pork

We will have pork for sale by the cut  this week.  These are a group of pigs that spent the winter with us eating brewery barley and gelato-based dairy products and so far, they taste great. Browse through the freezer to shop for your next grilling event or Sunday breakfast.

What’s in the Share this week?

Kale/chard

Baby Bok choi

Summer Squash/cukes

Carrots/beets

Summer onions

Lettuce

Tomatoes

What’s in Upic? (*Reminder – you can come to Upic anytime on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays!)

Green Beans (new planting)

Flowers

 

Blueberry harvest begins this week and I can’t wait for two reasons. Mostly because I’m excited for the process of pulling what will hopefully be thousands of pounds of berries from these little wild bushes, but also because I am tried of the preparation!  Since June, getting ready to harvest has consumed my spare time.  So much so that my family and the farm crew get glassy, uninterested stares when the word “blueberry” is mentioned.  Our lease on 70 acres of blueberry barren right next to the farm was signed this winter and after some spring weed control most of my efforts have been focused on the logistics of getting a whole lot of little berries off their mother bushes and up to Ellsworth where they will be cleaned, frozen and sold.  This involved buying a harvester, hiring folks to run it with me, lining up a trucker and lastly figuring out how to get the berries on the truck!

The berries in your share this week are our first harvested this year. There are not certified organic (which is why the vast majority of them will be sold wholesale) but they are transitional. What does this mean? We took the lease on this field  knowing that it had been managed conventionally up until 2 years ago. For the past 2 seasons (including this one) the field has not had any herbicides or pesticides applied to it. The rule for organic certification is that three years after conventional management a piece of land is eligible to be called organic, which is our plan for next year. We will still have organic berries available for pre-order starting this week with delivery next week.

Organic Maine Wild Blueberries…Preorder This Week for Delivery Next Week… 

We are just doing one week of fresh blueberry orders year.  Order this week for a delivery next week.  Because our berries are not organic (yet) and are going directly to frozen, the Harvey family will be raking beautiful, high quality berries for us again this year in Oxford Co. They will rake the day before, if its not raining in western Maine, so the quality will be amazing.  Berries will be offered by the quart (quarts are 1.7 pounds each (3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9 each. Pre-order at pick-up this Tuesday or Friday for delivery next Tuesday or Friday.  You can also order by email  (by Saturday at noon for pickup Tuesday or Tuesday at noon for pickup Friday).

 

Farm Yogurt

We now have quarts of incredible farm yogurt for sale at CSA pick-up. This rich cream-at-the-top product of Wholesome Holmstead Farm in Winthrop is some of the best I have ever had. Perfect with fresh blueberries! We are gauging your interest with the hope of having them deliver a yogurt/cheese share next year.

Crystal Spring Pork

We will have pork for sale by the cut starting this week.  These are a group of pigs that spent the winter with us eating brewery barley and gelato-based dairy products and so far, they taste great. Browse through the freezer to shop for your next grilling event or Sunday breakfast.

What’s in the Share this week?

Blueberries

Kale

Tatsoi/Baby Bok choi

Summer Squash

Carrots

Summer onions

Kohlrabi/Napa Cabbage

Lettuce

What’s in Upic?

Snow Peas/Snap Peas (Last Week!)

Green Beans

Flowers

 

The heat is here to stay and everything is popping. Of note is our first harvest of summer onions this week. These are the vidalias of the north and are knock your socks off sweet. If you like a slice of onion on a sandwich, on the grill, or some chopped into a salad, this is your lucky day. These onions are only around for a short while and do not store particularly well so enjoy them now!

Balance Due?

If you know or wonder if you have a balance due check-in with Maura at pick-up. She will know all.

What’s in the Share this week?

Kohlrabi

Summer Squash/Cukes

Carrots/Beets

Summer onions

Napa Cabbage

Lettuce

What’s in Upic?

Snow Peas/Snap Peas (still going)

Green Beans (just starting)

Farm-Raised Chicken Still Available!

Kristin and Tom, our super-star farm hands are raising pastured chickens for sale here at the farm. These birds are fed fresh grass, organic grain, and Crystal Spring water.  Roasted or grilled there is nothing like a farm-raised bird. Pre-order birds for your freezer starting this week. A $5 deposit per bird will reserve your order. Finished price will be $4.50/lb. +3.50 for slaughter and packaging.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 9.37.43 PMMost Mondays I sit down to write this post and have to shake of the obsessive desire to talk about the weather. This one variable of what I do is so big, so uncontrollable that I can never get it completely out of my mind and quite often can’t help but want to burden you readers to boredom with the tidbits of  rainfall per hour or sustained windspeeds.  Weather makes farmers feel like a kids on the playground trying to have fun amongst the next possibility of pain or humiliation at the hands of an older child. When I was a younger farm hand in Western Massachusetts I watched a hail storm blow through our farm and in the matter of 30 seconds take all the crops of late June and transform them into mud.  My boss, who was superhuman in his skill and insight, fell to his knees and cried in front of all the crew that day, then we started re-planting. Come to think of it that really tells the whole story of what its like to farm (minus the good days of course).

Carrots are Back

Our first carrots of the year are here and they are true babies. Unlike the baby carrots at the grocery store that are actually big, grade “B” carrots milled down to size, these are the real deal. Remember April? Remember it snowing the second week of April?  We are supposed to plant our first carrots the second week of April but could not until the first week of May, which is the date for our second planting of carrots. Needless to say both plantings went in the first week of May and if we don’t start harvesting now you will be getting carrots the size (and flavor) of Louisville sluggers pretty soon. Enjoy the tender sweetness (no peeling needed) and take them to your next dinner party or neighborhood cookout and share the magic of real baby carrots.

Greens Break

We are in-between tender greens plantings this week. Salad greens will return next week.

Balance Due?

Is you know or suspect you have a balance due check-in with Maura at pick-up. She will know all.

What’s in the Share this week?

Chard

Scallions

Kohlrabi

Summer Squash/Cukes

Broccoli

Carrots/Beets

What’s in Upic?

Snow Peas

Snap Peas

Farm-Raised Chicken Still Available!

Kristin and Tom, our super-star farm hands are raising pastured chickens for sale here at the farm. These birds are fed fresh grass, organic grain, and Crystal Spring water.  Roasted or grilled there is nothing like a farm-raised bird. Pre-order birds for your freezer starting this week. A $5 deposit per bird will reserve your order. Finished price will be $4.50/lb. +3.50 for slaughter and packaging.

 
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