Food and Art

What’s in Upic?……

Snap Peas            Snow Peas

What’s in the share?

Cabbage                       Napa Cabbage

Broccoli                       Lettuce Mix

Chickories                   Chard/Kale

Baby Bok Choi           Spindleworks Art

Those of you reading closely will notice the Spindleworks art item listed in today’s share. Spindleworks Art Center here in Brunswick has offered us an “Art Share” this week. They were inspired by the community centered around this farm and wanted to share their work with all of you. For more info on Spindleworks and their amazing, and famous artists please visit their website

Upic continues this week and peas are open. Please take what you can use. Pick carefully so that we can keep the plants healthy.

Here’s the skinny on how Upic works. We prepare, plant, and weed this ½ acres plot just for you, the members of the farm. Growing there you will find cherry tomatoes, green beans, herbs, flowers, and most notably this week, peas. These are crops that are particularly rewarding to harvest and can add a lot of value to your share as they often are great accompaniments to the “field crops” we harvest and wash for you each week.

The important thing to understand about this field is that it belongs to everyone who has a share in the farm. There are 240 shares this year and we try very hard to plan each planting so that everyone will be able to sample every crop. The idea is that all of these crops are compliments to the field crops and not necessarily staples in and of themselves. While we would love to be able to plant enough basil for everyone to make pesto for the winter or sow enough beans to share with your neighbors, it’s just not possible in the space we have to work with. Those of you that split shares, we ask that you be particularly aware of your picking quantities.

With the exception of these first couple weeks we will not suggest amounts for you to take from the upic field. The idea is that we all take our share and consciously leave behind enough for everyone else. The upic field has always been our grand experiment in community spirit and in twelve years of CSA growing all over the Northeast we have never been disappointed.

Here are a few points and guidelines to keep Upic going strong all summer:

  • Picking is open on Tuesday, Fridays, and Sundays from dawn to dusk. Please pick just once a week.
  • Look for the signs we post in the field indicating what is ready to pick. If you don’t see a sign, please don’t pick it.
  • Scissors are provided to help in cutting things that need to be cut (not peas). Please use them –clean cuts help keep the plants healthy and productive. Please don’t put scissors in your pockets! You’ll remember them when you get home. The loop on each pair is to go around your wrist and keep them handy for picking.
  • Be gentle with the plants when picking and use both hands, one to hold the plant and one to cut or pick. Parents please teach your little ones how to do this before letting them loose.
  • Be aware of where you are walking and try to walk between the beds and not on them.
  • Know and teach your young ones that all of the fencing at the farm is electrified, including the fence around the upic field.
  • Make sure the kids (and adults) stay out of the buildings and off of the tractors and farm equipment. The farm is old and there are numerous serious dangers to be found.
  • Weeding, picking rocks and squashing bad bugs are always welcome. If you question whether a bug is bad leave it be: it could be an ally.

Kohlrabi with Parmesan

2 large or 3 medium kohlrabi, stalks and leaves removed
2 T unsalted butter or olive oil, or combination
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 T minced parsley

Peel kohlrabi to remove fibrous outer layer. Shred with grater or foodprocessor. Heat a medium skillet to medium heat. Add butter and/or oil. When fat is hot, add kohlrabi. Cook, stirrring frequently, until vegetable is tender, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir. Toss with cheese. Cook until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Garnish with parsley. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Easy Eating Ideas for Kohlrabi

One easy way to use kohlrabi is in salads.

Peel & slice to add a nice crunch to your green salads.

Or peel and grate and prepare using your favorite cole slaw recipe.

Gratin:  We have adapted our favorite gratin recipes to include kohlrabi.  Try kohlrabi as the sole vegetable in the gratin or along with potato.  Peel, chop, and steam the kohlrabi and then add to the gratin for baking.

Upic Field Open with Peas!

What’s in Upic?……

Snap Peas            Snow Peas

Our first Upic crop starts this week with Snap and Snow Peas. They are crisp, sweet and two weeks earlier than we have ever had them before! As we open the Upic field with just one crop we ask that you only take a quart (will be provided) per share this first week. This will ensure that everyone can take some home to enjoy. We will open up some of the other crops next week as well. There will be more info about the Upic field next week in the newsletter. Ask Bob or David (our Upic Gardeners) for help while you’re out there.

June is the month for greens. The greens you are taking home these first few weeks are the best of the year. Tender and sweet, greens benefit from the long days and gentle temperatures. After you get them home the best way to keep them fresh is to get them right into the fridge. We keep greens in sealed plastic bags that have a damp paper towel in with them. The paper towel regulates moisture in the bag, helping the greens last up to 2 weeks. Don’t get overwhelmed with the greens –get creative. Last week loyal CSA members emailed us, “There is no such thing as too much kale!” Becky Shepherd of Wild Oats Bakery and Café makes pesto with any of the cooking greens (kale, chard, etc)  – which can also be put up in the freezer. Just steam or blanch the greens and toss them together with nuts or bread crumbs, olive oil or butter and whatever cheese you have around into the food processor. Chop and put the pesto into a sealable cup size container for the freezer. Nothing tastes better in January than greens on pasta or rice.

Here’s what to look forward to in your share this week:

Kale                     Lettuce Heads

Chard                  Lettuce Mix

Baby Bok Choi    Various chickories

Tatsoi                   Mustard

Scallions              Kohlrabi

There are a couple great recipes for Kohlrabi on our website…

The great weather continues, I say that knocking on wood of course. We had a great week for getting things done and are whittling down our list a bit. We will transplant pumpkins and winter squash this week and get our first jump on putting up hay for the winter.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines…We usually put up 2000 to 2500 square bales of hay to feed our sheep in the colder parts of the year. Making hay is a two-day process that is highly weather dependent (even more so than growing vegetables). On the first day we cut a 2-4 acre parcel of hay field which consists of various grasses (timothy, orchard grass, ryegrass, etc.) and legumes (red and white clovers, vetch, trefoil, etc.). If we’re lucky, the legumes are just starting to flower and the grasses are just putting out seed heads, which mean both are at their highest nutritional content balanced against having the greatest biomass. The cutting is done with a special mower that crimps the hay after its cut. The crimps allow for the long leaves and shafts to dry more easily.  The cut hay lies in the sun for a few hours and then we turn it over to dry on the other side. It then lays in the field over night and then in the morning after the dew dries off we turn the hay again and let it dry some more. Bright sunshine and no rain are vital to this process. To maximize the nutritional value of the hay we want to store for winter feed we want to dry it as quickly as possible. If conditions are right by noon on the second day we are ready to rake up the hay into windrows (long piles) and begin the process of baling the loose hay into bales. More next week on making hay silage and our USDA research grant this year.

Weeding Wednesdays and Weeding Saturdays. Many of you have asked about weeding on Saturdays! Great! Come jump in with the crew Wednesday and Saturday mornings starting at 9am and going until… It’s a great time to chat with the farmers and save your favorite vegetables from the jungle. Look for us in the fields and pull into the nearest driveway along Pleasant Hill Road.

June is Heavy and Light

Welcome back to the farm. It was great to see all of you last week. Your weekly farm visit completes the circle for us; we are gratified seeing you take fresh food home to prepare for your families.

Things are popping in the fields, including the weeds. We started picking zucchini this week and hopefully the plants will be in full production next week so that we can add some to your shares. Strawberries unfortunately drop off the list. The wet weather over the past two weekends destroyed major amounts of their fruit.  Carrots and scallions are coming along though and we should see kohlrabi soon too. Here’s a list of what to expect in your share this week:

Lettuce             Baby Bok Choi

Chard                        Broccoli

Kale                        Asian Greens

June is typically our “lightest” month for the CSA. Greens make up the bulk of your share for these first few weeks. Once we get into late June, heavier stuff arrives like zucchini, carrots and cabbage. For those of you new to CSA this year all these greens to start may be a bit daunting. Try looking on our website for recipes, ask the farmers for tips when you come to the farm and check out the CSA cookbook we have for sale.

Kale Chips: Some of you already make kale chips at home, but they are so good it is worth mentioning at this point in the season, to alleviate any feelings of having too much kale as the season progresses.  To make kale chips, just make sure the leaves are relatively dry.  You may tear them into smaller pieces or leave them as is.  Toss them in a bowl with olive oil, use your hands to make sure each leaf is coated in the oil, and sprinkle a little salt.  Lie flat on a cookie sheet – making sure not to overlap, and bake on 300 for 15-20 minutes.  They should be crispy – not chewy at all.  Put on a plate and watch them disappear.  You can also crumble the crispy “chips” onto salads, popcorn, rice, anything!  Our kids love these things. Let us know what you think.

Every summer is a process of working up to June, which is typically the busiest month on the farm. Relaxed seedings in the greenhouse in February while snowstorms whip about outside give way to the arrival of the apprentice crew in April and heavy transplanting in May. When June hits we always have a heavy load in the fields and then harvest starts. It’s exciting to cut wash and present to you all the food we’ve been raising up to this point but losing two field days each week to harvest really puts the pressure on. In the next week we have to till 4 acres, make up over 20 thousand feet of raised beds, transplant 10 thousand pumpkin and winter squash plants, stake 600 tomato plants, weed a couple thousand feet of various beds, and the list goes on. It’s lucky we eat well and have all of you for moral support.

For those that would like to go beyond moral support…Weeding Wednesday Tomorrow! Every Wednesday we’ll be ready to weed with your help.  Join us Wednesday mornings at the farmstead at 8:30 am and work with the farmers weeding in the fields.  Many hands make light work…the work is heavy for our few hands right now!

Field walk with Seth today  (Tuesday) 4:30! The third Tuesday of each month at 4:30 pm we will have field walks for CSA members who would like to see what we’re doing in the fields up close. This is a great time to see what kohlrabi looks like in it’s native habitat and ask all those questions about unknown bugs in your home gardens.

See you at the farm!

Summer Time

Summer begins this week with our first CSA pickup. What a year so far. I’m thinking we’re getting payback from the horror of last summer, but I don’t want to jinx it. Never have we had peas in flower and strawberries in full flush the first week of June.

What’s New?

We’ve added extended pick up hours, scheduled field walks with the farmers, regular volunteer days, scheduled cooking demos with local chefs, a pre-pay system for for-sale farm products, a local business board, and community supported fishery shares.


While we farmers work long hard hours, the farm would not be possible without you.  Thank you to all of our members who have been with us since our first year in 2004; thank you to all of you new members, taking a new adventure, and to all of you in between…we are excited to be feeding you this summer.

Pickup begins!

Come to the farm on Tuesday or Friday from 2 until 7 pm for our first harvest of the season. Here’s a list of what to expect in your share this week:

Lettuce             Baby Bok Choi

Chard                        Broccoli

Kale                        Chives

Asian Greens             Strawberries


Please bring bags with you to the farm for your produce, both “produce style” and larger handle bags are helpful. If you forget, we have bags, but the fewer of these we can use the better it is for all of us.

Balances Due

If you have questions about your balance, payments, etc. you can talk to Maura or Seth at pickup or send us an email to

We’re expecting a great summer this year and have another top-notch group of farm apprentices. Adrian, Emily, Jacinda and Bethany (back for and encore performance) are amazing people and we hope you will get a chance to chat with them this summer. They’ve been working unbelievably hard preparing and planting the past couple months and the fields look great. Hopefully you have noticed our new high tunnel greenhouses down in the fields. These are to ensure that we have tomatoes for you this year and so far the plants in them look great.

Want to get dirty?

Volunteer weeding days for the months of June and July. Show up at the farmstead Wednesday mornings at 8:30 am and work with the farmers weeding in the fields.  Many hands make light work…the work is heavy for our few hands right now!

Field walks with the farmers

The third Tuesday of the month at 4:30 pm we will have field walks for CSA members who would like to see what we’re doing in the fields up close. This is a great time to see what kohlrabi looks like in it’s native habitat and ask all those questions about unknown bugs in your home gardens.

Local business networking

The local economy is thriving here with so many local business owners being a part of this farm.  If you own a local business bring your card or brochure to pickup and add it to our local business board and webpage. Our hope is that  everyone who supports this farm will also support each other.

Crystal Spring Farm Camp & Junior Counselors!

We still have a few spaces available for 6-11 year olds for the week of August 9th. We could also use a few more junior counselor volunteers throughout the summer. 12-15 year olds who are interested in gaining experience with farm work and young children can contact

Local Farm Products at Pickup

Look for outstanding products from other local farms at pickup this and every week. Milk, cheese, maple syrup, tempeh, sauerkraut and more items to come soon! Please let us know if you would like us to carry anything that your family really likes.

CSA shares still available

Please spread the word to friends, neighbors and co-workers. If you would like brochures let us know and we’ll mail them out to you. You can also direct prospective members to our website