It is still May and we are underway with our first harvests for CSA this week. The sun has decided to show itself after a week of cold clouds and and all of us a really excited to start harvesting a week ahead of our planned date. This is our tenth year farming at Crystal Spring and the first time we have started before June!

Slow is Good

This slow spring has taught us quite a bit about the effects of stress on plants by way of erratic temperatures. After a decade of growing for CSA here we have a good handle on the dates we need to plant our first crops by to expect a harvest the first week of June. In the past ten summers we have started on time most of those years and in the other years by the second week of June (2009 was a nightmare -June 21st!). All of these years have had what I call the March-April heat wave. This is a stretch of 2-7 days of unseasonably warm days in at least the mid 70’s  (last year we had mid-80’s). This kicks the plants into high gear by convincing them that they are behind because true summer is here and they are late for the party. The resulting growth spurt is then put in check by the inevitable return to cold temps, frosting this new tender growth and sending the plant into stress which slows down its overall growth and in some cases causes the plant to stop producing leaves and jump right to reproductive growth – the dreaded bolt. Over the years many of our early plantings of arugula and radishes fell prey to this stress response and we ended up losing them before harvest. Bolting occurs when a plant, pushed by some sort of stress, responds by going into flower -skipping the development of healthy full leaves in favor of making seed with the hope the next generation will have a better chance to thrive.

The Greens of June

Thankfully this years crops are stress free! As usual the share begins with a majority of greens. Please look to our website (right hand margin) for a recipe listing by crop to help kick start your creativity. In case you missed last weeks recipe and video link here’s a familiar friend to get you started…Kale Chips.

Your CSA Share…

Come to the farm this week on Tuesday (today!) or Friday from 2-7pm for your share. Please park in the lot to the left of our driveway and come into the white building on the right. We will be ready for you and if you are a new member (or and old member who needs a refresher course) we’ll walk you through the pick-up process. Bring bags to carry your share home in…

Radishes…They’re not just for Breakfast Anymore!

This is a great crop of radishes…crunchy, fresh and just a bit spicy. We ate quite  a few out of the field this week dirt and all. If your bunch lasts beyond the ride home try this easy recipe for a radish salad. You can also toss then in a stir fry tops and all in with your favorite braising greens!

What’s coming up?

Look for Strawberries, broccoli and beets in the next few weeks!

What to look for in your share this week….





Flowering Cabbage


Asian Greens


Kale Chips

  • 20 cups kale, torn into bite-size pieces, washed and thoroughly dried
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • Flaky sea salt, or to taste
  • Mild chile powder


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the kale is dry; if it is not, it will steam rather than crisp in the oven.
In a large bowl, toss kale pieces with olive oil and kosher salt; you may need to do this in 2 batches. Massage the oil onto each kale piece until the oil is evenly distributed and the kale glistens. Spread the kale out on 2 17-by-12-inch jellyroll pans (or do this in batches). Bake the kale chips until the leaves look crisp and crumble, about 12 minutes. If they are not ready, bake for another 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Toss with the lime zest, sea salt and chile powder to taste.

Welcome Spring!

Greetings from the Farm!

(lots to read here…at least scroll through all the way to catch any “headlines” that you may need!)

Welcome to our new members this season!  And of course to our returning members, welcome back!  This is our tenth (10th!) season of growing organic produce for our CSA members at Crystal Spring Farm.  Some of you have been with us from day one.  The relationships that we have fostered over the years with you are our true foundation.   The soil and fertility are right up there – but nothing surpasses the role that you, our members, play in keeping this farm active and productive.

When we arrived at Crystal Spring Farm our son Griffin was a babe in arms.  He turns ten years old this week, so we have lots of celebrating to do in this year of tens.  More to come on this in the weeks ahead….

But, for now, down to business…what has been going on at the farm?

What a spring we have been having. While I have heard a lot of grumbling about cool temperatures, wind, and general “it’s not warm enough!”  I have to say, as a farmer, I have been loving the past 6 weeks. This spring has been a dream in so many ways. First we are coming off a real winter. That is a winter with cold temps (several stretches with consecutive sub-zero nights), snow (multiple heavy events with long ground coverage) and and general discomfort. No, I’m not a masocist but I do know that when I am uncomfortable outside that the bugs and diseases of last summer, who don’t have the luxury of coming inside (I hope) are really suffering and hopefully dying back in large numbers. Secondly, this spring has been an almost perfect rising scale of temps and day length. As  you may recall, the past 3 springs we have been hit over the head with crazy warm days in March and or April only to be walloped again by cold blasts in May. These kind of drastic, unseasonable changes are very stressful to plants which grow in response to these two variables. Long stretches of warm days entice extra tender foliage or encourage early flowering which are then burned off with the sudden return of cold days and nights. Any of you who were looking for your favorite early apple varieties last year will know what I’m talking about. The last reason to love this spring that the gradual increase in temps has forced us farmers to throttle back our planting schedules. When we have frosts coming most nights we have to plant in little bits and pieces, making sure that tender greenhouse plants have a day or two to adjust to the cold. Rather than go crazy and plant everything as fast as possible, all the while feeling desperately behind, we have been able to work a steady pace. And while we are surely tired after setting out 1200 row feet of broccoli, we are not tired and stressed, which a great thing.

When do we start pick-ups?

Every year we plan on starting the first week of June. This year, interestingly enough while we have been throttled back in our schedule by cold temps we are looking like we may be ahead of schedule to start. The next week will tell us alot and we hope to be able to announce our first pick-up days very soon. Look for an email with specific information soon.

New Member Orientation

New member orientation day Sunday, June 2 at 10am or 3pm at the farm.

Our annual new member orientation will be held Sunday, June 3.  Two sessions to choose from, 10am or 3pm.  A casual opportunity to meet your farmers, tour the farm and get a first glimpse at how it all works. If you are new and can’t attend please don’t fret, we will be on hand at every pickup to answer questions and show you the ropes.

Video Teaser -Kale chips 101

Here’s a quick step by step video from NY Times columnist Mellissa Clark on how to make kale chips.

This has been a favorite recipe of adults and kids alike for many years and we thought we’d send it out just to whet your whistle. Don’t worry we don’t plan on burying you with kale this year -but it doesn’t hurt to have some variations up your sleeve for this versatile vegetable.

New Farmers…

We have a great farm crew this year. Apprentices Kristin, Conor, and Sydney have been here for the past six weeks and are deep into the day to day of growing food for all of you. We also have superstar farmer from years past Bethany, working part-time as well as Kira, a new face also part-time. As the summer progresses we will have a few more folks on the crew as well and hopefully you will have a chance to get to know everyone over the weeks of distribution ahead.

Egg Shares

Egg shares will be available again this year. Sparrow Farm in Pittston will be offering the same fresh organic eggs from pastured hens as last year. Karen and Ted at Sparrow do a great job and their eggs always have bright orange yolks and tall-standing whites -signs of happy chickens and fresh eggs. The shares are one dozen a week and will be available every week for 21 weeks starting the week of June 10th with a cost of $105 ($5/week). If you currently buy organic eggs you know what a great deal this is and add in the knowledge that these dozens are from a local family farm that has their hens on pasture. To purchase an egg share follow this link.

Mushroom Shares

Wild and cultivated (not certified organic) local Maine mushrooms delivered each week with your CSA share. Varieties will change each week depending on the season with preparation instructions and recipes included. The share is a 1/2 to 3/4 pound each week and will run for 18 weeks until late fall. To purchase a share follow this link. For more infomation about Oyster Creek Mushroom follow the link…. http://www.oystercreekmushroom.com/. This share will begin the week of June 10th.

Medicinal Herb Share

Local farmer and herbalist Lucretia Woodruff is offering herbal medicine shares to be delivered in the fall. These are locally grown and prepared remedies. For more information and purchasing directions go to this link.

Community Share

This program is in cooperation with Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program who matches us up with local families that may not be able to afford a CSA share. Your donations are matched by us to offer shares at the farm in Brunswick. Last year we had three families who participated. The farm matches these contributions dollar for dollar. Last year we were able to share the CSA with five local families through community shares. Follow this link to purchase a share.

Farm Camp – Junior Counselor Opportunities!

Farm camp weeks were in high demand once again this summer.  We have a few slots available for kids ages 13-15 who want to gain hands-on leadership experience with younger children while spending time outdoors doing farm activities, games, arts, and fun times.  For more info see our website http://crystalspringcsa.com/farm-camp/  or contact maura via email maura@crystalspringcsa.com or 729.1112

**Some weeks are nearly full for junior counselors, week of July 15th and July 29 have more availability.

One Farm Camp Week Open…

We also have a few openings for our Yoga Farm Camp week, June 24-28.  This program follows the traditional farm camp line up, but we add in some great stretching and movement in the morning to energize & some fun mindfulness games & activities…building self-awareness & self-care. Here’s the link to more info