Everyone has a Function

Summer is on and with the solstice just past we will start to see some more diversity in the share over the next few weeks. Look for carrots, summer squash, and peas in the upic field as we move into July.

Animals Have Jobs

The farm is a place of function. Everything and everyone has to be a working piece of the larger machine. This is especially true for all of our animals. Unlike pets, farm animals have to earn their keep. The sheep graze the hilly and heavy parts of the farm that are not fit for growing vegetables, converting grass in food.  The pigs turn winter bedding in the barns into compost and plow through the perennial weeds in the fields all while growing big and bacony (spell-check does not think bacony is a word). We also have a pair of barn cats that have worked hard for over ten years, keeping the mouse population under control. Jack, the male of this pair plays mascot to anyone who will give him a ear scratch around the farmstead.

Of all our animals, none take their job more seriously than Nell the border collie. If any of you have ever come across one of these dogs you will know they are diagnosably focused on their “job.” Nell is lucky to have a couple hundred sheep to focus her energies on and will happily drop anything at anytime to work. She routinely moves 75 ornery ewes up to a mile through the fields to new pastures with only one person along for the ride, mostly to remind her where she’s going with her flock. We used to think our fencing was just to keep the sheep where we want them but we’ve found it also does a great job keeping Nell from putting in for overtime pay.

 What’s in the Share this Week?









Farming with the Best Intentions

Here we are in week four of the CSA season and hopefully all of you are settling into the summer’s produce, turning our food and your inspiration into great meals. The peak of our week here on the farm is the harvest day, when we cut, pull, bunch, and pack all of these crops for you to take home.  Taking produce out of the fields is just the last in a long series of steps that started last fall at the end of the season.  Each winter we weave together the different crops to try and make each week’s harvest into a meal. This means matching up chinese cabbage, which takes eight weeks in the field to mature, with lettuce mix and bok choi which take only four weeks, and beets which take at least ten. This planning is a combination of experience, hope, and an ability to surf the chaos that is mother nature’s gift to us. This year has been pretty good so far (hopefully you agree…) with lots of crop diversity and quantity.  Each year we have great successes but we also have a few losses. This winter we thought to try a new spring crop and planted 1200 row feet of broccoli raab (like broccoli but with lots of leaf). Our hope was to add even more diversity to the harvests of June.  Shortly after planting we had a week of cold temps and the whole crop went to flower early. Broccoli raab is meant to be harvested in flower but when the plant have only four tiny leaves there is not much to harvest! Next year we will try a different variety and hope for a better break in the weather. In the mean time we get to enjoy this field of yellow.  The bees are loving all the nectar the flowers are pumping out.

Kohlrabi is Green this Week

Like the purple kohlrabi last week? You’ll love this green one. Old world style, this crop gets Brunswick’s German expats really excited. The farm crew eats them like apples in the field -sweet and creamy. Try them with salt and vinegar or just go johnny appleseed style…

Beets with Greens…they taste good.

This early beet is prized for it’s tender tasty greens. Eat them any way you would chard or spinach (the beets are mighty tasty too).

Chinese Cabbage…Think Cabbage But Lighter

Some call it Napa, we call it awesome. Anything you do with cabbage this crop can handle. We shred it into soup, make coleslaw with it, stir fry, etc.  Many cultures eat this stuff like Americans eat french fries. It’s a great vehicle for peanut sauce (recipe).

Salad Turnips Are the Best

Really, they are. Once you eat one you will not be able to stop, even if your mother calls long distance. Sweet and creamy, they are turnips only in name. If I had to survive a 1800’s winter in Maine I could do it with these turnips. The crew had a great time harvesting them in yesterday’s rainstorm…

What’s in the share…



Lettuce Mix


Chinese Cabbage

Beets with Greens

Salad Turnips



We are busy these days. So busy in fact I have just enough time for a nuts and bolts newsletter this week.

Kohlrabi, It’s Not Just for Aliens Anymore

This is a great vegetable. Peel it and grate, slice, or julienne it into salads, stir fries, or straight into your mouth! Out kids love it sliced with salt and a little vinegar. Here’s the link to the recipe page…

Egg share and Mushroom Shares begin this week…

Talk to us at the farm for more info…

Farm Store Open this Week

Maple syrup, eggs, goat cheese, and our own ground lamb are for sale starting this week. In the weeks to come look for gelato, bacon and sausage, as well as more cheeses…

Pigs Join the Party

10 pigs are part of the farm team as of last week. These guys are busy digging up the winters sheep bedding in the barn but will be heading into the fields soon.


Visit from the Congo

We had a big group of Congolese produce farmers visit last week. They are on a whirlwind trip to the Northeast to tour vegetable farms. We had a great time talking shop and showing them around Crystal Spring.  Farm talk bridges all gaps.

What’s in the share?

Lettuce mix










Greens are the New Black

June is light and leafy, fresh and green.  The first few weeks of the summer will prime the proverbial pump of our summer diets lots of leafy greens.  Some of you are well-versed in world of greens while others may be having a stare down with those bags in your fridge wondering where to start.  We are here to help!  We encourage you to jump in with both feet and find your food muse amongst the leaves of chard, kale and spinach. Start simple and combine these greens with things you and your family already like to eat.

  1. Salads of course – and making your salad into more of a meal by adding other veggies, nuts, chicken, legumes or other proteins.  (See below for dressing recipe.)  We find that if we have a delicious dressing already prepared, we are way more likely to eat a salad for a quick lunch.
  2. Stir fries and sautés. I’ll include some more on this next week.  For now try this video how to…
  3. Is pesto a favorite?  Lightly steam your chard or kale, and throw it in the blender or food processor with garlic, onions, basil, or other herbs, toss it on pasta or pizza with oil or butter, and cheese.
  4. Bacon.  We heard from a mom this week who cooks the bacon in a pan, and then adds in the greens.  Her children devour every bite!
  5. Spanikopita.  We’ve been making variations on this for years.  I use kale, chard, or spinach, I use whatever cheese I might have, and I rarely use the filo dough due to time constraints.   Sometimes I’ll top it with bread crumbs, roasted sunflower seeds, or even crushed up tortilla chips.  We call it kale pie.  I like to steam the greens and then puree them in the food processor.  And lots of basil.
  6. Smoothies!!  Green smoothies are all the rage these days.  If you’re not doing it already, then get on the trend! Throw your greens in the blender along with fruit, juice, and you’ll be powered up for the day!
  7. Here’s a funny article about fashionable kale and another about a reluctant kale eaters conversion into the fold (with recipe).
  8. The internet of course has all the answers we need.   Here is a list of recipes on Vegetarian Times with kale.
  9. Facebook?  We have not been very active on our facebook page – but I have to admit it is a great way to share recipes.  We will put some recipes on there – so I encourage you to “like” us if you are so inclined, and to share recipes with each other – especially since we are all working with the same ingredients from week to week! https://www.facebook.com/crystalspringcommunityfarm
That is probably a good start for today.  If you enjoy something that you want to share, let me know & we’ll include it in our newsletters, facebook, and our webpage.   Yikes!
Here is a recipe from Kripalu, a retreat center with incredible food, for a versatile dressing for steamed veggies and salad.  It keeps for two weeks in the refrigerator, so make enough to last awhile!

Kripalu House Dressing

Makes about 2 cups.
1 cup sunflower oil or grape seed oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
¼ cup tamari (natural soy sauce)
¼ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup sesame tahini
2 cloves garlic
½ tablespoon dry mustard powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon chili powder
pinch cayenne
½ cup water
Combine all ingredients and blend using a standard blender or immersion blender.

Weather We Like it or Not

Consider your vocation. What is the biggest unknown variable that controls the outcome of all that you do. If you make things maybe its the chain of supplies or the price of materials, if you work with people maybe its your clients, or if  you work for a large company maybe its those in management above you. If you are a farmer this big unknowable is the weather. Every winter we spend the cold months in the office pouring over the last years crops, putting together a plan for the season to come. Frost dates, rainfall patterns and high temps are all noted. We look at hundreds of new varieties of vegetables bred for earliness, or heat tolerance (and hopefully they don’t forget flavor!).  All of our fields are mapped by which ones warm early, dry out when the rain stops or flood first when the downpours come. The pasture rotation for the animals relies of low fields staying green in the dry months of August and July and the high fields producing grass early in May before we run out of last summers hay in the barn. All of this planning and thinking is based on averages. What has happened over the years we have been here guides us in what may happen in the year to come. With ten years on this farm we feel like we are just starting to get a handle of the set points that make up the extremes that lie on either side of what we call normal. And the hope is that we make the appropriate informed guess for what mother nature is serving up for the months ahead.

Piglets Take Over the Barns

Most of the sheep are on pasture and just in time as our piglets have arrived this week and have taken over on ofd the barns. How’s this for a daily schedule: eats, root and sleep, repeat. Come say hi when you puck up your share.

Organic Eggs and Maine Mushroom Shares

We still have shares available for both organic eggs and mushrooms. Add some local zing to your produce. Here’s a link with direction on how to sign up online…

Farm Camp!

Week of June 24th has a few openings.  This week of camp will be our traditional farm camp week, but with an added bonus  of fun movement, stretching, and mindfulness.  Ages 8 and up!  More info on our webpage:


What’s in the share this week…



Baby Bok Choi


Lettuce Mix



How to sign up for a optional share online…

Once again we will be offering an egg share and a mushroom share to pick up here with your veggies, or for Portland-area folks, in your box. This email will explain what that means and how to sign up and pay for these options.

We bring in eggs from Sparrow Farm in Pittston. The chickens get to roam on the actual earth, are well cared for, and are MOFGA certified organic. The eggs are $5 per dozen. We will run this for 18 weeks, so the total cost is $90. The first egg share will be available the week of June 10th.

We WILL have eggs for sale every week at the farm on Tuesdays and Fridays if you do not want to commit to the share. Purchasing the share allows you the convenience of not having to worry about paying for eggs each week, and will guarantee that we’ll have a dozen reserved for you.

The mushrooms are from Oyster Creek Farm in Damariscotta. Each week’s share will be between a half to three-quarter pound of cultivated or wild-gathered mushrooms. This will include storage and preparation tips. This will also run for 18 weeks beginning the week of June 10th. The cost is $11.50 per week, for a total of $207. More info on the varieties of mushrooms to expect on their website here: http://www.oystercreekmushroom.com

*If you want to sign up for either share, but you are NOT listed as the primary member, you can sign up by giving us a check this coming week, or at least send me an email so we can get you on the list.

Otherwise, to sign up and pay online:
To sign up go to our website www.crystalspringcsa.com and click 


From here log in to your account – if you have forgotten your password there is a button that will send it to you via your email address.

Then look for the green box on the right and click “add subscription”

The system should guide you through from there. You can choose to pay by paper check, e-check, or credit card.

As always, be in touch with any questions!

Thank you!

Maura & Seth