2014 Mid-Season Newsletter

July has ripened into August and the trinity of soil, sunshine and water is working its yearly alchemy, transforming itself into the variety of leaf, root and fruit that we recognize as food. It is humbling to contemplate the paradoxes that underlie our operation (really our entire enterprise as humans)-that the systems we are part of and depend on are so resilient, yet at the same time are fragile and susceptible to destruction or transformation in so many ways. Sudden disasters in the short term-catastrophic weather events most notably-can wreak havoc on the crops of a given season, can damage or destroy valuable infrastructure and equipment. But quietly underfoot, that underlying fundamental-the soil-remains resilient and ready to resume its annual magic. Events that unfold over longer periods, months or years, decades even, so slow sometimes that you can’t even tell that change is occurring, can expose the fragility of these seemingly robust systems. Witness the acres of prime farmland paved over and built up; witness the globalization of local pests and diseases that can render once important crops impractical or impossible to raise; witness the looming chaos that is climate change and all the cascading, unpredictable changes it will create.

In the meantime, we try to recognize what is good, what is of value in the world in the moment we inhabit (‘mindful’ is the new buzzword)-and in this moment, this high golden summer season of this particular year, unique, never to be repeated, there are many blessings to be counted, among them: glorious, vine-ripe tomatoes; tender, sweet corn; bounteous potatoes tumbling up out of the soil; fat, snappy peppers both sweet and hot; and countless other humble gifts of soil and sweat. Events, conditions, circumstances have conspired with our plans and efforts to create an remarkably productive season, a serene and beautiful moment in the midst of the troubled flow of events that swirl about the wider world.

We’re about halfway through that season now. Like always, there are some shortfalls, outright failures, wasted efforts. The celebrated blueberries were somewhat sparse (and are through); apples likewise look to be a short crop-but the number of beautiful crops this season seems exceptional. I may have just jinxed it with that previous sentence (and the following), but all present appearances seem to indicate a bountiful second half of the season. This is the summer to really make full use of that freezer so that later, shivering in winter’s gloom, you can briefly sneak back to summer’s sweet warmth, or at least its echo in your cozy kitchen in February.

We’ll hopefully see you at the farmstand or farmers’ markets as we head into the final month of summer. Please check our website for more (but not perfectly) up-to-date information about our selection.

Brian Cramer
Farm Manager
Hutchins Farm

 

Around the farm July 2014

Shelling Peas July 1st

Sunflowers July 3rd

Green Beans July 4th

Birds Nest in the Squash, July 12th

Carrot Harvest, July 16th

Sweet Corn, July 19th

Flower Bouquet making, July 26th

Eggplant, July 30th

Around the farm, June 2014

Lettuce is ready to go for opening day!

Farmstand opening Sat, June 7th for the season!

Our official farmstand opening will be this Saturday the 7th of June, at which point self-serve sales of produce will be discontinued.  We’ll open (as usual) each day at 11AM, close at 6PM, and the stand will be closed all day on Mondays. Although the weather has warmed somewhat, many crops are lagging behind where they ‘should’ be.  Lettuce will be abundant for the foreseeable future, with spinach, arugula, radishes and cilantro somewhat less so.  We will continue to pick asparagus and green garlic for about another week after we open, and chard, parsley, kale, escarole, endive, and basil should be in evidence our opening weekend or shortly thereafter.  Alas we won’t see the earliest strawberries (usually our signal to open for the season) until a good week after we open.  Other arrivals to expect by mid-month include summer squash, cucumbers, purslane, and perhaps some peas and beets.  Plant sales have been strong, and our selection has been picked over, but we still have some tomatoes (with a few more to come this weekend), eggplant, peppers, hot peppers, and a miscellaneous smattering of other plants.  New herb plants will continue to appear this month, as will another round of broccoli and cabbage, and some cauliflower for the ambitious gardener. Please check our website for more (but not perfectly) up-to-date information about our selection.

As we embark on another season-long adventure in agriculture, intrepidly pursuing our elusive quarry: an uninterrupted, plentiful supply of beautiful, delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables grown without chemicals or compromise, we hope you will find time to stop by to share in the fruits (and vegetables) of our efforts.

Brian Cramer
Farm Manager
Hutchins Farm

Around the farm, May 2014

Seedling selection is growing slowly on the porch

The Central Square Farmers Market starts Monday, May 19th in Cambridge- we’ll be here 12pm-6pm all season!

May 22, The tomato wagon is out front at the farmstand – heirloom, hybrid, plum, and cherry varieties are all waiting to go into your garden.

May 24th, the Union Square Farmers Market starts for the season – 9am-1pm every Saturday until November!

Around the Farm 4/17/14

It happened! Wow!

Hutchins Farm April 2014 Newsletter

Although the weather makes it seem like the growing season is a long way off, signs of spring are slowly appearing, and the untidy remnants of winter are receding into the shadows where we still stumble on them unsuspecting, grateful for the warmth, light and life that are surely coming. 

            Among the first stirrings of spring is the sprouting of parsnips. Nourished by sugars stored last summer in their now-prodigious roots, they begin to send up a few leaves in preparation for their second, final, reproductive season (they are biennials—growing vegetatively for a first season, then flowering the second).  Dug at this stage, before they convert their stored sweetness to sexual expression, they are incomparably tender and sweet.  Left in the ground a few more weeks, they would turn tough and woody, but now they are at the peak of perfection—and we have just dug and washed the two beds we left to overwinter.  As long as we avoid anthropomorphizing their sexual frustration (and their horror at being eaten) we are left to guiltlessly enjoy this brief, seasonal treat—delicious roasted, incomparable fried (try them shredded like latkes), sublime pureed or steeped in soup, a true delight in long simmered stews.  And, if I do say so myself, this is the nicest crop of parsnips I’ve yet seen. We’ll have them available self-serve on the porch for the next week or two in bags of between two and a half and three pounds for $5.  If you plan to store them for any length of time, make sure to cut out the growing point (where the leaves emerge a the top).

            Other self-serve items currently available include bagged compost and bagged potting soil from McEnroe Organic Farm in upstate NY, which has also been the source of the potting soil we use for our own plants for many years. Potting soil is available in 22 qt. bags for $10 each, or 5 bags for $45.  Compost is available in 40 lb. bags for $9 each, 5 for $40.

            Likely to appear during the course of the next week or so are the first, hardiest garden plants.  We’ll begin with lettuce, kale, cabbage, and onions, with a growing roster of plants as the weeks go by.  A more or less complete list of variety descriptions, and predicted availability dates, should be available on our website in the next day or two.

            Also among the long-awaited signs of spring is the emergence of the first spears of asparagus. As cold as it has been, we’re likely a little ways off from this momentous event, but a few warm days will go a long way toward goosing the asparagus out of its slumber. I’ll send out another (shorter) message when the asparagus arrives.

            We are planning on (finally) paving our parking lot sometime in the near future, which will entail closing access to our self-serve items for about 2-3 days.  As soon as we know them, we’ll include the dates in our phone message and post them online so customers can check and make sure they don’t make a wasted trip.

            We hope all of our faithful (and unfaithful) customers had the best winter they could, considering the circumstances.  Some unlooked for benefits of our long, cold travail include the forementioned parsnips, but may also include a robust crop of (cold-loving) garlic, and a reduction in the populations of some pests.  Doesn’t seem like adequate payment for the ordeal we’ve been through, but by the time we’re enjoying fresh garlic, the winter will be a mercifully distant memory.

Brian Cramer
Farm Manager

baby kale in the greenhouse

Around the farm 4/3/14

While it’s still pretty brown around here, the first signs of spring are starting to appear! Brian caught this one today – garlic popping its head up!

Around the farm 3/18/14

Snow is slowly disappearing…

Around the farm 3/5/14

It might be snowing outside, but it’s toasty in the prop house!