Around the farm 3/20/12

Looking green out here!

Some of you driving by may have noticed a little bit of construction going on – the Town of Concord is fixing the  stone wall that holds up Monument St – it had become unstable and nobody wanted the road to fall into the apple trees!

Around the Farm 2/9/12

Welcome the newest member of the Hutchins Farm team- the 1953 Farmall Super H!

The “old” H, a 1951, lost 4th gear last season.  It was our primary tool for cultivating, corn, beans, onions, and lots more!  We purchased it in 1974, and it has run continuously since then with no major repairs. We are going to rebuild it, but it will take time. This guy needs a bit of work, but will be up and running soon!

Around the Farm 1/13/12

Snow fell overnight, but it was greeted by temperatures in the 50’s the next morning! Made for a gloriously foggy scene!


Around the Farm 12/8/11 – Pruning Apple Trees

Hutchins Farm November Newsletter

We have finally crossed that invisible, magical line from the ‘season’ to the ‘off-season’.  Each year, we step over with a confusing combination of reluctance, regret, and relief.  Although we are blessed with productive land, reasonably moderate weather, an energetic and enthusiastic crew, and useful and appropriate equipment, the stress of keeping up season-long production of our extensive roster of crops begins to fray the nerves after awhile—particularly in a year like this, when certain difficulties occur, and promptly compound themselves.

All in all, a good season, a successful season.  Corn was early, plentiful, tasty, consistent, and largely worm-free until September.  Berries, which we seem never to be able to produce in quantities large enough to meet demand, were nonetheless abundant and delicious.  Tomatoes were full of flavor—they appeared early, lasted late, and gave generous yields in between.  Onion quality and yield surpassed anything we have seen for the last few years, and I can’t remember a year when we dug so many (and such beautiful) potatoes.  Peppers did their thing admirably; eggplant, shy during the heat of summer, became the life of the party as temperatures cooled down.  All in all, a good season—but what happened to the winter squash and pumpkins?  Why so little broccoli and Brussels sprouts in October, when they should be at their best?  What was with the sporadic lettuce shortage in September and October?  And a shortage of kale?  Preposterous!

Each season is superficially predictable—spring is cool and wet, summer hot and dry, frost comes in October—but a nearly infinite number of variables with an effect on our crops, many of them unguessed at by us, are busy unpredictably affecting our crops, often in ways that leave no evidence of the cause.   We’re always trying to make our production more consistent both in abundance and quality, but even when we do everything right (which actually doesn’t really happen), some unforeseen circumstance can bring everything to naught—conversely, many of our most stunning successes are, to some degree, luck.  It’s a humbling feeling (and one not confined to agriculture) to realize that so much of what we seek to manipulate is beyond our control, beyond our understanding even.  We are confounded by our successes and by our failures, though we far prefer the former and cling to the (mistaken?) belief that we really do understand enough to provide a positive outcome at least much of the time.  With enough successes, we can live with the mystery.

So next year we’ll use what we think we learned this year to avoid this year’s problems repeating themselves—and it might even work, but possibly for reasons unsuspected by us.  But we’ll have a lovely crop of red herrings to offer our faithful customers.

Currently, we’re offering a selection of produce on our porch, including the abovementioned potatoes, lettuce, collards, kale, leeks, beets and cabbage, among other things.  We’ll continue to harvest and set things out as long as the weather and supplies hold out—at least through the end of this weekend.  I would like to express my thanks to all our wonderful customers who continue to seek us out and are so generous in their appreciation of our efforts.  Here’s to a short winter, warm days in April, and the first strawberries of 2012.

Brian Cramer
Hutchins Farm

last day of the 2011 season!

and it snowed about 4 inches!

Carrot Ginger Soup

This recipe is a favorite of ours when the weather gets cold (or cold-ish as the case may be lately…) It’s super easy too!

Carrot Ginger Soup
by Myra Goodman in her cookbook Food to Live By

2 tbs canola oil (or olive oil)
1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 piece (3 inches long) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/4 pounds carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)
5 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
pinch of ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the carrots, stock, and orange juice.  Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and let simmer until the carrots are very tender.  About 45 minutes

3. Using an immersion blender or food processor,  puree the soup

4. Add the nutmeg to the soup and season it with salt and pepper to taste

5. Serve the soup hot and garnish with sour cream.  Yum!

Photo by Andrea Bemis

Andrea’s Fusion Coleslaw

We’ve gotten a few requests to throw this recipe online- so here you go!

Andrea’s Fusion Coleslaw
(adapted from Food to Live By by Myra Goodman)

2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded green cabbage
2 large carrots coarsely grated
1/3 cup thin strips of scallion greens
1 jalapeno pepper, cut into slivers
3 tbs unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons  sesame oil
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp Asian Chile garlic sauce
1 tbs finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup honey-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted

1. Place the red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots, scallion greens, and jalapeno in a large bowl.  Stir to combine

2. Place the sesame oil, vinegar, sugar, chile sauce, and ginger in a glass jar and seal the lid tightly.  Shake the jar vigorously to combine.

3. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.  Add the peanuts and raisins and toss again.  Refrigerate the coleslaw, covered, to allow the flavors to develop, 2-4 hours. Serve chilled, garnished with sesame seeds

Oh the potatoes!

This year’s crop is most excellent! We have a large number of varieties to choose from, and a few more coming in. Here is your cheat sheet for varieties available right now:

Peter Wilcox: Purple skin/yellow flesh. Yep, that’s really its name. Who can resist a potato with both a first and last name? Moist and firm, bred to have a higher vitamin C content. A potato so awesome it even made the New York Times!

Carola: Yellow skin/yellow flesh. Moist yellow flesh with a creamy texture and fabulous flavor. Getting more recognition as food writers sing its praises! Not to be outdone, it got some love in NY Magazine in 2009.

Dark Red Norland: Red skin/white flesh. Moist and firm. Excellent for boiling. Its parentage stems from the Norland potato developed in North Dakota in the 1950’s.

Keuka Gold: Yellow skin/light yellow flesh. New release from Cornell, similar eating quality to Yukon Gold. Tasty! Great baking potato. The New York Times has a recipe for them too!

Chieftain: Red skin/white flesh. A bit drier than the other red varieties, this one is excellent for roasting and french fries! Developed in Iowa in the 1960’s this is one tasty spud!

Adirondack Blue: Purple skin/purple flesh. Moist and firm. Stores quite well. Perfect for purple mashed potatoes or roasting! Also developed at Cornell, it’s a colorful addition to any meal.

Adirondack Red: Red skin/pink flesh. Moist and firm. Good for storage. Delightful for boiling and mashing.

Kennebec: White-yellow skin/ white flesh. THE Maine Potato! Fine, all purpose spud. Excellent storage. They even got a shout out in Bon Appetit Magazine in 2008 for their killer frying skills.

Sangre: Red skin/white flesh. Good for boiling and mashing. Excellent for storage.

LaRatte Fingerling: Yellow skin/yellow flesh. A European fingerling, great flavor and texture- reminiscent of chestnuts. LaRattes got some love from Chef Robuchon in the Washington Post in 2009.

French Fingerling: Dark red skin/yellow flesh. Moist, excels in salads, roasted or boiled in soup.

Prepping for winter, and next year!

Cover crops are important- we need them to maintain our soil’s nutrients over the winter, protect our soil from erosion, and to build nutrients and organic matter for next year!

Planting cover crops- a winter rye and hairy vetch mix

winter rye and hairy vetch planted a few weeks ago

a clover and winter rye mix