Around the farm 7/28/11

Phil flies the coup

For those of you following the saga of Phil, our little barn swallow, we have a happy ending!

After being reunited with his nest-mates by an intrepid crew member, Phil enjoyed a few days of family bonding. Today, he (or she) successfully left the nest of his own accord, and joined his brothers and sisters catching insects. (Hopefully doing a number on the aphids!)

Around the farm 7/2/11


Basil and Garlic Top (Scape) Pesto

Today we have a guest post from crew member, and blogger at, Andrea!

Garlic scape and basil pesto:

I nearly jumped for joy when we got to harvest garlic scapes the other day!  The only thing that made it better….we got to harvest basil for the first time this season as well.  Basil and garlic scapes are great friends you know????

The recipe is my best estimation of the measurements.  I tasted and added as I went along.  Which I encourage everyone to do.

5 garlic scapes roughly chopped
large handful of basil leaves
1/4 cup walnuts (or almonds, peanuts, pine nuts ect.)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
pinch of sea salt.

In a food processor or blender, combine all the above ingredients.  If it’s too thick add a little more olive oil.  Enjoy on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, veggies, or by the spoonful!

Let me know what you think.  I still have bad breath from last night.  I should warn everyone who makes this!!!

Andrea's Pesto

Hutchins Farm Opens Saturday

Although we traditionally open when we first begin to pick strawberries, the strawberries appear to be a little tardy this year—so we’re going to open up without them.  We’ll begin our usual hours on Saturday, June 4th, opening at 11 AM and closing at 6 PM.  We will, as always, be closed on Mondays (except our market stall at Central Square).  Although strawberries won’t arrive until sometime next week, we will open with a good selection of produce:  lettuce, endive, escarole, arugula, kale, collards, radishes, cilantro, dill and spinach.  We have begun carrying eggs produced by Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds right here in Concord.  These initial offerings will be joined shortly by chard, garlic scapes, parsley, squash, basil—and of course, the berries.  Garden plants are still available, but demand has been strong, so variety may be dwindling.  Another, smaller batch of tomato plants will be ready by next weekend.

Some of you may have noticed the alarming presence of aphids on certain of our plants—most notably eggplant, okra and peppers.  This is the first season since I arrived at Hutchins that I have had any problems with aphids in the greenhouse, but I had plenty of experience with them in Pennsylvania and Virginia, where they were an annual scourge.  They are notoriously difficult to control using organic methods—soap sprays have some effect, but not enough; introducing beneficial insects can work, but they can be finicky and unreliable.  So the bad news is that my efforts, begun in April, to control the then modest aphid population failed.  The good news is aphids have a large number of natural predators, and once the plants are out of the greenhouse and in the field, plants are usually aphid free in short order.  Aphids can potentially spread viruses to plants, but this is when they move from a virus infected plant—the aphid population on our transplants started in our greenhouse and hasn’t had any opportunity to pick up virus from other sources.  In short, I apologize for the presence of aphids on our plants and understand if customers prefer to buy plants elsewhere, but in my experience springtime aphids usually clear up quickly and don’t cause any long-term problems.

So far our season has been going well, with the cool weather not too cool, the wet weather not too wet, the hot weather not too hot (so far), and we were spared yesterday’s severe weather—our sympathies to those who were not so fortunate.  Flea beetle pressure has been more intense than usual on our mustard-family crops (bad for arugula, kale, cabbage, broccoli), but I haven’t seen much cucumber beetle activity (good for squash, cucumbers, melons).  Lots of crops have been planted and are growing and thriving, lots more have yet to be planted.

We hope you all have an opportunity to stop by in the coming weeks, ideally to discover that perfect something that fires and inspires the culinary genius lurking inside, or perhaps just to pick up a box of berries whose mere aroma will exorcise the painful memories of all those washed-out, insipid berries we eat in a vain search for that intense, simple flavor that only comes in its season.

Brian Cramer

Memorial Day Farmers’ Market

A few snaps from today’s Central Square Market…

Basil in Centrallettuce plants at central

We've got eggs!

We are thrilled to be able to offer some of Pete and Jen’s fresh eggs at the farmstand. Located in Concord, Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds is a small scale local grower of  pasture-raised,  meat and layer chickens, pigs, sheep, and a few rabbits. The hens free-range on fresh pastures with access to a large mobile coop on a farm wagon which is moved around the field on a weekly basis allowing the birds consistent access to fresh grass and forage. The chickens are fed a diet of vegetarian grains from Green Mountain Feeds – a certified organic feed company located in Vermont. Occasionally Pete and Jen feed the birds alfalfa, kelp for minerals, oyster shells for hard egg shells, and grit (granite bits) to assist their digestion.  A carton of eggs contains a mixture of sizes and colors, including an occasional blue egg from their Araucana chickens, light brown and dark chocolate brown eggs. Each carton contains a “nest run” – a mixture of ungraded and unique sizes and shapes. We welcome folks to return clean cartons for reuse.

We hope you all will enjoy these tasty eggs!

Around the farm

View First Week of May

Spring is here!

Lettuce in the greenhouse in MayOpen for Self Service!Overwintered Scallions

Spring Greetings from Hutchins Farm

Although it’s not looking much like spring currently, the calendar insists that April has begun.  We survived the snowy winter without any serious problems, and I was very thankful that we don’t have any livestock to keep fed and watered in the cold depths (and it was deep) of winter.  But that’s all behind us now—I trust.  Now each day will beguile us with swelling buds, unfolding leaves, warm sunshine, newly turned soil, gentle rain, and ultimately, the first (and succeeding) fruits of summer.  Of course all that is quite theoretical at this point, though our greenhouses are rapidly filling with hypothetical fruits and vegetables, eager to bask and bathe in the sun and rains that, after all, will come, and thereby (with a lot of work besides) be translated from potential into actual—the good food of summer for which we impatiently wait the rest of the year.

We don’t have to wait any longer for that first gift of spring— overwintered parsnips, incomparably tender and sweet.  They are available now on the porch, self-serve, and presumably will be around for a couple weeks.  In short order they will be joined by a wide and ever-growing variety of vegetable and herb plants for gardeners.  Those of you who have ordered plants from us in the past may be disappointed to learn that we won’t be filling orders this season—we will, however, have a similar wide variety of plants.  A list of most of the varieties we will have available and when they will be ready can be found in .pdf form at our website  In addition, you can find bagged compost and potting soil available now on the porch.

By late May, we should begin to see the earliest lettuce and other greens, and with the arrival of June and the miraculous transformation of hypothetical strawberries into delicious, ripe reality, we will open our doors for another season.  Once again, we will be attending three farmer’s market each week:  Cambridge/Central Square on Mondays, Belmont on Thursdays, and Somerville/Union Square on Saturdays.  For complete times and dates, see our website.

We hope all of you came through the winter as sweet as the parsnips and we’re looking forward to seeing all of you again soon.  Look for more frequent updates to our website and Facebook page as the capable Liza Bemis increases her involvement with the farm this season.  The newlyweds Taylor and Andrea Bemis, who worked with us last season (in sin), have returned as well to bring their considerable combined energies and enthusiasms to bear on our common goal—to provide you with the freshest, finest food you can find anywhere.


Hope to see you all soon,

Brian Cramer

The crew is already hard at work!

Greenhouses are filling up!