November 2022 Newsletter

The beginning of November heralds the traditional end-of-season at Hutchins—fields settle down under their blanket of green cover crop for a winter’s rest, leaves flake off the suddenly exposed branches of trees, settling in rusty heaps wherever the wind deposits them. November is a transition period, when frosty mornings, sun-soaked afternoons, and blustery evenings can all coexist in a single day. This November, despite the shedding leaves and morning frosts, summer seems stubbornly to hang on, confounding our expectations and complicating our wardrobe choices.

A positive aspect to this disquieting warm spell is that it has allowed our latest plantings, which we characterize variously as Hail Mary passes or crapshoots, to pay out handsomely (or score a TD depending on your preferred metaphor). Clearly, the time of tomatoes and eggplant is well behind us, melons and cucumbers a delicious memory, but the unseasonable weather has spared many of our late season crops, leaving us with a bountiful selection of produce—at least for the moment. In addition, our storage crops were exceptionally productive this year, so the fresh offerings that have been spared their usual frosty demise are joined with abundant fall and winter stalwarts like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cabbage, turnips, even the homely celeriac. The only regular missing from our list is parsnips, but you can’t win ‘em all.

From very early on, the difference between growing season 2022 and 2021 couldn’t have been more stark. From regular twice-a-week dousings of multi-inch rain events that recurred through most of 2021, we went to rare drizzles that might drop a fraction of an inch a couple times a month, with constant irrigation our only option to keep things alive and growing. The success of most of our crops this year is a testament both to the hard work and skill of those tasked with moving and running the irrigation, and the fact that dry weather and low humidity (assuming ample irrigation) is actually healthy for most crops. Evidence includes record-breaking (or close) yields for celery, celeriac, peppers, and eggplant, and unprecedentedly disease-free crops of potatoes, winter squash, broccoli and cauliflower.
Crops that fared a little less well included beans, which were absent for most of the season (after an early bounty) due to neglect (it’s tough to get water on everything), and tomatoes, which were healthy and delicious, but because of a few irrigation hiccups, ended up with some serious drought-induced blossom-end rot to reduce yields. Peppers had the same problem, but they more than made up for it in the long drawn-out warmth of fall.

Weather means a lot to the success or failure of various crops, and the farm as a whole, but, absent truly calamitous weather, it is far from the whole story. We had the good fortune to have an exceptionally motivated, hard-working and amiable crew this season, with a good number of folks who had experience working at Hutchins previously and a good understanding of our rhythms and routines. Chaos and disaster always lurk close by as we wend our way through the season, but a crew with a combination of experience and motivation can do a lot to stave off the worst.

Equally important to our ultimate success is the continued patronage of our customers, many of whom find their way to Hutchins regularly from long before we officially open, buying garden plants and those precocious bunches of asparagus, until long after we close, as long as the weather holds and we can continue to stock the self-serve porch with produce. We cannot thank you enough for your patronage, and your continued support!

As noted, the weather is holding. With 70s predicted for this weekend (11/5 and 11/6) the farmstand porch will be loaded with fresh and storage crops, including salad and cooking greens, herbs, brassicas (look it up if that term is not familiar), roots, tubers, and winter squash—for a complete list, check our website’s “Whats at the stand” tab where we attempt to update offerings throughout the day. Please remember the porch is on the honor system and is self-serve: exact change or check only please!

While the Somerville Union Square Market closed early this year, our stalwart Cambridge Central Square Market will continue every Monday afternoon until Thanksgiving. New for us this year is a one time fall harvest farmers market at the Burlington Mall on Saturday November 12th from 11am-5pm, please come join us there! You can also check to see what we sent into market each week on our website’s “whats at the farmers market” tab.

Thank you for another season of shopping, cooking, and eating with us (our 50th growing season!), and we wish you a cozy and peaceful winter!
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the Hutchins Farm crew

A portion of the fall crew – some of the faces who make this place function!
Lit pumpkins over the farm on October 31st

2022 Bulk Order Sign Up

We are offering bulk storage orders again for the 2022 season!

Please remember we fill bulk order requests in the order in which they were received – if you are lower on our list there is less of a chance we will be able to fulfill your request. We have limited quantities!

When we fill your order, we will email you that it is ready for pick up – please wait for your email confirming we were able to fill your order before trying to pick up. If we are unable to fill your order you will also get an email letting you know!  Pick ups will occur the last week we are open for the season: October 24th – October 30th. If you are unable to pick up this week, or would like us to bring your order into a farmers market location, please email us at to make arrangements.

This year we are offering:
-50 pound bags of unwashed potatoes for $50. Potato varieties available include old favorites Kennebec (white skin/white flesh) and Carola (yellow skin/yellow flesh)(sold out of Carola) along with rising stars Peter Wilcox (purple skin/yellow flesh) and Lehigh (yellow skin/light yellow flesh).

-Carrots (washed) will be provided in 25 lb bags at a cost of $30 each.

-Beets (washed) will also be in 25 lb bags, also for $30. (sold out)

Sweet potatoes will be one of two varieties (Covington or Mahon Yam, similar varieties, at our discretion), offered in 20 lb bags of unwashed roots for $40 each. (Sold out)

Please use our online form via this LINK. UPDATE 10/31: We still have bulk Carrots available and some 50# bags of Potatoes – please email us at to make arrangements.

2022 Bulk Order Sign Up & Season Closing Day at the Stand

2022 Bulk Order Sign Up & Season Closing Day at the Stand Cool nights bordering on outright cold have finally arrived, and with them the turning leaves and the dwindling daylight. It’s that time of the year again when our thoughts turn to roasting vegetables, warm soups and pies, and about how fleeting this glorious fall weather will be.

At Hutchins we have started to switch gears and are preparing fields and equipment for winter, and turning our attention towards the big late season harvests: In contrast to the last several years, the fickle Gods of Winter Storage Vegetables (minor deities to be sure) have smiled on Hutchins Farm in 2022, and we are blessed with a variety of lovely roots in nearly unprecedented abundance, perfect to fill a cool cellar, cold spot in the garage, or extra fridge. For actual optimal storage conditions for a variety of produce, please see our Storage Guidelines.

As in keeping with our past custom we are offering sign ups for 50 lb bags of potatoes, available in several varieties, and 25 lb bags of carrots – this year we will be adding 25 lb bags of beets and 20 lb bags of sweet potatoes to these offerings.

We have decided to update our rather unwieldy sign-up procedure with a sleek new technological marvel, the Google Form; you can access the online form via this LINK. Sign up with your e-mail and follow the prompts to enter your bulk order request—please remember that we fill bulk order requests in the order in which we receive them, so folks whose names that are lower on the list are less likely to have their order filled.

-Potato varieties available include old favorites Kennebec (white skin/white flesh) and Carola (yellow skin/yellow flesh) along with rising stars Peter Wilcox (purple skin/yellow flesh) and Lehigh (yellow skin/light yellow flesh). 50-pound bags of unwashed potatoes will cost $50.

-Carrots (washed) will be provided in 25 lb bags at a cost of $30 each.

-Beets (washed) will also be in 25 lb bags, also for $30.

-Sweet potatoes will be one of two varieties (Covington or Mahon Yam, similar varieties, at our discretion), offered in 20 lb bags of unwashed roots for $40 each.

again, to order please use our online form via this LINK. UPDATE 10/31: we still have bulk Carrots available and some varieties of bulk Potatoes, but are sold out of the other bulk options – please email us at to make arrangements.

Many other fall crops (in addition to the aforementioned) are in evidence at the farm stand and should continue abundant through the imminent end—cabbage, kohlrabi, winter squash, celeriac, turnips, radishes, kale, collards, bok choy, scallions, Chinese cabbage, and leeks are all finishing strong. Also available but with less consistency should be lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, rutabaga, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, parsley, cilantro and dill. Supplies of peppers, eggplant, hot peppers and onions are still strong, but will likely dwindle before the end.

Speaking of the end, the Farmstand will close for the season Sunday October 30th at 5 PM. Our Monday Cambridge Central Square Farmers Market will continue until Thanksgiving. And If the weather and produce supplies permit, we will follow our usual custom of having self-serve sales available on the porch. Self-serve sales will be temporarily suspended anytime temperatures dips below freezing, and permanently suspended when they consistently do so, or when we run out of veggies.

As the month of October stretches out before us, we are grateful to see your faces one (or two or three) more times before the end. As a reminder the daily selection is posted on our website and updated throughout the day HERE. We have quite a variety on display these days. Thank you all for a wonderful season, and please enjoy the last few weeks of the farmstand.

We hope to see you soon at the farmstand or at one of our markets, -Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the Hutchins Farm crew

Bulk Carrot Harvest round 1
fall sky over the farm

September 2022 Newsletter: Concord Ag Day!

Veggie Racer ready for action!
Is fall finally in the air? Will the promised rain actually arrive today? Maybe we have finally turned the corner and left the intense heat of this year’s summer behind us? It feels like fall is truly here, and this time of year reflects the best that New England has to offer: our crop variety and abundance are on the increase and the gamut of summer and fall produce is on display in all its glory. While high summer crops like tomatoes and melons are beginning to fade, the late summer/early fall veggies like winter squash, potatoes, winter radishes, beets, and turnips are beginning to make appearances.

In celebration of the New England bounty, this upcoming Saturday we are attending the 17th annual Ag Day farmers’ market on Main Street in Concord center. This unique market showcases the bounty of Concord’s many farm businesses at the height of the growing season. There will be a few activities for the kids, lots of information about great local organizations that support agriculture, and of course, your Concord Farmers selling their bounty!

Ag Day will run Saturday September 10th from 10 AM to 2 PM on Main St., which will be closed from the roundabout to Walden Street. Additionally, the Concord Free Public Library, in partnership with Concord Conservatory of Music, will be having an Ag Day Concert from 11am-1pm on the library lawn – come enjoy some free tunes before or after visiting the market – Please check out for all the details!

Because of the Ag Day market we will not be attending our usual Saturday market at Union Square, Somerville. Our apologies to our Somerville customers! We will be back in Union the following week. 

We hope to see you soon either at Ag Day, or at the farmstand!
-Liza Bemis, Brian Cramer, and the Hutchins Farm crew

Winter Squash Harvest has begun!
Potato harvest has also begun!

August 2022 Newsletter: Hot and Dry – Here comes the Tomatoes!

High summer has arrived, somehow, it’s August: How long ago was it we were waiting on summer squash and now we’re rolling into August’s tomato bounty? Feels like both an eternity and just a minute at the same time. Strawberries and peas have come and gone, the early season greens that we waited with bated breath for now seem like old regulars in the farmstand. This is the season most of New England waits for however: tomatoes and corn.

This summer has been a hot one, and this hot dry cycle doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon. We’re lucky to have significant irrigation capacity, but our patchwork of fields and plantings don’t lend themselves well to efficient irrigation, and countless hours are spent moving pipes and equipment, fixing broken lines, and lots of holding our breath and crossing our fingers.

But we persist: Many of our crops are able to be drip irrigated and so have escaped the worst effects of the dry – tomatoes and peppers have been abundant and high quality, squash, and cucumbers (until recently) have likewise weathered the conditions well and continue to produce. While the first planting of basil was hit with the dreaded downy mildew, the later ones seem to be producing still (frantically knocking on wood) Our cantaloupe crop has some of the best flavor we have seen in recent years, and wow the tomatillos have been productive! Sweet corn has been difficult to keep adequately hydrated, resulting in some shriveled tips, but the majority of it has thrived thanks to Ted’s diligent efforts- we are currently harvesting out of some of the most beautiful plantings we have had for a while.

As many of you know, another problem associated with extended dry periods is that our irrigated crops become much more attractive to wildlife – hungry flocks of birds can shred our ripening corn, and thirsty deer and coyotes move into our watermelon plantings well before they’re ripe. On the positive side of the ledger, dry weather does tend to suppress disease and produce intensely flavored fruits. Tomatoes are especially delicious and we expect to offer the ‘Bounty Basket’ deal at the farmstand soon, so keep your eye out for it!

Despite the heat and the frustrations of this drought, we will continue to have a large variety of fruits and vegetables available as we go into the fall. Soon we will dig potatoes, winter squash harvest will commence, and not far off is the reappearance of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Lettuce continues to grow despite adverse conditions (although sometimes is in short supply), and of course, as always, we eagerly await the arrival of the season’s first rutabaga! 

And as the farmstand continues to fill, with new crops appearing all the time, we have extended the farmstand’s Sunday hours: we will now close at 6pm. For those of you heading back home Sunday evenings from your weekend away, we hope you can stop in for your veggies and fill your fridge. So going forward the farmstand’s hours will be: Tuesday – Sunday 11am-6pm. Thank you all for your patronage so far this season – it’s been wonderful to see so many smiling faces in the farmstand!

We hope to see you soon to enjoy New England’s August bounty,
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the Hutchins Farm team
Tomato harvest begins!
Garlic Harvest
The first sweet corn!

May 2022 Newsletter: Opening Day for the Farmstand!

Despite some temperature spikes, some gale force winds, and some seed shortages, spring in Concord has been remarkably benign. A slow warm up meant that daffodils, tulips, lilacs and fruit trees put on an extended show, finally brought to an end by a couple unseasonably hot days—but now we’re back to glorious spring weather. And last year’s endless rains haven’t returned—we’re running a bit of a water deficit, but that’s preferable to the regular, multi-inch deluges that characterized most of last year.

Most crops are enjoying the slow start, with cool season crops like lettuce, spinach and peas glorying in the warm, sunny days and cool nights, while the warmer season crops are tolerating the chill and biding their time until the heat settles in. Our crew has an unusually large proportion of veterans of previous seasons, which means that greenhouse, field preparation, planting and weeding operations have been executed with efficiency and accuracy.

Although the weather has been cooperative, and the crops compliant, there are always some hiccups: Machinery problems are rife, our new irrigation system still has a number of bugs to work out, and we have experienced some inexplicable setbacks in our plant production—in particular, our eggplant and pepper plants have exhibited symptoms of an as yet unexplained problem. We had samples sent in to be tested for the most likely suspects, but no answer has been forthcoming. Luckily, they seem to be growing out of the symptoms and new growth generally appears normal. One of many small mysteries we encounter every year as we labor at our curious enterprise.

As May nears its end, as always, we prepare to open our doors, hopefully coinciding with the arrival of those very first fruits of summer: strawberries (I refuse to consider rhubarb a fruit). Likely in evidence will also be: lettuce, endive, spinach, radishes, kale, cilantro, dill, and a few other veggies, to be joined in short order (we hope) by a plethora of peas. Basil, squash and cucumbers aren’t far off, and garlic scapes likewise usually begin to appear in early June. We will continue to sell garden plants, compost and soil throughout June, and by the end of the month our produce offerings should begin to really expand.

Farmers Market season is already underway – we have been attending our Saturday Union Square (Somerville) and Monday Central Square (Cambridge) markets for a couple weeks now, and the first Belmont Center market of the season is Thursday, June 2nd. Hours for all these markets are on our website.

Which of course brings us to the reason for emailing you all, the Farmstand in Concord will open this Tuesday May 31st for the season! Our hours this year will be Tuesday-Saturday 11am-6pm, and Sundays 11am-5pm. The farmstand crew has been hard at work cleaning the stand in preparation, and we hope to see you all soon, ready to enjoy another season of growing in New England!

With optimism for a good year,
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm Crew
Spinach Harvest
Apples Blooming
Corn Planting

March 2022 Newsletter: Spring has arrived!

Spring has blown in on late March winds, thickening the twigs, with the innocuous flowers of the early blooming trees suddenly appearing, looking like they’ve been there all winter just waiting to be noticed. Along south-facing walls, drifts of snowdrops bloom, and showy purple crocuses erupt from the midst of lawns newly revealed from their recent snowy blanket. In the fields, the winter rye begins to grow faster than the geese can keep it cropped, and the few crops that braved the winter—garlic and strawberries to name a couple—begin to shake off their cold-induced torpor and think about turning green.

One crop that is usually beginning to stir at this early date is the humble, cold-hardy parsnip, but this year the deer have completely cleaned us out. Normally locked out by the frozen soil, the warm early winter weather in December and January allowed them to dig and devour every last parsnip from the three beds we had left untouched last fall in hopes of digging them early this spring. I guess we may need to start fencing them all winter long, and add them to the ever-expanding list of crops that deer favor.

We have a head start on spring thanks to our greenhouses, which are quickly filling with the future inhabitants of our fields (and your gardens). Ranks of early seeded onions and leeks have been joined by our first plantings of lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes—and, impatient farmers that we are, even crops that we usually direct sow in the soil (beets, cilantro, dill, spinach) are growing in trays, protected for a few weeks so they will mature just a bit earlier when we get them into the soil next month.

Absent the parsnips, our earliest offerings will be confined to plants, soil and compost for our gardener customers—bagged soil and bagged compost from McEnroe Farm are now available, to be joined by some hardy garden plants sometime in early April, and perhaps some cut bunched tulips not too long after. As usual, these items are offered self-serve style on our porch, cash or check only.

Toward the end of April or beginning of May, we should begin to see that eagerly awaited harbinger of spring; asparagus, with lettuce, spinach, radishes, arugula close on its heels and with them, the season of warmth and growth begins in earnest.

We begin the growing season with a strong team of folks, some of whom have been with us for a long time: Ted Thompson, with several years at Hutchins under his belt, begins his first year as assistant farm manager, while Huey-Harn Chen returns for her sixth season and reprises her dual roles of greenhouse and cut flower manager. Jon Bergan will be towering over the crew again this year in his capacity as harvest manager, and Dave and Kathy Rice will also be with us again; Dave managing our orchard and blueberries, and Kathy ensuring our farmstand is running smoothly. We have perhaps a record number of returning crew members this season as well, so the fields and stand will be filled with many familiar faces (Hi Abby, Susan, Theo, Nate, Sirena, Liv, Samantha, Katie, Lizzie, Arden, and Michael!)

We hope to see you as well in the weeks and months that follow, to join us in celebrating the progress of the new year, marking the arrival of each new crop in its season, some with fanfare (strawberries, sweet corn, blueberries, tomatoes) some with more of a shrug (rutabagas come to mind). Whatever the new season brings, the only sure thing is that the new ‘normal’ won’t be quite like the old ‘normal’, but if we want the future to be the kind of place we would like to live, we need to encourage the things we cherish most.

As always, you’ll find the most up-to-date information about what is available on the honor system self-serve porch on our website: – we do try and keep the “What’s at the Stand” page updated daily – it’s always timestamped with when it was last updated.

Happy Spring everyone! -Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm crew
Huey watering in the greenhouse
Baby Cauliflower
Cherry Tomato seedlings

November 2021 Newsletter: Thank you all for a great season!

October ended with a round of weather that has become familiar to us this season: multi-day, multiple inch rain events, swollen rivers threatening to flood, roads becoming rivers. It’s easier to accept now than it was in early July, but still–what a contrast from last year’s unending blue skies and dust!

As the season ends, as usual, we enter this liminal time with a confusing mixture of emotions—most palpable, this season especially, is relief, mixed with regret for the things we should have done, pride in the things we actually did, melancholy at the inevitable passing of time, joy at the promise of a new season springing from the death of the old.

Our relief is particularly poignant this year because of the many difficulties and challenges that arose during the unfolding of 2021. Big challenges like the continued spread of the coronavirus and the resulting confusion, and the seemingly endless procession of heavy downpours that kept rivers out of their banks and farmers out of their fields for long stretches during what should have been peak growing season, and the small difficulties (often spawned by the big) like staffing difficulties, unexpected disease outbreaks in some crops, machinery breakdowns, supply chain problems, material shortages, and a hundred others. Not to complain overmuch, but I’m ready to see the end of this year. It is certain that next year will bring its own set of problems and challenges, but, at least for a little while, I can imagine they will be easily overcome, and, at least until it starts, I’m confident that the 2022 growing season will be the best ever.

Many acres that were fully planted in 2020 remained waterlogged and impassible this year, but we are fortunate enough to have adequate high and dry fields to accommodate widespread changes in planned locations for plantings so that we weren’t left in the unfortunate position of watching armies of transplants slowly stretching and turning yellow in their plug trays awaiting a dry spot to spread their roots. Most of our scheduled plantings went in on time, or close to it, if not in the places that they had been designated in the early, planning stages of the season. Much of our planning, particularly regarding crop rotations and soil-improving cover cropping, encompasses multiple years, so going dramatically off script during an exceptional season has consequences in the short and the long term. We’re hoping the weather gods relent in the upcoming year, allowing our productive bottom land fields to come up for air and take the pressure off the poor, sandy, upland tracts that we end up overexploiting.

There were some notable successes in 2021—garlic and onions, which do much of their growing early enough to have avoided the worst of the weather, performed admirably, and though we sold out (as always), our supply actually lasted weeks longer than usual. Flowers were a bright spot, tended to by a tireless and resourceful Huey Harn-Chen, who in her first year overseeing our cut flower program, did (and continues to do) an exceptional job. Apples, which tend to be an odd-numbered year phenomenon here, came through unusually intense disease pressure under Dave Rice’s expert supervision to give us an admirable crop. Kale never fell out of fashion, and though our second and third plantings (out of five total) have long since succumbed to disease, our first planting, planted on April 8th at a tighter than usual spacing, inexplicably, mysteriously, still looks fabulous, with big, pristine leaves in tufts atop five-foot tall stalks (think Truffula trees). Also, though our tomatoes pooped out early, their cousins the peppers and eggplants (after a slow start) really came into their own starting in late August, continuing to grow and pump out fruit until frost shut them down earlier this week.

We bid farewell last week to Brian Daubenspeck, who, four years ago, started a successful stint as a manager here at Hutchins. He arrived with limited experience, but with a great deal of determination, interest, and intelligence, and quickly made himself indispensable in the farm operation. His practicality, attention to detail, sense of humor, and strong curiosity about how things work and why things happen made him a key member of our team and a joy to work with—his absence will be keenly felt, especially by his ‘replacement’, Ted Thompson, with whom he worked closely over much of his time here. Daubs will be missed, but we are relieved to have such an outstanding new manager right at hand.

This year also marked the return of an old crew member (a 2016 alum) in a new role—harvest manager. Jon Bergan did an outstanding job of training and overseeing the crew, keeping them on track, maintaining a positive, enjoyable work environment while making sure everything was getting done. Our thanks to Jon, and we’re thrilled that he’ll be returning next year.

This year’s crew, both field and farmstand, deserve especial thanks for their resilience, reliability and good humor in dealing with endless days of rain and mud, multiple heat waves in June and July, cranky managers, a confusing COVID situation, and any number of other confounding issues—hats off to all, and our gratitude for their considerable efforts.

And, of course, our customers, who energize us, motivate us, inspire us, and sustain us. We are so grateful that we are able to grow all that we grow and sell the majority of it right here, directly to the folks that will, presently, be peeling, slicing, dicing, cooking and otherwise preparing it as part of their daily meals. We consider it a rare privilege to be able to rely on such a simple, straightforward and satisfying marketing strategy—thank you for continuing to patronize Hutchins Farm, and playing such a fundamental role in the life of this enterprise.

We will be attending the Cambridge Central Square Farmers Market and the Somerville Union Square Farmers Market until Thanksgiving, and the honor system self-serve set up on the front porch of the Farmstand in Concord starts today – please remember that self-serve is check or exact change only! We will keep an updated list of what you might find on the porch on our website under the “what’s at the stand” tab – please check there before heading over to see if there were any weather delays or other issues preventing us from putting the produce out.

Thank you all again for a wonderful season, we will see you in the spring!
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm crew

Some (But certainly not all!) of our fall crew
Pumpkins lit on Halloween overlooking the farm

October 2021 Newsletter: Closing Day will be October 31st!

The sun is setting on another growing season in Eastern Massachusetts, though summer seems reluctant to make a graceful departure. Cool, fog obscured mornings that seem to speak quietly of autumn think better of it by mid-morning—a little taste of fall each morning retreats and the brilliant blue days revert to endless summer. Unlike the mild days of spring, however, this warm spell is an empty promise, portending nothing. Trees, weeds and farmers, following the ancient dictates of the seasons, respond to the shortening days by jettisoning foliage (after a brief and brilliant show), ripening their seeds, and suspending the furious round of tillage and planting that characterizes most of the season from March through September. The afternoon assures us it’s August, but the dark mornings and early evenings are the sure augurs of the dead season to come.

In contrast to the droughty season of 2020, much of our acreage was waterlogged and unusable for most of this season, with the result that we were unable to get as much planted as we intended to, and were forced to plant areas that we hadn’t intended to and which weren’t adequately prepared.  Many crops that we managed to plant suffered either from saturated soil, lack of fertility because heavy rains washed away nutrients, unusually intense disease pressure, and abnormally high weed pressure because weeds are nearly impossible to efficiently destroy when fields lay wet.

What this has meant for our customers is that we have had some shortfalls and gaps in availability of some vegetables, some of them ongoing, and that many of our storage crops that we like to offer in bulk during the closing days of the season are in such short supply that we won’t be able to offer big volume discounts. Our usual sign-ups for 25 lb bags of carrots and 50 lb bags of potatoes won’t be happening—the best we may be able to do, assuming we have adequate supplies, is offer certain items at a volume discount during the last week. No promises though, so please check our website for any volume deals we are able to offer that final week.

We still have good quantities of some varieties of winter squash, sweet potatoes, and potatoes. We still have plantings of Chinese cabbage and storage cabbage yet to harvest. We have yet to harvest the last two plantings of carrots, but they seem unlikely to yield enough to justify 25 lb bag sign-ups. Warm weather means that we should continue to have good supplies of lettuce, kale, sweet and hot peppers, and certain other greens and herbs, but many of our latest crops are planted in excessively well-drained soils (since that was all we could get ready to plant when it was time) that readily leach nutrients during heavy rain events, to the point where some crops are showing nutrient deficiencies and may not be marketable. Chard, beets and parsley are all in short supply. Diseases associated with wet weather have ruined much of our early fall broccoli and cauliflower, but our latest plantings seem to be enjoying this extended summer weather.

To cut short and temper this prolonged lament, let me admit that there were many successes, many beautiful crops, many assumptions of disaster that were incorrect (our pumpkin crop is amazing!), and many reprieves from situations we thought were ruinous. For resilient farmers and resilient farms there is always another day, another chance, another planting, another season. On brighter notes, our popcorn and ornamental corn are perhaps the most beautiful we have ever had, and Huey’s dried flower arrangements and wreaths are just hitting the stand and are a welcome addition to the fall vegetable display. Apples, while not perfect, have been plentiful and tasty, and we should continue to have them through the end of the month. So, while it hasn’t been the banner year we all hoped it would be, the stand is still full!

We hope all our customers, new and old, will have an opportunity to visit the farm before we close. The last day the farmstand will be open will be Sunday, October 31st, when we will be closing an hour earlier than usual, at 5pm instead of 6. We will still have quite the roster of seasonal veggies available, but we’re unlikely to have very much available in bulk as we usually do. As always we try and keep the “what’s at the stand” tab on our website as accurate as we can – so please check there to see all our current variety. Whatever is still available after the stand closes we will have on the front porch for self-serve on the honor system as usual. Two of our farmers markets – Monday’s Central Square and Saturday’s Union Square will continue until Thanksgiving – as long as we still have produce we will be there!

We hope to see you soon to take in all that New England fall has to offer – whether we see you at the markets or in the stand, we are so grateful for your continued support this year, and for your good cheer and continuous flexibility as you weather these wild years with us.

Much gratitude,
-Brian Cramer, Liza Bemis, and the rest of the Hutchins Farm Team.
One of Huey’s dried flower wreaths
Apples on October 13th

Next Weekend: Concord Ag Day

Maybe we have finally turned the corner and left the intense summer heat behind us? It feels like September is truly in the air, and this time of year reflects the best that New England has to offer: our crop variety and abundance are on the increase and the gamut of summer and fall produce is on display in all its glory. While high summer crops like tomatoes and melons are fading, the late summer/early fall veggies like winter squash, potatoes, carrots, and apples are beginning to make appearances. And yes, we will have some apples this year – while they may be “aesthetically challenged,” compared to conventionally grown ones, they are just as tasty as their chemically immaculate counterparts.

In celebration of the New England bounty, this upcoming Saturday we are attending the 16th annual Ag Day farmers’ market on Main Street in Concord center. This unique market showcases the bounty of Concord’s many farm businesses at the height of the growing season. There will be a few activities for the kids, lots of information about great local organizations that support agriculture, and of course, your Concord Farmers selling their bounty! Ag Day will run Saturday September 11th from 10 AM to 2 PM on Main St., which will be closed from the roundabout to Walden Street. Because of the Ag Day market we will not be attending our usual Saturday market at Union Square, Somerville. Our apologies to our Somerville customers!  

Another event of note is this week, on Tuesday September 7th at 6:30pm, the Concord Museum will be hosting a panel of Concord farmers as part of their “Celebrate Concord” week – Brian will be speaking as one of the panelists and the topic is: Concord Farms: Resilience, Revolutionaries, and Renegades! Registration is required (but free) and it is a masked event: please check out the Concord Museum for more information.   We hope to see you soon either at Ag Day, or at the Concord Museum! -Liza Bemis, Brian Cramer, and the Hutchins Farm crew

Morning in the fields: September 3rd, 2021