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from the fields

The Food Project's blog

Dudley Market News

Eat Healthier for Half the Price!

The Boston Bounty Bucks Program can double your Food Stamp/EBT/SNAP benefits. Any Food Stamp/EBT/SNAP purchase will be matched up to $10 at twenty Farmers Markets, including the Dudley Town Common Market. For example, if you spend $10 at the market with your EBT card, you can get an additional $10 to spend at the market. This is a great opportunity for Food Stamp/EBT/SNAP participants to get more fresh produce, fruit, or unprepared food at half the price. For a list of all twenty Boston Markets, click on http://thefoodproject.org/boston-bounty-bucks
Please spread the word!

At the Market

  • Lettuce
  • Salad Mix
  • Spinach
  • Collard Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Radishes
  • Salad Turnips
  • Baby Boc Choi
  • Scallions
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Mint
  • Zucchini

EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons, Debit and Cash Accepted!

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News from the Lincoln fields

This week you may be eating our lettuce. You and over 500 other families (as well as a few geese who like to visit the fields.) Some are CSA members, some are staff of The Food Project and some get the lettuce from a food pantry. That simple lettuce is also part of something much larger. The lettuce is grown as part of a youth development program that brings over 170 youth from diverse backgrounds together from the greater Boston area and the North Shore. They will plant, weed, harvest and learn about themselves and their place in our food system. Over 3,200 volunteers from middle schools and churches, investment companies and colleges come to work with us, envisioning a healthier food reality while working the land.

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The Legend of The Three Sisters

This week, we planted a combination of vegetables know as the Three Sisters with students from our partner schools. They enjoyed this story about the ways that plants can help each other

In a time before clocks and watches and trains and boats, and farms even, there lived ancient Spirit Children who could tell time from the setting of the sun and the colors in the sky. The Spirit Children were not like us for they could switch into different beings in the blink of an eye: One moment a human with two legs and two arms, the next moment a fox, swift and sly.

They lived to create life on earth such as plants and animals so that the world could be a beautiful place. They roamed freely and in peace with the eyes of Mother Sun and Father Moon watching over them from the skies with love in their hearts.

Among the Spirit Children there lived Three Sisters, no more alike in looks than in personalities. Sister Bean was tall and frail with green hair and graceful limbs. She was always dancing and twisting and twirling.

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Drip Tape for your Raised Bed

This past weekend I set up a drip tape irrigation system on my raised beds. While drip irrigation systems requires a little more upfront labor, the set up is relatively easy and inexpensive, and over the course of the season it will allow you to water less and more efficiently with less effort.

Drip irrigation allows a gardener to focus water where it is needed- at the base of the plants, focusing on the root zone. With overhead watering (which includes using a sprinkler or watering can) it is much harder to concentrate your irrigation efforts, resulting both in using more water than necessary and watering weeds and/or weed seeds that are undeserving of attention. Here are instructions on how to set this up (PDF) in your own beds.

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Sharing Garden Space

 

Adriana stands in front of her raised bed garden
Adriana stands in front of her raised bed garden
Neighbors Mary and Adriana are gardening together. After The Food Project determined that Adriana's yard space did not get enough sun for a garden, Mary kindly invited Adriana to tend to a raised bed garden in her yard instead. The Food Project built each of their families a raised bed, and now, they're growing food side by side!

their lettuce nearing harvest time
their lettuce nearing harvest time

Adriana holds a spinach leaf affected by leaf miner
Adriana holds a spinach leaf affected by leaf miner

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Supporting & Pruning Tomatoes

Tomatoes Need Support

As tomatoes grow taller, they need support to help them produce more fruit and take up less space. In order to avoid damaging plants, it is best to begin when the plants are small. Consider starting at the same time you plant your tomatoes. While there are many ways to make your own supports for tomatoes, such as trellis systems, we suggest starting off easy if you are a beginner gardener. Here, we discuss how to cage and stake tomatoes.

Caging

caged tomato
caged tomato
You can buy tomato cages at any garden supply store and they are really easy to use. Place the cage over the plant so that it is centered, and as it grows, gently guide the stems through the holes of the cage. Caged tomatoes need minimal tying; however, consider tying stems gently to the wiring if they are loaded with fruit and become heavy.

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Dudley Farmers' Market this week!

 I'm pleased to announce that the Market will open on Thursday, June 3rd from 3-7pm! Danielle and I are excited about starting the market season with lots of greens for eating and seedlings to plant in the garden. After this week, the market will be open every Tuesday and Thursday, 3-7pm at the corner of Dudley St and Blue Hill Ave.

EBT/Food Stamp/SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons, Debit and Cash Accepted!

At the Market

  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Collards
  • Swiss Chard
  • Radishes
  • Baby Boc Choi
  • Salad Mix
  • Mustard Greens

Seedlings to plant: Beefsteak and Brandywine Tomatoes, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Habanero Peppers, Basil, Collards, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Summer Squash, Cilantro, Callaloo and Okra

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Lincoln/Boston CSA starting up for the season

harvesting lettuce
harvesting lettuce
It all begins on a cold mid-February morning when along with a group of 15 of our high school interns we sow tiny onion seeds into flats in the greenhouse. Sowing seeds and planning for the season ahead is most of the work we do until the weather in March allows us to start preparing fields and getting things ready for April. In April, the five full time farmers in our team set to raise the tent and clean up things around the fields—we pull up old stalks of brussels sprouts, move the straw we laid to protect our garlic and plant the peas and fava beans. As bags filled with potatoes arrive, we set to cut and sprout them so they’ll be ready for our late April planting.

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Spotlight on lettuce

Tips on growing, harvesting, and more

close up of some lettuce
close up of some lettuce
When to harvest lettuce depends on the variety of lettuce you plant. Here are a few guidelines based on different types of lettuce.

For head lettuce, you should harvest when the head becomes firm. Just pull the entire plant out of the ground, cut off the roots, dip into cold water, and refrigerate until eating. This will keep lettuce fresh and crisp.

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Summer Institute Rapidly Approaching!

I asked TFP Institute Trainer Greg Gale for his thoughts on why people might want to register for our Summer Institute, and he passed on the following:

participation
participation
The time is ripe for young people and their adult allies to step up and change the food reality in this country. Come learn how to build partnerships with youth that help them tap into their potential as change agents.

Lots of adults know they want to farm with youth, but how to do this well requires a lot of skill and technique. Come learn from The Food Project’s 19 years of practice. You will see that we depend upon both inspiration and perspiration to create a diverse, vibrant, energetic, skilled, and thoughtful community of youth and adults who grow and distribute an amazing abundance of food.

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