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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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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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Winter CSA is a wrap

 Extra Onions
Extra Onions
Last week, Winter CSA members braved frigid weather to get their second and final batch of veggies. You can click on the photo over there if you'd like to see a few more shots of the pickup.

Many thanks to our friends at Codman Community Farms for making their warm office available and preventing frostbite amongst CSA members!

If you'd like to be in on the fun in 2010, the best way to get a crack at the Winter CSA signup is to be a Summer CSA member. Watch this space for Summer 2010 signups, coming soon!

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Final Week of the Lincoln/Boston CSA

Closing this Season

turnips
turnips
 We've done it! Together we've weathered another growing season in Lincoln, Massachusetts. We ate carrots small and tender in spring, long and fragrant in summer, and large and crisp in the fall. In this cool, damp year we may have discovered a love of bok choy, or perhaps come to resent it. Spring spinach was abundant. It rained, it rained, it rained. We all mourned the loss of the tomatoes and cheered the survival of the potatoes hit by Late Blight. The eggplant came in heavy, the melons were reluctant. There were beautiful cabbages and tiny ones. The onions grew slowly, but sized up in the end. The broccoli was beautiful. Beets grew large, celeriac hairy, rutabaga heavy. As usual the kale was endless (see the recipe below for a way to use up the last installment of it.)

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News from the Lincoln Farm

Only one week left to go after this.

The Cold Arrives

Though temperatures are supposed to rise close to 70 this week, last week we saw the first of the true cold weather. With the first hard frost there is sometimes a sigh of relief among the farm crew. After all the labor of the season, we finally allow ourselves to relax once the pepper plants droop and the basil turns brown. There is still plenty of harvesting to be done, but now we get to set our alarm clocks a bit later, waiting until the sun rises and the frost loosens its grip on the lettuce to begin work. Here in New England the weather sets the pace, slowing down life for the colder months. We are helpless to resist it. When snow falls in October, as it did on us last Friday, we find work to do under cover, take the time to heat up our lunches and enjoy early bedtimes. Even the weeds have lost their sense of urgency and begin to take a little rest. Enjoy these last two weeks of produce fresh from the ground- the roots and greens are made sweeter by the frost, crisper by the cold and more precious by their impermanence.

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Lincoln & Box Share CSA survey and renewal forms

Did you participate in the Lincoln On-Farm CSA, or get one of our Boston-area Box Shares? If so, we'd appreciate it if you could fill out a brief survey, and we hope that you'll want to fill out the renewal form for next year.

On-Farm

2009 Survey
Renewal form (PDF)

Box Share

2009 Survey
Renewal form (PDF)

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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

Just two more weeks after this one

Your Farmers

We've neglected all this time to introduce you to those of us who have been growing your vegetables.

Miriam Stason, Lincoln resident and glowing mother of one young boy quite fond of kohlrabi, heads up the Baker Bridge farm team in her second year as Farm Manager. Miriam is our Food Project veteran, in this her 7th year on the farm, starting out as a Grower's Assistant, pioneering the Box Shares and now at the helm as list-maker in chief.

Karen Pettinelli has been in charge of the Box Shares for the last two years, putting to work her passion for agriculture gained through many years of experience working on farms in Eastern Massachusetts. Karen also brings local knowledge, having grown up in Sudbury where her family and much loved dogs still reside.

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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

Back at the Hoophouse

For weeks we've been talking about things on the farm slowing down, but there is one area where life is just beginning. At the back of our farm between the railroad tracks and our much neglected compost piles sit our two greenhouses. The larger heated one is quietly full of onions, garlic, squash and sweet potatoes curing under its warm, dry cover. Next door its smaller cousin the hoophouse is experiencing a Renaissance. Inside the air is moist and lit by the glow of newly emerged greens. There spinach and herbs that will be harvested for our winter CSA and on into April are starting to unfurl.

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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

Squash Saga

Do you remember the rain in June? While the weather of spring and early summer may fade in our minds, its effects are still being felt on the farm, especially at harvest time. Record rainfall and low temperatures in June and July led Governor Patrick and members of the Massachusetts delegation to ask federal officials to declare much of the state an agricultural disaster zone, citing tens of millions of dollars in expected income losses. As a Community Supported Agriculture program, we have asked you, the share holders, to take on the risk of the farming season with us and this year, more than any other, you have felt the losses with the demise of our tomato crop by the moisture-loving late blight. Thank you.

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Lincoln/Boston CSA Newsletter

In the Share

lettuce
bok choy
cabbage
kale
potatoes
garlic
onions
mix and match (purple top turnips, hakurei salad turnips, broccoli, easter egg radishes, carrots, beets, cucumbers, sweet peppers, hot peppers)


In the Field

flowers
raspberries
husk cherries
tomatillos
herbs

Autumnal Equinox

This week we officially shift over to fall. We're at the tipping point where the days become shorter than the nights; where we spend more time inside than out on the farm. This is the time of the Harvest Moon (actually next week's full moon) when the moon rises large and orange close to sunset, traditionally allowing farmers to continue bringing in the harvest by moonlight. We won't be taking advantage of that astrological occurrence.

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