CSA Pick-Up: September 17-21

This week’s distribution will include:

  • Kale
  • Squash
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Beans
  • Sugaring Pumpkins
  • Winter Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Corn Stalks

We will have pick your own herbs and flowers and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes will be slim pickings, but they are still out there for the determined picker!

 

As the season is winding down, be sure to complete your required work hours. you can sign up by following this link to the sign-up genius.  If you are interested in buying out of your hours, send an email to moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org letting us know and we can give you more details.  Currently it looks as though we will be able to extend our season into the first week of October.

CSA Pick-Up: September 10-14

With the seasons changing we are starting to say goodbye to some crops while also welcoming the additions of some seasonal favorites:

  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Squash
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes (mostly Roma)
  • Leeks
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Winter Squash (mostly acorn)
  • Sugaring Pumpkins

We are continuing with pick your own including:

  • flowers
  • herbs
  • cherry tomatoes

The Buy-A-Bucket program is officially over.

As the season is winding down, be sure to complete your required work hours. you can sign up by following this link to the sign-up genius.  Currently it looks as though we will be able to extend our season into the first week of October.

Also as the season comes to an end keep an eye out for the end of season survey. We would love to hear back as much input as possible to help our program grow and change into the best possible.

 

CSA Pick-Up: September 3-7

Happy Labor Day everyone! Here is the CSA list for this week:

  • Kale
  • Arugula
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Sweet and Spicy Peppers
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Leeks
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

Continuing with pick your own (PYO) this week is:

  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias
  • Cherry Tomatoes

Buy-A-Bucket will be continuing for this week and is now only tomatoes (no eggplant or peppers).

The season’s end is fast approaching. If you have not completed your required work hours, you can sign up by following this link to our sign up genius.

Autumn Happenings at Moose Hill in September!

As the hustle and bustle of summer camp ends on this last day of August and we begin to transition into a new season, it always seems so quiet here on the hill. But don’t worry, there is still a lot to do in September and hopefully the cooler breezes of Autumn will be upon us!

Here are a few things to explore at Moose Hill throughout September – we look forward to seeing you on the trails and at programs!

Moose Hill Walkers – join Patti on Mondays for a walk on our trails as we watch autumn arrive at Moose Hill. This is a great way to learn more about our trails for future explorations on your own – you can register for the series (the best deal!) or pay each time you come along.

Knee High Naturalists – want your 3-5 year old to have a little more nature in their day? Miss Patti and our youngest naturalists will explore Moose Hill – each week will have a new nature- or science-related theme.

September 8: Mt. Watatic Hawk Watch – Join Stony Brook sanctuary director Doug Williams for our annual pilgrimage to North Central Massachusetts for a chance to observe some of the thousands of hawks that migrate south through the area each fall. If you have never been on a hike with Doug, you have missed out! Not only will we observe hawks but, as an exceptional naturalist and botanist, you will learn a bit about the northern hardwood and hemlock forest along the way.

September 15: Star Gazing Night – if you have never joined us for this FREE program for all, you have been missing out! We’re already watching the forecast and hoping for clear skies.

September 16: September Bug Count; Late Summer Choristers – Join naturalist and “bug guy” Michael for an early evening walk to learn about, listen for, and identify these chorusing invertebrates!

September 20 and 27: Birding the Farm Fields – Join Vin Zollo as we look at what birds are taken advantage of the open farm fields during fall migration.

September 26: Nature Nerd Trivia Night – Do you think you know nature? Can we stump you? join us for a fun evening – gather friends to square off against or just come and we will divvy up the tables. Snacks and drinks will be provided for this 21+ event!

Plus, the Farm at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has a Farm Stand, open on the weekends from 11:00 am-3:00 pm. Get your fresh, organic veggies right here!

Not sure you want to pre-schedule your time? You can always come and enjoy a hike on our trails between 7 am and 7 pm – make sure to have your bug spray, sunscreen, and water! Have younger kids? Bring them for a little unstructured play time in Cookie’s Garden, our nature play area or go for a hike along the UnNatural Trail. Just stop in the Nature Center and our Visitor Services staff will point you in the right direction!

No matter how you spend your time with us at Moose Hill – we look forward to seeing you here, exploring the nature of Massachusetts at our sanctuary!

Undone Stuffed Pepper Casserole

If you love stuffed peppers but are short on time, this is a great, tasty, and easy recipe that I have been using for years. Here’s how it’s done..

Ingredients:

– 3 large green peppers, coarsely chopped
– 1 lb ground beef
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 cups cooked long grain brown or white rice
– 24 oz. pasta sauce
– 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded Italian cheese

Directions:

– Heat oven to 350 degrees
– Brown meat with garlic and peppers in a large skillet; drain.
– Return meat mixture to skillet; stir in rice, pasta sauce, and 3/4 cup cheese. (vegan cheese also works great with this recipe!)
– spoon in to 2 quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray.
– top with remaining 3/4 cup of cheese.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Farming – The Challenges and The Successes

As many people know, farming isn’t a set formula. Every season, every year brings about familiarity and challenges. While last year finally saw the end of a three year drought, this year the heat, humidity, and heavy downpours that pass as storms lately have brought their own challenges. As always, CSA shareholders share in our challenges and our successes. Here are a few of the things that have challenged us this growing season:

Our first planting of squash and cucumbers:

Took a hard hit from pests like the striped cucumber beetle. Early plantings of Cucurbitaceae (the scientific name for the family of plants including squash, zucchini, and cucumbers) are typically the most susceptible to damage from this pest because they are subject to the feeding of emerging overwintering beetles. Adults feed on the foliage while also laying their eggs on the underside of the leaves. When the eggs hatch, the larva burrow themselves into the ground to feed on the roots.  This can be damaging to the crops not only because they are being munched on, but the striped cucumber beetle is also known for spreading diseases such as bacterial wilt and the cucumber mosaic virus; which can cause the slow death of the plant through blockage of water transport and misshapen, discolored, bitter fruits (respectively).  Through diligent field scouting by our staff, we were able to spot this problem in enough time to save most of the crop. Our manager called our farming partners at Ward’s to come by and help us out.  By using an organic approved spray, the beetles are naturally killed and repelled away. The area that this first planting of Cucurbitaceae occurred also attracted other pests such as woodchuck (you know, our beloved ground hog) that were feeding heavily on our squash and zucchini.

Eggplant and Colorado potato beetle

An early heavy infestation of the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) occurred in our eggplant field early on this year.  Our staff, alongside several shareholders, who were all trained on what to look for, worked hard to eradicate the infestation.  Armed with gloves, kneepads, and a good sense of humor, every single eggplant in our field was hand inspected and protected by literally crushing the opposition with sheer human force.  All CPB eggs, larva, and adults that were found were killed to protect our precious crops from being devoured before we had the chance to do so ourselves.  Now we are all enjoying the “fruits of our labor” in the form of eggplant parmesan and baba ghanoush

Broccoli

Broccoli has been tricky for us this year.  Our initial planting did not yield nearly as much as we were hoping due to the scorching heat of the early summer combined with an inconsistent rain.

What a growing year for weeds 

This year has been the year for a battle against weeds. Conditions have been very favorable for the growth of weeds and this has caused many problems for our crops.  Weeds inhibit the growth of our crops by battling them for sunlight and nutrients. Unfortunately, the straw that we lay down between our rows to help prevent growth of weeds has not been sufficient for this years weed growth. This has caused the excessive growth of certain weeds such as different species of Amaranth (also known as pig weed) This weed grows very tall, very fast, and also develops a thick woody stem that is not easily trampled or cut down.  To combat our weed problem we run a machine known as a Bachtold, which can be described as similar to a beefed up lawnmower. The Bachtold fits perfectly between crop rows and mows weeds down enough for sunlight to reach our crops.  The machine is very heavy and also temperamental, requiring a great level of skill to run successfully. Although effective, this method can also cause some inadvertent damage to crops that may reach out of their row and into our path. In addition to fighting these weeds in active crops such as tomatoes, we are also working very hard to keep our 20 rows of strawberry plants weeded so that we can enjoy their sweetness again next June.

Potato and phytopthera fungus (late blight)

If infection of this fungus is expected through adequate disease forecasting, an organic preventative copper based fungicide can be applied.  Phytopthera is a water based mold and therefore thrives in moist conditions. High humidity, like we have been experiencing during our summer here, is beneficial for the growth of this harmful oomycete (water mold).  The canoeing of the foliage of potato plant is an early sign of this infection that we were able to recognize with the help of our Farm Manager.  After infection has occurred, this can be combated by the removal of the foliage, which can prevent the infection of the tuber itself allowing for harvesting as normal. This year, we ended up harvesting potatoes a bit earlier and we are able to divvy them out at a more reasonable rate for you.

Do you have questions about how some of our other crops are doing? Let us know – we want to share more about our work farming for you.  Your commitment to sharing in our challenges and successes is so appreciated. Living healthy, happy, fulfilling lives all starts with what you choose to put into your body. Choosing local organically grown produce is the first and most important step. Although we have our struggles, the fight for organic agriculture is worth the effort.  It takes a community to work together to make any farm a success.  Being surrounded by a community of caring individuals who are conscious of what they put into their bodies is truly something for us all to be thankful for, and is a constant source of inspiration for us here on the farm. Thank you for your commitment and we look forward to the rest of the season with you all.

CSA Pick-Up: August 27-31

Greetings everyone. Here is your pickup list for the week.

  • Radish
  • Arugula
  • Kale
  • Squash/Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Melons
  • Peppers (sweet and spicy)
  • Tomatoes
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

Also we do have pick your own this week:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Flowers
  • Herbs

Reminder for you that we ARE open for distribution on Labor Day, which falls on Monday, September 3rd, this year. Please remember that if you cannot make your regularly scheduled pick-up a certain week, we invite you to send a friend, family member, or neighbor to collect your share. If you cannot find someone and you could pick up your share on a different distribution day in that same week, with advance notice, we can switch your pick-up day for that week. We must receive an email at moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org by at least noon the day before your regularly scheduled pick-up time (no phone calls). The email should include the distribution day you wish to switch to within that week.

Questions? Check our FAQ, and our website for more info or email us at moosehillcsa@massaudubon.org.

CSA Pick-up: August 20-24

Greetings to all! This week we will be adding potatoes, radishes and arugula.  Pick-your-own (PYO) will continue with Cherry tomatoes, flowers, and herbs.  Also our Buy-A-Bucket (BAB) program is will be available during distribution hours (M, W, F; 4pm-7pm) and Farm stand hours (Sat., Sun.; 11am-3pm).  It is $6 (for shareholders, $12 for non-shareholders) for a bucket full of tomatoes, eggplant, and/or peppers. If you plan on participating in PYO and/or BAB, please arrive early to give yourself plenty of time.  Be sure to bring your own bags for BAB as well so that you have something to transfer your produce into when you are done picking (buckets must be returned immediately after picking, you may not take them home). If you have spare plastic bags to donate we are accepting those in case others forget theirs.

Here is your pickup list this week:

  • Radishes
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Melons
  • Sweet and Spicy Pepper varieties
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Arugula
  • Onions
  • Potatoes

For Pick-your-own we have:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Flowers
  • Herbs

Buy-A-Bucket:

  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers

Buy-a-Bucket and Vegetables Coming Soon

Buy-a-Bucket: offered to shareholders on their distribution night and to general visitors, or shareholders, during Farm Stand hours on Saturday/Sunday (11 am-3pm). Please be aware that the orange buckets that are given to harvest with are not meant to be taken home, but are the guide for pricing ($6/harvested bucket for shareholders; $12/harvested bucket for non-shareholders). As always, we suggest that you bring an extra bag to transfer your food in to after picking. If you wish to take the bucket home, it will be an additional $4. For our shareholders – with the variety of pick-your-own and the buy-a-bucket option, you may spend more time in the field, please remember to plan accordingly for arrival at distribution considering the extra time.

Speaking of extra bags – shareholders, we are always in need of a few extra bags for people who forget theirs when they come to distribution. We appreciate everyone who has brought in  bags so far this season!

Upcoming crops:

  • Here now: Melons, Tomatoes
  • Coming soon: Potatoes, Arugula
  • On the horizon: Leeks, Sweet potatoes, winter squash.

Curious about what happens with food that is unpicked in the fields? Since there is so much ground to cover in both the lower and upper field, it is impossible to harvest every last thing. For example, some things like squash and zucchini overgrow when left in the field, but can still be used for things like zucchini bread. Boston Area Gleaners (B.A.G.) is a non-profit organization we will be inviting to our fields to get these left overs. They are dedicated to delivering surplus farm crops to those in need. We are happy to have found an organization that can help us to help others!

Gift Shop Changes

You may have noticed some changes afoot in our Gift Shop at the Nature Center. We are in the middle of a complete revamp so the selections have been a little on the leaner side but that is all soon going to change! We have plans for a grand re-opening in the fall that we will be announcing soon.

The first major change that we are making involves bottled water. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary will no longer be selling bottled water in order to continue Mass Audubon’s efforts in lowering our carbon footprint. We will instead have an assortment of Mass Audubon and Moose Hill water bottles that you can easily fill at our filtered bottle filling station next to the public bathrooms in the Nature Center. We will have a few different styles and sizes to fit everyone’s needs.

Next, in addition to the Moose Hill honey and maple syrup that we offer seasonally, you will soon start seeing a lot more Moose Hill branded hats, shirts, pins, and other smaller gifts. Our book selection will also be expanding with more options for young and old alike. We will be a great stop come this gift giving season with plenty of novelty options that your friends and family will enjoy for years to come. As we are building up our inventory over these next couple of months, drop in and let us know if there is anything you want to see us selling in the shop. We have a suggestion box next to the cooler in our shop and appreciate hearing your recommendations.

The shop will be closed for the first week of September in preparation for the grand re-opening, so we apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause. But once we get everything all cleaned, painted, and organized, we will be having sales every weekend in October on different select items such as bird feeders and books so be sure to stop by!