Category Archives: Stories from the Field

picture posts, interesting tidbits, shareholder highlights, volunteer highlights

The Fields In May

The first CSA pickup is nearly upon us and the crops are looking great for our shareholders! There are still a few spaces in our CSA for Monday, Friday and Saturday distributions; 18 weeks of fresh, local, organic vegetables! Learn more and register today.

Here are is a sample of whats growing in our fields so far.

Strawberries getting ready for June.

Carrots growing in our lower fields.

Cucumbers basking in the sun.


Rows of radish.














Another row of radish.

A predated robin egg found in the field.









Garlic ready for the CSA – new this year!

Farm apprentice and weeding dynamo Matt Eiland working in the carrots.

Lettuce beneath the row cover.

Countdown to the Start of this year’s CSA

Greetings! I, Matt Eiland, am back for another year at the Moose Hill Community Farm as an apprentice, and I am very excited to be working alongside our new apprentice Ryan Brown.  With a little less than a month away from our first distribution day, there is a lot of heavy duty work taking place in our fields as we speak! Wards Berry farm has already begun to seed, till, spread mulch and compost, and much more as we prepare for another season of getting our hands nice and dirty.

deer or fox tracks – what do you think?

There are strawberry plants under all that thick straw!

Wards Berry farmers hard at work in our fields, spreading black plastic mulch in preparation for planting.

This year, we are planning to organize a few more activities with our shareholders including two potlucks – one in late June and one at the end of the season, and you will want to be on the lookout for a canning and/or cooking class in early August.

As many of our returning shareholders know, every season is a new growing season. We work hard with our farmer, Jim Ward, to plan a variety of crops and to adjust the amount of vegetables planted to fit the needs of our shareholders; it is a fun puzzle to work on from year to year. Once we are certain we are providing the vegetables for our shareholders and for the food pantries that we commit to each year, we look at other ways to share the over-abundance. Last year we started the “Buy a bucket” program, which was received by many people as just great. For us, it was a wonderful way to allow shareholders to get even more of a crop that we had in over-abundance as well as to invite non-shareholders into the fields to learn about who we are, get some fresh organic vegetables, and hopefully gain new shareholders for the future. We suspect that you will see this program again this year – details will follow in weekly postings and at the distribution barn during the season.

The work hours calendar will be emailed to all shareholders within the next week. Look for your email and sign up for your work hours before your favorite date and time slots are taken! You will notice that there will be more slots available to sign up after the first week of July, at which point more help is needed as the harvest amount increases. We look forward to working with you in the fields!

Lastly, remind your vegetable-loving friends to read about our farm, learn more about what it means to be a shareholder, and about our philosophy of farming, and be sure to encourage them to register for a share before we sell out.

See you at the farm soon enough!

Good byes and Popcorn

So with the season coming to a close, I would like to say thank you one last time for being a member of our CSA, and giving time to help us harvest and weed throughout the season. Many have you have mentioned to me that it feels like this season has “flown by”…In my mind, during some of those scorchingly hot days I couldn’t agree less, yet on the other hand, these past few weeks have indeed passed quickly. This may be due to the fact that the days are shorter and the weather quite pleasant, but also because I will miss seeing you all during distribution:)

For anyone interested, we will be having a deep cleaning of the barn this Tuesday from 8 until noon, as well as 5 – 7 pm. We will also be doing a few tasks out in the fields, so feel free to join during this time for a final good bye.


Lastly, several of you have asked about how to make popcorn, so I wanted to provide some tips about how to make it in the microwave and over the stove:


Very simple and easy..Simply microwave 1/4 cup of kernels in a small brown lunch paper bag. Make sure the bag is closed and folded over 3 or 4 times and firmly crease the seam so that it stays closed. No need to add any oil to the kernels as this won’t make much difference. If you wish to add more kernels, use a larger paper shopping bag.

Microwave for 2 – 4 minutes. Listen closely — when the time between pops slows to about 2 seconds, your popcorn is ready. Depending on your microwave, popping can finish in as little as 2 minutes or take as long as 4 minutes. Do not wait for all the kernels to pop; your popcorn will burn. It’s normal for there to be un-popped kernels in the bag.

Add some melted butter or oil and sprinkle with salt when finished cooking.

Stovetop Popcorn

Yields: 2 servings  Cook time: 10 minutes


  • 3 Tbsp coconut, peanut, or canola oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 1 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter (optional)
  • Salt to taste


1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. If you are using coconut oil, allow all of the solid oil to melt.


2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil.

perfect-popcorn-2 perfect-popcorn-3

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds.

This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.


4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.

Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper).

Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop, and nothing burns.

5 If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan. Note that if you let the butter get just a little bit brown, it will add an even more intense, buttery flavor to the butter and to your popcorn. (Here’s more info on how to brown butter.) Just drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and toss to distribute.

6 Salt to taste.


What to expect for the final weeks

As our season winds down, I wanted to address some of the good questions I have been receiving about the changes in what’s being distributed lately, as well as give a heads up about what to expect these final two weeks. The last distribution day will be on Monday October 3rd, meaning that we have two more full weeks of distribution left. In case anyone is wondering, the season began on a Wednesday right after Memorial day, thus we are ensuring that everyone has an equal amount of pickup days. In the past, we have sometimes had seasons that have allowed us to add an extra week of pick-up, but that is not the case this year – the drought has indeed affected the length of our season.

As you can all see, there are less crops being given out, and sadly the tomatoes are all but finished. While we are fortunate to have produced a full 8 weeks of tomatoes thus far, the plants are not producing fruit. Some of the tomatoes on the lower field have caught a disease, late blight, which is a fungus that can infect the entire plant including the fruit. Because we are certified organic, we are limited in the amount of spraying, and the type of spray, we can apply to our crops, yet we have been able to counteract the potential for this disease in a number of ways. Copper fungicide, which is a natural compound, has helped reduce the spread of this disease once signs of it were present. Tomatoes are also vulnerable to blight if their foliage becomes repeatedly wet or moist. With the lack of rain, we didn’t have to worry about the weather creating the right conditions for blight and we use drip irrigation so as to not create the conditions ourselves. While the drought has certainly taken it’s toll on the farm, it is because of the commitment to building good soil health, and carefully rotated crops, that we have been able to survive the lack of rain water. Considering that the upper field is not irrigated at all, and also had a lack of rain water, I can’t think of another expression besides “incredibly resourceful” in order to fathom this.

The strategy behind our planting of corn is another example of how we have countered the drought. By planting a few varieties of corn in April, May, and June, we were able to provide enough corn that was ready to harvest after the scorching heat of July had passed. Because this corn was transplanted from the seed bed’s at Ward’s, they were more disease resistant and hardier compared to the direct seeding method. Our late plantings of lettuce and swiss chard were also able to survive the hot weather despite the lack of rain water, mainly due to some afternoon shade provided by the nearby trees. However, not all second plantings survived the drought and there were some vegetables we had hoped to provide more of, that just didn’t make it and we definitely noticed some vegetables not reaching the full size we would want before they were ready for harvesting.

While many vegetables have been hit hard by the drought — the eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, squashes, etc — the future of our field’s are bright considering how resistant, hardy, and “tough” these vegetables have shown to become when being grown organically. The eggplant may be yellowing, the tomatoes may have a few splits, and the cucumbers have…well they have put up a fight to the bitter end, at one point demanding for an unsolicited abundance in your kitchen.

So yes, we have experienced some late struggles as most farms are experiencing during this extreme drought, and though the very last week may only include 5 or 6 items, those squashes and potatoes should be as high quality as any other week of the season. As always, we are grateful that our shareholders are willing to take this journey with us – sharing in the success, or the struggle – of the season.

We look forward to seeing you all during these last few weeks,

–your CSA team

Alex’s Farm Tidbits

The winds are changing and the seasons are shifting but we have been enjoying some beautiful days and some wonderful vegetables! Check out these photos!


Red onions are ready to cure  and will be giving out soon!


The geese are already migrating!

IMG_3569IMG_3568IMG_3560 IMG_3559

Our farm hand Kate found a family of voles while digging up sweet potatoes


The spaghetti squash is looking sooooo good! I hope it tastes good too!


Geese in the field


More geese


A cantaloupe in its natural habitat

  • Alex

This post is by Alex MacLellan who is in his first year as one of the Farm Apprentices at Moose Hill. Alex has some of the highest energy we have seen out in the fields. He has begun to share pictures of the varieties of crops that we have and some of the fun things our farm apprentices and farm hands find in the fields.

Alex’s Farm Tidbits

Hello everyone! We have been having a great time bringing in all the wonderful veggies for you all and we have been taking some pictures of the cool things we have been finding! There has been a lot of signs of wildlife these days (even a few coyotes that were getting really close while we were picking tomatoes!) Check out these photos!


This sweet potato wants to just keep growing!


We found this big turkey feather while harvesting squash


This sweet potato looks like it has a pig tail!


Twin cherry tomatoes!


You can’t really see it but to the right of the end of the road is a coyote!


Found a snake while I was digging up sweet potatoes!


I thought this potato looked funny


Maybe like a hippo?


Bringing in those beautiful sunflowers!


Spiders are always nice to have around on the farm


So are wasps! Though they do sting, they make the coolest combs


We think this is some coyote scat!


Sweet potatoes in love!

Well that’s all for today! Thanks for reading and I look forward to seeing you all soon!


This post is by Alex MacLellan who is in his first year as one of the Farm Apprentices at Moose Hill. Alex has some of the highest energy we have seen out in the fields. He has begun to share pictures of the varieties of crops that we have and some of the fun things our farm apprentices and farm hands find in the fields.

Beyond Weeding

After working here for a little over two months, I can’t say enough about how awesome of a learning experience this has been for myself and others. After a hard day of work in the hot sun, moving fast to harvest everything for that evening, it really pays off when Alex and I get to witness people picking up what we harvested earlier in the day. veggies

After getting to know some of you in person, my sense is that a lot of you are part of the CSA not only because the food is fresh and organic, but because there is a strong community involvement which helps our farm operate. Instead of simply going to the supermarket and buying food that claims to be organic and sustainable, many of you get down on your hands and knees and witness exactly what is happening the hours before your pickup.

From the point of view of our farm crew, we get a chance to learn about why all of you genuinely care about eating fresh and locally grown produce; either because it is more environmentally friendly, or it simply provides your children a healthier alternative to junk food. Without these different circumstances and perspectives that cause us to care about what we eat, our farm simply would not exist.

More specifically, in terms of the workweek; the number of shareholders present at any shift has a direct impact on the output of the farm. On Wednesdays for example, we have the most shareholders signed up for pickup in the evening compared to any other day, thus the more shareholders harvesting with us from 7:00 am until noon that day, the more likely we can harvest every veggiworking in the fieldse that is ripened to be picked. If we only have one shareholder coming those mornings, we may have to forgo one vegetable on our harvest list simply because we don’t have enough time or hands to be able to harvest it. This past Wednesday for instance, there were very few additional volunteers at hand, and due to the amount of work we were able to accomplish that day, we made a late decision to cut peas from the pickup, and simply have pick your own.

Our CSA production is impacted just as strongly when it comes to weeding as well. Whether we are weeding kale, carrots, ovation mix, or our beloved radishes, the less weeds engulfing these crops, the faster we can harvest them during a future day, and the more likely these crops will flourish due to less competition (over sunlight, or nutrients from the soil) with weeds. While this task can sometimes seem rather menial while doing it, there is certainly a far reaching affect that it has on what we accomplish throughout the season.

Barn room this past Wednesday before pickup...Got veggies?

Barn room this past Wednesday before pickup…Got veggies?

In summary I can’t say enough about the numerous ways that out farm crew and all shareholders are affecting each other for the better. Not just in an economic sense, but mainly because the level of shareholder involvement allows us to accomplish and benefit from many things: fresh food, forming relationships, and witnessing all of the many intricacies of communal farming. Thank you all for being a part of our community! We look forward to our future morning in the fields with you all.

How to regrow your Lettuce and Spring Onions

Last week a friend of mine shared with me some very cool ideas about regrowing vegetable scraps, and after doing a little bit of research, I found out how simple it is to regrow lettuce stumps, onion roots, and even carrots. Not only is it very cost effective to reuse your scraps instead of throwing them away, but it is so easy! Making me wonder why I have never tried doing this before..

What to do with your lettuce stumps and onion roots

Onions: Cut the onion scapes about 2-3 inches above the root bulb–leaving a few centimeters of green scallion. The green leaf of the onion contains more chlorophyll which promotes faster growth compared to cutting below the green. Suspend the roots in a jar of water; water should be at a level just above the root bulbs. You can place several scapes in one jar, and be sure that they have sunlight exposure during the day. Change the water daily, and if possible, use well water seeing that it tends to have more minerals, yet tap water should do fine.

I’ve tried this at home, and after a week the onions have already significantly grown back…

Growth after one week

Growth after one week

I’ve used two pens and a couple rubber bands in order to hold the scapes upright, which has worked very well. You can keep your onions growing in water like this for weeks and they should continue growing. You can also grow them in moistened potting soil from the start, watering them daily with access to sunlight.

Lettuce: Very simple method as well…Cut the lettuce leaves about one inch from the bottom stump (don’t worry if there is no root formation), and place in a bowl with a half-inch of water. Change the water daily and make sure it has access to sunlight. Lettuce should begin to grow roots and small leaves after about a week, at which point you can transplant it into potting soil. I haven’t tried this yet, but from what I have read, it is advisable to transplant the lettuce into soil instead of leaving it in water, seeing that the plant will begin to suffer without essential nutrients. If transplanted, water the lettuce daily.

So cool!

So cool!


Regrow Kitchen Scraps: Romaine

Regrowing Spring Onions at Home

Lettuce photo from Housing a Forest