Author Archives: Heather

Crops Update: Vol. 25

Last Farm Stand of the Season!

Yesterday we harvested from all fields for the last farm stand of the year. If you drop by Drumlin today you’ll be greeted by a colorful assortment of carrots, beets, radish, collards, kale and chard along with lettuce, cabbage, squash, potatoes and onions, and bags of spinach and arugula at the stand.


Thanks to all who have shopped with us throughout the season. And thanks to the volunteers and staff who kept the stand up and running and conducted Know Your Food programs (complete with samples) all season long!

Fall CSA Spots Available

If you want access to fresh Drumlin veggies year-round, it’s not too late to sign up for the Fall CSA. The program runs throughout month of November with the first pickup today. Get in touch with Farmer Sarah Lang if you want to join.

Root Veggies for Winter

We still have three more Saturday markets to attend in Somerville, as well as a Winter CSA and regular deliveries to our restaurant and school partners through spring. That in mind, we’ve moved more than ten thousand pounds of potatoes into the root cellar and have just begun bringing in the carrots, parsnips, beets, turnips, celeriac, storage radish and rutabaga.

Your Farmers

New Additions: Meet Mick and Prince

Welcome, Mick!

We recently brought home two new rams, Mick and Prince. These woolly gents came to us by way of Kate Collins, who does the sheep dog demos at Drumlin Farm’s annual Woolapalooza celebration in March.

Drumlin staff prepared for their arrival by building a little shade shelter out of recycled materials behind the red barn and setting up an electric fence that extends from the equine pasture to the maple grove.

Over the weekend, 10 ewes joined Prince in the Maple Grove and five were brought to the equine pasture to accompany Mick. By Sunday night all were settled in.

Breeding season has begun! If all goes to schedule we’ll have new lambs in late March.

Crops Update: Vol. 23

Pounds of Potatoes to Somerville Schools

This week we delivered baking potatoes to Somerville Schools for the first time—around 1,800 individual potatoes, or 720 pounds, to be exact! We chose the Désirée variety because of its prized flavor and interesting appearance: smooth, pink skin and yellow flesh.

Josh and Andrew started digging the potatoes on Saturday with Drumlin’s 4-H program participants and two community volunteers. (We were so grateful the 4-H group chose to trek all the way to the outermost field to help us!) Working together, Josh and Sarah finished the job on Sunday afternoon before the rain arrived.

Volunteers helping out on the farm

It Takes a Village to Make it to Market

Late last week volunteers from Burlington’s 128 Technology and Wilmington’s Securadyne Systems helped us prepare for Saturday’s market in Union Square, harvesting sweet potatoes, baking potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.

Demand for these veggies and our tomatoes remains high, even though ripening is happening more slowly now with the longer nights. It really helped to have many people combing over the plants to find the cherry tomatoes and miniature eggplants hiding under dense foliage.

Thanks all who helped make this past weekend’s market a success!

Your Farmers

Meet the Staff: Drumlin Farm Development Director Polly Reeve

Post by Drumlin Farm Volunteer Marilyn Rudick

When Polly Reeve was growing up in New York City, she never pictured rolling pastures, goats, and chickens would be part of her daily job. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when the big-city native became passionate about conservation.

After studying history and literature at Harvard University, Polly began a career in nonprofit resource development, eventually working at the Trust for Public Land. It was there that her interest in the connections between open space and people blossomed.

Years later, after receiving additional training at Harvard’s Landscape Institute, she began managing her own landscape design business. Yet, something was missing; she yearned to once again be part of a mission-driven organization. This longing led her to the The Food Project, where she served as development director for five years prior to joining Drumlin Farm in March 2015.

Polly Reeve 005As development director at Drumlin Farm, Polly enjoys communicating the breadth of the sanctuary’s “amazing work” as well as the impact of that work within the community. Most of her time is devoted to cultivating Drumlin’s $4.7 million capital campaign, Landscapes for Learning, which will provide critical support and infrastructure improvements that enable Drumlin to bring meaningful programming to the public.

At present, Polly has her sights set on Moon Over Drumlin, the sanctuary’s biggest annual fundraiser. Set for Saturday, September 26, the gala and auction will raise funds that support education at the sanctuary and within the community. This year’s event promises to be bigger than ever, with six expert chefs from Cambridge, Somerville, and Concord; delicious tastings prepared with fresh Drumlin Farm ingredients; a live auction; and a raffle.

In Polly’s view, “Everything at Drumlin Farm is related to education. Through outreach and innovation we continue to enhance what we offer to the community.”

Along with lifelong farmers and educators, Drumlin Farm’s staff includes a variety transplants from other career paths, including engineering, veterinary medicine, music, sales, entrepreneurial ventures—even podiatry! Our “Meet the Staff” series explores the many ways that the people who work at Drumlin Farm found themselves drawn to common goals of environmental education, sustainable farming, and conservation.

Our Farm Fields are Living Classrooms

Post by Drumlin Farm Food and Farm Educator Emma Scudder

If you’ve ever ventured down to Boyce Field, home of Drumlin’s crops operation, then you know the beauty of the place. As far as the eye can see are rows and rows of vegetable plants. (Maybe I’m biased as a farm educator, but to me there is no better sight!) However, beyond affording a beautiful view, Boyce Field serves the equally important but lesser known role of classroom for our many visitors, students, and campers.

As an outdoor learning space, Boyce Field is a dynamic place where our school programplanting participants experience hands-on learning that’s connected to classroom curriculum and science standards. When schools sign up for field trips, teachers often give us information about the concepts they are studying, where they are in their unit, and the main curriculum connections they hope to make. With this information, we’re able to assign students a chore that’s not only tied to classroom learning but is also meaningful work.

weedoutThis past May, students learned about plant lifecycles while helping to de-bud first-year strawberry plants. (In order to encourage healthy growth in newly panted strawberries, we don’t harvest fruit; instead we remove their blossoms so they will not produce fruit.) Before we began, we reviewed the phases of the plant life cycle and how pulling flowers off of the young plants allows them invest their energy into growing strong roots and leaves, so that next year we can harvest delicious fruit from healthy, hearty crops. Students were able to observe strawberry plants that were in their second season, which were noticeably fuller and heavy with strawberries, and make the connection that the work they did will have a long-term positive impact on the plants and our farm.

Of course the learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school year: In the summer, campers have potatobeetlethe opportunity to delve into the crops operation at the busiest and most exciting time of the season. Recently, one group of campers, whose session focused on sustainable farming, spent an afternoon learning about and practicing sustainable pest control, picking Colorado potato beetles off of potato plants. As we went, campers were asked to think about how the practices we use at Drumlin are different from some other farms, where chemical pesticides are sprayed, and the environmental impacts of both methods. The afternoon flew by as campers explored issues related to our food system.

An added bonus: All this learning happens to be a big help to our crops operation! So far this season, program participants have contributed 65 hours of meaningful work, all while engaging in scientific learning in ways they never could have in an indoor classroom.

Find Us at the Farmers Market!

Looking for farm-fresh produce in the city? Look no further than our booth at the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville. On Saturdays in the summer and in the early fall, we sell a selection of our sustainably grown veggies (and flowers!).

Drumlin Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market_2015 (4)Right now you’ll find sweet corn, fava beans, lettuce, cut greens, radish, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, cabbage, summer squash, peppers, potatoes, onions, scallions, herbs (cilantro, dill, basil, parsley, mint, lavender, lemon balm), and the last of the season’s peas (snow and shell).

You can also grab fresh-cut flowers to create a vibrant table arrangement or bouquet. (Or, use them to add color to a dish—we’ve learned from our restaurant partners that many of our flowers are also edible!) Favorites include snapdragons, strawflower, sunflowers, yarrow, and celosia, among others.

Drumlin Farm at the Union Square Farmers Market_2015 (1)New this year: Our booth at the Watertown Farmers Market at Arsenal on the Charles, Thursdays from 2–6 pm. Stop by and check out our new digs!

Can’t get enough farm-fresh goodness? We can’t say we blame you. Learn more about our CSA program, farmstand and restaurant partners, and food and farm programs.

Introducing Drumlin Farm’s New Sanctuary Director!

Post by Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi

Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi and her children

Drumlin Farm Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi and her children

How does a physics major turned management consultant end up at a working farm and wildlife sanctuary? For me, the journey was a gradual series of life moments ending with a big leap.

Being outdoors and being curious about the world is something that has always been part of my life, starting as a child where every summer day (and most weekends throughout the year) were lived outside. Our family vacations were spent camping in the New England woods, playing in rivers and hiking mountains, with plenty of time to ask my parents a million questions about how the world works:

Why is that star in a different place than last night? What makes the river run faster in this spot? How can I tell which animals live here? Why is the landscape different as we hike to higher altitude?

Science was all around us, with opportunities to observe, hypothesize, test, and discover at every turn, and I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged our questions and gave us time outside to search for the answers.

Curiosity is encouraged at Drumlin FarmThat thirst to make sense of the world through a scientific lens led me to MIT, where the Charles River served as a temporary outdoor playground to sail on, row over, and run along when life in the academic world seemed too overbearing. I never felt entirely at home in the lab, preferring to find the spaces in between the disciplines—how a theoretical concept could be adapted for human use, or how the technical aspects of a system could combine to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts. I came to realize that the world needs people who are able to integrate disparate pieces of information into effective systems, ones that can bring different information and perspectives together for the benefit of all.

After grad school, my work as a management consultant allowed me to help companies develop business strategies that integrated the best of their technical and organizational capabilities with market needs. And yet I still felt the pull of the outdoors. During out-of-town assignments, I would take time in the evenings to explore the parks beyond the walls of my hotel; at home on the weekends, my husband and I would go mountain biking on our favorite singletrack trails and organize summer trips to national parks.

When our two boys came along, I found the times I enjoyed most with them were spent outside, sharing the experiences of my youth and watching them take their own first steps towards curiosity and exploration. The time was right for a major change, and after much soul searching, I decided that science education for children seemed like the perfect way to combine my scientific background with my love of the outdoors. I stumbled upon a job posting for part-time Teacher Naturalists at Drumlin Farm, and when I took a walk around the property after my first interview, it looked exactly like I remembered from my own childhood visits. I had found my way home.

Eight years later, the joy of being outside and sharing my curiosity about nature with our visitors and program participants is still the highlight of each day. In my most recent role as Program Innovation Coordinator, the most satisfying moments have come when we were able to leverage tools not commonly seen at a nature center—smartphones, engineering challenges, and even LEGO bricks—to engage and educate in new ways.

As Sanctuary Director, I plan to look for the spaces in between the disciplines—in our case, the ways in which farm, nature, and people interconnect—so that Drumlin Farm can continue to be a place where children and adults are inspired to explore, discover, and think about the world in new ways. Encouraging scientific thinking and using our sanctuary as a living laboratory to develop deeper understanding of sustainability, climate change, and ecological issues will be a high priority.

I also look forward to working with our talented staff to grow our commitment to diversity and accessibility as well as our ability to serve as a model for sustainable agriculture and ecological management. Alongside this is a desire to maintain what lies at the heart of Drumlin Farm’s enduring success: the place, the programs, and the people.

I look forward to hearing reflections, questions, and ideas from the Drumlin Farm community about how we can continue to improve. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time to share your thoughts by email or phone (781-259-2201).

Thank you for your continued support in making Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary a special place for us all!

Along with lifelong farmers and educators, Drumlin Farm’s staff includes a variety transplants from other career paths, including engineering, veterinary medicine, music, sales, entrepreneurial ventures, and even podiatry! Our “Meet the Staff” series will explore the many ways that the people who work at Drumlin Farm found themselves drawn to common goals of environmental education, sustainable farming, and conservation.

And the 2015 Bird-a-thon Winner is . . . Drumlin Farm!

Post by Drumlin Farm Volunteer Coordinator Pam Sowizral

The tallies are in: This year Drumlin Farm clinched its eleventh consecutive Bird-a-thon win, with our dedicated team of birders spotting a total of 221 species within 24 hours! (This, despite the fact that a warm-weather front had pushed migrants northward toward their summer breeding habitats in northern New England and Canada just prior to the annual fundraising event.)

Orchard Oriole  by Henry Mauer

Orchard Oriole by Henry Mauer

As competing teams assembled across the state, our team of 50 birders spread out to cover a variety of habitats—from the tree-covered hilltops of the Berkshires to the sandy beaches of

Martha’s Vineyard and all points in between. After 24 hours of exhaustive searching, Drumlin Farm team captains Kathy Seymour and Strickland Wheelock spent the evening gathering field reports.

Good identification skills, combined with being in the right place at the right time, helped our birders find spring rarities such as white-faced ibis, little blue heron, harlequin duck, Manx shearwater, northern goshawk, glaucous gull, black tern, black skimmer, common murre, red knot, warblers (including orange-crowned, cerulean, hooded, and Cape May), and vesper and Lincoln’s sparrows.

In addition to Drumlin Farm, several sanctuaries fielded excellent teams and the competition was fierce: Moose Hill in Sharon came in a (very) close second with a total of 220 species spotted, followed by Ipswich River in Topsfield, who counted 217. Congratulations to our fellow sanctuaries and their amazing supporters!

Piping Plover  by Henry Mauer

Piping Plover by Henry Mauer

All told, Drumlin Farm birders raised $50,000 to support our sanctuary’s programs and projects. We are heartened by the support we received and wish to thank all birders and donors involved in making this another successful Bird-a-thon for Mass Audubon!

To learn more about birds and birding programs, sign up to receive two of our popular e-newsletters: Drumlin Farm’s Birders Connection and Mass Audubon’s The Warbler. Or, head on over to the Birds & Birding section of our website.

Meet our Summer Wildlife Care Interns

Post by Drumlin Farm Wildlife Program Coordinator Flavio Sutti and Drumlin Farm Wildlife Care Technician Brittany Knowles

Summer is generally seen as a time of respite from school, but for five ambitious college students who recently joined our Wildlife Care Internship program, learning doesn’t stop to take a breather.Maggie with Kestrel

Since 2012, Drumlin Farm has offered college students a unique opportunity to work alongside our staff to learn how to care for more than 30 species of native New England wildlife. As part of the program, students also learn how to conduct wildlife education programs for the public.

This summer our interns come to us from Mount Ida College, Middlebury College, Brandeis University, and the University of Maine. On any given morning Maggie, Bess, Jenny, Nathalie, and Kristina can be found atop bird hill, assisting volunteers in cleaning the raptor enclosures. They might also be spotted co-presenting on woodchucks, opossums, kestrels, or screech owls alongside our education staff.

interns_kristina_bess_maggieWhen not interacting with the public, the interns spend most of their time at Drumlin Farm’s Wildlife Care Center, an area of the sanctuary closed to public, where our educational animal ambassadors live. Here they prepare food, clean animal enclosures, and assist with daily husbandry tasks such as rearranging enclosures and weighing and training animals.

Our Wildlife Care Internship program is offered to local college students each semester and provides an excellent way for students to fulfill academic requirements. The hiring process for our fall 2015 internship program will begin mid-July; be sure to check the website at that time to learn how to apply!

Next-Level Camp Counselor Training, Naturally

Post by Drumlin Farm Education Manager Jennifer Feller 

What’s the difference between a camp that simply takes place outdoors, and a “nature-based” camp? And how does teaching at a nature-based camp differ from teaching at other camps?

These are some of the questions we’re actively exploring with our counselors this week as they participate in week two of an extensive training program here at the farm.

staff photo

At Drumlin Farm Summer Camp, our goals include helping kids to develop an appreciation of nature, gain confidence and comfort being outdoors, and cultivate an understanding of the interconnectedness between people, land, and wildlife. To accomplish all of this this, we structure our camp to facilitate discovery, rather than just situating campers outdoors and hoping a love of nature “seeps in.” At the same time, we focus on building a supportive community, wherein campers learn to respect themselves, their peers, their place in the natural world, and the interdependence between all of us.

As an educator, I know it’s not easy to create a bustling camp that achieves all of these goals. To make sure our counselors are up for the challenge, Camp Director Becky Gilles implemented a unique, two-week training program that delves deeply into our camp philosophy as well as natural history, child development, and, of course, the safety and practical concerns of any accredited summer camp.


So what do our counselors study while in training? Lesson planning, most definitely, but also what it means to teach with the child at the center of the learning, and how to use inquiry as the primary means of discovery; first aid, absolutely, but also how one’s interactions with peers serve as a model for a child’s developing sense of self; farm chores, yes, but also how to leave time for reflection and wonderment in the midst of a busy camp day.

Drumlin Farm Summer Camp begins Monday, June 22, in Lincoln, and Tuesday, June 30, at our Wolbach Farm and Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge satellite locations in Sudbury.

To learn more and to find a session that’s right for your camper, join us at an upcoming open house, give us a call at 781-259-2244 or check out our online program catalog.