Tag Archives: drumlin farm

Array of veggies

Crops Update: Rain & Visitors Back on the Farm

Adapting to Rain

Wow, that was a lot of rain! Several sizzling thunder and rain storms have hit Lincoln, and below, you can see the before and after state of our soil. On the left, Paige and Margot proudly stand over the third succession of summer squash they planted into the dust on Saturday morning—just the two of them! On the right, Monday morning, the oats and field pea cover crop is breaking through the mud in a field that will lie fallow this year. While all this rain will reduce the quality of the remaining strawberries, all other crops will greatly benefit. We were able to maximize the value of this year’s strawberry crop thanks to the harvesting work of volunteers and the farm team.

Stop by our Farmer’s Market Stand

This past Friday afternoon, another group of volunteers helped us pick about fifteen flats of berries for sale at the Union Square Market. Margaret, Jill, Nina and volunteer Avril did a great job selling them, and to date, sales at the market are far closer to average than we had predicted heading into a retail environment greatly altered by COVID regulations.

Reopening for Visitation

Thanks to the hard work and careful planning of many Drumlin staff members, the sanctuary opened to the public (who registered ahead of their visit) for the first time this weekend. It was great to see so many masked families exploring the farmyard and fields, and several people stopped to watch us hurriedly planting before the rains came.

If you’ve been missing Drumlin Farm and are overdue for a visit, please reserve your spot here so that we can safely manage our capacity limitations. Stop by the fields to say hi and see what the farmers and volunteers are working on!

New Veggies on the Way

On Saturday, in addition to the 640 summer squash Margot and Paige planted, we also set 2,400 Brussels sprouts and 1,100 flower seedlings, and seeded the next round of greens and radish. The last four rounds of greens have been affected by high heat and lack of rain; we’re looking forward to having a renewed supply of them in about three weeks.

In the meantime, a new set of exciting crops will start to appear in your CSA shares this week. We’re beginning to harvest the March 23rd seeding of carrots; it’s about two weeks later than we had anticipated due to the cold spring and subsequent lack of rain. We’re also harvesting the mid-April seeding of red and gold beets (our thanks to Volunteer Anne for weeding and thinning them!) and the first spring onions, fennel, fava beans, and field cucumbers of the season.

Food Donations

We continue to donate food to area pantries, and this past Tuesday we made our first delivery to the Lincoln Food Pantry—dinosaur kale, scallions, and salad turnips for 90 families. We also continue to bring produce to Food for Free in Cambridge. All told, we’re approaching  $20,000 in food donations since mid-March! Thanks to all who are making it possible for us to contribute in this way.

Your Farmers

Camp Nature Photography Gallery

Nature Photography Camp has become a new favorite among teen campers. While learning about the ins and outs of their digital cameras, campers are encouraged to practice focus, composition, and aperture on the flourishing of life at the farm in the summer.

With our current closure, we’re looking back on a few fabulous images captured last summer and looking forward to the days we’ll see campers back on the farm.

Nature Photography Camp 2019

Goat, Dena, Grade 12
Garter Snake, Dena, Grade 12
Red Fox, Luke, Grade 11
Flower, Eve, Grade 9
Monarch Butterfly, Dena, Grade 12
Web, Eve, Grade 9
Frog, Izzie, Grade 10
Monarch Butterfly, Izzie, Grade 10
Goat, Izzie, Grade 10
Flower, Luke, Grade 11

Learn more about the exciting world of Drumlin Farm Summer Camp with us this summer!

lamb

Virtu-wool-apalooza!

While we can’t gather in person to celebrate our favorite fiber-festival of the year, we hope you can still join us virtually to learn more about the story from sheep-to-sweater, shop local fiber vendors, and enjoy some of our favorite Woolapalooza moments through the years.

In Massachusetts, sheep are raised on small family farms in flocks of varying sizes, ranging from a few ewes up to about 400 on the largest sheep farm. Sheep do well on Massachusetts land and require very little labor to produce a quality product that fits well with the New England climate. They’re also considered good for the environment and can help improve the ecosystem when managed with sustainable agriculture principles. Sheep are the perfect tool for controlling weeds and brush, helping land managers avoid mechanical and chemical means of control. They work so well that corporate and government land managers have adopted or hired flocks to help in reforested areas, watersheds, ski slopes and under power lines. You’ll often see our sheep in different fields throughout the year, doing their part to keep the pastures free of over-growth.

The Sheep-to-Sweater Process

Each year, master sheep shearer Kevin performs our shearing, removing each sheep’s wool with large hand-held shears. The wool is removed in one piece, called a fleece. Sheep are usually shorn in the spring, when they can survive without their warm coat. The fleece is then spread out and skirted, a process that removes large pieces of soiled wool, hay, etc. Each fleece weighs 8-14 pounds fresh off the sheep, and a 10-pound fleece might weigh only half that after it’s washed to remove the lanolin and soil!

After the fleece is washed, it’s then carded, which involves combing the clean, dry wool to straighten the fibers. Every wool fiber is a molecular coil-spring covered with microscopic scales. The springiness of the individual fibers can be seen in the curliness of a sheep’s fleece.  

The carded wool can then be spun on a wheel, where the fibers are drawn out and twisted together to form yarn. Wool clothing is highly durable, easily dyeable, breathable and temperature regulating, resists wrinkles and retains shape, flame resistant, and naturally water repellent. It truly is an amazing fiber!

Shop Fiber Vendors

Please support our amazing local fiber vendors who annually make Woolapalooza such a special event:

Our Favorite Woolapalooza Moments

Wool Crafts at Home

Get hands-on with wool and learn something new! Try out these step-by-step tutorials on wool-based crafts:

Lambing & Kidding Updates

As lambing and kidding season begins, so far we have had two baby goats and one lamb arrive on the farm. Like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for more updates as the season progresses!

Child stepping over log

Home-based Activities for Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things in our daily lives. For young children, this change in routine can be unsettling and confusing, but creating some predictable structure in the day can provide a sense of safety and security for the whole family. As we all adjust to balancing the many aspects of our world from home, our Drumlin Farm Community Preschool Team would like to share a variety of fun learning activities that you can do with your child(ren) and family which you may find helpful and inspiring. Engage with nature where you can, create some art for your community, design experiments, or find a new recipe to cook together–there’s something for everyone!

Wishing you and your family wellness and health,

Jill Canelli

Drumlin Farm Community Preschool Director

© Emily Haranas

Be a Nature Hero

  • Conduct a bird count of what you can see/hear in your neighborhood. How many of each kind of bird do you observe?  Can you find one new bird each day?  Learn how to identify common birds in Massachusetts at this time of year.
© Patrick Rogers

Think Critically & Get Active

  • First brainstorm a list of sounds (ex: bird songs, wind, water, insect songs, frogs, dogs barking, cars, planes, people’s voices, etc.). Then, listen closely and see how many you can check off and hear on a walk or just outside your door!
  • 3 Changes Game: closely observe your partner, before they leave the room and change three things about their appearance (might be putting their hair up, untieing a shoe, or taking off a sweater). When the partner comes back, try to guess what is different.
  • Mapmaking: make a map of your room, house, or garden. Try to make it as accurate as possible. To take it a step further, hide a treasure somewhere and try to find it with the map!
  • Plan, prepare and cook a meal with your child. Whether your child helps you make that first cup of coffee or you pick a recipe to make together there is so much fun and learning in these everyday activities. Measure ingredients, practice cutting skills, discuss the farm-to-table journey, and enjoy something delicious you made together!
  • Give children the opportunity to help with jobs around the house, a great way to use fine and gross motor skills, and also contribute to meaningful work in the family: sweeping, dusting, folding laundry, and loading the dishwasher, or any outdoor tasks such as raking, collecting sticks or trash in the yard, or weeding also are also great ways to use their muscles. Try making a game out of the task or listen to music while working to keep them engaged!
  • Obstacle Courses: create them inside or in your backyard using cones/yogurt containers for zig-zagging, boxes for climbing through or over, buckets for filling with water, hard-boiled eggs with spoons for balancing, chalk for paths on the driveway–you name it! Use your imagination to create different challenges.
  • Create stacked rock cairns in your yard or garden. Gather a variety of rocks, and stack them in a pile, using a larger, flat stone for the base. Experiment with different shapes and stones and see how high you can stack them.

© Patrick Rogers

Get Creative

  • Make cards, write notes, and draw pictures to mail to friends and family or safely drop them by your neighbors’ house. Now is a great time to start communicating with a pen pal!
  • Bring sketch pads or clipboards with watercolor/crayons/colored pencils outside for nature drawing. Flowers, bugs, bird feeders, and trees all make great inspiration! 
  • Flower Printing/Dying: press flowers and plants between books to flatten and preserve them–they can be used in papermaking or bookmarks!
  • Book Writing: put together your own short story! To make it more fun, pose the story around a question about nature, such as “Why do skunks smell?”  Or “why do bears have a short tail?”
  • Paint rocks to make a rock garden.
  • Make shadow puppets: cut shapes/animals out of black paper and tape them to popsicle sticks or chopsticks. They can be used outside by hanging a sheet or on the ground, or inside with a desk lamp onto a wall.

© Patrick Rogers

Practice Sciences

  • Salt Dough: 2 parts flour, 1 part salt, and 1 part water. Add food coloring to color and create different characters by rolling out and cutting with cookie cutters.  To harden and paint, cook at 250 degrees until hard (about 2 hours).
  • Plant Olympics: beans of any variety work well for this, but for more fun, get different types and try different kinds of races.  Everyone in the family can plant some seeds in dixie cups, cardboard egg cartons, peat pots, or make your own pots out of newspaper. Your Olympic events could include the earliest sprouter, tallest plant, biggest leaves, first to bloom, most productive (how much fruit/flower/veg does it produce?), and more.  Don’t forget to make a chart to keep track of the results/winners. You can even make winning metals (cut out of cereal boxes or other thin cardboard and decorate)!
  • Design Experiments & Collect Data: next time your child has an unanswerable question, prompt them to collect, record, and interpret data. Which toy truck is the fastest? Which room in the house is the biggest? Will this orange sink or float? The only limit is your imagination!

Local Youth-Led Teams Take Climate Justice into their Own Hands

Drumlin Farm Youth Leaders for Climate Justice

On Saturday, November 23, Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm hosted their second annual Youth Leaders for Climate Justice (YLCJ) Summit: a day of learning, community-building, and the beginning of a semester-long climate action project planning process. Teams of high school students from throughout Eastern Massachusetts, many of whom represent environmental science and climate change clubs in their communities, came together to learn more about climate change, social justice, and what they can do to make a difference.

The Summit kicks off the 2019/2020 season of the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice Program at Drumlin Farm, a semester-long civic-action and leadership initiative, empowering and supporting teams of high-school aged students to take action to mitigate climate change and promote climate justice in their communities. The program is part of Mass Audubon’s larger Youth Climate Summit initiative, with seven sanctuaries throughout the state currently organizing similar events.

Climate Change & People

The YLCJ program aims to create and support young leaders who will address the issue of climate change as a human issue, as unfortunately, those who have less resources will be the most affected. Therefore, when talking about climate change, we address it with the knowledge that the communities most at-risk of climate disaster are also the ones who have less time, money, and political power to do something to stop it. YLCJ supports young people–the ones inheriting our warming planet–with the knowledge, skills, and community connections needed to create change and take action in an informed and equitable way.

The Summit

Outgrowing our own facility capabilities, this year’s summit was held at nearby Brandeis University in Waltham, with over 100 participants in attendance including presenters, staff, students, and club advisors from a variety of communities in the Boston and Metrowest area.

The 2019/2020 YLCJ cohort includes teams beyond Drumlin Farm (represented by the blue pin), including Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center in Mattapan, English High School in Jamaica Plain, Framingham High School, Mass Audubon Habitat Sanctuary in Belmont, Boston Latin Academy, Montrose School in Medfield, Lowell High School, Concord-Carlisle Regional High School, Waltham High School, Wayland High School, First Parish Church of Groton, and Mass Audubon Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary in Worcester.

The busy Summit day was filled with learning and networking opportunities, food featuring Drumlin Farm grown ingredients, and a keynote address from 15th Suffolk District State Representative Nika Elugardo. The day started with a session by David Corbie from Greenovate Boston and Jamele Adams, Brandeis’ Dean of Students, exploring climate justice communications, listening, and team building. Breakout sessions throughout the day allowed students to explore various topics, including Project Communication and Design presented by Drumlin Farm Camp Director, Meghan Haslam, Increasing Biodiversity to Combat Climate Change presented by Meadowscaping for Biodiversity, and a workshop on The Transition to a Renewable Energy Future presented by Tufts and Brandeis University professor Brian Roach. Participants then split into mixed groups of advisors and students from different schools and organizations to draft a “Commitment to Climate Justice Manifesto”, a pact to each other detailing what climate justice means to them, how they will take action, and why.

Students work on drafting their personalized “Commitment to Climate Justice Manifesto” to present to the larger group. Photo Credit: Pearce Kelley

Next Steps: Community Action

The work doesn’t stop here—equipped with the knowledge shared at the summit, students will now embark on the creation and implementation of their own, personalized, semester-long climate justice action project in their community, before meeting back together on April 4 to present their work at the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice Showcase, open to the public. Follow their progress and learn more about the work these inspiring high schoolers are doing with our upcoming series of blogs, written by the Youth Leaders themselves.

If you would like to learn more about the Youth Leaders for Climate Justice program, please email DrumlinFarmYLCJ@massaudubon.org.

The 2019/2020 Youth Leaders for Climate Justice cohort together for a break outdoors during the busy day. Photo Credit: Pearce Kelley

Many thanks to those that helped make this program possible, including Brandeis University for hosting and collaborating on the program, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education After-School and Out of School Time for contributions to much-needed funding, and our donors in-kind Dowse Orchards, Bees Wrap, and Preserve .

Electric Vehicle Charging Arrives at Drumlin Farm

You can now charge your car at your next visit to Drumlin Farm with one of our new electric vehicle charging stations.

As part of an ongoing statewide initiative at Mass Audubon to decrease carbon emissions and increase access to greener transportation options for our communities, Drumlin Farm, PowerOptions, and Eversource, collaborated on the new installation.

One of the stations was donated by the nonprofit PowerOptions, New England’s largest energy buying consortium. Eversource paid for and coordinated the infrastructure improvements needed to power the stations and installation was done by Horizon Energy. Each EVC station is capable of charging two cars, providing power for up to four vehicles at a time. Through the Chargepoint app, electric vehicle owners can set up charging at the stations through their phones.

“Drumlin Farm is proud to be making a difference in providing education and motivation for a healthier and sustainable world,” says Sanctuary Director Renata Pomponi. “With programs that reach more than 140,000 children and adults each year, we are excited about the opportunity to provide meaningful engagement and positive solutions around climate change, the critical environmental issue of our time. We are grateful for the donation from PowerOptions and the infrastructure support from Eversource to help us reach our goal of reducing our own carbon footprint and providing opportunities for our visitors to ‘drive green’ on their trips to the farm.”

In recent years, the transportation sector has surpassed power plants as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the US.  Unlike traditional vehicles, electric vehicles do not release any exhaust emissions when driven. This means that they not only reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, they also eliminate dangerous air pollution that causes smog and other health and ecological risks. Check out Mass Audubon’s recent blog on how to green your transportation for more on how you can get involved.

Interested in learning more about climate change and how Mass Audubon is working with communities to combat it? Find more information here.

5 Fall Farm Experiences You Won’t Want to Miss

Getting Here

208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA

By Train: We’re a short walk from the Lincoln MBTA train station on the Fitchburg line. Follow the town trails from the station to the farm, and stop for pizza or a coffee on your way back! Take advantage of the $10 weekend MBTA pass for a weekend beyond-your-backyard adventure.

By Bike/Walking Trail: Lincoln boasts a fabulous network of walking and biking trails that run through the town’s beautiful sights and vistas, connecting greenways and natural areas. What’s better–Drumlin Farm is conveniently located along the paths on Lincoln and Codman Road. Get your steps in for the day by walking in, or park your bike at our bike rack.

By Car: Take advantage of the 4 newly installed electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot. Charge your car while exploring the property and return to a full battery at the end of the visit.

1. Exploring by Hayride

There’s no better way to cover the trails and explore the farm loop than by sitting on a hay bale, traveling by tractor hayride. With the sun shining down and the crisp autumn air around you, this fall-classic is a nostalgic thrill you can’t find everywhere. Grab your tickets at admissions, hop aboard outside of the Red Barn, and enjoy! Hayrides run on Saturday and Sunday until Thanksgiving weekend.

2. Shopping the Farmstand

Crisp leafy greens, squashes and gourds, and a variety of seasonal fall-favorites can be found at the farmstand by admissions. Drumlin Farm-raised meats, yarn made from our sheep’s fleece, honey from hives on site, and eggs from our chickens can also be purchased. Take a little farm home with you by making delicious fall recipes using local, sustainable ingredients!

3. Witnessing the Changing Season

What makes a wildlife sanctuary unique from other outdoor trails you might visit? Our property is managed with wildlife and habitat health in mind, which makes trail explorations teem with natural encounters. Watch and listen for migrating fall birds in the meadows and forests and catch glimpses of scampering critters beefing up before the winter. Perhaps you’ll see our resident family of wild turkeys that roam the property, or take a walk up the drumlin–one of the highest point in the greater Boston area–where you can take in a beautiful vista and see the outline of Mount Wachusett, over 30 miles away, on a clear day.

4. Visiting Native Wildlife & Livestock

Meet the animals that make up our New England landscapes and history! Sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, and cows teach visitors about the ins and outs of farming and our historic connection to these important animals. Bird Hill (hosting owls, hawks, pheasants, and more) and the New England Wildlife Exhibit (with rabbits, snakes, foxes, and more) feature our animal ambassadors that teach us about native animals and their role in creating healthy ecosystems in Massachusetts.

5. Dropping-in for Interactive Activities

You could meet a raptor, mammal, or reptile; see a pony grooming demonstration; feel real pelts and furs; and more at our drop-in activities, included with the price of admission. Teacher Naturalists stationed around the farm engage visitors in hands-on learning opportunities to answer all your farm and nature questions and introduce you to a side of nature you may not have seen. Drop-in activities take place at 10:00 am, 11:30 am, and 2:30 pm on weekends.

Bonus: Tales of the Night, Our Spookiest Farm Festivity

If you want a classic fall experience, there’s really nothing quite like a spooky adventure through the farm and a haunted hayride. If you’re free Friday or Saturday, October 25 and 26, plan a night at our annual special event, Tales of the Night. Travel through candle-lit paths and jack-o-lanterns, meet animals and story book characters, and try some witches brew and ghoulish treats! Tickets sell out for this popular event, so early registration is recommended.

Crops Update: Butternut Squash on the Horizon

It’s predicted to be in the 30s by early Thursday, and so we are in harvesting high gear trying to maximize 2019 yields before frost. This past Thursday, we finished the restaurant harvest just as a group of Lexington Christian Academy freshmen were arriving to help with the squash harvest. We had clipped several beds of butternut squash the previous afternoon, so they started by crating and loading them onto a truck. Next, we transplanted the last 1,600 lettuce seedlings of the year before weeding through two beds of collards. Then we handed out clippers, and the students and chaperones cut, crated and loaded acorn and more butternut squash—over 2,500 pounds of it!

That afternoon, a large group of volunteers from Perkin Elmer started by unloading all that squash into the greenhouse—we made a long bucket brigade and passed each crate from person to person, from the truck bed to the greenhouse bench. We then headed to the field where half of the volunteers harvested, loaded, and then unloaded an additional 5,000 pounds of butternut squash. The other half of the group harvested beans, tomatoes and husk cherries for Saturday’s market. What an amazing day! Thanks all for working hard and accomplishing so much.

On Saturday, volunteers from Boston College School of Theology arrived just as it started to pour. Improvising, we took shelter in the greenhouse where we worked on topping onions for an hour. We still have more to do, but we made enough space to bring in some mini-pumpkins later that day. We were disappointed to discover a lot of rot in the pumpkin patch, but it looks like this is going to be where we experience the down side of what has been a very wet growing season. On the positive side, brassicas and cover crops have been loving the rain. The buckwheat is in full flower, and those sections of the field look snow-covered (pictured above). The second successions of tomatoes, melons, and watermelons are still producing well; come to the stand today to get yours.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Crops Update: September Transitions

It’s your last chance to register for the Fall CSA farm share program, starting Wednesday, September 11! Get your share of fall favorites, end-of-summer delights, and flavorful melons to enjoy Drumlin Farm produce throughout the season. Register online today!


Thankfully, we got hardly any rain or wind from hurricane Dorian. The fields are still wet, but getting drier. With all those pumpkins and squash sitting in the field, we’d like it to stay sunny and warm until we have a chance to harvest them. In addition to all the critters and bugs that like to nibble winter squash, temperatures below 55 will also damage them. We still need to clear the greenhouse of onions in order to move more squash in there, so we’re in a holding pattern for the moment harvesting large quantities of beans and tomatoes while trying to find a spare moment to organize the fall harvest.

On Thursday of last week, volunteers from Change Healthcare gave us a tremendous boost with field and harvesting work ahead of Saturday’s market. Together we weeded beets, harvested 150 pounds of string beans, and planted our second-to-last round of lettuce for the season. Already that was a lot of work, but they stayed on for an extra 45 minutes harvesting husk cherries. Thanks to them, we had enough beans and husk cherries for both the Union Square market (pictured below) and Saturday and Sunday’s farm stand!

Today, for the first time this year, we delivered produce to the Cambridge school system— cherry tomatoes, greens, radish, watermelons and peppers. Next week, we begin delivering to the Somerville school system. Fall CSA begins tomorrow, so register asap if you haven’t already. It’s a fun time of year to be sharing the bounty of the fields with you. On cool nights you can roast squash, garlic, and root veggies, and on hot days you can still cut open a Drumlin Farm watermelon.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Crops Update: Restaurant Preparations

The Fall CSA farm share program is fast approaching and begins Wednesday, September 11. Get your share of fall favorites, end-of-summer delights, and flavorful greens to enjoy Drumlin Farm produce throughout the fall. Register online today!


We had a chill 46 numbing degrees for this morning’s restaurant harvest! Thankfully, the sun came up fairly quickly to thaw us out. It’s dry in the fields after two weeks without significant rainfall. Greens are germinating more slowly now with only morning dew to get them going, but established plants seem to be enjoying the dry conditions. Cucumbers and melons, which often suffer from foliar diseases this late in the summer, look healthy and continue to produce lots of delicious fruit. But rain is predicted for tomorrow night, and we need to seed cover crop on the next set of fields to take advantage of the potential free irrigation. We’ve been plowing and raking fields where we’ve finished cropping for the season in order to prepare them to receive cover crop seed.

With the smaller Crops Team after end-of-summer departures, Monday’s pre-harvest is the key to a successful Tuesday restaurant run. Many thanks to Maddie and volunteers Anne and Francesca for picking twenty pounds of string beans and eighty pounds of cherry tomatoes yesterday afternoon. That was a good start towards finishing this morning’s mega harvest for 15 different chefs. Our availability list for this week has over 60 individual items on it, so it’s a complicated process in the wash station distributing all that variety to so many accounts. The team has come up with many nifty organizational strategies to streamline all aspects of our work with chefs (pictures below). But then there’s still lots of old-fashioned pointing and shouting out directions, which is part of the fun and thrill of crops teamwork, deadlines, and getting more done in less amount of time than we thought possible.

While we’re working on restaurant work, we’re also separating out the produce that needs to go to the farm stand. This morning, Veronica and Kari, with unexpected and welcome help from Maricella, displayed beautiful cantaloupe, watermelons and tomatoes at the stand. We’re just now starting to pick from the second succession of peppers, tomatoes and melons. So as the first successions begin to decline, the quality of produce should remain high into the fall.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers