Tag Archives: farm-to-table

Springing Ahead: 5 Signs of Spring on the Farm

Daylight Savings Time arrived on the second morning of our annual Sap-to-Syrup Farmer’s Breakfast. Hearty pancakes topped with real maple syrup alongside Drumlin Farm’s roasted potatoes and sausage were enjoyed in sunny, snowy, and muddy weather throughout the weekend. Thanks to our volunteers, staff, and sponsors that helped make this event possible, including our premiere event sponsor Whole Foods (Sudbury), as well as PEAK Event Services, Karma Coffee (Sudbury), Market Basket (Waltham), Roche Brothers (Sudbury), Donelan’s Supermarket (Lincoln), Stop & Shop (Wayland). Now that we’ve explored and shared the joys of maple sugaring, a traditional end of winter crop, we’re looking forward to the rest of what New England Spring has in store…

1. Spring Lambs & Kids

One of the many special things that makes Drumlin Farm a unique experience is our resident livestock. If you’ve visited recently, you were probably met by the very pregnant sheep and goats still in their thick winter coats. With spring comes the arrival of the newborn lambs and kids, and watching them walk, hop, and play is one of our favorite cornerstone spring activities. Such a favorite that we’ll be celebrating all things fiber and sheep related at Woolapalooza, our annual farm, food, and fiber festival. Visit on March 30th for sheep shearing, sheep dog herding demonstrations, local wool vendors, and a chance to visit the new spring babies!

2. April Vacation Week

February Vacation Week had us looking into the science of snow and winter, but it’s warming up in April! During one day or full week sessions the week of April 15-19, children will explore the thawing ponds for amphibians, take care of the wildlife, prepare and plant the garden, and meet in the kitchen to whip up some tasty treats. April Vacation on Drumlin Farm is always alive with the sounds of laughter and amazement at the new lessons we find.

3. Leafy Spring Vegetables

The spring growing season begins with crispy leafy greens. Bursting with an array of tender head lettuces, herbs, scallions, and salad radishes, we’re excited to start making fresh salad every week. Our spring CSA program allows you to share in the bounty of harvest, and you can pick up Drumlin Farm grown vegetables every week for your own kitchen. As the fields warm, shares will fill out with the first of the season’s carrots, sweet salad turnips, and (weather permitting) sugar snap peas, strawberries, and beets. Taste the difference between store-bought and farm-grown for yourself!

4. The Start of Spring Series Programs

Pencil in Drumlin Farm to your weekly schedule with the arrival of spring Child, Adult/Child Pair, and Family Series programs so you can visit the farm every week! You can spend time with your children in a social, educational environment and explore our habitats and wildlife together with programs like Farm Family, Family Explorations, and Old MacDrumlin’s Farm (families with children ages 2-6). Learn first-hand about “where does my food come from” and experience the farm-to-table process in Drumlin Cooks (ages 9-12), Kids in the Kitchen (ages 6-9), and Cooking Together (families with children ages 3-5).

5. The Return of Vernal Pools & Amphibians

Vernal pools are temporary bodies of water in our forests filled by melting snow and spring rain. Within these muddy, murky waters live a world of life including tadpoles, fairy shrimp, and dragonfly larva that will metamorphose into adults before the pools dry up. Come see for yourself in Polliwogs & Frogs (families with children age 2), Tadpoles & Toads (families with children ages 3-5), and Afternoon Kids Club (ages 4-6).

Crops Update: Week 25

Saturday’s Nor’easter shut down the farmers’ market and gifted us a real weekend. We learned about the market cancellation on Friday, and so made use of the hours normally spent harvesting to finish planting next year’s garlic crop. We’ll try to mulch the patch with straw tomorrow afternoon and early Thursday before the next round of rain arrives. The mulch will even out extremes of temperature over the winter and hopefully will prevent weed growth next spring. There’s an art to spreading straw: too thick, and it smothers the garlic; too thin, and the weeds come charging through; just right, and come May all you see is neat rows of green garlic on a field of straw.

Today and tomorrow are the last times we’ll set up the farmstand for the season, so be sure to stock up on onions, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, squash and sweet potatoes. We will be distributing fall CSA shares twice more after tomorrow on November 7 and 14. We may move those last two distributions to the Green Barn depending on the weather, so keep an eye out for any announcements in your newsletters. Although we no longer have a winter CSA program, we’re excited to start attending the Wayland Winter Market at Russell’s Garden Center. We’ll be there on January 19 for the first time, then twice more in February and twice again in March. We’re starting to plan our microgreen and pea tendril seeding schedule so that we’ll have something verdant to bring to market in addition to our usual root crops, onions and garlic.

With the CSA season winding down, be sure to check out our other fun food education programs to continue the farm-to-table connection and learn more cooking skills. Sourdough Breadmaking and Simple Cheesemaking are favorites for adults, while Crow Brings the Corn and The Gingerbread Man are perfect to bring the kids along.

See You in the Fields,

Your Farmers

Planting the Seeds for CSA 2018

Drumlin Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is the heart of our farm operation and how we most closely connect our customers to the food they enjoy and the land where it’s grown.The CSA model was introduced as way to provide consumers direct access to farms, while insulating farmers against unpredictable growing conditions. Customers could make an up-front investment in a “share” of the harvest, and then come to the farm each week to collect their “return”, with abundant quantities in a favorable growing year, less in a difficult one. With the recent proliferation of farmers’ markets, farm stands, and grocery home-delivery options, one may reasonably ask, “Given all my options, why would I still choose to join a farm-based CSA?” The answer is: “For the same reasons you choose to take a walk outside as opposed to on a treadmill–you like what you experience out there!”

Enjoy the fresh air, warm sun, and a little dirt under your nails dirt under your nails at Boycle Field.

At Drumlin Farm, our fields are open to the public, maintained so that our work is legible even if we’re not there to explain what’s happening. We want you to be able to track the development of your carrots from seed to harvestable root and your peas from shoots to pods hanging from the trellis. And beyond the fields, there’s even more to engage with at Drumlin: cooking classes for kids and adults, yoga classes, summer concerts and summer camp, guided hikes, daily drop-in activities, wooded trails, ponds, hilltop views, livestock barns, and wildlife displays, including our most recent additions, a young red fox and a reclusive porcupine.

The CSA is just one of the many paths that leads into our vibrant community farm and wildlife sanctuary. Through this path, shareholders can truly connect  to the seasons and to the health of Drumlin’s land and surrounding ecosystems. Historically, that CSA path has also been something of a yellow brick road with returns on initial investment averaging 20%!

Some improvements we’ve made to our CSA programs for 2018 include the availability of half shares and a reconfiguration of the distributions to better align with members’ schedules. Our Spring, Summer, and Fall CSA registration is now open, with many options for work shares, pick-your-own shares, half shares, flower, and fruit shares. We look forward to meeting you in the fields!

 

6 Date Night Ideas at Drumlin Farm

Photo by Ian Maclellan

Move over, Dinner and a Movie. We’ve got date nights that’ll make anyone swoon.

1. August 18: Summer Concert with Lula Wiles

Even the classic picnic dinner doesn’t stand a chance. Bring your romantic meal with you and chill out on the hill while Lula Wiles does the serenading for you.

2. September 6: Full Moon Yoga and Campfire at the Farm

Your post-namaste treat? S’mores, duh.

3. September 8: Friday Evening Hayride and Campfire

Yes, you’ll be sharing your date night with some families and kiddos, but if you’re a kid-at-heart, this is a cute way to spend your Friday evening with that special someone. Because s’mores.

4. September 19: Wild Edibles Walk

Scribble down notes as Russ Cohen shows you allofthethings you didn’t know you could eat. Then munch on snacks he’s prepared, like stinging nettle fritters, Japanese knotweed crumble, and black walnut bars. Stop at Lincoln Kitchen for dinner afterward.

5. September 23: Moon Over Drumlin

Tastings from award-winning Boston chefs, guest appearances from our animal ambassadors, and wine. Lots of wine.

6. Flowers from the Market

OK. It’s not really a date night. And it’s not at the farm. But every Saturday, we’re at the Union Square Farmers Market slinging gorgeous bouquets. And bonus for all you single folks: Treat. Yo. Self.

Drumlin Farm Crops Update Vol. 7

By Drumlin Farm Crops Manager Matt Celona

Strawberries Continue to Thrive
The team is picking strawberries right now for restaurant orders and for the farm stand. Some people came out during Saturday’s rain and humidity to take advantage of Strawberry Day and were rewarded with what one chef has told us are “best tasting strawberries around this season.” Last week, we had lots of strawberries ripening in the patch, and volunteers from Net App  helped us pick pints for the CSA. This is something we would not have had the people power to do on our own, so CSA members can thank Net App for the treat!

Volunteers Continue to Be Great
We are now scheduling a weeding job for each volunteer group because the weeds are really taking off with the rain and long days. Civil engineers from Green International Affiliates (one of our new Community Partners) weeded carrots, planted basil and picked sugar snap peas for Saturday’s market. Thanks for your focused work, Green International.

On Saturday, parents and children from Marathi Mandal of Boston volunteered in the field. We enjoyed weeding carrots, planting sunflowers, and harvesting peas with these volunteers.

And finally, we’re approaching the last big planting project of the year: One half-acre of pumpkins with the help of volunteers from Phillips Medisize.

Crops Team Continues to Plant and Harvest
Last week, Andrew, Josh, and Avril worked late to put the first line of twine on all the early tomatoes and planted the second succession of tomatoes. Thanks all for the extra time and effort.

We also have storage crops on our mind. We will soon transplant storage cabbage to the field and seeding carrots intended for the root cellar. Purple spring onions are just now reaching bunching size, and we will soon be harvesting the first summer squash and cucumbers of the year. Garlic scape season has ended, and the bulbs have a few more weeks to grow before we bring them into the barn.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Drumlin Farm Crops Update Vol. 6

Heatwave #1

Looks like the first heat wave of the year has arrived. It’s 95 in the field where volunteers Anne and Shelia are crawling along over the hot soil thinning beets—amazing! The heat will push the strawberries and peas along, and we’ve moved Strawberry Day to June 24 because not enough of the berries will be ready by this weekend. We do plan to pick strawberries for the first time tomorrow morning and bring them up to the stand.

Google Volunteers Planting Dahlias

This past week we got lots of great help from three large groups. On Thursday, volunteers from Google planted dahlias. Their company made a donation to help us purchase the plants from a nursery. After planting the dahlias, the volunteers thoroughly weeded four beds of celery and celeriac. Thanks for the help!

Thanks, Camp Counselors!

On Friday morning, Zach and Emma brought the camp counselors to the field to learn about our crops program and to get trained for the upcoming “Weedouts”—the mornings when campers get dirty and pull weeds. Thanks counselors for making camp a rewarding first connection to Drumlin for so many kids and families, and thanks for pulling those weeds in the radicchio and peas!

Storm Volunteers

On Friday afternoon, Care.com brought volunteers to the field just in time to plant the sweet potato slips. A thunderstorm passed through, but the gang brushed it off and happily set 2,500 plants in about an hour. Thanks for all your great work and for the donation!

Summer CSA Countdown

The summer CSA opens this week just as many new crops are about to come in. We are close to our first harvest of chard, beets, carrots and garlic scapes. We’re excited to see what’s ready come Wednesday morning. If you’re interested in grabbing a last-minute share, visit massaudubon.org/drumlincsa.

Your Farmers

Drumlin Farm Crops Update Vol. 2

by Crops Manager Matt Celona

April Showers vs. Last Summer’s Drought

Of late, several people have asked how many inches of rain we’ve been getting in all these storms. “Thankfully, enough,” I tell them. Enough for us to think about things other than putting out the rain gauge to measure our rising level of anxiety as precipitation dwindles! Let’s not do that again until we have to. And what did all our worrying during last year’s drought amount to? The crops that could thrive in the drought did so, while other crops suffered. We had done our best by way of caring for the soil, fallowing fields and building soil organic matter, and we continue our commitment to this system.

Chickens on the Move

Thanks to the efforts of Livestock Manager Caroline and her assistant Alyssa, we’ve now introduced chickens into our fallowing plan so as to further improve the soil. You’ll see two mobile chicken tractors in the resting field near the entrance to Boyce. Our hens are eating insects and helping limit pest pressure while also processing the clover we planted there two seasons ago. Hopefully sheep will follow hens in the field and further enliven the soil.

Greens, Greens, and More Greens

So while we’re not worrying about water, we are thinking a lot about how to get the greens to grow faster in this cool weather so as to supply chefs, the Union Square Farmers Market in Somerville and our new spring CSA program.  Early lettuce and spinach are on the cusp of being ready for harvest, so this past Saturday, Josh, Will and I hand-weeded to make future harvests more efficient.

While we were killing weeds on Saturday, Sarah, Laura, and Avril were killing it at market. Nice work market team! Last year, Sarah introduced the market loyalty program for Somerville patrons. It’s a version of CSA where a customer commits money up front in return for a discount on produce and flowers. Sarah also experimented with bringing lots of greenhouse-grown microgreens to that first market, and they were a big hit.

Killdeer in the Field

In birding news, we’ve marked two killdeer nests that really good parent birds brought to our attention. In both cases, a parent aggressively marched toward the approaching tractor instead of just leaping up at the crucial final moment, as is more often the case. Two days after noting the nests, we saw six hatchlings scurrying around. We assume that must be the result of an additional two nests because we’ve never seen more than four eggs in one nest. But we have no idea where they came from. The parents are still sitting on the two nests they helped us identify.

Perhaps by next week, the mystery will be solved.

See you in the field,

Your Farmers

Patio Dining + Drumlin Farm = Perfection

One of the best perks of summer is when all of our favorite restaurants open their doors and break out the patio dining, serving up grilled eats, ice-cold drinks, and all the twinkle lights you can handle.

Did you know that nearly 20 restaurants in the Boston area receive produce from Drumlin Farm? And oh yes, some of them even have patio seating.

Here are four local spots that combine (what we think) is the best of summer: Patio dining and fresh Drumlin Farm produce!

The IndoThe Independent | Somerville
Brunchers, get ready for an Irish breakfast, roasted beets, and baby kale salad. Sunscreen optional.

Bronwyn | Somerville
If you’re looking for a cozy, casual patio experience, stop at Bronwyn for some knödel with hakurei turnips, radicchio salat, and pickled eggs with beets.

CBC

Cambridge Brewing Company | Cambridge
The pizza specials at Cambridge Brewing Company are amazing: fig and arugula or peach and dandelion greens? One of each, please!

Brass Union | Somerville
People-watch your way through a meal at Somerville’s new Brass Union. Their brunch menu features roasted veggies, and chorizo with scallions. Pair that with coffee and orange juice and you’ll be set for the weekend.

Can’t get enough Drumlin Farm produce in your life? Feast at Moon Over Drumlin, where some of Boston’s top chefs will prepare our produce and meat to perfection. Tickets are going fast!

Summer Crops Update: June 14

_MG_6261

Strawberry Update
We have decided to cancel Strawberry Day this year because of our small yield, but nice berries are still ripening in this dry and sunny weather! Pints are available for purchase at the farm stand, along with the first carrots of the season. The crops team did a great job hand-weeding the carrots and bringing them to Union Square Farmers Market. Other farmers couldn’t believe we had grown them at Drumlin. Field-grown Massachusetts carrots on June 11? It’s a first for us, too!

Establishing Crops
We’re nearing the part of the season when we establish all major crops. Last week, we planted the melons and sweet potatoes. This week, we’ll plant an acre of winter squash. After that, an acre of pumpkins will round out the large plantings. Last week, the greenhouse volunteer team seeded Brussels sprouts and the fall storage cabbage. So, while it’s not yet officially summer, fall crops are already germinating in the greenhouse.

Volunteer Groups
We received help from three volunteer groups last week. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, groups weeded, planted sunflowers, harvested strawberries, and cut back field edges. Thanks, everyone, for your amazing work!

_MG_6284

The Farm Stand
Peas, beets, summer squash, garlic scapes and spring onions will arrive at the stand very soon. In the next few days, you’ll see us pounding stakes and putting the first line of twine on the fast-growing tomatoes. Stop by the field in the morning to say hello!

See you in the field,

Your farmers

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: June 3–10

IMG_0555

Hello, June!

With the heat of Memorial Day weekend behind us, it’s time for us to throw on sunscreen and explore the farm!

Here’s what we have lined up for you:

Friday, June 3

Queen Bee
3:30–5 pm | All ages w/Adult
Buzz on in and learn about the queen bee and her court. She may have as many as 20,000 attendants catering to her needs, and she could lay up to 1,500 eggs each day!

Saturday, June 4

_MG_3160

Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping
1–3:30 pm | Adult
This class is all about honeybees—how they survive, what they do for us, and of course, honey. We will visit the hives and sample various honeys. If you are contemplating beekeeping or if you just want to know more about these insects, join us!

Tuesday, June 7

Baby Bugs
3:30–5 pm | All ages w/Adult
Let’s go on a bug hunt and search for caterpillars, grasshopper nymphs, dragonfly naiads, and other insect larvae!

Thursday, June 9

Home Tweet Home
10–11:30 am | All ages w/Adult
Now that spring is here, migratory birds have returned and are settling in to raise their families. We’ll examine nests, listen to songs, and meet some feathered friends!

Friday, June 10

Splish Splash
3:30–5 pm | All ages w/Adult
Meet our web-footed quackers and discover why ponds are such wonderful places to live.

_MG_5909

Farm-to-table Cooking: Spring Harvest
6–9 pm | Adult
Celebrate the bounty of spring at Drumlin Farm as we visit the fields to harvest our meal. Return to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking class, where we will craft these ingredients and enjoy them together!

For a look at all of our upcoming programs, visit massaudubon.org/drumlinprograms.