Tag Archives: farm

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 14

“For the rain it raineth every day.” And we need it to stoppeth already before we contract trench foot kneeling in all these muddy puddles in our undrying boots! It’s wet and humid out there, and the fields are sodden, making it impossible to work the soil for seeding greens and fall cover crops. Cultivating by tractor or hoe is also impossible, so we’re inching along, pulling weeds out of the muck. But so far, the crops are thriving (along with the weeds), and we haven’t seen the foliar diseases often associated with wet weather: alternaria, and blight and downy mildew. Tomato ripening is speeding up, and today at the stand you’ll find heirlooms and cherries, and a super sale on specialty melons Snow Leopard and Sun Jewel.

Rain and flooding impacted the last two Somerville markets causing a mid-market closure on August 4 and keeping attendance low again on August 11. Thanks to the Crops team for continuing their good work at market despite dreary conditions.

Andrew preparing watermelons for market.

After Andrew finished loading watermelons onto the pickup truck in preparation for market, a two person team—a sprayer and a melon-turner—dance around the bed of the truck blasting mud from each fruit. Then, we drive the pickup to market that way, and the team bucket brigades the watermelons directly onto the display. Now we need some dry weather so people can come out and enjoy these delicious fruits! We also need dry weather to get back to spraying certified organic products for pest control. These pesticides need to remain on the leaves for several hours so that the target pest can ingest them. That won’t happen if a shower comes along and rinses them off. Right now, we’re most concerned about cabbage loopers on brassicas and bean beetles on string beans.

Cambridge Institute hard at work.

Two volunteer groups gave us a boost last week and managed to avoid getting rained on. On Tuesday, civil engineers from Green International weeded strawberries, planted squash and lettuce and helped harvest tomatoes for the following day’s CSA distribution. On Thursday, 40 employees of the Cambridge Innovation Institute picked beans and tomatoes, weeded leeks and harvested orange kabocha winter squash. Thanks all for the much-needed help!

If we don’t turn into pillars of mold, we’ll see you in the field.

Your Farmers

Date Ideas for Drumlin Farm Love Birds

Try something different with your budding romance or long term partner with these one-of-a-kind date ideas! There’s always something new and fun to discover at Drumlin Farm, start your own adventure together today…

Upgrade Your Romantic Strolls

There’s so man opportunities to make the most of your time outdoors at Drumlin Farm. Step your romantic stroll game up a notch by joining us on one of our guided walks! Our regular Naturalist Walks explore the sanctuary and cover all things natural that we happen to come across. Or get a little more specific by focusing your time on one feature, like at our Fungi Field Walk. Love birds that love birding won’t want to miss out on Thursday Morning Bird Walks either!

Spice It Up in the Kitchen

Don’t spend your night sitting on the couch watching Chopped again, learn new kitchen techniques and start cooking together! Cooking is a fun way to plan together, bond, and create delicious treats from the heart. Make personalized jams and jellies for your breakfasts or as a mid-afternoon snack at our Jams and Preserves program or create long lasting food to compliment your long lasting love at Pickling & Canning on September 29. Does your partner love Kimchi? If so we bet they’d love the homemade version! Treat them to an experience learning about these time-tested kitchen skills and and taste-tested delicacies.

See the Farm via Hayride

When was the last time you traveled by hayride? Love makes us act like kids again, and our Hayrides are the perfect throwback to simpler times. Take a load off your feet and enjoy our rustic limo ride around the farm site-seeing. Hayrides depart from the Red Barn (weather permitting) every 15 minutes and you can pick up tickets at the admissions window for $2.50/person–a romantic cruise without breaking the bank! 

Dance Together at Our Summer Music Series Concert

Enjoy sweet tunes, a beautiful sunset, a packed picnic, and an ice cream at our last of the season Summer Music Series concert to see local band Say Darling! Relax on the grass and enjoy the music together, or get moving and dance the night away–shoes optional!

Get Away

As beautiful as Lincoln is, sometimes you just want to get away. Take a trip with your sweetheart on a variety of birding and nature-filled trips with Drumlin Farm. Take a day trip birding Plum Island or walk the beach looking for shorebirds in Rhode Island. Make it an overnight trip to Cape Cod or the Atlantic Flyway for even more adventure!

A Fun Errand: Grocery Shop at the Farmstand

Wholesome ingredients make for love-filled meals; treat yourselves to a date night in made with restaurant quality ingredients from our open-air farmstand. Turn a boring errand like shopping for groceries into a relaxing, grounding experience with your partner. You’ll find quality humane meat you won’t see at your grocery store, and a variety of summer produce like watermelon, carrots, cucumbers, rainbow chard, and more. Bring your ingredients home to cook a delicious meal for two!

Take in the View from the Top of the Drumlin

Did you know, on a clear day, you can see Wachusett Mountain in Princeton from the top of the Drumlin? The view from the top of our name-sake glacial formation is incredible at any time of day. At sunset warm colors paint the sky, and at sunrise morning bird activity fills the air. Reach the summit and soak in the view at your next visit. How romantic!

The drumlin at sunset.

Discover Hidden Trails

Just when you think you’ve seen all of Drumlin Farm, you stumble on another side path less traveled by. Many smaller trails and rest areas are tucked away throughout the farm, waiting for you. Grab your favorite hiking buddy and bring a field guide and magnifying glass to discover something new!

Visit the Animals

Have you ever seen an owl turn it’s head all the way around in real life? Have you ever seen a red fox up close? Do you know how different countries around the world imitate chicken noises? Our animal exhibits aren’t just for kids, and you’re guaranteed to learn something new together. Take a picture with our friendly cows, measure your arm span compared to a vultures wings, and feel the fluffy wool of our adorable sheep and lambs. Stroll the farm yard and visit our animal ambassadors on a unique date like no other!

Bonus: Remember Your Trip with a Gift from the The Audubon Shop

The Mass Audubon Shop, located at Drumlin Farm, is filled with gifts for nature lovers and more. Pick up a bird feeder for your home, a plush animal for your bed, or a beautiful piece of jewelry inspired by the natural world. Every time you look at it or use your souvenir you’ll think of your special date day at Drumlin Farm and the memories made with your loved one!

 

Marvelous March

There’s no better feeling than the sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs on one of the first warm days of spring. Don’t blink though – before you know it the season will be over! Live March to the fullest by celebrating all it has to offer, including sheep shearing and lamb season, Saint Patrick’s Day, wildlife observation and care, and all things maple.

  1. Maple Magic – Friday, March 2 / 3:30 pm-5:00 pm (families with children ages 0-12). It’s maple sugaring time! Visit the relaxing maple grove to check the taps and taste some sap. Learn how we’ve made maple syrup from past to present and delight your taste buds with a sweet maple treat.
  2.  Homeschool Maple Science and History – Wednesday, March 7 / 1:30 pm-4:30 pm (children ages 5-12). Especially designed for homeschooled children, you’ll learn about the structure and seasonal adaptations of maple trees as we visit the sugar shack and experiment with sap, syrup and sugar. We’ll venture out to the sugar bush, collect sap, learn about sugaring equipment of today and yesteryear, and enjoy a maple treat.
  3. Sip Some Sap Thursday, March 8 / 10:00 am – 11:30 am (families with children 3-12 years old). Listen to a story about maple sugaring and take a walk out to our sugar bush. We’ll check out the evaporator to see how sap is turned into syrup, and get to try some ourselves.

    Vacation Week Programs captivated by what sap looks like before it becomes syrup.

  4. March Into Spring SeriesFridays, March 9, 16, & 23 / 3:30-5:00 pm (families with children ages 3-6). Learn about sugar and syruping, spring chickens, and wool in this fun family series that covers everything great about March. Play together while exploring the farm and meeting the animals that call it home.
  5. Sap-to-Syrup Farmer’s BreakfastSaturday & Sunday, March 10 & 11 / 9:00 am – 1:00 pm (adults and families with children of all ages). This annual celebration is the tastiest of them all! Learn about the maple sugaring process while enjoying a delicious breakfast of pancakes, real maple syrup, and Drumlin Farm’s own sausage and roasted potatoes. Drumlin Farm made syrup will also be available for purchase.

    Visit our sugar bush to check the sap buckets and enjoy this calm stand of trees.

  6. St. Paddy’s Party – Thursday, March 15 / 10:00-11:30 am (families with children ages 0-8). Did you know that ‘drumlin’ is a Gaelic word for “littlest ridge?” We’ll plant shamrocks, greet a snake, and enjoy some boxty, a traditional Irish potato treat. We might even dance a jig or two to celebrate this greenest of holidays.
  7. Afternoon Chores & More – Saturday, March 17 / 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm (families with children ages 4-12). Get ready for chore time! Walk the site in a farmer’s shoes, helping us care for livestock. We will feed chickens and collect eggs, and bring hay to the sheep, goats, and cows. After finishing, we’ll treat ourselves to a farm snack.
  8. Spring Wildlife CaretakersSundays, March 18, April 15, & May 20 / 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm (teens ages 13-17 years old). The first class of our ever-popular teen wildlife group starts in March – perfect for anyone thinking about a career in wildlife care, or that has a passion for animals. Join other like-minded teens to learn about wildlife health, animal enrichment, diet requirements, food preparation, and other related topics. Go behind the scenes and get a close-up experience under the guidance of our wildlife care staff.
  9. Bread & Bunnies – Thursday, March 22 / 10:00-11:30 am (families with children ages 0-7). Hop on down to the kitchen for some hare-raising fun. We’ll visit a rabbit on the farmyard then head into the kitchen to bake bunny’s favorite treat: carrot bread!
  10. WoolapaloozaSaturday, March 24 / 10:00am-4:00 pm (adults and families with children of all ages). Visit our newborn lambs, see live sheep shearing and herding demonstrations, shop local fiber artisan crafts, and more! Woolapalooza is our annual celebration of all things wool, and a fabulously fun time to visit the farm and participate in our mission to connect people with nature.

    Welcome our new baby lambs to the farm at Woolapalooza!

  11. Birding Great Bay and the New Hampshire Coast – Sunday, March 25 / 7:00 am-5:00 pm (adults). Explore an area few Massachusetts birders visit. We’ll start at Great Bay, 5000 acres of tidal water in New Hampshire, then follow the coastline to Salisbury, Massachusetts, stopping at vantage points to look for sea ducks, loons, grebes, snow bunting, horned lark, bald eagle, snowy owl, and wintering shorebirds.
  12. Simple Cheesemaking – Saturday, March 31, 2018 12:00-4:00 pm (adults). Cheesemaking is delicious, fun, and surprisingly simple! During this workshop, you’ll make and sample several different cheeses, learning about their makeup and history. You’ll leave with more samples, recipes, resources, and the skills you need to pursue cheesemaking, one of the oldest forms of food preservation, on your own.

    Learn the skills to enjoy fresh homemade cheese whenever you want!

 

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!

 

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

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. 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

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: September 9–23

Fall is fast approaching. We’re already noticing some leaves turning, and baby snapping turtles are making their way to our ponds. With the end of summer comes the start of school, and the urge to get outdoors and enjoy the cooler air and brilliant fall hues.

Here’s how you can soak up the new season:

Wednesday, September 14

Parents Outdoors! | Adult+Backpack Baby | 9:30 am
Get outside with your child and connect with other like-minded parents. We will walk and talk and learn about the world we live in and how truly fascinating it is.

Thursday, September 15

Fall Hawk Migration: Lecture| Adult | 7 pm
Hawks provide a number of identification challenges. Luckily, we can use general shape and behavior to categorize types of hawks. Field trip to follow on Saturday, September 17.

Friday, September 16

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Kimchi at Home | Ages 12+ | 7 pm
Learn how Asian communities preserve their food using salt, garlic, and spices, sample our Drumlin Farm kimchi, and take home your own fermented project to carry you through the winter months.

Saturday, September 17

Fall Hawk Migration: Field Trip | Adult | 8 am
We’ll travel to the hawk watch on 2290-ft Pack Monadnock in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Thursday lecture recommended.

Teen Birders: Hawk Watch Birding Weekend | Teens | 9 am
We’ll head to Mt. Watatic in New Hampshire for a hike and hawk watch, then head to Wildwood for a canoe trip, birding, dinner, and smore’s. On Sunday, we’ll drive to Pack Monadnock for a hawk watch with New Hampshire Audubon.

Naturalist Walk | Adult | 1 pm
These excursions will focus on observing, exploring, and appreciating the world around us. Email tpinney@massaudubon.org to be added to the mailing list and receive details on each walk!

Sunday, September 18

Sunday Morning Birds at Drumlin | Adult | 8 am
Drumlin Farm has a great variety of habitats and gets a mix of migrants and residents every fall. These walks are ideal for beginning birders.

Thursday, September 22

Thursday Morning Bird Walk | Adult | 7:30 am
Join us as we explore Drumlin Farm and other local hotspots in search of fall migrants.

Friday, September 23

Apple Honey Harvest | Family | 3:30 pm
Visit the bees and taste delicious honey-and-apple combinations! We’ll share stories and songs, then finish the afternoon with apple crafts.

Teen Night at Drumlin Farm | Teen | 7 pm
Explore Drumlin Farm’s trails by moonlight, stargaze at the top of the drumlin, and listen for owls and night creatures. Learn about natural history, play games, listen to music, and bring a snack to share by the fireside.

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

Drumlin Farm Friday to Friday: August 19–26

Upcoming programs at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Can you believe that summer is almost over? With only one session left of Drumlin Farm Camp, it’s time for all of us here to take a break before the fall programs start.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan ahead! Take a look at all of our programs  at the farm (and some out-of-state birding trips!).

Here’s what’s coming up:

Friday, August 19

Friday Evening Hayride and Campfire | All ages | 6 pm
Take a ride in our hay wagon while watching for birds flying at dusk and evening fireflies.  We’ll  stop at our campfire for stories, s’mores, and a special nighttime visitor.

Saturday, August 20

Naturalist Walk | Adults | 1 pm
These excursions focus on observing, exploring, and appreciating the world around us. Each walk will focus on one area or habitat as we build our understanding of ecological communities. Pre-registration is not available. Meet us at the Nature Center!

Friday, August 26

Fermentation 101 | Adults | 7 pm
Join us for a visually, aromatically, and gastronomically exciting event exploring all things fermentation.