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July & August 2013 Newsletter Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter Inside this Issue: Growing Green: e Story of an Urban Ag Business page 14 Certified Organic Feeding of Your Livestock & Poultry page 3 Whole Farm CSA Delivers Food Year Round page 15

Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter

Sep 12, 2021



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Inside this Issue:
page 14
page 3
page 15
Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter, Inc.
411 Sheldon Road Barre, MA 01005 978-355-2853 (p) 978-355-4046 (f)
NOFA/Mass Board Meetings are open to all members. For more information please contact:
Executive Director, Julie Rawson
organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Not a member yet? CLICK HERE
The NOFA/Mass Newsletter is published eleven times per year by the Northeast Organic Farming Association/
Massachusetts Chapter, Inc. Circulation: 5,000
Newsletter Editor: Nicole Belanger Circulation: Rebecca Buell
Submissions: Nicole Belanger
Advertising: Bob Minnocci
By Nicole Belanger NOFA/Mass Public Relations Coordinator
How did you get into organic farming? I heard this question a lot when I visited family over the 4th of July, from the kind woman I sat next to on the train from DC back to MA to my friend’s grandmother whose family’s been farming the same piece of land for 200 years. I’m no farmer, but I, like each of us, have my own story, aha moment, set of skills, interests, and passions.
In this issue, Lincoln Fishman of Sawyer Farm in Worthington shares his family’s story of deciding between life in the country and the big city (country wins) and the tips and practices that make their year-round New England CSA work. We also hear from Jessie Banhazl about how she transitioned from producing reality tv shows back to food, which she loved so much growing up. Sharon Gensler tells us about her and her partner’s efforts to downsize, which for them means upsizing in some unexpected ways.
My own story starts with the curiosity of watching seeds germinate; the innate understanding that food is meant to come from the ground, to be produced equitably by someone you can trust, without hurting people or the planet; and the glee of branching away as an adult from the traditional processed American foods I ate as a kid. “Where were you all my life?”, I felt when trying pesto and curry for the first time.
Growing food is in my roots, like many of yours, and I’m excited to get back to them. I’ve relished stories of the urban backyard gardens of my great-grandparents in Worcester and am excited to see what grows in my front yard this year.
See you in August at the NOFA Summer Conference!
Want more info from NOFA/ Mass?
Follow us on these social media sites: NOFA/Mass NOFAMass
July & August 2013 Newsletter 3 July & August 2013 Newsletter
heartening for me than the sight of a laying hen spending every moment wisely gathering her living. These chickens get free choice layer grain, kelp, oyster shell and their daily breakfast of sprouted grains. In the summer-time the birds would destroy our crops, so they have to be moved into chicken tractors along with the broilers. We follow that same protocol as above.
Turkeys In many ways managed like the chickens, the turkeys differ in that they make aggressive use of pasture. They do not seem as interested in sprouted grains as the chickens, however. We do what we can to get them on grass that has been mowed (by cows or mower) about two weeks or so prior to being moved onto the pasture. I am sad to say that we merely broke even on our turkeys last year. Staying on top of infant mortality is the most important management concern with these birds as they are very fragile as children. As infants they receive vinegar in the water, careful monitoring of brooding temps to keep it toasty warm with no corners to pile into, kelp, sod, fresh hay for bedding each day, and regular nursery check-ins. Once they are adults, they are very tough and can handle all sorts of weather. From a quality of life standpoint, one should have turkeys around for the entertainment factor – they are marvelously curious and highly sociable.
Pigs We raise 13 pigs each year that we purchase as certified organic 8 week-old piglets from Misty Brook Farm. We have gone back and forth over the past 30 years regarding where to raise our
pigs. Of late we have settled into carving out a different ½ acre section of the woods each year. We electrify the area, provide them with a movable house that can accommodate all of them (they generally choose to find housing in the woods), and see them daily when we come in to feed them. We start with free choice hog grower in a self-feeder and supplement with about 7 gallons of whey each day from Robinson Farm’s certified organic cheese operation.
As animals that originated in the woods, these pigs do extensive foraging for food and minerals they find in the soil. They are immensely healthy and happy. Our pork prices range from $8.25 - $13/lb. We also sell lard at $20/ quart. One of the real benefits of raising pigs is that they take almost no time. Meanwhile they improve the quality
As we consider ways to feed our livestock and poultry certifiably organic while promoting maximum health and productivity for our
animals, we need to be cognizant of financial viability if we are to stay in business. A broad diversity of feeds, ideally foraged as much as possible by your animals, will keep costs down and health more nearly at its potential. I start my feeding regimen with a high quality certified organic commercial grain for our chickens, turkeys, and pigs. A cow’s ideal diet centers around high quality grass.
It is important to understand that organic grain does not necessarily mean quality feeds. We purchase Kreamer Feeds’ Nature’s Best brand feeds. We have tried many brands of feed over the years and find them to raise the happiest, healthiest, heaviest, and most productive animals. We get our feed from Horse and Buggy Feeds in Winchendon. Walter Anair is willing to deliver and to give volume discounts.
Chickens We raise 500 broiler birds each spring-fall season in two batches: May - July and July - October. We have found a variety that does well on-range called Kosher King. These
Barred Rock crosses have a more natural body type than the Cornish crosses, and they enjoy range-eating grass. We have tried Freedom Rangers also, which we enjoyed, but have only been able to get them straight run. We prefer to raise all cockerels because of their more consistently larger size.
For health and vigor from early on, we supplement the starter feed with apple cider vinegar in their water, kelp free choice, a shovelful of sod each day, and sprouted grains (mentioned in last month’s newsletter) from the start. At about a month of age the birds are moved outdoors to their chicken tractors which are moved along the pasture one length per day with the birds walking along inside. With adequately low stocking numbers, the birds have access to fresh and nutritious grass most of the day, which I understand can meet up to 25% of their nutritional needs. All of the above produce in 12 -13 weeks a bird that dresses (with giblets and neck) approximately 6 ¼ lbs. We charge $6.25/lb for these birds and net between $10-$15 per bird.
Laying hens are the homesteader’s dream bird. Ours are totally free range for 6 months each year, the October - April period. They return to their permanent home at night after spending the day foraging broadly. There is nothing more
By Julie Rawson NOFA/Mass Education Director and Farmer at Many Hands Organic Farm
Certified Organic Feeding of Your Livestock & Poultry 4 July & August 2013 Newsletter
of our woods. And we get all the bones, heads and organ meat to make a year’s supply of stock, head cheese and dog and cat food (our security staff). We netted approximately $100 cash per pig last year. This doesn’t sound like a whole lot of “money” but I feed large crews of people for breakfast and lunch year round, mostly with pork and eggs as the protein basis of our meals.
Cows We have had cows off and on for the past 20 or so years. Presently we are harvesting a couple of almost 2 year-old Jersey steers each fall. We don’t net significant money from their sales. What we do
get is a highly improved pasture/hay field that has shown a substantial increase in diversity, weight and volume of hay, and subsequent fertility returned to our vegetable fields that are mulched with the hay. There is a perceptible improvement in overall farm biodiversity and health with the addition of these cows. Their manure also feeds our modest worm operation and is a significant source of
nutrition for our chickens that pass over the field after the cows have grazed there. Our steers get one tray of sprouts each day to keep them happy and manageable with two trays in the winter. They are totally pasture-raised, eating our stored hay in the winter when they are not eating grass (approx 8 months per year).
Our vegetable/fruit operation and animal operation are very integrated with one another. Each serves the health and nutrition/fertility of the other. Working within a certified organic and biologically sensitive paradigm, I can safely use the animal waste and by-products across the farm and be assured that I am honoring the microbial life that have the final say with our health care.
My challenge is to continue to find economical (in money and time) ways to further feed our animals from our land and reduce off-farm inputs. As I get personally into a more grain-free diet, I am constantly working to maximize the sprouting of grains, improving pasture, and thus further reducing bagged commercial grains that are not biologically active, and perhaps not as digestible as these live sources. All this is a work in progress.
July & August 2013 Newsletter 5 July & August 2013 Newsletter
So you’re interested in good fun, delicious food, and learning about organic practices, farming and ecological sustainability.
Join NOFA in Amherst this August 9-11th for a weekend of learning, networking, and fun with people who are transforming the food system in the Northeast. With hundreds of practical skills and farming workshops, the conference features live entertainment, children’s and teen conferences, farm tours, a country fair, organic meals, riveting speakers, music, networking and much more.
The conference features eight specialized workshop tracks, including Beginning Farmer, Community Supported Agriculture, Grazing, Nutrient Density, Organic Land Care Track, Permaculture, Cooperatives, Winter Growing and Season Extension.
On Friday, August 9th five half-day preconferences on bees, flowers, poultry, farm profitability & soils will happen featuring presentations by several Vermonters like “Farming Smarter, Not Harder” with Richard Wiswall, “Honeybee Hive Products” with Ross Conrad, and “Growing and Marketing Cut Flowers” with Diana Doll.
Affordable registration and creative financing options are available, like camping and dorm housing, as are creative financing options like work exchange, group discounts for 5 or more, and the Farming Education Fund.
On August 8th, NOFA/Mass will hold a fundraiser to benefit its policy work. The fundraiser will begin at 6:30pm at Brookfield Farm, 24 Hulst Rd, Amherst, MA.
For more information on the 39th Annual NOFA Summer Conference including workshop, pre- conference, registration and much more, visit
See you in August! 6 July & August 2013 Newsletter
NOFA/Mass Looking for New Board Members
There are two major groups of people who contribute daily to making NOFA/Mass that vibrant and effective organization that it is. They are the staff who receive financial remuneration for long hours and the board members who do their work for the organization totally gratis, often with financial outlay. The NOFA/Mass board is a “working board” in that they have a serious hand in organizational governance. They are respected advisors on program management and tireless volunteers in budget oversight and organizational fundraising.
At this time we have two openings on the board – one immediately, and one for January 1. We say goodbye to Luke Pryjma who is transitioning from board member from Western Mass to NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Workshop Coordinator. In January we will lose Jean Claude Bourrut who has distinguished himself as the chair of the finance committee and tireless volunteer on behalf of bee education.
NOFA/Mass board members are expected to attend six board meetings per year – three of which are in person (two of those are within the context of a one day - March - and two day - November - retreat). Board members are also expected to attend and help out at the NOFA/Mass Winter Conference and NOFA Summer Conference. Each
board member can serve on one or two of our standing committees: finance, personnel, development, strategic planning, education, board development, and NOFA Interstate Council. These committees average nine meetings per year, 1-2 hours phone meetings.
In terms of professional qualities, we are looking for active practitioners of farming, gardening, homesteading, landscaping, consumer activism. We also welcome professional expertise in law, accounting, organizational development, etc.
Personally we are looking for team players with critical thinking skills, a practical and NOFA-centered belief and lifestyle manifestation, and folks who are fun to be around.
We split pretty evenly between men and women, and always like regional diversity. And we like a mix of younger and older, energetic and seasoned.
Does this sound like something you would like to consider? Give me a call at (978) 355-2853, or send an email of intent to Together we are a group åof approximately 25 souls (board and staff) that stay in close contact via email and are a highly functional, working team of folks.
Started in 2012, Lifetime Membership is the latest addition to NOFA/Mass membership. $1,000 Lifetime Membership includes member discounts for two individual adults from a family and their children under 18.
Mary DeBlois first caught wind of NOFA/Mass in the late 90s while involved with Natick Community Farm. Like most things we appreciate in life, it’s hard for her to remember exactly where she initially heard of NOFA/Mass. From her first Summer Conference years ago, at which she saw Wendell Berry speak, to being an off and on member for many years, Mary became more and more drawn into the organization. When asked to join the NOFA/Mass board in 2011, she enthusiastically said yes. Realizing she’s in it for the long term, she became a Lifetime Member as soon as it was offered. Appreciating the openness and accessibility of the organization, in addition to what she considers to be its
good management choices and financial practices, Mary likes NOFA/Mass’ compelling, positive message and mission. She thinks the mix of simultaneously educating people on a one to one basis, while also affecting policy on a national level, in collaboration with the other NOFA chapters, has a uniquely large and diverse impact.
As a Lifetime Member, Mary is not only enthusiastic about member discounts on conferences, workshops, and bulk orders, but she’s also happy to support NOFA/Mass’ work. She feels it is a natural fit for her interests as a home gardener and consumer who has raised animals for food. She sees her passion for healthy food for children, healthy soil and a healthy planet reflected in NOFA/Mass’ mission. Are you in the organic food movement for the long term? Consider Lifetime Membership! Find out more at:
NOFA/Mass Lifetime Membership By Nicole Belanger NOFA/Mass Public Relations Director
July & August 2013 Newsletter 7 July & August 2013 Newsletter
NOFA/Mass Educational Event Organizer Position Open! Starts August 1, 2013
The Educational Event Organizer is responsible for running a number of educational workshops. While the focus of this position has been on Greater Boston for the last couple of years, the position may not be geographically limited in the future.
Major Responsibilities Include: • Working with other NOFA/Mass education staff to develop a comprehensive educational agenda to serve the NOFA/ Mass constituencies of farmers, gardeners, landscapers, homesteaders, and consumers • Identifying workshop themes, locations, and facilitators • Working with NOFA/Mass PR Director to develop a publicity strategy • Using financial sustainability as one measure of program success • Bringing new members into NOFA/Mass
Qualifications include: • A strong commitment to and knowledge of organic farming practices; • Demonstrable organizing ability; • An energetic and entrepreneurial attitude; • Ability to work collegially as a team member as well as independently from home, with minimal supervision; • Basic office management and computer software skills.
Position Details: • 10 hours per week with generally flexible schedule • Starting pay range: $13-14/hour, with no benefits • Employee must maintain a current NOFA/Mass membership • Employee must attend NOFA/Mass retreats, the winter and summer conferences, and education department conference calls • Employee must provide appropriate basic office equipment to facilitate working from home
Application procedure: Send resume and three letters of reference to Julie Rawson, Executive Director, by July 22, 2013.
Questions, email or call (978) 355-2853.
By Cathleen O’Keefe NOFA/Mass Winter Conference Coordinator
The Winter Conference welcomes Mark Shepard as keynote speaker and all-day seminar leader, January 11, 2014, in Worcester, Mass. Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises and runs New Forest Farm, the Wisconsin 106-acre perennial agricultural forest considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.
New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland and eastern woodlands as its ecological models.
Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce food (for humans and animals), fuel, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind powered and farm equipment is powered with locally produced biofuels that are not taken from the human food chain.
Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting and processing of forest derived agricultural products for human foods and bio fuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Molli- son, the founder of the international Permaculture movement.
Mark is founder and board President for Restoration Agriculture Institute and serves on the board of the Southwest Badger Resource Conservation and Development Council. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide. Mark is a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the world’s largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, and is the founder and Master Cider Maker for the Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery in Viola, Wisconsin.
Outreach Updates
By Sharon Gensler NOFA/Mass Outreach Coordinator
Hi NOFA/Mass Volunteers past, present and future! We’ve been invited to attend and spread NOFA/Mass’ mission at some great upcoming events. Take a look at the list below and please consider representing us by tabling at any or all! It’s a great way to meet new folks, talk about what’s important to you, and get to attend some amazing events. We also offer enticing volunteer incentives; each event of 4 or more hours earns a $25 credit to be used towards membership, workshops, or merchandise. For more information about volunteering, visit
August 3- Mass Marketplace Festival, Wellesley August 16 & 17- Boston GreenFest August 17 & 18- Heath Agricultural Fair August 18- Greenfield Harvest Supper September 19- Massachusetts Day at the Big E September 22- Tattersall Farm Day, Haverhill September 22- Harvest New England, Sturbridge October 5 & 6- North Quabbin Garlic & Arts Fair October 15- UMass Boston Food Day Health Fair October 25-27- Connecting For Change- New Bedford
Photo Credit: Mark Shepard - 2014 Winter Conference keynoter.
Permaculturist Mark Shepard to Keynote 2014 Winter Conference
Proposal deadline: September 1, 2013
You are invited to submit a workshop proposal for the annual NOFA/Mass Winter Conference. The conference draws about 1,000 people from Massachusetts and neighboring states. Participants include seasoned and beginning farmers, urban homesteaders, backyard gardeners, food activists, and many other engaged learners.
We are particularly interested in receiving workshop proposals for the following subjects:
Homesteading skills, such as food preparation, preserving, or soap making
Growing specific crops organically, e.g. great carrots or potatoes
Gardening in small spaces such as containers, patios, or balconies
Farm management, such as marketing or financial planning
Beginning organic gardening
We encourage you to submit a proposal on any relevant subject, regardless of if it is one of the above subject areas. There are many more topics that we would like to see covered. All proposals will be reviewed by the Winter Conference staff with the objective of coordinating a workshop lineup that provides a variety of beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops for farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, and landscapers, as well as consumers and advocates.
To submit a workshop proposal, please complete this online form ( wc-workshop-presenter-form) by September 1st. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Luke Pryjma at or 413 - 281 - 2651.
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a NOFA classroom in January of 2013 Photo by Julie Rawson 10 July & August 2013 Newsletter
If you are, or would like to be a grower of: • organic broccoli • organic blueberries • organic strawberries • organic melons
Come grow with us: In 2012, we purchased more than $37,000,000 worth of local produce and flowers in our North Atlantic and North East regions—and we’re not stopping there!
Please contact Mike Bethmann, Rich Thorpe or Brian McKeller regarding potential opportunities: • • •
…to help build our local food supply!
wants YOU
Supporting local farmers, producers and vendors for 30 years and counting.
By Sharon Gensler Homesteader and NOFA/Mass Outreach Coordinator
July & August 2013 Newsletter 11 July & August 2013 Newsletter
By Sharon Gensler Homesteader and NOFA/Mass Outreach Coordinator
By Sharon Gensler NOFA/Mass Outreach Coordinator
Homesteading Observations: Downsizing & Sheep
Photo credit: Sharon Gensler
Over the last couple of years, my partner Pru and I have been thinking and working on the topic of Aging In Place. Our homestead site is better suited to younger bodies and ours are
getting older - who would have thought it! So, we have built a more easily accessible path to our house, which is nestled into the bottom of a hillside, and added a bedroom on the main floor. Making life easier with site improvements is one thing; changing homesteading life itself is another.
Added to the usual amount of homestead work (growing and preserving our food, building and tool maintenance, getting in the cordwood…) we are regularly taking care of aged parents. Thoughts of more down time, community service and travel conflict with what has been an ever-expanding homestead since 1980. We’ve said it’s time to downsize. No more new construction (as we add a compost toilet to our guest/intern cabin and build a small hoop house), no more new growing areas (as we add a new orchard area and an expanded pasture), no more new projects (as we add three lambs to our previously sheep-less life and await 25 new chicks). No more new endeavors (as we undertake starting the Wild Browse Farm Sustainability Center and increase our on-site Homestead Classes).
You might think, and I do too, we have a hard time following through on the concept of “slowing down”! However, there is some justification for our madness. The compost toilet in the cabin will allow us to have a yearlong intern, sure to be an amazing homestead immersion experience for them. And it will allow us the ability to respond to emergency parent care at a moment’s notice, or even a vacation, knowing that the place is in capable hands. The hoop house will extend our growing season, so less food preservation. Also, I have put more than half of our vegetable growing beds into cover crops, thus not expanding the garden for the first time in years. The new orchard area makes sense in that it’s a more frost-free site for peaches and plumbs, so less work than trying to coddle them where they were.
Pasture improvement has been an on-going project since the trees were cleared. We’ve pastured our laying flock and meat birds using portable electronet fencing and mobile coops. However, we spend a lot of time and petroleum mowing the area to keep the forage at the ideal 3-4” height for poultry. By adding the sheep in a rotation with the birds, we’re hoping for less mowing and pasture improvement (ruminant poop improves soil by adding and feeding microorganisms). We’ve only had them 3 weeks, so can’t really judge the outcome of this experiment. I’m keeping track of the extra time spent moving their pasture every few days and will compare it with time I would have spent mowing. One thing is clear, spending time watching them is mostly peaceful, and they are entertaining. I’m not sure
whether that time should be added to the plus or minus column of the “Great Sheep Experiment”. However, if the rain keeps up and the veggie crop flounders, we might be glad that there will be something to eat. Grass-fed lamb, anyone?
And last, but not least, the Sustainability Center. Looking back and taking stock led us to realize that it was time to share on a wider level and to take our role as educators more seriously.
By teaching we will be able to keep our hands and hearts in the homesteading realm as we age. Even though I am a confirmed Luddite, I’m actually in the process of creating a website: http://
Increasing the garden and homestead skills classes has been a personally rewarding endeavor for us. Taking the time to think about and prepare for each class helps us brush up on the latest information and reminds us that we really do know a heck of a lot. It’s satisfying to share our thoughts, skills and insights more widely than to just one intern each summer. It is building a community of folks who all grow by sharing their stories. It empowers all of us to take the next step and live our dreams, whether it’s beginning to grow a little food, start a homestead or build a sustainability center.
So, what do you think? Are we really on the road to downsizing or are we just crazy? Thoughts or comments welcome by email at or you can see me at the NOFA Summer Conference. I’ll be at the NOFA/Mass table or the Homesteading Get Together, or come to our workshop tour of Wild Browse Farm on Saturday.
NOFA/Mass Policy Summer Fundraiser
Join us on Thursday, August 8 in Amherst for a fundraiser to support NOFA/Mass’ policy work, which advocates for laws and regulations that support farmers who produce local organic foods, consumers who want access to those foods, and a transparent food system that fully labels ingredients.
The evening will feature a presentation by Dan Rosenberg, founder of Real Pickles. It was a workshop at a 1999 Northeast Organic Farming Association conference that inspired Dan to start making traditional pickles. Today that hobby has grown into Real Pickles, which makes raw, organic, naturally fermented pickles and other organic products – like sauerkraut and ginger carrots, and sells them through stores around the Northeast.
Real Pickles supplies its customers with an important, nourishing food, and is committed to helping to build a food system based on high quality and minimally processed food, local/regional agriculture, and sustainable and organic practices. Real Pickles buys its vegetables only from northeast family farms and sells its products only within the northeast. Their Greenfield processing facility is 100% solar powered and the business just completed a transition to becoming a worker-owned cooperative.
The event will be held at Brookfield Farm, 24 Hulst Rd, Amherst, MA. A reception with local, organic foods will begin at 6:30. Dan’s talk will begin at 7:30, followed by time for questions and answers and more food and socializing. Tickets are $40, or $30 for NOFA/Mass members, registrants of the NOFA Summer Conference or members of the Brookfield Farm CSA.
Support NOFA/Mass By Enjoying an Elegant Meal!
On September 22, NOFA/Mass is having a Farm to Table Dinner to benefit our policy advocacy work to support access to organic food. This intimate event will be held at Just Right Farm ( in Plympton, MA. Host Kimberly Russo and her staff combine local, sustainably grown ingredients to produce sophisticated dishes of the highest quality in a beautiful setting. Seating at this event is limited to 30 people.
The dinner will be a chance to spend a late September evening in a farm setting, eating a multi-course meal of the best, freshest foods and organic wines. The dinner will begin at 5:00 p.m., preceded by a tour of the farm at 4:30. Ticket prices for this event are $150 for a Supporter Level ticket and $250 for a Sponsor Level ticket. A portion of the cost of each ticket will be tax-deductible.
Call the NOFA/Mass office at (978) 355-2853 to reserve a ticket and then send your check for $150 or $250/ person to NOFA/Mass, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005.
Garlic Scapes Photo Courtesy
Real Pickles Photo Courtesy
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Run to Support NOFA/Mass Policy Advocacy
Join NOFA/Mass members and their friends on “TEAM NOFA/MASS: Run for Organic Food for All,” as we run and walk to raise money for our policy advocacy work at the 18th Annual Genesis Battlegreen Run, a 10k/5k run and 5k walk, to be held on Sunday, November 3 in Lexington.
Runners and walkers must register for the run online at (a $25 registration fee is required) and then sign up as a team member at Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you’re running or walking and encourage them to sponsor your efforts! All donations can be accepted online, and you can link to your own personal fundraising page from your Facebook account or through email. Runners and walkers are asked to pledge to raise $200, $350 or $500. All participants who raise $200 or more and register by October 1 will receive a free t-shirt.
Funds raised by this team will support the NOFA/Mass policy program. With increasing consumer demand for high quality, healthy, humanely treated, and well-labeled local food, NOFA/Mass advocates for regulation and policy that will allow farmers and food producers access to local buyers and markets. Creating an infrastructure for local food production not only meets a consumer need, but also continues to make farming economically vi- able for the state.
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By Drew Love Low-Income CSA Program Coordinator & Metro Boston Organizer
Jessie Banhazl always wanted to work with food. She grew up in a “foodie” household with a focus on international and authentic ethnic cuisine. Her dad had traveled for work and brought back his passion with every trip, specifically a wide variety of Asian cuisines, so while other kids were having mac n’ cheese and spaghetti, Jessie was going home to beef rang dang and bi bim bap.
After college her interest in the food network was sidetracked by reality TV, with jobs at “Wife Swap” and “The Hills”, among other atrocities. At the time, she didn’t realize how unstable the American food system was, but after reading “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan she became passionate about sustainable agriculture.
Urban Farming seemed like the perfect combination of her interests, and presented a real possibility for making a change in the country’s health by providing the tools for people to better understand their food and their health through the process of growing it.
Thus, began Green City Growers (GCG). In 2008 it started as an idea to offer homeowners access to hyper-local produce from their yards via small-scale farm installations and maintenance. There were similar businesses on the West Coast, but none in the Boston area. In 2009 the team started partnering with businesses and restaurants to help them grow-their-own produce. The inspiration was to offer access to fresh, hyper-local produce from spaces that hadn’t been previously used for growing food through intensive growing and raised-bed techniques.
Since then the business has grown dramatically and added
Growing Green: The Story of an Urban Ag Business
new staff members like Tany Horgan, Director of Client Services and Lead Farmer. Tany first became interested in discussing food while studying community food systems at college. Learning about the U.S.’s unsustainable dependence on the industrial food system motivated her to learn alternative ways to feed the masses. With a huge portion of the world’s population living in the city, companies like GCG will help to develop infrastructure and education around urban self-sufficiency.
Those dreams of self-sufficiency are starting to come true, especially with large-scale projects like the upcoming Whole Foods rooftop garden. The project has been a long time in the making.
A few years ago Whole Foods starting calling around to get a sense of what their options were for a rooftop farm project, and GCG was one of the people they called. Green City Growers worked with the Recover Green Roofs and the Whole Foods teams to design the farm for a new
building. A similar project was installed by Recover on the roof of Ledge Kitchen and Drinks in Dorchester in 2010. That 5,000 sq. ft. farm produces food for the restaurant and is maintained regularly by Green City Growers. The Whole Foods project is the same model, just at a much much larger scale, 17,000 sq. ft!
All the produce grown on the roof top garden will be sold by Whole Foods to the public, a mere matter of feet from where the produce is grown.
Join Jessie, Tany, and Green City Growers this Summer and Fall as they lead a number of NOFA/ Mass workshops on organic pest management, succession planting, using your harvest, and season extension! Read more about these and other workshops at
By Nicole Belanger NOFA/Mass Public Relations Director
A year round CSA sounds like a lot of work, and it is. Hilary Costa and her husband Lincoln Fishman are some of the few in our area taking on a project like this, at Sawyer Farm in Worthington, MA where they’re entering their third season. The venture grew out of their desire to homestead, make a living, and provide good, local, fresh items to others. With 20 open acres and 45 acres total, Hilary and Lincoln provide dairy, meat, and veggies essentially year round for 10 households.
For years while Lincoln taught high school biology in New York City, he would spend summers at his family’s land in Pennsylvania. While teaching nutrition he had a revelation: he could get a wider variety of ingredients and cuisines there in NYC than just about anywhere else in the world. There were an “absurd amount of choices… but none of [the food] was ethically grown,” says Lincoln. Looking for a change, he and his girlfriend, now wife, Hilary, quit their jobs and started the homestead.
Worthington is at a higher elevation, therefore cooler than the rest of the Pioneer Valley, making it tough to compete head to head with others in the region during prime growing season. They needed to grow something unique to set them apart. Their focus is largely on produce that will store well, like carrots, potatoes, winter radish and squash. They also produce beef, pork, chicken, goat, eggs, and dairy. “It’s not gourmet food; it’s just real food. Good food. It probably was exactly what people were doing 100 years ago,” says Lincoln.
The cellar in the house on their property gets good airflow, but regulating the temperature has proven to be a challenge. Relying so much on stored veggies, they need a reliable refrigeration system. Enter CoolBot – a quick, cheap way to create a walk in. Created by CSA farmers in New Paltz, New York, the CoolBot converts a conventional home air conditioner into a cooling unit, capable of producing temperatures below 32 degrees. Costa and Fishman bought an insulated 8x18 truck from Craigslist for $2500. Parked next to their house, they are able to keep stores of root vegetables cool during the spring and fall warm spells. They also are able to pick some items the night before their CSA pick up and keep them from wilting. They also use a separated third of the refrigerator for hanging meat if they have to slaughter an animal out of season. The setup has saved them money, time, and expensive repairs. Neither knows much about repairing compressors, and if the air conditioner goes, they only have to replace that, a significant cost savings.
Whole Farm CSA Delivers Food Year Round
Lincoln says they would never try to convince people to do what they do. Both they and their friends are around 30 years old, which has worked out well so far as they’ve relied mostly on free labor. They have cherished the fun working out in the country with people who are positive and have great energy. However, long term, they’re not sure how it will evolve. No strangers to hard work, they also have crafted ways to keep their sanity in addition to good summer swimming.
Harvesting many crops all in a few days, their approach takes the labor pressure off the early season, when many are harvesting greens and such daily for early Farmers’ Markets and CSAs. They also prioritize taking trips away in the winter. The last two years in a row they’ve spent several weeks in
Mexico. Trusted friends help prepare the week’s CSA pick-ups while they are away.
They farm with horses, with a row every 3 feet apart in their field. Their goal for July is to have 100% biomass coverage, including in pathways. Once 90% of weed control is done in June, they want to put something in there to hold and build the soil. They follow the model of the Nordells of PA, following the
tenet “feed the soil, not the crop.”
Thanks to the birds in their chicken tractor accidentally leaving some organic corn seed in the field, they found that corn provides great biomass. They leave ¼ of their garden open, manuring and cutting cover crops like oats, peas, and buckwheat, preparing these areas for an early planting next year.
At Sawyer Farm July is the slackest month. Seedlings are in; weeds are under control. Their focus shifts then from the garden to things like barn improvements and pasture management. This gives them time to control goldenrod, thistle, and burdock before they seed. Though it would be better handled in June, they do things when they can.
Knowing their small customer base well, what they like and don’t, makes their operation that much easier to manage. They retain many customers and are able to accommodate customers’ requests.
What does the future hold for Sawyer Farm? They’d like their inputs from outside to be minimal, eventually growing their own livestock grain, or contracting a neighbor to grow it for them rather than buying it. They would like to eventually double their size, but want to stay as small as they can. 16 July & August 2013 Newsletter
Dancing Tomato Farm is Growing! By Suzy Konecky NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator
Miriam Stason has been growing vegetables for many years, including having worked for 8 years at The Food Project in Lincoln, MA. Like many farmers she recognizes the tremendous wealth of information there is yet to learn and decided to seek mentorship through the NOFA/Mass Beginning Farmer Journeyperson Program now that she is starting her own agricultural endeavor.
This year Miriam is farming in partnership with Linda Ugelow – both are participating in the Journeyperson Program and each has her own mentor. Their farm is called Dancing Tomato Farm and is located in Carlisle, MA.
Miriam’s mentor is Mike Raymond, of First Light Farm CSA in Danvers, MA. Mike grows a wide diversity of crops for both summer and winter production. He has two large high tunnels in which he grows many crops for his CSA including greens.
Miriam is interested in growing winter greens for many reasons. Their production doesn’t have the same concentrated schedule as summer crops do, but rather is more steady throughout the year. She wants to pair down from growing lots of different crops and instead focus on growing one crop very well. That said, there is much diversity between the different types of greens suitable for winter production. Finally, there is a good market for winter greens and Miriam plans to tap into that.
There are many people growing in high tunnels, and more people growing specifically for winter markets. However, Miriam has found that there are not too many people who have years of experience with it. This is why she is grateful to have Mike as a mentor.
Miriam calls Mike every few weeks with questions. Right now most of the questions have to do with the 30’ x 96’ high tunnel that she is about to construct on her farm. She had planned to construct it earlier, but like many farms this season she has run into difficulties as a result of the rain and drainage. They talk about irrigation, ventilation, siding, moveable vs. stationary, sprinkler systems, etc. “It is nice to have someone that I know I can call,” Miriam says of Mike. “He picks up his phone in the middle of the day.”
Miriam’s plan is to put in the fall planting in August and continue to plant greens into the winter. Next summer she plans to use the high tunnel for tomatoes and maybe eggplant and peppers.
Miriam visited First Light Farm for a NOFA/Mass workshop
last winter. In addition to having Mike to answer her questions and help her troubleshoot issues, his sharing of experiences, openness, and demonstration of success gives her confidence. “Mike’s farm is really beautiful. It is really incredible. Seeing his production - you know it works.”
One of the expectations of the Beginning Farmer Journeyperson Program is that the journeyperson and their mentor visit each other’s farms at some point during the relationship. This gives both the mentor and the journeyperson the opportunity to ask questions and fully utilize the experience of the mentor.
“There are always people around who will answer questions, but it is good to have the formal relationship with someone who you know you can call, especially during the busy time of year.”
For more information about the Beginning Farmer Journeyperson Program, visit the Beginning Farmer Program page on the NOFA/Mass website or email Suzy Konecky, the Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator at
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July & August 2013 Newsletter 17 July & August 2013 Newsletter
For decades, NOFA/Mass has been organizing and hosting winter and summer conferences, offering hundreds of workshops each year to thousands of farmers, gardeners, homesteaders, landscapers, and consumers. The workshops range from policy topics to nutrition to crop management and more, all with an eye toward using and supporting sustainable organic practices that improve the health and well-being of people and their environment.
Thanks to a grant from the USDA via the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), this year we are capturing the teachings from many of the conference workshops – specifically those related to growing fruits and vegetables – and making them available in our newsletter and online. In doing so, we’re making lessons about organic practices more broadly available, building the beginning of what we hope will become a library of essential information for organic growers.
Look for additional installments in upcoming issues, and the full collection online at
By Sadie Richards
Amy LeBlanc, a contributing member of Seed Savers Exchange (ME LE A) and farmer at Whitehill Farm in Western Maine, began her presentation by remarking on the multitude of reasons for saving seeds. “We save seeds with a sense of honor
and responsibility, to perpetuate our own history and our own food supply,” she declared. She added that saving seeds is a community duty and also an historical act.
Ms. LeBlanc’s presentation (and therefore this article) was geared toward an audience already familiar with basic seed saving vocabulary. Those unfamiliar with any terms should consult any of the resources she has provided at this website:
ISOLATION Start simple, with crops that have simple flowers (Selfers) and therefore don’t require intervention for pollination and saving pure seed (ex. peas and beans).
Crops that are pollinated by wind or insects require some form of isolation to separate different cultivars that cross- pollinate in order for seeds to breed true. Timing and distance are a valuable combination when isolating different varieties. Another simple technique Ms. LeBlanc uses involves planting a “green screen” (e.g. thick row of gourds) to separate crops that will cross-pollinate via insects. It is a difficult to save pure seed from corn because pollen from this wind-pollinated plant can drift up to five miles (though
Ms. LeBlanc said isolation of three miles is probably safe). For corn, Ms. LeBlanc recommended growing one variety; using timing to separate varieties so only one flowers and tassels at a time; or “bagging” (placing a special mesh bag over the male and female flowers from which seeds will be produced and saved).
Row cover with alternate day opening is one of the best ways for isolating certain insect-pollinated crops (ex. peppers). Be sure to plant a sufficient population for each variety from which seed is being saved to ensure better genetic mix and balance. (For example, peppers should have 15-20 plants of each variety for good seed). For crops that are propagated via hand-pollination (ex. squash or cucumbers) one can tape up male and female flowers in the evening, just before bloom, in the morning do hand pollination (using the severed male flower as a paintbrush), and then re-tape the female flower to ensure no insects bring in pollen from an unwanted male flower.
FRUIT SELECTION Ms. LeBlanc had two recommendations for fruit selection. 1) Don’t select from the earliest fruits; rather, select for the best, mid-season fruits. 2) Choose as much fruit from as many plants as possible.
PROCESSING Ms. LeBlanc claimed that tomatoes and cucumbers are the only things that need to be “wet processed” (aka fermented) during the seed-saving process. For cucumbers, there is a chemical in the gel around each seed that inhibits germination because they are designed to pass through a
Saving Quality Vegetable Seeds
digestive system before germinating. Fermentation mimics this process by breaking down the mucilage surrounding the seeds.
To do a “wet process” squeeze out seeds into a jar (or bucket if saving a large quantity of seed), then cover with water. One may then choose to cover the jar with cheesecloth or other fabric (which keeps flies out) and leave the slurry of water and seeds to sit for four or five days, occasionally swirling the jar. During this time the mucilage will begin to ferment and the viable seeds will settle to the bottom of the jar. At the end of the four to five day period, add water to the jar and decant the fermented mucilage and “bad” seeds off the top, leaving clean water and good seeds in the jar. Once the fermented layer has been decanted from the jar, dump the clean water and viable seeds through a strainer and turn the seeds out onto parchment (they will stick to paper towels so it is best to avoid those). As mentioned above, most seeds can be dry processed (ex. squash, peppers, most flowers and herbs), which just involves removing the seeds from the mature or over-mature fruits or flowers, then laying them out to dry if necessary.
STORAGE Seeds should be stored in dry environments (NOT a root cellar). Use air-tight containers to store seeds (especially if freezing). When freezing seeds (which can prolong their viability and longevity) place seeds in an air- tight bag, place that bag inside a labeled jar, and then place the jar into the freezer. When the jar is removed from the freezer leave it sealed until
completely thawed, at which point the jar (and bag inside) can be opened without risk of condensation forming on and jeopardizing the viability of the seeds.
SEED VIABILITY A good seed viability chart is hard to come by. Those one typically finds are usually pretty conservative if acquired from a seed company (Territorial is an offender in this regard); Susan Ashworth’s, from the book Seed to Seed, are fairly accurate. Ms. LeBlanc noted that the germination rate of seeds from some crops, such as parsnips, is reduced to ~5% in just the second year, even if properly stored.
DISEASES It is very important to identify what disease the plant(s) have and determine whether it is seed-borne (see the Resources listed on Ms. LeBlanc’s online pdf). Hot water baths and/ or fermentation can kill some seed-borne diseases. It is also important to know which diseases are carried by insects. Simply making the garden inhospitable to particular insect pests helps a lot. Good drainage is key to fending off fungal
disease. Beware of alternate hosts (a disease can come in on one crop and spread to others). Most viruses are aphid- vectored.
Blighted Tomatoes: One can still save seeds from LATE blight (not early blight), because late blight isn’t systemic or seed-borne. Prune back dying leaves and save seeds from fruits not ruined by late blight.
Septoria Leaf Spot (tomatoes) IS systemic (seed- borne), so one should never save those seeds (hard to know you have this disease though…it attacks plants later in the season, usually on mature leaves first).
Club Root (bad for brassicas) takes years to get out of soil and can be transferred via compost (tracked by humans, in chicken manure, etc.)
Lettuce mosaic virus is seed-borne.
Corn Smut (a fungus that grows on corn is edible!) spores can overwinter in soil for 10+ years, and is seed- borne.
Allium white rot: Amy LeBlanc has a SARE grant for learning how to manage this disease on an organic farm with a four-year rotation, building new soil beds.
SEED VARIETIES (TIPS & RECOMMENDED CULTIVARS) For beginner seed savers, easy plants to start with include peas, beans, arugula, and cilantro.
Tomatoes (Amy’s specialty): Many modern tomatoes (not just potato-leafed varieties) have stigmas that protrude above the anther, which make them vulnerable to insect pollination. Varieties Ms. LeBlanc grows: Andrina tomato (tiny, tiny variety – maxes out at 6-8” tall so is great for container gardeners, but its fruit are not terribly tasty). Ms. LeBlanc’s favorite heirloom variety is Gaccetta (an Italian Paste Tomato), which came to the USA in 1915 with a family of immigrants. The now widowed wife of the eldest son of the couple who brought them to the US lives right down the road from Amy. Pineapple tomato is slower to get blight. Matt’s Wild Tomato was last to get blight in Ms. LeBlanc’s garden.
Peppers: Ms. LeBlanc saves and sells many varieties of hot pepper seeds through Seed Savers Exchange, her favorite of which is called “Rat Turd.” She told the story of another seed saver who has recently spent seven years unwinding Monsanto’s “Super Chili” (which used to be an open-pollinated variety). She says this recently “unwound” variety is sold as Matchbox from Fedco and
July & August 2013 Newsletter 19 July & August 2013 Newsletter
is just as high quality as Super Chili once was.
For processing seeds from tomatillos and eggplants, Ms. LeBlanc recommends using a food processor to pulverize the entire fruit, separate seeds from pulp, and dry process them.
Lettuce: Ms. LeBlanc noted that lettuce seeds can be a pain to process and clean without proper equipment. She recommended bringing seed heads to the seed cleaning machine that is available for public use at the Common Ground fair each year.
Cucurbits and Squash (see McCormack’s guide, in Ms. LeBlanc’s resources online): There are several classes of cucurbits which do not cross-pollinate (see McCormack’s guide). Therefore, with thoughtful selection, one can grow several varieties of squash to save seed from without having to worry about isolating them. One can tell the difference between these classes based on stem appearance. Ms. LeBlanc has also experimented successfully with growing several varieties of squash that Susan Ashworth (author of Seed to Seed) says can’t be grown in New England, namely Ficifolia (fig leaf) squash, which doesn’t cross with other cucurbits, and Loofah squash.
Basil: Ms. Leblanc does not recommend saving basil seed. She advises to get ones that have been tested for fusarium instead.
Allium: Ms. LeBlanc warned that once it has gone to seed, they may throw their seeds so watch carefully and cut the whole heads before they do.
Clones: Garlic and potatoes
Flowers: Calendula does out-cross, so grow just one variety.
Biennials: Ms. LeBlanc recommends the use of a root cellar for propagating and saving seeds from biennials such as carrots, leeks, and beets.
Carrots: must plant early enough to avoid cross- pollination with Queen Anne’s Lace. They can be stored over winter in damp sawdust in the root cellar, then replanted in EARLY spring (January) with plenty of space (their flowering heads will take up much more room than the normal vegetative growth a carrot produces in one growing season).
Leeks: can often overwinter outside, too.
Beets: same as carrots; bring indoor to prevent mice
from eating
OTHER TIPS Amy uses several Shelter King unheated greenhouse (a mini garage with mini greenhouse/hoop houses inside) to extend growing and seed-saving seasons and to help with isolation on her farm. She still deals with aphid problems though.
RESOURCES See bibliography/online resource list: https://dl.dropbox. com/u/1953132/amy/handout.pdf Vegetable Seed Production (UN publication from Italy) Diseases and Pests of Vegetable Crops in Canada Old Rodale is also good (especially for laymen) 20 July & August 2013 Newsletter
Cider Making By Rebecca Buell
In this workshop on cider making, author and apple enthusiast David Buchanan presented a broad overview of the cider making process including tips and basic recipes, as well as an introduction to growing apples. He shared his experience planting whips and nursery trees, grafting (using large tree versus dwarf root stock), “tipping” (to encourage fruiting by winding the young tree around a stake), and pruning. David is particularly interested in reviving rare varieties of old-style American apples, once highly prized for the quality cider they produced. In early America, ciders were often as distinct and nuanced as wines are today.
Apples, a wild fruit originally from the steppes of Kazakhstan, traveled into Europe and across the ocean to make a comfortable home in the history and lore of New England.
David joins others (notably John Bunker) in a search across this land to identify long-forgotten trees producing some of these nearly lost varieties. In Maine, some 200 distinct varieties were grown by early immigrants to the area of which 30 survive today. David encourages fruit growers to start to cultivate these heirloom apples, develop regional breeding, bring diversity back to New England orchards, and rediscover the flavors of these fruits.
Some old American apple varieties good for cider include Gold Russet, Baldwin, Northern Spy, Blake, Harrison (considered the best cider apple in the 19th century), and Old New Jersey Apple (a dark, full-bodied apple rescued in the 1980s and blended with Granny Winkle). David has also experimented using Crabapple juice to create a light- colored and bodied cider.
Many of these types can be found at Fedco Trees in Maine, where John Bunker works passionately to grow, re-invigorate, and share these plants to save them from becoming museum pieces. David also referenced books by local authors for those interested in a more in-depth discussion on apples and cider making, including Cider, Hard and Sweet by Ben Watson and his own Taste, Memory. Also noteworthy: cider days happen every year during the first weekend in November in Deerfield, MA.
For the purposes of making cider, apples can be classified as bittersweets: having high tannic, low acid; sweets: low tannic, low acid; sharps: low tannic, high acid; and bittersharps: high stannic, high acid. A well-crafted cider will use a blend of these types to create a particular flavor profile and body. High acidity adds bite and tannins deepen the taste; both also act as preservatives. Highly tannic,
inedible apples known as “spitters” are often the best cider apples as the tannins will mellow when blended.
The following is a basic recipe presented by David to make your own dry, farmhouse cider. (Note: this hard cider is not the overly sweet, extra fizzy variety found at the store.)
• Press apples or buy juice from an orchard. David recommends this juice blend to start with: 1/3 Jonagold, 1/3 Red Delicious, 1/2 Cortland. The Jonagold has a deep, rich color with high sugar, the Red Delicious adds a nice aroma, and Cortland is pale and watery for balance. For a good single-variety cider, try Kingston Black, an old English apple.
• Hydrate your yeast (wine or champagne for clean fermentation, or use natural yeasts found on the fruit). David likes to let the wild and commercial yeasts fight it out, allowing the cider to develop its own flavor. The more sugar in the apple (you can use refractometer to measure Brix levels), the more for the yeast to eat and the more alcohol will be present in the final product. (Traditionally raisins were added into the juice to increase the sugar content.) You can use a hydrometer to determine sugar levels in the fermenting juice.
• Cap jar off with an airlock or other method to keep air out (you don’t want to make vinegar!)
• After one month, fermentation has slowed down and dead yeast will collect at the bottom. Top the jar off with juice to minimize air contact and recap. Allow to ferment for another couple of months in a cool place (50-60 degrees) before siphoning and bottling.
July & August 2013 Newsletter 21 July & August 2013 Newsletter
Dan Kittredge grew up on a farm in central MA and has continued on his own path, building a profitable business from the ground up. He farms Kittredge Farm in North Brookfield, MA and grows salad greens 40 weeks out of the year.
Dan presented a comprehensive plan for how to grow greens on 1/4 acre, 20-40 weeks out of the year, earning $1,000 a week. The important goals to keep sight of are crop vigor and vitality, which lead to less work and greater profit.
Dan grows Asian greens, lettuce, and arugula from seed he buys in bulk quantity and broadcasts densely by hand. He grows the different greens in separate beds: lettuces, Asian greens, and arugula. His preferred lettuce varieties are Red Oakleaf, Outredgeous, Paris Island Cos/Basic Romaine, Black Seeded Simpson, and Green Oakleaf. Asian greens that he grows include Mizuna, red mustard, red choi, green choi, tat soi, and frills mustard. Also, arugula offered in mid- summer has a great market because few bother to grow it at that time of the year. Seeds costs from $30 to $150 per pound and one pound will cover 1500 to 10,000 square feet depending on the seeding rate and whether transplants are used. To prepare his beds he rototills shallowly (two inches deep at most) and as little as possible. He tills in basic crop fertilizer and organic matter. His beds are four feet wide with one foot walkways. Dan uses drip irrigation and estimates the cost to be $50/1000 square feet.
Dan emphasizes using a seed inoculant at the time of planting as one of the most important steps for improving the “gut” health of the plant. Next, fertility amendments determine plant health by building and improving the soil’s nutritional profile. Healthy greens that have access to the proper minerals in the soil can be cut four to five times, as opposed to just once or twice. Soil testing is strongly encouraged to gain an overview of the amounts of minerals in the soil. In Dan’s handout he lists the ideal amounts of each mineral that the soil should contain. On top of remineralizing, Dan encourages cover cropping and mulching of pathways to avoid exposing bare soil to the elements.
The equipment needs of a greens business can be very low- cost. Dan carries out all his tasks using a hay rake, scissors (10-12” shears), 20- to 22-gallon plastic tubs (for picking, sorting, washing, and shipping), a 10-gallon washing sink, and Hefty Slider bags from the grocery store. (Two and a half gallon bags hold two and a half pounds of greens.) Also important is an invoice book, vehicle for deliveries, and cooler. If applying foliar sprays, a backpack sprayer is necessary. Regarding ideal land for growing greens, one needs at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day, and the grower
Growing Salad Greens: An Easy and Lucrative Cash Crop By Alexandra Phillips
needs a steady source of water.
Dan broadcasts his seed and then rakes it in with a garden rake. He inoculates seed before planting and recommends soaking seed (mix of 95% water, 4% kelp, 1% sea minerals). If seed is soaked, allow it to dry slightly before planting or the seeds will stick. Water in the seeds with a shower nozzle until the ground gets evenly moist. Lay drip tape at this point. Continuing to keep the soil most is very important while seeds are germinating. Creating an ideal environment for the plant during germination gives it a head start on life. After two to three days of nozzle watering, water with drip tape and continue to supplement drip watering with a weekly foliar feed. This is an asset to the plants, but is not completely necessary. Foliar sprays improve quality and growth during the later cuttings of greens.
Asian greens generally take three weeks to grow while lettuce takes four. Aim to cut the greens from one and a half to three inches off the ground, leaving the leaf between two and a half and four inches long. The best time to pick is shortly before the dew comes off or just before the dew sets. The greens then go inside to be sorted (removing weeds), washed, spun, weighed, and stored. After the first picking greens can be cut again after a week to 10 days.
Dan encouraged attendees to let their greens go to seed and to save their own seed. As plants get healthier and stronger their seeds reflect those traits and will out-compete the seeds from most seed companies.
Begin planting outdoors in early April and continue on through mid-September. If necessary, use hoops and row cover for season extension. Dan plants in his hoop houses by the beginning of October in the fall, and begins planting in January or February if the weather is relatively mild.
Dan prefers to sell directly to confirmed customers. His main base is health food stores and restaurants but he also recommends selling to hospitals, schools, farm stands, and farmers’ markets. To gain customers he will make phone calls to chefs and bring them samples of his product. He explains to them the quality of the operation and health of the greens. $1000 a week is possible: with 10-20 pounds a week of mesclun mix and arugula sold at $10/lb, five or six customers equals $1000/week.
Dan changes the price of his greens depending on the time of year. April through Oct. he charges $10/lb, Nov. and March he charges $11/lb and Dec. and Jan. he charges $12/ lb. 22 July & August 2013 Newsletter
To organic farmers everywhere for treating their animals and the earth with care and treating us with some of the finest organic ingredients around, thanks. vonTrapp Farm, VT One of the Organic Valley family farms that supply milk for our yogurt
July & August 2013 Newsletter 23 July & August 2013 Newsletter
From Field to Fridge Farms listed in the NOFA/Mass Organic Food Guide have the opportunity
to highlight here what they currently have available for sale. Pick up some of their goods and help support your local organic and sustainable farmers today!
To access a farm’s full Organic Food Guide listing, click on that farm’s name.
If you would like your farm or business listed on the Organic Food Guide website, contact Rebecca Buell at or 978-724-3561.
Bay End Farm 200 Bournedale Road, Buzzard’s Bay, MA 617-212-8315, Farm stand hours for July and August: Wednesdays 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., Fridays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plymouth Farmers’ Market at Plimoth Plantation on Thursdays 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Snap peas, lettuce, radish, arugula, summer squash, cucumbers, carrots, beets, asian greens, kale, swiss chard, cilantro, parsley, flowers, and looking forward to peppers, eggplants and ... tomatoes we hope.
Billingsgate Farm 6 County Road, Plympton, MA 781-293-6144, Opening June 1; Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Beans, beets, bok choy, broccoli, chives, dandelion, 8 balls, herbs, kale, lettuce, patty pans, peas, radishes, rhubarb, summer squash, and striped zucchini.
Bird of the Hand Farm 33 School St, Sterling, MA 978-422-6217, Fridays in July produce will be available, but farm stand is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for self serve. It’s a good idea to call ahead for availability or check website. Sage, thyme, lovage, greens, parsley, plants.
Blue Heron Organic Farm PO Box 67, Lincoln, MA 781-254-3727, We sell to many Boston area restaurants; please see website (click on ‘Restaurants’) for seasonal availability. The farm stand is open Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We are at three farmers’ markets a week. Visit website for details. Please email the farmer if interested in volunteering in 2013!
Cape Cod Organic Farm 3675 Main St (Route 6A), Barnstable, MA 508-362-3575, Open Daily. Weekdays 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Weekends 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. An array of Certified Organic Produce available. We also sell Certified Organic Eggs, Heritage Breed Pork, Flowers, and Herbs.
First Root Farm 55 Old Bedford Road, Concord, MA We have farm bucks available for use in our weekly farmstand, Saturdays 2-5pm. Buying farm bucks is like buying credit in the First Root market. Our farm bucks come in increments of $5. You can buy as many as you want. For every $50 you spend, you get a free $5 farm buck–a 10% discount on vegetables! Redeem your farm bucks for vegetables on Saturdays (2-5pm, starting June 15th) at First Root Farm, 955 Lexington Road, Concord. Visit our website for more information and to buy farm bucks. Kale, chard, broccoli, cabbage, arugula, lettuce, bok choy, sugar snap peas, beets, radishes, turnips, scallions, spicy greens, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, collard greens.
Heritage Fields 309 Gidney Road, Orange, MA 978-544-3282, Open by appointment. 2013 LaMancha kids (does, bucks, or wethers); 2012 yearling does; and frozen chevon. Pastured organic broilers (whole only).
Hettie Belle Farm Warwick, MA 978-544-6241, Shelburne Falls Farmers’ Market, Fridays 2 to 6 p.m. We are currently signing up members for our Meat CSA which includes 100% grass-fed beef & lamb, and pastured and organically-fed pork, chicken and duck. Also available - pastured, organically-fed turkeys and geese.
High Meadow Farm 28 High St, Hubbardston, MA 978-928-5646, Farm stand open 9 a.m. to dusk daily. Certified organic plums and peaches available mid to late July. Please check website or call for availability. 100% grass-fed beef, woodland raised pork, pure maple syrup.
Long Life Farm 205 Winter St, Hopkinton, MA 508-596-1651, Farmers’ Markets in Hopkinton, Sundays 1 to 5 p.m., June 16-Oct 20; Ashland, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June-15-Oct 19; and Whole Foods, Mondays 4 to 7 p.m. July 8-Sept 30. Certified organic vegetables.
Many Hands Organic Farm 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 978-355-2853,, Call ahead to visit. Lard at $20/quart. Comfrey salve at $6. Garlic powder at $8. Eggs at $6/dozen. All of our animals are pasture raised. 2013 Certified Organic CSA, pork, chicken, beef, and turkey information is on the website. Our beef is not certified organic due to our use of conventional milk replacer (16 months before slaughter). We are taking orders for our fall share with pick-ups in Barre, Holden and Worcester. We now take credit cards and SNAP for CSA shares.
New Heritage Farm Jenks St, Wrentham, MA 617-901-7713, Farm stand hours Sunday 1 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m. June-October. Middleboro Farmers’ Market Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June-October. Heirloom tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, chinese cabbage, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, selling beans, green beans, basil, cilantro, dill.
Puddingstone Organics 121 Old Center St, Middleborough, MA 508-946-0745, no website, but check us out on Facebook On you honor shack at farm for eggs and honey. Certified organic, AWA-approved pasture-raised eggs; honey; certified organic broilers by pre-order; vegetables available intermittently.
Red Fire Farm Granby Farm Stand at 7 Carver St, Granby, MA, Montague Old Depot Gardens Farm Stand at 504 Turners Falls Road, Montague, MA 413-467-7645, Farm stands open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Farmers’ Markets at
Boston South Station, Tuesdays noon to 6 p.m.; Springfield Forest Park, Tuesdays 12:30 to 6 p.m.; Amherst Kendrick Park on Wednesdays 2 to 6 p.m. Sweet corn, heirloom tomatoes, red slicers, summer squash, zucchini, pickling and slicing cukes, orange carrots, pearl onions and sweet onions, basil and many other herbs. Delicious summer lettuce, kale and collards, swiss chard. Blueberries, candy- stripe beets, red radishes, green beans, garlic. Fresh organic flowers. As we get to August... new potatoes, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, honeydew melon, muskmelon, peaches, okra, husk cherries and more. Call us for paste and saucing tomatoes in bulk! You can order everything you need for sauce and salsa. Farm Stand Memberships that give discounts at our markets and stands are available now for a summer full of good food. Plus the stands keep a wide array of local products, like milk, honey, maple syrup, eggs, artisan cheeses, jams, and more.
Robinson Farm 42 Jackson Road, Hardwick, MA, 413-477-6988, Our “Award winning” Farmstead aged cheeses (cow), grass- fed beef/veal, raw milk, Sidehill Farm yogurt, Westfield Farm goat cheese, Hardwick Sugar Shack maple syrup, honey, jams, “Real Pickle” fermented veggies, and seasonal vegetables from Stillman’s Farm. Visit www.robinsonfarm. org for retail locations and restaurants, or contact us for wholesale cheese orders. New in 2013! Arpeggio, a soft, washed-rind cheese, strong aroma, beautiful finish, aged 60-120 days. Yummy! Also, we now have raw milk in glass bottles!
Sidehill Farm 58 Forget Road, Hawley, MA 413-339-0033,, Our farm shop is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and you can find us at the Saturday Amherst Farmers’ Market (7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) Raw Milk, yogurt, and beef from grass-fed cows in the farm shop. Come visit! Yogurt and Solar Smoothies at the Amherst Market.
Turner Farms Maple Syrup 25 Phillips Road, South Egremont, MA, 413-528-5710, Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week. We have 100% pure maple syrup available in sizes ranging from 3.4 oz to 5 gallons. We are now also offering pure honey.
Warm Colors Apiary 2 South Mill River Road, South Deerfield, MA 413-665-4513, Wed, Fri, and Sat 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Varieties of Honey, beeswax candles, and beekeeping equipment and supplies. “Annual Honey Festival” at WCA Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free and open to the public. Cooking with honey, mead tasting, bee talks, honey ice cream and honey tasting. A celebration of honeybees and beekeeping.
CommunIty HappEnIngsCommunIty HappEnIngs EvEnts
Cover Cropping Wednesday, August 7 - 4pm to 6pm Ogonowski Memorial Fields, 126 Jones Avenue, Dracut MA The first step in growing great market crops is growing great soil, and one way to do this is by planting cover and green manure crops. At this workshop, we’ll teach you about the importance of cover crops, how to fit cover crops into your cash crop rotations, and demonstrate techniques to insure weed-free cover crop stands. $15 Non-New Entry Farmer Fee (New Entry farmers attend for free). Registration information:
Green Market Festival Sunday, August 11 – 10am to 5pm The Farmer’s Daughter & Landscape Creations of RI, 715 & 716 Mooresfield Road (Rte. 138), South Kingstown Celebrate the Best of Rhode Island’s Green Traditions. The Festival will showcase the best of Rhode Island’s green traditions! Interactive exhibits. Get hoisted up a tree or ride in a bucket truck. Learn to install backyard native plant habitat or clean and plant native seeds. Play golf on a putting green. Visit horticultural and agricultural vendors. View demonstration and educational exhibits for every age. Enjoy food, music and activities all day. Ample parking. Admission: $10 adults / $5 for ages 12 to 18 / under 12 FREE / $25 for a family of 4 or more.
Young Farmer Night: Scratch Farm: Seed Saving/Selling Tuesday, August 27 - 6:00pm Scratch Farm, Cranston RI Young Farmer Night is a series of free social and educational events open to farmers and farm allies of all ages and experience levels, meant to foster community, build relationships and catalyze collaboration in Southeastern New England. Connecting people from all backgrounds and cultivating personal and professional relationships will support farmers working to build successful businesses and happy lives. Join us at Scratch Farm for a tour, potluck, and learning about seed saving and selling! For more info, contact or call 401.330.7153.
The Massachusetts Pasture-Raised Poultry Clinics Friday, September 13 at 9:00am - Saturday, September 14 at 3:00pm Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA This two-day event focuses on profitable pasture-based poultry enterprises—meat or eggs, chickens or turkeys (or ducks, or geese, or guineas). There’s a good chance this will be the most comprehensive pasture-raised poultry event ever held this side of the Hudson. Speakers will come from New England and beyond. If you raise poultry on pasture in or near Massachusetts, or if you’re thinking about it, you won’t want to miss this. Day 1 will focus on fowl biology and day 2 will focus on systems and economics. Registration at With questions contact or at 978-654-6745.
Biomeiler Compost Heating Workshop Saturday, September 21 -10am to 6pm & Sunday, September 22 - 9am to 5pm Farm Around the Corner, 395 VT Route 102, Maidstone, VT Want to be independent from gas, oil & utility electricity? Are you looking for self-sufficient heat & power for your greenhouse, seed starting house, packing shed, barn, residence or business? Small and Beginning Farmers of New Hampshire and The Farm Around the Corner have invited Heiner Cuhls from Native Power in Germany to hold a two day hands on workshop. Registration costs $100 per participant ($75 for members of SBFNH). To register or for more information contact or call 802-676-2684.
CommunIty HappEnIngs announCEmEnts
Dean Cycon of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee receives Oslo Business Peace Award Dean Cycon, CEO and Founder of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee, of Orange, MA was recognized recently as an honoree of an Oslo Business for Peace Award 2013. This award, also known as the “Nobel Prize for Business,” goes to Cycon for “outstanding achievements creating shared value between business and society.” More information about the program of the 2013 Oslo Business for Peace Summit can be found at: (Article excerpted from Athol Daily News, Athol, MA)
Natural Way Farm for Sale For Sale/Lease: Essex Cty., Coolidge Estate area; Natural Way Farm, a sustainable, organic(noncertified) farm, with approx. 8 ac.;pasture, 200 blueberry bushes(PYO);woodlot;gardens; barn w/water/electric; lg. 3br home; lg. barn/carriage house; $879,00; for add. information and pix, please go to #186329
Fermentation Manager at Real Pickles Real Pickles is seeking a highly qualified, committed individual to take on the role of fermentation manager. If you are passionate about the craft of fermentation, this is a unique opportunity to deepen your expertise while guiding the creation of Real Pickles’ products as we lead the way in bringing traditional pickles back into the American diet. Please visit to learn more about the position and how to apply.
New and Renewing NOFA/Mass Members in June
Thank you to Spring 2013 Appeal donors in June
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Carole Adams Lisa Adams Kathy Alexiadis Lisa Blough Waylon Brown and Sadie Richards Amy Burnes Patricia Callahan Linda Coolen Andrew Covell Victoria Dolben Diane Dussault
Cape Cod Organic Gardeners Richard and Christine Van Hooft
Adam Goodman Catherine and James Hansgate Sally Hensley Russell and Nancy Iuliano Mark Johnson Frank Koll Hillary Kulik Susan Lozoraitis Bridget McManus John Miller Howard Mulhern NESFP
Jim O’Brien Teleia Pastore Rebecca Reid Mary Remington Rev.Janet V. Sandquist- Skagerlind Alan Schultz Ronald Silva Karen Steiner Barbara Tiner Kimberly Wass Jim Watkins Nicole White
Building bridges between those who care
The State Agriculture Councils of The Humane Society of the United States seek to ensure that animal production is
humane and environmentally sustainable. 28 July & August 2013 Newsletter
Certified Organic Poultry, Pigs, Steers, and Worms Saturday, July 27; 10am to 3pm Many Hands Organic Farm, Barre, MA Cost: $30 NOFA members; $38 non-members In this workshop, Julie will discuss and participants will see two sizes of meat birds, layers, brand new turkeys, pigs, cows, and worms. Participants will learn about the management of all these species and their relationships to each other on this tightly organized and rotated farm system, which includes 2 ½ acres of vegetables and 1 acre of orchard. The workshop covers feeds, housing, pasturing, woods management, rotations with crops, sprouted grains, brooding, marketing, and finances. Participants have the opportunity to help slaughter some chickens. Instructor: Julie Rawson
Summer Foraging Saturday, July 27; 2pm to 3:30pm *note new date* Brookline, MA Cost: $25 NOFA Members; $31 non-members This workshop seeks to reflect the simple logic of finding food and resources in the places where the wild things grow. Our workshop will take a 1.5 hour long walk, answering questions as they come, learning a handful of species that grow local to Boston, and preserving some ancient and inherently useful knowledge. We will walk (nature permitting) through some of the very same areas of south Brookline where our facilitator first started foraging. Instructor: Ryan Eavey
Organic Pest Management Sunday, July 28; 3pm to 4:30pm Green City Grower’s Office, Somerville, MA Cost: $25 NOFA Members; $31 non-members Brown spots on your tomatoes? Is something eating your lettuce? Come learn how organic pest and disease management is easier than you think. By learning how to grow a healthy garden using organic techniques your edibles will inherently be more resistant to disease, drought, flooding, and pest pressure. When plants have their basic needs met, they are less vulnerable. Learn why organic methods cost less, require less effort, and are healthier for you and the environment in which you live. Instructor Jessie Banhazl
39th Annual NOFA Summer Conference Friday, August 9 – Sunday, August 11 University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA For more information, visit In addition to hundreds of practical skills and farming workshops, the conference features live entertainment, children’s and teen conferences, a country fair, organic meals, 100 exhibitors and much more. Join NOFA for a weekend of learning, networking, and fun with people who are transforming the food system in the Northeast.
Succession Planting Sunday, August 18; 1pm to 4pm Green City Grower’s Office, Somerville, MA Cost: $48 NOFA Members; $60 Non-members Learn about how to grow as much food as possible in whatever space is available to you. By staggering your planting dates, learning which crops grow well together, and how to time your harvest, succession planting is the practice of making sure your garden produces a bounty all season long. Workshop participants will walk away with the knowledge of how to continue to make the most of their gardening space as the season progresses into the late summer and fall weather. Instructor: Tany Horgan
noFa/mass WoRKsHops
July & August 2013 Newsletter 29 July & August 2013 Newsletter
100% Grass-Fed Seasonal Raw Milk Dairy Saturday, August 24; 2pm to 5pm Blue Hill Farm, Great Barrington, MA Cost: $25 NOFA members; $31 non-members The workshop will cover the basics of raw milk production, seasonal dairy management, and intensive rotational grazing, as well as fencing options and water systems for cows and calves. Participants will meet at Blue Hill Farm and view all aspects of milk production from the milking machines to the pastures. Instructor: Sean Stanton
A Food Preservation Party Saturday, September 7; 9am to 3pm Many Hands Organic Farm, Barre, MA Cost: $45 NOFA members; $56 non-members Using what is available on our farm on September 7 we will ask you to help us can, freeze, lacto-ferment, wine, dry, leather, jam, juice and pickle. Additionally we will tour our root cellar and any aspects of our farm that interest you – 2 1/2 acres of certified organic veggies, 1 acre fruit, chickens, pigs, turkeys and steers. Potluck lunch at 12 noon. Instructors: Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge – life-long food preservationists who can’t stand to see anything go to waste.
Urban Foraging for Wild Edibles Sunday, September 8; 4pm to 6pm Christian Herter Community Garden, Allston, MA Cost: $25 NOFA members; $31 non-members Tasty wild plants grow abundantly here in Boston, many of which we walk right by without ever knowing they are even there. If you’d like to upgrade your knowledge of the wild plants readily available for foraging, join David Craft on a rambling walk along the Charles River to learn about and identify dozens of edibles. You will learn greens, roots, fruits, nuts, and if we are lucky, some easy to identify edible mushrooms as well. Instructor: David Craft
Using Your Harvest Sunday, September 15; 1pm to 4pm Green City Grower’s Office, Somerville, MA Cost: $48 NOFA Members; $60 Non-members Whether from a farmers’ market, CSA, or your own backyard, the summer brings in a bounty of produce. But have you ever felt like you are not sure how to prepare or store all that the summer has to offer? This workshop is for anyone who has ever felt a little stress about making sure your ripe fruits and vegetables are eaten or safely stored for later. Participants will walk away with the knowledge and confidence to make the most of their harvest, and have ample leftovers of summer’s bounty waiting for them in the late fall and winter months. Instructor: Tany Horgan 30 July & August 2013 Newsletter
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