Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

Posted 11/25/2014 11:51am by Dicken Crane.

Come pick out your tree, take a walk around the farm and even feed the animals!


Posted 11/1/2014 11:11am by Dicken Crane.


Posted 8/20/2014 2:20pm by Dicken Crane.

Don't forget!

Posted 7/29/2014 4:47pm by Dicken Crane.

Pick up some Jus' Jerky PET TREATS  for your dog today!


Posted 7/22/2014 11:09am by Dicken Crane.

Stop in, grab some vegetables, wander around to see the animals and just enjoy your visit. We look forward to seeing you!

Posted 10/15/2013 3:39pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

The Food Safety Modernization Act is a new law that will soon affect all farmers who grow vegetables and produce your food across the country. This means ALL farmers, not just the big ones, but the farmstand on the corner and your local CSA too. As a fairly small grower I've known that something like this was coming for a long time, but it may be the first that you've heard of it as a consumer. You've all heard of food borne illness and due to greater media we've all heard a lot more about it when they occur. Spinach, raspberries, canteloupes, peanut butter- all infected with potentially deadly bacterias such as e.coli, salmonella and listeriosis. YUCK. Of course we don't want this to happen- we farmers are painfully aware of the fact that we provide food that you and your children will eat and the very last thing we would ever want is for anyone to get sick as a result of something from our farm.

I have taken classes on food borne illness prevention such as GAP (good agriculture practices by the USDA) and Serv-Safe. One of the incredible things that I've learned is that surprisingly few food-borne illnesses originate from produce grown in the United States. Most contamination results from produce brought in from other countries. However, there isn't a lot of regulation that can be done outside the US and so, the FDA has decided to put limits and regulations on what they can control- in-country food production.

I've been going through the new proposed regulations and while some of it seems to lie on the side of practical common sense, we all know that where the government is involved, we can throw common sense out the window in the implementation. For example- It directly conflicts with the National Organic Program's exhaustively researched and already regulated timing guidelines for harvesting fresh produce after the application of manure/compost. They disregard the simple fact that we have winter in our region, the ground freezes, and therefore many potentially harmful bacterias DIE. Farmers would have to wait NINE months before harvesting food from the field, NINE MONTHS?!? That seems ridiculously long if you take seasons and soil biology into account. 

Therefore, I am urging all of you to check out this website from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and make some comments (don't worry, the NSAC breaks it down into sections to make it easier to understand and get through and then walks you through how to comment and what types of questions the FDA is interested in having specifically answered by farmers, processors and consumers). Support your local farmers! You only have a couple more weeks to make your comments so do this soon- it's your food, your farms & farmers (and your bank account, because all this regulation sure as sure won't be free).

Posted 9/27/2013 2:59pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

So autumn arrived seemingly overnight with the full moon, the cool nights and the rapidly changing colors of the mountains. The many frost warnings since the first week of September have only touched us with the briefest kisses of frost, but the cool weather is bringing an end to the bounty of summer even without frosty mornings. The eggplant is finished along with tomatoes and we are desperately covering the very loaded pepper plants with row cover to protect them, but they are weakening. If you are interested in bulk peppers for sauce, roasting or pickling, let us know.

Now is the time for hearty soups and stews, baked pies and roasted root veggie trays sprinkled with salt and chili powder. This is my favorite time of year to cook since everything is still very fresh and I might actually have a little time between soccer games, animal chores and harvesting to get some meals made.

We finally got the last of the winter squash into the root cellar. Whew! Now we just have A LOT of potatoes and carrots to get out of the field and we will be mostly set for winter storage crops. I would set up a large scale harvest day for taters, but our digger is broken and the current harvest method is a little difficult even for us rough-handed farmers. So until we figure something out to fix our cranky old digger or figure out an easier way, we are just going to keep harvesting them a little at a time.

Salad will be returning next week in the form of arugula and/or mesclun and radishes are nearly ready for harvest as well. Unfortunately our karma appears to be off on the transplant side of the farm and none of our lettuce seedlings have worked out. We do have cut salad lettuce in the field, but it is sloooowwww. Hopefully we will be able to get it to you in early October before the end of CSA. 


What’s in your share (maybe)

Delicata & Sweet Dumpling Winter Squash



Red onions, young




Swiss Chard





Pick Your Own

Sage, Marjoram, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are gross. Very done.

Flowers- open

Beans: Still waiting.

Cherry tomatoes are open but sort of gross. Help yourself to whatever you find.

Cilantro and Dill are open. YAY!

Tomatillos- delicious as part of your salsa or in a green chili sauce!


Featured vegetables: Winter Squashes

We grow a lot of different kinds of squashes so that we can best supply you with storage squashes for the season. Not all squashes are created equal, some are for eating now, just after harvest and others are actually meant to sit and “cure” in order to concentrate their sugars for the best eating quality. There are, of course, some hybrids that have been developed so that your butternut tastes sweet even in September, but we grow the heirloom varieties because I think that nothing is as sweet as the heirloom Waltham Butternut in January and I can wait for it.  In eating order: Delicata, Sweet Dumpling & Spagetti Squashes are good from now until about Thanksgiving, the Acorns (all types) are best having cured for a month so from October until December, and the Buttercup & Butternuts are best from Christmas on into February and later depending on how and where and at what temperature they are stored. We’ve eaten some of them in May and had them be delicious even with their seeds starting to sprout on the inside.


Recipes of the Week: Roasted Delicata Squash stuffed with Quinoa Salad from


  1. 2 Delicata squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded
  2. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  3. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  4. 1 cup quinoa
  5. 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  6. 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  7. 1 teaspoon honey
  8. 1 Granny Smith apple, finely diced
  9. 1 large shallot, minced
  10. 1 garlic clove, minced
  11. 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  12. 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  13. 2 ounces arugula (2 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and season the cavities with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes, until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the raisins and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and let cool.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and honey with the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the quinoa along with the apple, shallot, garlic, mint and parsley and toss well. Add the arugula and toss gently.
  4. Set the squash halves on plates. Fill with the salad and serve.

Make Ahead The quinoa can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature and add the arugula just before serving.


Posted 9/10/2013 3:53pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

As you can probably guess, last week’s frost warnings threw us into a complete panic. On Thursday we pulled out the remay (white row covering that you often see on our plants in spring and fall) and the sandbags out of the weeds, and went to work prioritizing all our frost sensitive veggies. We started with the peppers and eggplant because they were loaded with unripe fruit. Then we covered the basil, beans, chili peppers and tomatillos in the PYO. We harvested all the slicing tomatoes and sauce tomatoes that we could- the plants are just too big to harvest and then we just hopedhopedhoped that we wouldn’t get a frost. And….we didn’t!!! Then it happened again on Sunday and Emma went all through the fields re-covering sensitive crops. A little nerve-wracking, but we came through alright again, though our friends in Windsor and Cummington and even just over the way in Hinsdale were not so lucky. The first week of September is NOT my expected first frost date.

This is when summer’s bounty is still shining and autumn veggies are slowly creeping into the mix- when the nights are cool enough for thick, hot veggie stews with crusty bread but there is fresh bruschetta to put on it. When peppers are crisp and sweet and incredible stuffed or chopped onto a salad or sliced with dip for lunch. We’ve been enjoying Romanesco sauce in particular at our house and for farm lunches. It is quick and easy and delicious- always makes an impression! The first time I ever remember having it was at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding at Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield. My mother-in-law, Sally, made it to serve with vegetables and I’ve never forgotten how yummy it is. It makes a great pairing with baba ganouj and hummus on a platter with crackers and crudités.

What’s in your share (maybe)

Delicata Winter Squash







Swiss Chard



Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are open. Pick a bunch- it is time for pesto!

Flowers- open

Beans: We are between plantings somewhat- there are still some out there but it is a little on the slim side until the new ones get going. Should be soon!

Cherry tomatoes are open- they are still getting going so it is a ½ pint for small shares and a pint for large. They are all mixed up this year, so make sure and grab a variety.

Tomatillos- delicious as part of your salsa or in a green chili sauce!


Featured vegetables: Tomatillos

What is a tomatillo and what can I use them for and why would I want to? These are all common questions that I get when I tell folks to grab some now that they are starting to get going in the PYO. You know that garlicky, green, cool but spicy sauce/salsa that you get in Mexican Restaurants either on the side or covering a sumptuous dish of enchiladas? Well- there you go- tomatillos.

They are related to tomatoes, potatoes and other nightshades, but actually closer in relation to the ground cherry. They are sour and high in Vit C. In fact, they taste an awful lot like a green tomato.

I put a bunch of recipes up on the website so check out some of the easy deliciousness that you can add to your meals.


Recipes of the Week:

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Add a little fresh lime juice to the following recipe to make this sing! If you are thinking about canning it, make sure you add both lime juice and cider vinegar to bring the acid up to counterbalance the onion.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos
5 fresh serrano chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 large onion, coarsley chopped
2 teaspoons coarse salt

Preheat broiler.

Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse under warm water to remove stickiness. Broil chiles, garlic and fresh tomatillos on rack of a broiler pan 1 to 2 inches from heat, turning once, until tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 7 minutes.

Peel garlic and pull off tops of chiles. Puree all ingredients in a blender.

Salsa can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Makes about 3 cups.


Easy Romanesco Sauce for Pasta or Dip


Enough Peppers to cover a cookie sheet ~10, cut in half and seeded

1 cup walnuts, pine nuts or pistachios (cashews work too)

Olive oil ~ ½ cup

2 garlic cloves

½ tsp salt, more to taste


Place pepper halves skin side up on tray and roast in 450 oven for 15 minutes or until the skins start to brown and puff.

You can either place them in a paper bag to sweat skins off or use them with the skins on (which is what I always do). Place peppers, olive oil and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth- add walnuts and salt and blend again until smooth. Toss with hot pasta, veggies or anything else that you like and add salt to taste. Delicious mixed with marinated goat’s milk feta cheese.

Posted 8/31/2013 9:47am by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Canned peaches, Peach Jam and Lemon Cucumber PicklesSo as the summer winds into fall my mind turns to canning. I try to can as much stuff as possible. It helps to be a vegetable grower, but I also buy lots of local fruits that I don’t grow in order to put jam, pie filling, fruit butters, preserves and chutneys in my cupboard for the winter. From waste vegetables that aren’t good to give out or sell, I make bruchetta, salsa, pickle: including cucumber, carrot and piccalilli. I used to make a lot of tomato puree but I’ve found that I can buy that in the store fairly cheaply and it tastes great whereas good salsa is hard to find (though you wouldn’t know that if you had never canned your own).

Everyone always assumes that I had grown up canning with my mom, but my parents were always working full time and while I remember a few canning sessions with jam and tomatoes when I was really small, most of my canning adventures started in college. I started with jam (concord grape) and a stockpot and have expanded my repertoire to custom specialties such as chocolate raspberry jam & vanilla pear preserves and hardware to include a pressure canner, a much larger boiling water bath canner and all sorts of other preservation methods. Freezing is usually the simplest & safest method, but freezers fill up fast (trust me- I have two). It is my favorite for tender fruits such as raspberries & blueberries that I don’t want to be jam. I also love to freeze fruit pie fillings in gallon bags- apple, peach, blueberry, cane berries and strawberry-rhubarb all ready to go in a pre-baked pie shell with sweetener, spices, lemon juice and a little tapioca. Freeze some of those herbs you bring home from the PYO- just grind them up in a food processor and stick them in Ziploc style baggies (lay them flat and press thin- this makes it easier to break pieces off for use in recipes in the winter).

A couple of good canning books that I use with regularity are Home Canning by Ball Canning Company and Put ’Em Up by Sherri Brooks and Preserving the Harvest by Carol Costenbader- both put out by local Storey Publishing. I also scrounge library book sales and used book stores for old canning books. I lost my grandmother in April this year and while going through her things I was delighted to find that she had kept a treasure of old recipes in a card binder. No one else in the family was interested in the browning notecards or her old cookbooks so I carefully packed them to bring home. There are cards containing recipes from my great-grandmother and her mother as well along with aunts, great-aunts and her best friends. Most aren't complicated, just simple foods made from easy to find ingredients, but they were all things she loved. Green tomato relish, strawberry jam, "perfect" white cake (layered with fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream) these are comfort foods from rural Vermont in the 1930's. None of her recipes come with instructions for canning however- these were things that were just known.

If you've never canned anything, do yourself a favor and do a little research and reading. Remember that safety and cleanliness are definitely important and follow the rules without taking shortcuts. And then, don't be scared....start simple and have fun. The interweb is, of course, an incredible resource for recipes- just be very careful that the sites are reputable while you are getting started. Anything that is a low acid food needs to be canned in a pressure canner! Double check your ingredients against the USDA’s National Center for Home Preservation website at .


What’s in your share (maybe)






Eggplant or Summer Squash


Swiss Chard

Cantelopes (getting slim as we compete with critters for their juicy deliciousness)


Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are open. Pick a bunch- it is time for pesto!

Flowers- open

Green, yellow and purple beans are open for picking. Keep it to a pint or so- no dilly beans yet.

Cherry tomatoes are open- they are still getting going so it is a ½ pint for small shares and a pint for large. They are all mixed up this year, so make sure and grab a variety.


Featured vegetables: Pickling Cucumbers

Alright, now that I’ve expounded on the deliciousness of canning I’ll be you are ready to jump right in! We grow a shorter pickling cuke that you’ve been seeing and eating for weeks, but probably didn’t have any idea were different than regular cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers are shorter and have thinner skins and more cucumber flavor than their siblings the salad slicing cucumber. More flavor? Yes, they really do- after all, it needs to hold up under the processes of pickling in brine for weeks and then canning/cooking for winter storage. When folks ask which pickle they should start with, I invariably point them to a Bread & Butter Pickle recipe from the Ball Canning Guide. It is easy and fun and the result usually tastes better than anything you've ever bought from the store.  If you want to start a little smaller then we suggest the following recipe for Refrigerator Pickles.

Dicken used to do a lot of sailing when he was younger and one of his favorite on board sandwiches (before all that was left in the larder was canned beans) was the “fake roast beef” recipe. The key was the A-1 sauce and the simple fact that cucumbers soak up sauces so beautifully.


Recipe of the Week:

Easy Refrigerator Pickles!


12 or so small cucumbers
1-1/2 cups of white vinegar
4 Tablespoons kosher/pickling salt
pickling spices – you can get creative here or go traditional
fresh dill bunches
3 (or much more!) cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups hot water
Optional – one jalapeño sliced thinly or red pepper flakes
One grape leaf to maintain crispness

1. Mix the sugar and salt with the hot water. Stir until dissolved. (Let the liquid cool before pouring over the cucumbers.)
2. Add the vinegar and pickling spices to the liquid.
3. Slice the cucumbers and put the slices in jars.
4. Add the dill and garlic cloves.
5. Pour the liquid into the jars.
6. Seal the jars and store in the refrigerator.

Fake Roast Beef Sandwich


Your favorite bread

Cucumbers, peeled and sliced lengthwise very thin

Onions, sliced very thin

Tomatoes, sliced 1/4 “ thick


A-1 sauce


Toss the cucumbers with A-1 sauce to coat and let sit 5-10 mins.

Thinly coat each side of bread with mayonnaise. Add onions, tomatoes and marinated cucumbers. Stack a second slice of bread on the top and enjoy!