Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

Posted 8/6/2013 3:12pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Summer fruits are upon us- we are starting to see the first of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant along with our abundant amounts of squash and cukes. Baby winter squashes are ripening on the vines… and herbs are taking off and the green beans are finally starting up! We will have a return to lettuce next week as the next planting is finally getting some size to it.

I found an interesting website recently (while researching nutritional information on Chard, actually) called which is a non-profit website dedicated to what they call the world’s healthiest foods. There is a list of great foods, complete with recipes and all nutritional info. Very entertaining and it also has a nutritional analysis of your diet… also as an interesting article on seasonal eating that had some info that I didn’t even know (but now that I think on it makes perfect sense).

We got some great weeding and harvesting help last week from Luke Kaplan and his campers from Camp Taconic (~40!) who came out for a few hours to help weed carrots and dig potatoes. It is amazing how much can get down in a short period of time when you have just a ton of hands. YAY!

We have a shout out this week to The Shamrock Restaurant & Pub here in Dalton. We’ve been in for a Guinness, bangers and mash (taters, grated carrots, scallions and garlic scapes!) and fish and chips and it was great. It’s under new ownership and changes are apparent and delicious. Check it out!

If you haven't picked up your meat share (or made other arrangements with us) now's the time!


What’s in your share (maybe)

New Potatoes: Bintje

Cucumbers- pickle, slicer and lemon

Summer Squash



Eggplant and/or Peppers


Swiss Chard


Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are open. Mixed basil pesto makes for a nice change.  Please no pesto freezing yet, just take enough for a nice pesto meal. Thanks.

Flowers- open for light picking

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

Cherry tomatoes are open for a tasting only- snag a few to tempt your tastebuds while you pick your flowers, herbs and beans.


Featured vegetables: Swiss Chard


We love swiss chard- it is our favorite summer green as it never gets bitter or rubbery in the summer heat the way the kale sometimes does as it tires out in August. It is a quick way to add nutrients to your meals- it is one of the most nutritious vegetables in the world- and one that carries both the purple and yellow phytonutrients called betalains. These are the pigments that have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.

Like beets (a member of the same family along with spinach and quinoa), chard contains oxalic acid (overabundance causes some folks to feel like their tongue has been coated with cotton). If you are sensitive to this or have kidney or gallbladder issues feel free to boil your chard for a few minutes to reduce the oxalic acid by as much as 50%.


Recipes of the Week: Lasagne with Chard, Ricotta & Walnuts


This unseasonable cool weather is making it perfectly acceptable to turn on your ovens! Try this incredible, easy lasagna. I recommend adding a little more milk to the bottom to keep it from being too dry and I like Italian sausage in my lasagna.

From Deborah Madison: Local Flavors


1 cup cracked walnuts

Sea salt and ground pepper

2-3 bunches of chard (you can also use spinach or beet greens!), leaves only

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the dish

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup white wine

1 cup ricotta, whole milk

1 cup fresh grated parmesan (the shaker stuff doesn’t work)

8 oz fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated

1 ¼ cups milk

1 8oz box no-boil lasagna noodles



  1. Bring 2 gallons of water to a boil for the chard and the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 then toast the walnuts in a shallow pan until pale gold and fragrant, 7-10 min. Chop finely and set aside.
  2. When the water boils, add 1 Tbsp salt and the chard. Cook until tender 3-5 minutes even if the water doesn’t return to a boil. Scoop the chard into a colander and press out most of the water. Reserve water Finely chop the chard.
  3. Heat oil in a wide skillet and add 2/3 of the garlic then the chard. Cook over med-hi heat, turning frequently for several minutes then add the wine and allow it to cool down. Turn off the heat.
  4. Combine the ricotta, Parmesan, all but ¾ cup of mozzarella and the remaining garlic in a bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of the chard cooking water then add the chard. Mix together taste for salt and season with pepper.
  5. Bring the water back to a boil. Lightly oil an 8x10 or 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle ¼ cup milk over the dish.
  6. Drop 3 pieces of the instant pasta into the water and boil for 1 min. Remove them and fit them into the baking dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup milk, a third of the cheese mix and ¼ cup of the walnuts. Repeat twice more with pasta, milk & cheese and nuts. When you get to the last layer, add the remaining milk, mozzarella and nuts. Place 4 toothpicks in the pasta to make a tent, then cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 min longer or until lightly browned on top. Let sit for 10 min then cut into portions and serve.


Posted 7/31/2013 7:57am by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

So, why are the cabbages so small, the Chinese cabbage was ugly and what happened to the broccoli???!!! Well it’s pretty simple- they (all our spring veggies in the Brassica family) were planted in the field that used to be the old riding ring. It is very sandy there but we added a lot of compost and amendments and last fall it grew some beautiful fall crops for us. This spring and early summer, however, it rained A LOT and our amazing sandy soil with lots of compost in it turned into sandy slush and then, into straight sand. One of the big problems with sandy soils is that the silica is just like what it is- glass- and it doesn’t hold onto nutrients the way that loamy or silt or clay does. It just washes clean. You need to keep on adding more stuff to it, but because the rain went on for so long, we couldn’t even walk in the field (I sank up to mid-calf and turned around). And by the time it dried out enough that we could, it was too late for the little plants who were already stunted and small. This also makes them a huge target for insect pests and disease. There might as well be a big neon sign that says “free dinner”. Healthy plants resist pests and disease- unhealthy ones just give up under the added pressure.

We’ve gotten what we can, and we are fertilizing the remaining fall cabbages and turnips with an organic fertilizer mix, and we are crossing our fingers a lot. All the fall broccoli and cauliflower are planted in other fields and are growing well. We are replanting kale, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, radishes and kohlrabi for the fall.


What’s in your share (maybe)

New Potatoes: Bintje


Summer Squash

Carrots, baby

Swiss Chard


Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are open for light pinching- it won’t be pesto time until they are nice and big- DO NOT pick just leaves off, please pinch back to a branching point so that the plants bush out instead of look like sticks.

Flowers- open for light picking, please pick at branch points and don’t cut them off at the base otherwise we won’t have more flowers coming.


Featured vegetables: Cucumbers


When it is hot, there is nothing better than the cool, refreshing flavor of cucumbers. We snack on them right out in the field and then mix them with a little ranch dressing or yogurt for a side salad. They get thrown into potato and pasta salads. We pickle them with dill and garlic. This is yet another summer vegetable where the taste is so phenomenally different between a freshly picked fruit and the ones found in the store (that have no flavor and the texture of styrofoam).  Last year we had a total crop failure on cucumbers (they burned to a crisp the minute they hit the plastic mulch so it is with great pleasure that we have such an abundance for this season! I will also report that the melon crop is growing at an astounding rate… will take them a couple more weeks to ripen, but they already look amazing!


Recipes of the Week: Cool Cucumber Soup


When I was pregnant with Morgan I was farming down in the Valley and was part of a trial group who were growing for chefs in NYC. There was a large press event where the chefs came up to Western Mass and cooked for the farmers….yeah. It is as good as it sounds. This was one of the recipes.


3 Cucumbers, peeled and sliced

2 scallions

1 cup yogurt (vegan recipe- use coconut milk!)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp fresh lemon basil

1 tsp to 1 Tbsp good local honey (to taste)

Dash salt and pepper

Handful of toasted pecans, chopped (optional)


Blend all ingredients except the pecans until smooth in a blender. Serve very cold with a sprinkle of chopped basil and pecans on top. Especially delicious served in hollowed out lemon cucumber “bowls”.

Posted 7/23/2013 4:17pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Jesse has been working like mad for the last week to get the irrigation going in the fields. Record heat and humidity have made for sleepless nights, unhappy animals and dying vegetables. The already stressed plants (from too much rain) took a beating from last week’s heat, but, thanks to Jesse, we have managed to salvage most of them. Biggest losses have been in lettuce- they just can’t stand these kind of high temperatures and so most of them bolted (which means they flowered) while still in their baby phase. It will have to be cucumber salad for the next bit while we wait for the next planting of lettuce to do its thing.

We are really excited about the amazing abundance of cucumbers and summer squash that have started pouring in- YAY! The early tomatoes have just started to ripen down in the field and the eggplant and peppers are fruiting.

Despite the fact that we had to cancel the Weeding Party on Saturday- we still managed to get the Pick Your Own unburied from the weeds that were threatening to engulf the flowers and beans. It looks great and now, with the irrigation up and running and the small amount of rain we got this week, hopefully the flowers will take off and we will be able to open them for picking next week. The beans are flowering and we should also have beans in the very near future, possibly by next week.

We say Adieu to Alison this week- she’s on to other adventures- she’s been a great help all this spring and summer and we will miss her happiness, laughter and ever-fantastic attitude. We wish her much luck and hope she has a blast in whatever she decides to do next.

What’s in your share (maybe)

Onions- Cippolini

New Potatoes: Bintje


Summer Squash

Carrots, baby

Escarole or Radicchio

Swiss Chard


Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

BASILS are open for light pinching- it won’t be pesto time until they are nice and big- DO NOT pick just leaves off, please pinch back to a branching point so that the plants bush out instead of look like sticks. There are multiple varieties: Sweet, Thai, Lemon and Purple. The purple and sweet are both great in salad, the lemon is the perfect addition to a cream sauce (with tomato or not) and the Thai is incredible in coconut cream curries- our favorite addition to any sauté.

Parsley is open for light picking.

Featured vegetables: Summer Squash


These are some of our favorite vegetables and believe it or not- I never get sick of them- I sometimes eat summer squash for all three meals. The texture and taste of fresh summer squash just can’t compare to the dull cardboard-like vegetables that arrive in the winter from the west coast.

Most of the time we just slice in lengthwise ¼” slabs and toss with a little olive oil and throw it on the grill until it is tender on both sides- we finish by dousing with Salmeura (Argentinian salt-garlic & pepper mixed with water- so good and perfect for steak, ribs or anything else you are grilling).

We also sauté with eggs in the morning for breakfast, make quick breads for the freezer, throw it into any sauté…

Oh. And we never boil it. Ever. It just isn’t good that way.


Recipes of the Week: Summer Squash Ribbon Salad

Thanks to Lisa Udel for the recipe!


3 small zucchini (about 1lb)

3 small summer squash (about 1lb)

20 med basil leaves (any kind, thinly sliced)

2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped

6 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Salt and ground pepper

Optional: 1 large daikon radish



Trim the ends of the zucchini and summer squash. With a vegetable peeler, shave the zukes and squash lengthwise in long wide strips about 1/16” thick. When you get to the center where the seeds are, turn it over and slice from the other side until you get to the center again.  Do the same with the optional daikon. Put the strips in a large bowl along with the basil and oregano.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables with enough of the vinaigrette to lightly coat them. And season to taste again. Serve immediately.



Easy Coconut Curry Sauce:

This is my favorite quick cooking sauce- it is delicious, easy and pleasing to just about anyone’s palate. Seasoning is easy to adjust at table, so kids love it too. I keep all the ingredients on hand in my pantry and use seasonal veggies and either a little chicken, pork, lamb or shrimp. The below recipe serves anywhere from 4-8 depending on how much sauce you like.



1 can coconut milk (you can use light if you like)

¼ tsp-1tsp of Thai curry paste (green, red or roasted red are all good). Easy to find at any grocery store

½ tsp fish sauce, optional

1 tsp (or more!) of chopped Thai basil


In a medium bowl, mix all three ingredients together and set aside.

Saute meats and vegetables separately then add all together and cook briefly with the above ingredients for 3 minutes. Serve over rice with sauce and add more curry paste, soy sauce, and/or fish sauce at table to adjust spiciness and saltiness according to preference. So good.


Posted 7/16/2013 2:06pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Weeding EXTRAVAGANZA is happening this Saturday from 2-4, come out and help us get a jump ahead on the weeds that are burying the crops, first from all the rain we’ve had and now from the heat. Many hands make for light work so lets get it done! A BBQ potluck will follow from 4-6 with lemonade, grillables & ice cream from us- bring a little something to share.

There are fresh raspberries for sale in the store! Locally grown and delicious. Get them while they last.

The summer heat is bringing in the roots and fruits! The summer squash is gorgeous and sweet, the beets are round and beautiful, the baby carrots are…..well, they aren’t as sweet as they would be in the fall after a nice hard frost but they are sweeter than any carrots from California. Eat those beet greens folks, they are sweet and tender right now- just as delicious as swiss chard. This variety is grown for its good greens as much as for the root- so don’t throw them in the compost bin.

We are going to try this again….because I was sick this weekend, I didn’t get a chance to order bread. I will order for Saturday, so if you get me your orders by Thursday for Saturday pickup, it will be here by 930. For Tuesday breads, order by Saturday….Sign up lists are at distribution or you can email me.

What’s in your share (maybe)

Chinese Cabbage (Napa cabbage)

Garlic scapes

New Potatoes: Bintje

Broccoli (maybe.....)

Summer Squash

Carrots, baby and/or Beets


Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking. Peas are still around, but are slow in all this heat so there may not be many. Check the second planting since the first planting is donedonedone!

BASILS are open for light pinching- it won’t be pesto time until they are nice and big- DO NOT pick just leaves off, please pinch back to a branching point so that the plants bush out instead of look like sticks. There are multiple varieties: Sweet, Thai, Lemon and Purple. The purple and sweet are both great in salad, the lemon is the perfect addition to a cream sauce (with tomato or not) and the Thai is incredible in coconut cream curries- our favorite addition to any sauté.

Alison and/or Emma will be out in the field to help you if you need assistance. Thanks!


Featured vegetables—Carrots


As I mentioned above, the baby carrots are not as sweet as fall carrots. Fall carrots, after a good hard frost, start to pull sugars from their greens and store them in their roots- hence a sweeter carrot. Barring the fact that here in the Northeast we are blessed with seasons and so most of you have had a good fresh, frosted carrot, these are still fresher and sweeter than any carrot that you find in the grocery store. This also didn’t stop my kids from hovering around the field and eating every reject carrot they could find, dirt and all. You don’t need to peel them- these fresh eating varieties have a fragile, tissue-paper skin. And it will be hard to get them home.

We have five varieties growing the field right now. These early, small fresh eating beauties as well as Sugar Snax- a longer season, ultra sweet orange carrot and three “rainbow” carrots- these are deepest purple, bright yellow and pale red- which are our storage carrots and take all season to size up big and beautiful. Look for the latter in the fall after a good frost has made them as sweet as candy.


Recipe of the Week: Carrot Top Soup

A light soup for this warm weather. Perfect paired with crusty bread and a soft goat cheese.

From Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison (a great cookbook!)



1 bunch carrots (small, with their tops)

2 Tbsps butter

3 Tbsps white rice

2 large leeks or ½ bunch scallions, chopped.

2 thyme sprigs

2 Tbsps chopped dill, parsley, celery leaves or lovage

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

6 cups Vegetable stock, chicken stock or water



  1. Pull or pluck lacy leaves of the carrot greens off their stems. Wash they chop finely. Grate the carrots or finely chop them.
  2. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot tops and carrots, rice, scallions/leeks, thyme & dill. Cook for several minutes, tuning everything a few times, then season with 1 ½ tsps salt and add the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rice is cooked, 16-18 minutes.
  3. Taste for salt, season with pepper and serve.
Posted 7/15/2013 8:54am by Ruth Crane.

Hello everyone- we know it is short notice but we are hoping that you will join us for a community weeding party this Saturday from 2-4. We would love to tackle some weeds that have gotten away from us and it would be so much more fun with a big group! We will have a BBQ potluck afterwards from 4-6. We will provide the grillings, ice cream and lemonade...bring a little something to share if you'd like. Please let us know if you can come help! Bring your families and friends- all are welcome!



Posted 7/9/2013 3:52pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

We had a couple of days there with sun, but Tuesday brings us more rain again. The weeds are getting ahead of us out there- we would love to have your help. Sign up to weed with us! Many hands make for light work and we love getting to know you! Kids are welcome……J

We are stocking up the store with more local deliciousness- there are new Goat cheeses from Goat Rising in Plainfield, fresh organically raised eggs from Frost Hollow in Windsor, and we have Klara’s cookies (including her amazing gluten free macaroons) from Lee.

Do you want fresh locally baked, organic bread? We have a couple of possibilities: We can set up a pre-order system for both Tuesday and Saturday. On Tuesdays we can supply you with home-baked yeasted breads from Becket Bakehouse. Ellen uses as many local or regional organic flours and ingredients as possible. Her breads have a thin, crispy crust surrounding a deep moist center. This is the perfect bread for toast or sandwiches or eating chunks right off the loaf.


1 lb braid



Cinnamon Raisin

10″ loaf



Rustic White

10″ sandwich or round



Rustic Whole Wheat

10″ sandwich or round







For Saturdays we can get bread from Berkshire Mountain Bakery (since we are right next to them at the Farmer’s Market, we can pick up and bring back here by 930a. These breads are sourdough extravaganzas with thick crusts perfect for smearing with your favorite cheese or dipping in sauces. Their cherry-pecan is my favorite breakfast smeared with fresh chevre and local honey.

Peasant French

1lb oval




1lb oval




1lb oval



Cherry Pecan

1lb oval










What’s in your share (maybe)


Garlic scapes

New Potatoes: Purple Viking




Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking. Peas are still around, but are slow in all this heat so there may not be many. Check the second planting.

We are hoping to open the basil next week at least for light pinching- it won’t be pesto time until they are nice and big.


Featured vegetables—New Potatoes


These gems are the real deal. In the store they say “new potatoes” and they really just mean “small”. They could have been being stored for literally months.

Our new potatoes are fresh dug, flavorful and fragile. Those skins are paper thin, full of fresh nutrients. DON’T PEEL!!!! These potatoes are chock full of vitamin C- a half cup serving contains only 58 calories and 24% of your daily VitC plus 9% of your daily potassium. These are so full of moisture that you will have to watch them very very carefully in the pot or you can easily overboil them to mush. Because of this we often recommend roasting them in the oven, steaming, or tossing with olive oil and wrapping in foil and putting on the grill. We even sauté them and they take about as long as fresh carrots to be perfectly al dente. We are growing a bunch of different kinds of potatoes this year- look for purple & pink swirled skins with white flesh, purple skins with yellow flesh, red skins and yellow, bright yellow all around….


Recipe of the Week:

Elspeth's Potato Salad

Mostly a traditional potato salad- Elspeth loves to make this dish for us with the new potato of the week. She livened it up with bright paprika and fresh sweet onions (she likes the Rossa Lunga de Tropea or Ailsa Craigs).


1-2 qts of new potatoes, preferably Blue Gold or Red Norland

1 fresh sweet onion (red or white) with green tops

3 carrots, grated

Good mayonnaise

1 Tbsp of grain mustard

Generous Tbsp of sweet Paprika

Optional meaty extras: Crumbled, cooked Pastured-raised bacon, Free-range eggs, hard-boiled


Quarter the potatoes with their skins on. Put in a saucepan and cover with water. Cook until fork tender but not falling apart. Drain and run under cold water to cool.

While the potatoes are cooking, grate the carrots and finely chop the entire onion-green tops and all. When potatoes are cool, add the carrots, onion, mustard and sprinkle with the paprika. Add just enough mayo to coat but not drown the vegetables (you can mix in the optional ingredients before the mayo). Toss well and serve.

Posted 7/6/2013 7:37am by Dicken Crane.

So this rain is starting to totally suck. A lot of our plants are starting to really suffer, especially the ones that normally are coming in like gangbusters about now- broccolis, mini & Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi- but instead they are languishing in the fields with too wet feet. Many are just outright rotting. It is really too bad and we aren’t sure yet if they will recover.

The tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are growing beautifully on the other hand. The plastic mulch is keeping them warmer and drier than their field companions Our cherry tomatoes are a little slower, but we had to wait for the fields to dry out enough to plant them so they are behind schedule. They will catch up. Summer squash is pulling through- hopefully it will start to flower in the next two weeks and soon after- we will have fruits!

The surprise for us in the field this week was the beautiful jump that the escarole made despite all the wet. It went from tiny and sad to creamy gorgeous leafiness in a week! Yay! The other surprise came when we went to thin out the turnips- normally a slow grower with a harvest beginning in September- there were a lot of nice sized small ones- perfect for thinning out for this early distribution. They are not salad turnips and should be roasted or steamed to nutty perfection before eating.

Sheep are moving through the main part of the farm and the cattle are moving to the Orchard Road field. The lambs and calves are growing quick! Time to see them bouncing before they aren’t cute and small anymore.


What’s in your share (maybe)


Garlic scapes




Pick Your Own

Peas are open check out the second planting- they may be starting up! The snow peas are more abundant. Rain has affected the pollination.

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.


Featured vegetables—Escarole

I love this dark green leafy vegetable even though the only way I had ever had it prior to growing it myself in the last couple of years was from a can…..yep. believe it or not, I ate a canned vegetable. In any case, in case you don’t know a whole lot about this green- it is a member of the chicory family. It has a slightly bitter taste that lessens as the leaves get lighter (towards the middle)- if you want to eat this green raw in salad use the middle leaves and save the outer leaves for cooking with. The bitter taste is especially becoming with beans, lentils and garlic. The beans mellow and smooth out the escarole making them the perfect combination- it also pairs well with other strong flavors such as shrimp, Italian sausage, and darker fishes. I like it in soups of all kinds. We like the bean-escarole and garlic combo because it makes the perfect accompaniment for a crusty Italian bread, a fabulous light dinner on a hot summer evening. Check out the website for more recipes but one that looks exceptionally yummy (especially if you make it with our pork or lamb Italian sausage).

Lentil soup with Italian sausage and escarole

  • 1 2/3 cups lentils (11 ounces), rinsed well
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound escarole, chopped (4 cups packed)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar


Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.


Posted 6/25/2013 11:58am by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Alright! The week started off with a great big sheep escape! I went out to do morning milking at 5am and paused to take a particularly lovely shot of the Strawberry Moon setting in the west only to notice that the sheep were not where they were supposed to be in the field. In fact, they were not to be seen. I could hear them though and where all the baaing was coming from was not good. I dropped the milk gear and jumped in the truck. Sure enough- the sheep were all in the PICK YOUR OWN eating peas and oats. They were also in the hoophouse bedded down in the last of the early spring greens we had been taking to farmers’ market and finally, they had mowed the new strawberries to nubs and eaten most of the kale (from the inside mind you- they didn’t bother with the outer leaves, no. they ate the sweet, tender inner leaves). They had clearly been out most, if not all, night. Bummer.

The culprit behind the great escape was a lamb, tangled in the electrified net that we use. Luckily, he managed to pull the net free from the electrical hook-up in his struggle,  and so did not strangle or electrocute himself and appears to be fine.

The remaining kale is going to take a couple of weeks to recover fully, so we are going to need to keep a limit on for a bit. It is also just filled with holes- the flea beetles are insanely bad this year. It still cooks up real nice and we’ve been eating massaged kale salad almost daily with home-made feta from my goat milk.

The lettuce is coming in nicely and we have delicious garlic scapes, but everything else is still running behind schedule from the cold, wet start to the summer. We should have kohlrabi and Chinese cabbage in the next week or so. We will see whether this new run of warmer weather gives us a jump into happier vegetables with drier feet.

What’s in your share (maybe)


Garlic scapes



Pick Your Own

Peas are open but the sheep ate most of the sugar snaps. The snow peas are more abundant. Hopefully the second planting will be more fruitful.

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.


Featured vegetables—Kale

Way back when I was a college student at Hampshire College in Amherst I moved into one of the student apartments on campus. Hampshire is lucky enough to have a 350 acre farm with a 200 member CSA for its students and staff and we joined up immediately. I could barely cook, but I was excited to use fresh seasonal produce. Since the Hamp CSA is a fall only CSA, you get a lot of great stuff in the beginning, but by the end of October, it is mostly roots and lots of kale. I had no idea how to cook kale, I’d always thought of it as a garnish. We ate salad at my house and spinach, but the other greens were in short supply.

Mostly we ended up sautéing it in olive oil or bacon fat with lots of garlic and serving it with potatoes or pasta. I discovered that the sauté plus chopping and freezing made for a great addition to tomato sauce or any soup all winter long. And then Susan and Tony came to the farm and brought with them massaged kale salad.

So good.

I now grow five different kinds of kale- usually it is just four, but I wanted to try a new variety being offered by Wild Garden Seeds. It is the large leafed flat kale with the red rib. I’m dont really love how it is growing though so I probably won’t grow it again. The flavor is fine, but it is hard to pick and the beetles like it too much. The other varieties are green and red curly and both regular and rainbow lacinato (also called Tuscan, Black or Dinosaur kale).

Recipe of the Week: Massaged Kale Salad

I’m putting our classic recipe for massaged kale salad in the newsletter this week. It is one of our favorites and often makes those who have never really enjoyed kale into fanatics- maybe not as much so as kale chips, but….still it is delicious.



1 large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and rinsed.

Olive oil

Good Feta

Balsamic vinegar

Sea salt

Optional: Roasted red peppers, grapes, chunks of avocado



Chop the kale into bite size pieces. Drizzle olive oil across the kale and start massaging with clean hands. It will darken and soften and look wilted a bit. You decide whether you want it sort of al dente versus super soft. Then add crumbled feta and/or other optional ingredients- toss to coat and drizzle balsamic vinegar across the top. Have the sea salt on the table as some folks like a little more salt or your feta may not be as salty as mine. Use sparingly though- kale is naturally higher in sodium so too much added salt makes it yucky.

Posted 6/18/2013 2:39pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

It is not often that I, as a farmer (and just a wee bit superstitious) really want the rain to just stop. Wishing for such things usually comes backs to haunt you with the old saying "be careful what you wish for", but the rain is really starting to be ridiculous. We haven't made a single dry bale of hay, the veggies are all suffering from nutrient deficiencies and having wet feet all the time and the animals really are just miserable being damp ALL the time. I'm also a little disgusted about how long it is taking the laundry to dry on the line. In June.

In any case, all this wet means that we are still low on our usually abundant veggies. They just aren't growing as fast, or regrowing as the case may be, as they normally do. Hence, smaller heads of lettuce than normal, smaller turnips, kale that is a little holey when I would normally cut those leaves off and leave them in the field as mulch. We hope that even if you are new to our CSA, you will understand that we can't control the weather and even though we've been doing this for years- we are working with, for and at the mercy of Mother Nature, always.

We are hoping, not necessarily wishing, if you understand our superstitious difference in semantics, for the rain to pass along in favor of sunnier climes, warmer (slightly) temps and if I'm really really lucky, low humidity. For at least a week.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! We put a lot of updates- especially of the cute and fuzzy kind on our facebook page- but we also put up events that might be happening, interesting things that we are doing or discovering.

What’s in your share (maybe)


Green Garlic


Salad Turnips and/or Radishes



Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

The peas are still not ready yet.


Featured vegetables—Spinach

Spinach used to be one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Even as soon as ten years ago, I used to be able to throw spinach seed at the ground and it would sprout everywhere. These days, in the rush to make year round baby spinach possible in hoophouses across the United States, seed companies have been working like mad to produce spinach that takes more heat, lasts longer, tastes sweeter and just does better in a hoophouse environment which is more temperature and weather consistent. However, for a seed which you used to be able to throw at the ground and have grow it is now recommended to soak the seed for 24 hours (which makes it impossible to put through a seeder and keep it carefully watered throughout the germination process. It has become one of the hardest veggies to grow for us in the field from seed. So now we start it all in the greenhouse and transplant it as started plants instead.


Recipe of the Week: Braised Spinach with Walnuts, Maple and Balsamic Vinegar

This simple side dish is incredible served with rice or pasta on its own or alongside our thick-cut pork chops fresh off the grill.



1 large bunch of spinach, de-stemmed and rinsed but not dry.

2/3 cup walnut halves

Olive oil

Maple syrup

Balsamic vinegar



Heat oven to 375. Place walnuts on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in oven. Watch carefully, when the walnuts are fragrant and slightly toasted they are done. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a little olive oil on med-low heat and place the wet spinach in the skillet. Toss quickly and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and drizzle a little maple syrup and balsamic over the spinach, add the walnuts and toss to coat. Serve immediately.



Posted 6/15/2013 12:48pm by Desiree Robertson-DuBois.

Garden CSA 2013     Welcome to Another Season of Health!          Week 1

Welcome to the first distribution of this season’s CSA. If you are new to the farm then we’re very excited to get to know you and your family, and we hope that you enjoy all the benefits of coming here. If you are old friends then welcome back and we trust you had a pleasant winter and spring. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. Sorry if you were expecting an invoice in the mail- I need to edit the website/email to state something to the effect of “I am totally swamped, so consider this your invoice and either mail me a check or drop by the store during open hours and I will be happy to run your credit card.” In any case, we are totally excited to see all of you and don’t forget that the farm is open to you anytime during daylight hours for walking, picnics or hiking/biking. We have a lot going on!

There are more than eighty lambs in the field this year and almost twenty calves. There were thirty or so piglets but most of them have gone off to their new homes/farms to be raised since our fall group of pigs was HUGE and we have more than enough pork to get us through the season. Also, there are week old piglets in the barn out of our Moony (Berkshire) that will move out onto pasture as soon as they are big enough. The other big mommas will be in the pasture below the garden field hopefully by the end of next week so you can visit them after going to the PYO.

So the weather this spring has been a little wonky- the long winter, the wet, the veryveryvery dry and super heat that had us irrigating in April, and again with the ridiculous cool wet has made for a stressful growing season so far. The little transplants just don’t know what to do- so some bolt small and early, others just grow slowly, others have petered out. Our radishes have mostly bolted without ever forming roots and some things just never got planted at all. The good news is that there is still a lot of loveliness awaiting you this season and we have mostly switched over to transplanting everything we possibly can since the field conditions have been so variable.

We will hopefully get a short newsletter out to you every week detailing what might be in the line-up for veggies- highlighting new additions, letting you know how the PYO is coming along and what is open for picking, some farm happenings that you might want to check out, and a recipe or two to get you inspired.

Don’t forget to sign-up in the book to help with distributions, we value your help and couldn’t do it all without you.

Also introduce yourselves to Alison, Emma, Melissa, Amy and Nancy- our trusty farm crew this year!



What’s in your share (maybe)

Mixed Mustard Greens

Green Garlic


Salad Turnips



Pick Your Own

Sage, Winter Savory and Oregano are open for Picking.

The peas are starting to flower, but aren’t ready yet.


Featured vegetables—Salad turnips

So these are one of our favorite hidden treats. Sweeter than regular turnips, but with just a hint of radish bite- these little gems are incredible eaten raw, roasted or sautéed. In our family we each have our favorite way of eating them- Morgan likes them raw- eats them right out of the ground. Elspeth and I like them roasted; toss with a little olive oil and salt and pop in the oven while everything else is cooking for dinner. They are done when they are fork tender. Sometimes they don’t even make it to the table. Jesse and Gwyn like them sautéed with their chopped greens in olive oil, maple syrup and a drizzle of soy sauce.

Recipe of the Week: Radish/Turnip Butter & Mustard Pesto

Thank you Emma for this delicious change-up for breakfast!


Radish/Turnip Butter


6 radishes and/or salad turnips with greens

4 Tbsps unsalted butter, room temp

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Sea salt


Wash and trim radishes and/or turnips. Finely chop roots and leaves (a few pulses of a food processor make this quick). Mix butter with lemon zest and add the veg. with a pinch of salt to taste. Spread on crusty baguette….and you can also top with the following!


Mustard Green Pesto

So- I like to make pesto out of everything I can and this is truly one of my favorites because it is so versatile. Add to pasta, sandwiches, use to dress up baked/grilled chicken. Make your morning bagel with creamy goat cheese sing.


Basic Ingredients:

Mustard Greens

Good Olive Oil

Sea salt to taste

Optional additions:

Garlic- regular, green or scapes

Pine nuts, Walnuts, Pistachios or Sunflower Seeds

Parmesan Cheese


In a blender or food processor combine just enough olive oil with veg to make a smooth deep green paste. Add a pinch of sea salt and put more on the table so that folks can add more if they like. Add in any of the optional ingredients as you like and to taste- they are all good. Most of the time we stick with the basic because it is just so delightful.