Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

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.


Posted 5/31/2013 8:14pm by Ruth Crane.

Hello everyone- new and familiar shareholders alike- we are going to start up CSA distributions on June 11th for Tuesday pickups and Saturday June 15th! We are so excited to see all of you again. We are busy putting in all the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, summer squash and zucchini plants and seeding many more of your favorites! First distribution will see fresh salad, baby turnips, spinach and garlic scapes (if we are super lucky!) 

Meat CSA distribution for June can be picked up starting tomorrow or, if participating in our veggie csa as well, can begin when you pick up your veggies. Thanks!

so looking forward to serving our community again!



ps. For those of you whom were expecting an invoice to arrive in the mail- it will be waiting for you on opening day. 

Posted 4/13/2013 12:54pm by Dicken Crane.

It snowed yesterday, well, it sort of icy slushy gooped on us in an approximation of snow. And it was certainly cold. And that was the day we were supposed to be transplanting the first of the broccoli into the field. The peas were supposed to be planted almost two weeks ago and the soil almost got dry enough for us to start spring tillage but then it got cold and wet once again. I was itching to be in the fields, but I'm glad I sat on my hands since my pea seeds would have rotted away in the cold, damp soil.

We are fond of saying that we can't control the weather-but that doesn't mean we like it. I've never felt so emotional about spring coming as this season. For some reason, I'm just sick to death of cold and damp and ice-filled breath in the morning. I can't wait to see lambs jumping around in deep green, to see calves be born into the warmth of sunny dappled shade instead of into mud so cold that we wrestle them into fleece vests to keep them alive. In April.

So the timing on everything will be a little late this year unless the sun pops out and there is a delicious bout of warm, close to perfect weather for the rest of the spring. Somehow and sometime soon we will break out of this rut of cold spring- but I have a personal feeling that instead of a gentle spring that eases into summer- we will be having one of those springs that feels like the end of winter right up until it abruptly shifts to summer with nary a glance of gentle.

So now that I've gone on now about the dreariness of this season so far- there are bright spots- we had a good sugaring season that we wrapped up at the beginning of this past week. The fields are slowly, slowly starting to green and we can't wait to get the animals out of barns and winter paddocks and into sunny bright pastures. Best of all- we've had a nice start to our birthing season. There are baby animals in every barn. The sows had nice big litters, the goats had healthy kids and the first lambs started arriving this week and they seem to be coming out ready to jump. The calves are all looking really good- they are being born a little further out in the woody pasture near the orchard- not as readily accessible for viewing at the moment. Their mommas are pretty good at telling them to hunker down and stay hidden and the calves are very good at obeying. Last week we took the crew on a hunt for a calf we knew had arrived to one of our cows, but that we hadn't seen and we were worried. We never found a trace of her even with five humans combing the pasture. Three days later, Jesse snapped her picture as she trotted along with her mother!

The greenhouse is filling up fast- onions, broccoli, spinach, beets, flowers galore, herbs and the first of the peppers, eggplant and tomatoes have all made their appearance. Here's to wishing for a few warm dry days so that we can put them into the fields. Cheers and Happy Spring!

Posted 3/2/2013 3:08pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Winter hayloft 

Despite the changeable weather here in the last few weeks- there are subtle signs of spring in the air here at the farm. The sheep are getting rounder (well, Penny the goat is the most obvious), the hay barns are emptying, tapping in is happening in the sugarbush, and......(drumroll) the greenhouse got it's end of winter cleaning and clearing out! An unfortunate turn of events led to the freezing of the winter greens growing in the house, but Amy Pagano and Nancy Ringer came to help get the greenhouse and hoophouse geared up for seeding early greens and to start transplant production next week. The pigs got a lovely treat of mostly frozen greens, the house got a good sweeping while pallets and benches got shifted around. And theHoophouse Seedingn out came the boxes of seeds, both old (since most of those seeds are totally fine) and the shiny, new packets that have steadily been arriving in the mail. Consolidated, rubber-banded, and cataloged- our seeds are now organized and ready for becoming your delicious CSA veggies.

The hoophouse got old yucky greens thrown out and we started planting for early salad, turnips, radishes, swiss chard, arugula and wrinkled, crinkled crumpled cress! We will plant more lettuce and broccoli raab next week- these veggies are for the store, so don’t forget that we will have them available starting in April.


So yes, that means that you can now sign up for CSA!!!!! YAY!!!

Please note that there are some changes to the Meat CSA- Please read about those here…..and know that we are simply trying to make the whole process both more efficient for farmers and apprentices to pack and almost more importantly, that we’ve finally accumulated enough real data to realize exactly how much it costs to produce our meats. Our new prices reflect these realizations.

In other farm news, we are spending the last days of winter finalizing budgets, ordering supplies and potting mix, tweaking field planting plans, planting charts and the grazing plans for multiple combinations of livestock. And then we do it again as we try to look at it from another perspective, combination or from a different starting point. All of this so that we can make sure that we’ve tried to plan for all the risks, contingencies, weather and so on and so forth- and can therefore be a little more prepared for the height of the craziness that summer always brings when there are never enough hands, tempers are short and the days are long.

The new farm shop is coming along quickly now. We’ve been without a shop or tool storage area since the old barn burned down in 2009 and while we’ve tried to stay organized, it is hard when there isn’t an actual designated spot for that tool that might change at any time. And there is nothing so nice as a radiant heat floor for making working on tractors and other equipment in the winter time go a little easier.

Rick up on the scaffolding for the new shop

We do have a March Sale going on this year in the store, please come by and pick up select varieties of Appalachian Naturals Salad dressings and dips for 50% off all this month. All our remaining winter squash and potatoes are also on Sale for .50 cents/lb while they last. We will have other sale items happening as they become available. We will post these on our Facebook page.

If you see steam coming out of the sugarhouse- stop by and check it out- we are BOILING!!!

Posted 2/2/2013 1:51pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and many happy returns for the New Year- we (Jesse and Des) booked out of here just after Christmas heading due south to the sunny and deliciously warm Everglades. It was a looooonnnnggg drive with three kids in the truck, but we made it and we had so much fun exploring the million acre National Park full of fabulous and crazy-looking birds, alligators, manatees and coconuts (oh, and bugs, we can't forget them but they were really only horrible at night). We heard the booming of fireworks coming across Florida Bay from Key West and paddled alongside dolphins and manatees on surfboards. We wore t-shirts and ate fresh picked oranges, bananas and strawberries from the farmers' market. It was a wonderful and refreshing respite and we highly encourage everyone to take time for rest, relaxation and reflection. We farmers don't often do this, we love to work, it is why we do what we do for a living, but fresh perspectives and out of the comfort zone experiences are good for all of us. Thank you so much to Paul Papadatos, Amy Pagano and Dicken for holding down the farm, doing chores and caring for our critters while we were away!

As we move out of the dark of the year, we are feeding out large round bales of hay that smell like the sweetest part of the summer, the plastic houses are filling with green and we are planning field layouts, perusing through the stacks of seed catalogs, putting together orders of supplies, planning grazing rotations of animals and breaking the ice out of frozen water buckets.  We are aching for warmer winds- for a sense of a shift towards spring. A little respite for planning is nice, but now it is feeling like time to tap trees for sugaring, to warm up the greenhouse and start thousands of little seeds and see a little more mud instead of just ice. Unless winter decides to give us some more snow- that would be okay- we haven't gotten enough cross country skiing or sledding.

As you drive by the farm you can see the roof going up on the equipment shop! It is so exciting to think of once again having somewhere to work on tractors and store all the tools and such out of the rain and not have to worry about  being in the way of livestock or hay storage.

We have all cuts of all of our meats in stock as well as syrup, squashes, potatoes and greens (you can call Des to find out what she has) in the store- we are open on Fridays and Saturdays! Cheers!

Posted 12/7/2012 11:09am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Hello Everyone, sorry for slacking on the newsletter for the last few weeks- we've been busy with seasonal fairs and the flu along with all the fun of winter farm chores. We hope that you've been enjoying the beautiful veggies- we have one more week of this section of season extension- and we have officially moved out of the fields for harvest! We got all of the broccoli out last week (hence the double large offering in your box. We felt like we just couldn 't keep hoping that the weather would continue to hold off on killing temps, so we took it all.) We are now harvesting out of the plastic houses- greens, greens, greens- but still have carrots, squash and potatoes in the cellar to fill out the box. This week we also have some dry beans that I like to grow as a side offering. I have a semi-secret love of heirloom dry beans and always tuck a row in here and there when I can. I find them beautiful and delicious and I love the idea of growing some non-animal protein, especially as my best friend is a vegetarian.

The farm is super busy still as we continue our prep for winter- animals are still out on pasture, but are closer to the barns these days.We are building fence and battening down the barns for the winter.

We also need to renovate the sheep barn a little to accomodate our growing flock and we have a new ram (thanks for the above pic Lisa!). Rhay, a silver purebred Blue-Faced Leicester came to us from Cranberry Moon Farm in Cummington. He is huge and he got right to work. He is a foundation sire for our "Mule" flock production (a ewe lamb from a Clun Forest ewe bred to a BFL Ram is called a mule- these resulting ewes will have a larger frame size but still retain good grass-finishing and mothering characteristics and can be bred to a larger terminal sire such as an English Suffolk to produce a larger, meatier lamb that still grows well on grass alone).

We are also borrowing Crabapple Farm's Clun Forest ram again this year to produce more gorgeous purebred Cluns. He did a wonderful job last year- lots of nice ewe lambs to add to our flock. 

We have some lamb coming back from the slaughterhouse next week- so if you like lamb for your special holiday meals, let us know so we can put some aside for you. We also have incredible boneless, smoked and netted hams- these range in size from 2-4 lbs and are ready to make for Christmas dinner.

We are bringing our wool yarns and sheepskins and maple syrup to the Shire City Shindy this weekend! This artisan fair is held in the old Notre Dame Church on Melville St in Pittsfield- lots of beautiful, local arts and craft for sale- Friday night from 5-8p and Saturday and Sunday from 10-6. Finish up your holiday gift shopping by buying local this season!!!! We've even bottled our syrup in pretty glass bottles from maple leaves to traditional jugs- the perfect present for that hard to please person on your list.


Farmhand Chili

This recipe is just as good without the beef......adjust the spiciness to suit your needs!

1 bag dry beans (1lb)            

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes                           

1 onion, chopped                      

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 quarts water                         

 2 Tbsp chili powder

1½ lbs Holiday Brook’s grass-fed  ground beef      

1 Tbsp packed brown sugar                   

1 cup kale, chopped    

2 Tbsp molasses                      

 1cup fresh corn kernels

Cayenne or other spicy ground pepper to taste (we like to grind our own)

Salt is also to taste.....

Rinse and pick through beans. In a large pot add beans and enough water to cover, soak overnight. Drain and add 2qts water to pan and simmer for 2 ½ hours or until beans are tender. Set aside. In a Dutch oven sauté onion and brown the beef.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, garlic and simmer for 20 min. Add beans, kale & corn and heat slowly, add salt & fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve with local cheddar & crusty bread.