Barnyard Bull - News & Blog

Posted 7/24/2012 2:35pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.
The first CSA Potluck is on Wednesday July 25th at 530pm.  Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will fire up the grill and provide the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need. RSVP to 413-358-1194.

The little bit of rain we had last night and the day before has brought a little welcome relief to a painfully arid summer, but it barely dampened the soil in the fields. We could use three days straight of that type of rain preferably without the thunderstorms which sent our young beef stock into a panic early this morning and right through the fence. They ran around through the backyards of various neighbors and into the highway, but none were hurt and all are back into their pasture. Whew.

Sunday’s Great Garlic Harvest was fantastic and all of the garlic is now harvested and hanging to cure in the barn! Thank you to everyone- friends, family and CSA members alike who came out to help- it would have been a long, hot and trying chore without all the extra hands.

Garlic Harvest wagon with the whole crew

The farm store now has delicious pasture-raised, local Chicken! Mansfield Farm has gone through all the bells, whistles, hoops and fire to get their small, mobile slaughterhouse fully certified and inspected by the state of MA and the USDA. We ate one of these incredible birds for dinner the other night, rubbed with chili pepper and salt and grilled and then finished with drizzling of maple syrup. It was amazing- never have I had a chicken so tender in texture and rich in flavor.



What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale- Green Curly


Summer squash & Zucchini-limited


Red Cabbage

Potatoes- Red Gold or August Yellow

Cucumbers- limited

Onions: Ailsa Craig

Swiss Chard


Pick Your Own

The flowers are open- please pick a nice bouquet and please harvest them according to the directions on the board in order to keep our beautiful flowers blooming all summer long.

Basils are ready for light pinching. Please just take a few tips (not just leaves!) so that the plants branch out and get big. There are two beds- the first is close to the tomatoes on the left side and is the flavored basils- lemon (great in cream sauce), thai (add to your favorite stir fry and purple (fabulous with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella). The Sweet basil is closer to the top of the garden in a whole bed by itself- it is marked.

Parsleys and other herbs are also open for light picking. Let us know if you don’t recognize something or want to find a particular herb. We have- marjoram, anise hyssop, lemon balm, sage. We will soon be planting the later season herbs: dill, fennel and cilantro (these all grow better later on in the summer).

Green and wax beans are also open for light picking. Don’t go crazy hoping for dilly beans yet- they are just getting started so stick to a handful or so to add to your salad or stirfry for this week.

 Cherry tomatoes are really close, but are not ready for full on picking- you might get a tasty snack if you dare the weedy pathways- we will get them mown this week and hopefully next week we can fully open them.

Featured vegetable—Swiss Chard or Silver Beet

Swiss Chard is a beautiful green that is the perfect summer stand-in for spinach in almost any recipe. A relative of beets, it doesn’t usually develop a root of any appreciable size and instead produces large, soft and wonderful leaves with those beautifully colored stems that brightened up any meal.

Thanks to Oona and Ben of Town Farm down in Northampton for the following deliciousness! Make it with some of the most amazing eggs around- truly organic and pasture-raised from Crabapple Farm (Jesse’s family’s farm!) in Chesterfield. You will never want to eat regular grocery store eggs again.

Chard and Onion Frittata

Here's what I made for dinner last night. It's a standby in our house. This time of year I substitute scallions for onions and use chevre for the cheese and only have parsley to herb it up. There are so many ways to make frittatas.

 CHARD AND ONION FRITATTA from 'Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone'


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large red or white onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise

1 bunch chard, leaves only, chopped (can also be kale)

salt and freshly milled pepper

1 garlic clove

6 to 8 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2 teaspoons chopped thyme

1 cup grated Gruyere (or any kind of cheese)

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

 Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch skillet, add the onion, and cook over low heat, stirring occassional, until completely soft but not colored, about 15 minutes.  Add the chard and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has cooked off and the shard is tender, about 15 minutes.  Season well with salt and pepper. 

Mash the garlic with a few pinches of salt, then stir it into the eggs along with the herbs.  Combine the chard mixure with the eggs and stir in the Gruyere and half the parmesan. 

Preheat the broiler.  Heat the remainiing oil in the skillet and, when it's hot, add the eggs.  Give a stir and keep the heat at medium-high for about a minute, then turn it to low.  Cook until the eggs are set but still a little moist on top, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the remaining Parmesan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat, until browned.  Serve in the pan or slide it onto aa serving dish and cut it into wedges.  Serves 4 to 6.

Posted 7/17/2012 1:54pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Where is the rain?  Yes, we are in a drought and it is affecting us.  The carrots and beets have been growing very slow because of the lack of water, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for them.  We are doing what we can to make the situation better- we have borrowed large cisterns from a neighbor to store water and Jesse has been hard at work rigging up irrigation systems.  You can do your part too- avoid watering your lawn.  For your garden, instead of using a sprinkler use a handheld hose or drip system to avoid watering areas that don’t need it.  And doing a little rain dance can’t hurt either…


Big things are happening next week at the farm and you’re invited!!!

  • The Great Garlic Harvest is on Sunday July 22nd at 1030am.  Please come and help us to dig, pull & bunch!
  • The first CSA Potluck is on Wednesday July 25th at 530pm.  Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will fire up the grill and provide the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need. RSVP to 413-358-1194.



What’s in your share (maybe)

Kale- Green Curly


Summer squash & Zucchini


Green Cabbage


Cucumbers- limited


Pick Your Own

Peas are done for the season.

The flowers are open- please pick a small bouquet (see sample on the table) and please harvest them according to the directions on the board in order to keep our beautiful flowers blooming all summer long.

Tender herbs, green beans and cherry tomatoes are getting closer, but are not ready yet. We’re hoping with the irrigation, some will be ready for next week.

Featured vegetable—Zucchini

Zucchini is a versatile summer vegetable, which is good because it grows so fast it’s hard to keep up with. You can slice them up for a sauté or stir-fry, shred them for pancakes, muffins, breads and cakes or, with the larger ones, stuffing them, as shown in the recipe of the week.


Stuffed Zucchini


  • 1 1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce
  • 2 med or 1 large zucchini
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef, turkey, or mushrooms
  • 1/4 lb. favorite sausage
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 6 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut zucchini in half, lengthwise.  Spoon out most of pulp leaving hollow boatlike shells.  Set shell aside.
  3. Chop pulp coarsely,  Heat 3 tbsp. olive oil in skillet, add the onions, cook for 5-10 minutes or until soft.  Add zucchini pulp and garlic and cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Drain contents of skillet.  Saute ground beef and sausage and drain.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine vegetables and meat.  Beat in lightly beaten eggs, bread crumbs, 2 teaspoons grated cheese, oregano, salt and pepper.  Spoon stuffing into hollowed shells, mounding top slightly.
  5. To bake zucchini, pour the 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce into a shallow  baking pan.  Arrange the zucchini on the sauce.  Sprinkle tops with 1/4 cup of cheese, dribble a few drops of olive oil over them, cover dish tightly with foil.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, removing foil after 20 minutes so the tops can brown. 


Posted 7/10/2012 2:17pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Two more weekends until the Great Garlic Harvest on July 22nd starting at 1030a. We need diggers, pullers & bunchers.

First CSA potluck is in two weeks! We will fire up the grill on Wednesday evening July 25th at 530pm. Please join us for good food and conversation and maybe a toss of the Frisbee. We will have the makings for burgers and green salad- you bring other salads and dessert! Let us know that you are coming so that we have a count for how many burgers we need- RSVP to 413-358-1194.

Fabulous Food Blogs- as foodie farmers we love food blogs and would like to share our favorites with you. Let us know if there are ones that you particularly enjoy.

CSA shareholder Julie Golin shares her delicious recipes at . She sources most of her ingredients from various local farms around Berkshire County so you will find that her recipes fit the seasonal availability of our region. We occasionally get to sample some of her fabulous fare and feel very lucky when little packages of deliciousness arrive from her capable hands. You can also follow her on Facebook by “liking” How Does Your Garden Grow.

We also enjoy Eron Truran ne Sandler’s blog, In the Hopeful Kitchen at a lot of her recipes are gluten free and/or vegetarian, but not all and all are delicious. She’s originally from Northampton and went to college with Jesse and I, which is how I know her- she’s been living in the CA for the last few years and recently got married, but we love her recipes even if she gets to use some fruits and veggies that don’t grow locally…..I like to supplement my own veggies with USA grown fruits through Berkshire Organics and when those precious mangos and avocados come in my door they deserve special consideration. Mango parfaits anyone?

We also wanted to give you a CSA recipe blog that would help you plug in your weekly share and generate some recipes, but in the last few years there has been a veritable explosion of great CSA food blogs that do just this. Let us know if you have any favorites! As it is, we have access to the fabulous recipe database from Small Farm Central who hosts our website- all of their clients contribute delicious recipes and we pick our favorites to post on our recipe page. You can search any of the ones we decide to post by plugging in your veggies. Cheers!


What’s in your share (maybe)


Kale- Red Curly

Chinese (also called Napa) Cabbage


Swiss Chard

Summer squash & Zucchini- Limited


Green Cabbage

Green garlic- limited


Pick Your Own

Peas are still going in the second planting.

The flowers are open- please pick a small bouquet (see sample on the table) and please harvest them according to the directions on the board in order to keep our beautiful flowers blooming all summer long.

Tender herbs are getting closer to being open for picking, but not quite yet.

Green beans are needing rain to wake up but hopefully we will have some in the near future.

Featured vegetable--: Cabbage

Cabbage is a versatile and delicious vegetable that often gets overlooked for being plain or boring. We source varieties that are sweet in flavor and crunchy in texture. They are “minis” so they grow quickly into nice tight heads usually not much bigger than a softball.

Their high sugar content caramelizes beautifully in butter making them an excellent side dish when braised or you can add in bacon and potatoes for a full meal. Grated into salads or turned into coleslaw- you will find your salads taking on a depth of flavor and sweetness that you didn’t expect but will delight in finding. We make an incredible early sauerkraut out of these sweet young cabbages. The recipe section has some delicious new recipes special for this week.


Posted 7/3/2012 11:52am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Happy Independence Day!

The time has come to sign up to help us out here on the farm. We are hitting the time of year when the weeds are flourishing, the harvests are getting bountiful and heavy and the the tomatoes desperately need twining before they become trees. And we are shorthanded as Tim Connelly needs to leave us at the end of this week- it has been awesome having him here for the last few weeks helping us try to stay on top of all that needs doing and we wish that he could have stayed longer. We feel gracious for the amount of time he was here. So come on out and lend a hand! The sign-up book is right next to the check-off sheet. Like to dig? The great Garlic Harvest is almost upon us- it needs a few short weeks of growing and then we need to get it out of the ground, bunched and into the barn loft for curing. We are looking at a harvest date of July 22nd in the afternoon and we would love to have a big group of folks to help with this BIG chore. We need diggers, pullers & bunchers, so there is something for anyone who wants to get outside for a couple hours.

We would like to have our first CSA potluck this month! We are hot, dirty and tired but what better time to fire up the grill and light the bonfire for marshmallows and good company? Look for more details in the next few weeks, but save the date for the evening of July 25th!

Gwyneth in cabbage plants

What’s in your share (maybe)


Kale- Green Curly

Chinese (also called Napa) Cabbage


Swiss Chard

Salad Turnips- eat raw in salad or roast


Pick Your Own

Peas are still going but the sugar snaps in the first planting are starting to slow down.

The flowers are open- please pick a small bouquet (see sample on the table) and please harvest them according to the directions on the board in order to keep our beautiful flowers blooming all summer long.

Tender herbs are getting closer to being open for picking, but not quite yet.


Featured vegetable--: Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi are the “alien” vegetables that inspire kids and adults alike to think of uncharted reaches of space and distant planets. They are just so unusual in shape & color and bear a strange similarity to various satellites in the NASA and Russian space programs. They are also delicious- a nutty, sweet flavor and crisp texture that holds up in a variety of recipes. It is a great addition to any salad or slaw either sliced or grated. It also pairs well with potatoes in au gratin or provides a nice textural addition to your favorite stir-fry. Check out the recipe page for more delicious recipes.



Posted 6/26/2012 12:13pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Garden CSA 2012                                                                            Week 3

PYO Signage

We still have a few signs left to paint- but the PYO looks awesome with its new labeling!

The new raised bed system is transforming the Garden as well (really transforming the whole vegetable field system). Our new raised bed maker-which also lays plastic and drip tape irrigation if we need it- is a new piece of equipment for us this year. While we are still figuring out all its quirks and the management involved with raised beds (how do you weed the sides of those beds?) we are already seeing a marked change in the growth and health of the plants. Everything planted in the shaped beds is growing bigger, faster and more beautifully than the vegetables we planted earlier on. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the PYO garden field where, traditionally, the soil has always been rockier and more claylike and very easily compacted. It has also always had a horrible erosion problem due to its slope. We’ve tried many things before to improve drainage and break up the hardness, but nothing really has worked. The plants still struggled along and looked sicker than others grown in different parts of the farm. Or they just plain washed away in the next thunderstorm. This season the plants are lush and gorgeous, dark green and not stressed and we are finding that they are growing faster as well, which means that you will get to enjoy them sooner. We are so excited!

If you are looking for the sheep- they are now behind the pig barn- and the cows with their adorable new calves are also closer than they were. You will find them along the back farm road to the left of the house.

What’s in your share (maybe)


Kale- mixed Red Curly

Chinese (also called Napa) Cabbage

Garlic scapes- the last week! Take plenty for the freezer


Salad Turnips- eat raw in salad or roast


Pick Your Own

Peas are still going strong- Please stick to the limit- we all have to share even though they are so tasty that they rarely make it home.

The flowers are beautiful and hard to resist- we will probably open them next week!

Tender herbs are getting closer to being open for picking, but not quite yet.


Featured vegetable--: Escarole

So this beautiful curly headed vegetable looks a lot like lettuce but it is not lettuce and you will be very surprised if you make a raw salad out of it. Escarole is in the same family as radicchio, chicory and endive- a bitter green that we like best cooked.  It pairs best with beans or lentils and Italian sausage- similar to Kale only with a sharper bite and slightly softer texture. We just uploaded 4 delicious recipes using escarole onto the website- check them out or use the one below. As always, escarole is also delicious sautéed with garlic (scapes too!) and olive oil.

Escarole and Beans- creamy and delicious!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large heads escarole
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans cannellini beans, undrained
  • 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Toss in escarole, turning to coat with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, or until tender.
  2. In a separate skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir in garlic. Pour in beans with juices, and simmer until creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in escarole and parsley; simmer 10 minutes more.
Posted 6/19/2012 2:13pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Garden CSA 2012                                                                            Week 2

Welcome to this season’s CSA. We’re very excited to get to know you and your family, and we hope that you enjoy all the benefits of coming to the farm.  Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. 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.

We have been a little short-handed the last couple of weeks, but that is changing this week with the addition of three more pairs of hands. Some of the faces will be part-time helpers and the others will be here full-time for the season. Introduce yourselves to the apprentice team- we couldn’t provide you with such beautiful and healthy bounty without them. Despite the much welcomed additions- we still need your help more than ever, so please sign up to help us weed, harvest or sit on the transplanter!

Our current full season apprentice is Jada Haas and she grew up Near Rhinebeck, NY. She has worked on farms in VT and PA and she is accompanied by her beautiful Nubian goat Lucy who has made fast friends with our dear Penny. Jada does not like to be idle for long- you will probably find her weeding in the PYO garden during distribution it she isn’t harvesting. Jada also inspired the much longed for signs in the PYO. We always wanted to have them but there was never enough time on the spring to get them done (and we always forgot in the dark of winter). Jada took part of one of her days off to draw and paint the signs (I helped too because it was too fun to resist).

What’s in your share (maybe)


Kale- mixed Lacinato

Chinese (also called Napa) Cabbage

Garlic scapes



Pick Your Own

THE PEAS ARE HERE!!!!!! Please stick to the limit- we all have to share even though they are so tasty that they rarely make it home.

We have a bunch of new signs that will be going up in the PYO. Please respect the Open & light picking signs when they are present. We hope that you like the new look!

The flowers are beautiful and hard to resist- but please give them a few more weeks to put on some more growth before venturing down to pick- we will let you know when they are open.



Featured vegetable--: Chinese or Napa Cabbage

We love this delicious vegetable- so crisp and fresh tasting- even when it is cooked. Our favorite way of eating it is quickly stir-fried in tamari or soy sauce and toasted sesame oil and then tossed with rice noodles and toasted almonds or pecans. Sometimes we throw a little home-made sweet chile sauce on top with a scramble egg and a little diced pork. A delicious and quick lunch or dinner after a long day.

Posted 6/15/2012 11:17am by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.


30% OFF

Select cuts of our Grass-fed Beef burgers & bulk ground and our Pastured Pork (chops, ribs & tenderloin). All defrosted and ready for grilling!!! Store open tomorrow, Saturday, all day from 9am until 530pm. We also have delicious local cheeses, yogurt and krauts in our refrigerators. Come check it out.

Posted 6/11/2012 8:46am by Ruth Crane.

Just a friendly reminder (because I've been getting a lot of phone calls!) that we are starting distributions of veggies (and meats, if you haven't already come by) this week on Tuesday or Saturday. Tuesday pickup starts at 3pm and runs until 630ish and Saturday pickup starts at 9am and runs until 1pm- both a little earlier and a little longer by popular appeal.

Please help us out by bringing some bags to pack your share into to bring home- we have brand-new baskets for quantity measurement, but we would like for them to stay here on the farm and not go home, so bringing a couple of bags (and we will happily take extra bags for "bag share") to pack your veggies home would be great.


We are busybusy cleaning up the distribution room and making the Pick Your Own Garden gorgeous (well, it is doing that all on its own, but we are adding beautiful new signs to help you find your way around).

There will be one extra sign in the PYO this year that we hadn't planned, but that was because we had an unexpected visitor to the cherry tomato patch last week- We will be counting down 60 days or so....

Snapping Turtle nesting in the PYO Cherry Tomatoes

We will see you in a few days! Cheers- Desiree

Posted 5/10/2012 3:54pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

Aaron Loux shearing one of our Clun Forest x Border Leicester Mules. We don't yet have a final tally on how many pounds of wool we got this year- but you can look for a beautiful natural black yarn in the store later this summer from this wool clip. We are also planning on a light variation of our variegated yarn.  

We have 60 lambs on the ground right now- almost finished! It has been a long season but we've got some beautiful lambs, including pure-bred Clun Forests for the first time. They are lively, gorgeous lambs with a lot of hop in them. So fun to watch them run in packs around the field. We will get some video up soon.

Posted 5/5/2012 3:59pm by Desiree & Jesse Robertson-DuBois.

We have been getting a lot of phone calls about our annual Plant Sale so here is the official announcement:

3rd Annual Holiday Brook Farm Plant Sale

Saturday & Sunday, May 19th & 20th and again on Saturday the 26th, 9am-3pm

We will have many beautiful vegetable, flower and herb transplants for sale- all organically raised and ready to go into your garden or patio container.

Vegetable varieties include: Heirloom & hybrid tomatoes (in singles or mixed six packs!), Cucumbers, Summer & winter squashes, lettuces, pumpkins, eggplants, broccoli, kale and cabbage.

We have more flowers this year, including gorgeous lavenders and scented geraniums!


In other farm news, the sheep are now NAKED, but they are very happy to be free of their heavy winter coats. We still have a few ladies that haven't lambed but we are more than half way through and there are 55+ lambs on the ground and RUNNING! We are all (sheep and shepherds) looking forward to getting everyone out on grass and out of the barn for the summer. Right now they are in the field during the day and in the barn at night since we don't want to have any chilled babies.

Special thanks to our great help on shearing day- workshare, Amy Pagano and our apprentice, Jada Haas's, mom, Gail who were not afraid of getting their hands dirty "quick skirting" the fleeces as they came off the sheep (which means they got all the poop off) and went into big bags for later. Thank you also to Aaron Loux, who came out really at a moments notice to shear.