Getting your fair share of the pie…and the vegetables

Getting your fair share of the pie…and the vegetables

Today’s consumers have never been more savvy or health conscious when it comes to buying food for their families. They are opting for healthier choices and often times that means buying food that is locally grown, without the aid of chemicals and pesticides. Local farmers recognize this heightened demand for fresh fruits and vegetables that have been organically grown and are working harder than ever to make sure that their farm stands are filled with enough produce to satisfy all of their customers.

 

It can be terribly disappointing to get to the farm stand only to find out that the tomatoes are sold out or the lettuce has all been eaten up. This is the plight of the local farmer….knowing how much produce to grow to meet the demand of his customers. Grow too much and the farm suffers a loss in terms of expenses; grow too little and the customer is disappointed. In an effort to take the guess work out of the process and to ensure that every customer gets their fair share of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, Community Supported Agriculture, also known as CSA shares, have become quite the trend and consumers and farmers alike are, pardon the pun, eating it up.

 

The way the CSA shares work is simple. Customers pay the farmer upfront for a season’s worth of fruits and vegetables. This gives the farmer a firm grasp on the number of people who will be purchasing from him during the season so he knows how much to plant to ensure that all of his “regular” customers get the vegetables they want. Each week, he sets aside the fruits and vegetables that have been “pre-ordered” by these shareholders. It is the ultimate customer service model and a win-win situation for both the farmer and the customer.

 

Here at Colchester Neighborhood Farm, we are selling CSA shares for our vegetables and fruits as well as the flowers we grow, organic eggs, and our winter vegetable crops…buying fresh and local doesn’t end when the last tomato has been picked.

 

What really sets Colchester Neighborhood Farm apart from other local farms is the people. Yes, it really is the people who are tilling the soil, picking the vegetables, building trellises, tending to the chickens, and all of the other work that happens on the farm. Managed and operated by New England Village, Inc., a nonprofit organization that assists people with developmental and intellectual disabilities find employment, the men and women working on our farm have found their purpose here and are happy to lend their talents and skills to this business. And they are happy to deliver the highest level of customer service to the people who visit our farm stand.

 

Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from Colchester Neighborhood Farm not only provides you with food that tastes good, it gives you a good feeling knowing you are supporting people who truly love their job and the opportunity to serve you.

Repost: Sky Watcher’s Astroblog 3

Happy September.  September means two good things (at least): the beginning of nights with no mosquitoes and it’s getting dark earlier.  I know that the shorter days are not generally a popular thing to call “good”, but it means that there are more awake-hours to spend out under the night sky.  Two more things of interest are the Harvest Moon and the Autumnal Equinox.

The Harvest Moon, besides just being a great excuse to dance with someone special out under the stars, is the full moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal Equinox (more on just what the equinoxes and solstices are, we’ll talk about later).   This year, with the Equinox occurring on the 23rd, the dates of the full moon that fall on either side of it are September 12th (11 days before the Equinox) and October 11th (18 days after the Equinox).  So, the Harvest Moon is on September 12th (enjoy your dance!).  What makes the Harvest Moon special?  The short answer is that for a few days in a row, that big, bright, nearly full moon is in the sky and ready to take over lighting fields by the time the Sun has completely done its job for the day, giving farmers more time to bring in their crops.  The (slightly) longer answer is that the path the Moon (and the Sun, the planets and most asteroids) follows across the sky (called the Ecliptic) makes a shallow angle with the Eastern horizon at this time of year.  That may be a bit hard to picture so, here’s a picture (the circles represent the Moon on successive days and the tilted lines are the Ecliptic):

As the Moon orbits the Earth, it moves along the Ecliptic from West to East (right to left as we see it in the sky).  Since it takes the Moon about 30 days to move from Full Moon to Full Moon, it moves 1/30 of the way along in its orbit each day.  This means that the Moon rises later and later each day.  Our days are 24 hours long.  On the equator the Ecliptic is exactly vertical to the eastern horizon at the equinoxes and, if the Moon was near full then, it would rise 24/30 of an hour later (48 minutes) than it did the day before.  But, as the Earth moves in its orbit around the Sun, the angle between the Ecliptic and the eastern horizon at moonrise changes throughout the year.  When the Ecliptic is at its steepest angle at moonrise (at the Vernal Equinox) the daily rising of the Moon differs the most from day to day (about 84 minutes).  When the Ecliptic is at its shallowest angle to the horizon at moonrise (at the Autumnal Equinox), the time between moonrise each day changes the least (about 24 minutes).

A Celebration of Spring for All Ages

On Saturday May 4th, we celebrated spring by reconnecting with the land and community through planting, sharing a meal, and expressing gratitude for earth’s renewal.  There was a wonderful turnout of friends and volunteers to see the progress and changes that have occurred over the last year at Colchester Neighborhood Farm.

Activities included planting, potluck lunch, visiting with our young cashmere goat kids and the other animals, creating clay art projects, growing a sunflower project, getting away from it all by taking a quiet walk through our labyrinth, Kerrie tending to her new hive of honey bees, and a perennial plant share.

Click on an image below to begin a slideshow!

Grow a Good-Mood Garden

From Organic Gardening…

Ward off bad moods with a mood-boosting backyard garden.

Just being outside, whether you’re gardening, exercising, or simply taking a stroll, is a great mood booster.  But getting your hands dirty in a garden is so effective at combating depression that it’s often used in “horticultural therapy” at psychiatric hospitals.  If you feel like your energy levels are dropping or you’re just too stressed out at work, plant yourself a good-mood garden, and get the benefits not just of a little garden therapy but of all the healthy foods linked to lower rates of depression.  Certain vegetables and herbs are rich in antidepressant compounds and minerals that can do everything from taking the edge off a bad day to curing full-blown depression.

Good-Mood-Sunflowers-1_0

Here’s a guide to get you started—10 of the most potent antidepressant foods and herbs and how to grow them anywhere.

  1. Swiss Chard
  2. Blue Potatoes
  3. Cherry Tomatoes
  4. Black-Eyed Peas
  5. Oregano
  6. Sunflower
  7. Chamomile
  8. Evening Primrose
  9. Lavender
  10. St. John’s Wort

Annual Harvest Gathering for CSA Members & Supporters

On Sunday, October 21st, Colchester Neighborhood Farm held its Annual Harvest Gathering Open House.  There was a wonderful turnout of CSA Members and Supporters.

The Open House included a Potluck Lunch of favorite dishes for sharing.   There was also Tours, Yoga in the Field, a Cooking Demo, Donor and Supporter Recognition, a Beekeeping Presentation, & more…  Hayrides and Music were ongoing throughout the day!!

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