The flower fields are alive with perennials such as bronze fennel, lilies, irises, yarrow, and various herbs. They will soon be joined by our first planting of dahlia bulbs! Our sweet peas and bachelor buttons are also off to a great start.
We are incorporating a few edible components into our arrangements this year such as chocolate mint, oregano, and sage. We are most excited to welcome 4 families to our pilot CSA flower work share program. Courtney, Aby, Robin, Jody, and Ellie will be field crew and harvesters for the flower bouquets at the stand. They will begin their volunteering in early June.
Board members and volunteers gathered in the fields this weekend during the bustling plant sale to transplant stock, sage, yarrow, snapdragons, and direct seed sunflowers. We are looking forward to more consistent warm days before bringing zinnias, rudbeckia, cosmos, and amaranth out of the seed-house and into the fields.
My girls and I planted 2 beds of lettuce, escarole, and bok choy on a beautiful sunny day at the farm last week. It took a bit of extra time as Vera, 8, decided she wanted to create a pattern out of the red and green lettuce heads, and her sister Evelyn, 4, was the hander of the transplants.
These days, instead of rushing from one thing to the next, we find ourselves in search of activities to fill the days. This mom was more than happy to sit back and watch the planting of a bed of greens unfold.
Many thanks to all who have worked towards creating such a space where these memories can happen. We look forward to munching on crisp, crunchy, cool greens come late spring!
— Aby Ollila, Farmer Volunteer
Aby is already proving to be a tremendous asset to our farming program. Since joining us a few short months ago, she has made herself right at home. She brings with her a wide range of farm experience and skills. Thanks for being with us, Aby :)!
Our veggie plants go on sale this weekend, beginning at 10 in the morning on Saturday. Plants will be priced between $1 and $3 depending on the variety.
We will have 5 varieties of tomato plants, Big Beef, Cherry Bomb, Cherry Gold, Mountain, Celebrity. We will have Ace “Bell” Peppers, and two varieties of Eggplant, Oriental (slender) and Nadia “Italian”.
We will also have a limited variety of other plants for sale, based on what remains after transplanting in our fields.
After Saturday, plants will remain available for self-service pick up at the farm stand, using cash box or Venmo.
Worm Tea Perhaps we are lovers of tea, but are we worm tea lovers? Come by Saturday during our plant sale to find out about brewing worm tea, some worm tea. https://www.wormsri.org/worm-tea
Bring your own one-gallon milk jug with a cap to take home some amazing worm tea! It is life for your transplants!!
This past Wednesday, we donned our gloves and masks and headed into the fields. Our mission: find a home for a tender and brave little Rhode Island Greening apple tree. As we walked, scoping for the right spot, Spencer of Sowams Cider Works Company filled us with all the necessary info about grafting cider apple trees while offering a step by step how-to guide for caring and nurturing them for a long and happy life.
Wishing I had brought my journal to take notes, I experienced a therapeutic entrancement while the young tree first entered its now permanent home. Fenced in and well-watered, this little RI Greening is in good hands as it shoots to 9 ft high this summer. A tiny sapling as of yet, this tree will be fruitful for generations of visitors to come.
Thank you, Spencer, for this wonderful donation and addition to our farm flora. We look forward to tending to her every need.
Read more about what is going on at the farm in our newsletter here.
Knowing how well the trial of onions faired in 2019, this year’s plan to expand the allium harvest has been on point. With over 2000 garlic stretching into warrior one pose, 3500+ onions have gone from seed to sprout and into the ground. Fingers crossed deluges and other unknown forces keep out of the way and allow these hardy transplants to flourish.
Still, we know this is only but a small contribution to the local food network. Earth day idealism: imagining, we have at the farm but an acre and a half to sow seeds. Even if we wanted to, we could not feed all but a fraction of the east bay. Now, if home gardens carved out just portions of their urban lawns or open spaces, surely we’d fair better at feeding ourselves and each other while offsetting carbon prints.
There are great videos of course for how to garden like a farmer, but the truth is there is no learning without trial and error. If it were up to us, we’d be setting up shop on your southern facing yards fitting all kinds of seedlings and transplants into each nook and cranny.
Be brave this year and tear out that 1950’s lawn. Why grow something green if it’s not making it into your smoothie?
For so many, plans have been put on hold until a more appropriate time, and for now, we continue waiting out the storm. We have observed an array of responses to the situation at hand, from the early hoarding of supplies to some throwing caution to the wind.
Yet, one of the most poignant is the adaptation and resilience of farmers. All over the country, farmers are reworking their entire business model while also maintaining their usual pace of spring- prepping, seeding, planting, weeding, and around again. While markets slowly come online, farmers are coordinating drop off and pick up systems to get food to their customers.
Food, in general, has become a hot button topic. Seed companies nationwide are facing shortages as homeowners turned home gardeners are starting their own plots in the backyard. While, for some, growing their own food may be fueled by fear, others are realizing the inconspicuous and inedible values of gardening.
The calming and rejuvenating effects of being outside, the endorphin-releasing response to physical exertion, and the immune-boosting consequence of interacting with healthy soil all lead to the general enjoyment of the process. The average home gardener may not be aware of the exact science, but all the evidence they need is how good they feel after having their hands in the soil.
The crackling lighting’s rolling thunder had us counting Mississippi this Sunday evening.
For those awake then or awakened, the energy in the storm gripped us, not fearfully, though emboldening us, not timidly, but encouraging us to hold strong, to push through with force.
It had been a while since this farmer recalled a thunderstorm as intense, and perhaps in replicating the intensity of the moment we are embracing together at a distance, the spring storm relayed a message from on long ago.
Do you not wonder and recall how those first storms affected human beings, how we must have huddled and sought shelter, relying on each other for comfort?
If ever it were a time to huddle together it is now. We take care of ourselves in our isolation, careful and cautious, so that we may gather once again en masse.
By now we have consolidated, and we breathe in and out together, deeply aware of all that is taking place around us. We are there for each other. A phone call, a letter, a video conference – we connect and care for each other- weathering the storm.
Being held in the Gardiner Dining Hall at St. Andrew’s School in Barrington, RI – Local Food-Print’s line up of talented and dedicated folks from within the local food industry will share, hope, and dream about how they plan to continue to enrich the local food movement, especially as concerns sourcing and providing locally grown, densely nutritious foods for the local community.
The line up includes local chefs and business owners such as Prica Farina, Barrington Butchery, and speakers from Rhode Island Food Policy, and McCoy Community Farm.
When we say it takes a village we are mindful and aware of perhaps the greatest asset to that village being its youth. Being a farm school our education model proposes to reach every age and ability. To that end, we welcome people from anywhere and any background to our farm to enjoy what we enjoy most, farming.
As it always seems to turn out, however, it is the excitement, joy, and creativity of the youth which sparks our motivation to reach further and tap more deeply into these roots of society. Also we do know there are always extremely passionate and resolute adults taking charge of these fledgling farmers behind the scenes. With their care and influence, youngsters will flock to the farm and be enriched on so many levels.
Farming is more than a simple pleasure. It is a rich and bountiful exercise. It is a life skill encompassing infinite skills and limitless possibility for growth.
The farm awaits. Come experience it for your self.
Organically grown is a label which goes beyond food. At our farm like that of so many others organically grown has all to do with the relationships that come together simply from an idea of one person being taken on by another.
When we posted our Trails and Trail Mix idea in our recent newsletters, one of our awesome farm friends said, “we’ll be there!” Sure enough, with a seven family crew and a few tag along friends, trailblazing and winter bliss was had by all.
While some of us focus on seeds or event planning, our farm crew’s diversity includes career campers and trekkers. For these folks the trailheads and pathways being set into the woody acre will be a sure way to escape the scold of the summer heat. Nothing says clear your head like a meandering down a mossy and clover laden sanctuary.
Most impressive in the day was the vigor in the children taking charge in clearing new trails. They sure earned their trail mix and hot cocoa afterward.
The farm made new friends today and friends made the farm triumphant. Here’s to another great day at the farm school.