Collective Responsibility

Did you know there are 31,760 genes in a tomato? That is thousands more genes than the average human! That is one complex plant and it is vital for us to save and reuse this information through seed saving techniques. When we do, we are joining generations of families all over the world who have bred and saved to get the modern tomato we’ve come to love and enjoy.

While there is so much to learn and know about seeds and seed saving, we thought to share two main differences to keep in mind when thinking about collecting these little powerhouses of stored energy: open-pollinated or hybrid.

Open-pollinated seeds are seeds for which the new plant will essentially be an exact match of the previous year’s plant. These seeds and plants have stood the test of time and have often been passed on for generations. Many will know these seeds as ‘heirlooms or heritage’ seeds if they can trace the line for fifty years or more.

The great thing about open-pollinated seed and plants is most often the great stories that come with them, of how they were acquired or passed on. As well, these plants tend to be very rich in texture and flavor, making them highly prized and sought after by those in the know. Ideally, you will keep space between different varieties of the same species to avoid cross-pollination, but there are many ways to cross-pollinate purposely and successfully to acquire certain desired traits.

To that end, hybrid seeds have become an essential part of organic farming, especially for market farms, where vigor, uniformity, and yield make a big difference when it comes to the bottom line. These seeds are carefully crafted through crossing two genetically different plants in order to access the best traits of each plant. One plant has the flavor while the other may have the disease resistance. Crossing the two allows for the best of both worlds. The one main drawback to hybrid seed is that saving the seed will not give you the same plant the next year.

There is, of course, a plethora of information on the web and all kinds of videos about how to save and store specific seeds. Here is one such article, a favorite of board member and farmer extraordinaire, Aby O.

For us at the farm, the future of blending our educational goals with the market goals will be to merge these two growing practices of seed saving and crop production as much as possible.

As for you, keep an eye out for wonderous seeds and their stories circulating around the neighborhood and save some seeds today. Perhaps there is a wonderful variety you have for us to grow on the farm and share it with the greater community. Together, we join in and take part in the collective responsibility of hundreds of generations before us.

Farmer Vacations!

High summer is in full swing. There are projects to be done, fall seeds to be planted, and hundreds of pounds of produce to be harvested. It is also a wonderful time to get out of town, enjoy some secluded time with family in the woods, and spend time on the water. Our farmers work hard year round, and we are glad when they choose to take some time off for themselves! This month has seen a rotation of vacation schedules, with some stepping up while others take time to rest, only to balance the scales the following week.

We are grateful for the many volunteers who help to keep us afloat ­čÖé


Progreso Latino

Dear Friends and Followers of the Barrington Farm School: Please join us in supporting our brothers and sisters in Central Falls, RI, a diverse, densely-populated city of 19,000, including 6,000 children. Like many urban communities but especially in Central Falls, the public health and economy have been greatly affected by Covid-19. We are partnering with Progreso Latino, which operates a large food pantry in Central Falls. We will be bringing donated products to Progreso Latino once a week. WE NEED YOUR DONATIONS! A box has been set up at the farm stand. Please drop off: 

  • Unexpired nonperishable food products.
  • Boxed cereals and snacks for children.
  • Diapers in sizes 3 and up.

 Please, every time you are shopping, remember to pick up something to drop off at the farm. Just one item will be greatly appreciated! You can make a difference. By donating once a week at the farm, we can demonstrate our concern for our urban neighbors and show how much we care for people both inside and outside of our town.

Queridos Amigos y Colaboradores del Barrington Farm School:

Por favor, ├║nanse a nosotros para ayudar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas de Central Falls, RI, una diversa y densamente poblada ciudad de 19.000, que incluye 6.000 ni├▒os. Como sucede en muchas comunidades urbanas, y especialmente en Central Falls, la salud publica y la econom├şa han sido afectadas por Covid-19.

Por eso nos hemos asociado con Progreso Latino, que opera un food pantry en Central Falls. Llevaremos donaciones a Progreso Latino una ves a la semana. 


Hemos puesto una caja en el farm stand.

Por favor depositen:

  • Comida no perecedera que no este vencida.
  • Cereales en caja y meriendas para ni├▒os.
  • Pa├▒ales de talle 3 para arriba.

Por favor, cuando vayan de compras recuerden agregar algo para depositar en la huerta. 

Usted puede hacer la diferencia. Donando una ves a la semana demostramos nuestra preocupaci├│n para nuestros vecinos y cuanto queremos a todos dentro y por afuera de nuestra comunidad.

Standing Up

When Brian Morley showed up out of the proverbial thin air and said he’s building us a tool shed, we just about kicked ourselves.┬á

A quick board approval for budget and location gave way to hours in his woodshop (aka garage). A couple of weeks later, a picture via text said, “are we ready to stand up these walls?”┬á

Indeed. With the help of farmer Milos and some power tools, plus the steady hand of two or three other volunteers, the shed went up with nary a hitch. 
We’re proud of Brian’s efforts and his handiwork, and for having become a steady presence on the farm. Thanks a shed full, and it’s on to the next project.

* have any skills you’d like to share with the farm? Let us know. There is always another project on the horizon.┬á

Flower CSA Work Share

Flower CSA Work Share
This week’s┬ánewsletter!

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. 

— Suzanne B., Board Member

Heads up on Lettuce

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 :)!

Read more in our newsletter!

5/16 Begins Ongoing Plant Sale

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.

Bring your own one-gallon milk jug with a cap to take home some amazing worm tea! It is life for your transplants!!

A Little Greening

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.

Allium Fields Forever

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?

–Farmer Dan