News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 7/25/2014 12:31pm by Brittany Sidway.
Well, they are finally here - after a cool spring and a late start our first tomatoes are finally rolling in.  We are going to try to put a few in your share this week, but remember, this is just the beginning - if all goes according to plan we'll be fill swimming pools with tomatoes by August.
 
We grow a lot of varieties of tomatoes.  Our tomatoes are picked for several reasons:
 
1. Ability to resist Late Blight.  Late blight is fungal disease that thrives in warm, moist conditions.  It travels up to New England from the south either on thunderstorms and hurricanes or on cheap seedlings shipped to box stores.  The spores can travel up to 30 miles on the wind.  Once they have infected the plants, there is no organic cure.  You can use copper to try to mitigate the problem/prevent infection, which we did in 2012 when we had late blight arrive on some really healthy tomatoes on July 7th, but who wants to wash copper off of their tomatoes?  If I can't eat while I'm picking it's just not worth it to me.  I love tomatoes as much as anyone, but part of why I farm is that I want to stuff my face with awesome produce all day long and not worry.  So, we don't use copper (plus is expensive and VERY time consuming to apply the appropriate amount of copper on our small scale).
 
2. TASTE!  We want tomatoes that taste great, and in lots of ways!  There are sweet tomatoes, tangy tomatoes, complex tomatoes - they all have their unique flavor.  Brittany and Kevin's favorite tomato is Valencia, an orange heirloom with absurdly amazing flavor and texture.  The heirlooms take longer so we won't be seeing them in the shares for another 3-4 weeks, but we've got some great early yellow and orange tomatoes from our greenhouse tunnels, Taxi and Orange Blossom.  Our early red tomatoes, Polbig, are tolerant to cooler weather and have great flavor, but aren't doing great this year - so get excited from some early yellow and orange tomatoes for a few weeks and then an onslaught of red field tomatoes!
 
3. Productivity, disease resistance, adaptability.  A tomato might taste great, but if there is a low chance that you will get a profitable yield, it's hard as a small farm to grow it in large quantities.  We love heirloom plants, and if we were gardeners we might only grow heirlooms, but on our scale, we have a certain accountability to our customers, and our bottom line, which encourages us to choose hybrid varieties and modern crosses which benefit the small, local farmer.  None of our varieties are GMO and we only buy from seed companies who pledge they will never knowingly buy GMO seeds.
 
That's a lot of writing for the one or two tomatoes you are going to see in the share this week, but there are lots more to come, so I just wanted to prepare you!
 
The Share:
Beans: some Dragon Tongue Beans (flat, purple, white) Brittany's absolute favorite bean - an heirloom
Carrots: they just keep coming.  If you've got some building up in the fridge maybe make carrot cake?
Zucchini/Squash
Cucumber
Potatoes
Lettuce
Onion
GARLIC!!!!!
Basil
Eggplant?
Tomatoes
Kale/Chard
 
PYO: Beans and Flowers (lots of flowers) cherry tomatoes are almost here!
 
 
Enjoy!
Posted 7/12/2014 2:48pm by Brittany Sidway.
(this text is written by Kevin, sent by Brittany)
 
Week 4 and Veggies Galore. There are a lot of vegetables in the MCF fields, things could be worse (first thing that came to mind were the Ring-wraiths horses tramping all over things on the farm). Thanks to our drip irrigation system our vegetables are staying healthy and our farmers are keeping the freak-outs to a minimum. There is maybe nothing more stressful than a lack of rain when it comes to growing food. Our soil seems to be made of some mysterious material that absorbs water and quickly transports it to another dimension, because let me tell you, it dries out fast. That being said, I have worked on farms where you have to literally wade through knee-high water to pick your onions, so I'm not complaining, work with what you've got.

Brit and I just came inside from a long, exciting harvest. We got to pick our first new potatoes and onions. Pretty amazing right? I know, that's what I said! 

I would go into more detail about the amazingness of things, but I'm sleepy, and I'll just riddle this page with spelling mistakes if I continue, so without further adieu...

what's in the share?


Carrots - It's hard not to eat them as is, but they go great finely chopped in slaw - these are the best tasting ones yet, Mokum, our favorite summer variety.
Beets - Wrapped in tinfoil they go great roasted on the grill, eat the greens too
Zucchini - Sliced in half grilled is a quick, delicious side.  There are some big ones this week, so maybe zucchini bread?  zucchini fritters?
Cucumber - I like a couple of slices in a gin and tonic on a hot day, or add some flavor to a pitcher of water in the fridge
Green Onions - so fresh, so potent, very excellent, eat them!
New Potatoes - they make an excellent potato salad chopped into quarters, add some roasted beets for a crazy spin on an old dish
Peas - shmease
Turnips - raw, roasted, sauteed, steamed, pickled... and on and on
Lettuce
Chard / Kale / Cabbage / Basil (small amounts in choice)
Beans 
 
PYO
LOTs of Peas
Beans
Flowers/Herbs
(cherry tomatoes are on their way, along with okra, mini sweet peppers, tomatillos and husk cherries!)

Brittany says this is one of her favorite shares ever, must be all the great food and flavors and stuff. Thanks for reading, happy eating.
 
(Brittany is writing now)
Recipes:
Roasted Beets, Carrots, Turnips (I'd skip the sage and toss in fresh basil after the roots come out of the oven)
 
I made a great beet and potato salad last week.  I boiled the beets (ha! remember when I said don't boil them?  We'll I was short for time and not about to turn on the oven in the sweltering heat) and potatoes then toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and veganaise to taste (yes, it's a household staple here, we call it "the white stuff" - all recognizable ingredients and great flavor).  I also poured in a splash of veggie broth I made with carrot tops, scallion tops and broccoli stalks a few weeks ago.  It was a hit.
 
Ok, thanks enough, it's time to get to bed so we can get up in a few hours - good thing I had iced coffee at lunch today :)
 
Enjoy,
Brittany and Kevin
Posted 6/29/2014 12:08pm by Brittany Sidway.

Well, we made it through the first week of Summer!  

We've got another great share planned for this week.  The crops are coming in nicely and I'm excited to see potatoes, spring onions and field cucumbers on the horizon. 
 
The Share
(Some of these items might not be in your share)
-carrots
-scallions
-beets
-lettuce
-peas
-broccoli (eat this first, the broccoli doesn't keep long, even in the fridge)
-zucchini
-basil
-cilantro
-kohlrabi
-arugula
 
Pick You Own (for PYO members): peas, basil, a few flowers
 
Kevin and I just finished eating our first beets of the season.  They were in the Spring Share, but they have been slow growing, and we usually end up eating a lot of what's in abundance.  Beets are one of my favorites.  I probably never ate a beet before I started farming and now they are a highlight of my summer diet.
 
I don't boil beets.  I don't boil anything except potatoes and sometimes pasta and eggs.  You can boil beets, but try this:
 
•Peel (if you want) and slice 1 bunch beet roots into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices
•Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat in a skillet
•Put the beets in the skillet and cover, stirring every minute or two until the beets start to release their liquid
•Wash and chop the greens, adding the stems after the beets have begun to brown in the pan
•After the beets are tender and slightly browned add the greens, cover and let steam - you can also add salt, pepper, some chopped scallions or scapes (if you have some left)
•Once the greens are just wilted the beets are ready to serve
 
This is simple but an incredibly enjoyable way to savor the first beets of the season!  I know some of our returning members think Kevin and I eat too much salt and too much oil (since that is almost always our recommendation for how to cook vegetables) but we work hard, and we need the calories and electrolytes!  Always use oil and salt to taste, don't be afraid to adjust recipes according to your preferences.  
 
Other ways to cook beets; if you have AC you can just turn on the oven and roast them.  Or wrap them in tin foil and put them on the grill (make sure to put them on first, as they take a long time to cook).
 
(Side note: Tom Ashbrook is on NPR right now talking about "food trends".  I roll my eyes at these kinds of discussions but the questions he's asking are kind of interesting.  They are talking about "taste-makers" or people who influence your food choices.  Apparently Kevin and I are, as your CSA farmers, "taste-makers" on a small scale.  :) Hopefully we make you crave some great, healthy choices and not Cro-nuts!)
 
Also, just so you all know, the Farm to Fork Tickets go on Sale Sunday.  We'll be sending out an email/facebook blast! We'll also be drawing the Friend of the Farm lottery to see who gets the two free tickets - you are all entered to win!
 
Thanks and enjoy,
Brittany
Posted 5/19/2014 6:14am by Brittany Sidway.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Seedling Sale this weekend!  We sold a record number of seedlings and still have more!  If you're looking for plants this week/weekend, these are good times to stop by the farm to pick up our plants:

Tuesday 2-7pm

Thursday 2-7pm

Friday 2-5pm

Saturday 10-2pm

Thanks for your support!  Follow this link to read our newsletter, which has some tips on how to have a successful garden!

MCF May Newsletter

What we still have:

Tomatoes

Green Zebra, Moskovitch, Red Pear Piriform, Japanese Black Trifele, Pruden's Purple, Great White, Striped German, Cherokee Purple, Mt. Merit, Defiant, Taxi, Orange Blossom, Amish Paste, Plum Regal, Big Beef, Polbig, Valley Girl, New Girl

Zucchini/Squash (limited supply)

Dunja, Safari, Slic Pic, Zephyr, Alexandria

Cucumber (limited supply)

Marketmore, Salt and Pepper

Eggplant

Nadia, Galine, Rosa Bianca, Beatrice, Applegreen

Peppers

Red Ace, Flavorburst, Red Knight, Carmen

Flowers

Edible Marigolds

Other

Basil, Mix basil (thai, cinnamon, red, lemon, lime), Lettuce, Kale, Chard, Scallions, Tomatillos, Hot Peppers (jalapeno, habanero, cayenne)

Posted 5/5/2014 5:15am by Brittany Sidway Overshiner.

It's finally happening, it's been a long wait this year, but the warmer days, the warmer nights and some heavy rain have put nature in motion.  Grass is growing, fruit trees are blossoming and in the farm fields, our first seeded and transplanted crops, which hunkered down for the month of April are growing like they are in a race.

So are the weeds.  And thus begins the annual battle of organic weed control.  We've gotten pretty good at it over the years, we know the timing we need to kill weeds with a hoe when they have just germinated, we know how densely to plant our crops so once grown they can shade out weeds.  There is always room for improvement, but it feels more like routine than an uphill battle.  

Some of the tricks we use could make home gardening a lot more pleasant and successful.  The first, most important rule of cultivation is to get weeds when they are very tiny.  Don't wait until you can pull them by hand or you'll be on your hands and knees, straining your back.  Use a hoe and gently disturb the soil 1" down as soon as you see the first tiny weed leaves pop to the surface. This will kill the weeds when they are in a weekend stage of growth and haven't had the change to photosynthesize or develop much of a root structure.

Cultivation is fun.  It's meditative for us farmers, kind of like a Zen garden that we've mapped out with vegetables.  Mixing a little bit of oxygen into your soil is also like fanning a fire, but the fire is nutrients for your plants.  Oxygen causes reactions in soil that make nutrients like Nitrogen more available to plants and organisms.  

If you want to spend a little extra, mulch is an even better solution for weed suppression in the garden.  Mulch keeps weeds for growing, covers the soil to prevent erosion and helps retain water.  Good mulch materials include straw and leaves, but others have had success with wood chips, cardboard, finished compost and fabric mulch.  Be careful you don't use hay or compost that has viable seeds in it, or you might end up with a bigger weed problem in the future.

It might feel too soon to think about weeding.  Most of us won't plant our gardens for a few weeks (Like after the MCF Seedling Sale on May 17th from 10am-4pm @ the farm) because we are waiting for the summer delights of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumber.  But for those interested in some of the spring joys the New England garden can deliver, now is the time to plant kale, chard, spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, sweet turnip, dill, cilantro and salad mixes.  So get ready to cultivate them early and you'll have happy plants with healthy soil.

If you are looking for spring seedlings, come visit us at the Medway Library on May 10th, from 10am to 2pm.  We'll have lots of spring favorites along with basil, zinnias, marigolds, other flowers and some early tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and zucchinis for those of you who just can't wait!!  

Posted 4/1/2014 8:16am by Brittany Sidway.
Whoa, $20,000?!? We are working hard to build our educational programming at the farm and to make the farm accessible and enjoyable for everyone.  This infusion of funds would make this possible for us!  Please see the grant application below.
 
Starting Today, April 1st, until April 21st there will be a voting phase of the grant review process.  The 50 applications with the most votes will move on to be reviewed by the judges. 
 
How you can help us win:
 * Vote For Us Once/Day.  Please vote every day!
  Search for us by typing "Medway Community Farm" into the Garden Name Field or type "02053" into the Zip Code Field.
 
* Mark your calendars, tell your friends and family, send email/text reminders to them to vote:
 
*Share with your networks/community groups
 
Our Application:
(please note there was a 1000 character limit/answer!!)
 
How Would You Use This Grant To Help Your Community?
(this is the portion of the grant application seen by voters)
 

MCF is a non-profit farm that empowers our community to grow, buy, and value local, sustainable food while promoting conservation, healthy lifestyle choices and farm-based education.

We will use this grant to:

*Build raised beds to enhance and expand our Community Garden Plots and educational garden 

*Add ADA accessible raised beds

*Create a self-guided educational on-farm sign tour, making education free and accessible, encouraging the enjoyment of open space

*Expand our School to Farm Program and include additional school districts

*Continue to improve upon and create quality programming

*Purchase tools and supplies to make our animal, garden and compost areas more accessible for children's programming

*Develop programming that is inclusive of people with special needs

*Implement our Strategic Marketing Plan designed by Georgetown Masters Student

*Grow our major events to include more education opportunities and increase attendance

*Use expanded education garden to donate more food 
 
Posted 3/24/2014 5:08am by Kevin Overshiner.

We are all important in some way, even if we sometimes tell ourselves we just hold everyone else back.

It sounds a little grandiose, but I just now realized a sliver of my own importance as a cog in the big machine by recently sustaining a debilitating hip injury that has kept me off my feet almost completely. At the risk of sounding smug and self-celebrating I can see I may actually be important here on the farm. Brittany is realizing, in a very specific way, everything I do on a day to day basis. In the time it takes me to desperately hobble up the stairs, a mission I reserve for a special occasion, Brittany has passed through the house 3 times, and accomplished a dozen chores, but in picking up my slack she is rendered unable to perform a multitude of tasks that she could be doing otherwise. I’ve been doing my best to help out, taking care of some computer related tasks, etc. but I’ve been informed I’m a little gruff on the social relations side, so the sooner I get to shoveling chicken manure the better.

All I’m saying is that a simple thing like hindering my mobility has thrown a wrench in the daily MCF system (a term I understand better after having done even basic engine work - don’t leave your tools in there!). As I am held hostage in my own apartment I can’t help but compare my relationship to MCF with the MCF’s relationship to the food revolution; Farmer is to Farm as Farm is to Food Revolution. I have occasionally thought to myself, “if this farm goes under, it won’t make a difference in the long run, and it won’t affect the failure or success of the farming community as a whole.” I could be wrong. In truth, I think that MCF is a vital and important contributor to the farming world, especially here in Eastern Massachusetts, and we can hope that any hiccups we have are short lived and repairable.

I am grateful for two things, that my hip is not broken (thank you x-ray for unveiling the mystery) and that I have Brittany to help me through it so that I might be made useful again. I hope that if the farm nearly breaks it’s hypothetical hip we can all pull together as a community to help it pull through, so that it can continue to contribute to the greater good on more even footing, even if it means we, like Brittany, have to work more hours and put up with a little more abuse in the process.

Posted 3/12/2014 12:28pm by Brittany Sidway.

Although it looks like spring will be getting off to a slow start, we are glad for this muddy, melting weather and looking forward to starting some of our spring and summer programs.  We are again partnering with MCE to offer many fun farm and cooking programs as well as bringing back some old favorites like Backyard Chickens 101 and Fun on the Farm.  

Check them out!

Backyard Chickens 101

CSA Cooking Classes

Farm Tours

Medway Community Education Brochure - click this link to register for MCE Classes

Our course listings:

MALL HANDS MAKING SMALL GARDENS - Ages: 2-up - Medway Community Farm Staff

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Here is the perfect opportunity to build something you can actually eat! In this fun new class, all participants will build a beautiful garden that will grow – you will fill your container garden with your choice of organic herbs and salad greens. You can make your edible garden for yourself or as a surprise for your mom on Mother’s Day! Moms and Dads are welcome to join their gardener or drop-off their child age 6 and older. You are welcome to build a second garden for $20. Proceeds benefit the Medway Community Farm.

Course #C2-14 1 session Sunday, 5/4 9:30-11:00am Medway Community Farm, 50 Winthrop Street $35

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AFTERNOONS ON THE FARM - Ages: Grades K-8 - Medway Community Farm Staff
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Join us on the farm for an afternoon of learning and play! Help us take care of the animals, work in the greenhouse and gardens, play games, and learn how nature and nutrition come together on the farm. Every day is different at the farm! Please send children prepared to be outside in all weather, including warm waterproof boots. Layers are best depending on weather! Please have a snack before arriving. You may register for the entire season or just one day at a time!
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Course #C8-14 K-4 8 sessions Wednesdays, 4/9 - 6/4 3:30-5:00pm Medway Community Farm, 50 Winthrop Street (No class 4/23)

Course #C9-14 5-8 8 sessions Thursdays, 4/10 - 6/5 2:30-5:00pm Medway Community Farm, 50 Winthrop Street (No class 4/24) $25/session $200/entire season

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$20/session $160/entire season

SPRING VACATION FARM CLASS - Ages: Grades 1-4 & 5-8 - Medway Community Farm Staff

Spend your spring vacation with us on the farm! Medway Community Farm is offering full-day farm classes during Medway’s spring break week. You may choose to spend the entire week with us or several different days during the week. Each day includes a well-structured balance of curriculum activities focused on nature, food, and nutrition. In addition, our day includes lots of fun arts and crafts, games, and activities. Some activities include taking care of the animals, working in the greenhouse, cooking classes, and farm scavenger hunts. Please send children prepared to be outside during all types of weather - tall boots recommended for nature walks. Children should come with a snack and lunch and be dropped- off/picked-up at the farmhouse. Please register early due to limited class size.

Course #C10-14 5 sessions M -F, 4/21 - 4/25 9:00am-3:00pm Medway Community Farm, 50 Winthrop Street $70/day or $300/week

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FARM FRESH COOKING SERIES - Tracy Jenkins

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Join Medway Community Farm for a four-week seasonal cooking class. Chef-turned-Farmer Tracy Jenkins demonstrates how to work with the freshest and most seasonally-appropriate New England ingredients. Each week offers a specific topic as we work through an entire meal plan - soups and salads, appetizers, main course, and desserts. A few of the ingredients you may be working with are greens, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and potatoes. The classes are hands-on and allow for additional local ingredients to be bought the day of the class. Please bring an apron from home.

Course #C60-14 4 sessions Tuesdays, 4/8 - 5/6 7:00-9:00pm Memorial School Teachers’ Room (No class 4/22) $145

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PLANNING THE ORGANIC GARDEN - Brittany Sidway Overshiner
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Learn valuable planning skills and growing methods that will help you get the most out of your New England Garden, and ways to reduce garden costs! Brittany Sidway Overshiner is the Farmer at Medway Community Farm and has been making her living from vegetable production in Medway for the last 4 years. She will share valuable planting schedules produced over the years at MCF and tips for extending the growing season and increasing yields. Class will be helpful for both beginning and experienced gardeners alike.
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Course #C63-14 1 session Thursday, 5/10 7:00-9:00pm Medway Community Farm Center, 50 Winthrop St. $25

BIG IDEAS, LITTLE GARDENS - Brittany Sidway Overshiner
Sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs...and sometimes our vegetable dreams are bigger than our yards! Container gardening is an innovative way to create growing space in a small area, or supplement an existing garden. Fewer weeds and less-frequent watering are just two of the benefits to this approach. Join Brittany, Farm Manager of the Medway Community Farm, and learn how to plant your own container garden with organic salad greens and herbs. All participants will create their own container garden to take home. Proceeds benefit the Medway C!ommunity Farm.

Course #C63-14 1 session Thursday, 5/10 7:00-9:00pm Medway Community Farm Center, 50 Winthrop St. $25

 MCE Program Flier

We hope you consider signing up for one of our classes - please forward to anyone you think might enjoy an MCF class or program!

Posted 3/10/2014 9:50am by Brittany Sidway.

I've never had one of those dreams where you look down and realize you're naked in public.  I dream vividly most nights, usually some sci-fi like combination of the last movie I watched, something I read in the news, a place I visited when I was twelve and my college roommates (or some other random assortment).

But, from January through March, about once a week, I have a stress dream.  It's never the same, but always similar.  Here's how it goes:

It's the first CSA pick up day!  The weather is beautiful, I'm so excited to see customers who have come to feel like friends over the years.  I'm feeling hopeful, inspired and excited for the future of our farm and for agriculture in general.  

And then I realize: I forgot to plant the vegetables!  

I'm wondering how this is possible, did I black out for two months?  Was I too relaxed over the winter and just forgot time was passing?  Did I miss-read the calendar?!!  I start to quietly panic inside, not wanting anyone to know how badly I've messed up.  I rush to the greenhouse to find seedlings, barely emerged from their seed casings and begin cutting micro greens.  Three leaves per CSA member.  What else can I do?!  But if I cut these it will be even longer before I can harvest crops for the next pick ups.  I'm a month behind and frantically trying to figure out how to produce a thousand dollars worth of produce in an instant.

And then I wake up.  I suck in air and try to force my delinquent brain to figure out what month it is.  PHEW. It's only March.  We've got a month and a half until the first CSA pick up and we've already got two hoop-houses in the field fully planted and growing, we've got our onions and other early greens seeded.  Everything is on schedule - or as on schedule as it can be in this incredibly cold winter!

I love the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model.  I love having a strong relationship with customers, I love the financial security, I love the boundaries a CSA provides for the farm plan.  But having a CSA is like taking out an opperating loan from a bank with a few hundred board members who have a real stake in what you are doing.  There is a little pressure there - but for me, it's good pressure.  It pushes me to meet the goals I have set for myself and the business.

So, the CSA might give me a few stressful, late-winter dreams, but I wouldn't ever give it up.  Our CSA is the backbone of our organization and the foundation of our farm.  Thank you to everyone who has, does and will participate in our CSA program!

Posted 12/18/2013 7:01am by Brittany Sidway.

MCE Flier

We have cooking classes for kids and adults, after school programs for elementary and middle school students and even a full day, week long program during February break!  

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