Fall Harvests – all hands on deck!

Looks like we got a touch of frost at the farm last night. The evidence is dead sweet potatoes leaves – they really don’t like cold! We need to get our sweeties out of the ground this coming week! If you’d like to help us with the sweet potato harvest, come by the farm this Tuesday or Wednesday at 10:00. Not much heavy lifting involved in this harvest, just a lot of digging.

We finished the winter squash harvest last week and tucked all the squash into the greenhouse to cure and sweeten up. We hope to start distributing butternut squash in October.


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Farm Happenings @ Moraine Farm

Family Astronomy Night at Moraine Farm, Saturday, September 20.
*Registration for this event is full, but you can get on the waiting list!

Moraine Farm 4th Annual Fall Festival, Saturday, September 27, 10:00-3:00
*register now for Project Adventure’s Static Course
*check out the schedule of events

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Moraine Farm Fall Festival Saturday the 27th!

Moraine Farm welcomes the public to its 4th Annual and much expanded Fall Festival at 719 Cabot Street, Beverly, on Saturday, September 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The family-friendly festival has grown this year offering horse-drawn hayrides through the historic property, puppet shows, cooperative games and crafts, backyard chickens, miniature horses and dwarf Nigerian goats, walking tours, a farmstand and bake sale, touch-the-tractors area and much more sponsored by the six non-profit organizations that own and manage the 170-acre farm. Listen to the bluegrass music of EC & the Moonshiners while strolling the Meadow Marketplace, where specialty food, produce and craft vendors offer their wares, or reserve a spot on Project Adventure’s Static Course tour. The event is also part of the extensive Trails & Sails event line-up, presented by Essex Heritage.

Moraine Farm is permanently protected conservation land along the shores of Wenham Lake that includes meadows, woodlands and formal gardens as well as farmland. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the landscape in the 1880s and its woodlands are studded with mature rhododendron stands and azaleas.

Moraine Farm is home to Project Adventure, the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm, and The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR). Essex County Greenbelt, the Friends of the Olmsted Landscape and the Batchelder Trust. These organizations act in partnership as stewards of the protected land. Each partner is offering free activities for the whole family.

Schedule of Events

Red Barn continuous slide shows
The Trustee’s Community Farm, 2011-2014
Historic Moraine Farm

Meadow Marketplace Opens – all day
Moraine CSA Farmstand and Bake Sale, Touch-the-Tractors (farm equipment display), Mr. Piper’s Face Painting, Tomten Beesworks, Moon’s River Farm local organic garlic and pottery, Agway, Ashley’s Chickens and miniature horses, Matthew’s dwarf Nigerian goats, Clothing by Mr. Nutter, Wallpusher handmade guitars, Valley View Farm.

Cooperative games begin in the Meadow – all day

Static Course Tour – Project Adventure, Advance registration required
Event repeats 11:15, 12:15, 1:15, 2:15

Edible Weed Walk in the fields of TTOR’s CSA Farm with Dr. Nicole Andrade

Horse Drawn Hayride with Greenbelt, Essex County’s Land Trust
Event repeats 12:00, 1:00

Nature Walk and Journaling – Waldorf School
Event repeats 1:00

Bluegrass music begins in the Meadow Marketplace
Walking Tour of Moraine Farm with the Friends of the Olmsted Landscape (45 mins)

Lunch for sale at Waldorf School
Purchase farm fresh soup, bread and dessert until 1:30

A Fairy Went a Marketing Puppet Show – Waldorf School
Event repeats 1:45

Corn Husk Doll making with TTOR– until 3:00pm

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Collards are the new Kale

I saw this on a poster in a Whole Foods store last year. “Okay,” I said to myself “collards it is.” We’ve planted a few of these hardy, nutritious greens for the farm share this year. I cooked up a bunch of them for my family this weekend: Tough stems removed, sauteed in bacon fat, a half pound of polish sausage added; they were delicious. Served over brown rice and garnished with a mix of yellow and red tomatoes – this was dinner last night.

You can boil them, as in this recipe: Sauteed Collard Greens.

Sautee them in bacon fat or olive oil: Collard Greens Miniera

Boil them, then bake them: Collard Green Gratin

In my household, collards are indeed the new kale. Give them a try, you might like them! (Our best guess for this week’s farm share is over on What’s in the Share?)

Posted in Recipes | Tagged ,

Ready for Fall Farm Shares?

It’s that time again, time to line up local veggies for fall and winter eating! We are offering a Fall CSA Farm Share to help get you through the end of the year. The share consists of four, every-other-week distributions of vegetables grown at Moraine. The cost is $250, with a discount offered for early purchase.

popcorn drying in Moraine Farm greenhouseWhat’s in a Moriane Farm Fall Share? Our crops are grown using organic methods, although we are not certified organic.  Some of the vegetables in the Fall Share will be crops we’ve harvested and hold in storage, for example, beets, winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, kohlrabi, onions, cabbages, winter radishes, popcorn, Gilfeather turnips, and celery root. Some of the vegetables will be freshly harvested from our farm fields, including beet greens, carrots, chard, collard greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, radicchio, spinach and salad turnips. Some of these crops will be protected from frost with agricultural row covers.

Distribution Days and Times for the Fall CSA Shares will be distributed on Saturdays, November 8, November 22, December 6 and December 20 from noon to 3:00 PM. Please note that Fall CSA share distributions are EVERY OTHER WEEK.

Location The shares will be distributed from the CSA Barn at Moraine Farm, Cabot Street in Beverly.

Size and Cost  This share is the right size for one or two adults who enjoy vegetables or a small family with limited time to cook. In addition to veggies you will want to eat right away, it includes vegetables well suited for preserving (freezing, pickling, canning) or fresh storage. The share costs $250, with a $25 discount for those who purchase a share before October 1. Shareholders must be members of The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) to purchase a share. TTOR membership can be purchased on-line.

Buy a Fall Farm Share To purchase, just complete the on-line subscription form and mail your check (payable toTTOR) to G. Anderson, Moraine Farm CSA, 733 Cabot Street, Beverly, MA 01915. If you are currently a shareholder, you can leave payment with your shopkeeper, just remember to fill out the on-line subscription form! Questions about the Fall Farm Share? Feel free to email me at ganderson@ttor.org.

Make a donation to support our Food Access work when you purchase your Fall Farm Share. This is our 4th year raising funds among our CSA members to support the farm’s work to grow and divert healthy, fresh food for families who could not otherwise afford it. We hope you will support our efforts to grow a share of our crops for our neighbors in need. On-line donations can be made here with a credit card, or you can include a donation in a check for your fall farm share payment. Your donation is tax deductible.

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What’s in the Share?

Just posted the share over on the What’s in the Share page, along with some terrific recipes. Better late than never?

Posted in CSA, Recipes | Tagged

September is here

Wow, time flies. We’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone busy the past few weeks and anticipate more of the same through September.

Your farmers continue to successfully juggle the tasks of planting, weeding and harvesting. Each we day do our best to figure out which of these vital pieces of work needs to be prioritized. The dilemma on a farm like Moraine is always the same: We must do all three of these well, in a timely manner and with limited resources, or we will end up with little food, weed seeds to last generations and a tired, demoralized farm crew. I love the challenge of this juggling act. And it’s a real joy to work with such a talented crew of jugglers (er, I mean farmers!) this season.

Soon the juggling act will cease. Well, it doesn’t really stop, it just changes character and intensity. Weeds slow their growth in a few weeks and we will either have succeeded or failed to keep most of our weeds from developing viable seeds. The last of the planting is right around the corner. Cover crops of oats and peas will be seeded before September 15 so they have time to grow before cold weather slows them down. Spinach goes  into the high tunnel and the last lettuces and other leafy greens are transplanted into the fields in the next two weeks.  This month, we turn our attention to our last big harvests (potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash) and protecting our storage crops. We will pull out row cover, just before the first frost, to protect our still growing tender crops (lettuces, spinach) from frost. Soon we will be getting acclimated to harvesting with cold hands (a welcome change from the hot, humid work conditions earlier this week!)

You can keep up with what’s happening at Moraine by visiting TTOR’s instagram page. Paula V keeps it well stocked with farm photos.

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Blue Toms

Our heirloom tomatoes and their foliage are blue and beautiful. We’ve been spraying them with an organically approved fungicide for 4 weeks. We began spraying when we got word from UMass that late blight, a devastating disease of tomatoes and potatoes, was in the area. This season several organic farms in the northeast have already lost their tomato crops to late blight. No evidence of it in our fields yet. Here’s an excellent source of information on late blight for those of you who want to know more.

Posted in Farm News | Tagged

Just another week at the farm

Holy Cow! We had a busy and productive week at Moraine Farm last week. I just sent our farm crew an email listing of some of the major projects we tackled, and, well – wow! I thought some of you might be interested in how we spent on time. I’ve copied the email below.

What a productive week! Look at we did!

Veggie Care
Onions harvested, laid out in the greenhouse to cure; field disked

Watermelon harvested (over 1000 melons), distributed or stored in bulk bins for next week’s CSA; field disked.

Sweet Corn lookin' sweet

Sweet Corn lookin’ sweet

Sweet corn, last planting, harvested and distributed; 320 ears on Tuesday, 1000 ears on Wednesday. [we ready to flail mow stalks, disk and cover crop; I need to consult with a corn grower re: raccoons, we lost a lot of corn to these critters!]

Bolero carrots, five 200 foot beds (3000 row feet!) were hand weeded in-row

Leafy greens and winter beets hoed and irrigated

Zucchini and cucumbers, last plantings, hoed and mulched

CAGED tomatoes

CAGED tomatoes

Tomatoes, from our first disease-resistant, determinate planting, were harvested for the second week. Stem lesions looking suspiciously like late blight were spotted in this planting. Heirloom tomatoes are looking healthy, if a bit blue (from the protective organic fungicide we have been applying). The cool temperatures have dramatically slowed ripening.

Fall crops – lettuces, salad mix, broccoli raab, winter radishes, purple top turnips, arugula — were transplanted or seeded.

Our equipment was busy this week
Thursday morning found all three farm apprentices, Henry, Hadley and Tim, on tractors. They were expertly taking out weeds, incorporating organic matter into the soil, mowing. 4 ½ months ago these guys were introduced to our fleet of farm equipment and had their first introduction to tractors!

Disk harrow saw a lot of action: Merri, Moraine, Wareham 4, Raspberries, Iowa, Denali and K2 fields. An important bolt on the disk harrow broke and was replaced in short order with the help of a neighboring farmer.

Cub tractor, Rusty, also got a workout, and was used on most of our fall crops: broccoli, cabbage, lettuces, kales, Swiss chard, fennel, edamame, new plantings of herbs and carrots.

Williams Tool System was used to cultivate many tire tracks, clearing these “paths” of weeds, in the potato field and elsewhere. New clamps and hilling disks arrived that will allow us to hill potatoes when the vines are too tall for the little Cub tractor.

Volunteers and friends supported the work of the farm last week in a number of ways
Dave affixed a ladder to the flatbed of our farm truck – now we can climb up on it with less risk of injury

Dave also continued building some planter stands that we will fill with flowers and herbs and set outside the barn to make it look prettier.

Paula seeded, took pictures, submitted pictures to TTOR’s instagram account, brought homemade snacks to farm crew (warm blueberry cake!!!)

Laurie continued to work on data collection and date entry projects: recording volunteer hours and farm expenses and income. She signed up for more carpentry projects and will begin to build a few more tables for the greenhouse.

Laurie also brought the farm crew ice cream – a special treat for one of our mid-day breaks

Nancy jumped into weeding projects, laid out onions and helped taste test watermelon 🙂

Nancy, Lisa, Sarah O laid out onions to cure in the greenhouse as fast as we could harvest them!

Bill picked up fruit shares from Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury and filled our fuel cans and farm truck with fuel.

Farm Staff
This was our first full week without the Sarah V, our first high school intern. She’s off to college to study sustainable agriculture.

Good work, everyone! Hope you all have a restful weekend!


P.S. I’ll send the list of next week’s work on Sunday night!



Posted in Farm News, Volunteer | Tagged

Bake Sale Fundraiser

Baked goodies, all with an ample helping of Moraine Farm veggies, will be available for our visitors to purchase during the Fall Festival. Proceeds from the bake sale will support our Food Access work – the thousands of pounds of veggies we grow and donate to Beverly Bootstraps and Cape Ann Food Pantry.

Cookies, bars, sweet breads, muffins, pastries, baked goods – sweet or savory – we are looking for volunteers who would like to help bake and/or staff the bake sale tent at the Festival. Interested? Just shoot me an email for more information.

Everyone loves a bake sale, especially when farm-fresh veggies are tucked into the baked goodies!



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