How exciting to have so much wonderful produce for the first week! We always worry about the start week: and this year it was a real pleasant surprise to have Glenn walk in with a handful of beets and fistful of arugula, announcing, “We’ll have to start next week!” Well, we are always hesitant to start too soon, as one can tire of greens really quickly, but I think this year the variety of fun tings will follow shortly behind this first box.
Many of you know what to expect by now; some of you have been with us for 10 years (WOW!), but for those joining us for the first time, let me tell you a little about this letter: although you will see one of ‘us’ every week, I will try to include a note about what you can expect in your box, what is to come, and perhaps a recipe or two. We know how hectic things can be, so I hope this serves as a convenient way to communicate in case we missed the opportunity to visit. Often, questions you may have will be answered in the letters – so please try to give them the once over in order to save yourself and us unnecessary frustration. We hope you take advantage of our knowledge about farming and really good produce by lingering sometimes, however, if you cannot, or we cannot, I sincerely hope you find time to linger over a few meals during the weeks to come! There will almost always be a letter, so if you are not handed one, please make an effort to ask – you might miss important information like what follows…
As a reminder, I will share our member list with members (that’s you). It would be wonderful if all of you can use this list to save on gas if heading out to the farm, or to help each other out on pick-up day. Keep it in mind. The best solution for not missing a pickup is to have another person pick up your share for you. Reminder: If you know you will not be able to pickup, please let us know 24 hours in advance so we may plan accordingly. Our emails and phone numbers are on every letter. It is your responsibility to remember your box. You do not need to pickup your box personally; we just have a simple check off sheet with the names of subscribers. That means your neighbor, partner, cat-watcher, or even your mother-in-law can check off your name and take the box home. Be very suspicious if there is no fruit when you get to the box! All members need to pickup during their time frame. We are all busy, so let’s all be punctual. Also, as we have 900 members to keep track of, please be considerate with your scheduling requests. We will do our best.
We have bags!!! OK, last year was the first year we handed out a reusable Stillman’s bag to everyone and it made a real difference!. We hope you will use it every week so we may continue to cut back on our plastic bag usage. We must have saved 16,000 bags last year—that has got to make a little difference. Smile and hug yourself. About your box: We feel it is important to get started for strawberry season and it is only a matter of weeks before there is a great deal of variety to choose from. When there is more variety, we will pack your produce at the farm and bring ‘extras’ for you to customize your own box. We use waxed boxes that collapse and we ask that you return them to us from week to week so we may reuse them. They are not recyclable, and they are about $1.40-$1.85 (relatively) each, so we like to use them until all the wax is gone and they can rot in the compost pile. Just to recap: Please return your boxes to us from week to week; if you need help collapsing them, ask. Please do not tear them.
It is always a little bit of a guess what will appear in the box, so you MAY have these things, or something else? This week, relish the strawberries (a season which is never long enough), lettuce, beets (in a variety of colors), kale?, spinach, and Swiss chard which may be one color or an assortment of white, yellow or pink. None of the greens or lettuces have been more than rinsed, so there is still plenty to wash off. Oh yeah, they haven’t been sprayed either.
This section usually covers what’s going on at the farm, new farm babies, wildlife spotting, etc. The following will catch you up about us:
Our family: Stillman’s is a family farm started by Glenn, my husband, the guy with the handlebar moustache. His two children, Kate and Curt, work on the farm and run their own farms and CSA’s, as well. Kate, graduate of UMASS in Agribusiness and horticulture, grows cut flowers and is the mover and shaker at most of the markets we attend. She has a beautiful little boy, Trace, and two farms in Hardwick, where she raise heritage breed sheep, pigs, turkeys…all hormone free, pasture raised and fantastic! Curt is graduated from UMASS in agriculture, grows nursery stock in Lunenburg, grows mounds of cherry tomatoes and is planting orchards galore at his own farm in Hardwick. We also have 11 year old Reid, who helps Glenn in Quincy and me in Southboro/Framingham, and the youngest, five year old Faith who is still learning how to help!
We have two farms: Lunenburg, where we have the stand and plant nursery, and New Braintree, where we live, and grow most of the produce. We have a herd of Belted Galloway cattle at the New Braintree farm which you may hear about from time to time.
Thank you to all who came to the Greenhouses in May. We have lots of fun with our vegetable transplants…and all that basil! We look forward to many of you coming out to the New Braintree Farm. For those of you interested in a visit to out farm, you need no invitation. We are delighted to have you hike around the farm, check out the crops, picnic…and the bird, amphibian, and insect watching is always worthwhile! I know it is going to be another great season To reiterate one last time (this week) please pick up your box every week, return your boxes without destroying them, read your letter, email us with questions and pickup changes, and have fun with all the goodies!
Eat well, Geneviève Stillman