OK, so it’s rough going right now, but we have to hope and pray the weather improves. We had a “little” set back with the tornado, that missed us, thank God, and the piles of hail, which did not. If you see a few shredded beat greens of some holes in lettuce – rest assured, it’s local.
Many of you know what to expect by now; some of you have been with us for 12 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… or, check it out on our blog—here!
Reminder: If you know you will not be able to pickup, please login to your account 48 hours in advance and make changes so we may plan accordingly. 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 only a few bags right now—we’ll get more! OK, two years ago we started handing out reusable Stillman’s bags 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 saved 16,000 bags the first 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), and possibly spinach for the big boxes. 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.
The recipe section is where I try to let you know how to treat the contents of your box and, yes, recipes. This would be the part of the box-letter you are not compelled to read, except there might be some useful morsel you might miss out on. If you are one of the people who approach me at the end of the season asking, “what do I do with potatoes?”, this section is for you! (That actually happened)
OK, we’re all busy, but it is usually tiredness or laziness that prevents us from cooking – Many recipes require little effort and take less time than running for some take-out or nuking a frozen dinner. Nothing against those types of meals, but our goal here is to eat well, and that means eating what’s in the box; so make a commitment right now to cook all the food you receive. I will try to inspire you to cook things you might not ordinarily eat, and to use up items that may be very plentiful. I will re-run the favorites and special requests are welcome. All last year’s recipes are on the blog—so just do a search for the item you are wishing to use and be sure to send me your great recipe, or post yourself 😉
Here’s a basic starter for a nice dressing for greens: 2 Tb vinegar (your choice), s & p, and 1 tsp Dijon whisked together or shaken in your cruet; then whisk in 6 Tb olive oil (or shake until well mixed). Alter to fit your mood.
There are some gorgeous greens (Chard and/or Beet tops-yum) this week which are lovely simply steamed briefly and then tossed with some butter (a drizzle of vinegar is tasty).Sautéed Beet Greens (good for Chard too)
Chop your well washed beet greens and stems. Melt 2 Tb butter (yes, olive oil works) in skillet over medium, sauté 1/4 cup chopped onion until tender, add chopped beet greens and stems and sauté until tender. Season with s & p and lemon juice.
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 also a graduate from UMASS and grows nursery stock in Lunenburg, and cherry tomatoes and exotic fruits at his own farm in Hardwick. We also have 12 year old Reid, who helps Glenn in Quincy and me in Southboro/Framingham, and the youngest, 6 year old Faith, who is still learning how to help! They can’t grow anything yet.
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.
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
next week: squash? Swiss Chard? more of the same…