January COLD

 

 

There’s no shortage of cold air blowing over the farm these days. Thankfully the work we are busy with involves sitting at the kitchen table with coffee and a warm fire. Glenn spent many days out cutting and splitting more firewood. There’s still lots of dead trees laying around from the storms and they will burn well this winter. We managed to burn through half the pile already this winter – SO much better than burning oil. We don’t spend a lot of time talking about the daily operations at the farm, so here’s a little bit about the farmhouse:

Our home was built like most farmhouses, over a period of years, as time and finances allowed. The first part of the home dates to before 1762, the next in 1768, these two parts comprise the ell, or the small house. The main part, or big house was built in 1825 by a builder (that was a big deal back then) from Fitchburg…he also built the Unitarian church on the common in Fitchburg. You often hear me say we are stewards of the land, -we are stewards of this simple but beautiful home too. When we built the “addition”, which is home to our workers in the summer, we were very careful to not ruin the historic character of the property.

Stillman's addition construction 2006

Stillman's Farm house New Braintree, MA

Stillman's Farm worker addition to far left

 Meanwhile, we heated everything (well, not the upstairs of our house) with oil, as well as two natural gas heaters in the oldest part. Some years this was a scary proposition, even with the thermostat at 55. We had discussed an outdoor wood furnace, but our experiences had left us worried about excessive particulate emissions, as well as the general stink some seem to emit. Then we started researching the gasifier wood burners. In this case, gasification is a technique converting wood into the simpler elements carbon monoxide and hydrogen by burning at high temperatures. In gasification wood furnaces, the wood gases do not go up and out of the chimney, as with standard wood furnaces. Instead, the wood gas is superheated and mixed with air resulting in complete combustion. The heat is then transferred to a boiler for efficient distribution. There is also little or no ash. So, once we were sold on this idea, we continued to add onto the complex by building what we refer to as the carriage shed to house the wood burner and about 20 cords of wood.

Our inspiration carriage shed from NY, c.1820Our carriage shed, c.2009Our carriage shed, c.2009

Our carriage shed, c. 2009

 

The project measured up, not only fitting in beautifully with the property, but the furnace burns cleanly and never smells. We have reduced our oil and natural gas consumption by 80% – all while heating our drafty old home! Meanwhile, the worker’s part of our home would heat with a candle 😉

Glenn Stillman's woodpile

Glenn's woodpile

We use about 20 cord a year, but Glenn has it figured that if used 50 cord a year we would still never catch up to the growth on the farm. That means in ten years the farm will is adding 300+ cords of wood.

We love sustainability!!!

The next project is to invest in greener heat for the greenhouses (when we win the lottery)…if anyone has any brainstorms, we’re listening.

CSA

OK, we’ve been bouncing around with different ideas about where we can have another location that helps the most of our members, as well as new member inquiries. The East Boston location didn’t pan out, but we are keeping the idea in mind, as it sounds like there isn’t much access for those folks. Also, we’ve had a few members reach out regarding a location closer to Clear Flour in Brookline, but no commitment yet. The latest idea is a Wednesday pickup in Somerville. We’d love for this to be a viable option and will add it to the website as soon as we have the location confirmed. 
SIGN UP TODAY!
The signup is very simple, just follow the prompts and at the end you can opt for a CC payment or a check.  Thank you so much if you have already signed up for the summer CSA. If you are renewing, the new farmigo system should recognize you when you login. If you are new to the system, it is very simple, it will prompt you through the process, and you can log back in anytime to update your info, switch pickup dates, make payment…. Sign up today !

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About stillmansfarm

Stillman's Farm® is a family owned farm in Massachusetts. We currently operate at two locations: a greenhouse/retail business in Lunenburg, and the majority of vegetable production in New Braintree. Glenn Stillman started the business in Lunenburg over 20 years ago and now enjoys the promise of the next generation further expanding the very diverse enterprise. The farm also has several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs established in Boston, Lunenburg, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, New Braintree and the Southborough/Framingham area. In addition, the Stillman's trucks have become a fixture at the Boston Area Farmer's Markets. Our Philosophy Most of Stillman's produce is grown without chemicals. For a few crops this simply is not feasible. For these particular crops, we participate in the State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This entails systematic scouting of fields, protection of beneficial insects, bio-controls, and well-timed applications of only the safest pesticides. With growing concern about genetically modified organisms (GMO), as a patron you can be confident that none of the produce we grow have been engineered, in fact, we often experiment with many heirloom varieties! Conscientiously Grown® The combination of no pesticides, good cultivation management, and IPM practices allows us to offer the widest possible selection of fruit and vegetable varieties and be a thriving sustainable farm. We have developed our own label, "conscientiously grown" to convey our commitment to the safety of our environment, family and customers. All of our hormone free, pasture raised meats carry a conscientiously grown label too!
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3 Responses to January COLD

  1. Emily Gleason says:

    Any idea where in somerville you might go? We’re moving to Melrose and have been very reluctantly looking for a different CSA because we can’t justify driving an hour to get our share, but Somerville would actually work pretty well for us. I’m going to hold off on subscribing to the other CSA I found to see if you guys work that out because we love your CSA. Thanks!

  2. annajcook says:

    We (Anna Cook and Hanna Clutterbuck) would love to see a pick-up point near Clear Flour, as we live just a few blocks from there, and don’t have a car. So if you’re counting votes/potential subscribers for that pick-up point, add us to your list! (Slightly dependent on day/time).

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