Saturday, December 27, 2014

In Between

Happy Holidays from all of us at Village Farm! Sure hope that you have enjoyed the season's mellower notes as well as just as much cheer and partying and mirth as you can handle.

We won't go into this in-between weather other than to say we are hoping for ICE (to skate upon!) and then lots of SNOW. Winter sporting type activities, or shall I say, winter frolicking activities of all sorts are big in our house, so we all get kind of obsessed with the NOAA forecast. Hoping for perfect ice and then a dumping of "snowball snow."

This picture is from early December. I tend to take lots of pictures like this from the porch. I see something out the window that looks good enough to photograph, which for me is a combination of beauty and story and I grab the camera. Click. There you go. Pretty, snowy dusty fields with my dear Prentice biking to check on some very late cauliflower in the far field. Beautiful and story-rich.

Another few pictures taken from the dooryard: Prentice walking Sal and Pep, the 18 month old steers, and  father and son in matching insulated suits, heading to the barn for chores. If you look to Benny's right, you can see our new barn kitten, Miss Meow, there by the hayrack.

Today we were outside all day long taking advantage of the spring-like day to tidy up the woodshed, move a lot of potting soil, replenish the hens' straw bedding pack and the like. It felt to both of us like a day out of the ordinary. There was a leisureliness to it. These days before 2014 shuts down and 2015 revs up are sweet in their special kind of in-between feel.

We have a lot ahead of us before the first seeds of 2015 hit the soil. Our new greenhouse needs a heat plant and benches. We need to T-up the CSA and fluff the website with new pictures and offerings for 2015.
We need to sign on a couple more apprentices and of course order seeds. For now, though, we are tending the children, hearth and animals as we breathe deeply into our blessings.

With love and gratitude from here, 

(Lovely little vessel by a wonderful friend and CSA member. Thanks, Liz!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More gratitude to add to your pie.

And a note about schedule: Fall CSA members, remember no pickup next Tuesday. 
Last distribution Dec 9.

With all warm tidings for a lovely, warm and cozy weekend.
Polly and Prentice, Joseph, Ben and Abe and all the critters

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hello October!

Don't you love it when a picture actually kind of captures the beauty before your eyes? The light around this place is at its most gorgeous in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall and at the shoulder times of day. . .dawn and sunset. Probably true of most places, right? Although I only occasionally wrangle my "point and shoot" camera  into my pocket as I traipse about, I do try to capture a bit of the feel for the workings of our place with you blog readers in mind.
 Evening, looking to the west.

 Morning, looking straight "south" (down!) at a beautiful mess of Ailsa Craig onion bunches. They glow!

 A bit outdated, these onion pictures were taken way back in August.
 Another intern shot: Ally in the chard patch.
 Look at that sky, all wispy!

And remember those four heifers born this spring? They are in their pre-teen phase of life, I would say. And like pre-teen members of our own species, they prefer to move everywhere as a unit. 
"I am thirsty."
"Me, too."
"Me, too."
"Me, too."

The work around here changes in fall;. less weeding and very little planting. There are lots of harvests but they seem to be faster, bigger and simpler. The To-Do whiteboard in the pack shed gets populated with more carpentry projects. If I was handy, I might cross off "pour concrete slab" with some computer-photoshop magic as that job is Done.
Wait, look, I can cross it off here, but not from the whiteboard above. Pour concrete slab.

This slab will be 24ft of our new, larger seedling greenhouse. This will be the seedling house we have needed for the last five years. We really outgrew our first one the year we built it. The remaining 72ft will be bare soil for in-ground growing and movable benches for seedling trays. Having more space in the spring greenhouse will be a boon for us. The slab will allow us to move firewood for the furnace, potting soil and racks of seedling around with ease. The larger capacity will allow us to sell more seedlings to our existing customers and expand our offerings.
 Any earthwork project has its stresses, no?

Prentice is an excellent teacher, even in the midst of a job like pouring cement.
 This is the ginger and turmeric crop before we dig it. Not as tall as last year so we are expecting lower yields but we shall see! The two beds on the right are seeded to cilantro, I believe.
The Summer CSA season is coming to an end with our last distribution on October 7th. Our Fall CSA season will begin October 14 and run until mid December. The crops look excellent. These scallions and celery will be part of the bounty. It is too late to get a vegetable share but we could add on a Fall Cheese Share from Appleton Creamery if you are interested. Send us a line or give a call.

And lastly, Prentice and I had a good laugh over this song when we heard it on WERU last week. It is called "Too Blessed to be Stressed" and it (really just the cheesy title!!) was a great reminder to us to count our blessings, relax, laugh and take a longer view of what we are doing here at Village Farm.

Up til now, one might hear one or  the other of us mutter this favorite quote to ourselves or our stressed-up partner:  "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." (Annie Dillard) This quote has been a regular reminder of our freedoms, our privileges, our choices.
I think for the time being, we will belt out "Too Blessed to be Stressed!" in our best soulful voice when one or the other of us needs a talkin'-to.

As always, we send our best out into the world in the form of vegetables to the CSA, to the Belfast Coop, The Lost Kitchen, Swan's Way and Trillium Caterers, The Juice Cellar and others. We send our best wishes to all of you, too. Today and all days,

Polly and Prentice, the crew and little people.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pick and Pack

July brings more predictable days to us Village Farmers. The crops grow. The weeds grow. The "chickens need feedin'" as our dear friend, Grace, likes to say. The seedlings are all sold for the year. The CSA is in full swing, of course, so we gather the week's share early Tuesday mornings, wash and pack and cool them and then bring them to members Tuesday evenings. A larger portion of our vegetables go to wholesale accounts: The Belfast Coop, Swan's Way Catering, Trillium Events and of course, our new neighbor, The Lost Kitchen, among others. Still more vegetables go through our beloved distributor, Crown O' Maine, and make their way to many fine stores and restaurants to the south of us.

Now that all the large spring plantings are completed, we settle in to something of a daily and weekly rhythm. In the early mornings a few people do animal chores and a few people begin harvesting. We break for breakfast then all return to the fields for more harvesting. Prentice bikes around a lot to check on things. I tend to walk. We move vegetables from field to packing shed with this Jeep and a human powered cart.

Once in the packing shed, vegetables either go to a wet pack line or the dry pack counter. You can see a couple of ubiquitous clipboards there on the dry pack counter. The clipboards keep our pick lists handy, accessible to all as we wash and pack and check off the day's harvest. The pick lists tally each wholesale customer's order for the day. Those white mesh bags hold herb bunches and loose greens in our repurposed washing machine turned greens spinner.

You never know who will stop by the pack shed. This place is a hub of activity and always needs a good foremonkey. Or is it foregorilla?

This is the northside shed which is most definitely a wet pack line. Ally and Amelia are working through 150 or so bunches of scallions. We soak, separate, strip bottom leaves and stack. Lots of fast hand work. Then the scallions get bunched, trimmed and put through a final spray down before being packed.

 Max is working through a gaggle of beet bunches.
 Sparkly vegetables is what we like to see!
Just as ubiquitous as the clipboards are the blue rubberbands. But more numerous!!  We have barely made a dent in the bale of blue rubberbands we bought two years ago. I guess we are stocked for the next decade. Not that you are interested in the rubberband inventory, but I will keep you posted.

Our first batch of meat chickens return from the butcher's this week. Come by and get one for the grill this weekend! We will have fresh chickens available Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8 am to 5 pm. Raised on pasture and organic grain, these birds are delicious and nutritious. $4.75/pound and most birds are around 5 pounds.

As always, we appreciate your interest in our farm business. Take care and enjoy these mid-summer days.
Fondly, Polly and co.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Good Sports

The hours and days and weeks go by at a good clip, don't they? No faster at Village Farm than anywhere else, I guess, but the non-stop action of May and June, the sprint that starts the already short Maine Summer.. . breathless we are not, but tired every night, yes.

Here are a few pictures taken about the place. 
 Our second batch of 200 'Red Bros', a red feathered, bred for grazing meat chicken, has arrived. When they arrive at the Post Office, we unpack them immediately and give each a drink. Benny says the holes in the packing box are so they can whisper to each other en route.

 They learn with that one dip and then are ready to help themselves.
And the following picture is just a gift from the camera gods. Neither chick nor boy posed for this. I just love it: a captured vision of two small beings having a moment together. 
It is really not cliche or an overstatement to say that we care for every one of our animals, even the ones that we raise for meat.

 We ask our farm crew to start work at 6 every morning. Sights like this are common and welcome.

 And then there is mid-morning and high clouds.

 And then there are broken down tractors and multiple calls to mechanic friends.

 Muffin tins full of bolts. And reconstruction. A fixed tractor.

 There are snail trails on the hoophouse endwalls and turtle trails in the driveway. Killdeer making a loud living in the gardens and an elusive snipe circling, circling. When I called it "an unremarkable bird" (not a bad thing in my book!!) today, Eliot thought that the snipe was trying its best to be quite remarkable. Such are the conversations, at times.

 Prentice was a good sport to let me clean off and dress up his barn workbench for the on-farm dinner by Chef Frank Giglio a few weeks ago. It was a lovely evening. Great great food. Lovely company. (I don't have any pictures.)

 Prentice is also a good sport about the state of his farm bike seat. 

 And boy, is he a good sport about machinery breakdowns.This is the irrigation pump and in the background the fuel tank to the John Deere. The Allis Chalmers cultivating tractor was also giving him grief this week.

 Luckily, there are large beds of gorgeous spinach

 and broccoli coming along to cheer him up when the grease is too much for him.

And small victories when machinery gets fixed, and crops get much needed water.

And sweet Sundays on Freedom Pond in a new to us sailboat.

And of course, it is all relative, right? This Village Farm resident has her own problems and joys. 
It was our joy to cross her path on our way to the pond.

All our best wishes for a lovely end of June-early July to one and all!
Polly and Prentice, boys and crew..

Saturday, May 31, 2014

You are invited to a

Farm to Table Dinner at Village Farm

    Friday, June 13, 2014 6:00pm – 10:00pm
    Village Farm 122 Belfast Rd. Freedom, ME 04941
The Waldo County Open Space Festival will kick off Father's Day weekend with a delicious farm-to-table dinner at Village Farm in Freedom, Maine. With the full moon rising up above us, chef Frank Giglio will craft and prepare a 3 course meal utilizing the beloved Maine bounty. 
Snacks and Beverages
Flatbreads from the Cob Oven
Seasonal treats
Herbal Infusions

First Course
Tender Greens
Strawberries & Feta
Toasted Walnut Vinaigrette

Second Course
Herb-Roasted Chicken
Rhubarb Gastrique

Third Course
Flourless Chocolate Cake
 Apple Minted Strawberries
Spruce infused Whipped Cream

Vegan Option
Crisp Local Tempeh
 Mushroom Ragu
Spring Garlicky Greens

**Please Take Notice**
Menu is subject to change based on seasonal availability of ingredients
This is a BYOB event. No alcohol will be served as a part of this dinner. You are welcome to bring your favorite alcoholic beverage and drink responsibly.
This dinner is by reservation only. No walk-ins accepted the night of the dinner.

For vegan or vegetarian options, please send a message to before June 11th.

To reserve your spot, click here for the online sign up or email Frank, email above. 

Hope to see you!!
Polly and Prentice

Friday, May 16, 2014