Opening day at Brookfield Farm

13 Jul

Written on 6/10/07

Yesterday was opening day at the farm. We’re members at Brookfield Farm in Amherst, MA. This is the third season. Our first year was magical. We had moved to the area and felt like it was taking a long time to get settled. I didn’t have a great job, or many friends. The farm was the highlight of the week for me. So peaceful and every new crop that appeared throughout the summer was a surprise and a delight. It was like a gift every week. We discovered vegetables we’d never seen or heard of before. Now the novelty has worn off a little bit. I’m happy to say I’ve found a great job that I love and have made many friends in the area. So maybe I don’t “need” the farm in the same way I did that first year. But our weekly trip to the farm to pick up our veggies and spend a little time in the fields is still a big highlight.

Yesterday our share included spinach, heads of lettuce, a beautiful little bunch of French breakfast radishes (they’re kind of long and skinny instead of round), some cooking greens (we got mustard greens and kale), a pint of strawberries which we shared with friends for breakfast today, a couple stalks of rhubarb, and a handful of garlic chives.

The chickens are back this year (after a year hiatus at Farmer Dan’s house) and now have a new egg-mobile/movable coop in the cow pasture. I really got a kick out of them our first year (having not had any close contact with chickens before) – they certainly added to the farm ambience, clucking and pecking away. There were a couple that were my favorites – they have extra fluffy feathers on their heads and they look like Fraggles. Yesterday I caught sight of one Fraggle chicken hanging out under the coop. Glad to see at least one still around. This year there are 50 laying hens and the idea is that they will eat the grubs in the cow manure and peck around and improve the soil fertility. Pretty clever idea if you ask me.

I’m sure we’ll be eating lots of salads this week to use up our greens. Sounds like in the coming weeks we will have more greens and cabbage and more strawberries (hopefully). Last year was a bad year for the strawberries – too wet, many of them spoiled before we even had a chance to pick them. I’m hoping this year will be better. There’s nothing better than homemade strawberry or strawberry-rhubarb jam.

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