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Spring & Summer: 2017

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Dear farm friends and CSA members -

This growing season flew by and we are already at the end of summer. It's unusual for us to go this long without a newsletter, so our apologies for not writing sooner! Below are updates from the 2017 main farming & growing season - 

We spent spring with the sheep flock for lambing season and had nearly 30 lambs born at the farm. All season we’ve been planting in the fields, seeding and nurturing crops in the greenhouses, haying for the winter and much more. All our livestock have been on a  pasture rotation, benefiting from the fresh grass and forage that summer brings.

We wouldn't be farmers if we didn't talk for a moment about the weather -

The cold, wet weather this spring produced some challenges for growing crops (especially strawberries) and slowed down the spring harvests. We are working to be adaptive and resilient when it comes to the unpredictable weather patterns. When summer finally came our warm season crops thrived and now we're harvesting incredible greens and have been knee deep in late summer abundance! It’s a great year to eat kale, collards, radishes and the like, find recipes below. 

We had a wonderful crew this summer - including two incredible young people that worked the whole season:  Bennett and Jess whom both went north to college this fall to study sustainable agriculture, soil science and ecosystems.  We are so excited to be training young people that are interested in the future of farming and the environment. 

As the season changes we are starting to bring in the bulk harvests - onions, shallots, garlic, winter squash, potatoes, root veggies, cabbage, dried beans & more! We also are working to preserve the summer favors & nutrients in the kitchen, creating our artisan dill pickles, tomato sauce, hot sauce, bone broth and soon fermented foods! 

More updates below including: details on our managed intensive rotational grazing, seasonal recipes, summer season workshops & fall events, CSA updates and more!

Many thanks for supporting regenerative farming,

 
-All of us at Freedom Food Farm 
Hay Making & Grass-Based Agriculture

To have grass-fed animals in New England we have to make hay all summer in order to have nutritious feed in the winter. High quality pasture or hay is essential to ruminant (cow, sheep and goat) health. We work very hard to increase the biodiversity of our pastures and use rotational grazing so that the pasture stays healthy and productive. When we get a few warm, sunny days in a row we spend them cutting and drying hay. When it's ready, we bale the hay and put it in storage for winter use. This year was a good haying season for us! We brought in over 1,000 bales of hay for animal feed and about 500 mulch straw bales so far. 

Growing Grain & Using Livestock Power

Our other livestock (chickens and pigs) are heritage breeds that thrive on fresh pasture. They eat grass as well as other forage. We use them in a rotational land management system. The chickens follow the ruminants and help spread fertility on the land. Before we convert a field into cover crop, we'll often let our pigs root up the field first adding fertility and then doing some of the plowing for us!

This year we grew grain on several fields and let the pigs eat the grain straight from the field. After they spent a little time on a section, we would move the chickens onto it. They ate all the grain the pigs left behind and helped to work in cover crop seed. This system worked great - it helped reduce our inputs, we had the animals till in cover crop, so there was no need for tractors - which helps prevent soil/carbon loss and compaction. You could see the results in soil health after the animals had left the land, the cover crops came up and the ground was visibly covered with earth worm castings - a sign of healthy, living soil!

As regenerative farmers and stewards of the land, this type of systems are so vital to improving soil and overall farm health. This means healthier, more nutrient dense food for all of us and keeping the carbon in the soil for future generations. 

Pictured Below: Cover crop coming up after pig & chicken rotation through grain field. Little piles of soil are made by earth worms that are eating all the straw left behind from the grain crops! Picture 2: May our sow and her nine summer piglets taking a nap in the shade. 
Farm Workshops & Fall Events:

Healthy Dogs & Farm Grown Treats Workshop
Saturday, September 23rd from 11 am - noon

Medicinal Roots & Fire Cider Workshop
Saturday, October 7th from 1-3 pm

 Build Your Own Wood Fired Oven Workshop
Saturday, October 21st, all day
Workshop has limited space, e-mail the farm to reserve your spot! 

PYO Pumpkins & Hayrides - Saturdays 12-4pm in October!
Free Hayrides & PYO Pumpkins ($1/lb).
Summer CSA members get one free pumpkin - until we sell out! 
 
See the summer event calendar and learn more on our website > 
www.freedomfoodfarm.com/ 2017-events

Pictured above: Bouquets from our Cut Flower Workshop in August!
Farm/Art Collaboration with Yellow Ochre Studio

In a creative collaboration with the farm; local artist, CSA member and season-long farm volunteer Nichole Speciale has been painting our produce since the spring as a way to introduce folks to the farm and local, sustainable food. She conveys the joys and benefits of knowing your vegetables, your farmers, and your community through beautiful illustrations at Yellow Ochre Studio.

You can follow Nichole on instagram or facebook for both art and farming posts and stop by our store anytime we are open to see her work in person and pick up a print or card. 30% of prints sold and $1 of every card purchased is donated to the farm!

Her work makes great gifts for anyone who loves cooking or eating with the seasons!

Pictured below: Red Russian Kale print by Yellow Ochre Studio 
We're Certified Organic...Again! 

As many of our long term farm customers & CSA members know Freedom Food was certified organic when we were based in Rhode Island and our previous farm in VT was also certified. Chuck the owner of FFF has served on the board of the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA - RI chapter); presented at the regional NOFA summer conference for several years; and done many on-farm workshops for NOFA. We value true organic farming practices and the sustainable farming movement, but have felt that certification isn't as strict as it should be and decided when we moved to MA to frame our farming as 'holistic' and explain our practices to our customers.

As we work with a growing range of customers and markets we decided to re-certify the farm this spring. The decision was one based on a desire to reach new customers and we believe certifying the farm expands our marketing opportunities. The biggest impact it has on our day-to-day farming is making us better record keepers!

We have always been committed to our holistic farming practices and do not use any chemicals on the farm, whether they are approved under organic certification or not. Likewise, we will continue to build a thriving farm ecosystem in all aspects - soil, biodiversity, livestock, crops and natural habitat. Our farm will continue to practice regenerative agriculture without compromising the health of our customers, farmers, or future generations for profit. 

This note is to let folks know we will be transitioning labeling to certified organic, the motivation behind certifying and our commitment to our holistic farming practices. 

If there are any questions don't hesitate to reach out!
- CSA Member Updates -

We are already in the last few weeks of summer CSA pick ups! Summer shares go until the end of October and then we start our 8 week fall season and after that winter shares. Hard to believe it's already time to sign up for next season!

SUMMER CSA UPDATES:

CSA pick-your-own (PYO) Field PYO is over for the season. Hope everyone enjoyed it this season! We still have culinary & medicinal / tea herbs (lemon balm, summer savory, sage, hyssop, lavender, marjoram, catnip, parsley, etc.) available for picking in the front garden. 

Summer Events:  Summer workshops are still happening through October and most are free for CSA members! We also have free hayrides and PYO pumpkins in October. See event details earlier in the newsletter. 


What's in Season:

Vegetables in season -   We are starting to transition from summer to fall crops. Look for eggplant, kale, collards, radishes, swiss chard, leeks, onions, kohlrabi, garlic, sweet potatoes, ginger, beets, lettuce and more in shares! 

Meat Shares - All our beef cuts are in stock for the time being. We will soon have all the pork sausage including some new varieties back at the store & markets and heritage hotdogs (nitrate and soy-free) and are back!  Our farmer-chefs just made a new batch of our pasture-raised bone broth and that will be available for shares / sale this week.  

We will start taking reservations for our Pasture-Raised, Organic Thanksgiving Turkeys at the end of October. If you are a CSA member and would like to be first on the list, feel free to e-mail us. 

 
Join us for our Fall CSA!
Winter Shares are available now too!

Fall CSA: We have fall pick ups in Somerville on Tuesdays & at the farm store in Raynham (Wed-Saturday). Shares run eight weeks: November - December. 

We also have a market-long share at the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers' Market: November - April. This is our 6th winter at the market, and we are so grateful to all our long term CSA members and customers there. Sign up to reserve your shares!

Winter CSA:
We are offering a winter share again at the farm store from January - April. This year pick ups are on fridays from 3-6 and saturdays from 10-2. We hope this new schedule helps build community with winter members and reduces our farm energy requirments in the winter! We are just starting to offer sign ups for 2018 winter shares - our year-round members should join now to reserve your shares! 
 
CSA Questions:
If you have questions about what season you are signed up for or any other questions about joining the CSA for fall or winter- e-mail Marie at: freedomfoodcsa@gmail.com.


 
Join Our CSA - Fall Veggie, Egg & Meat Shares Available!
Recipes from the Farm to the Kitchen

Enjoy the vibrant farm greens that are so bountiful this season - kale, collards, swiss chard mixed with sweet or spicy flavor paired with whole grains, heritage pork and alliums. Find recipes below - 

Wheat Berries with Charred Kale 

Braised Radishes Try with our beautiful shallots! Cooking makes radishes mild and juicy. Here is another recipe for braised radishes that is vegetarian. 

Curried Kale Chips

Easy Roasted Cipollini Onions

Kickin Collard Greens (recipe uses bacon & chicken stock) 

Warmed Quinoa with Swiss Chard and Blue Cheese

The Best Roasted Sweet Potatoes

"Creamed" Collard Greens with Peanut Butter and Chiles 

Grilled Greens and Leek Tops with Chile-Garlic Sauce

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Boston Pork Shoulder Steak is a great cut to cook slow. If you haven't cooked it yet, try one of these recipes:

Slow Cooker Cajun BBQ Pork Steaks
 
Brined & Grilled Boston Butt Steaks


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Late Summer Farm Salad with Fresh Ginger 

Ingredients:

Head lettuce of your choice or salad mix
baby boc choi, swiss chard or kale*
Salad radishes 
Kohlrabi, peeled
Orano Sweet Pepper
Young Ginger Root
Parsley


*we like red russian kale best for salads! 

1. Chop and mix greens in a bowl.
2. Slice radishes, kohlrabi, sweet pepper and ginger and add to greens.
3. Add roughly cut parsley.

4. Top with your choice of nuts, seeds, cheese (try Berle Farm's, organic 'Haymaker' cheese - new in the store) and dressing.

5. TIPS: If you like to add more nutrition > sprout some our our wheat or rye berries and add to the salad or roast / sauté some chopped beets (optional: drizzle beets with a little farm honey to caramelize) and top the salad right before eating. 


We like to use a simple maple syrup dressing >  Combine cold pressed olive oil base with a little organic tamari, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, natural peanut butter and Vermont maple syrup* to taste! 

*Hand-collected maple syrup from our friends at Moses Farm is available at the farm store!

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Looking for more seasonal recipes?

Check out our farm's recipes & resources or follow us on pinterest!

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Our farm store is open all fall! 

Wednesday 10-7pm
Thursday - Saturday 10-6pm

Visit us at: 471 Leonard Street, Raynham, MA 02767


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Freedom Food Farm · 471 Leonard St · Raynham, MA 02767 · USA

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