John and I just finished the first 2017 share distribution consisting of many root vegetables plus several recipes. A Yellow Stonehouse Farm CSA member, Melissa, made my coq aux vin recipe & posted a terrific picture of the dish on our Facebook page – see picture left. We are lucky – our CSA has many supporters & involved members – which brings me to our farm goals for 2017.
The foundation of our farm goals for 2017 is gratitude – which we will express by showing gratitude and returning kindness to members and supporters. We have much to be thankful for and will keep this top of mind in 2017 – and demonstrate by doubling down on appreciation for our members! So – Melissa, thank you for making the recipe and sharing it with us.
We also are excited and thankful to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAP) for awarding us a matching enterprise grant of $10,000 for barn repairs and improvements. Not only are they helping us repair our 1840’s timber built barn, they are providing us with technical farm planning assistance.
Food trends are important to us so we were fascinated to see 2017 being touted as “vegetable-centric” and featured by many chefs, restaurants and cookbooks. Multi-colored vegetables are a big trend, with radishes usurping kale as the new favorite and squashes becoming the new favorite staple! All reasons for us to feel rather smug as last summer we anticipated these trends by growing many radishes, lots of colored vegetables and many types of squash – which we plan to duplicate in 2017!
Two more 2017 themes are Nourish and Nurture — realized through recipes encouraging health & wellness through food & herbalism. This is a labor of love, combining many interests and simultaneously enhancing the membership experience for the farm’s shareholders. We’re going to provide seasonal herbs as well along with information on health benefits and daily use as part of a healthy diet.
As an organic farm, we’re environmentally focused, and realize 2016’s drought was partly a result of the changing climate. In response, we have decided to become advocates for the protection of a scarce and precious resource – water. We are fortunate to have ample and accessible water – however, this can change anytime – so we’ll assert ourselves as stewards of these vulnerable resources. Westfield’s own water troubles are a red flag and we will be vigilant to protect the farm against contamination, pollution and climate impacts.
New research shows that organic farming – through crop diversity, cover cropping and low till practices – is one of the best ways agriculture can counter lack of rainfall versus monoculture’s susceptibility to drought. We will continue learning best practices to ensure our crops stay bountiful, delicious and healthy – despite droughts and other adverse conditions. And because we take our job of providing local organic food to our neighbors and members seriously, we plan to implement new ways of providing vegetables to more CSA members in 2017.
Finally, we pledge to share our farm – and the chance to relax and enjoy the lovely fields, hills and dales, smell the newly turned soil and mowed grass, watch the bees, birds & butterflies, revel in the beauty of the flowers, grasses and trees, and taste a freshly picked tomato or snap pea. We invite you to slow down and be mindful of the miracle of our planet, the farm’s place on it and how wonderfully amazing nature is.
Practicing mindfulness – being aware of your thoughts, emotions, & experiences on a moment-to-moment basis – is something you can do anywhere, but we invite you to do so here, at Yellow Stonehouse Farm.