Author: Brian and Nissa

2014 Season

shetlandram

This season is off to another late start.  Old Man Winter didn’t want to let us go this year.  But we’re off and running with a wonderful selection of crops on our roster – all gorgeous heirloom varieties to delight you palate and nourish your body.

Vegetable shares are closed for 2014.  If you want to be put on the waiting list for 2015, please be in touch.  Your deposit will be due in November.

chickensharead

Meat shares, including pastured chicken and beef shares, are available now.  If there is enough interest in pork shares, we will open those up again, too.

Pick up for shareholders will remain on Saturdays from 10-12, farmstand sales from 12-2 PM.  We plan to be at the City Hall farmer’s market in conjunction with the Out to Lunch Concert series.  Market is Thursday from 11am – 2 pm.

We have made significant progress in clearing abandoned nursery stock.  The cluster birches that suffered so  heavily our first winter had been cut down and had largely rotted away.  The remaining spruces and a handful of ornamental cherry were pulled with a root rake and all of the debris burned in situ, leaving all of the soil in place.  That field is now being planted with vegetable and grain crops for this year.  Those foods will go first to our shareholders and then to our market and farmstand customers.

pinkcherry

 

pinkcherry2

Now that the hundreds of remaining ornamental cherries have finished blooming, we will begin cutting those down, stripping the trunks and allowing them to season for use as turning material for woodworkers.  The tops and roots will be burned, and the soil left in place.  This will open up a large space to be used for further crops and grazing space.   Nissa got some beautiful photographs of the cherries in bloom, which are available as art prints, along with some other images from the farm (including that handsome ram up there at the top).

Bees are due in from our breeder this month.  Six new colonies of pure Russian bees will make their home here on the farm in Tanzania top-bar hives.  We’re looking forward to plenty of beeswax for our chandlery in our future – and some lovely raw honey for ourselves, our shareholders, and our customers.  But we’ve got to be patient… It takes a season or two to get there.

REMINDERS:  Please call if you are interested in visiting us on a different day than Saturday.  We are CLOSED on Sundays for the Lord’s Day.  We don’t answer phones or emails.

Life is Sweet! PREORDER your Maple and Birch Syrups

firstsnow2

Who loves real syrup?

Sugaring season is coming up in just a few weeks and we have an opportunity to purchase a small used sugaring equipment outfit not far from the farm. We need to raise the funds right away to go and pick it up. We will reserve you a gallon of finished maple syrup or three pints of birch syrup in the spring for $50. We need to pre-sell 60 gallons of maple or 180 pints of birch by the end of this week. We can do that right? Tell all your friends and dear families – we can ship anywhere.

Circumstances necessitate our transition to full-time farming right away. The company Brian contracts for is drawing down and preparing to move out of state. One full sugaring season replaces a significant portion of Brian’s current income.

UPDATE – New Goal::  

Last weekend (Feb. 8th), we drove out to pick up our new-to-us sugaring equipment!  We have decided to leave our pre-orders open until we start sugaring in March in order to raise enough to get our dairy equipped and licensed.  With the pre-sale of 60 more units, we can get our dairy equipped with milking machine, bulk storage tank, 3 bay sink, and some more goats.  And all of that will mean that we can get licensed as a dairy in Massachusetts.  The dairy would have the potential of replacing 60-70% of Brian’s former income during the milking season.

Thanks to everyone who has already pre-ordered syrup, to everyone who has shared this link, and to everyone who has prayed for our success.  You are amazing and we are so grateful.

If you want to see the sugaring process, please join our mailing list and watch for the start of the sugaring season.

Thanks everyone and God bless!

PREORDER your birch syrup here.

PREORDER your maple syrup here.

Investing in CSA

Rosehips in the Snow

Is Our CSA Right for Your Family?

You want wholesome, old-fashioned foods including heirloom varieties and heritage breeds, raised without chemicals, the way nature intended; and you want to ensure that these things are available for generations to come.  You value farming families and believe that they should be fairly compensated for providing truly nourishing foods while faithfully stewarding the land. You want to be part of a community of people who uphold these values.

 

 

Join our CSA

Download, print and return our Terms and Application today

 

THIS WEEK: 

We are busily preparing our barn for new arrivals and finalizing our crop calendar, preparing seed orders, reserving bees and livestock, and trying out our new-to-us video camera.

Two of the most frequently asked questions about CSA are, “What do I get in my share?” and “How do you price your shares?”You are investing in a farm and a family, investing in your own health.  In a very special way, you become part of the farm community, made up of our family and other shareholders.  We thought it would be helpful to give you some examples of how the funds are spent.Honeybees: $235/hive (bees only) from a Russian breeder in New York.  This is almost twice what other bees will cost, but the Russians are gentler, more prolific, and tolerate our climate better.  That means less stress on the beekeeper (us), and more beautiful raw honey.Laying Hens: $3500/100 Australian Black Orpington pullets (with transport).  We buy started pullets so that we can offer eggs earlier in the season, and so that we can reduce brooding losses (and a lot of work).  We bought a different type of bird last year and they were a total failure.  They arrived multilated (debeaked) so that they couldn’t forage properly.  They only laid for about 2-3 weeks, and then only about 20% of them laid at all.

Seeds: $5000 Since we purchase organic heirloom seed, and since quantities are often limited, the prices are a fair bit higher than those you can buy at a local garden center.  We have some pretty neat varieties on offer, and will begin to implement some companion planting this year as well.

Heritage livestock such as Pigs, Goats, Sheep and Geese cost, on average, 2-3 times what no-name/”production” breeds cost.

This is just a small sampling.  None of these expenses take into account the infrastructure, equipment, supplies, and services we need.  And it doesn’t include our labour, which will occupy our family full-time, year-round.

Our 2014 Shares are as follows:

Vegetable – whole and half

Meat – Pork and Beef, half and whole. Chicken and Goose, whole

Egg – Chicken – 1 doz/wk.

 

Whole farm shares are also still available, used as farm credit on anything available at the farm when you come. If you have a whole farm share with credit remaining, you can, if you wish, transfer that share to one of the above for 2014.
Just give us a call or drop an email to let us know.

 

 

We have posted our TERMS and APPLICATION.  Please read everything carefully.  Both the Terms and the Application need to be signed and returned with payment – either by postal mail or right to the farm.  If we aren’t at the farm when you arrive to drop your paperwork, there is a locked black mailbox that you can safely drop your envelope in.

2014 Shares Available NOW

The View from the Farmhouse After a Snowfall
The View from the Farmhouse After a Snowfall

 

Is Our CSA Right for Your Family?

Our friends at High Mowing expressed CSA best:

“In a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), customers invest in their farmer before the crop has even been planted. This investment expresses support for the farmer’s endeavor and provides income at a time when costs are high and sales are low.”

Our 2014 Shares are as follows:

Vegetable – whole and half

Meat – Pork and Beef, half and whole. Chicken and Goose, whole

Egg – Chicken – 1 doz/wk.

Whole farm shares are also still available, used as farm credit on anything available at the farm when you come. If you have a whole farm share with credit remaining, you can, if you wish, transfer that share to one of the above for 2014. Just give us a call or drop an email to let us know.

We have posted our TERMS and APPLICATION.  Please read everything carefully.  Both the Terms and the Application need to be signed and returned with payment – either by postal mail or right to the farm.  If we aren’t at the farm when you arrive to drop your paperwork, there is a locked black mailbox that you can safely drop your envelope in.

Classes and workshops are being planned for all ages in crafting, cooking, farming and more.  We will have meetings for homeschoolers, and various seminars on family centered living.

We have a new mailing address and phone number:  

 

Renaissance Farms

PO Box 651

S. Barre, MA 01074

978.355.3540  

 Please subscribe to our newsletter for updates delivered right to your email inbox.

 

Late Harvest

This season has been brutal.  We got a late start with the weather and had to replant several crops because they were alternately swamped and killed off in the heat.  The strange weather caused an early molt for our chickens who stopped producing for 2 weeks. We only managed one cut of hay, which we hope will last through winter for our goats and sheep.

We have beautiful yellow crookneck squash, picklers and ‘curly cukes’, peppers, Japanese eggplant, corn and tomatoes.  There are fresh eggs and Hereford pork (chops, roasts, and ribs) all available this week.  The long pie pumpkins are looking great, but we are watching our other pumpkin crops closely to see how they will tolerate the powdery mildew from the super-wet season.

We picked 1.5 bushels of apples last Sunday.

We are anticipating having some grass-fed beef from the Red Devons that graze here in the next couple of weeks, and are making plans to process the chickens before winter.

Organic and natural groceries and staples will be available in the next 2-3 weeks.  Products include: grains and beans, supplemental produce, meats, health and beauty items, supplements and more.

Our new farm kitchen is nearly finished!  When it is then we will be offering our own sourdough breads and pastries.

 

2013 Farm Shares – Something for Everyone

Some shares are very limited, and some items are too limited for farm shares, but you can purchase them separately on the farm when they are available.  These items include lamb, mutton, chevon (goat meat), chicken, turkey, and goose, as well as maple and birch syrups.  Wool from our sheep is also extremely limited, so check when you come in next spring after shearing.

All shares are available to purchase here. 

Shares are payable upon order, deadline to reserve for all shares {except hops} is 1 April 2013.  Veggie shares may be paid in installments – 25% upon signup, 25% by 1 April, the remainder by 1 June.  Please contact us to arrange installments.

Hops Share – $200

5lb of dried whole cone hops for home-brewing, culinary, or herbal preparations.  Cascade, Centennial, and Willamette.  Hops can be hard to come by reliably.  Guarantee your supply for the coming year. Holistically grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.  Harvested late summer, shipping anywhere in the US included.  RESERVE BY JANUARY 15!

Honey Share – $45

5 lb raw honey.  Harvested mid-to-late summer for pick-up.

Egg Share – $100

1 dozen eggs each week from pastured chickens.  Pick up approximately late April to October.

Pig Share – $900 and $500

Whole or half share. 100# or 50# of heritage pork, dressed.  Includes roasts, chops, ham, and bacon. Fat back, lard, trotters, rinds available separately, please ask!  Pigs are processed in the fall for pick-up in October/November

Seasonal Vegetable Share – $1600

Approximately 400 lb. of open pollinated and heirloom vegetables.  We have carefully selected beautiful varieties of popular types of vegetables.  Sure to please both eye and palate, including two that are listed on Ark of Taste. Free choice from what we have available each week.  Pick up approximately May to October. *Join our mailing list for details on some of our wonderful varieties.

Whole Farm Share – $500 or $1000

It works like a pre-paid account and you can use it on anything we produce or sell, all year round, including meats, vegetables, soaps and candles, organic dry goods, cloth diapering and craft supplies, Christmas trees and greenery, and more.   You can even use your credit toward classes and workshops in cooking, crafting, and farming!  Top up anytime.  This is a great option for folks who can’t come to the farm weekly.  Choose from what we have available when you visit.  Your purchase of credit ensures that we plan to grow and raise enough to supply everyone interested.

Please join our mailing list by clicking this link for farm news and for details on what we have to offer.