The Month of October (in brief) So Far

Well the leaves are final­ly turn­ing col­ors, even though the tem­per­a­ture is stay­ing warm. Mean­while, the gar­den con­tin­ues to pro­duce a impres­sive amount. Our toma­toes, sum­mer squash and cucum­bers may have long since been com­post­ed, but egg­plants and pep­pers are still going strong and we have more than enough beets, car­rots and turnips to go around. The last Carlisle Sum­mer Farmer’s Mar­ket is tomor­row, and Mom and I have been har­vest­ing all day.

Brus­sel sprouts, leeks, car­rots and beets

We also have tons of greens that are enjoy­ing to cool­er weath­er: let­tuce, pak choy, kale, swiss chard, cab­bage, col­lard greens, arugu­la, the list goes on. In order to extend our greens sea­son, we bought a Quick Hoop High Tun­nel Ben­derfrom John­ny’s Select­ed Seeds web­site and erect­ed a very rudi­men­ta­ry hoop house.

Dave bolt­ing two bent pipes together
The first hoop

Basi­cal­ly, the hoop house is just fence rails bent to the same curve and then bolt­ed togeth­er to form a half cir­cle. They are then insert­ed into short­er, wider sec­tions of pipe that are ham­mered into the ground. One last rail along the top of the hoops pro­vides stability.

Next week we are plan­ning on installing the plas­tic over the top, which will then be lashed to the frame with para­chute cord. With this added cov­er, we are hop­ing to keep grow­ing greens well into the winter.

All the win­ter squash has been har­vest­ed from the sec­ond field and put them into the green­house to dry and cure. Now that the sec­ond field has been com­plete­ly har­vest­ed, we’re get­ting ready to till it next week. We’re plan­ning on expand­ing it out towards the pig a bit to give our­selves a bit more room for next year.
We went up to the Com­mon Ground Fair  in Uni­ty, Maine a cou­ple weeks ago (a real­ly good time for any­one inter­est­ed in local food, rur­al liv­ing and/or home­steading). The fair, aside from hav­ing craft and food tents as far as the eye can see, also includes a lot of work­shops. We took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn a lit­tle bit more about sheep care and lamb­ing, and I bought a drop spin­dle so I could start prac­tic­ing spin­ning wool. It’s not easy.
Our five ewes are set­tling in nice­ly. In prepa­ra­tion for the ram that’s com­ing in the end of Novem­ber, we have plans to fence in the front pas­ture — and are in the midst of try­ing to find the cheap­est, eas­i­est and most effec­tive way to accom­plish this goal. We were cau­tioned not to try to keep a ram behind flim­sy, tem­po­rary elec­tric fence, and any­way we need to cre­ate a per­ma­nent pas­ture for our preg­nant ewes to live in all win­ter (since the portable elec­tric fence is also too flim­sy to stand up to snow).
The front pasture

Look for­ward to the thrilling con­clu­sion to this fenc­ing sto­ry in a cou­ple of weeks…

As well as an update on our pigs…
And my thoughts on how won­der­ful CSAs are…
All com­ing soon.
But until then…
Hap­py Fall!

A Sheep Story

When Dave and I got the mes­sage that a woman in Bed­ford was look­ing to sell five of her sheep my first thought was, absolute­ly not. After all, pru­dence tells me that we should grow slow­ly, and so do the major­i­ty of organ­ic farm­ing how-to books.

“But isn’t part of the fun get­ting in over our heads a lit­tle?” Dave asked.
True, there are organ­ic farm­ing how-to books that would agree. The Dirty Life,for exam­ple (a great read). Well, maybe, I thought. So we did some research, went and vis­it­ed them, spent hours writ­ing pro and con lists, and decid­ed that it was too late, we had already fall­en in love.
Can you blame us?
Lau­rel, the most friendly
Plus, we jus­ti­fied, lamb will make our meat CSA that much more desir­able next year (if you’re inter­est­ed, sub­scribe to our mail­ing list on the right). And I’m pret­ty excit­ed about their wool as well.
Luck­i­ly for us, sheep are pret­ty easy to take care of. They eat pri­mar­i­ly grass, are very hardy, and are extreme­ly sweet. We’re com­mit­ted to rais­ing them organ­i­cal­ly, with­out any vac­cines or antibi­otics, so that means that the only tricky part is we’re going to have to intense­ly rota­tion­al­ly graze them. That means they’ll have to be moved almost dai­ly (and def­i­nite­ly dai­ly next spring when we have lambs that are much more sus­cep­ti­ble to par­a­sites). Mov­ing them every­day means that they will more ful­ly graze the pas­ture. As one sheep own­er explained, “if you give them too much space to graze, they’ll eat all the cake and none of the veg­eta­bles”. It also means that they won’t be graz­ing over a build up of their own excre­ment, there­fore reduc­ing the chances of them get­ting par­a­sitic diseases.
Again, we turned to Wellscroft Fence Sys­tems in New Hamp­shire, and they hooked us up with some light­weight elec­tric sheep fenc­ing and a lot of great advice. For now, we’re graz­ing them on the back pas­ture, with plans to install some per­ma­nent fenc­ing and bring them up clos­er to the house this winter.
A Cheviot
Phlox (Rom­ney), on the left. Lau­rel (Rom­ney) in the fore­ground. Bon­nie, Blair and Brid­get (the three Cheviots) next to Phlox.
They love the move­able shel­ter Dave built them.
We pur­chas­es five ewes, two Rom­neys and three Cheviots. We’ll breed them this fall and hope­ful­ly they’ll all twin in the spring, pro­vid­ing us with lamb for mar­ket by Octo­ber. Both are con­sid­ered good breeds for meat and fleece. The Rom­neys are known as good sheep for begin­ners, very easy going, while the Cheviots are con­sid­ered a lit­tle more wild. Cheviots are said to have been roam­ing the hills between Scot­land and Eng­land as ear­ly as the 14th Cen­tu­ry (wikipedia) and are “not­ed for har­di­ness, longevi­ty, pro­duc­tive­ness, milk­ing, and moth­er­ing abil­i­ty and for their great activ­i­ty” (Amer­i­can Cheviot Sheep Soci­ety). Because they are “hill sheep” and were often left to their own devis­es, they are more skit­tish and wary of preda­tors than the more trust­ing Rom­neys. We fig­ured it would be worth­while to try out a cou­ple dif­fer­ent breeds.
So you can all look for­ward to more sheep sto­ries this winter.

After the Hurricane

Hur­ri­cane Irene did­n’t hit us too hard, but she still man­aged to do some damage.

The morn­ing after
Top­pled Corn — I just staked these up and they were good as new.
Toma­to Trellises
We woke up yes­ter­day morn­ing dread­ing the task of rebuild­ing our toma­to trel­lis­es (I think we’re going to go about sup­port­ing our toma­toes a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly next year, but that’s a top­ic for anoth­er blog post). I envi­sioned spend­ing the entire day cut­ting strings, dis­man­tling bro­ken pieces of wood and rip­ping out dead toma­to plants. How­ev­er, per­haps because our trel­lis­es are so delight­ful­ly wimpy, they all just fell over instead of break­ing, and so did the toma­to plants. All we had to do was stand them up and bang in met­al U‑posts to sup­port the uprights. We were also lucky enough to have TONS of help. My dad was there, my friend Gee­ta (who’s been help­ing us out a cou­ple days a week) showed up with her boyfriend, Sam, our oth­er ded­i­cat­ed vol­un­teer, Fan, also arrived to help, and my cousin Blake was in town. With so many hands, the toma­to trel­lis­es were raised in no time, and by 10 AM we were look­ing around for things to do!
Blake and Sam bang­ing in some U‑posts
An Old-Fash­ioned Trel­lis Raising
Wait­ing for U‑Posts (and eat­ing sun­gold tomatoes)


Chicken Processing Day Meets Hurricane Irene

The last two days have been pret­ty excit­ing. Yes­ter­day we processed our 75 meat chick­ens, which would have been a daunt­ing enough job with­out the threat of Irene bar­ing down on us.

Fri­day, Mom and I har­vest­ed as many toma­toes from the gar­den as we could in antic­i­pa­tion of the storm and sort­ed them out to store in the garage. We also rushed to stake down and secure the gar­den. Mean­while, Dave set up every­thing nec­es­sary for pro­cess­ing day. Our last pro­cess­ing day went pret­ty well (see here for details), but it took about 16 hours and there were clear­ly improve­ments to be made. Also, this time we were pro­cess­ing 75 birds instead of 36. We want­ed to make sure that we were com­plete­ly pre­pared for so many birds and so we made sure that every­thing was in order before we went to sleep Fri­day night. Very thank­ful­ly, our bravest friend Mar­ka Kiley came out of Boston to help us for the week­end. Sat­ur­day, we all woke up extra ear­ly and Dave and I went out in the dark to catch the chick­ens. We got off to a good start, start­ed the pro­cess­ing at about 6:30 AM and were done by 1 PM. Thanks to Marka’s help, as well as sev­er­al oth­ers, we were able to qual­i­ty con­trol and pack­age the birds as we went, so the sec­ond half of the day went quick­ly and we were com­plete­ly cleaned up by 5. Moth­er nature helped us clean by pro­vid­ing some drench­ing after­noon rains. It was a long day, but sat­is­fy­ing. Pro­cess­ing chick­ens is nev­er fun, but we did the best job we could. We made sure that the chick­ens went to their deaths with min­i­mum dis­com­fort and that their meat was treat­ed with the respect it deserves. All of Dav­e’s work plan­ning and prepar­ing real­ly paid off.

Mean­while, Dav­e’s mom Tam­my had four pots of our toma­toes bub­bling on the stove all day and into the night, work­ing hard to can, freeze and oth­er­wise pre­serve as much of our crop as pos­si­ble. Between her hard work, and my mom’s efforts to secure us some big restau­rant sales, it looks like none of our toma­toes are going to go to waste.

This morn­ing we got 4 inch­es of rain, but luck­i­ly, the hur­ri­cane was tamer than we had feared it would be and, oth­er than a few blown down toma­to trel­lis­es and (pos­si­bly) the loss of our corn crop, it looks like the gar­den is going to be okay. The chick­ens are safe­ly in the refrig­er­a­tor and freez­er (we did­n’t even lose pow­er!) and we can relax — and blog.

Our toma­to boun­ty and Mom’s new vespa
Sort­ing cher­ry tomatoes
Before (tune in tomor­row for After pics)
Art­sy Pic: to remem­ber them by in case they were all blown over
Kill Cones
Our bravest friend Marka
Lyn­da, anoth­er brave friend
Hur­ri­cane Irene

Hasso Explains Eco-ganic vs. Organic and More!

Has­so Ewing (lead grow­er at BBFg):

It is hard to believe it’s the mid­dle of August and this is the first time I have con­tributed to
this blog! The gar­den is at it peak, the pigs are joy­ful­ly chomp­ing on a new field of Sudan
grass, chick­ens are fat­ten­ing up, while oth­ers con­tin­ue to lay faith­ful­ly. The mid­dle of the
sum­mer, the point at which we are draw­ing the most from the earth by grow­ing plants
and animals.

This piece of land we have come to farm has been very pro­duc­tive. Partly
because it abuts a wet mead­ow and because it’s aspect is south­east. It hadn’t been
farmed for more than 20 years and even then it was like­ly just ani­mals, not vegetables.
It’s deep and organ­ic in nature, lots of decom­pos­ing plant mate­r­i­al, as opposed to
min­er­al (rocky or sandy) soils. It holds water like a sponge , con­se­quent­ly we haven’t
had to rely on irri­ga­tion, thus far.

Our prox­im­i­ty to the wet­land brings in insects, drag­on­flies and but­ter­flies. Our
toma­to trel­lis may not have been strong enough to han­dle the weight of the many large
fruits, but the trel­lis did sup­port the land­ing site for many fledg­ling barn swal­low clutches
out on their first flight. Blue­birds, too, used the wood­en posts to hunt for ear­ly spring

The elec­tric fence that sur­rounds both the veg­etable patch­es, the pigs and the meat
chick­ens pro­tects our charges from ani­mals that would also like a local source of fresh
organ­i­cal­ly grown food. Dave did his home­work on the best fence plan for our site. Our
fences aren’t high (2 ½’) but they were bait­ed with peanut but­ter. Appar­ent­ly, most
ani­mals like peanut but­ter and will go for the PB before they jump in for the ani­mals or
vege. But when they lick the PB on the foil, hang­ing over the elec­tric fence, they get a
shock­ing response! Hap­pens once, they don’t come near again and what’s more, they
tell their fam­i­ly and friends. So, we have been lucky, again… thus far.

We have exper­i­ment­ed with walk­way man­age­ment to lessen weed pres­sure and
increase soil fer­til­i­ty. Some rows are card­board from the bike shop (nice big pieces) with
old hay from Con­cord DWP projects on top. We plant­ed white clover in oth­ers and then
mowed when weeds were top­ping the clover. That gives clover the advan­tage and it
takes over. We brought in com­post for seed­ing and trans­plant­i­ng in the rows from a local
farm and amend­ments (rock dust, myc­or­rhizal organ­isms and sea­weed mix­es) from
away. We decid­ed to use some plas­tic as mulch in the rows, as much as I hat­ed to. The
area clos­est to the wet­land would have been weed hell if it were not for black plastic
mulch. That’s under the toma­toes, egg­plants, pep­pers and squash. They love the extra
heat and mois­ture reten­tion plas­tic offers. We also use row cov­er, which is spun plastic.
That pro­tects our plants from pests with­out using pesticides.

We are grow­ing our plants and ani­mals organ­i­cal­ly and, if we choose, could get
organ­ic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pret­ty quick­ly, I imag­ine. Gen­er­al­ly, you have to tran­si­tion over a
peri­od of 3 years to organ­ic because the land has to be cleansed. But since this land
hasn’t been farmed for so long we could prove it’s clean enough.

Organ­ic, nat­ur­al, and eco-gan­ic would describe our farm. Organ­ic, because we
don’t use any chem­i­cal­ly (man-made) fer­til­iz­ers, her­bi­cides or pes­ti­cides and we follow
nation­al organ­ic stan­dards, but are not ‘cer­ti­fied organic’.

There is ‘cer­ti­fied nat­ur­al’ being used now in the US. It has been around for a
while in oth­er coun­tries but now some Amer­i­can farm­ers are using nat­ur­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in
response to organ­ic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Organ­ic cer­ti­fi­ca­tion poli­cies are very dif­fi­cult for the

small farm to adhere to. They are lengthy, expen­sive and the record keeping
require­ments are over the top. Nat­ur­al cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has a $75 annu­al fee, has far less
unnec­es­sary report­ing and uses peer review to over­see stan­dards. This review process
is a nice aspect because it is bring­ing local farm­ers together.

Then there is eco-gan­ic. Eco-gan­ic is defined by Potomac Veg­etable Farm as a
process by which a farm main­tains rich organ­ic soils, full of ben­e­fi­cial microbes, to
pro­vide the crops with suf­fi­cient nutri­ents and a healthy envi­ron­ment. The farm can’t use
any syn­thet­ic fer­til­iz­ers or pes­ti­cides, they rotate crops, grow many dif­fer­ent kinds of
crops, and use time­ly and appro­pri­ate prac­tices to try to min­i­mize insect and disease
dam­age. The idea is to man­age the soil and cul­ti­vate the crops in ways that will allow
the land to con­tin­ue to be pro­duc­tive now and into the future. I actu­al­ly like this label the
best. It’s about the mind blow­ing inter­ac­tion of so many parts (soils, insects and animals,
water, sun) com­ing togeth­er and under­tak­ing a amaz­ing cycle of growth, death,
decom­po­si­tion and regrowth and, we as par­tic­i­pants, help per­pet­u­ate that cycle into the

All three of us (Gal­lagher, Dave and myself) have been com­mit­ted to maintaining
the health­i­est envi­ron­ment for our prod­ucts, whether they be plant or ani­mal. We want to
eat respon­si­bly grown food, food that is high in nutri­ents and free of damaging
chem­i­cals. Black Brook Farm Grow­ers may not have the organ­ic stamp of approval from
big busi­ness, but we are bring­ing to mar­ket prod­ucts that are as good or bet­ter for our
cus­tomers than what they buy from most oth­er cur­rent­ly avail­able food sources.

Now, in the full bel­ly of August, we change much of our focus from plant­i­ng to
har­vest­ing and stor­ing. Growth has peaked and days short­en. We will har­vest the food
from our plants and ani­mals and return to the earth that which we don’t use., help­ing to
replen­ish what we have taken.

And, if time allows (I am on vaca­tion today), I will write again about our adventure
into farm­ing on a small scale bio­di­verse farm in New England

The Second Field and Natural Roots Farm

The sec­ond field is look­ing GREAT! If you look close­ly you can see the pole beans climb­ing right up the corn stalks, and the squash is doing a great job of keep­ing weeds down. We’ve done very lit­tle to this field since plant­i­ng it, the idea was to keep it low main­te­nance so we could focus on our more finicky veg­eta­bles in the first field, and I’m hap­py to say so far it looks like the plan is working. 

Beans crawl­ing up corn stalks
Sun­flow­ers in the foreground
Win­ter squash keep­ing down the weeds. We plant­ed pump­kins, del­i­ca­ta squash, acorn squash and but­ter­nut squash.
We went to the NOFA (North­east­ern Organ­ic Farm­ing Asso­ci­a­tion) Con­fer­ence last week­end at UMass Amherst. It was real­ly fun and inspir­ing. I went to some work­shops on grow­ing mush­rooms and farm finan­cial man­age­ment (thrilling), Dave learned about ani­mal pow­ered log­ging and forestry and build­ing root cel­lars and we all got to vis­it a cou­ple of larg­er organ­ic farms.
Our favorite was Nat­ur­al Roots Farm in Con­way, MA. They are total­ly horse-pow­ered, which is great for envi­ron­men­tal (grass as fuel) and aes­thet­ic rea­sons (no trac­tor smells and sounds). We were also impressed by their inten­sive weed con­trol pro­gram. It was by far the most weed-free farm we’ve seen so far.
Look how clean!

Cooking at the Farmer’s Market

Here are some pics of us at the Carlisle Farmer’s Mar­ket a cou­ple weeks ago that my sis­ter Kate took of us. Gal­lagher cooked up break­fast bur­ri­tos to order on a Cole­man stove with kale, squash, egg, cheese, and sal­sa. They were a hit!

…oh yeah, and we had some veg­gies too.

Cooking Kale and Swiss Chard

I’ve been get­ting a lot of ques­tions late­ly on how to cook kale and swiss chard. I’m just going to give a few quick sug­ges­tions for some super sim­ple ways to cook these veg­eta­bles. These tips can also be used for any kind of leafy sautéing green, such as spinach or beet greens.

To prep kale or swiss chard for cook­ing, first you want to remove the tough stems (this isn’t nec­es­sary for small­er, ten­der­er leafy greens such as spinach, or baby beet greens). Fold the leaf in half so that the rib is exposed and then cut it away with your knife or gen­tly rip the leaves off the stem and rib. The stems are also deli­cious (par­tic­u­lar­ly swiss chard and beet green stems) but I rec­om­mend that you chop them up sep­a­rate­ly into small pieces and steam or sauté them for a lit­tle while before adding the leaves. After the steam is removed, then chop the leaves into bite sized strips.

Win­ter­bor Kale (curly leaf, tougher)
Red Russ­ian Kale (flat leaf, more tender)

The eas­i­est way to pre­pare kale is either by sautéing or steam­ing it. There are many dif­fer­ent types of kale, rang­ing from very ten­der White and Red Russ­ian Kale (my favorite type of kale and the kind we have been grow­ing and sell­ing all sum­mer) to the tougher Win­ter­bor Kale (which we’ll have this Fall). With ten­der vari­eties a short sauté or steam will prob­a­bly be suf­fi­cient to cook it through, but with tougher vari­eties you may want to sauté it for a lit­tle while to incor­po­rate some fla­vors and then add some water and cov­er to steam until ten­der enough to eat.

Easy Sautéing Recipe for Kale

olive oil
salt and pepper
red pep­per flakes*
lemon juice*


1. Wash kale well and prep for cook­ing by remov­ing stems
2. Chop the leaves up
3. In a large pan sauté minced gar­lic with a Tbsp of olive oil until gar­lic is wilt­ed (add some chopped up stems and/or onions if desired)
4. Add kale leaves and sea­son with salt and pep­per (Also good: crushed red pep­per flakes and/or cumin)
5. Cook, stir­ring, until leaves are wilt­ed and ten­der enough to eat
6. If cook­ing a tougher, curly leafed kale, add a lit­tle bit of liq­uid (water, vine­gar and wine to name a few) and cov­er to steam until ten­der enough to eat.
7. Sea­son to taste (maybe add a lit­tle squeeze of lemon juice) and enjoy!

Oth­er Sim­ple Kale and Swiss Chard Recipes:
Baked Kale Chips
Sautéed Swiss Chard with Parme­san cheese
Swiss Chard with Gar­ban­zo Beans and Tomatoes

Kale and swiss chard are two of my favorite veg­eta­bles, they are deli­cious, nutri­tious and easy to cook.

If you have any tips or favorite kale recipes please share them in the com­ment section.

First CSA Pick-Up and Some Summertime Thoughts

It’s August! 

These last cou­ple of weeks have been so fun! Watch­ing the plants we’ve been labor­ing over since ear­ly Spring final­ly begin to ripen into beau­ti­ful red toma­toes, yel­low pep­pers and pur­ple egg­plants, or curl up into lit­tle cab­bage heads, or length­en into zuc­chi­nis, has been incred­i­bly satisfying. 

Our first CSA pick-up is tomor­row. Yes­ter­day we cleaned up our work area to cre­ate a nice space for our mem­bers to come get their shares and today we will begin to col­lect veg­eta­bles. And we have much to offer!
The farm share this week will have:

      Mixed let­tuce greens
      Egg­plant (large share only)
      Red and White Russ­ian Kale
      Cher­ry tomatoes
      Baby sum­mer squash
      Fresh basil
      Super red cabbage

Inside a sun­burst pat­ty pan squash plant
Sun­gold cher­ry tomatoes 
Our basil patch

With August has also arrived a host of new con­sid­er­a­tions and prob­lems to solve. These last cou­ple of weeks I have start­ed seed­ing the fall crops: stor­age cab­bages, hearty win­ter­bor kale, onions, lots of beets, asian greens and let­tuces. Despite our irri­ga­tion sys­tem, we were hav­ing a hard time get­ting enough water on our seeds in the field, so I seed­ed a lot of our new crops in flats. Soon we’ll have a bunch of trans­plant­i­ng to do. 

Our let­tuces have been bolt­ing quick­ly in the heat, and some of the heads have become so bit­ter I’ve had a hard time even get­ting the chick­ens to eat them! It’s mad­den­ing to see crops get wast­ed in the field due to poor plan­ning and tim­ing. Next year, I have vowed to been more dili­gent about plant­i­ng suc­ces­sion crops con­sis­tent­ly, and in small­er batch­es. I’m pret­ty sure a lot of my Feb­ru­ary and March 2012 will be spent design­ing spreadsheets. 

Our per­son­al lists of equip­ment we want for next sea­son grow steadi­ly longer, and a seed­er is def­i­nite­ly at the top of mine. There’s a lot to be said for doing things by hand, expe­ri­ences like kneel­ing among the beds plac­ing beet seeds one by one in rows has forced me to real­ly under­stand and appre­ci­ate every part of the grow­ing process. I can, for exam­ple, imme­di­ate­ly iden­ti­fy a beet seed vs a kale seed vs a let­tuce seed (frus­trat­ing­ly tiny!). At the same time, if small scale organ­ic gar­den­ers had any time to write songs, I’m pret­ty sure most of them would be odes to well designed tools. 

We also are think­ing about con­struct­ing a hoop house this fall, to help us extend our sea­son and give us more space to start seedlings. This deci­sion in turn begets new deci­sions: How should we build it? Where should we build it? How big should it be? Where to get the mon­ey? We’ve been con­sid­er­ing dif­fer­ent grant and fund-rais­ing options but each comes with it’s own set of prob­lems (and paperwork). 

Our egg pro­duc­tion has slow­ly been dwin­dling, as many of our lay­er hens grow too old to pro­duce con­sis­tent­ly. Tomor­row morn­ing we are plan­ning on culling our flock, aka killing the hens that are no longer pro­duc­ing enough to jus­ti­fy feed­ing them. Instead, they will feed us now (every­thing feeds some­thing around here). As our old flock decreas­es, how­ev­er, our thoughts turn to next year. Lay­ing hens can take between 4 to 6 months to start pro­duc­ing eggs, and we want to make sure that we have lots of eggs for the begin­ning of next sea­son in order to sup­ply the increas­ing demand. We need to fig­ure out how many we should get, and where we are going to raise them and keep them over the win­ter. The hoop house would also be a good place to keep chick­ens after it gets to cold out­side to house them in tractors. 

So as our hands do Sum­mer’s work, thin­ning, seed­ing, weed­ing and har­vest­ing, our minds are two or three or five months in the future, build­ing hoop hous­es and design­ing suc­ces­sion plant­i­ng spreadsheets.

Pop­ping a warm just-picked sun­gold cher­ry toma­to into my mouth, how­ev­er, there’s no deny­ing it’s def­i­nite­ly August. And we’re doing our best to enjoy every minute of it.

Black Brook Farm Grow­ers lunch