Maysie's FarmMaysie's Farm Newsletter: Fresh from the Fields
October 2006

October 29, 2006
Greetings!

Pasture's Pride Natural Meats, who in the past has been our cooperative marketing partner for beef and pork, will be delivering frozen turkeys to Maysie's Farm for interested CSA members. They will arrive frozen on Saturday, November 18 for you to pick up in the barn. They average between 15-20 pounds (most are in the 16-17 lb. range) and the cost is $3.00/pound. The turkeys are not organic, but have been pasture-raised, with no antibiotics or hormones.

There are only a limited number of turkeys available, so if you're interested, please reply to this email or call Sam at 610-458-8129.

See you at the farm!

~Colleen

 
October 26, 2006
Greetings!

REMINDER: the last FRIDAY pickup is this Friday, October 27, and the last Monday pickup is Monday, October 30. Ben Stoltzfus will continue to deliver his meat and raw milk products to the farm every Friday throughout the winter. Call him at (717)768-3437 to place an order by Wednesday of any week for pickup at the farm Friday after noon.

As much as I enjoy the crisp weather and fall colors, this time of year is always a little sad for me as the CSA season comes to an end (and it's back to the grocery store produce section...ho-hum!). I hope you've enjoyed your share of Maysie's Farm this season. Hopefully you've tried some new things and discovered new favorites. Maybe you're eating a little healthier. You have certainly helped to support a local, sustainable food system, and for this we are most grateful for your support.

We're not doing a formal CSA Survey this year, but as always we welcome your feedback. Please feel free to reply to this email, or contact us at any time. We are interested in your overall impressions of Maysie's Farm, including comments on the quality, quantity and variety of food, our cooperative partners, social and educational programs, etc. We appreciate any help you can give us so that we can continue to improve.

I'll leave you with one last recipe for greens, because, as you know, you can never have too many recipes for greens!! This is actually adapted from a recipe that appeared in a Wegman's sales circular!

Greens with Toasted Pecans - serves 8

4 bunches collard greens and kale (or any other greens), stems
discarded, leaves roughly chopped
4.5 oz. chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic (or more!), peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Bring large pot of salted water to boil on high, add greens, blanch 1- 2 minutes. Drain. Stop cooking process by transferring to a bowl of ice water. Drain well and set aside. Toast pecans in large skillet on medium heat, stirring constantly and watching carefully to prevent burning, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan, set aside. Add oil to hot pan, add onions and garlic. Cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add greens and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar and add pecans and cook for 2 more minutes.

You'll hear from me again when it's time to start thinking about the 2007 season (I'm already thinking about the 2007 season...!)

See you at the farm!

~Colleen

 
October 16, 2006
Greetings!

It is with great sadness to tell you that Maysie Henrotin, Sam's mother (for whom he named the Conservation Center and CSA), passed away on Friday, October 13, after a long illness. For over 50 years she lived on the farm on St. Andrew's Lane, and for the past 10 years she has generously shared the farm with CSA members. Although she was too ill this season to help out in the garden, members from previous years are sure to remember her weeding, raking and mowing. We will miss her spirited opinions and her example of the value of hard work.

I got to know Maysie a few years ago when I interviewed her for an article in the Maysie's Farm newsletter. She led a full and interesting life, and had some great stories to tell. Because many of you have joined the CSA since the article ran in 2001, I thought I would copy it in this email.

There will be a memorial service for Maysie on Thursday, October 26 at 1:30 at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church followed by a memorial gathering at the farm. Our thoughts are with Sam and his family during this difficult time.

Here is the article:

A Few Moments with Maysie
by Colleen Cranney

Considering all the cars that pass through the intersection of Routes 100 and 401, few people realize that situated in the small valley just beyond that intersection is a picturesque and historic farm — Maysie's Farm. The past few years have brought more people to the farm because of the CSA and Conservation Center started by Sam. And most shareholders are aware that the farm's namesake, Maysie Henrotin, is Sam's mother. Many of us have seen Maysie on our pickup days; often she's weeding or raking. But recently I spent a few hours talking to Maysie and learned some details about her fascinating life.

Maysie grew up in Daylesford, PA, the second of five girls in the Morris family. One of her most exciting memories from her youth was a 1940 trip she took with her mother, sister and cousin to Wyoming. They drove out there (an adventure in itself!) and stayed on a large ranch that belonged to a friend of her mother's. Maysie learned to ride horseback, played polo, and helped on the ranch by herding horses, branding calves, and bringing in hay. Maysie thoroughly enjoyed this stint as a cowgirl! She graduated from Agnes Irwin School at the onset of World War II, and became the first local debutante to do war work, making aviation parts in North Philadelphia. Maysie married Pete Cantrell at age 20 and worked briefly as a telephone operator for the Red Cross in New Brunswick, NJ. Then she and Pete came back to Pennsylvania where they both worked different shifts at another aviation plant in Philadelphia. A generation before it was common, Pete and Maysie decided to "get back to the land," and spent the next few years at Kimberton Farms. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Myrin in what is now Camphill Kimberton Hills and the Kimberton Waldorf School, this farm was organic at a time when the trend was toward increased chemical use. Maysie cooked, cleaned, and was in charge of 200 chickens, and to this day has little love for those animals!

Soon the children came: Bark, Sue, Sam, and Charlie were born in a span of seven years. Maysie and Pete bought the farm on St. Andrew's Lane in 1951. It took them a few years to fix up the house before they could live in it; they moved in on Charlie's first birthday. Forty acres of crop fields were leased to tenant farmers. The young family did try homestead farming - they had a cow for milk, a steer for beef, a sow, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, geese and a pony. And always Maysie had vegetable and flower gardens.

Maysie and Pete's marriage ended in the late 1950s, and Maysie began her ten-year career as a bookkeeper at Pepperidge Farm. In 1961, she married Blair Henrotin, an engineer who eventually opened a machine shop in Spring City. Although Blair didn't farm, he made extensive improvements and much-needed repairs around the farm. He also had the swimming pool built, and specified that it be a foot deeper than usual as Maysie was an accomplished diver. (A natural athlete, she was at one time on a national women's lacrosse team, she enjoyed figure skating, and played tennis regularly up until only a few years ago.) Blair and Maysie enjoyed sailing, and it was Blair who encouraged Maysie to pursue her lifelong dream of flying. Maysie got her pilot's license in the early '70s and began working the desk at Chester County Airport. She is a past president of the Chester County Aero Club and is still a member of the Ninety-Nines, an international association of women pilots. In 1974 she bought a Cessna 150 two- seater. In this plane she was able to visit her far-flung children — Sam in California, Charlie in Montana, and Sue in Michigan. Maysie's flight log from her 1978 trip captures her spirit for adventure. This journey included thrilling mountain passes, landings at lonely airstrips, and intermittent radio contact!

Besides piloting herself around America, Maysie has also experienced some world travel. She has been to Belgium, Denmark, Scotland and England, including a trans-Atlantic trip aboard a luxury ocean liner. And in 1980 she went to Africa to visit Sam, who was carrying out research in Kenya. She enjoyed seeing the wild animals on safari and, with Sam as a guide, was also able to tour some of the sights that were off the beaten track.

For almost 50 years Maysie has lived in the farmhouse on St. Andrew's Lane. The house is filled with artifacts and mementos of her family's past as well as Blair's. The Morris family traces its Philadelphia roots back to the 1600s, and Blair's family was prominent in American history in the 19th century. The house comes alive with history and memories as Maysie goes through photos, documents, furniture and knick-knacks, all of which hold special stories that illustrate a rich past.

Blair died in 1976, and for most of the following 20 years Maysie lived by herself. It is a mark of her generous spirit that she strongly supports the CSA and Conservation Center with their corresponding influx of people. Although she guards her privacy, Maysie admits she likes having people around the farm. I speak for all the members when I say we're very grateful to Maysie Henrotin for sharing her farm with us.

See you at the farm!

~Colleen

 
October 11, 2006
Greetings, CSA Members,

I have some good news for you and, sure enough, some bad news.

First, the good news, which is only good news for us — it's certainly not good news for Covered Bridge Produce, the Oley Valley CSA that Colleen mentioned in an earlier CSA Update. Covered Bridge Produce is very similar to Maysie's Farm Conservation Center both in its efforts to advocate for local, organic agriculture and in the obstacles it has faced in producing food. This year Joseph Griffin had such difficulty procuring staff for his farming operation that he was not able to grow enough food for the 422 shares he had sold and he found himself forced to cease operations of his CSA less than half way through its 23 week season. Although he does not have enough food for his large CSA commitment, and now has no staff or marketing structure in place, he does have some food in the ground, and he has very generously offered to make some of that food available to Maysie's Farm in exchange for a small amount of work from our farm staff. So Trey, our Farm Manager, who worked at Covered Bridge Produce the last two years and knows the operation well, and Amanda, our new and one and only full time Intern, drive up to Oley, put in some time in Joseph's fields and come home with bounteous quantities of high quality, certified organic produce. It's an absolute bargain for us! We should all be extremely grateful to Joseph for his generosity and to Trey for his ability to create such a positive outcome from such an adverse situation.

The bad news, however, is that Joseph's produce will not last until Thanksgiving, the scheduled end of our season. Nor will ours, at least not in reasonable quantities. So rather than having you folks drive out here for the next six weeks for very meager amounts of food, we will offer our produce, as well as whatever we can glean from Covered Bridge, as more bounteous distributions over the next three weeks. For the first time ever, we are ending our season early, cutting back from a 26 week season to a 23 week season (which actually makes our season comparable to most of the other CSAs in the area.) Thus the last Friday pick-up will be October 27th and the last Monday pick-up will be October 30th.

The essence of Community Supported Agriculture is that the community supports the farm by sharing the risks that are inherent in agriculture, by accepting that there are "forces beyond the Farmer's control that may adversely affect the harvest" (from our membership form). The weather is an obvious force beyond the farmer's control, but the labor pool is an even greater factor in the success of the harvest, and, in our situation, it is definitely beyond the farmer's control. We depend on Interns for our labor force and that is the primary cause of the farm's poor productivity this year. Interns either fall from the sky or they don't, and in recent years, it's more often the latter, especially in mid season, when we're looking to replace those who have departed.

We are considering different scenarios for the future that will reduce our dependence on hard-to- find, hard-to-keep Interns, but we have no plans of eliminating our Internship Program altogether. Maysie's Farm Conservation Center is committed to trying to alleviate the shortage of new farmers that I see as the biggest obstacle to re-establishing a local, sustainable food system here in Chester County where we still have little bits of open space, a good climate, great soil and plenty of consumers. We greatly appreciate your support of our farm and its less than totally reliable labor situation.

Although we will be closing our CSA season early, the Eagleview Farmers' Market will not be shortening its season and will remain open up to the day before Thanksgiving. We expect to participate and hope to have some late maturing food to sell there, just as Joseph Griffin did not have enough food for his CSA, but did have some food to trade to us. A dozen heads of broccoli may be of no use to a CSA of 165 shares, but they have value at the Farmers' Market. So stop in at the market, Wednesdays, 2:00 to 6:00, in the Eagleview Town Center (or call me) if you'd like to discuss this situation further. I'd be happy to send you home with a little "free" food as a token of our appreciation of your understanding.

Thanks,

Sam

 
October 4, 2006
Greetings!

First of all — a few corrections to last week's recipe. You may have figured this out on your own, but in the Caponata recipe, please saute the eggplant for 10 minutes (not 110!!). And it's a SMALL can of tomato paste. I promise to proofread my recipes better! You'll find another great recipe courtesy of Annmarie Butera at the end of this update.

You may have noticed some new (and much needed!) faces at the farm: we welcome full-time intern Amanda Conklin and part-time intern Chris Erikson. We are saying good-bye to Michael McShane and Deirdre Bowers, who are moving on to other ventures. Michael has been with us for over a year, and Deirdre filled in a big void this summer, so we thank them for all their hard work.

Speaking of Michael, his band, Cowmuddy, is being featured at a Buy Fresh, Buy Local festival in West Chester this weekend. Here are the details:

Down To Earth-A Celebration of Food, Farming and Art
A benefit for the Chester County Buy Fresh Buy Local Campaign
Featuring local food, film, music and functional art
October 6, 7, and 8th, 2006
The Arts Scene-West Chester, PA (www.theartsscene.org)

Schedule of Events:
Friday, October 6th 6PM-10PM
Opening Reception, featuring local wine, beer and cheese

Saturday, October 7th 10AM-Midnight
12PM screening of Fridays at the Farm, immediately followed by a discussion with its creator, filmmaker Richard Hoffmann

5PM screening of Kamataki, the award winning French film featuring Japanese pottery

9PM concert with Cowmuddy and special guest Birdie Busch, BYOB

Sunday, October 8th 10AM-5PM
1-4PM - 'Farming Film Fest' movies, discussions, information and more

Music and Movies
Fridays at the Farm - Feeling disconnected from their food, local filmmaker Richard Hoffmann and his family decide to join a community supported organic farm. As he photographs the growing process, the filmmaker moves from passive observer to active participant in the planting and harvesting of vegetables. Featuring lush time-lapse and macro photography sequences, this personal essay is a filmmaker's meditation on his blossoming family and community.

Local Lyrics Fresh From the Field Concert
Birdie Busch of Philadelphia illustrates her folk compositions with personalized lyrical imagery. Perhaps Dylan's spirit inhabits her soul.

Cowmuddy, an acoustic/electric quartet out of Philadelphia, forges new folk-rock with a flare for soul/R&B a la Neil Young, fronted by musician, songwriter and farm intern Michael McShane.

Down to Earth Statement - Farmers and functional artists have this in common: they work with the earth. To produce food and nurture growth requires farmers' diligence and attention to the earth. Artists create forms that contain, present and enhance food. Farmers and artists transform what the earth provides, which in turn nourishes our bodies and our souls.

The mission of "Down to Earth" is to display functional art that is intended to enhance the culinary experience; to celebrate the intrinsic value of eating locally grown food using handmade art; and to build community by introducing you to your local farmers and regional artists.15% of funds raised will go directly to the Chester County division of the Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign (www.buylocalpa.org).

If you were at the Open House a few weeks ago, you probably tasted the Butternut Squash Risotto recipe that Annmarie Butera was demonstrating. It was delicious! Thanks, Annmarie, for sharing this recipe:

Butternut Squash Risotto
Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Extra virgin olive oil, butter, ghee, or coconut oil
Sea salt
Pepper

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with foil or unbleached parchment paper
2. Toss squash with oil, salt and pepper
3. Roast until tender, about 40 minutes

Risotto

Ingredients:
1- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into small dice
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4- 6 cups simmering hot stock (vegetable or chicken) or hot water
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt
Sage leaves for garnish (optional)
Toasted and salted pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)

Procedure:
1. Heat large sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add olive oil and onion. Cook until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
3. Add rice. Stir to coat with oil for a few minutes.
4. Add wine and stir it in until all is absorbed.
5. Add 1/3 cup stock and stir until it is absorbed (the rice should stay wet, but not be completely covered by the broth).
6. Continue this process until the rice is creamy (about 15- 20 minutes).
7. Stir in roasted butternut squash and parmesan cheese. Season with salt.
8. Stir in one more ladle of stock. Cover pot and set it off heat for 5 minutes.
9. Place risotto in a serving bowl and garnish with sage leaves and pumpkin seeds.

Variations: you can cook butternut squash directly in the risotto. To do so, add your squash cubes to the pan after your onion has cooked. Cook the squash another 5- 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Then add your rice and proceed with the recipe.

See you at the farm!

~Colleen

 
As we get into the busy spring season, there's a ton of work to be done! The interns do a great job at growing the vegetables, but there are lots of other jobs around the farm that are begging for volunteers. We've come up with the list below, and hope that these spark an interest for some of you. Notice that some of these jobs are ongoing, while some are one-time efforts.

  • Establish and maintain the culinary herb beds (these were a disaster last year because they were not tended to!).

  • Restore and maintain the Children's Garden (ditto!).

  • Landscape an "island" behind the new barn office (after trenching for solar electric lines is completed). Take down the mulberry tree.

  • Establish native ground cover in full sun along the rock wall on the southern side of the hoophouse.

  • Construct a bio-diesel processing facility (instructions and examples are available).

Once again this year, we also put the call out to members to volunteer some extra time on their pick up day to act as Distribution Managers in the barn. No experience is necessary, and their presence helps the distribution go much more smoothly.

To volunteer for any of these jobs (or if you think of others...weeding, mowing, etc!) call Sam at 610-458-8129. Thank you!

 
 
CSA memberships for the 2007 season are going fast! Spread the word about Maysie's Farm to anyone you think may be interested in joining, and register BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

Wish List
Looking to get rid of any of the following items? Maysie's Farm will put them to good use! The first three needs are for our new "office," which is (still) under construction in the old "staff room":

• Wooden file cabinets
• Small electric range/oven
• Sink base, under-counter cabinets, wall cabinets and a short length of countertop material
• Picnic table(s)
• Large outdoor canopy
• Solar powered walkway lights (ideally to match the two donated by Martha Thomae)
• Straw bale chopper (for mulching large areas)
• Assistance building a bio-diesel production system or a compost tea brewing system
• Diesel station wagon or delivery vehicle for use as our produce hauler (for the Farmers Market and our Farm and School partnership) that we could run on bio-diesel or vegetable oil
• Housing for potential Farm Manager
Please contact Sam at (610) 458-8129 if you can donate any of these items.

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