Western Massachusetts Grains, Grown in Long Term Organic Rotation

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Each season we run tests on our grain harvest to determine nutrient levels and to monitor for the possibility of fungus in the grain.  Even in the wettest of years, where infection of the crop seemed likely, we have never had a problem.  This season being as dry as it was I do not atincipate any trouble, but I have to wait for the results regardless.  As soon as the results are in I will work to set a day that the most members can be present for a pick-up day.  I hope to find a day where everyone can make it!

More Soon!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hello out there...Adam here.  Here is a picture of our wheat crop in the foreground and barley in the background!  Despite the hot dry weather the early season small grains are coming in fine and the corn an bean crops look good as well.  We will need some rain before too long to bring in the late crops successfully.  The drought will be driving up food prices, and so maybe the recent focus on localized production will serve as a buffer against climate related food price fluctuations as the Earth warms.  Participating in CSA may become the safest,most economical method of buying food!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Early Season 2012

Thanks to folks who have signed up for 2012! Plenty going at the farm: planting, field prep, and helping out with Solid Ground Farm veggie CSA run by my friend Mike Byrne.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pickup Cancelled

We heard today that Hurricane Irene was downgraded to category one storm, which hopefully means we won't be hit too severely. It turns out my family on the coast is likely to experience lower wind speeds than we will get here in Belchertown!

We regret having to cancel and hope most people can make it to the farm on Patriot's Day in two weeks for barbecue and potluck!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Longest Days of the Year...

Working hard to raise the black turtle beans. Raising heritage grain varieties for saving seed and non chemical weed control are keys to a future natural food system! Stay tuned for some locally grown nutrition and hardy good times...

Banatka Wheat headed up and turning golden brown. 

We are sprouting our undersized grains and feeding them to the chickens. So far so good!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring Update


It has been a soggy few weeks, we are glad for these few hot sunny days. Both the winter and spring small grain is growing fast, and now with the warmer weather on to planting beans and corn.  Some of the winter wheat is just starting to head up. Adam put ribbons on the earliest heads so that we can save seed from these.

We are now raising red heritage meat chickens. Our seed cleaner not only blows out the chaff, weed seeds and the odd grasshopper, but also grain that is much smaller or broken. We decided this would make good chicken feed, and in combination with pasture (they love burdock!), and a supplemental organic grain mix that we soon hope to replace with our own blend.

Save the Date! - The farm tour day will be August 28th. More information soon. Arnie's hay wagon we use for hay rides is over 100 years old, made in the last century in Central Pennsylvania craftsmen who brought the design over with them from Germany. It is made for loose hay, which is why it has sloped raised sides, instead of the flat bottom on modern wagons created for baled hay. “It is perfect for hay rides, because you can fluff a lot of hay in it, and people can flop in the loose floppy hay” according to Arnie.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A great start to 2011 field operations!

More Snow?

Well at least we got a good head start on primary-tillage (plowing), Wednesday before the storm. The dry and windy weather for a couple of weeks has really dried out the soils, and so Adam and our good friend Dave Olson (pictured) were able to prepare fields for early spring crops.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

With some snow flying around yesterday, Alice and I marked out fields for plowing, and were able to see which sections are still quite wet. Also, fall planted crops: winter wheat and rye are just beginning to put on a bit of growth and "green-up". We scattered red clover seed under some winter wheat on our seed-development field; it fell into the cracks in the soil from recent thawing and refreezing. There it will be ready to grow when consistent warm temperatures take hold, and after the grain is harvested we will have a lush carpet of green leaves suitable for grazing, and crimson blossoms for medicinal teas.
We are eagerly waiting for barley seed from Andrea and Christian of Valley Malt: a new WMass business. Besides growing for the grain CSA we will market the 2-row barley to local Massachusetts breweries, who are putting money up front for buying the seed, to be malted in Hadley. If we let them know in advance, we can most likely get CSA member's barley malted for home brewing.
Since planting season is 3 weeks away, this Saturday will be the last time we are at Amherst farmer's market (to sell anyway) until late July. We will have whole wheat flour and un-milled berries.
More soon...