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FDC Newsletter May 7, 2013
P.O. Box 1146
Marblehead, Mass. 01945
877-FDC-FARM
www.farmdirectcoop.org

newsletter@farmdirectcoop.org

2013 Coop Dates


Tuesday Shares:
June 11 - October 22

Thursday Shares: June 13 - October 24

November Share: Two Tuesday Pickups
November 5 &
November 19

Bulk Order: TBA
November 12 or 14

December  Share: TBA - Usually one pickup the first week in December


We Take SNAP!

The FDC is pleased to announce that we have been approved by the USDA to accept SNAP benefits and will start doing so for the upcoming season. SNAP, or supplemental nutrition assistance program (formerly known as food stamps), can be used at most retail stores, farmers markets, coops and CSA's. We don't know how many members may take advantage of this opportunity, but we feel this is an important stride to make us accessible to people at all income levels. We cannot start accepting SNAP payments until the season opening on June 11 or 13th. If you are interested in paying for part of your FDC share(s) with your SNAP benefits, contact Julie@farmdirectcoop.org.

Enrollment News

We are happy to report that a month away from opening, we are almost completely full. Melrose is sold out with a waitlist, Marblehead Thursday has handful of spots and Salem is very close to meeting the numbers on which the 2013 budget is based. Please keep in mind that if you have submitted an enrollment form but did not send in your deposit, your registration is not complete and your spot is not secure. If you sent in your deposit, you should have recieved an email confirmation of your order.

Credit Cards

By popular demand, the FDC will be instituting a new payment system that allows members to pay by credit card or band-to-bank transfer. The caveat is, though this is very convenient, the coop will incur charges from Intuit to use the system. We will be charged 3.5% of each credit card payment or $.50 for each bank-to-bank transfer. We encourage you to use the bank-to-bank as we will incur less fees. Stay tuned for details. This system will be in place in time to make your June payments.

FDC FRESH IDEAS


By Julie Pottier-Brown, Operations Manager

Its coming, its coming - spring is here! And our opening day is around the corner  (June 11th if you are a Tuesday member, June 13th if you are a Thursday member).  If you are a Chef Share member, you will pick up two plants on opening day which counts for two of the eleven deliveries. We will hold off on cheese and bread until week two, because there is only so much we can handle on opening day! Bread will continue every week until the final week and cheese will come approximately every other week.  Thursday members please make note - there will be NO pick up on the 4th of July.  We will shorten the pick ups to 19 weeks instead of 20 and adjust the spending accordingly, meaning you will still get your money's worth.

We are talking about having a short season for a flower share in August and September.  I have been in conversation with Melissa Glorieux of Aster B flower farm in Essex, MA.  We will unveil the details (price and length of season) after the hub-bub of June has died down.


A bit early to be mentioning this, but if you are new, it is good information, whenever we have produce available at the pick up location, you may also order it in bulk by emailing Julie at julie@farmdirectcoop.org I mention this now because the bulk strawberry opportunity comes very very quickly, so I want to put the idea into your head.  Some folks are ready to can, jam or freeze, others think a little to long and miss the season.  As a matter of course, as soon as you know you will want to put up rhubarb, pickles, English or snap peas, blackberries, gooseberries, etc.  email me, and I create a special folder, and check it weekly during the season to see if I can satisfy those requests.


Photo by Michael Wade, Melrose Depot

We are busy getting our depots in a row with staff meetings, learning how to accept credit cards and SNAP, interviewing, teaching, organizing, entering data, repairing tents, scales and more. 

If you haven't joined our Facebook page, please check it out
here.

Looking forward to meeting you all or seeing you again,

 

Pre-Season Orders Available!


We have some opportunities for pre-season opt-ins, so read on to learn more about these:

Compost &
Organic Fertilizer!


Gardeners: If you wish to order bags of compost (bagged by the organization Kidz-b-Kidz from compost "made" at Brick Ends Farm, in Hamilton, MA or organic fertilizer from Neptunes Harvest, Gloucester, MA please follow this link.  Gardens are being tilled and started now, so a pick up date of Wed. May 22nd will prepare us for the Memorial Day planting most folks plan on.

DEADLINE TO ORDER: Saturday, May 19th at noon - Here is a link to the online form:

http://blog.farmdirectcoop.org/2013/05/local-compost-fertilizer-delivery-may-22nd-2013/


 Photo courtesy of domdeen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fiddleheads &
Wild Ramps!


Foodies: The asparagus in Groton hasn't poked its head up yet, but the fiddleheads have.  These are the curled up  heads of the ostrich fern. I have been eating these for years, usually buying them at Whole Foods or other small specialty stores, until I found out one of our suppliers is one of the guys who supplies Whole Foods! How cool is that! Here is what I found on wikipedia:

"Fiddleheads contain various vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are a source of antioxidants and dietary fibre.[2] They are low in sodium, but rich in potassium, which may make them suitable for people who need a low-sodium diet. Fiddleheads may harbor microbes and should be washed and cooked before eating."
Fiddleheads can be ordered in pound increments, and cost $6.75 a pound. You will need to weigh them out yourself at your pick up location.  I (Julie) am planning on driving out to western Mass. to get them. Since I just got the call that the next few weeks are going to be the best, the order must be placed by Saturday the 11th at noon for pick up on Monday the 13th (times to be dependent on traffic, etc.) Someone will post on facebook when they arrive.

This same forager also has wild ramps available. I have heard of these, but have never tried them.  They are an allium, and in the garlic/onion family, but are much more pungent or so I have heard.  They are more expensive than the fiddleheads at $11 a pound, and will also be sold in one pound increments.

DEADLINE TO ORDER: Saturday, May 11th at noon - Here is a link to the online form:

http://blog.farmdirectcoop.org/2013/05/fiddleheads-and-wild-ramps-order-by-noon-saturday-may-11th/

Photo by John Herschell and used under the creative commons license.

Volunteer Needed!


We are looking for a Marblehead member willing to host the pre-season shares from their porch or yard.  Fiddleheads arrive on May 13, Compost and Fertilizer on May 2nd, and asparagus (dates tbd).  There is minimal organization and management, but some is needed. The person hosting will receive some asparagus or fiddleheads for their effort. Please contact Julie at julie@farmdirectcoop.org.

 Photo courtesy of basketman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Going Native in MA!


By Joan Lounsbury, Melrose Depot on Thursdays


Cone flower in bloom last summer in Joan Lounsbury's garden.


This is my story. I am a gardener, birder and all around nature lover who lives in Melrose. A couple of years ago, on a cold wintry night, I fought the snow and traveled to the Wakefield Public Library to hear a lecture by Claudia Thompson of Grow Native Massachusetts. Her lecture was “Why Grow Natives?” It was a soul searching break-through moment for me.

Let me tell you a bit of what I have learned from Grow Native. I love their motto, “Every garden matters – Every landscape counts.”  I can do this! It’s simple and easy. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the big environmental picture, growing natives is something important I can do to make a difference NOW, in my own suburban yard. My husband Phil and I are inspired to make the “way back” of our yard into a lovely haven for people, birds and wildlife. Thanks to lectures and advice from Grow Native members and design help from Darcy Paige, a member of the Melrose Depot on Thursdays, we are on our way.

Our first step was to learn. Being a staff member at the Melrose Public Library, that means books, magazines and lectures. We both attended many “Evenings with the Experts” at the Cambridge Public Library every first WED from January to June. We decided in fact to volunteer to be a greeters at the lectures and have met authors and speakers. In particular, I am excited to meet the President of Mt Auburn Cemetery. An upcoming lecture on June 5 is entitled, “The Dell,” and is all about restoration of the Dell with native plans. I plan to spend Mother’s Day there birding with my family so I have talking points and questions for when I get to head to dinner with him, a perk of being a volunteer!
 
Why grow native? Because birds eat seeds, berries and insects, BUT nestlings eat insects. Have you seen birds fly through your backyard with 4 or 5 caterpillars in their mouth, flying to the nest? Well, those tasty insects prefer (or can ONLY eat) native plants, therefore birds NEED insects for a successful nesting season. When we first arrived in our yard of Norway maples and nothing else, it was years before a robin nested there, now we have 4 or more nests yearly within eye sight house. I am proud of the nibbles off my plants – it means the birds are happy in my garden!

White swamp milkweed, bee balm, phlox and more.
 
What did we do? We added evergreens for cover, and we plan to use some columnar white pines in our design. Great for smaller properties as they grow upright and tall. We also have a blue spruce that the kids took home on Earth Day years ago.  Robins and mourning doves nested in these trees and all birds take cover there on cold winter days and nights. We added berries. Our hollies and serviceberry bring in mockingbirds, cedar waxwings, robins and others. They also provide cover. We hope to add winterberry, and have ordered a high bush blueberries and a dogwood called Cornus alternifolia that will arrive soon. All will have fabulous fall color and will have highly desirable berries and the dogwood will not have the disease of other dogwoods. (C. alternifolia is available in the new Northeast and Weston Nursery’s catalogs)  See www.grownativecambridge.org for online and retail sources of natives, lists of MA natives and invasives and their upcoming event called Festival Floralia with wine, great food, a native garden tour and a native plant sale on May 5th at the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House in Cambridge. My dream is to have other North Shore folks join so we can create Grow Native “North” someday (Sustainable Melrose is a new group under foot that might help!)

So what can you do?
  • Next time you plan to add a tree, shrub or perennial – consider a native.
  • Ask at your favorite nursery – encourage them to carry natives.
  • When you clean up your yard, rake some leaves back under the trees and leave some debris in your gardens as mulch. For the first time, I did not do a fall cleanup in my garden beds last year. I raked leaves back under trees and left the perennial beds alone. Birds ate the seeds and had cover in the winter, and the hollow stems and leaves allowed overwintering eggs and caterpillars to emerge and stay. Recently I read “a tree’s best mulch is its own leaves.” Makes sense to me. It’s tough to be less of a neatnik, but we are trying. AND…it is a lot easier this way.
  • Read Bringing Nature Home by Douglas Tallamy. I love his chapter “What do I plant?” We planted a white oak, and two hackberry trees – all rather tiny and not very expensive. Planting our oak was the BEST thing we could’ve done. Tallamy says it can support 534 species of moths and butterflies, not to mention many other critters. Crabapple, birch and cherry trees are also good.
  • Compost of course and avoid pesticides that kill all those tasty bugs.
 
Next we plan to cover some lawn with cardboard, reducing our mowing, giving us more room for native shrubs and flowers. Stay tuned… I hope to do a garden tour of my yard as part of the Melrose Public Library’s adult summer reading program!! Does anyone want to take nature walks around Ell Pond on Thursdays after Coop pick up? And does anyone want to join our “garden book” club in Melrose? If so, email me jplounsbury13 @gmail.com.

 
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