Threat to Our Local Piggeries

Many of you have already received the letter I sent out below about the threat to our local piggeries in Haverhill, MA, but I wanted to remind you that the Board of Health meeting is tonight, November 15, 2011, at 7pm at City Hall. The link with more information is below. There has also been some news coverage about our fight! Here are those links:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45287068/ns/local_news-boston_ma/t/state-group-fights-haverhill-pig-farm-ban/#.TsKRNIC-aQs

http://www.eagletribune.com/haverhill/x960872464/State-farmers-group-rallies-to-oppose-pig-farm-ban

Dear Customers, Shareholders, Members & Friends,

Local agriculture is facing a challenge in the City of Haverhill. As a supporter of buy local, we are asking for your help.

The Haverhill Board of Health (BOH) is considering a ban on all piggeries in that town. Such a ban would be a horrible blow to Haverhill Farmers, and those throughout the state. Once one town bans a certain type of agriculture, others will likely follow suit. It also opensthe door to banning other types of farming. Even worse, this would be a blow to consumers who want to buy local food. What if every town banned piggeries in Massachusetts? Where would you buy your pork? Would you be able to speak to the person who raised the pigs? To see or discuss the conditions in which they were raised?

Town boards have legitimate concern in making sure that piggeries, and other farming operations are managed in a way so that they’re not a nuisance to neighbors. That’s not what this is about, or what the town is doing. They are simply banning piggeries outright. This epitomizes a not-in-my-backyard attitude.

What can you do? Let the town of Haverhill know that you DO want farms in your backyard. Let them know that you would prefer to buy from a local business; that you want to keep your money in the local community; that you want to protect open space; that you want to know where the food you feed your family comes from; and that you want to preserve the rural character of our towns.

Even if you do not live in Haverhill, this could impact you and the Farmer(s) that feed you.

What can you do? Consider one or more of the following actions:

1. Attend the BOH meeting and voice your opposition to the proposal and your support for local farms. It is on November 15 at 7pm in the City Hall. Details at http://www.ci.haverhill.ma.us/departments/clerk/Meetings/2011/111115-ph-ppb.pdf

2. Write or call the BOH before the meeting and let them know your thoughts:

Haverhill Board of Health – bdufrene@cityofhaverhill.com – 978-374-2325

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini – mayor@cityofhaverhill.com – 978-374-2300

While more and more of you are trying to eat locally, know your Farmer, know the land, shop locally, and know that the food on your plate was treated with respect to the animals, the environment, and the helping hands that helped it grow; doing your best to stay away from the big

industries…somebody is threatening that. For those of you who follow us on Facebook you saw the post a several days ago on how this hit a little too close to home for us. We raise vegetables, fruit, beef, poultry, lamb, goats and PIGS. We raise these animals in a clean environment and for those of you who get it through the Meat CSA, Meat Buyers Club, Winter CSA or right over the counter…you would not want to see that option taken away from you, nor would your Farmers.

On behalf of my family, myself and the entire Massachusetts farming community, we thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Jamie M. Cruz

Harvest Time Snow

We managed to get some pictures of the first “small” snow, which dusted our pumpkins and our harvest decorations (but not our chickens!). We know Halloween is over, but we wanted to share the photos with you anyway because, well, it is still Autumn, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Enjoy!

Auntie Rose’s Zucchini Bread & Muffins

Yum! For the last of the zucchini, submitted by Loretta, CSA member:

Auntie Rose’s Zucchini Bread & Muffins

(Note: It does not taste like Zucchini – It’s  a delicious taste similar to a Carrot cake/Banana bread)

Ingredients:                                                                                                           

Mixture A                                                                                                                              

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1 cup White Sugar

1 cup Oil – vegetable or similar type oil

3 eggs

2 Cups Grated Zucchini

Mixture B

3 Cups Flour

2 teaspoons Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

½ Teaspoon of Salt

Mix together Mixture A-  Brown Sugar, White Sugar, Oil, and eggs,  then add  in Zucchini

Sift together Mixture B- flour, cinnamon,  baking soda and powder, salt

Add Mixture B gradually into Mixture A.

Fold in  ¾ cups of Cinnamon Chips (available at Donelans) and 1 cups of Chopped Walnuts ( optional)

For Muffins – pour into cup and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 325º

For Breads- Bake in Greased and floured pans at 325º for 60 minutes.

Reflections on working at Springdell

©Michael Clark TintypesDigital 2011

By our own Heidi Van Auker.

Webster defines a farmer as “a person who cultivates land or crops or raises animals (as livestock or fish).” Oh, Webster. Dear, sweet, innocent, and naïve Webster, what an understatement that is. I’d like to define a farmer as “a person who is up at the crack of dawn, and then until far after the sun goes down, someone who relies on completely unreliable things such as weather and pests, as well as chance and luck, and who supplies our families with nourishment through both crops and livestock…” and well, you get the picture.

As a new employee to Springdell Farm this year, I wanted to share a bit of my experience as someone who has re-fallen completely, hopelessly, and utterly in love with farming. To give you a touch of history on me: I’m from Minnesota with family located in Nebraska and Iowa. It doesn’t get much more Midwest than that! My grandparents have a farm in Iowa where I grew up visiting them and spending time with the hogs, cattle, chickens, and in the rolling fields of corn and beans. As I grew older, visits to the farm weren’t my favorite thing, and I would have rather done most anything than pick up apples in the yard or pull milkweeds out of the bean fields. I was scared of most bugs and can remember a horrific experience where a grasshopper made its way into my pants. Being in those fields just wasn’t something that made me happy. However, through all of that, I always admired the values and work ethic of my farmer family and friends. Growing up in a rural area of Minnesota, it never completely got away from me. Even more, cows are still my favorite animal, and I am oddly pleased by the smells I pick up when driving through farm towns, as it reminds me of my family. How did I end up in Massachusetts? That’s a long story for another blog. How did I end up at Springdell? A perfect series of events and luck that have landed me in quite a conundrum of what to do with the rest of my life.

Working at Springdell is like being part of a second family. It is truly an honest-to-goodness New England roadside stand filled with the type of people who should be farming our food. You know how some people are made to be parents? The women who run Springdell were made to be livestock and vegetable farmers. They work with a handful of men who help harvest and maintain the fields, greenhouses, and livestock, as well as with some close friends and family members who lend a hand when they can. I can’t tell you how much this entire group has taught me about their farm, their practices, and their agricultural beliefs. They nurture every aspect of their land, see it from start to finish, and take great pride in what they do. They are continuously striving to grow and improve and do everything possible to be the best in the area.

I walk into work every day with an energy I can’t even describe. The stand is always beautiful, piled high with fruits, veggies, and flowers. There are generally a few geese or a rooster peering at me as I park my car, hoping I’ll toss them a snack from the stand later in the day. And there’s Joe, the farm Corgi, napping somewhere near by. I learn something new every day. Today, I learned about the pumpkin shortage that is affecting New England due to Hurricane Irene and has left many farms with no crop to speak of this year. The last day I worked I found out all about the new milk we’re carrying as well as the benefits of it coming from Jersey cows including its higher levels of Omega-3s as well as CLA and Vitamin E.

Other things I learned over the summer: Tomatoes have “shoulders.” Brussels sprouts taste better if you don’t harvest them until after a frost to increase the sugar content. There are more varieties of squash, heirloom tomatoes, and apples than I will ever understand no matter how many I eat. The most important thing I’ve learned are that the values and beliefs that this farm follows and implements are contagious and infectious. I’ve been inspired to join the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, and Jamie has encouraged me to become involved in some young farmer events. The amount of joy I receive from spending time at this farm is something I’ll never be able to truly describe, and something I’ll never forget.

An Ode to Springdell Farm

©Michael Clark TintypesDigital 2011

Alice Lenhart, of Groton, has been a customer of Springdell Farm for many years. For her, like for so many of us, the farm is a special place, “a treasure,” as she calls it. Alice wrote a delightful and poignant essay, “Why I Love Springdell Farm,” about her deep affection for the farm and its people, its critters (Hello, Joe!) and, perhaps most of all, its heart on her blog, On the Verge. Here’s an excerpt to whet your whistle. We hope you’ll go read her entire post, and check out her lovely blog at http://alice-ontheverge.blogspot.com/:

“Springdell Farm is a treasure.  I drive by the stand almost everyday and if I don’t stop, I always give a little nod. It’s a small roadside stand–no grocery carts, no sliding glass doors, no freezing cold air conditioning, no strawberries in October or zucchini in March, and positively no indifference to the land, their animals, their customers, or to the quality of their offerings. Chickens greet customers, and Farmer Joe, the old Corgi, is always snoozing nearby. And they learn their customers by name…

I’ve been a regular for many years and like many others, I know that the very essence of New England’s summer can be tasted right here. This is a basket of heart and soul–a legacy of the sun, the soil, the rains, and many pairs of hands and hooves, and many generations…all culminating in the soft juicy peach, and the sweet crisp corn. What I love most is the way the family of Springdell Farm cares for what they do.  You can see that in they way they label their baskets of fruits and vegetables, and in the way nothing goes to waste.  You can hear it in the way they greet customers, and in the tones of their voices. And you can taste their dedication in each bite–simple, fleshy, fresh, and clean.”

Thank you, Alice, for sharing with us.

Got Milk?

We are proud to announce that we’re now selling milk from Stillman Dairy Farm in their signature glass bottles!

The Stillman family has this to say about their milk (from Local Harvest: http://www.localharvest.org/stillman-dairy-farm-M38384) – “We are a family farm. We milk the cows, we bottle the milk, we deliver the milk, we do it all! You know where your milk comes from, and the people and the cows that help make it. All of the milk we sell comes from our own herd of Jersey cows. Buying local milk helps support local agriculture and helps to preserve open space! Our herd of Jersey cows is grass fed. The milk is higher in Omega-3 content, has higher levels of Conjugated linoleic acid (a good fat that helps reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease) and it is higher in Vitamin E. Compared to average (Holstein) milk, Jersey milk contains 15-20% more protein, 15-18% more Calcium and 20% more butterfat. This gives our milk a richer, creamier taste, even in skim milk!”

We’re excited to be able to offer local milk to our customers, and we want to know what you’d like us to carry. Right now, we have heavy cream, half and half, skim, low fat, whole, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee! Swing by and get some!