Did you know that farmers in Upstate New York can grow vegetables all winter long?! It's pretty amazing. We're going to be telling you all about it in the coming months here are some lingo you might hear us use.
Hoophouse - When we say hoophouse, we mean an unheated structure made of metal pipes and covered in transparent plastic. This traps heat from the sun to help us grow vegetables even when it is freezing cold outside.
Greenhouse - We have a greenhouse that is pretty similar to our hoophouse except that it has a gravel floor instead of a dirt floor and it does have a heater. We use the heater sparingly - the greenhouse is still uninsulated, but it makes a big difference. This is where we start all of our seedlings and grow things like pea shoots and microgreens. We put in some new raised beds for more winter growing space - this is a fun experiment for us.
Winter Greens - Some vegetables are better at growing in the winter than others. These vegetables are winter greens. They include kale, spinach, Swiss chard and the like. As long as there aren't crazy swings in temperature, they can handle freezing a little bit. It even makes them sweeter. The plants produce more sugar when it's cold outside to act as a natural antifreeze.
Storage Crops - These are vegetables that are grown in the summer during the regular growing season, but do well when stored in the proper conditions for many months. Think onions, garlic, winter squash and sweet potatoes. While not technically grown in the winter - they sure are tasty to eat in the winter.
There are still spots available for our winter CSA at the farm it starts the first week in November and pick-ups are on Fridays from 4:30 pm to 7 pm. We hope to see you there.
Cooking pasture-raised meat, eating from whole animals and buying meat from local farms are all a different experience from buying meat in the grocery store.
Our animals are raised with love and care and we want to make sure you're getting the most out of your meat shares!
Here are some resources to help you out!
On the farm we practice rotational grazing. This means we move our animals throughout the property so that they never stay in one place for a long time.
The animals are healthier – moving to fresh grass means they’re not standing in their own manure. Being outside in the fresh air also is better for their respiratory health than being cooped up in a barn like feedlot animals. We had the vet out for a visit and he said our animals looked great!
Rotational grazing also means ruminants, like our sheep, are getting the most calories out of the grass. They eat as much as they can in a small area for two or three days and then move on to the next slice of grass. I move them every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They get so excited about new grass – check out this video.
Eating the grass from the top makes the grass shed roots below the surface of the soil. The sloughed off roots decay and become organic matter. Manure also adds organic matter to the surface of the soil. The sheep leave the pasture better than they found it. This is the real magic. This is how we sequester carbon. Another farmer made a great slideshow explaining the link between rotational grazing and carbon sequestration – in this case sheep function a lot like little cows. Your lamb chops are fighting climate change!
By Leanna Mulvihill, Livestock Manager
Making our food more accessible is something we’re thinking about on the farm. We’re thinking about figuring out ways to give shares to folks at prices they can afford, distributing them at the right time and place and making sure people feel confident that they can use everything in their share.
Part of food access, for me, has been volunteering at the Food of Life/Comida de Vida Pantry at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Amenia, NY. This is one important piece of taking care of our community. Maitri Farm donates product to the pantry and we are really happy to do so.
There is still a gap. Our food is still too expensive for a lot of people who don’t go to the food pantry.
We understand that a lot of folks in our community struggle with food access and are trying to figure out how to address this. It’s important to us to feed full-time Dutchess County residents, not just weekenders.
We are inspired by what some of our peers are doing – Rock Steady, Poughkeepsie Farm Project, Healthy Food For All and have been dreaming up ways to implement similar programs.
This year we are piloting our Low Cost CSA Share program. This is half off of our every-other-week vegetable and every-other-week egg shares. We're excited to see how it goes!
Do you know of a community group that might be interested in receiving low cost CSA shares? Let’s talk! We are happy to help with fundraising and talk through what might be the most effective way to go about it. We’re looking for groups to partner with.
What are your needs? What’s the most effective way to get food to you? What are your favorite vegetables? What’s your favorite thing to cook?
We want to listen. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Leanna Mulvihill
Hometown: New Paltz, NY
Job Title: Livestock Manager
Describe your job in five words: Keep animals moving. Feed People.
Favorite book: A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck – This is an excellent read-aloud book for kids and adults.
Currently listening to: The Hamilton soundtrack!
What you do when you’re not farming: volunteering at the Comida de Vida/Food of Life Food Pantry or hanging out at the Lantern
Favorite joke: What did the fish say when it swam into a concrete wall? DAM!
Favorite Place on the Farm: The next paddock where the critters get a fresh slice of pasture to enjoy.
Thing you can’t get through a day on the farm without: Long pants. You gotta cover up out in the pasture! There’s ticks, prickers and all kinds of things to protect yourself against.
Top Five Goals for 2017
Name: Rose Karabush
Hometown: Highland Park, IL (but now it’s Amenia, NY!!!)
Job Title: Farm Manager/Vegetable Manager
Describe your job in five words: Coordination, administration, and growing veggies.
Favorite book: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg
Currently listening to: S-Town
Favorite place on the farm: The vegetable fields at sunset.
Favorite Joke: What’s small, red, and whispers?
A hoarse radish.
What you do when you’re not farming: Meditating, trying new vegetarian recipes in my slow-cooker, and calling my grandmother
Thing you can’t get through a day on the farm without: Saying “I just heard this piece on NPR…” and sunscreen.
Top Five Goals for 2017:
1. Grow lots of beautiful cover crops to build up our soils!
2. Do more trail running
3. Try at least one vegetable I’ve never had
4. Make it to an Amenia Fire Company Pancake Breakfast
5. Not kill my houseplants
Name: Luke Tilghman
Hometown: Charlottesville Virginia
Job Title: Assistant vegetable manager
Describe your job in five words: Plant, weed, harvest, eat, repeat
Favorite book: The Devil in the White City
Currently listening to: Nina Simone
Favorite place on the farm: back woodlot
Favorite Joke: A duck walks into a bar wearing one shoe. The bartender asks “hey, did you lose a shoe” The duck replies “no, I found this”
What you do when you’re not farming: Cooking, bonfires, going on as many adventures as possible
Thing you can’t get through a day on the farm without: Podcasts!
Top Five Goals for 2017:
Staying more focused, and executing a task more methodically.
Roast a pig.
Stay in touch with friends and family better.
Buy a truck!!
Name: Meg Callahan
Hometown: New York City
Job Title: farm crew
Describe your job in five words: love water and move efficiently
Favorite book: Impossible but Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Currently listening to: right this second, ZABA - Glass Animals. recently a lot of David Bowie, Bjork, LCD Soundsystem, Mountain Man, Joy Division, Nirvana, Hole. also I’m noticing a correlation between the amount of time I spend alone in the greenhouse and how much Lana Del Rey I listen to…for better or for worse, each tomato seedling has heard Florida Kilos at least 50 times
Favorite place on the farm: when I’m feeling nordic, there’s this spot where you can watch the sun rise, hop into a cold trout stream and eat tender bitter wild greens, but the greenhouse is generally the warmest, sunniest and best smelling place to be
Favorite joke: a Buddhist monk walks up to a hot dog stand and says “make me one with everything”
What you do when you’re not farming: always trying to find ways to move that make my body feel good, more flexible and energized when I get back to farming…maintaining an on/off again relationship with a sourdough starter and making disposable to do lists
Thing you can’t get through a day on the farm without: sunglasses I’m not attached to and a playlist I didn’t make myself
Top Five Goals for 2017:
1. Cook outside for as many meals as possible / avoid making more dishes than absolutely necessary
2. Take really good care of my truck
3. Find new ways to play, take risks and stay interested everyday without being inefficient
4. Grow tasty culinary mushrooms on substrates I’d otherwise trash (e.g., old newspaper + used coffee grounds)
5. Approach a new piece of land without offending it
Sackett Square is the site of our Amenia CSA drop-off. They are a community market run by Lauren and Brielle Williams. We're so excited to work with them and do our shopping at Sackett Square.
What made you want to start Sackett Square?
We have always noticed the beautiful abundance of farms in the area and have spent a lot of time driving to and from farm stores just to get fresh, local products.
We always said it would be great to have a one-stop-shop with all local goods. We wanted to provide an outlet for farms to supply families in the community with fresh, healthy food in a more convenient way.
How does it feel to start a business where you grew up?
Opening Sackett Square Marketplace in the area where we grew up has been especially exciting because we have been able to create the kind of place we have always wanted to see in our own community.
What’s your favorite meal to make at home?
Fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden to make a summer sauce over any kind of pasta. -Lauren
Goat cheese, caramelized shallots, and kalamata olives with chili flakes and honey over fresh greens. -Brielle
How does your family talk about food?
The way our family talks about food is loud, passionate, and with our hands. Everyone in our family has their own gardens or delicious recipes that have strongly influenced our love of food.
What are you the most excited about for Sackett Square in 2017?
We are most excited about connecting with the community to build an awareness of local products and take advantage of the opportunity we all have to work together for health, happiness, and success.
What has surprised you the most?
The most surprising has been the amount of people within the community who are farmers or crafters and want and need a place to offer their goods, and to connect with each other.
What are your dreams for Sackett Square in the future?
Our dream for Sackett Square is to be the place where everyone in the community comes for all their local goods, and to see the community benefit from putting money back into our own soil.
When is Sackett Square open and where are you located?
Sackett Square is open weekends 9-4 and is located at 3312 Route 343 Amenia, NY. This is above Back In the Kitchen and across the street from the Amenia Library
How can people get in contact with Sackett Square?
Everyone should feel free to send an email to email@example.com, give us a call at 845.337.1192 or stop in and see us!
Adapted from fourlegsfarm.com
Maitri Farm’s meat is without a doubt more expensive than meat in the grocery store. And I feel like for the most part people have been very supportive of the farm and understanding of why we charge as much as we do.
It's also a lot to ask people to buy a large quantity of expensive meat weeks or months before the product will be delivered. This is asking people to completely change their shopping habits and I appreciate those of you who have taken the leap and tried something new. I also understand that for a lot of people our products are just too expensive and I’m working on finding creative ways to get our products into the hands of more members of the community. If you know of any avenues for getting programs to sponsor low-cost shares please let me know!
There are many reasons why my meat is more expensive than the grocery store
I recently found another farmer online running a 12 Month Farm Finance Challenge. Eleven farms are writing blog posts every month about their finances and sharing how much money they spent and how much money they earned. Being this candid about farm finances is huge - I hope this helps customers better understand what their farmers are going through. It's pushing me to think about better ways to communicate about how farms work with all of you.
We’re still a young farm and are not covering our labor costs or overhead. Maitri Farm is very lucky to have financial support and be in a position to pay our crew livable wages. I have farmed on my own in the past and realized I did not have enough support to keep at it long term. We are working to scale up and be more efficient in order to do so. We’re proud of where the farm is, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Below is an example of the expenses and income we expect for one pig.