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At this point, it goes without saying that spring has been slow in coming. But the grass is greening up, spring flowers are blooming, and progress slowly moves along on the farm. We’ve started thousands of seedlings in my friend Alice’s greenhouse, which is now full, so I have 300 soil blocks of lettuce, bok choi, lettuces and fennel germinating in my kitchen, and many trays under a low tunnel in the field waiting for soil conditions to allow for planting. Spinach, radish and peas, planted on that one warm, dry day, hopefully working on germinating out in the field. While I have moments of panic at the thought of the work that will avalanche down on us once the cold and rain let up, I mostly like the reminders that, like the weather, there’s so much in life that is out of my control, and it’s all so much more lovely when I can appreciate what’s in front of me. Not that I wouldn’t mind some sun.
Baby sweet peppers in the greenhouse, ready to be transplanted into pots.
Cobblestone Farm Jr.
Our kids, William and Cordelia, are starting an egg business. They’ll be getting 50 pullets by the end of the month. Pullets are young, full-grown hens who haven’t started laying yet. The kids have a few questions for you, and made a survey. Please click here for the survey they made.
The recipe. Pumpkin Cake, the best.

I know, it does not scream spring. But neither has our weather. And maybe you’re like me, with a few butternuts still kicking around. Because really, baked butternut is way better in any recipe than pumpkin.

Below is my basic recipe. I need to do gluten-free, but you could easily substitute wheat flour. In fact, this recipe lends itself to all kinds of substitutions. Less sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, nuts & seeds, cocoa powder in place of the oat flour, muffins, double it for two layers or lasagna-pan size. One of my favorites this winter was muffins with chocolate chips, walnuts & pumpkin seeds, and coarsely ground dried chiles (Sandia Hots, maybe you dried some last fall).
Preheat oven to 350, oil a loaf pan or 8×8 square.

Combine in a food processor:
1 cup cooked winter squash
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl, combine:
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
scant 1 teaspoon baking soda
up to 1 tablespoon spices such as
cinnamon, allspice, ginger…

Combine it all, bake it up. How long? Honestly, I never use a timer. Check it at 20 minutes for an 8×8? Check at 40 for a loaf? We love this recipe, have fun!

Some up-coming community events
April 21, Bicentennial Pond Universal Access Trail Opening & Guided Hike in Mansfield. Learn more here.

April 22, Wood Works Fair, 10-4:00 at the Whitewater Park, 28 Bridge St in Willimantic. This event highlights the importance of our forests and local wood-working artisans. Activities for kids, blight resistant chestnuts for sale, a few food trucks… Our friend Faith Kenton is organizing this event on behalf of the 325 Trees/Shrubs Project, whose goal is to plant 325 native woodies in honor of Windham’s 325th anniversary. This is the first year for this event, it’d be nice to support it! If you can’t go but would like to get some chestnut trees, you can contact Faith directly at 860-456-0817. Trees are in 2 gallon pots (I think!), $40 each. You’d need at least two for cross-pollination.

May 3, Community Dinner hosted by Mansfield Public Schools Food Service. 5:30 – 7:00 at the Middle School. Learn more here. The third of the school year, these events just keep getting better. (We won’t be at this one, kid obligations.)

May 19, Beltane Farm in Lebanon is hosting a Spring Festival. Learn morehere. If you’ve never been out to their farm to meet the goats and sample cheeses, this is a good opportunity!

And a potential workshop at our farm…?
For a few years, Bryan and I have thought about offering a tomato growing workshop. A few hours on a weekend day, end of May or early June depending on weather. We’d go over the how’s and why’s of planting, pruning, supporting, diseases, varieties, and seed saving if there’s interest. Participants would go home with a few of our plants. Interested? Let me know!