Dear Share-Members,

spring-garlic-newsletterHappy Spring, everyone!

It seems that this year March is coming in like a lamb—hopefully it will not go out like a lion! Regardless of the weather, however, we have returned to the greenhouse for our 2016 season and are happy to report that we have not only begun seeding, but our mighty Doc’s German garlic has already begun to sprout its wee green top up through the leaf mulch as well. Friends, dare we say it? Spring has truly sprung!

The story of “Doc’s German” is one dear to our hearts. As many of you know, Michael Doctor was the farmer of Food Bank Farm for 20 years where I apprenticed before starting Next Barn Over. When the Food Bank Farm closed, we opened our farm at the next barn over (from the food bank farm), and we inherited among many other tales and treasures, Michael’s German Extra-Hardy variety of garlic seed that he had been growing and saving for all those years at the Food Bank Farm. In honor of Michael and his legacy, we have lovingly dubbed this variety of garlic “Doc’s German.” Now at age 27, our “Doc’s German” garlic has not only a long history with us here in Hadley, but is also one of our favorite crops to grow, and as the first crop up in the spring, it’s always exciting for us when it makes its debut!

Winter 2015 and the 2016 CSA Season:

seeding-trays-newsletterOver the winter we made some exciting changes and updates to our equipment, hired new crew members, and finalized our plans for the season ahead. We are always grateful for the slower pace that the colder months afford, but we feel enlivened by the springtime and all of the possibility it promises for our busy season ahead. As always, we look forward to sharing both the bounty of our harvests and the inspirations from our days with you in the coming months!

This said, for those of you that have already purchased your 2016 share–thank you! For those of you that have not yet renewed, we extend our hope that you will do so now. By purchasing a share of the harvest in advance, you pay well below retail market value, provide direct support to our farm at the beginning of the season when it is most needed, and allow us to concentrate our energy on farming.

Since it’s been a little while since you’ve heard from us, we thought we would refresh your memory as to what we will be growing for you, the kinds of share sizes we offer, and where we offer them:

Our Crops:

Peppers-newsletterOh our lovely crops! At Next Barn Over we are committed to growing food that is nutritious, affordable, and that represents what our share-members love the most. So, you can expect to enjoy the following crops in your share this season: weekly salad greens, cooking greens, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, broccoli, garlic, cucumbers, fresh herbs, onions, zucchini, sweet potatoes, peppers, beets, radishes, brussel sprouts, and over 20 other crops as well!

On-Farm Shares:

Strawberries-newsletterFor those of you in the Hadley area, we offer multiple sizes of on-farm shares for pick-up three days per week. On-farm members also enjoy our abundant u-pick fields replete with flowers, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and more, as well as have access to our farm store where we sell lots of great products from other local vendors.

As you may have heard, this year we are very excited to be offering three different on-farm share sizes to best accommodate your needs. Choose from a small, medium, or large share and enjoy just the right amount of local, organic produce all season long! See our on-farm CSA share page for more information, and to sign up!

Off-Farm Shares:

zucchini-twins-newsletterFor those of you in the Westfield or Boston area, we offer two share sizes for pick up on Tuesdays at various locations close to your home. And we also have pick-ups available in Springfield on Wednesdays. Off-farm share members can choose from a full-share (feeds 2-4 people per week), or a half-share (feeds 1-2 people per week).

Off-Farm Flower Shares:

Additionally, we are very excited to be offering a flower share option for our Boston and Westfield share-members this year! For $120, flower share members will receive one handpicked, organically grown, and artfully arranged bouquet every week for ten weeks beginning in July. Flower share members can expect many of the most popular flowers in their bouquets (including sunflowers, zinnias, snapdragons, dahlias, and marigolds) along with more unique varietals as well (such as strawflowers, scabiosa, poppies, and forget-me-nots)!

Importantly, you do not have to be a vegetable share member to sign up for a flower share (although we’d love to send you both vegetables and flowers!). In other words, our flower share is sold separately, and is not a share “add-on,” so please do consider it!

Westfield members: you can find your sign-up sheet by clicking here.

Boston-area members: you can find your sign-up sheet by clicking over to the Clover Food Labs portal here. Happily, Clover has recently opened a new location in downtown Boston, and so we are excited to offer even more pick-up locations in and around the city this year!

Springfield members: please click here for info about signing up with our partner organization, Gardening the Community!

In Closing…

Finally, we simply want to say thank you: thank you for your continued support and your commitment to our work—you help us make sustainable agriculture possible; and thank you, always, to the earth, the insects, the animals, and the elements that keep our soils rich, our water clean, and the plants abundant and happy. We so look forward to connecting with you over the coming months as we continue to share our stories with you via our newsletters, social media platforms (you can follow us on both Instagram @nextbarnoverfarm and on Facebook), and on the farm in Hadley. In order to show you what lies behind us, and what we’ve been up to recently, we’ve included here some of our favorite photos from years past, as well as some new ones from just these last couple of weeks that all work to tell a visual story of the farm. We hope you enjoy!

Sending you all wishes for a very happy spring.

With gratitude,

Your farmer,