Passover Countdown

We are only 10 days from the first night of Passover and once again I am realizing that my house will not be cleaned to my images of Passover perfection. I love the idea of a very deep, full house spring cleaning where any trace of chametz – both literal like cracker crumbs under car seats and figurative like the clutter that rises and puffs on surfaces and in closets—is removed.  While it is a wonderful idea that your entire home could be perfectly clean in time for Passover, I never seem to pull it off. In part it is …

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Last Taste of Winter

In dozens of ways, we are gearing up for spring on the farm.  We are signing people up for our CSA, caring for trays of seedlings, preparing the ground for planting, popping onion sets into the cold soil, building a new hoophouse and seeding trays in the chilly hoophouse.  At the same time, we are enjoying the last of the winter as spring weather is making a slow and faulty entrance.  Last week, we had a dusting of snow on our daffodils and our winter coats are still in easy reach. The farm pace is not yet frenetic and we …

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Spring Cleaning in the Herb Garden

post by Cheryl Corson I plan my gardening around the sun, and at this time of year I want to be in the herb garden from around 10am and noon when it shines across the corn field and reflects off the yellow brick of our house warming the soil and my back as I work. I start out with a winter jacket and quickly go back inside for a lighter sweater, heavier pruners, and a little low bench to sit on as I wrestle with last year’s woody lavender stalks. I am decisive, cutting only about 6” from the crown. …

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Can you Say She-hech-ey-a-nu

I first learned the shehecheyanu as a young 20 something, and it quickly became my all time favorite blessing.  My friend and I were strolling through a vineyard on a drive through Napa Valley.  We were giddy New Englanders discovering California and finding great amusement in the paper booties we were required to pull over our shoes during our visit to the vineyard.   The farmers were trying to prevent tourists from tracking in pests as they wandered through. I can’t remember exactly what my friend experienced as “a first” that day, perhaps her first time seeing grapes actually still attached to the …

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Perfect Weather for Plowing

It can be mesmerizing to watch a plow pull through the soil, revealing the darker earth beneath and with that hope for an awesome farm season and possibly a buried treasure. This weekend, we took advantage of the combination of a long weekend and unusually perfect weather for plowing.   The moisture was just right in the soil and the tractor was recently tuned up for spring. There have definitely been years when we have not been this lucky.  There can be many hurdles to getting the beds plowed in time for spring planting.  If the ground is too wet, you …

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Fashion Week with Work Boots

Post by Cheryl Corson I left home just before 7am Wednesday for a 2 hour drive south to Sandy’s Plants near Richmond, Virginia. Sandy McDougle is a retired school teacher with a slight Southern twang, whose 35 acre family home has grown in her retirement to accommodate one of the finest perennial growing facilities in the region. All the well-known retail garden centers around DC get at least some plants from Sandy’s. I use them for my clients, and for our own place outside the city. Sandy and her Sales Manager Elise host some events in the spring and fall …

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Eulogy to a Greenhouse

The weather is starting to warm up and it is time for hibernating farmers to wake up from a winter slumber and get back to work.  Yesterday, we kicked off the season by taking down the remainder of our collapsed greenhouse (technically it was a hoophouse because it was covered in soft plastic). We used the greenhouse for 5 years on our farm.  It provided warmth for early and late tomatoes and strawberries and sheltered giant rosemary and lavender plants in the winter.  Over the years, we harvested thousands of pounds of full sized tomatoes and hundreds cases of our …

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February Fondant

by Tanya Tolchin I found my husband standing at the stove today dumping white sugar into a giant canning pot and rooting around for the elusive tiny jar of cream of tartar.  He was making his first fondant, armed with a circa 1921 recipe and a candy thermometer.  Fondant is that smooth white frosting you see on wedding cakes.  You might consider the date, February 14th and assume he is preparing a wonderful Valentine ’s Day delicacy inspired by the Ace of Cakes. In fact, he is preparing the fondant for his three beehives.  This late in the winter, many …

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Welcome to the Lettuce Edge

post by Tanya Tolchin Welcome to the Lettuce Edge, a new blog on farming, gardening, sewing, parenting, Jewish life and living green. The name refers to a few things. First, I recently read that many people consider lettuce to be the quintessential vegetable, possibly representing the very essence of vegetable-ness.  I live on a small family organic vegetable farm, so lettuce (and beets, and garlic and flowers) are at the center of our lives and table. And secondly,  I am beginning to sew and many mothers of little girls can tell you that the “lettuce edge” is as lovely as …

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