Westminster Farmers' Market

  (Westminster, Massachusetts)
Bringing you local food, friends and fun.
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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 07-30-2010

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Ride Your Bike to Breakfast on Mondays!

 

Even with the DOWNPOUR last Friday, the market was filled with vendors and business was as busy as ever.  Ron and Megan Maquire kept spirits high as they entertained us with their songs and music!  Al Magane kept making the rounds dumping huge amounts of water from all the tents!  And our die-hard customers kept showing up for the fresh foods that are available here!

 

For our local Farmers’ Market meal this week, we served a delicious sirloin steak – cooked rare to medium rare, mashed red potato with rosemary, sautéed yellow onions, sautéed shitake mushrooms, and kohlrabi (first boiled and then sautéed in butter.  Delicious.  Topped off with blueberry shortcake made with Lisa’s fresh berries.

 

 

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 07-09-2010

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

More Ketchup Trials Give Me Better BBQ Sauce and Simple Catalina Dressing

 

Vegetables, Goat Cheese, Cheddars and Goudas, Beef, Pork, Artisan Breads (including Gluten-Free), free-range eggs, herbs, crafts and everything you could hope to find at a farmers’ market.  We are in full swing and the market is as busy as it ever gets.  Stop by for an iced coffee and a donut as you wander through the booths.  Talk to our local farmers about their production methods.  Watch the children run and play and blow bubbles (or bring your own to do the same).  Take in a puppet show or a blacksmithing demonstration.  I don’t think there is a better, or less expensive way to entertain yourself on a Friday afternoon!

 

Entertainment this week at Westminster Farmers' Market…
Entertainment by Gayle Craig who is a singer/songwriter from Ashburnham. She is also a member a Westboro based band called Fine by Friday! We also welcome the musical talent of Kevin Jones!

Stop by for another delightful puppet show at 6:00 from Button Box Theatre!

And don't forget to visit Robert Phillips for another informative blacksmithing demonstration.

 

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 07-02-2010

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Hay Season Always Slows Me Down!

 

Corn is in!  Corn is in!  The market is now overflowing with everything you could possibly hope for from our local producers.  It has been a fantastic season for corn (I guess to make up for last year, which may have been the worst in the 112 year history of the Hertel family farm) and it will be available this week at the market.  Nothing compares to farm fresh, Massachusetts grown corn and I cannot wait to make a meal of it on Friday evening! 

Have a local Holiday…

While shopping for your local corn and vegetables, don’t forget to pick up some items for your 4th of July parties.  The market is well stocked

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 06-18-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

 

Visit us on Facebook!

 

 

 

Last Friday we had a terrific afternoon at Westminster Farmers’ Market and I am looking forward to another great afternoon this Friday.  Russell and I were delighted as we watched “Jack and the Beanstalk” at Button Box Shadow Theatre and our whole family was treated to the music of Patrick Carroll as he played his guitar and sang for much of the afternoon!  We are certainly hoping he is available for future weeks at the market.  This week, we are expecting great weather and I am looking forward to another puppet show by Button Box Shadow Theatre.  In addition, I cannot wait to see Ron and Megan MacGuire who will be performing again this year.  I have not seen this incredible father-daughter team perform since last fall and I am truly looking forward to their performance.  Tess Rebetsy-Brown will round out the afternoon performances.  This twelve year old, award-winning singer, songwriter, piano player usually stops all activity at the market with her original sound.  Please remember that our performers are “buskers” and work only for tips.  This highly respected practice is an important way to bring local talent to our farmers’ market while introducing you to some of the up-and-coming talent in our region.  If you enjoy a performance, consider adding a few coins (or bills) to their “hat”.

 

 

 

 

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 06-04-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Do we really need ANY more proof that healthy eating starts at home?

This Week at the Market…

Button Box Shadow Theatre is performing at our market this week and it is a show that you do not want to miss! Don’t miss this opportunity to listen to stories for children, grown-ups and the whole family, original tales, historical narratives, and folklore! Stories include “Puss in Boots”, “Timo and the Princess Vendla” (Finnish), and the original story called “The Reluctant Butterfly”, about a GORGEOUS insect who wishes to be a caterpillar again. This interactive theatre involves children who get to manipulate the puppets! Sally Cragin is an award-winning writer for the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix and other publications.

For those of you bringing your children up the hill from Westminster Elementary School, why not park at Academy Hill, walk down to the school to pick up your children and then walk back up the hill with them? I am a firm believer in making memories for our children, and walking to the Farmers’ Market on Fridays is something they will remember all their life. And of course the hike up Academy Hill will be a perfect complement to the healthy lifestyle that the Farmers’ Market inspires!

Flowers are plentiful and gorgeous at the market and you do not want to miss collecting a bouquet. Turn your child loose with a couple of dollars with the task of bringing home a beautiful bouquet. Use a few on your family dinner table, but then have your child make a small arrangement for their bedroom and one for yours. There is nothing like waking up to the smell of lily-of-the-valley or peonies wafting in on a morning breeze! Encourage your child to get some flower arranging advice from Rachel’s Everlastings or Dr. Pat Glover or from our resident Master Gardener, Sue Nickerson. What a great way to build communication skills that will last them a lifetime.

A Little More Proof That You Should Be Eating Farm Fresh…

If you didn’t have time to see Food, Inc., you should order it right away. It’s a great documentary and for the most part, very well done (except for the Burger King segment that I took issue with a few reports back). One particularly disturbing segment was about a company called Beef Products, Inc (BPI) and some of the work they are doing to make our meat supply “healthier”. As stated on their website, they are “the world’s leading manufacturer of boneless lean beef”. That is something I never hope to be. Think about it. Beef is GROWN, not manufactured. And how do you “manufacture boneless lean beef”??? There is a whole animal there to begin with – and the bones and fat are pretty important parts. Of course, I have to know more. BPI’s Process Page says it all (…almost) and I encourage you to read it, paying particular attention to the pH enhancement process, the labeling requirement (yes, this is allowed to be labeled 100% pure beef), and the in-process metal detector! No kidding, a metal detector! Why on God’s green earth does the meat you eat have to be run through a metal detector?!? I have to read their food safety page to find out that “incoming raw material” (notice that they don’t call it meat) is checked for metal as well as the “finished product”. Good thing you are not eating this healthy, ammonia-washed, metal-free, “100% pure beef”, right? Think again! I find it extremely disturbing that the focus of some of these companies is on making contaminated meat healthier rather than using healthy practices from the beginning! Healthy practices that virtually eliminate E.coli 0157:H7, metal in the finished product, wacked out balances of Omega-3 and a myriad of other issues. Even more disturbing are the companies that incorporate it into their product to improve their bottom line.

So Build a Meal at the Market…

Because of all this, I encourage you to stop by the market and pick up the makings of a meal. Not just ingredients for various meals throughout the week, but one whole, entire meal that you will consume without one single non-local, non-fresh ingredient! And don’t forget a small vase of flowers for the center of the table.

Visit our Westminster Farmers’ Market website…

The Westminster Farmers’ Market website is being updated with vendors for the 2010 season. Visit for ideas on how you can help the farmers’ market, participate as a vendor, or get information on our schedule for the season. Visit us at www.WestminsterFarmersMarket.com. We are looking for an individual who is willing to implement SNAP benefits with an EBT machine. The latest stats are that 15% of students within our school are getting free and reduced lunch. A SNAP program at the market will go a long way in helping families obtain the healthy food they need.

Maple Heights Farm…

Due to graduation requirements at Oakmont, we will be leaving the market around 6:00 this week, so please plan accordingly. And we hope to see you there.

 

 
 

Westminater Farmers' Market Report for 05-21-2010

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Too Busy To Cook?

The Westminster Farmers’ Market is now open for the season! We not only have all the vendors that you remember from last year, but we also have some new vendors that you will want to meet! You can find an incredible assortment of plants for your garden (vegetables and ornamentals) as well as overflowing baskets of greens that you can pick and eat when you get home. You cannot get any fresher than that! Don’t forget that it is rhubarb season and you DO NOT want to miss this fresh, local treat. Asparagus is also available, along with beautiful bouquets of fragrant lilacs! Come early because some of these products run out early.

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 04-23-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Opening Day is Upon Us…

The Westminster Farmers’ Market will be opening on Friday, May 7th! Come and enjoy the festivities, shop for your dinner, visit with friends and neighbors and relax! For our opening day, we will be giving away compost for your garden. Bring a bucket and take home some of this “black gold” that will give your plants the healthy start that they need! And for the really good stuff, expect to find local meats, cheeses, eggs, artisan breads, desserts and confections in the market on opening day!

Busking Opportunities in Westminster…

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 04-09-10

You Are Making a Difference…

The Westminster Farmers’ Market will be opening on Friday, May 7th! Watch this space and our website for information about a free give-away in the month of May. We already have 20 vendors signed up and I have heard rumors that we will have plenty of asparagus very early in the season! In addition, you will find local meats, cheeses, eggs, artisan breads, and confections. Stop by for a cup of locally roasted coffee and catch up with your friends and neighbors while shopping for the healthiest food available. Try THAT at your big box grocery store!

Dean and Debbie Johnson, along with Ann Patsis, set up a Farmers’ Market table at the Young Children’s Festival a few weeks ago. You can read about it here on our blog!

You may have seen us at the Mount Wachusett Community College Health and Fitness Fair, also a few weeks ago! The fair was well attended and our Farmers’ Market table did attract a lot of attention. I can tell EVERYONE is hungry for fresh garden products this year!

You Are Making a Difference…

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 03-26-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Don’t Miss This Incredible Opportunity to Vote for Healthy Food!

Mass Local food orders are now open and they will be closing on March 29th. The next delivery day is April 2nd with pickups in Westminster, Holden, Sterling and Berlin.

Voting by Choice, Your Vote Counts at the Grocery Store…

So, most of us want better food. Better quality, better taste, better nutrition. It all seems like David and Goliath sometimes as we are just one person, one family, one community and cannot be heard, right? While this true at some level and can be very overwhelming, it is not exactly the whole story. The rest of the story is this: food producers produce what you will buy. That’s it. If you won’t buy it, they won’t produce it. You can make a statement every time you shop. We saw this very clearly when Monsanto stopped producing rBGH (genetically modified growth hormone) because you voted for milk from cows that didn’t receive it (note that another company still produces it, but many dairies have stopped using it). Sure, it took a while, but look how far we have come!

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 03-12-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Take up your Forks! You Can Now Begin Eating Seasonally in the Wachusett Region!

Seasonal Maple Syrup: Your Vote Counts! Vote for Local!

Our maple syrup producers are in full production! Look around you: taps are set everywhere, blue tubing running from tree to tree, metal pails hanging on the sides of trees; on my street alone (West Princeton) we have three syrup operations! Driving a bit further on Worcester Road, I see another! Forget those robins; this is really our first sign of spring! So vote local by committing to our own Wachusett Region Maple Syrup! Visit www.WachusettLocal.com where I will attempt to keep an updated list of local food producers. There, you will find the Maple producers that I know about in this area.

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 02-26-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Cooking on the Edge: Pig’s Feet and Chicken Toes, Oh My!

Westminster Farmers’ Market has a new website…

We have a new (somewhat preliminary) website for the Westminster Farmers’ Market. Visit for ideas on how you can help the farmers’ market, participate as a vendor, or get information on our schedule for the season. Visit us at www.WestminsterFarmersMarket.com. Google us too, by clicking here. This will help us bubble up to the top of the search page (as of now, we are listed at the bottom of the first page).

Cooking on the Edge…

Because of our farm, we have some foods in our house that are out there on the fringe. We have an oxtail or two, pig’s feet, organ meats, and perhaps strangest of all, during the last chicken processing day and because my children’s favorite meals seem to revolve around our healthy broths (and because Julia Child and Weston A. Price tell me I can do this, and I know the nutritional value of homemade broth), I requested that they save a few chicken feet for me. Now, I know that puts me way out on the edge of strange, right along with the contents of my freezer, but I assure you, I wasn’t always like this.

 

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 02-12-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Super Size Me and My Garden

Come see Super Size Me with me…

This Friday, February 12th, there will be a showing of Super Size Me at the office of Dr. Linda Smith and Associates. This is an interesting movie about a month long journey of one person eating nothing but food from McDonald’s. This free evening promises to be enjoyable with comfortable seating, a room filled with people that are interested in food, great discussions and refreshments. The movie will be at 2 Narrows Road in Westminster, Suite 101A. I hope to see you there!

My Seed Starting progresses...

While we await the warm weather, spring has started in my sunny window

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 01-29-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Football and Valentines

Orders for Mass Local Food are now open…

Orders for Mass Local Food are open until midnight on February 1st with the delivery day to follow on Friday in Westminster at the Leominster road Farmers’ Coop building. Note that we also have pickup sites in Berlin, Sterling, and Holden. I’m placing my order which will include many locally produced items. But I’m dreaming of my lunch on Saturday which will include half a ginger scone and a pear that is ready to eat and is as sweet and juicy as any fruit you ate in August. I don’t hide food from my family as a general rule – not even the chocolate chips (though I’m tempted with baking powder – an ongoing story for another day), but, even though I have ordered 12 pears, I will be lucky to get even one! Last month I cut one in half (my first one even though I have ordered

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 01-15-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Five Months on One Tank of Oil?  We Can Hope…

 

Come see Food, Inc. with me…

…and you will be able to choose another reason or two (out of three or four) to shop at our Westminster Farmers’ Market and Mass Local Food!  This Friday, January 15th, there will be a showing of Food, Inc. at the office of Dr. Linda Smith and Associates.  I saw this movie over the Christmas break and it is really well done and definitely worth seeing (and if you’ve seen it, you know it is worth seeing again).  To be able to view this in a group setting is fantastic because it is a movie that evokes discussion!  I have heard it said that you shouldn’t plan to go out to eat after seeing this movie, and I didn’t get that feeling, but I think I have read EVERY book written by EVERY author that was interviewed for this movie, so it held no surprises for me.  Still, there was an interesting sub-story or two within the movie that really got me thinking… 

 

This movie is free.  I plan to attend and I’m already thinking of what I might donate to the (optional) refreshments table…  The movie will be at 2 Narrows Road in Westminster, Suite 101A.  I hope to see you there! 

 

A trip to King Arthur Flour:

Over the Christmas Holidays, Gwen Farley, Carol McGee and I took the day off from family life and headed up to Vermont to King Arthur flour.  We signed up for a class on baking using whole grains.  It was a great experience.  The class was about four hours in length and we picked up loads of tips to improve our baking.  Between the three of us we have a lot of experience, baking about 15 or 20 loaves of bread each week (co

 

mbined), yet as soon as the class started we were all learning new tips and tricks! During the class, we made the following:

Spice Cake  The recipe we used was modified as follows: 2/3 cup of sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, and reduce the oil to 2 T.  All in all, not bad for a snack cake.  My children loved this cake, I didn’t care for it, but I only tried the instructor’s cake and I think it wasn’t mixed as well as it should have been. 

Whole Grain 5 seed bread  This is similar to a five seed braid that we made in class.  This loaf is absolutely delicious.  I made it yesterday for my family.  By the time lunch was over (for Russell and I) most of the loaf was gone.  Russell ate five pieces and our normally very well behaved dog snatched 2 more pieces from Russell.  I can’t think of too many times our dog has snatched food so I have to guess that the bread was too good for her to pass up.  It may be because we decided to eat on the floor by the fire – but the dog loved the bread, too!  The recipe we made in class was sugar-free.  I used two tablespoons of brown sugar. 

Multi-seed crackerbread, for which I cannot find a comparable recipe.  This was so much fun to make and delicious to eat.  I really enjoyed these with fresh goat cheese from Capri.  When I came home we experimented with the cheddar cheese crackers.  These were delicious and were gobbled up in short order – even by my cheese-hater (whose favorite food is pizza).

 

The class was great fun and a welcome day away with good friends.  I think we will make it a holiday tradition!  One word of caution if you try these or any King Arthur recipes.  They are based on a cup of whole wheat flour weighing four ounces – which is VERY light.  All purpose flour (for their recipes) weighs 4.25 ounces per cup.  I always weigh my flour rather than measure it at home, but these weights are much lighter than what will work in many of my own recipes.  For the whole grain 5-seed bread, definitely lightly sprinkle the flour into the cup until it is piled to the top, then even it up with a knife.  Do not scoop the flour for these recipes.  Better yet, weigh it if you have a small kitchen scale.  It is worth this slight extra attention, especially for the whole grain seed bread!

 

One other interesting event from the class.  The instructor passed around a “rancid” batch of whole wheat flour.  Everyone in the class smelled it and most of the students felt that that is what whole wheat flour is supposed to smell like!  Interesting!  I have been using whole wheat flour from Four Star Farms in Northfield.  I gave it the sniff test.  It actually smells sweet with absolutely NO TRACE at all of the sharp smell of some whole wheat flours.  Of course, it was just milled 5 days ago!  This is a worthwhile addition to your pantry.  Although it is more expensive than what are used to at the grocery store ($2.00 per pound instead of $.50), your family just may give up nutritionally bankrupt white bread forever – and that alone is worth it!  Even through my Yankee Frugality I can see that cheap is not always the best value.  I would rather cut that thirty cents out somewhere else and give my family the best – not that I actually slice and dice my food bill to this extent!

 

The Hertel, one-tank-of-oil project…

We are doing well with our tank of oil.  I filled my tank on November 13th making the assumption that the price would be higher as winter got under way.  I was going to top-off the tank around December 21st in order to start the winter with a full tank and see how long I could make it last.  I never did top it up in December.  So, we are now two months into this tank of oil.  The gauge on the tank is exactly half way between ½ full and ¾ full.  I don’t know exactly what this means because the gauge is this red floaty thing that is about 3/8 inch thick.  I don’t know if I need to look at the top or the bottom or the middle of the floaty thing.  Either way, it looks like I’ll still be above (or at) ½ tank by January 21st (about 2 months and 1 week after filling the tank).  I’m estimating we will make it at least to the beginning of April before we need to consider refilling!  That is about 4.5 months on one tank of oil.  I’m pretty happy with that considering the weather.  Although we haven’t had many dreadfully cold days, we have had constantly cold days and I’m sure we are all looking forward to Friday when we will be reminded of how WARM a 35 degree day is!

 

In November, I estimated that I would need to run the central heat (radiant floor heat and hydro-air) if it gets below 20 degrees with a westerly wind or at 10 degrees no matter how much the wind blows.  As it is now, we have only turned on the heat for less than one hour so far this winter!  Andy turned it on in one of our upstairs rooms, I turned it off.  He mumbled something about freezing pipes in the attic, but the house was not cold enough to freeze them (and we do have antifreeze in the pipes).  As I sit here now it is about 68 degrees with two wood stoves running (one in the basement and one on the first floor).  This is pretty constant for the temperature of the main part of the house during the day.  It is a bit warmer in the evening when Andy stokes the fire with more skill than the rest of us possess and it is a bit colder in the morning as the fires burn down.  The kids bedrooms are colder than 68, probably closer to 60 degrees but they have warm bedding and would probably be too warm at 68 degrees anyways.  They also occasionally use a hot water bottle to pre-heat their beds before crawling in (try it!  This is probably an enormous energy saver over all!)  Our bedroom thermostat is set at 50 degrees but the room stays warm enough that the gas fireplace has turned on only few times this winter.  Note that I do keep a heavy sleeping bag weighted against two exterior doors that should have the weather stripping upgraded.  Without this extra “insulation” (sleeping bag) we would probably be using the central heat from time to time. 

 

I continue to run the furnace in the evening for one cycle (which we are only using for hot water).  This gives us enough hot water for one run of the dishwasher (all we need), water for cleaning up, and showers for everyone.  If we don’t use up all the hot water, it stays warm until evening (probably longer but we reheat it after supper anyways).  I have yet to figure out if it is more efficient to run the furnace all the time, or just once per day.  But, my genius brother in law is going to solve this for me.  He is going to wire an analog clock to my furnace which will run only when the furnace runs.  At the end of the day and the end of the week, we will know for how long the furnace runs.  We will test this by leaving the furnace on for a full day and also by running it just for one cycle for a day, then comparing the results and rerun the test, but for a week at a time.  I’m really curious about his one! 

 

Well, the Fed-Ex truck just delivered a new motherboard for my refrigerator (which has been out of commission for almost a week while I try to guess at the problem – I’m very thankful for the internet!).  I’m off to swap that out to see if we can get this thing cold again!  Wish me luck, as all this oil savings isn’t going to amount to much if I’m facing the purchase of a new refrigerator!!

 

Gardening Year 2010:

I am wondering if anyone is interested in swapping any interesting cherry tomatoes with me?  Perhaps four seeds from your interesting cherry tomatoes for four seeds of mine?  I like to grow interesting colors and shapes of cherry tomatoes because they are more fun for my children and I think it is a great way for them to get a bit more interested in the garden and in the food that they eat.  They are also great as little snacks for school in September.  This year, I have ordered the following:

Chocolate Cherry

Sweet Million Hybrid

Golden Gem

Jenny Hybrid

Juliet – not really a cherry, but a beauty that will make any gardener feel like a professional.  Use in salad, cooking, or dry them for the winter!

 

Maple Heights Farm:

At Maple Heights Farm, we are well stocked with meat.  Our products are available either through Mass Local Food or by pre-ordering by email.  You can see our complete inventory on our website.

 

We still have some calendars available that will get you started on vegetable gardening in 2010!  You can now order online!

 

Kerrie Hertel   

mapleHeightsFarm@verizon.net

www.mapleheightsfarm.com

 

 

 

 

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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 01-01-10

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

Time to Start Planning your 2010 Vegetable Garden…

Mass Local Food is still taking orders and will be until January 4th.  Take a look at all the new products  which include yogurt, locally grown whole grains, Smith’s Country Cheese, organic fair trade coffee, and a wide variety of meats. 

I’m sorry Mr. G...

Time for a change: January 1st is here and you may want to consider resolving to support our local economy in any way you can.  This is something I will be doing more of as the year progresses and I was reminded of WHY it is so important last week.  I needed some balloon animal type of balloons this week because our daughter only got about 150 for Christmas and due to a little boredom and a lot of creativity, they were used up in short order.  I felt a little sad because I knew that I could have gone to Mr. G’s party center and purchased high quality, fresh (yes, they must not be old) balloons for our balloon twisting attempts.  But..  I helped put them out of business a few years ago.  They moved to a slightly less convenient location, and then iParty moved in a quarter of a mile closer to the highway making iParty slightly more convenient.  I don’t have a lot of party needs but sometimes I needed special items: cheap magic tricks for favors for a magic party, the occasional junky specialty items, great food coloring to make a John Deere tractor birthday cake, and really good, fresh balloons.  A few times I went to iParty instead.  Now Mr. G’s is no more!  I miss the store.  I liked it better than iParty.  The employees could always help me find what I needed and they were always very helpful.  And they were local.  I could have been spending my money to benefit our local economy (granted a very small amount of money, but some nonetheless).  For the upcoming year, I will scrutinize my purchases a bit more and seek out items from local merchants, first in town and then in our region.  And I will try to do my part to help keep our local businesses viable.

Time to start a few seeds…

Seed catalogs are filling my mailbox and I am trying to control my plans for the upcoming year.  This is hard for me to do because I everything looks so easy in January – in May and June, I find that this is not entirely the case.  Anyways, I have ordered plenty of new seeds to add to my existing collection from last year.  As soon as they arrive (hopefully next week), I will be starting globe artichokes and geraniums.  I start many of my own seeds in a cool room, supplemented by two florescent grow lights (four long bulbs).  I use wood ash to head off damping off, and I use a small amount of kelp and eggshells for fertilizer.  This year I plan to do more and may hang two more lights beneath the existing table.  I’ll put these on chains that I can raise as the plants grow.  That will double my seed starting space.  I have never tried artichokes or geraniums before.  I’m trying the artichokes because I like to try something new every year (last year – okra) and geraniums because I like them and want about 20 for my porch and garden and I *think* I can grow them.  I’m waiting for my seeds to arrive and I see that my credit card has been charged so I hope they are on the way!  I have discovered overall that Fedco is a great place to shop for seeds.  I was able to purchase much more than I could from any other place for my budget of $40.  They did not have EVERYTHING that I wanted, but their seeds are cheap enough that I can even try starting some wave petunias (something else I have never grown).  Many of their seed packets are less than half the price of the more commonly known seed houses.  Falstaff Brussels Sprouts range from $2.75 to $3.75 per packet at the popular seed houses, but at Fedco, $1.10.  These kinds of prices allow me to start several varieties of certain vegetables and save the remaining seeds for next year.

Gardening Books:   I just ordered from the library…

·        The well-tended perennial garden

·        Gaia’s garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture

·        Garden Way’s joy of gardening

·        The garden primer

·        Monticello

·        Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

·        Meet Thomas Jefferson

·        Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book

Two of the Jefferson Books are children’s books, one a picture book and one from a children’s biography series (which I find to be very interesting, informative, and fun to read).  One is a coffee-table type picture book. 

In addition to these, I was given the new edition of “The Square Foot Gardener” for Christmas.  This is an excellent book and should be read by everyone, especially those of you that think growing a few vegetables is too much work!  In addition to “The Square Foot Gardener”, Bob Thomson’s “The New Victory Garden” is a must read!  I read it every year and then again month by month through the gardening season!  I’ll keep you up to date on any other “must read” books that I come across!

I’m wondering if you can provide some information to me…

Vegetable gardening:

What are you planning for a vegetable garden this year?

Are you interested in information on vegetable gardening in your backyard?  Perhaps demonstrations and/or presentations?

What kind of information do you need about vegetable gardening? 

Farmers’ Market:

Have you ever wondered about selling food items at the farmers’ market?  It really is fun and we try to make it as easy as possible (we have wonderful support from our Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, and our farmers’ market).  We (the Agricultural Commission) will be holding several “seminars” over the winter for vendors.  Do you have any areas of interest?  We will be discussing “collecting sales tax”, “board of health issues” and other such things.  Is there anything else you are interested in learning?

Do you have any great gardening books that you can recommend to me?

Maple Heights Farm:

At Maple Heights Farm, we are well stocked with meat.  Our products are available either through Mass Local Food or by pre-ordering by email.  You can see our complete inventory on our website.

We still have some calendars available that will get you started on vegetable gardening in 2010!  Email for more information or to order…

Kerrie Hertel   

mapleHeightsFarm@verizon.net

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