Seriously, if you follow me at all. you know I’m all about the food. I like to find it, buy it, prepare it, and, yes, eat it. I also like to make a gift of it. And Brothers Market is a place where the people like their food even more than I do. They care about the best sourcing, pricing and the best quality products and they want to know what people want – so, we as the consumers, get all the benefit of their hyper focused work. Already a win. Then you get to the store (any of their stores), and it is warm, welcoming and inviting – just like everyone who works there. I have seen every employee pitch in during a rush – people from all different departments and all areas of responsibility in the store, man the registers or gift wrap station or bag groceries.
I have been to hosted blogger events in both Medfield and the newly renovated Weston Market. Their stores have great food, customer service, and my fave, coffee bars with great seating. We were there to sample some of their delicious prepared food – I know, tough work if you can get it.
This Butternut Squash recipe is easily a new family favorite. Make it for your family, bring it as a side dish, for your next pot luck. You will be very popular. I should know. I use food to make friends all the time.
Natick Community Organic Farm and Brothers Marketplace
Yesterday we spent a beautiful summer day with family and blogging friends at Natick Community Organic Farm. Brothers Marketplace hosted a lunch at the farm to celebrate their connection to local food and farms, and it was wonderful to get a tour of a working, local, and sustainable farm. While we had visited the farm before, and I knew they had a great camp program, I didn’t know that they have a year round farm stand, organic turkeys at Thanksgiving, and chicken coops that you can rent by the week. And everyone there was friendly, incredibly dedicated and passionate about this bucolic oasis which is about as far away from my house as Boston is, but entirely a world away.
We started the tour in the fantastic flower garden. The entire farm is organic and these beautiful blooms are available at the farm stand and both Brothers Marketplace locations (Medfield and Weston).
Next we visited the chickens, pigs, turkeys and cows. The pigs were snoozing in the heat and we learned how all parts of the farm work together from leftover staff lunches and flowers being used as feed for the animals to the making of and use of compost. Now my family wants to be on the list to buy a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.
Here are the turkey facts:
NCOF raises 175 turkeys every year.
They are fed organic grains from their day of hatching and allowed to roam and graze on the Farm’s organic pastures.
Dressed turkeys weigh between 16 and 35 pounds.
Turkeys will cost $4.75 pound, based on the cost of organic grain this year. They are sold fresh.
And chicken coops (chickens included) can be yours for a week or more. What a great family activity! The farm delivers the coop, and you get fresh eggs (okay, there is some work involved in the caring of the chickens). You can download more info about the fantastically named chicken tractor here.
After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the chefs at Brothers Marketplace, and everything was made with farm fresh ingredients, and a gorgeous fresh mozzarella (made that morning) in the tomato salad.
We also got to see a demonstration of making mozzarella cheese – check out Stowed Stuff for the complete video.
I have been a fan of the Brothers Marketplace stores for a while now and I’m happy to share with you a $25 gift card. Just share in the comments below – What is your favorite local summer treat?
So Eat, Drink and Be Local – Head to Brothers Marketplace (Medfield or Weston) for great, fresh, local food that supports local farms and manufacturers.
Natick Community Organic Farm is a nonprofit, certified-organic farm providing productive open space, farm products, and hands-on education to all ages, year-round. Committed to farming methods that are ecologically healthy and sustainable, the Farm places special emphasis on service to youth through year-round classes, work-experience programs and volunteer opportunities for workingthe land. NCOF is open to the public daily during daylight hours with no admission fee for visits and purchases. http://www.natickfarm.org. Follow on Twitter @natickfarm
Summertime…Or, Oops I forgot to sign up for camp! While most of you have camps already in progress, you just might be looking to fill in an odd week here or there. There are still tons of options – not to worry!
Campseekers makes summer scheduling easier by giving parents a targeted list of summer camp sessions that meet specific criteria.
You can search for camp by location, date and camp type (i.e. sports) to find camp sessions that meet specific criteria – you can then filter by activity (i.e. soccer) or age to find the camp sessions that best fit their summer goals.
Currently, Campseekers includes approximately 250 camps representing close to 10,000 sessions in the greater Boston area. It is completely free to become a member of Campseekers.
Our family has loved this camp for many years. Low-key, educational, fun and in the dirt. What could be better? From the site:Kids learn about gardening and farm ecosytems, care for our chickens and rabbits, explore, and create! From kindergarten to high school, our experienced and highly trained educators lead exciting, age appropriate activities all summer long.
From the site:
The Envi Sci program combines fun outdoor activities with learning about the environment. Each year it builds on the “peer education” principle by having the student leaders design, develop, and deliver the materials that the students use. New students are encouraged to return and become leaders in subsequent years, continuing the thread of responsibility for care and teaching about the environment.
A typical activity would be a hike to an area of interest, often in Newton but sometimes elsewhere, such as the Arnold Arboretum. Other activities range from bicycle trips to night walks for learning about nocturnal wildlife. We go on a 12-mile canoe trip on the Charles River, and we take water samples to report on the water quality. The learning materials for each day may cover ecology, geology, botany, pollution issues, or other areas that the student leaders select.
Each year there is an environmental cleanup project in which participants get hands-on involvement with improving an environmental sit
This summer has been full of surprises, not all good, like the blue green algae on the Charles that cancelled my daughter’s sailing classes (okay, postponed them). On short notice, she needed a Plan B. Enter Teenlife.com (a great resource we have used time and again) and I pulled up a link to Land’s Sake (another family favorite for pick your own flowers, berries and veggies).
The Green Power Summer Youth Program at Land’s Sake farm is focused on learning about sustainable agriculture, food justice, and community through hard work. This work includes weeding, planting and harvesting on our organic farm, leading farm tours, maintaining our education garden, community service and cooking a community meal. In addition to being a great learning opportunity, Green Power teaches the value of meaningful work by giving participants the chance to earn a stipend from the work they do at the farm. Join Land’s Sake and work hard while having fun!
Here is the dirt (pun intended) from the first teen’s week.
Monday: The teens got to know each other, learned about taking care of small animals (goats and chickens), and harvested part of the garlic crop. Messy work. My teen was covered with a soft brown dusting of dirt and really happy about it, too. We still have fresh garlic.
Tuesday: The group traveled to Jamaica Plain to Community Servings to help prepare meals for chronic and critically ill patients and their families. Land’s Sake farmers donated collard greens which were packaged that day as well. They listened to a podcast of Michael Pollan on NPR on the drive there and back. Did I say I love this camp?
Wednesday (the Fourth of July): They harvested bok choy, peas, and carrots for a CSA to be delivered to low income families through a partnership between Horizons for Homeless Children and Community Servings.
Thursday: They were leaders during the Kid’s Café Program. This program enables kids from Greater Boston Boys and Girls Clubs to come out to the farm. The teen campers took them around the farm – garden, chickens, bees, the magic tree, goats and going for a ride on the bicycle-blender!).
Friday: Chef Ellen Touart-Grob helped to plan, cook, and serve up a delicious farm-inspired meal including Chilled Pea Soup, Fresh Summer Rolls, and Herbed Pop-overs!
Doesn’t this sound wonderful? The program also pays the teens a percentage of the profit from Land’s Sake farm stand based on quality of their work through week. Love that, too.
Teen 2 is going to this camp next and I will fill you in on her week.
I forgot to add that I received a hand-written note in the mail, thanking me for sending my child to the camp from the new Executive Director of Land’s Sake, Ed Barker (and it was on a gorgeous pastel of the beehives of the farm. Really). I wanted to write a thank you note for the thank you note, but you know where that leads. So I will write it here.
Dear Mr. Baker,
As a mom of two teen girls, we have been in some pretty terrific camps over the years, but none so wonderful as the camp at Land’s Sake. The program is thoughtfully planned, wonderfully executed and combines good values, community service, education, work, fresh air and fun.
I have never received a handwritten thank you note from one of them. I applaud your lovely camp program, your wonderful staff, your fantastic farm and your good manners.