The Teen Ag Crew and dairy apprentices helped move square bales last week
Welcome to the Wolfe's Neck Farm Teen Ag and CSA share newsletter, written by the Teen Ag Crew members. This weekly newsletter provides information about what produce you can look forward to receiving in your CSA share, a recipe or two, and any bits of information we think you might find interesting.

Thank you so much for your support of this program. Enjoy!  
CSA Pickup Day Details
Tomorrow is CSA Pickup Day! Please remember to return your baskets at each weekly pick up.

CSA pickups will occur on  Thursdays from 3:00-5:30 PM . If you need to pick up your share after 5:30 PM, it will be accessible in the refrigerator at the
Farm Stand. If you need to pick up early on a CSA day, please contact Richard at teenag@wolfesneckfarm.org at least 24 hours in advance.
This Week's Basket

The produce in this week's basket includes:
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Head lettuce
  • Kale
  • Beets

Field Trip to Unity's Agricultural Projects
By Liane Rolls, Teen Ag crew member

Our second field trip of the season brought us to Unity, Maine, where its agricultural presence was made apparent by swiss chard and kale growing in the road medians. Our first stop was the Maine Heritage Apple Orchard, a beautiful stretch of land that had once been a sand pit. Once unusable, the land is now making its slow transition back to arable soil, thanks to many volunteers and three determined young adults working on this heirloom orchard project. Throughout the uneven landscape there are almost 300 apple trees, all unique, all different. Although the trees are small at the moment, they will eventually produce different apples. This practice of orchard growing is unique in and of itself: there were no neat rows and freshly mowed grass. The grasses and wildflowers are allowed to grow tall to attract pollinators that will eventually help produce apples. 
 
The second stop on our trip was a tour of Veggies for All, a program of Maine Farmland Trust.  The program dedicates 30,000 pounds of produce a year for food pantries in the Unity area. On the Unity College campus are two plots, but there are also multiple fields scattered throughout Unity that contribute to the food pantry. After we helped weed carrots and beets, we stopped at a potato plot miraculously untouched by Colorado Potato Beetles. Next, a cabbage plot, perfectly purple, ringed with electric fencing and peanut butter to train the deer away. Finally we visited the food pantry distribution center, where families come to pick up their boxes of food. This food pantry not only serves 750 families, but they also distribute to other pantries in the area, accounting an additional 750 families and serving over 1,500 in total. 
 
These places are inspiring. They offer a fresh look at polyculture and its benefits to people and the land. 

Update from the Orchard
Tom, Richard, and Allie planting a fruit tree in late spring
In May of this past spring, thanks to the contributions of a Harvard Pilgrim grant and ReTreeUS, we were able to start an orchard up by the Banter House at the corner of Burnett Road and expand fruit production up in the Teen Ag field.  We planted 30 large peach and apple trees on the Banter House hill with the help of students from Fryeburg Academy in May.
Maya helping to put fencing around a tree

In the Teen Ag Field, we have planted 50+ native beach plum trees and 30+ dwarf apple trees hand-grafted by Teen Ag crew member Liane and Coordinator, Richard.  These dwarf apple trees will be grown on a trellis, like grapes, demonstrating high-density fruit production. We have also planted 100 raspberry, 21 high bush blueberry and 1050 strawberry plants up in the Teen Ag plot.
 
Last week, we revisited the Banter House orchard to set up fencing around each tree in order to keep the deer out. 

Recipe: Veggie Slaw
 
Ingredients (serves 5):

3 beets, scrubbed and peeled (not cooked)
3 turnips
8 oz snap peas
1 fennel bulb
6 carrots
4 oz feta   

Dressing:
Juice of two lemons
1/4 cup EVOO
2 tbs honey
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Shred beets, turnips and carrots and place in bowl. Halve the snap peas and add to bowl, then incorporate fennel. In a separate bowl, whisk dressing ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour dressing over veggie mixture and mix in feta.

Tom Talk: Why We Cover Crop
In last week's Tom Talk I briefly touched on cover cropping as a means of weed management. This week we will dive into cover cropping and all of its benefits.

A cover crop is a non cash crop planted on ground not being utilized for vegetable production. 
Leaving bare ground or "tillage" in your field puts you at risk for weeds germinating and going to seed, as well as top soil erosion in the event of rain. As we expand production up in the field, we do an entire growing season of cover cropping on the new section to aid with weed pressure. We plant fast growing buckwheat, which smothers the weeds and attracts a bevy of pollinators and beneficial predatory insects.

In addition to weed control, cover crops have a variety of benefits, depending on which crop you 
go with. For instance, we have a perimeter of Sudan grass on the edge of the field. This grass will grow 6 feet tall, acting as a wind break while also sending down deep roots to break of soil compaction. We plan to plant a cover of purple topped turnips and daikon radishes in a compacted section of the field.

Later, the lambs can graze over the crop and eat the tops, leaving behind a free fertilizer for us to use. A crop of field peas, mixed with a crop of oats is planned for late summer. This tandem crop will grow together and serve multiple purposes. The peas will quickly smother weeds, attract pollinators with its flowers, and will "fix nitrogen" in the soil. To "fix nitrogen" means it will make nitrogen available in the soil that is not readily available. The oats will help smother the weeds while sending down deep roots to break up compaction and improve drainage. Cover crops are more than just ground cover, it's sustainable agriculture in action! 
 
Thank you for taking part in our CSA for the summer! We hope you will enjoy what our vegetable plots have to offer. Stay tuned for weekly updates from your Wolfe's Neck Farm Teen Ag Crew.