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Waltham Fields Community Farm (incorporated as Community Farms Outreach, Inc.) is a nonprofit farming organization focusing on sustainable food production, fresh food assistance, and on-farm education. For more information about Waltham Fields check out our website!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Notes from the Field: One Thousand Pounds...

... of tomatoes. That's what we picked last Friday. Yellow 'Taxi', 'Orange Blossom', 'Japanese Black Trifele', 'Pruden's Purple', 'Paul Robeson', 'Jet Star', 'Early Girl', 'Cherokee Purple'... the beautiful names, colors and flavors of one of our favorite harvests of the year rolled in all afternoon. It sounds like a cliche, but there's nothing quite like a ripe tomato in August.

... of watermelons. That's about what the coyotes have eaten this week. They began this disturbing behavior last year when it was so dry and they were thirsty. They may have been a little thirsty last week, but with all the puddles of irrigation water around, I think they just have a taste for the melons. They seem to get them just a few days before we would have harvested them; they work at them with their teeth and roll them around until they break off the vine, then claw and bite them until they get them open and completely empty them of juicy, sweet flesh. Then they leave the green rind as a calling card in the field for us to find in the morning. We spent one night last week at the farm in a tent, which was beautiful, in its own way -- and no more watermelons disappeared that night. But even my very understanding family can't spend every night camped by the melons, so we ordered an electric fence and have been making do day by day with huge quantities of chili powder from Patel Brothers on Moody Street. Unfortunately, it seems like our wily friends might have a taste for chili-melon slush (sounds pretty good, actually). We'll see what's left in the morning.

... of food is what we've been taking each week to our Outreach Market, which opened July 13. This market, which takes place not far from Patel Brothers each Tuesday evening until October, is a way for our farm to get our produce directly to the lower-income folks who live nearby. Anyone can come to the market and fill a bag with vegetables for $5. Some pay with cash, some with SNAP, which we began accepting this year thanks to a partnership with the Waltham Farmers' Market. We also partner with many local direct-service organizations to provide vouchers for a free bag to many of their clients. Last week, we gave away a record 72 bags of produce at the market. On July 28, the Boston Globe reported that doctors at Boston Medical Center "are seeing more hungry and dangerously thin young children in the emergency room than at any time in more than a decade of surveying families." One thousand pounds. It's the least we can do.

Enjoy the harvest.

-- Amanda, for Andy, Erinn, Dan, Larisa and Lauren

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