The Farm in March

What’s going on at the farm now that we’re on the cusp of spring? This season finds us boiling maple sap, birthing babies and harvesting greenhouse greens. Potted wheat grass and mesclun mixed greens in 1/4 and 1/2 lb bags are available for purchase.

Lynda boiling the sap into sugar, March 2013. Photo by me.

Lynda boiling the sap into sugar, March 2013. Photo by me.

The sap in a sugar maple tree begins to run when the nights are still cold and the days are warm. (Sugaring season ends when warm weather moves in consistently and the energy of the tree is directed to flowering.) This year’s late March has been ideal for sap running and collecting. The Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) collects syrup from maples all around the community by tapping the tree and hanging buckets from the tap. As of March 22nd, we have collected 5,000 gallons of sap. The sap is hand-collected by volunteers and staff and transported back to our tiny sugar shack, where we boil it down into maple syrup. Our boiler is run by wood stove heat. The sugar shack fills with sweet steam, to the delight of the noses and skin of anyone inside.

I highly recommend taking a sugar tour if you live in the area. Tours are reservation-only and will run Monday- Saturday until March 29th. Times include M-F 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM 1:30 PM or 3:30 PM; Saturdays @ 9:30 AM or 11:00 AM. The price is $7/person (no charge for babies on back). Call the Farm at 508-907-6019 to check on availability and if you’re interested in volunteering.

Phot credit: Trish Umbrell

Phot credit: Trish Umbrell

We have 2 sets of piglets, born a couple of weeks apart. The first photo is from NCOF and shows the first drove of piglets pounding their way through the barn. They have free reign over the farm so expect them anywhere. If you visit the farm, make sure they’re no where near you when you move your car! The second photo is of the second litter on their second day on earth. Photo credit goes to Patti Luke. Welcome piggies!

Finally, we have the story of Patrick, the new kid at NCOF. He was born unresponsive at 8 am on March 17th, with a curved spine and foreshortened front legs. At the board meeting later that day, members discussed the budget and planning as they passed around Patrick, bottle feeding him and massaging his spine straight. By the end of the day, he stood on shaky legs and his insides working regularly. Below is a photo of him during the farm meeting and a photo of him the next day, already looking better. Good luck, kid.

Photo credit: Patti Luke

Photo credit: Patti Luke

Photo credit: NCOF

Photo credit: NCOF