There is another big weekend underway at Volante’s.
In the Greenhouse
This year for Earth Day, give a little something back to your Earth on a literally local level. Find out what your yard needs to help it thrive in the coming year.
This Saturday from 10-3 we will be offering free soil testing to customers. Please bring in 1 or 2 samples from your lawn or garden and allow our friend, John Howell of the New England Vegetable and Berry Grower’s Association,
to help you whip your soil into something more than just dirt. A cup of dry soil will be enough for him to tell you where you stand and how your plants can stand taller, greener, and stronger.
In the Farmstand
Also thought you might be interested in some Homegrown produce news. We have brought three crates of baby kale into the kitchen this week, destined for ravioli and sandwiches it sounded like. The kale had over-wintered in the fields and thanks to the mild spring gave a good growth spurt before bolting to seed. In the same vein we are chasing many of last year’s scallions around the field, before the plow turns them under or they go to seed. Which means Homegrown Scallions on the stand this weekend, while supplies last.
But perhaps the hottest news to hit the farm, and as yet unconfirmed, is the rumor that Homegrown Asparagus will be making an appearance. I know, we told you it would be another year still, but the plants seem well established and are putting up some pretty massive shoots. So, we are going to pick sparingly over the next few weeks and hopefully you will be among the first to try our newest crop.
In the Field
This week we were able to get corn and beans seeded in the field. Today we were able to cover them and store some of this unseasonable warmth in the soil with them. We also transplanted our first lettuce crop of the year out into the field, and uncovered our strawberries and garlic from their winter mulch beds.
The fields having been so dry, the local wildlife is venturing out more than usual. There are heaps of turtles sunning on logs this spring as the ponds dry up. More noticeable is a rather unafraid coyote that has made a home at our Standish fields. She comes by to say hello almost every time we are over there lately, and well, she could be a little more coy. Neighbors, keep an eye on your little pets! The Blue Herons returned to the pond as well, and the hawks and crows have set up and early residence. Even the salamanders are showing up in the greenhouses, choosing moisture over temperature. Enjoy the gallery of this week’s suburban wildlife below.
To top it off we had to get the irrigation systems going earlier than ever to combat this drought we are in. Weather reports forecast this weekend as having a good chance for some April showers, so get your gardening done early then come back down for a toasty lunch special to enjoy some well deserved rain.
Food Section, Boston Globe
Did you pick up a Boston Globe today? There was a fantastic write-up on Volante’s by Andrea Pyenson talking about the farm’s transformation into its new state. Additionally, there was a recipe by @VolanteFarmChef, Todd, to exhibit his cooking style and highlight some of the great dishes you can make with Volante’s offerings or just as easily pick up here and say you did.
If you’d like to read it now, click on over to Boston.com and give it a look: In Needham, an old farm sprouts new premises. And as always, thanks for making us this successful and giving us the confidence to move forward.
It is also mid April, which means our Spring Gardening Workshops are underway. We had a great workshop on Pruning last weekend with Mike. If you missed it, much of the information covered is available on our Planting Guides page here.
She will talk about the types of plants best suited to attracted these fascinating visitors to your garden and show you what we have in stock now for early visitors and tell you what to keep an eye out for later season blooms.
Also workshop attendees will receive a 10% off coupon to use for their garden shopping this weekend, or lunch, or both!
It has been so long, it seems since I have had a chance to even talk about what has been going on out in the field. Remember that place? That’s right new readers, we actually are a farm that grows its own vegetables. So a few weeks ago, right before we opened, we got peas, beets, and carrots in the ground at our Standish fields. Shortly thereafter we followed with scallions, radish, spinach, chard and parsley at the home field. Plus a few new trials, broccoli raab and summer turnips.
We covered the peas with floating row cover to help push them a little, and lo and behold, despite the dryness, they are sprouting and up above ground! The bare-ground, or not-covered, peas are also up, as are some of the radish and turnips. Our asparagus crop is entering its second year and is starting to poke through a little as well. Rhubarb and mint are coming out of hibernation too.
The best news, we plowed for corn today, and all things timely, will plant first corn tomorrow morning.
Farm Stand Sampling
We had a great week with all of our new and old vendors who stopped by to introduce you to their local products. Just a heads up that this weekend we will continue to bring in friends with free food for you to try. If you want to schedule your snacking more accurately, like us on Facebook, where we update happenings most rapidly. Hint for this weekend: Bacon.
So just a few days into operation, we are pleased to realize we get to be part of your family traditions in a whole new way. Volantes has often been open around Easter so that those who wanted flowers and lilies could get them. Now, with our year-round Farmstand, fresh and local foods are ready for your spring family table as well. Consider starting a new tradition this year by shopping with us for your Spring holiday.
The Farmstand has brought in some traditional, though new to us, foods to help you set your table this holiday: kohlrabi,
sunchokes, and fresh horseradish included.
In our new Farm Kitchen, Todd is pleased to present his Passover menu for this year. He has been honing these dishes for years, to exemplify the tastes and traditions you are looking for on your holiday table.
While your holiday table may depend on that certain dish that mom can make just right, consider how helpful it will be if all those side dishes are already taken care of.
The Farm Kitchen is stocked with plenty of prepared, ready to heat and serve entrees, vegetables, and sides to completely outfit your table. Pick them up in the refrigerated case closest to the deli. These dishes are not Kosher, but do try to adhere to the taste and tradition you are looking for. Plus, Todd loves hearing your thoughts so give these a shot and be sure to let him know what you think.
The Farmstand, Kitchen, and Greenhouse will be open 8-7 Monday-Friday, 8-6 Saturday, and closed Easter Sunday. Stop in and see the new place, and pick up ingredients for dinner, a meal ready to go, a sweet bakery dessert, and/or a lovely white Easter Lily or potted flowering hostess gift for the meal you head to this weekend.
After a very long winter, a long year of adjustments and compromises, and years in the planning, the new farmstand was ready to open on schedule this Saturday! Encompassing a seasonal garden center, produce market, local-centric grocery, bakery, deli and prepared food kitchen, and flanked by a state of the art greenhouse offering home-grown annuals and locally hardy perennials, Volante Farms has transformed into a destination shopping spot for the next era.
Many thanks go to the many customers, local and state officials, employees and their families, and contractors who helped keep us operating through construction and helped ensure that everything stayed on track.
Saturday’s opening was an unqualified success. The enthusiasm that you, our customers, brought pouring through the doors all day was wonderful. Thank you for your kind words of support and helpful suggestions to continue to enhance your experience at the farm.
The coming days and weeks will continue to bring enhancements and improvements as finishing touches and refinements come together. This is a work in progress and we will adjust to our and your needs as they become apparent.
These first week we will have many of our new and old vendors sampling their wares to help you familiarize yourselves with these exciting local products.
And as gardening season gets under way expect another great series of spring workshops in our greenhouse.
Our new regular hours of 8-6 on weekends and 8-7 during the week will give you even more hours in the day to shop with us, so please take advantage of them.