Farmily Staff and Alumni Newsletter
July 2016
What's been going on since you last heard from us?
Summer is in full swing!  The Strawberry festival was a huge success, the corn and tomatoes are in, the interns are working like crazy to bring in all the amazing produce and flowers which are the reason we are here!  We are up to 121 staff members (a new record!) and the summer is going pretty smoothly so far, all things considered.  July 4th weekend brought in some record sales and we've had great weather so we hope the trend continues.  Everyone is working their hardest to keep customers happy and we appreciate all the enthusiasm and energy of the team this year.  

Keep up the great work! 
Jay Selby stocking the best corn in the world! 
Bartlett’s Farm Tomatoes!
or All you need to know about GMO, Hybrids and Heirlooms 
~by Andrew Spollett
August on Nantucket means beautiful beach days, the Boston Pops playing at Jetties beach, and of course, Bartlett’s famous field tomatoes!  Our tomatoes truly are a taste of summer on Nantucket, and they are highly prized by our customers.  The combination of sea breeze, our well-drained soil and the farming experience of the Bartlett family combine to produce our great tasting tomatoes. 

The field tomato production is divided into three groups: large red tomatoes, cherries and grapes, and heirloom varieties.  The primary difference between the red tomato varieties and the heirlooms is the method by which they are bred.  All the large red tomatoes we grow are F1 hybrids, or first generation hybrids (remember freshman biology?).  This means that two distinct tomato varieties were crossed - or bred - together, with the offspring exhibiting traits from both varieties.  This breeding technique is utilized by seed companies and agricultural universities to develop new varieties which have superior flavor, shelf-life, disease resistance, and vigor.  These hybrid tomatoes are not genetically modified, rather they are created using breeding techniques that have existed for hundreds of years.  GMO crops actually have their DNA altered in a lab setting, using viruses to vector traits into the plant’s genetic code.  Traditional plant breeding intentionally crosses two varieties together to yield a new variety, utilizing the plant’s natural reproductive functions.

Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated, which makes them inherently different from hybrid tomatoes.  The term “open-pollinated” refers to the natural method of pollination, where insects and weather are responsible for the pollination of flowers.  This means that a plant’s traits are established and maintained over time: rather than crossing two varieties together as with hybrids, open-pollinated tomatoes are stable from generation to generation.  Therefore, seeds from open-pollinated varieties can be saved for next year and the trait of the tomato will be true.  Saving seeds from hybrid tomatoes will not yield the same desirable traits in the next generation. 
My favorite tomatoes that we grow are the Sweet Orange cherry because it has an intense flavor and high acidity.  My favorite red tomato is called Celebrity, which is a medium sized tomato with a beautiful globular shape and deep red flesh and it’s excellent for both eating fresh and making sauce.  I also love the Green Cherokee, Brandywine and Great White heirlooms, which all have very complex flavors.  I use the heirlooms to make Caprese salad with the Maplebrook burrata, Farm-Grown organic basil, and a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  August is prime time for our incredible tomatoes. Try a new variety that you haven’t tasted before and let me know what you think!
Be careful out there!! 
Biking is a great way to get around Nantucket, but as we know first hand, bike accidents happen all the time and as you can see below, 31 bicycle accidents have been reported to the J-1 programs nationwide, including critical injuries and even a death when someone was struck by a car while riding.

We can't stress enough how important it is to wear a helmet, obey the traffic laws and be aware at all times, because drivers near you may not be!

Hello from Nepal! 
Hello Farmily,

David & Rachel here. We are writing from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range in Nepal. We are Peace Corps Volunteers a two-year term in a Food Security Program.
Our job is to integrate into our community (a rural mountain town), observe local agriculture techniques, and then offer our assistance in improving on those techniques.
Our aim is to increase the Food Security of the community by finding interested parties and offering training in permagardening, fruit tree cultivation, beekeeping, and mushroom growing.
The target audience for this program is mothers with children five years old and younger. Over half the districts of Nepal are food insecure leading to stunting and malnutrition in most of the country's children. We will help to combat this trend by offering nutrition and health training to these target mothers.
As with all Peace Corps programs, the idea is we will find active members of the community for these trainings. Those who are receptive to new ideas and willing to train others after our departure. The hope is to create a ripple effect of behavior change leading to nutritious and Food Secure practices throughout the region in which we are stationed.
We miss Nantucket, our friends, and our house, but we know the island will be waiting for us when we return. Thanks for holding down fort!
                                                                                                                                                David & Rachel.
Fabienne Bletry, (middle) from Switzerland, interned with us in 2010 and she came back for a visit over July 4th with her boyfriend, Tobias.  She wanted to show him "where I spent one of the very best summers of my life!"  She is currently working as a florist back home and we are happy they came back to visit on their whirlwind tour of the US. 
In her words...
I'd love to share some pictures and memories from our trip!
First we spent some days up in Boston, what was really nice. Walking through the city and university area, having lunch in the park, drinking something at the waterfront/harbor. And also we went to see the “Blue Man Group'' that was absolutely amazing, they are just so crazy.
Soon Nantucket was calling- still kind of my second home! My boyfriend, Tobias, almost died in that funny small airplane from Boston to ACK because of the turbulences. For me it was cool to sit in the cockpit. As we landed safe on the island we went to downtown. Not much changed, it felt like the time was standing still. In the evening we arrived at our Airbnb- host in Quidnet.   I've never been there, when I worked at Bartlett's so I hadn't had an idea how far out of town- it really is. But you can't imagine how peaceful this area is. The first full day, July 4th, on the island we rode our bikes from Quidnet to Sconset, where we enjoyed the beach and we continued to town to spend the afternoon. Happily, the island is pretty flat so it was easy to get around by bicycles.  Independence day evening we enjoyed far out of town at the beach, where only a couple of small fireworks could be seen but a beautiful sky colored from the sunset.
Unfortunately the next morning it was raining, so we had to wait until it stopped to finally ride down to the farm. There we met Laura, Pete, Hilary and Andrew after 6 years again. I was sooo happy to be back there, when I left the Farmily in 2010 I never expected to get back there again in my life. It was just amazing that I got the chance to be at Bartlett's again, even it was only for a couple hours.
Well, the time to say goodbye to the Farm and to the island came and we flew to New York City. My 3rd time there and I could go again and again. For Tobias it was the first time in NYC and the USA. He was really impressed, standing in the middle of Times Square, which is seen so many times in TV and Newspapers. We walked a lot, but I think that way you get more impressions from the city and you may see things you won't when you take the subway, even it is much more comfortable.
The time ran unbelievably fast so the day came to catch the plane that brings us to Miami. At the hotel we stayed, they no had more standard rooms left, what we actually booked, so we got a free upgrade to a nice suite. Unfortunately only for one night. For the next day we rented a car to drive down to Key West. Even the Route to Key West is beautiful as it is many bridges connecting islands. The town itself is small but very nice. There you really feel like in holiday, as it is closer to Cuba as to Miami. On our day trip to the dry tortugas we went snorkeling and saw many beautiful and less beautiful fishes. It's like paradise there, you won't believe the water color until you saw it. But we learned a lesson, after we came out of the water. Never ever again snorkeling, without wearing at least a t-shirt, better a long sleeve shirt and pants. We got both such a bad sunburn, that the last couple days were more than painful. But we did the best out of this situation and made our way to Florida City, where not much is going on but the Everglades are right next to it. We know that we were there the wrong season to see a lot of wildlife, so the first day we saw lizards, spiders, huge grasshoppers and many mosquitos liked me. The next day we drove to shark valley- what I still do not understand, because there are no sharks. There we were luckier. Already at the beginning of the path we saw 2 baby alligators very close, a little further one more. And we have also seen a big alligator close and one far away. Before we left the park we also saw turtles. (And there were no annoying mosquitos:-)
We had one more day left again in Miami, where we took a sightseeing bus to Miami Beach.
This holiday was absolutely great, and I'll never forget that time. Thank you Laura, Pete, Hilary and Andrew for your time and I'd like to send greetings to Dave and the Farmily.
~ Fabienne Bletry 
Leila Silveira from CAEP has been helping us find great interns for our agricultural and horticultural programs for years. She comes to visit the interns each year at the Farm, but had a good excuse for not making it this year.   Leila welcomed her son, Lucca, to the world this June.  Congratulations to Leila and family! 
We are sad to say goodbye to these sharp dressed men!  Even's Cajuste and Jean "Salomon" are from Haiti and have been interning with us since February 2014 when they started as regular interns.  They returned for an 18 month J-1 Business visa and their Visas are up this month.  Over the past 2 seasons, they have been in charge of the tomato and greens houses and have trained the new interns.   It has been great to see them increase their leaderships skills during their time here.  Both commented that they learned so much during their time here and feel ready for any challenge.   Salomon will head back to Haiti and then hopes to go back to school, perhaps to study Law.  Even's hopes to pursue his Masters Degree in Canada, but is first looking forward to reuniting with his wife and baby daughter.   Will will miss you guys and wish all the best on your next adventure.  Stay in touch!! 
There's a whole Island out there.....
It is now July, almost August which means the farm and the island is at it's busiest. This also means that there are lots of fun cool activities and events happening that you should check out!
To keep up to date on current events and activities, here are a few websites worth keeping in mind! (Click on the blue links, if that wasn't obvious)
The Inquirer & Mirror Events Calendar
I get a lot of my Island news by subscribing to Mahon About Town's newsletter.  It comes out a couple of times a week and is a great way to find out about special events and island happenings, weekend events and even what's showing at the movies! 

Some fun things to check out on island:
Maria Mitchell Science Center has Open Nights at the Observatory.  A great way to explore the night sky on any clear Monday, Wednesday or Friday.  They also have cool field trips, a small aquarium, science museum and a knowledgeable interns. 
Big events: 
August 13 -Boston Pops (see below!)
August 20 - Nantucket Boys and Girls Club Summer Groove at the Boys & Girls Club

On August 13th, the Boston Pops come to Nantucket for an amazing concert at Jetties Beach.  You may think "orchestra music...meh" but these concerts really rock out, plus it's a huge beach party with thousands of people! How fun is that?  This year the guest is Kenny Loggins so you can expect to hear some Footloose.  In addition, the fireworks at the end of the show are better than the 4th of July and you get to see them paired with Patriot music and lots of glow sticks.  Tickets are $50, but unless you get there very early, you'll likely be sitting at the water's edge. 
A great way to see the concert for free (and not be stuck in the water at high tide) is to Volunteer.  They need 400 volunteers at each summer’s Boston Pops on Nantucket! If you’re interested in getting involved (plus a free ticket and concert t-shirt) register online today.  It's great fun to do with a bunch of friends and it supports our only healthcare facility on island. 
Volunteering provides the perfect opportunity for team building and to engage Work & Travel USA students in American culture. To thank you for getting students involved in the community, CIEE will pick four lucky winners and donate $250 to a charity of their choice!  So if you volunteer, be sure to let me know and send pictures! 
Save the Date!!
Our Season-End Party will be a catered affair in the Garden Center
on Thursday, August 18th. 
Not quite the end of the season,
but hopefully before most people leave! 
 Photo Contest!!
Get out your cameras and send us your pictures!
We know our employees are creative and take great photos, and we want you to share!
If you have taken any fun, cool or artistic photos of Staff, the Farm, the Island or the Sunset, please send them to with the subject line
"Photo Contest". If you have several photos, please send them only one or 2 at a time if they are large. Please us Dropbox if you have the ability! 
A panel will judge the top 3 pictures in each category and prizes will be awarded at the End-of-Summer Party and will be seen at the slide show at the same event. They may also be used at the registers, in the Farm Dirt and Facebook if appropriate. Photo credits given where possible. We love to see the Farm through your lens! Send pictures by August 10th. 
Keep sending me your work and/or travel pictures!  
(or letting me steal them from Facebook!)
​especially showing off your Bartlett's gear!
Let us know what you are up to!  Pictures, articles and updates are always welcome from current and alumni Farmily members.  Email