Farmily Staff and Alumni Newsletter
September/October 2015
 
 
 
 
What's been going on since you last heard from us?
 
 
 
 
After a nice "Indian summer" that lasted well into September, Fall has finally arrived! She blew in with full force and enough rain to make up for the dry summer.  Boats were cancelled all weekend and last time I looked there were 254 cars on standby trying to get off island.   It definitely affected several of our interns who were trying to leave and start their travels on the mainland.  This month we said goodbye to the majority of the Agricultural Interns in addition to the many others.  We are now down to 50 Farmily members and have already started recruiting for 2016 so the cycle begins again!  Thanks to everyone who helped make this year a success!  We'll miss those who have left and hope you will make your way back to Nantucket for a visit, if not another summer on the Farm! 
 
 
 
 
Fertile Fields of Green
~ by Andrew Spollett
It is early fall on the farm and the fields have been undergoing change as the days shorten and nights begin to cool.  Many crops are finished, such as the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and summer squash, and the Farm Grown crew has been busy harvesting all the storage crops: winter squash, potatoes and turnips, while the pumpkins and gourds have filled the Garden Center in anticipation of Halloween.  We continue to harvest more cold-hardy crops – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and beets – however at this time of year the fields begin to take on a new characteristic.  Dense, green foliage begins to cover the ground, springing up in large rectangles, first in isolated areas then merging into large plots as the summer’s crops complete their lifecycles and get tilled down into the soil.  This practice is known as cover cropping, and it is a key aspect of sustainable agriculture here at the farm.

We include cover crops in our planting rotation for a number of reasons: to manage soil erosion, to promote fertility for future crops, to suppressing weeds and diseases in the fields, and increase biodiversity.  Each spring, the fields are plowed and the ground is prepared for vegetable crops.  We plant multiple crops of each vegetable group.  For example, we plant four crops of field tomatoes on different dates in order to have a steady supply of tomatoes to harvest in the busy summer months.  When the crops finish their lifecycle and we are no longer harvesting them, the crop residue gets chopped by the flail mower, then the residue is tilled down into the soil.  The cover crop is seeded into the same ground, and will stay in the field over winter until the next spring.  The first cover crops start to go in the last week of August, and continue to be seeded until the second week of October.

We plant different varieties of cover crops, but the majority of the farm is seeded with a mixture of winter rye and hairy vetch.  Winter rye (pictured below) is a cold-hardy grass which can germinate at cooler temperatures and produces biomass quickly.  The winter rye establishes itself in the fall, survives overwinter, and regrows in the spring time.  Winter rye is a great cover crop for our region because it germinates so readily at cooler temperatures, and it adds organic matter to the soil when tilled down.  Hairy vetch is a legume, in the same family as clover, beans, and peas.  Legumes have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil through symbiosis with a soil bacteria.  Atmospheric nitrogen is converted into a plant-usable form of nitrogen and it adheres to the roots of the legume in nodules.  When legume cover crops are tilled down, those nodules of nitrogen are then available for the vegetable crop that will be planted that spring.  We also grow buckwheat, Sudan grass, and oats (pictured above) as cover crops. 

 One of the primary functions of cover crops is to retain the topsoil in our fields.  They create a barrier over the surface of the soil, reducing the velocity of rainfall and allowing it to percolate into the ground, as opposed to running across the surface of the soil and causing erosion.  The root systems also hold the soil in place and preserve the pore structure, allowing water to drain freely through the soil profile.  This is a very important factor because soil erosion can have a devastating effect on the long-term productivity of the land.

Cover crops help to improve soil quality through the incorporation of organic matter every year.  As opposed to cash crops, which take nutritive value from the soil, the biomass that is produced by the cover crop gets tilled down and becomes part of the soil.  The organic matter fraction of soil is the natural reservoir of fertility that the soil possesses.  Cover cropping helps to balance the nutrient cycle on the farm so that the soil does not become deficient.  If we were to only grow and harvest cash crops, the fertility of the soil would decrease over time.  The cover crops are not grown to be sold, but to preserve and improve the overall health of the soil.  As mentioned earlier, legume cover crops also have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil which is very important because nitrogen is a key plant nutrient, along with phosphorus and potassium.
Dense stands of cover crops also suppress weed germination and growth by outcompeting the weeds for light, space, and nutrients.  The cover crops effectively smother the weeds that do germinate and prevents other weed seeds from even sprouting.  Cover crop varieties also help to break disease cycles because they aren’t a susceptible to many common plant pathogens that we deal with at the farm.  They add another dimension of plant diversity in the rotation of vegetable cash crops, and improve the farm habitat for wildlife, including soil microorganisms, beneficial insects, and songbirds.  Cover crops are managed less intensively than vegetable crops, thus allowing for nesting and feeding areas for a wide variety of birds.  One of my favorite sights in the early fall are the swarms of tree swallows that return to Nantucket on their southern migration.  They show up in huge numbers and congregate in the fields, swooping and diving at a low altitude over the newly seeded ground, hunting insects in flight.  They are incredibly graceful and quick; I’m amazed at their ability to avoid mid-air collisions as they dart after their prey and avoid predatory birds themselves.  The cover crops provide a refuge and habitat for a myriad of different insect species, which in turn supports the swallows and other songbirds that migrate through Nantucket every year.

Including cover crops in our planting rotation yields many positive returns.  Cover crops help to ensure the productivity of the land, which is really at the heart of sustainable agriculture.  I truly appreciate this aspect of the way we farm, replenishing the soil and always striving to improve the goodness of the land.
 
 
 
 



Welcome to the Farmily!
Sandi Chomo will be joining us at the Farmstand, thanks to a referral from our other Farmhand, Kate O'Riordan.  Please say Hi to Sandi if you see her on Saturday- it's also her birthday! 
 
 
 
 
It's a girl!! 
Congratulations to Even's Cajuste and his wife, Rose, on the birth of their daughter, Sarah Eve- Mirly Cajuste, who was born on Saturday, September 19th and weighed 7.1lbs.  

Rose was able to come from Haiti to Boston for most of her pregnancy, so Even's was grateful to be there for the birth of his daughter.  We know the happy family will look forward to being reunited for good when Even's completes his Internship next July. 
 
 
 
 
Congratulations and best wishes!!! 
Andrew Spollett married Adelaide Richards on September 5th at the Quaker Meeting House. The wedding reception was held in the Garden Center
 
 
 
 
Mj Mojer and Ray Andrews ran in the Nantucket Half Marathon last weekend and killed it!  Go Team Bartlett's! 
 
 
 
 
Neil Hudson and Chris Brunt represented the Farm at the Chef's Choice to Benefit the Nantucket Food Pantry which took place on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at the Nantucket Yacht Club, the Nantucket Food Pantry's annual celebration of the Nantucket Community, savoring delicious local food offered by local chefs. Participating chefs included Bartletts Farm, Brotherhood of Thieves, Cru, Fresh, Gliddens Island Seafood, The Green, Lemon Press, Nantucket Hotel/Breeze Cafe, Nantucket Yacht Club, Petticoat Row Bakery, Proprietors, Queequegs/Town, Slip 14, Something Natural and Straight Wharf/Ventuno. Music provided by Jacob Butler and Offshore Blues Band.

 
 
 
 
Farmily Members Touring the United States! 
 
 
 
 
Gurkan "Hector" Engin from Turkey, who worked in the Market has been visiting NYC, Niagara Falls and Washington, DC with some friends from Stop & Shop. 
 
 
 
 
Sophie Le Bris from France, Daniel Dias de Lima from Brazil and Krystyna Kwasiewksa from Poland are advertising Bartlett's Farm all over NYC and Niagara Falls as well!  
 
 
 
 
 
Carol Reis and Rafael Reis Lima from Brazil toured the American Museum of Natural History and enjoyed watching the Yankees play the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in New York City.  I see there were a lot of Bartlett's sweatshirts making appearances in NY! 
 
 
 
 
Keep sending your travel pics-   
(or letting me steal them from Facebook!)
​especially showing off your Bartlett's gear!
 
 
 
 
 
There's a whole Island out there.....

Fall is an amazing time on Nantucket and those of you sticking around the island are in for a treat!  There are still tons of fun things to do, and sunsets just keep getting better. Sign up to get a frequent newsletters sent by www.mahonabouttown.com to stay up to date on all activities.  

It's Homecoming weekend for Nantucket High School and if you like small town community events, you might want to check out the Homecoming Parade and/or Varsity Football game on Saturday.  The parade starts at 9:30 at the High School and works it's way downtown and up Main Street.   The game starts at 3pm at the High School where the Whalers will take on West Bridgewater High.   Click here for a full events schedule. 

There are some cool theater activities going on this Sunday.  
 
If you aren't already familiar with the story of the Essex (Soon to be a major motion picture! Click here for trailer for In The Heart Of The Sea) you should definitely check out Staged Reading of The Loss of the Whaleship Essex: A Most Distressing Narrative
Sunday, October 18, 7:00pm - 8:30pm: Whaling Museum
In their own words, Owen Chase, First Mate, and Thomas Nickerson, a young cabin boy out on his first whaling voyage, tell the story of the wreck of the Essex. The Nantucket Atheneum and Nantucket Historical Association present a staged reading of the Chase and Nickerson narratives, as well as readings from selected letters and journals. The evening also includes music by Joe Flood, who will play sea chanteys, popular songs of the era as well as Melville poems set to music. The event is cosponsored by Nantucket Historical Association and Nantucket Atheneum. Admission is $10. Tickets available at www.nha.org or at the door. 

If you are a fan of musicals- my favorite is showing at the Dreamland on Sunday

My Fair Lady 50th Anniversary Celebration (G)
Sunday, October 18, 2:00pm: Dreamland Theater
My Fair Lady is now more 'lovelier' than ever with a breathtaking new restoration playing in cinemas nationwide for a limited time only. In honor of its 50th Anniversary, this eight time OSCAR winning musical has been restored frame-by-frame from the original 65mm negative and scanned utilizing start-of-the-art technology under the supervision of Robert Harris (the famed film historian).

Audrey Hepburn has never looked more radiant than as Eliza Doolittle who finds herself at the center of a friendly wager between Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) and his companion, Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White). Can this disheveled, cockney flower girl find her voice and blossom into a proper lady presentable in high society? Performance, style and sweet spirit . . . plus an unforgettable score . . . have made My Fair Lady one of the greatest musicals in film history and a beloved and timeless classic that begs to be experienced on the big screen.
 
 
 
 
Halloween in fun on Nantucket for all ages.   The Halloween Parade downtown starts at 4pm at the bottom of Main Street, but it's fun just to walk around and see and be seen in costume!

Cisco Brewery is also hosting a Haunted Boowery Bash from 4 to 7.  Costumes encouraged! 

This year it falls on a Saturday AND coincides with the clocks falling back an hour.  You can be sure there will be lots happening at the local bars that night as well!  Be safe! 

 
 
 
 
Nantucket's Version of Apple Picking 
Last weekend was Nantucket's annual Cranberry Festival, so I wanted to share some images of what Cranberry harvesting looks like on Nantucket.    Cranberries are grown in bogs and the when the berries are ripe, the bog is filled with water. Then a tractor-like piece of equipment is driven around the bog which shakes the berries off the bushes.  The cranberries float to the top and are rounded up and kind of lassoed in and scooped up. It's a really cool thing to see, so even if you missed the festival, it's worth a trip out the bogs to take a look! 
 
 
 
 
Let us know what you are up to!  Pictures, articles and updates are always welcome from current and alumni Farmily members.  Email Laura@bartlettsfarm.com 
 
 
 
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