Monday, June 24, 2013

The New and Improved Farmstands! Opening next week. Get a sneak peak.

                   This past thursday, there was a hum of activity in the office. As some prepared for the first day of youth programs, others of us were busily launching a brand new Farmstand season. Our inaugural festivity was a workshop where we previewed the new display and outlined our commitment to maintaining high standards for ourselves, our marketing and english education, and the quality of our produce. As we put the finishing touches on our workshop, the farmers arrived from Lewiston, eager to see, eager to learn, eager to begin.
                 This season marks the beginning of something special in farmstand season. After careful planning, and plenty of careful thinking, we are incredibly excited to present a farmstand that is worthy of the farmers and the amazing vegetables they grow.

        Check out our new and improved display below, but know that it is just the tip of the iceburg!

  • We looked at price signs, and prices in general, looking to simplify the process for everyone involved.
  • We looked at vegetable names, vegetable varieties and ways we could incorporate these into oral english practice. 
  • We looked at a supply checklist, and display materials that will allow the high quality of our produce to really shine through.
  • We looked at making change, and recording sales. 
  • We looked at processing alternative payments such as SNAP and WIC. 
  • After the workshop, we set up one stand all together. There was a palpable wave of excitement in the air when each farmer realized they would all sell with these beautiful new displays!
  • Each farmer left with a bag of burlap and blue berry cartons, a token of our commitment to help each farmer meet their learning goals this season. 

         Starting July 1st, we will kick off farmstand season. Stop by to meet the farmers, check out the new display, and buy some produce to bring home to your kitchen!

  • Sundays 11am-1pm - West End - St. Luke's Cathedral on State Street
  • Mondays (Opening July 1st) 1-5pm - Bayside - Whole Foods Market, at store front
  • Tuesdays (Opening July 2nd) 1-4pm - Parkside - Opportunity Alliance, 510 Cumberland Ave, parking lot
  • Tuesdays (Opening July 2nd) 3-6pm - West End - Reiche School Playground, Brackett Street
  • Wednesdays (Opening July 3rd)  2-5pm - East Bayside - Boyd Street Urban Farm
  • Thursdays (Opening July 11th because of the 4th of July) 3-6pm - Riverton - Riverton School, at side entrance next to parking lot
  • Thursdays (Opening July 11th because of the 4th of July) 3-6pm - South Portland - The Hub on Westbrook Street in Redbank/Brickhill Village

Friday, June 14, 2013

Yesterday on the Farm...

         Yesterday, as the clounds hung low in the sky, and staff worked on updating the vegetable wash station, the farmers swung tools over shoulders, left their own fields, and slowly made their way to one farmers' field. It was a rare afternoon of all hands on deck.
            When the weeds are running rampant, and there is the pressure of getting everything in the ground and mulched, farmers rarely have a second to spare. However, yesterday the farmers showed the incredible community they have created over the past years. A beloved farmer that has been in the program for over six years, has been in the hospital with a serious illness. Recognizing that her fields would have to be managed, the farmers came together and through the power of love, and many hands, turned rows of weeds into rows of carrots, and unplanted beds into planted beds. It was a manifestation of what community looks like.  
If you look ahead, you see a bed of weeds. If you look behind, the baby carrot leaves, frilly and delicate, have emerged.

   The rain is encouraging all the little plants to grow grow grow~
Already we have full size bok choi, beautiful looking lettuce heads, swiss chard and beets, robust onions and emerging garlic scapes...