STRAWBERRY SOIREE 2016
Saturday, June 18th, 2016.
Rain or Shine!
Afternoon Strawberry Tasting at the Farm – Free!
2-5 pm in the fields at 184 Meadow Road, Montague
Join us at the farm in Montague for a celebration of the strawberry during the peak of picking season! We grow at least nine varieties of strawberries, each with their own flavor.
Come in the afternoon to try a tasting of the many strawberry varieties, enjoy some live music, take the Walking Tour, have fun at the Fairy House Building workshop, and pick your own organic berries – open to the public for the event.
Strawberry shortcake for sale! Also, quarts of our strawberries to take home!
Schedule for the Day
Open to the Public
10 AM-5 PM Public Pick Your Own for Organic Strawberries
2-5 PM Strawberry Varietal Tasting, Home-made Strawberry Shortcake and Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Sale.
2-3 PM Walking Tour of the farm’s new Interpretive Trail (by Mount Grace)
4-5:30 PM Fairy House Building
5:30-6 PM Opening Course (included with dinner)
6-8 PM Strawberry Feast in the Field
8-10 PM Outdoor Concert with Jake Klar
For more info and ticket purchase, click HERE!
Announcing the following conference at Harvard on April 30th:
THE POWER AND PROMISE OF BIODIVERSITY: VISIONS OF RESTORING SEA, LAND, AND CLIMATE
Geological Lecture Hall
24 Oxford Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
The conference promises to “present the concepts, history, and processes for the restoration of biodiversity” in hopes that increasing global biodiversity can sequester carbon and not only stop, but actually reverse climate change. Tickets are $30 and you can register now on eventbrite. More information here!
The Conway School, a Landscape Design School in Massachusette’s Pioneer Valley, is holding an information session March 19th at its new Easthampton campus. The Conway School is a 40-year old accredited institution that offers Masters of Science degrees in Ecological Design. Its curriculum focusses on hands-on, real-world, project-based learning with supplemental classes in design theory, graphics, computer skills (such as InDesign and GIS), site engineering, and humanities.
The March 19th session runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and includes presentations from former students, several Q&A sessions, and a vegetarian lunch. The event is timed to precede the deadline to apply for the 2016-2017 school year is April 25. Register for the info session here.
“Putting stinging nettle balls in the oven,” Russ Cohen announces to me proudly when I can’t guess what he’s doing in the moment that I call. Amid the flutter of taking interview requests and preparing for a conference later in the evening, he is putting the finishing touches on his wild-fitted version of a 1950’s-era recipe. He’ll serve it as part of his presentation. Swapping frozen nettles collected last summer in for the traditional spinach, he’s doing what he loves: “nibbling on nature”– and then sharing it with people.
In the following interview excerpts we discuss the rad new seed bank in his second refrigerator, what native plants can do for organic farmers, the wonders of the mighty shagbark hickory, and the danger of commercializing wild plants. Anyone interested in learning more about Russ or contacting him for seeds can do so here.
GH: Can you briefly describe yourself and your work for our readers? Let’s start with the work you’ve been doing.
I have been teaching folks about how to connect to the land through their taste buds— to nibble on nature— since I was a senior in high school in 1974. So that’s over 40 years ago. I do about 40 programs a year all over New England and upstate New York, most of which are just walking around with folks in the woods and fields, looking at wild plants and mushrooms, and talking about what’s edible— you know, explain how to identify it, what it tastes like, how to prepare it, if the Native Americans ate it, what kind of vitamins it has, whether it’s a weed or invasive, native or non-native, the impact of picking, and all that stuff.
GH: And what are you transitioning into?
RC: I am going to keep doing that, but what I am doing in addition to that is that I am aspiring to be a “Johnny Appleseed” of sorts for native edible species and plant more of them in the landscape, so that there’s more for more for everyone to benefit from, for people, for wildlife, the plants and the birds, pollinators, for everyone to benefit. So I have been gathering the seeds and nuts from native species.
I actually have a new fridge in my basement that’s filled with the nuts and seeds of native species.
As it turns out, most of them need to go through “stratification” (exposure to cold) before they’ll germinate, so the fridge is a good place to store them.
GH: Well that’s awesome. What exactly are you hoping to do with these seeds?
RC: I have been distributing them to native plant propagators and people I know who want to grow more native plants. I am actually going to be contract-growing a lot of stuff. So I’ve been contacting plant nurseries, giving them a bunch of seeds, and say “OK, turn these into plants for me”, and then I’ll buy the plants back to distribute to organizations to grow out on their properties. I am giving these plants away. I am not charging anyone for anything.
GH: A good portion of our blog readership are organic farmers. Do you see native plants playing a larger role in their work?
RC: Yes, at least where opportunities exist to grow native species in or around organic farms. Native edible species benefit birds, pollinators and other wildlife as well as offer food harvesting opportunities for people. This is a better alternative than collecting these species from natural habitats, where, unfortunately, I have been distressed to see damage to wild plant populations caused by commercially-driven harvesting.