Local Flower CSA Share: A Great Valentine’s Day Gift

Don’t need convincing?  Click Here to register for a Flower CSA Share at Upswing Farm.

Flowers can make someone’s day.  With an Upswing Farm Flower CSA, you can make someone’s summer!  We harvest our flowers within 48 hours of sale/distribution and handle them with extreme care, using only fresh, clean water, storing them properly based on each variety’s needs and arranging them thoughtfully, to give each bouquet it’s own character and charm.  We grow a wide variety of blooms so each weekly bouquet will be unique.

We find ourselves fascinated by the bouquets that end up in our home.  Nature is an incredible artist. But there are a lot of other great reasons to support local flowers.  Here is a short list, just to get you started!

  1. Flowers are mood elevators. In a 2005 double-blind study, researchers at Rutgers University compared the facial reaction of gift recipients. The three gifts were a candle, a fruit basket and a bouquet. “In every case, the recipients responded to the flowers with what is known as the Duchenne smile—a heartfelt “true smile” involving the mouth, cheeks, and eyes; neither the candle nor the fruit elicited that kind of across-­the-board positive response. And three days later, the flower recipients were still feeling happier than their cohorts in the study.” Check out the full article for more information.
  2. Flowers are good for local pollinators. Not only honey bees are in trouble. When it comes to the mono-culture of close cut lawns, there is less and less food and habitat for all pollinators.  Our flower gardens at Upswing Farm are alive with thriving pollinators and beneficial insects, which help our farm succeed in growing all our crops with organic methods. 

  3. Flowers grown locally are an environmentally sound gift. The two holidays with the highest grossing flower sales are Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Most flowers sold in winter in New England are coming from South America.  They travel across hemispheres to allow us to have fresh blooms at a time of year that does not make ecological sense.  A CSA flower share makes a great alternative gift to the long distance Valentine’s bouquet – yes it requires a little patience, but you’re getting a way better deal (probably 4-10 times the flowers per dollar spent) and it won’t leave your conscience feeling icky.

    Register for an Upswing Farm Flower CSA



CSA – What Does It Mean?

CSA = Community Supported Agriculture

CSA originated as a way for a community of people to join a farmer in the risks of production in order to ensure the survival of their local farm and to give themselves access to freshly harvested, diverse vegetables (and fruits, dairy, meats, etc, depending on the farm). At Upswing Farm, in exchange for your commitment, we aim to give you about 20% more in vegetable value than what you paid for.

Without our CSA members our farm would not exist. We love all of our customers, even if they don’t join our CSA, but the reality is, farming is expensive and risky, and without a group of dedicated customers willing to enjoy the bounty of the farm, whatever it might be, I’m sure we could not afford to stay in business.

In our current model, CSA members can select the seasons they would like to participate (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter).  They can then pay in full or select a payment plan.  We live on a tight budget and understand that payment plans can go a long way to make it possible for all families to participate in a CSA share.  Click Here to learn more about our seasons and pricing.

The majority of farm expenses come in the first half of the year, before we have harvested anything to sell.  We purchase seeds, potting soil, fertilizer, seedling trays, and other field supplies.  We maintain our equipment.  We pay our crew.

We don’t pay ourselves (we usually pay ourselves starting in July, hence the tight budget). We utilize the CSA income to make sure we can pay for our operating costs until we start bringing in additional revenue from the farm stand and the Ashland Farmers Market.

CSA Pick Up is at the faimg_1906rm, 28 South St, Ashland, right by the boat ramp entrance to the Ashland Reservoir.  We have a small wagon farm stand where we display all the produce and a staff member or volunteer there to help.  We put signs in front of all the produce letting our CSA members know what is in the share.  For example, there will be a bin of carrots, and the sign will say “CSA: Take one bunch of carrots”.  Sometimes we will have choices, like “mix and match, zucchini, potatoes, onions and cucumbers: 5 pounds”. Or “choose one bunch: kale or swiss chard”.

We try to have a trade bin every week where members can leave an item they don’t want in exchange for another item in the bin.

Our members get emails once a week, with updates about the farm and lots of recipe ideas for how to use all the amazing, fresh vegetables they will pick up once/week (pick ups are less frequent in Fall and Winter).

If it is a great growing season, members sometimes receive more than the 20% extra in value, if it is a terrible growing season they might not receive the full 20%.  We plant at least 25% more than what we need for our CSA, farm stand and farmers market.  Because we use organic methods, and because farming is so weather dependent, we can’t count on everything we plant actually being harvested and sold/distributed. Poor weather, pests, disease and other factors can affect individual crops.  Luckily we plant over 60 varieties of vegetables and many successions of those vegetables (we plant lettuce 15-20 times every year) to make sure no matter what the weather we have a nice variety of fresh produce for the CSA.

We are so grateful to have a core group of excellent CSA members.  We can’t wait to include more members of our community!

Visit our CSA page to learn more and register!

Fall Farmstand Lights

Thanksgiving Produce (And Cranberries!)

We will have an abundance of fall produce available at the Ashland Farmer’s Market Thanksgiving sale!  Below is a list of the produce we will have available.  Follow the links to check out special recipes for each item:

Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Parsley, Celery, Brussles Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Beets, Sweet Turnips, Red and Yellow Onions, Red/Yellow/Blue/Russet Potatoes, Garlic, Leeks, Sweet Potatoes, Rutabaga, Kohlrabi, Celeriac, Broccoli and Winter Squash (Butternut, Acorn, Delicatta, Sunshine, Bon-Bon, Baby Blue Hubbard, Pie Pumpkin and Carnival).

We will also have Cranberries!!

wills cranberries 2017We have bought in 100 pounds of dry-harvests heirloom cranberries grown with IPM practices from my friend Will McAffrey of Spring Rain Farm in Taunton, MA.  He’s a smart, dedicated farmer looking to build a fruit-based farm on his family’s land .  We are happy to be supporting him and helping spread his cranberry love this Thanksgiving.

Below is some information about the cranberries:

Early Blacks – super dark variety discovered in Harwich, MA in 1852, highest in antioxidants of all cranberries, makes a gorgeous deep red sauce

Howes – discovered in 1843 in East Dennis, MA, renowned in pre-refrigeration days for their incredible keeping qualities.  In a walk-in cooler they have been known to last until May.

“Growing practices:
Cranberries are a difficult crop to produce in MA because they are native to here, i.e. any pests and diseases evolved to attack cranberries are here.  As such, it is extremely difficult to produce them organically – that being said, we use integrated pest management techniques to reduce pesticide applications everywhere possible.  The heirloom varieties are a little more resilient as well.
The typical cranberry operation makes 4-5 fungicide and 4-5 insecticide applications a season.  Between scouting for pests, working closely with the UMass Cranberry Station, and a risky technique called ‘late watering’ we only made 2 applications of fungicides and insecticides this season.   On two occasions we did spot treatments of herbicide this summer, meaning we wiped individual weeds growing on the bog but did not spray any cranberry vines themselves (cranberries are extremely susceptible to most herbicides). Most of our weeding is done by hand.
Late water simply means we flood the bog in the spring after pest activity has started, and keep the vines submerged for 30 days.  This drowns any pests present on the bog and keeps other populations from establishing and building at a time critical for their development, drastically reducing our pest pressure.  The water also protects the vines from frost while submerged.  The risky aspects of it are that warm temperature bursts can remove oxygen from the water and suffocate the vine, the vine itself is especially vulnerable to late frosts after the water is drained off, and algae can develop and out-compete the vine for sunlight.
Unlike most growers, we also maintain a large amount of diverse natural area (wetland, forest, and field) around the bogs, leaving most of the habitat undisturbed by crop production.  The cranberry station has noted much higher populations of wild pollinators on our bogs than those of other growers, in part due to our reduced spray program and in part from maintaining this diverse natural area.”

Winter Shares Now Available!

winter share black crate dad

Above is an example December Share.  Photo credit: Jim Sidway.


Pick Up Dates:

Sunday, December 17th
Sunday, January 14th
Sunday, February 11th

If you can’t make one of these dates let us know and we can work something out.
We will reschedule in case of inclement weather.

Pick Up Time: 11am-2pm.

Cost: $155 (value – $225 – read more to learn what will be in the shares)

Click Here to Sign Up!

Shares are limited so they will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.

You may not know it, but one of our farm goals is to provide local produce to our community year round.  I have been excited about four season local food in New England ever since I got into sustainable agriculture.  The fact that our greenhouses, barn, cooler and fields are full of food gives me a deep pleasure.  It has allowed us to provide bountiful summer and fall shares, and it also gives us a surplus so we can trial our first ever Winter Share!!  We did not want to offer a winter share until we knew for sure we’d had a good year and we would have enough, and boy do we ever have enough.

Winter is a great time to get cozy and eat soups, stews and roasted veggies.  The produce in these shares is produce that stores very well, and maintains impeccable flavor in storage.  We also will have greens from our tunnels and greenhouses to add leafy variety.

We will do just three large pickups for these shares, one in December, January, and February.

What’s in the shares?  I can tell you, with 85% confidence what each share will be.  That’s because almost all of it (except for some small greens) have already grown, or are close to maturity in the field.  Many are already harvested and are curing in the greenhouse (like onions, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and pop corn).  The examples below will change if things happen that are out of our control, ie: the deer jump the fence and eat some carrots before we get them all harvested so we need to put something else in the share.

Example December Share: (Roughly) 5 pounds carrots, 2 pounds leeks, 2 pounds celeriac, 1 cabbage, 3 pounds onions, 4 pounds sweet potatoes, 3 ears popcorn, 1 bunch kale, 1 pound spinach, 2 heads lettuce, 1 bag salad greens, 2 pounds of potatoes, 1 large butternut squash.  Maybe: brussels sprouts, sweet turnips, fingerling potatoes, acorn or other squash, garlic and radishes.

Example January Share: (Roughly) 5 pounds carrots, 1 storage kohlrabi, 2 pounds rutabaga, 2 pounds celeriac, 1 cabbage, 2 pounds beets, 1 large butternut squash, 3 pounds onions, 3 pounds sweet potatoes, ½ pound spinach, ¼ pound pea tendrils, ½ pound lettuce mix, 3 pounds potatoes.  Maybe: Acorn or other squash, fingerling potatoes, napa cabbages, turnips, garlic and radishes.

Example February Share: (Roughly) 5 pounds carrots, 1 large butternut squash, 2 cabbage, 1 storage kohlrabi, 2 pounds rutabaga, 2 pounds celeriac, 2 pounds sweet potatoes, 1 pound beets, 3 pounds potatoes, 3 ears popcorn, one quart fingerling potatoes, ¼ pound pea tendrils, ¼ pound salad greens, 3 ears popcorn.  Maybe: Micro greens, garlic, spinach and kale.

The retail value of each of these shares is around $75.  That makes the total value of the Winter Share $225.  We are offering them to you for $155.

We are really excited about these shares.  If some of the vegetables sound intimidating to you (like rutabaga and celeriac) know that we send them with recipes. A great, simple and delicious fallback for these root vegetables is to chop them all up into ½” pieces and roast them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes (turning once at 20 minutes).  The roasting caramelizes some of the healthy sugars and makes it hard to stop eating these great veggies.

This method of preparation also helps with the other concern you might have: can I fit all this in my fridge?  Well first, squash, potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes don’t need to be in the fridge.  And once you peel, chop and roast a pound each (carrots, rutabaga, celery root, kohlrabi and beets) you will significantly reduce the volume of the share . . . so roast some veggies as soon as you get them home.  Many of these root vegetables would be ok in a cool space that doesn’t freeze (like garage or basement) for a week as you chip away at them!

winter share no fridge dad

The above items would not need fridge space! Photo credit: Jim Sidway.

Or, if you really can’t eat it all, but want to participate you can donate some of your share to the Holliston Food Pantry.  Whatever you don’t want you can leave and we will donate the next day.  Think about it, you are getting a 30% discount, why not donate a little if you can’t use it all?

Yes, Farmers Do Work in Winter

Kevin and I have been keeping ourselves busy.  In my late state of pregnancy (39 weeks and 1 day!) I have not felt as productive as usual, but we’re still doing really well.  I tend to set unreasonably high expectations for myself, so I thought I’d write a quick blog post to let everyone know what’s been going on and also as a little pick-me-up reminder of everything we are accomplishing.


This is the “farm office”.  Otherwise known as Kevin’s desk in our second bedroom.  I’ve been doing a lot more office work than outdoor work, as you can imagine.  Over the past few weeks I’ve set up our 2017 Quickbooks so we can easily send invoices and track income and expenses.  I’ve also set up a PayPal account and a Mail Chimp account and learned how to use it.  In the past I’ve used Constant Contact and other paid services to send mail, but early on, a free service is going to work great for our small business.  It just means taking a little time to learn the ins and outs of the program.

Other “boring” work has been to write and post the job description for our Assistant Grower (know anyone/college kids interested in farming?  Send them our way!), figuring out how to do my own payroll (thanks Elena Coleman from Crooked Row Fields for helping!), marketing our CSA shares, updating our WordPress website, and spending some fun time at the RMV getting our new-to-us truck registered!

I did a lot of work on the crop plan/field maps/greenhouse schedule/seed order before the end of 2016.  We had income left and I wanted to make sure to spend it before the end of the fiscal year.  We got our seed orders in on the 27th of December!  Crop planning is lots of fun, and it’s always a nice “treat” to take a “break” from other administrative work to do it.

And then the seeds come and I get to organize them!




We get a lot of our seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  They have incredible organization on their website and ordering from them is very efficient.  But there are lots of other great companies that we like to support, so I try to take the time to go through multiple websites when ordering to compare pricing and spread the love ($$$).


Our potting soil is ordered and coming in the with big shipment to White Barn Farm in February.  We don’t plan on starting any seedlings until March 1st.  There is always a push to get going early (mostly from sheer excitement), but we’ve decided the net gain from starting onions in February is not worth the added effort and fuel to heat the greenhouse.

Kevin and I are very glad to be working together again.  One of the challenges that we face is our tendency to gravitate towards gender-normative roles (Brittany in the office/greenhouse/farm stand, Kevin building a greenhouse/fixing a tractor).   Right now, those roles make sense: it would be unsafe and much slower for me to be trying to lift heavy boards or pound posts.  But we try hard to be aware of that tendency and counter act it when possible.

Luckily, we’ve got an excellent community of farmers and craftspeople who want to help us out!  Kevin has had some great help from lots of our friends building this greenhouse.  Many thanks to Rob, Jess, Kenneth, Chris, Laurel and Greg!!


We are also very luck to have Jim Brueckner of Wind River Tree Care as a friend.  He is the person who originally introduced us to Mr. Nickerson, and has been a great supporter of us since we met in 2011.  He came over to help cut away a few overhanging branches that might have fallen on our greenhouse in the future.  Check out this video!

Talk about a skill!  If you need some tree-work done and don’t want machines driving through your lawn, definitely give Wind River Tree Care a call.  Jim is really talented, and incredibly friendly too!

We’ve also gotten some help from our landlord, Mr. Nick, who refuses to slow down, even if he is 91 years old!  Together with Kevin he dug out a few big rocks that were in the way of the greenhouse ground posts and helped us put up a utility pole so our electrician can run power to the greenhouse.

Our baby is due any day now, and I’m ready to get going!  We’ve got plenty still on our to-do list, like marketing and selling CSA shares, ordering more supplies, researching tractors and implements we need to purchase before April, hiring staff, finishing the greenhouse schedule and field maps, filing taxes for last year, finishing the greenhouse . . . the list goes on.  But we are feeling pretty on top of things.

Want to help?  The biggest thing you can do to help is spread the word about our CSA.  We use the CSA funds in spring to purchase tools and supplies, a really important part of making our farm successful.  If you are a member you can get a $25 discount for every new CSA member you recruit!

It hasn’t been all work.  We’ve spent some great time with family and friends over the holiday, got to go for a walk on the beach in Sandwich, spent plenty of time at the doctor (I’d rather do almost anything than go to the doctor), and have been putting some of the finishing touches on our house.  We are very lucky to be starting a family and a business at the same time.  We are grateful for all the support we receive from friends and family and look forward to the rest of 2017!

My next blog post will be from the other side.  🙂

-Farmer Brittany

Press Release, Collaboration

Innovative Farm Collaboration

The mission of White Barn Farm starts with land preservation, is filled with healthy food, soil, and staff and ends with ideals of a strong, vibrant community.  Since 2008 Christy and Chris Kantlehner have developed an incredible following of customers, staff and local businesses – inspiring everyone with a subject that connects us all – delicious food.

In an effort to deepen their mission’s success, increase their impact, and strengthen the long term stability of their business, the Kantlehners have decided to partner with Brittany Sidway Overshiner and her new farm venture on the border of Ashland and Holliston: Upswing Farm.

With parallel mission goals and a diversified skillset, this team believes a collaboration and shared resources will streamline their production, making room for important tasks such as: securing land tenure, increasing educational opportunities, diversifying the farm enterprises, improving soil health and improving farmer quality of life.

A part of their shared vision is a local and regional food system that respects a triple bottom line: resource conservation, community well-being and profitability.  Collaboration amongst farmers, instead of competition, will be necessary to keep farming in our suburban communities, where land values and development pressure have all but erased our agricultural landscape.

The collaboration will allow Upswing Farm to benefit from the established infrastructure at White Barn Farm, including greenhouses for seedling production, tractors, equipment and vegetable storage facilities.  In return it will provide added land-base for growing sprawling crops like winter squash, melons and potatoes and a place to rotate crops each year to reduce pest populations without the use of pesticides.   Overshiner will work at both sites, managing CSA distributions and helping with harvest, flowers, greenhouse work, and record keeping throughout the year.

Record keeping will be an essential part of the land management trials planned as a part of this partnership.  These trials will be evaluating different systems of soil preparation and cultivation for their efficiency and ability to build and maintain soil organic matter, and produce healthy crops.  To learn more about these systems, visit the whitebarnfarm.org blog.

White Barn Farm and Upswing Farm are invigorated by this partnership.  They want to engage their communities in this collaborative effort, so everyone can support local agriculture and enjoy the benefits of farm fresh food.   Contact the farm nearest you to find out how to get involved!

How to get involved:

Purchase a CSA Share, for pick up at White Barn Farm: 458 South St, Wrentham
Purchase a CSA Share, for pick up at Upswing Farm: 28 South St, Ashland
Visit the White Barn Farm Stand at 458 South St, Wrentham (Open April 30th)
Purchase seedlings at White Barn Farm’s Plant Sale for your vegetable garden
Visit Upswing Farm at the Ashland Farmers Market
Attend a workshop or tour at either farm

Contact Information:

White Barn Farm
458 South St
Wrentham, MA 02093

Upswing Farm
28 South St
Ashland, MA 01721