Now Hiring – Seasonal full-time apprentice grower

Click here for job description 

Round the Bend Farm in conjunction with Ashley’s Produce is looking for a motived, hard working, passionate person for our 2017 growing season.

Ashley’s Produce is owned and operated  by Agripreneur Ashley Brister, and her mission is to produce nutrient dense fruit, vegetables, and herbs in order to contribute to the overall health of the soil, plants and people that make up the community here at RTB and the larger South Coast community.   

To learn more about the position or to apply click the below.

Apprentice Grower 2017 Seasonal Position

Ashley’s 2016 Spring Highlights

IMG_1079Our neighbor and legendary farmer friend Eva, of Eva’s Garden, tells me that any night now may be the night for the “salamander prom.” On the first warm and rainy night of spring a great migration of amphibians including spotted salamanders and wood frogs emerge from their forest retreats and begin their “promenade” into vernal pools where they mate and deposit their eggs.  As Eva phrased it, one of their favorite “party spots” in our neighborhood happens to be in the swampy land across the street from the entrance to Round the Bend Farm. Eva and her neighbors keep a vigil watch and when the promenade occurs they come out armed with buckets to help salamanders cross Jordan Road and ensure that cars drive carefully during the amphibians crossing. I have heard the spring peepers during the day while seeding flats and hope to attend the salamander prom some evening very soon!  Yes, signs seem to be pointing to an early spring. On the farm, I’ve been able to turn under a cover crop of oats, peas and vetch in preparation for early April plantings of greens, peas, and root crops. The greenhouse is quickly filling up with flats of alliums (onions, leeks, shallots, and scallions) as well as beets and lots of leafy greens. The first peppers and tomato seedling are also starting to pop from the soil under lights in the warmer environment of the farmhouse cellar.
And so the spring frenzy has begun!

There are some small changes in how shares will be distributed this year. Based on CSA member feedback I will be moving toward a farmer’s market style or free choice distribution system. Pick up days and hours will remain the same but each week members will be given the choice of 6-8 units of vegetables for partial shares, and 10-12 units for full shares. Each unit is valued between $3 to $4. For those of you who liked the old system, there will always be a
suggested share. An example of share options in mid August might look something like this:
1 unit of Tomatoes= 1 lb
1 unit of Green Beans = 1lb
1 unit of Potatoes = 2 lbs
1 unit of Onions = 2 lbs
1 unit of scallions= 2 bunches
1 unit of Fennel = 1 lb
1 unit of Kale = 2 bunches
1 unit of Zucchini = 2 lbs
1 unit of Bok choi = 2 heads
1 unit Lettuce heads = 2 heads
1 unit of Cucumbers = 4 pieces
1 unit of Eggplant = 2 lbs
1 unit of Cabbage = 1 head
1 unit of Melon = 1 piece
1 unit of Herbs= 2 bunches your choice, parsley, basil or cilantro

As you can see there are more than 12 items listed above giving you more diversity of choice on a weekly basis.There will be some limitations to the number of units you can take of certain crops at certain times of the season. However, you could in theory, during the height of tomato season, take all your units in tomatoes to process sauce or load up on the kale if you were into juicing. In addition, I will do my best to have a table of seconds for those of you who like would like to take full advantage of the abundance of the summer season to process for the winter.

Add-on options this year include eggs from our friends Sarah, Kate, and Massimo at nearby Cluck & Trowel Farm. You can find the signup form in the email sent out to you notifying you of this blog post and more information about Cluck & Trowel Farm at BUY NOW ! — Cluck &Trowel.  If you sign up with them online, make sure to let them know your pickup location will be at Round the Bend Farm, and the day of your share pickup.  That way your eggs will be waiting for you when you get here!  Also to complement your share, I will update you throughout the season when there is an availability of Kinder Meats or local fruit that can be ordered the week prior to your regular pickup share.  Hana’s Honey and maple syrup harvested in western MA from Apponagansett Farm will also be available on a regular basis.

Happy Spring,
Ashley

Ashley’s CSA Shares Available

Ashley’s Produce is currently accepting 2016 CSA Memberships.  Shares are filling up fast; reserve your space today!

Click on the brochure for more information.

Download Ashley’s CSA Pledge Form here.Ash_brochure_cv

Ashley’s Produce is hiring for the 2016 season!

Position: Apprentice Grower

Location: Round the Bend Farm 92 Allen’s Neck Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02748

Type: Seasonal, Full time position averaging 40 to 50 hrs per week from May through October.

About Ashley’s Produce: Our mission is to produce nutrient dense fruit, vegetables and herbs in order to contribute to the overall health of the soil, plants and people that make up the community here at Round the Bend Farm (RTB) and the larger South Coast community. In its third year of operation, Ashley’s Produce will be expanding from a 25 to 45 member CSA, delivering 20 shares to low-income families in New Bedford while maintaining its 25 member on farm distribution. In order to grow sustainably in this effort, we are seeking a highly motivated and energetic individual, passionate about our mission, to work alongside Ashley Brister in the market garden at RTB during the 2016 growing season.

Ashley Brister is an Agripreneur on Round the Bend Farm (RTB), a Center for Restorative Community. RTB is located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and is a working farm and non-profit. RTB is a living laboratory that cultivates, educates, and empowers change agents. We are devoted to the global paradigm shift toward hope and abundance by valuing diversity, modeling nature, and redefining wealth.

Compensation:

  • $1000/month plus housing in one of our tiny houses and food;
  • Culinary preparation of farm based dinners, Monday-Friday evenings;
  • Workman’s compensation;
  • Educational training in ecological horticulture and organic farming and gardening. This includes field trips to other farms in our area and opportunities to learn about additional aspects of RTB’s operation including: livestock management, food preservation and natural building; and
  • 5 paid days off per season.

Candidates must:

  • Have a strong work ethic;
  • Be able to communicate clearly and effectively;
  • Have a sense of humor;
  • Be dependable, tidy, flexible, open-minded and self aware;
  • Enjoy working with a diverse group of people;
  • Able to work outdoors, in all conditions, for long hours;
  • Organized, Can-Do attitude;
  • Have a valid driver’s licence; and
  • The ability to lift 50 lbs.

Although no farming experience is necessary, preference will be given to candidates who have an active interest in pursuing a career in farming and/or the environmental and social justice issues pertaining to both local and global food systems.

Applicants should send a cover letter and resume to mailto: acbrister@gmail.com

Kicking Off 2014! A Letter of Introduction to Potential Shareholders

1/5/2014
January 2014

Greetings,

I hope the new year finds you in warm company and good spirits as we welcome the return of the light and the promise of a new year. For me, winter is a time to pour over seed catalogs, fine tune production plans and start dreaming about those first greens of spring and an abundance of summer vegetables. This year, the visioning process is especially poignant as I make the transition to Round The Bend Farm, where I will be managing the gardens and starting my own micro-business. As a farmer who was attracted to the profession for its potential to restore the health of our communities as well as our planet, I’m humbled by the opportunity to join the community of growers, educators, and social entrepreneurs charged with the task of working towards a more resilient and sustainable future at RTB.

Please look forward to future posts and information regarding Vegetable CSA memberships!

Gratefully Yours,

Ashley Brister
Produce Farmer and Social Entrepreneur
Round The Bend Farm

SPRING NOTES FROM THE FARM

4/10/2014

Greetings!

Spring is palpable here at Round the Bend (RTB). There is a slightly frantic energy this time of year as folks buzz around the farm attending to the needs of both the plants and animals. Lambing season is upon us. Six lambs were born in just the past two weeks. The grass is green and growing and RTB Farm Manager Geoff, anticipates moving the animals to pasture next week. I got a taste of what rotational pasture management is like when Geoff and I decided to move some of the pigs up to the vegetable garden to turn over a field covered in a carpet of chickweed. Farmer Glenn set up the fence; two electrified strings just a couple feet off the ground. A little zap when they touch the lines is just enough to keep them from roaming all over the farm. A pig’s snout is the perfect tillage tool. For an animal capable of clearing out the prickly understory of a forest overrun with brambles and invasive vines, this annually cultivated vegetable field was hardly a challenge. Within 5 days they had uprooted and eaten much of the chickweed in a 2500 square foot area. I think the tomatoes and melons will be happy here with the added fertility the animals have supplied. The incorporation of animals into the world of vegetable growing is new for me and I must admit, I am enjoying working up beds for peas, early roots, and greens next to the snorts of pigs who are also happily at work.

New life abounds in the vegetable world as well as the animal one. In spite of a cold spring making propagation in an unheated hoop house a bit of a challenge, beds have been formed for broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants, ready and waiting for this latest cold snap to pass. Potatoes arrived this week and I anticipate getting them in the ground as soon as the soil dries down enough to allow me back into the fields.

-Ashley

First CSA Shares June 3rd and June 6th!

5/19/2014

Greetings,

It’s hard to believe that after this long cold spring that the first vegetable pick-up at RTB is right around the corner. The last few weeks of sunny days and night time temperatures staying in the 50’s has really helped speed along the plant growth on the farm. Unfortunately, the weeds are growing too! Sun up to sun down workdays are becoming a necessity as greenhouse propagation, planting, weeding and now harvesting chores are all priorities that need to be strategically juggled. But the rewards are plentiful, especially as the first week of CSA pick up approaches and the bounty is shared with all of you who have so generously supported our efforts at RTB.

Tuesday June 3rd and Friday June 6th are the first two days of the vegetable share distribution. If you have not filled out the pledge form or chosen a pick up day, please do so by downloading the form on my website at www.ashleysproduce.com/csa-membership.html. You can email it back to me or bring it with you to our next Open Market Day on May 31st from noon to 5pm. We’ll be firing up the grill again and a tour of the farm will begin at 2pm. For those of you who can make it on the 31st, I will be giving a quick overview of how the CSA distribution will work and will be joining the tour to answer any questions about what’s happening in the gardens.

In the future I encourage all of you to sign up for the newsletter on my website where I will be writing weekly updates about what’s happening in the gardens, what to expect in the share, and recipes to make the most of your farm fresh veggies.

See you all at the farm very soon!

Ashley

Summer Solstice

6/22/2014

June 22, 2014
Week 4

In the Box:
kale
cabbage
carrots
lettuce
salad mix
peas
squash
garlic scapes

This weekend marked the Summer Solstice and signs of summer abound here at RTB- birdsong waking us at dawn, a nightly ritual of fireflies rising, lights flickering in the garden and surrounding pasture, and an explosion of plant growth fed by the energy of the sun on this, the longest day of the year.

The diverse explosion of plant life has attracted an equally diverse population of insect life, both problematic and beneficial. The usual suspects are all here, cucumber beetles, flea beetles, and cabbage moth. In addition, this season we have seen an unusual amount of aphid pressure. I typically don’t see much of this pest in the summer and associate aphids as a management challenge that comes along with winter growing in a hoop house. During the colder months biological activity is slowed by cold and dry soil conditions when watering is kept to a minimum to control the increased risk of bacterial and fungal diseases like damping off and downy mildew. However, the resulting decrease in biological activity affects the plants ability to access important nutrients for plant health like magnesium, calcium and phosphorous just to name a few. However, nitrates are highly mobile in the soil and more readily available to the plants. Aphids love nitrogen. My theory is that with the cool dry spring we have been having, biological activity in the soil has been slow and the plants are having difficulty accessing the rich profile of nutrients they need to ward off insect pressure. Fortunately, most of the cultivated crops that have aphid pressure, tomatoes and lettuce, are not yet showing any ill effects. And better yet, the weeds that are hosting the majority of the aphids, lambsquarters, are now also covered with ladybug larvae, a voracious beneficial predator. This week I have given everyone a big drink hoping that some of those excess nitrates will be leached out and the ladybug larvae on the lambsquarters will move over to feast on the aphids living on the tomatoes. A foliar feeding will happen soon to introduce some of those nutrients they aren’t now accessing from the soil. I also hope to get to mulching much of the crops to help retain soil moisture in what’s looking to be a dry season.

Your Farmer,
Ashley