Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Couple of new events coming right up

Evening, all. These two events popped up on my radar in the last couple of days, so I'm passing the info on.

Free screening: "Garbage Dreams"
-- MassRecycle presents a showing of the award-winning documentary "Garbage Dreams," hosted by the Nashua River Watershed Association at its River Resource Center (529 Main St., Groton) on Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The movie follows three teenagers living in the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, in the world's largest garbage village. The boys earn their livings by collecting and recycling the trash of others, but a multinational corporation threatens their community. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion about recycling.

Please RSVP at www.massrecycle. org/dreams.

Shirley community gardening info session -- The planned community garden at Longley Acres is seeking gardeners for the 2010 growing season. If you're interested, Longley Acres' caretakers will be on hand with details this Thursday, Feb. 25, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Hazen Memorial Library (Keady Way, Shirley).

Contacts are Kim Hampson, e-mail: Longleyacres@ymail.com, or phone: 978-761-3406, or Shirley Conservation Commission, phone: 978-425-2600 ext. 245, or e-mail: conservation@shirley-ma.gov.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Second edition

Note: This is my first crack at making this newsletter into a blog...I think this will be good, and hope you'll bear with me while I figure out the ins and outs of the medium.

Time to get fresh: Gibbet Hill offering new CSA

Whatever the groundhog had to say this year, there
is light at the end of this winter's tunnel. So for those of us who like our vegetables poppin' fresh, it's time to start thinking about how we want to get our produce, whether that means digging in the dirt ourselves, signing up for a share of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) project, or daydreaming about trips to the area's farmers' markets.

In my case, I'd been waiting for a quiet minute to look at my seed catalog, which has been here for ages, but that minute just hasn't come. Then, out for a Valentine's dinner at The Gibbet Hill Grill in Groton, the first thing on the menu to catch my eye was a notice that Gibbet Hill Farm is throwing its hat into the CSA ring. (My neighbor and fresh produce hunter extraordinaire Julie tells me that several other area farms are embarking on first-time CSAs as well...hoping to hear from anyone who tries them out for future issues!)

Gibbet Hill Farm had such success with the produce it grew for the restaurant and its other businesses last year that it's inviting a handful of community members to share the wealth this growing season. Having eaten a number of Gibbet Hill's crisp, flavor-packed salads and dishes like roasted beets and ragouts, and tasted a range of herbs in everything from the restaurant's breads to its rigatoni and its soups, in the past couple of years, I jumped at the chance. Assuming my check arrived before Farmer Kate (who runs the farm) filled up the 50-person list, I just have to wait until early June for my first pickup.

The CSA experience is not without hitches I've been warned about: large quantities of odd items or simply the same produce week after week, and sometimes, just too much produce to eat before the next batch arrives. But, maybe because spring is coming, I'm feeling optimistic. It seems logical that if I like the veggies at Gibbet Hill Grill, I should like the produce Gibbet Hill Farm grows, at least mostly (I confess I'm already wondering who'd like my allotment of radishes). And I can't wait to see the recipes from the restaurants chefs that are supposed to be included in my weekly portion. They even promise to throw in a jar or two of chef-preserved GH pickles...and how can you not love that?

Gibbet Hill Farm's CSA at a glance:

  • Membership fee for 2010: $600 for 20 weeks of produce (average cost $30/week)
  • Sample crops -- Lettuce and other salad greens, cooking greens (i.e. Swiss chard and kale), peas, beans, carrots, squash, beets, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn and winter vegetables, among others
  • Limited to 50 shares
  • Pickup Wednesdays or Sundays at Gibbet Hill's old Bull Barn
If you're interested in a share or would like to know more, contact Farmer Kate at farm@gibbethill.com.

If you've tried a local CSA or farmers' market and want to let neighbors know how it worked for you, send me a short e-mail writeup and I'll add it to the newsletter (respectful reviews only, please), next chance I have.

The final word (for now) on foam recycling in Ayer

Remember last month, when MassToss's Tessa David told us that most town transfer stations don't accept expanded polystyrene foam because it's hard to find markets for the recycled product? And remember that she said the best thing to do is check with your own town's transfer station? Surprise...turns out that our own (wonderful!) transfer station does indeed accept EPS foam, gladly.

At this time, the town transfer station will take clean, white EPS foam -- the kind used in packaging TVs, computers, furniture and the like. Until we know otherwise, packing peanuts, clamshell takeout containers and meat trays are still not a good idea. If I hear that they're OK, I'll let you know!

Cleanup day muscle needed

Well, not exactly muscle....The Recycling Committee is on the lookout for volunteers to help make its April 10 "A Cleaner Ayer" townwide cleanup an all-day, fun-packed event. Anyone wishing to lend time or talent to help with advance organization of the cleanup itself or the post-cleanup dance party and dessert potluck planned for that evening, please contact Laurie Sabol at 978-772-7858 or ayerrecycles@gmail.com.

Green goings on

Pine Meadow Conservation Land public input and hearings -- The Ayer Conservation Commission is holding a series of meetings to determine shared land use policy on the Pine Meadow Conservation Land. Preliminary discussion Thursday, February 25; public hearing Thursday, March 11, and Thursday, April 8. Final public hearing to vote on regulations Thursday, April 22. All meetings are at Ayer Town Hall at 7 p.m.

People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE) meeting -- Thursday, February 25, 4 Shelly Lane, Ayer, 7 p.m.

"Green Community" public meeting -- Ayer is working toward meeting the criteria to be designated a “Green Community,” following the recent passage of the Green Communities Act, which aims to help our cities and towns create greater energy efficiency and future generations of renewable, alternative energy sources. Get the latest on these efforts on March 9, when Kelly Brown, regional director for Green Communities, will be coming to Ayer Town Hall for a 7 p.m. public meeting.

Honeybee keeping classes -- Learn how to keep bees from experienced beekeepers Al Horton and Carl Flowers, members of the Middlesex County Beekeepers Association and frequent participants in the Williams Barn Farmers' Market in Groton. Classes will take place at the Groton #7 Grange Hall on Champney St. on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. from February 25 through April 8. The $70 fee includes the textbook and 2010 membership to the Middlesex County Beekeepers Association.