Friday, January 7, 2022

Barberry Hill Farm CSA 2022 Enrollment Open

This is the time of year...
...for farmers (and the rest of us) to think about seeds.

"Winter in the garden is the season of speculation, a time when the snow on the ground is an empty canvas that invites the idle planting and replanting of countless hypothetical gardens between now and spring thaw.  A season of speculation in the Wall Street sense too, for now is when large wagers of gardening time and space are made on the basis of mere scraps of information." - Michael Pollan, Second Nature
"The future of the human race will depend on combining the cleverness of science with the wisdom of nature." - Charles Linbergh 
"Seventeen thousand different varieties of wheat have been produced, many of them the result of centuries of cultivation in a specific ecosystem with the best seeds saved each year and planted the next   The variation in plant varieties is related to the variation in cultures from one bioregion to another." Bill Duesing, Living on the Earth
The darkest month of the winter is over.  A window of sun starts us thinking about warmer days.  And in many farmhouses right now, people are planning the acquisition of seeds.

We live in a world that now has the unparalleled capacity to produce vast amounts of mediocre products.  Food production has already been that way for the last thirty years or so.

But small farms provide alternative.  Many would rather pay more for real food than pay more for doctors (or restaurants).

Those who write their checks for their summer CSA/Farm Share this time of year understand that they literally are providing seed money.  And when farmers have a bit more resources earlier, they can buy a better selection for the season to come.

Heirloom and Local Seeds Need Less and Give More

Painfully separating the seeds from a flower which is almost impossible to buy in the quantity required for a farm.

Thursday, November 11, 2021


During the heat of July and August, I trick myself into thinking September will bring about change.  In September, I look forward to October.  But November is the real thing.  Clear skies.  Cool nights.  Dappled days.  It is homecoming.  Worth the wait, and worth enjoying every moment.


Sunday, October 10, 2021

October (repost)

"After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with a mellow warmth…the Maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch.  The Oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze.  The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet.  Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her…In October any wonderful thing might be possible."  - Elizabeth George Speare

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Middle Beach Steamer Clam Chowder


We were asked to submit an old family recipe for the upcoming Madison Community Cookbook "Grow, Sow and Savor" and we would like to share our recipe with you - enjoy!

This recipe comes from our Aunt Betty Chamberlain, whose home was on Middle Beach Road in Madison, CT, and our Goddard family farm, Barberry Hill Farm, on Rt. 1 in Madison.  Our families have been in Madison since the mid-1800's.  Sea harvesting and farming have been in our roots for well over a century.  Each year we would harvest steamer clams from Circle and Seaview beaches when the potato vines withered.  With the harvest of fresh steamers and newly dug potatoes, freshly pulled onions, and cut celery stalks from our farm, we would gather on the beachside to steam and clean the clams while also preparing the potatoes, onion, and celery.  This was a family project which required all hands to prepare the vast vat of chowder that Aunt Betty closely guarded.  Her chowder was known far and wide as one of the best clam chowders anyone had ever tasted, yet the recipe was something that nobody had access to.  It wasn't until Aunt Betty was in her 80's that she finally relented to coach me through the nuances of her creation.  This chowder is not the thickly floured New England clam chowder one often has in a restaurant or out of a can.  Nor is it the clear broth Rhode Island type clam chowder, but a delicious blend of broth and cream thickened with the natural starches of the fresh potatoes.  We continue the tradition of making it each year, sharing it with friends and family, and now with you, the reader.  

Middle Beach Steamer Clam Chowder

5 lbs. soft shell clams
2 cups water
4 ounces bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 stalks fresh thyme, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Soak clams in saltwater, swirling till all the sand comes out.  
Once clean, steam the clams in the 2 cups of boiling water for 10 mins.  
 Make sure to reserve the water once the clams are done - this will be your broth.  
Remove clams from their shells and put them aside.

Brown the bacon in a soup pot.  Once cooked, remove the bacon and chop it into small pieces. 
Add the butter, chopped onion, chopped celery, thyme, bay leaves to the pot the bacon was in.  Saute 10 mins.  
Add the chopped potatoes and clam broth - broth should cover the potatoes, if not, add a little water.  
Boil for 10 mins - mash some potatoes for thickening.  Stir in clams and cream.  Season with salt and pepper.  
Do not boil again.  Serve.