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Family Farm Nights

In the 1827 Barn listening to Winchester Community Music School (E. James Whitehead 2013)

In the 1827 Barn, listening to Winchester Community Music School
(E. James Whitehead 2013)

Thank you to everyone attended our concerts this season! While the music is over, the farm is still in full glorious growing season — come enjoy our walking trails, say hello to our chickens, and stop by the farm stand for a snack or a goat shirt!

Our wonderful Family Farm Night series Lettuce Turnip the Beet will return next summer. Concerts are held for seven consecutive Thursdays in June and July from 6 – 7:30pm.

Bring you own picnic or pre-order a boxed picnic from The FULLer Cup — delivered to the Farm. We will also have a cash bar plus popsicles, popcorn, and other goodies for sale in our farm stand. Bring a blanket or some lawn chairs and your favorite non-alcoholic refreshments to enjoy the show.

Family Farm Night is for people only: please leave your canine family members home. They will thank you for missing the crowds, the excited children, and the overwhelming temptations caused by too many picnics.

2017 concerts:

June 15  The Sorry Honeys
June 22  Hank Wonder
June 29  Chris & Meredith Thompson
July 6  Miss Ellaneous
July 13  Ten Penny Ransom — RESCHEDULED to August 10th
July 20  High Strung Reunion
July 27  Karen K & the Jitterbugs — RESCHEDULED to August 3rd

Bonus Concerts:

August 3  Karen K & the Jitterbugs (rescheduled from 7/27)
August 10  Ten Penny Ransom (rescheduled from 7/13)

NOTE ON PARKING: We love how popular Family Farm Night has become! Please note that there are 3 parking lot options:

  • 82 Ridge Street (50 spaces),
  • Mullen Field (75 spaces), and
  • St. Eulalia’s on Ridge Street (100 spaces).

If you drive by Mullen Field or St. Eulalia’s on the way to the farm, we recommend parking at these locations and walking to the farm since the 82 Ridge Street lot fills very quickly. For the safety of all guests and neighbors, parking is not allowed on Ridge Street at any time.

Family Farm Night is made possible by generous sponsorship from the EnKa Society. Special thanks to St. Eulalia’s Church for use of their parking lot on Thursday evenings.

Farm Education for All

September 2017
Written by Education Director, Rebekah Carter

Fall after school harvest (Rebekah Carter 2016)

I’ve spent the past five years of my life serving as Education Director for Wright-Locke Farm, and the experience has been nothing short of incredible. But even now, five years into this journey, I am often asked, “What exactly do you do? What is farm education?” I think many who are not familiar with farm-based programs may assume that “farm ed” only relates to training programs for new or beginning farmers. Though this is certainly one form of it, farm education programs at Wright-Locke and many other small farms are typically geared towards the non-farming population of children, teens, and adults that make up a farm’s community. We may not all be farmers, but we’re all eaters, and the majority of us could use a little guidance when it comes to eating more locally and seasonally. Farm education gives farms a means to communicate to their customers both the knowledge and skills necessary to make better food and lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to growing or incorporating more fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and other local foods into your diet.

Hosting theMOVE students at the farm (2014)Ideally, one’s participation in farm education will start as soon as possible during childhood, when our brains are absorbing all sorts of new information and we’re starting to develop skill sets, opinions, and habits- some of which may last a lifetime. While the desire to eat more healthfully can occur at any time in one’s life, it is evermore apparent how critical it is to develop these goals and habits when we’re young. Childhood and adult overweight and obesity rates are at an all time high in America and many other countries around the world, and their effects are not limited to clothing size; many chronic conditions and diseases are directly linked to maintaining an unhealthy weight or eating an unhealthy diet, and the ability to reverse or lessen these negative effects is often much more difficult than our ability to prevent them through diet and lifestyle choices. Children who start eating fruits and vegetables at a younger age are more likely to continue to do so throughout their childhood, into their teens, and then during adulthood. Farm education programs serve a crucial link between consumers of all ages, producers of farm products like fresh produce, eggs, dairy, and meats, and the food-consciousness and health of our society.

Looking at frames from a beehive (Rebekah Carter 2013)Wright-Locke Farm’s youth education programs offer children a unique hands-on experience learning about growing food, cooking, and the natural world on a historic working farm. All of our programs include lessons and activities related to agriculture, healthy eating, the environment, or natural science while utilizing the fields, pastures, barns, and wooded trails as our living classroom. Though we spend plenty of time focusing on subjects such as soil, compost, worms, plants, honeybees, Wright-Locke Farm’s domesticated animals (sheep, goats, chickens), land conservation, farm history, and local wildlife, we always include a healthy farm or season-inspired dish during our youth programs. Some days, this might mean simply going to one of our two organically-grown youth gardens to pick and snack on some of the harvest, be it Sungold cherry tomatoes, Mexican sour gherkin cucumbers, or purple, yellow, and green bush beans; other days, it means following a recipe to prepare a healthy dish together, using fresh foods from the garden, our farm fields, or the local farmers market.

Harvesting red lettuce for spring salads (Rebekah Carter 2016)

Whether it’s dehydrated kale chips, raw fruit and greens smoothies, overnight refrigerator pickles, salsa fresca, raw strawberry-rhubarb fruit leather, plant parts salad, or another of our favorite seasonal recipes, I’m always impressed by how much our youngest audience seems to enjoy picking, preparing, and eating these creations or sharing them with their parents (if there’s any leftover, of course). Time after time, I hear parents saying, “they would NEVER eat that at home!” or “I can’t believe my son/daughter ate that.” Even more exciting is when we hear about our youth participants cooking up veggies they harvested at the farm, or cooking up a farm recipe at home to share with their family. They may not realize it, but these kids are developing a taste for health-promoting foods, an opportunity that too few children seem to have but desperately need. In a world riddled with cheap unhealthy foods marketed directly to impressionable youths, it’s our responsibility to teach kids about the many nutrient-rich foods that local farms provide us throughout the seasons and how to include them in our daily meals.

Going into a hive during a beekeeping workshop (Rebekah Carter 2014)Farm-based education provides the perfect outlet for this type of teaching, learning and habit-forming, since program participants get to either directly witness or actively participate in the growing, harvesting, and preparation of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbs into a delicious meal, side dish or snack. But this type of education is not limited to youth audiences only. As the saying goes, it’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Teens and adults often need just as much guidance as our youngest students when it comes to improving their diets with the inclusion of more fresh foods and healthy cooking techniques. Wright-Locke’s educational workshops for teens and adults are a great way to learn practical skills related to healthy living, small-scale “backyard” agriculture, and the wonders of nature. Though we host a number of programs featuring subjects like yoga, herbalism, home composting, bouquet and wreath making, stargazing and more, the majority of our workshops are directly related to growing, foraging or cooking up local and seasonal foods. Whether it’s fermenting your own sour dill cucumber pickles, kraut or kombucha, cooking and canning some homemade jam or apple butter sweetened to your taste, making nutrient-rich stocks and soups from scratch, raising backyard hens for eggs or bees for raw honey, growing your own gourmet mushrooms, or creating delicious dishes featuring just-picked veggies and herbs… our workshops strive to connect people not only to our farm and its landscape, but to local and seasonal foods of all kinds- from the farmers market, your own home garden, or even the wild forageable areas of your community and beyond.

Making fall wreaths in the 1827 Barn (Rebekah Carter 2016)We have experienced amazing growth in our educational program offerings and audience over the past five years, and we are passionate about our desire to continue growing so that we can offer an even larger variety of programs and reach even more audiences. But the farm’s existing infrastructure is extremely limiting in terms of what we are able to offer in our short but very busy seven-month program season, currently running from April through October (truth be told- we’re so busy, we’re starting to book some programs and events in early November). Between our organic agriculture, education programs, special events, fundraising, and farm stand, we have all functional farm buildings and fields in full use; due to our many activities and increasing number of staff and volunteers, we often have to share workspaces, tools, and supplies. The only sheltered space available for programs and events, named the 1827 Barn after the year it was built, is spacious and gorgeous no matter the time of day, but it’s not heated and does not have a certified kitchen for the many food-based workshops and activities we do. Our current business model has worked to get us where we are today, but cannot sustain the growth we seek. The only reasonable solution to our roadblock is the creation of a year-round program and event facility. A climate-controlled building with a certified kitchen would not only give us more dedicated spaces to utilize for our current activities; more importantly, it would grant us the ability to offer a wider variety of programs for a more diverse range of audiences, all year long.

Ed Center PerspectiveWright-Locke Farm Conservancy has received an incredible amount of support from the community over its almost ten years of existence. Contributions of all kinds- be they monetary, material, or good ol’ “sweat equity”- have been critical in our transformation from a simple pick-your-own raspberry plot to a bustling non-profit community farm with activities for everyone to enjoy. We hope that this amazing farm community, which has already done so much to help us achieve successes both small and large, will continue to work with us towards our goal of establishing a year-round facility to enable further growth of this extraordinary institution. You can learn more about our farm’s vision and how you can help us “Cultivate our Future,” here.

Wright-Locke’s “Night-time Farmers”

Web_2016 Family Farm Night

Written by Amy Rindskopf, Event Manager

The month of May means many things in the Farm’s calendar – seedlings start to leave the greenhouse for the fields, after-school education programs return, and the farm stand moves from once-a-week eggs-only towards a full week with veggies, eggs, and delicious snacks. For the Farm event team, it means something even more: parties return to the 1827 Barn!

Regular visitors to the farm know that we do many public events throughout the warmer months: Family Farm Nights in June & July are our most popular event but we also do Spring Fling in May (this weekend!), Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox parties, Farm-to-table Suppers in the late summer, and our annual Harvest Dinner in September.

The most attentive visitors know that we also host private events, everything from children’s birthdays to graduations to family milestones to weddings. People who come to the farm to celebrate the important moments in their lives aren’t just looking for a place to have a party – they are connecting themselves and their guests with history and nature in a way rarely seen in event spaces.  It’s why so many people come back to our events year after year. And why more than one party guest has become a volunteer in our fields.

Web_Colored lanterns in the 1827 BarnWeb_Harvest Dinner 2014

Our event team definitely has the most unusual job description at Wright-Locke Farm: they must love helping organize beautiful events, but they also enjoy working outside in all weather, moving heavy wooden barn chairs, climbing ladders, having dirty hands, and chasing runaway paper lanterns (and the occasional lost sheep). These night-time farmers of Wright-Locke Farm are some of the best problem solvers I know – they can hang anything from the Norway maple on the hill used as our wedding ceremony site. Need to hang a poster in the barn without using any nails? But of course! Sudden hailstorm changing your outside summer fete to a cozy fall barn party? Not a problem!

Here’s looking forward to a season full of starry nights, happy families, vibrant music, and delicious food!

Volunteer Opportunities

Harvesting greens (E. James Whitehead)We have no shortage of volunteer opportunities on the Farm, and so we warmly encourage people to donate some of their time and energy to our organization. We will surely be able to connect you with projects that suit your interests, abilities, and schedule. No matter what the task, you’ll likely meet new people, learn new skills, and gain a heightened appreciation for food and farms. Please see our current volunteer opportunities below (please note that most opportunities are seasonal). No experience is necessary as instruction will be provided. If you want to help with a particular opportunity, send us an email and we will connect you with the appropriate person to further explore how you could help. In your email, be sure to include the opportunity for which you’d like to provide assistance (i.e. “I want to help care for the chickens”).

FARM VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Volunteers must be age 14 or older for most volunteer opportunities. Most opportunities are available sometime between April – October only.

AGRICULTURE

  • Help our field crew (April – October): tasks throughout the season include helping plant seeds in the greenhouse or field, transplanting, weeding, and harvesting crops sold in our farm stand, at markets, for our flower CSA, and more. One time and recurring opportunities available (Tuesday – Saturdays only). Email our Farmer to let her know you’re interested in helping out.
  • Help our flower crew (March – October): tasks throughout the season include helping seed, plant, water, weed, maintain fields, harvest and a variety of other flower tasks; go to our Flower Volunteer page for more info.
  • Help run our Farm Stand (May – October): assistance is needed in the spring, summer, and fall. First read about the Farm Stand volunteer’s responsibilities while tending the stand before contacting our farm stand manager to learn more.
  • Help our U-Pick Raspberry crew (late August – mid October): tasks include teaching customers how to pick, weighing berries and collecting payment, and more; go to our Raspberry Volunteer page for more info.
  • Land Management (April – November): assist our staff and Board with mowing grass, trimming hedges, clearing brush, raking leaves, and more around the fields and pastures.
  • Ornamental Gardening (May – September): assist our staff and Board with ornamental gardening around the farmhouse, farm stand, and 1827 Barn.

FARM ANIMALS

  • Help take care of our chickens (year – round): help our “chicken chore” volunteer group perform daily tasks for our flock, including bringing food and water, collecting, cleaning, and tallying eggs, and more. For more information or to sign up to for chicken chores, please e-mail our Community Engagement Manager, Kim Kneeland.
  • Help take care of our goats and farm cat (late December – February): help our farm staff perform morning feed chores for our goats and cat this winter while the farmer is on break; sign up is day-to-day (very flexible) and requires just morning chores like bringing food and water to the animals.

EDUCATION

(local middle and high school student volunteers wanted)

EVENTS

  • Help our events staff with special events (April – October): assist with the preparation or facilitation of the farm’s special events; volunteers are scheduled to help with a specific event or series of events (i.e. Family Farm Nights hosted June-July).

FUNDRAISING AND OUTREACH

  • Help our staff with fundraising and outreach to local communities (year – round): specific projects and recurring opportunities available.

Don’t see an opportunity that suits you? Send us an email describing how you think your energies might benefit the farm. Special projects relevant to our work are always up for consideration!

Events

Farm dinner by the Ice House (E. Jim Whitehead)The Farm hosts a number of public and private events throughout the year, ranging from our Spring Fling and Family Farm Nights to weddings and private parties. Many events are free to the community; paid events help support our efforts to maintain the historic property and our growing list of farm offerings. We welcome all to come to the Farm and participate in what’s going on.

Visit the following pages for more information on:

Click here for information on & to sign up for Adult Education Workshops.