The Life of a Walk in Cooler

Thinking back to the late fall of 1977 when Jack and I walked into the Mission Hill Food Coop and joined with our 3 month son Dan in arms, I think I would have been surprised if fast forwarding 44 years later I would be in and out of our walk in cooler several times per day, acquired from the coop when it disbanded sometime in perhaps 1987. The trip to pick it up in our stake body truck with all six of us in the cab (you could get away with that in those days) was remarkable in its crowdedness! But we took it apart and brought it home and stored it in the back of the garage until 1992 when we built our barn. Jack designed the height of the main floor of the barn around the walk in. We spent most of 1992 building that barn, and though we operated our first CSA year out of our root cellar, we were up and operational with the walk in by 1993. I think that all we had to do was add some fluid to the cooler to make it operational, and only a couple visits from the experts for minor tweaks over the years have been needed to keep it functional. Many thanks to Howard Hastings about 10 years ago who fixed the front door to make it hang better, making it simple to go in and out of the door ever since.

During this turkey week, the walk in is our most important tool on the farm. Right now it is stuffed with produce for our last CSA delivery on Monday to be completely turned over to hold 120 turkeys by late Monday/early Tuesday.

I am not sure how old the walk in was when it arrived at the coop in Boston, but it was probably acquired second hand from a grocery store. This short story is a bit of a tribute to this wonderful walk in cooler which has for us in the past 30 years made it possible for us to deliver to our customers tons of fresh food. Thank you, walk in, and to those who put together this simple but powerful appliance!

CSA Update – Week 5 of 5
Last Week – Monday pick up only on November 22
Week 5 best guess of what we will get
Please remember that the week 5 pickup will be on Monday at all locations. Don’t forget!

  • Celery
  • Turnips
  • rutabagas
  • kohlrabi
  • radishes
  • carrots
  • collards
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Pears
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Arugula
  • Cilantro
  • Celeriac – this is a great root crop that you can use in soups and stews. Sometimes I cook it in stock and then puree.

Thanks for being part of the fall CSA. Hoping to see you again next year.

Week 4 share with eggs.


Walk Through Grief with Grace – some links from last week’s post
Here it is on Apple Podcasts:
And here it is on Spotify:

And another interview with Ellen and an old college friend on a Kural Conversation on Food and Healing –


An email from an egg customer
Hi Julie!

Thank you so much! Thank you for all your hard work in providing such wonderful produce. It is very important to us and  truly appreciated. We are so excited to try your turkey also!!

I had a dozen “maintenance eggs“ as I like to call them when I don’t have yours in my fridge. My husband grabbed them by accident not knowing I had got more eggs from you the day before… He was eating them and said there’s no way these are from our CSA.


Winter egg shares
This is a new offering this year, thanks to more creativity from Ari, our departing communications director. Check it out here and sign up  for either a Worcester pick up or at the farm.


Health tip
Juniper Berries – 5 emerging benefits of Juniper berries –
These berries are one of the components of our breakfast tea that Jack and I drink.

Health and Biology Education
Dr Zach Bush – A Biological Understanding of our troubled Times –

I have been following the work of Zach Bush for several years now. He has done a lot of work to spread the word about the dangers of glyphosate in our world. In this past year he has launched what he calls the Global Health Initiative. This is a rich resource that I will be delving into and sharing from time to time. This interview link that I have shared above with the Mantalks podcasts – – Connor Beaton, is a broad look at what is going on in our world today and how it connects with diversity, biodiversity and our human health potential. Some interesting history of the chemical agriculture and pharmaceutical industries.  Germ theory versus terrain theory. Much more.


Circle of Song Concert, Friday, December 3 7pm, Barre Congregational Church, 30 Park Street
By the way, Minnie is doing well and back singing after her fall.

Come enjoy some beautiful music with our small but mighty chorus. It hasn’t been easy to restart a chorus in Covid times, but we have pulled through and in my and Nancy’s humble opinion, we have a more competent group of singers than ever in our 20 years of singing together. We credit a lot of our success to our phenomenal pianist, Cailan McClure who is there to support us to perform this 4 part harmony music.

We will be performing the following pieces in the first portion of the concert.
Long Time Ago by Aaron Copland
Ching-A-Ring Chaw also by Copland
Joy Shall Come in the Morning by Mary Alice Amidon
Sure on the Shining Night by Morten Lauridsen
What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele

The highlight of the concert will be our rendition of A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms. We will be performing movements 1, 4, 5 and 7 from this 7 movement choral masterpiece. Written between 1865 and 1868 this requiem may have been inspired by the death of Brahms’ mother. We will attempt to do justice to this very intricate but also accessible piece of music that is beloved through the ages.

We would all love to see you there to help us enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season in choral song.


Pre-Order your 2022 CSA Share
Thanks for the continual stream of subscriptions for next year. Your commitment to our solvency as a family, and more and more a community farm, inspires us to more agricultural aspirational heights.

We are offering pre-orders for 2022 CSA shares now. Put down a full payment, half payment, or a $150 deposit to guarantee your spot in our 2022 CSA. We may raise prices in 2022 for our CSA shares, but we haven’t made a determination of that yet. If you order in this calendar year and put down a down payment you can be assured of this price. Order here:


Farm store hours
M-F – 12-1 pm
Tuesday 5-7
Friday 5-7
Always call ahead to be sure of supply.

Available this week

  1. Free range organic eggs at $8/dozen – we newly added free choice kelp to their now full farm free range lifestyle.
  2. dandelion, holy basil, burdock, yarrow and yellow dock tincture in 2 ounce bottles – $12
  3. frozen certified organic applesauce – just the apples cooked down in water – $7/quart
  4. 2 ounce jars of comfrey salve – $8 each
  5. 2 ounce jars of hemp salve – $10 each
  6. garlic powder – $10/2 ounce
  7. Lavender soap – $6/5 ounce bar


Farm Doins
We are deep into the scaling down process, though just a few more days of intense effort until we can take that Thanksgiving rest. This past week we put together Week 4 CSA and got most of CSA 5 picked ahead of the cold weekend that we have experienced. Clare and Ari and I were on the graveyard shift Friday afternoon as we picked through what was left of the arugula to get those precious 85 bunches. And the morning of Friday was remarkable in that our fingers were frozen as we harvested collards and kale, some of the plants with ice crystals on them. Thanks again to the Friday crew – Stu, Deb and Allison – who were high spirited in yet another Friday with challenging weather.

Backing up to Thursday, Kerri and Laurie helped Clare and me get the pigs corralled and then into Adams’ truck to send them off to meet their maker. This is a hard one for me existentially when we ship the pigs, intelligent and curious personages that they are. Even as I slapped their butts from inside their house and Rick Adams gave them short touches with his prod, they were gentle pigs and were careful not to crush me as they struggled to not get up on the truck.

Wednesday we had a cast of thousands and good thing as we ended up making 61 quarts of sauerkraut. Ari has signed up for monthly updates to them in Mexico about our consumption of said sauerkraut, not believing we can finish it by May. The race is on. Anthony and John set up a nice dog house palace next to our fancy new steps, complete with a new roof.

Tuesday Clare and I got all of our pig orders together for cut sheets and harvested a few things for Wednesday’s CSA. And our stalwart Monday crew picked for both Monday and Wednesday’s CSA, trying to get ahead of the cold nights of last week which slowly take the toll of the vegetables still in the field.

Backing up further to the week end, I need to shout out a real thanks to our Saturday crew, Shantel and Alexandria, and Alicia and Dan, and Katrina on Sundays, who comes all the way from Brattleboro. Together these folks have made weekend chores this year fun and manageable and I will miss them when these chores go away.

By the time you receive this, the turkey slaughter will be in progress and it will soon be very quiet on the farm (luckily we still have some noisy chickens). The ending of another farm year is in sight.


Leslie with some beautiful radishes that were raised entirely under row cover.


We were at about bunch number 70 when this picture was taken.

Some folks know how to relax.

Cabbage board or food processor? (click on the picture to watch video)

Coring these beautiful cabbages.

Ari mixing the cabbage with the salt to hurry the breakdown process.

Almost done!

You’ve heard of bathtub gin. This is bathtub sauerkraut.

Pigs lining up at the fence before leaving.

Gearing up to load house number two into the truck.

Once it is time to go, there is a mad rush for the truck.

We lay down cardboard in the garlic bed pathways before we cover the whole planting with hay and some cornstalks.

This is Lee, our latest new guy.

Good bye turkeys! (click on link to watch video)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!