[Snakeroot Organic Farm logo]
 • What's New Here
 • Snakeroot Poultry

 • About Our Farm
 • Annual Farm Tour
 • Community Supported
    Agriculture Plan (CSA)
Directions to our Farm
 • From a Run Out Hayfield to
    a Prosperous Organic Farm
    in Ten Easy Years

 • Get Real. Get Organic!
 • History of Our Farm
 • Pictures of the Farm
 • Where We Buy
 • Where We Sell
 • Our Yearly Work Schedule
 • Just Pretty
 • Subscribe to our e-newsletter.
 • Newsletter Archive.
 • What We Will & Won't Ship

 • Working Here
 • Our Apprentices
 • Our Farm Workers
 • Pictures of Us at Market

 • Fresh Vegetables
 • Fresh Fruit
 • Fresh Herbs
 • Perennials
 • Aloe - a magical plant
 • Our Bird Houses
 • Lupines
 • Rosemary Plants
 • Lovage, Tansy & Yarrow
 • Our Product Brochures
 • Dried Vegetables
 • Dried Culinary Herbs
 • Maple Syrup
 • Maple Syrup, p.2
 • Sugarin' Is Like Ice Fishin'
 • Our New Sugarhouse
 • Tomato Seedlings
 • Tomato Seeds We Offer
 • Tomato Seed Production
 • Paste Tomatoes
 • About Garlic
 • Garlic for Sale
 • Garlic Year Round
 • Mulching Garlic
 • Growing Rounds from Bulbils
 • Whole Bulbil Cluster Method
 • Planting Garlic

 • Using Mulches
 • Combatting Quackgrass
    with Mulch

 • We Want Your Leaves!
 • In Praise of Chips

 • Buying in Bulk for
    Storage, Canning & Freezing

 • Winter Storage Tips
 • How to Freeze Our Veggies
 • Building Techniques
 • Our Outbuildings
 • Evolution of the Farm Table
 • The Story of Our Cooler
 • Prepping Veggies for Market
 • Crop Rotations
 • Drip Irrigation
 • Low Pressure Water
 • Planting with Spreadsheets
 • Greenhouse Vegetable

 • Let-tuce Begin
 • Recipe Favorites
 • Our "Remay Roller"
 • Gardening Class Notes
 • Your Most Expensive Crop

 • Being Green
 • Digging Potatoes by Hand
 • Farmers' Markets in 2012
 • History of Pittsfield
 • Hybrids or Open Pollinated?
 • Making Websites
 • Open Source Software

    Our Retirement Plan
 • How Should a Farmer Retire?
 • Impediments to the want-to-be     farmer
 • Reducing the Value
    of the Land

 • Who Will Farm Here When
    We're Gone?

 • Apprentice Terms and Stages
 • From Apprentices to Partners
 • Transferring Farm Ownership

…and now for something completely different…

At dawn
Canoe bow waves are quickly lost
    on the shoreside
But go on out of sight
    on the lake side.


The constant swish-swish of skis
    On a day long ski.
The constant swish-swish of wiper blades
    On a day long drive.


My dog, trotting barefoot
Steps on a garden slug
And thinks
Nothing of it.


Word spreads quickly
as I approach the pond.
All becomes quiet.


Hidden in the vines
a large warted cucumber
jumps out of reach.
A toad!


Delicate puffs
of marshmallow snow
carefully perched
on a branch,
await the trigger of my hat
to melt their way down my back.

Deep in the tomato jungle
Fruits of yellow, purple and red
Tell of their readiness
To go to market.

Sugarin' Chores
Snowflakes hurry through my flashlight beam,
As my boots knead new snow with spring mud,
On my nightly Hajj to keep the boil alive,
For as long as possible until the dawn,
To match the power of the flowing sap,
With my meager evaporator and will.
The prize at the finish line are jars of syrup
And Spring.


Buying in Bulk
Storage, Canning and Freezing

or, "When can I get a deal on this?"

Storage tips

Local productions follow the natural seasons. This brochure is a list of our best guesses about when we expect to have various items in the greatest supply. This does NOT list the seasons we will have items available. Rather, it is when we will have the best deals for making bulk purchases for pickling, canning, preserving, storing, drying, etc. Prices may vary from year to year and with the season, but we print the price whenver we are pretty sure what it will be. We also indicate what our bulk unit is for each item.

These are the best times to make your bulk purchases. Occasionally the season for an item may extend a week before or beyond what is listed, but it usually doesn't.

For more info call (416+5417), email, or see us at market. Leave your name and phone number or email with us if you'd like to be contacted when your favorite item is available in bulk.


CARROTS: Unwashed for storing, or washed for immediate processing, in 25 lb. poly bags. Mid September to late October, and often later.

BEET GREENS: Mid June thru mid July. By the ½ or 1 bushel.

CHARD: Early July to mid October. Bushel boxes.

GARLIC: Second week of August to end of the year. 5 lb. bags for $35.

GREEN OR WAX BEANS: Last week of July thru August. 5 lb bags, ½ or 1 bushel.

KALE: Mid July thru end of October. ½ bushel boxes.

ONIONS: Late August thru late October. 25 lb. bags.

POTATOES: We do not always have a large amount of potatoes, but the best time for them is late September to mid October.

PICKLING CUKES: Last week of July & first three weeks of August. By the peck or bushel.

SLICING CUKES: Last week of July thru end of August. Twenty-two cukes for $10, or by the bushel.

RHUBARB: Late May, first two weeks of June. 10 lbs. or more at $2 lb.

SPINACH: First half of June, and again in early October. ½ lb. bags for $5, or 5 lbs. for $30.

TOMATOES: First quality, late August to early October in 4 lb. bags for $9 or 7/8 bushel crates for $40.
Canners: Last week of August & all of September, in 7/8 bushel crates for $25.
Paste tomatoes: meatier, less juice to boil off, 7/8 bushel crates for $40.
Green tomatoes: late August to late September. 20 lb. boxes.

WINTER SQUASH: Buttercup, Butternut, Acorn, Red Kuri or Delicata. By the bushel crate. Mid September to late October.

ZUCCHINI: Mid July to end of August. Twenty-two of any available size for $10.


Summer is the time for gathering fresh herbs for drying for teas and cullnary use for fall, winter and spring enjoyment. If bunched, remove any herbs from bunches when preparing to dry. Dry your herbs in a convection or microwave oven or home dehydrator, then store in tightly closed jar or plastic bag out of direct sunlight. Herbs stored by hanging to dry may develop mold if moist conditions prevent proper and rapid drying. Herbs dried to a flakey leaf stage will keep for well over a year. For longer storage, store in the freezer. Basil and sage take the longest to dry, all others are quick, easy driers. After drying, sifting through a large tea strainer or collander removes most sticks and provides a fine flake for use in cooking. Removing leaves from most of the stems prior to drying, especially for the woody herbs, is well worth the effort to produce an improved, stick-free result.

BASIL: Broad-leaved Genovese for pesto. Available from mid August to frost. Fresh in ½ lb. bags for $8.

CILANTRO: Mid July to end of September, intermittently. Fresh in ½ lb. bags for $8.

DILL: Mid July to end of September, intermittently. Fresh in 1 lb. bags for $8.

OREGANO: Fresh in 1 lb. or 5 lb. bags for $8. Mid July thru early September.

PARSLEY: Fresh in 1 lb. or 5 lb. bags for $8. Mid July thru mid October.

PEPPERMINT: Mid June to mid September. Fresh in 1 lb. bags for $8.

SAGE: Mid July thru late September. Fresh in 1 lb. bags for $5.

Hints for Vegetable Storage

Roots: Roots like to be stored in high humidity and cold temperatures. They do best from 30°-35°F., and may be stored well even when caked with mud. Do not wash roots intended for long term storage! Beets, parsnips, carrots, daikon, gobo (burdock root), celeriac, turnips and rutabagas store well in plastic bag lined boxes. Putting your plastic bags of roots in boxes allows stacking of your produce to conserve space. Poke several holes in the bag with a pencil to avoid condensation from collecting on the inside of the bag. Do not mix different vegetables in the same bag in storage, as rutabagas, for example, give carrots a bitter flavor. The average home refrigerator holds the temperature at 42°F-45°F., far too warm for storage for longer than a month or so. Growth of tops, development of root hairs, or slimy rot in the roots indicate the storage is too warm. Cracks in carrots or daikon indicate they have been frozen solid; use them imediately before thawing. Beets and gobo will tolerate moderate freezing. Roots will keep into the following summer, but beware of warming April root cellars! Parsnips and gobo may be kept in the garden all winter and dug in the early spring; other roots left in the garden will usually rot overwinter, or be eaten by mice, deer, etc..

Potatoes: Not true roots, these tubers like 35-40°F. and humid, but not wet, conditions. Store in a paper bag or unlined wooden box - plastic bags are for short term potato storage only—no longer than a month. Potatoes MUST be kept in the dark; two or three days of even dim light will turn the tubers green and bitter (still good for planting, though!). Sprouts indicate too warm conditions. Since potatoes will not sprout until after completing a 40 day dormancy after harvest, they may be briefly stored in warmer conditions early in the storage season. Shriveling indicates too dry. Potatoes will keep into the following summer. Sprouts must be broken off before eating the potato; or sprouted potatoes—or sprouts with some potato attached—may be saved for planting in the garden in early May (leave sprouts on when planting).

Sunchokes: Also tubers, sunchokes have a thinner skin than potatoes and will lose moisture rapidly if not kept moist. Store like carrots, in a plastic bag, as close to 30°F as possible. Sunchokes recover well from freezing if freeze-thaw cycles are not frequent. May also be dug in early spring, like parsnips.

Winter Squash: Maintain winter squashes at low humidity and cool, but not cold, temperatures. Dry, airy, and 55°F. will help most of your squashes last well into the winter, or even later. Squashes actually deteriorate much more quickly if kept too cold, or if kept where temperature fluctuations allow condensation to accumulate on their skin. Buttercups keep into December; delicatas, kuri and butternut keep into late winter. Individual squashes may keep longer. Look over your squashes once a week or so; use any that have developed a small soft spot. May be cooked and frozen for year-round use. Although seed saved from butternut squash will usually come true, seeds from all other squashes will likely produce interesting but ocassionally inedible squash.

Onions: All onions like to be kept dry and cold (just above freezing) for the longest storage. Root growth indicates too moist conditions; top growth indicates too warm. Hanging in a mesh bag assures plenty of air circulation. Do not store onions in a plastic bag! Spanish types keep only into December, at best; all others keep well into winter, some keeping into summer if kept cold and dry. Refrigerators are typically too warm (42°F) and too moist for long term onion storage. Sprouted onions, if planted in the garden in early spring, will produce a seed crop by mid-summer.

Garlic: Like onions, garlic likes a dry storage environment with plenty of opportunity for air circulation. However, garlic likes a warmer storage temperature than do onions. The ideal temperature for garlic storage is from 50–70°F. Warmer than 70°F and garlic will tend to dry out. Colder than 40°F and garlic thinks it's spring and time to sprout and grow roots. Softneck (artichoke) types keep a little better than stiffneck (rocambole) types, but either type can usually be kept until January and beyond. Larger bulbs, being slower and more difficult to cure than smaller bulbs, will sometimes not keep as well if they have not been properly cured after harvest.

General Storage Tips:

• A small inexpensive bulb (not dial) thermometer placed right with your stored vegetables will remove the guesswork from estimating the temperature. Remember, just a few degrees can mean the difference between sumptuous May meals of winter storage vegetables and a messy stinking springtime pile of garbage in your cellar. If you are concerned with the storage being too warm, put the thermometer high in the storage where the air is warmest; if it might be getting too cold, put the thermometer at the lowest point in the storage, where it is coldest. A small fan left running in the root cellar will circulate the air and prevent both cold areas and warm areas from forming, and the fan itself will contribute a small amount of warmth when running. A 40 watt electric incadescent bulb or two will raise the temperature of most storages by 5°F to 10°F, so if an extended cold spell drops the storage temperature dangerously low, leave the light(s) on. But check your storage temperature at least once a day until you see where the temperature now stabilizes. And make sure your potatoes don't know the lights are on, or their skins will turn green resulting a bitter flavor. But if they do, they are still fine for using as spring seed potatoes.

• In spring and fall, when the storage is warmer than you would like and the nighttime outdoor air is still below freezing, ventilating the storage by drawing in nightime air can extend the useful season of the storage at both ends of the storage season. When adding root vegetables in the fall it is important to get their temperature down to desired storage temperature as soon as possible. Often this means circulating air that is slightly below freezing; carrots that are at 40°F when arriving will take several hours to drop to the desired 33-35°F with this method. Carrots brought in at 50°F and not cooled to below 40°F for two to three weeks will develop an off taste and brown logitudinal streaks on the surface.

• For small storage requirements, a extra—but dependable—refrigerator can be used as a winter storage by turning the temperature down to 33-35°F. This will work in a cellar where the temperature is 40°F to 50°F, but will not work in an unheated garage which freezes, because your veggies will freeze, too. All the other caveats mentioned here apply, too.

• Placing your storage containers on a pallet and leaving a two inch space between stored vegetable containers and the walls of the storage will assure the vegetables gets no colder than the air. Thus one shouldn't store vegetables directly on the floor or directly against a wall. Sometimes covering your stored vegetables with a blanket or insulating material will minimize temperature fluctuations (but beware of rodents!). Make sure condensation is not occurring under the blanket.

• Roots and onions will begin to freeze after a few hours at temperatures below 30°F. They will not freeze at 32°F. since they are not pure water. Slow thawing at proper storage temperatures will often prevent most damage and may completely rescue them. Potatoes do not recover from freezing at all.

• Advice for storing your roots in sand, leaves or sawdust is from the era before plastic bags, when that was the best way of retaining moisture in the roots during the storage season. While the roots-in-sand method works as well as ever, today storing roots loose in a plastic bag serves the same function, but with easier retrieval and less before and after maintenance. Using trash bags as liners for wooden apple boxes allows you to stack your stored vegetables as high as you can reach. Simply fold the bag closed before stacking another box on top. Chalk is an easy way to mark the boxes with their contents, and can be washed off in the springtime.

• Wiping your squashes with a cloth dipped in vinegar will prevent mold from growing during storage on any slight nicks in the squash skin.

To get to our farm. We are in Pittsfield on the Snakeroot Road, which runs between the Higgins Road and Route 100. We are ½ mile from the Higgins Road end, just before the road dips and passes a small frogpond on the east side. You can't see our farm from the road. Our driveway is on the right side, opposite the first house on the left, and has been named Organic Farm Road. Looking down our driveway, you can see our sign saying Snakeroot Organic Farm. Call ahead and we will have your order ready.

27 Organic Farm Road, Pittsfield Maine 04967
owned and operated by
Tom Roberts & Lois Labbe
Tom: Tom@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5417
Lois: Lois@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5418

Gardening for the public since 1995.

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