Archive for April, 2015

Rockport Local – Seaview Farm

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Seaview Farm

 

The Seaview Farm fields – tilled for seven generations by the Lane Family – ripple with turned soil behind stone-wall lined lanes right in the middle of Rockport, hidden by the clusters of homes that have risen thickly over the years. A swath of Seaview Farm pastures still cuts right through town, through the densely settled neighborhoods off South St. and Marmion Way.

The Lane

 

The beautiful geometry of farmhouse, barns and silo make a classic sequence along one side of Lane’s Farm Way as it threads off of South St. and into the northernmost Dogtown woods. The south-east facing classroom windows of the Rockport Schools look out to Seaview Farm.  Like the sign declares humbly from the wooden farm porch facing South St., Sandy Bay’s waters break about a thousand feet north, up Marmion Way. When the first Lane began farming in 1838 there was certainly a view of the sea.

There are not many towns with such an accessible working farm. For a multitude of reasons – low carbon footprint, fresher less travel-worn food – “local” eating is the right thing to do. Rockport boasts not just a historical blessing – there are not many seven-generation working farms – but we now have more and more Rockport-grown food.  Ken Lane, the current Lane to run the farm, is slowly reversing his grandfather’s shift from farming to raising horses thirty years ago. Having been a dairy farmer in Maine, Ken Lane returned to the family homestead when his grandfather died, and brought farming with him.

 

 

Rockport cattle

Lane has a small herd of cattle which he pastures on grass, allowing us the luxury of locally raised grass-fed beef. He’s returning more and more lands to growing vegetables.

 

blue barrel

 

 

The Greenhouse

 

Ken & The Greenhouse

I met him a few days ago, when the snow banks had finally melted, and we hiked across South St. down a lane to his greenhouse, where a thousand seedlings were warming up. Shining crimson lettuce, soft spinach leaves, kale spears, and founts of sprouting beet tops rippled down the rows.

Ken Lane

 

All these are already for sale in the Seaview Farm “store” on the front porch Saturday mornings. This spring and summer there will be peas, green beans, swiss chard, peppers, celery, tomatoes, and butternut squash. The grass-fed beef is sold out of the freezer on the porch; just a reminder, it’s a little tougher than grain-fed beef, but the flavor is incomparable, a complex, herbal bouquet in this local protein.

Our own grass fed beef

About Rockport protein, Lane is raising chickens for eggs; the last carton I picked up at the store contained eleven earthy brown eggs and one blue.

Lane sells his beef and produce from his front porch store, at the Cape Ann Farmer’s Market, and the Rockport Farmer’s Market. Watch for announcements of a Seaview Farm Dinner (June 19th) with chef Sheila Jarnes from Short & Main, sponsored by the Rockport Exchange.

The Rockport Exchange, formerly Rockport Festivals, feels that food systems change the culture of a place; having a working farm with its locally raised meat and produce in our town, supported by the community, adds a significant value to a place; it nourishes us physically, spiritually, and economically.

Seth Moulton enjoys Sasquatch Smoked Fish, and more.

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Paul Lundberg, Sefatia Theken, Seth Moulton, Bob Stewart

City Counselor Paul Lundberg, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Theken, Congressman Seth Moulton, and City Counselor Bob Stewart

(photo via Sefatia Theken)

Rookie Congressman, Seth Moulton came to The Hive in Gloucester today. Angela Sanfillippo reminded him that, even with NOAA’s first-ever nod in the fishermen’s direction, not much has changed. The recent cod allotments are incredibly low but they bump out the pollack allotments, making neither something a local fisherman could live on.

Sasquatch smoked salmon

Sasquatch smoked salmon pate

Paul Cohan, otherwise known as Sasquatch, brought a huge platter of his smoked salmon and smoked salmon pate, in which the congressmen sunk crackers as if he hadn’t eaten for days, which may have been true.  (Cape Ann Coffees provided the delicious pastries, quiche and coffee.)

Cohan eloquently reminded the congressman that Gloucester fishermen and NOAA need to really listen to each other to ever get anything done.  Moulton energetically agreed.

Now serving on the armed services committee, Seth Moulton may be the first congressman ever to decline Congress’s high-end health care services in favor of the VA system. Moulton will be receiving the exact care our vets do, and will thus experience personally what needs to change. When he first appeared at a VA hospital, the antiquated VA system didn’t even recognize him as a vet.

“I wanted to say, ‘google me,’ but I didn’t.”

Moulton is very interested in expanding what service means in this country, making “service” broader, but still including the armed services, something for which young people today can proudly enlist.

Moulton explained to the group at The Hive our country’s heavy responsibility as the world’s leader. We must choose carefully where we step, he said, and many countries are watching us, waiting to support our initiatives, but only after we act first.  Moulton had just returned from the Ukraine and eastern Europe, regions legitimately alarmed by Putin’s willful advances. When Moulton asked the president of Poland, who is nervous about his own country’s vulnerability to Russia, why Poland doesn’t initiate an effort in the Ukraine to build more resistance there, Bronislaw Komorowski (@Komorowski on twitter) responded, “We need the Americans to go first; then we’ll be right there.”

The event ended by Sasquatch singing a cappella his “Gloucester Anthem” to the congressman and the crowd.

If you want to eat what Seth Moulton is having for lunch, look for Sasquatch smoked fish at Willowrest, the Cape Ann Farmers’ Market, and the Rockport Farmers’ Market.