Author: Bryan Housel


Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes)

Sunchokes, of the sunflower family, are native to North America where the natives called them “sun roots” before European settlers arrived. Samuel Champlain, a French explorer found them in Cape Cod in 1605 and pronounced them similar in taste to artichokes. But why “Jerusalem artichokes”? They don’t come from Jerusalem nor do they look like artichokes. There are a few theories: when first discovered people started calling them “girasole” (or flower that turns looking for the sun) which eventually became “Jerusalem”. Another possibility is that as sunchokes became the staple food of the first European pilgrims in North American soil they named it as food for the “new Jerusalem”. (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – June 3, 2016

Hi Folks, Firstly, I would like to apologize for having been incommunicado until now.  I normally write one or two pre-season updates to keep members apprised of how things are going at the farm.  It has been an extra challenging spring this year, we once again got off to a late start owing to winter sticking around until Mid-April.  Since then it has been exceptionally dry despite a week of “rainy weather” which delivered barely a half an inch of drizzle during 6 days of gloomy overcast skies.  As always, my crew and I have been working hard to get the planting done and overcome the challenges.  (more…)

Westfield CSA accepting applications for 2016 season!

It’s time to sign up for the 2016 season!

Why Join a CSA?  First and foremost, you build a relationship with a real person who works hard to bring you fresh produce every week;  You save gas by not flying in your produce from California (or other countries), you keep a small farmer in business, you help keep land undeveloped, and you keep toxic chemicals off the land by supporting organic farming.  You also got to see the face of your food and eat a variety of fresh, local, organic produce!

 Know your farmer.  Know your food.

Did you know that John spends over $30,000 on seeds each year?  When we pay ahead of the season, John can pay for his seeds without having to pay interest on his credit card bills.

The price structure for the 2016 season remains the same as in previous years, but with a late fee for last minute signups:

  • $625 if paid in full by March 1
  • $650 if paid in full by April 30
  • $675 on or after May 1 (subject to availability)

You can put down a non-refundable deposit of $200 to save your share.  If you have extenuating circumstances and need to work out a payment plan we can work with you.

Email for more information or click here to download an application form.

As before, you can split a share with someone else. If you need help finding someone to split with, let us know and we will pair you up as I get requests!

Returning members will be guaranteed a spot in the CSA if registered by Feb 6. After that registration is first come, first served.

Share this information with anyone who may be interested in joining the Westfield Area CSA!

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – November 25, 2015

Hi Folks, A few words about the stock up share.  We ended up not having very much winter squash; it did not keep well for us this year. There is only acorn and some small buttercup. I recommend cooking the buttercup soon and freezing what you don’t need. The acorn should keep for a while but it does get stringy after many weeks in storage.

We have tried to make up for this with other items – notably sweet potatoes, which were not promised and have not been in the shares in years past.  We put them in plastic bags because they poke holes in paper ones, but they should be removed immediately and stored in paper bags or in a bowl on the counter.  It is better to keep these warm.   (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – November 19, 2015

Hello Everyone!  So we have reached the end of the season and it is time for me to bid you all adieu until next year.  It was a challenging year, but with farming I have come to accept that each year will have its own unique problems and glitches.  It was, for the most part, a dry year, which is always better than a wet one.  We received just enough rain to get by, and irrigated when it began to get to dry.  Overall I am pleased with the production we had and with what I was able to provide to the members; I hope you all feel the same.  I feel we’ve been improving each year and will continue to strive to provide you and your family with the best variety and quality we can.  We have a very nice share for you this week, so we end the season on a high note. (more…)



Rutabagas are only called rutabagas in the U.S. Throughout the rest of the world, they’re known as swedes. This ordinary root vegetable is thought to have originated in Bohemia in the 17th century as a hybrid between the turnip and wild cabbage.

Members of the cabbage family, rutabagas are often confused with turnips, although there are noticeable differences. Rutabagas are larger, part white and part purple, with creamy orange flesh and ribs near the stem, and with a nutty, sweet flavor when roasted. Meanwhile, turnips are white with a purple-red top and a peppery taste. (more…)

Circle Brook Farm

Farm News – November 12, 2015

Hello Folks! As we head into the final weeks of the season we are becoming more dependent on roots and tubers to fill your basket. This week we will have carrots again, as well as beets, sunchokes, and salad turnips. The beet tops were damaged by the cold snap a few weeks back and so we will ship them loose without tops. The salad turnips still have beautiful greens, which, as always, I encourage you to eat. (more…)