Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Keeping up with your CSA

FIFTY SHADES of green sprawl seductively across my kitchen counter. Each Wednesday we have a date, my CSA and I. In exchange for $350 paid in March, I receive a portion of a local farm’s seasonal produce. Last week it was escarole, bok choi, kohlrabi, beets, spring onions, radishes, dill, and paddy pan squashes. I’m sure I’m forgetting something — a bunch of scallions or a batch of leaves that farmer Ethan had to pre-identify in his whimsical weekly e-mail. My olfactories stir at a whiff of the Thai basil. My tongue starts to wag at the poetry of the sugar snap peas.

But while I’m in a confessional mode: I said “no mas” to a second week of bok choy. And having passed off a bag of fresh spinach and summer squash to a neighbor, last night under cover of darkness I pitched a head of wilted romaine. I just can’t keep up.

Small farms in Massachusetts are making a comeback as viable enterprises, due in large part to early spring investors like me. Community Supported Agriculture got its national start in Massachusetts in 1984, at the Indian Line Farm in South Egremont. Since 2008, the number of CSAs in the state has tripled, to 150. We now rank third in the country in the number of farmers’ markets overall, after California and New York. Local organic farms not only bring healthy, clean food to our tables. They protect arable land, sustain wildlife populations, and stanch McMansion sprawl. Bakers, butchers, equipment suppliers, and small-scale food companies of all stripes have sprung up alongside the kale. And these in turn are greatly enhancing the quality of life in communities from Wayland to the Berkshires.

So, what’s not to love? Maybe I’m being prudish, but it’s the orgy of excess I experience each time I open the fridge. And, to be honest, it’s the forced match-making with veggies I don’t love and wouldn’t choose for my dance card. Finally, it’s the pressure to process all that greenery in a 24-hour freshness window. Though I’ve developed a reasonably effective management system — tubs of gazpacho, ratatouille, and frozen pesto — it is a weekly battle. Three summers into this experiment, I wonder: Is my guilt over small-scale waste the price I pay to support an essential common good? Is it right to balk at subsidizing a great idea, just because I’m occasionally compelled to treat my cilantro like a common weed?

It’s impossible to mount an argument against the gospel of local and organic. I honor advocates like Edible Boston’s Ilene Bezahler and farm guru John Lee. The movement has grown like the proverbial mustard seed. It reaches into the inner city and up to the corridors of power. Last year, Project Bread contributed $30,000 to area farms through its Food to Table program, supplying 100 families with CSA shares through community health centers. Haley House teaches healthy cooking classes to kids near its Roxbury bakery. At the other end of the food chain, small farmers are cutting our dependence on environmentally disastrous food transportation costs and exploitative labor practices.

But like all gospels, the devil is in the details. And the detail here is a family of goodwill that has limited time to hunt down recipes for unfamiliar veggies, chop, steam, freeze, preserve, or otherwise distribute the bounty. I know that I’m not alone; furtive comments among friends surface mid-July with the burgeoning zucchinis. There must be a solution that doesn’t demand that I opt out of a worthy cause.

One Massachusetts farm has come up with a better way. Atlas Farms offers shares — at a discount off retail prices — like a traditional CSA. But unlike a regular CSA, where you take what you get from the week’s harvest, Atlas allows customers to choose the produce they want on a first-come first-served basis, spending down their investment over the course of the season. Twice a week it sets up at the Copley Square Farmers’ Market. What doesn’t sell is donated to local nonprofits.

By providing more choice and a more viable supply schedule, this approach fills the gap between good will and conventional market dynamics. It eliminates individual boxes and the hours spent putting them together. It encourages “non-CSA” purchases on the same visit, and provides the farm with more than anecdotal data on buyer preferences.

CSAs are the best thing since artisanal beer. I’d like to have my celeriac and eat it too, just not all at once.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lexington Central School Information 2014-2015

Below you will find important information and dates regarding Lexington High School as well as links to calendars and more information. You can find out more at 

August 26, 2014
10:00 AM - 11:55 AM New students Opening Day

August 27, 2014
7:45 AM - 2:25 PM Opening Day--All Students

August 29, 2014

September 1, 2014

September 2, 2014
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Newcomer's Potluck (PTSA)

September 10, 2014
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM ETS Parent Coffee
6:30 PM - 7:30 PM Freshmen Parent Night

September 11, 2014
7:45 AM - 11:15 AM Students 1/2 Day

251 Waltham Street , Lexington, MA 02421
Phone: 781-861-2320 x1002 |

For information for the Lexington  middle and high schools please visit 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Town of Lexington Health Division Joins DPH “Together We’re Ready” Campaign

The Town of Lexington Health Division Joins DPH “Together We’re Ready” Campaign to Encourage Individuals and Families to Plan Ahead for Emergencies Lexington Health Division (LHD) joins the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) in promoting emergency preparedness as part of the “Together We’re Ready – Massachusetts Prepared” campaign during Emergency Preparedness Month this September 2014. 

Developed by DPH’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Response in partnership with state and local agencies, “Together We’re Ready – Massachusetts Prepared” is a public health campaign that encourages Massachusetts residents and families to plan and prepare for severe weather, natural disasters, infectious disease threats and other emergency events.

“Emergencies can happen at any time as evident by recent weather related events, such as the tornado in Revere. Taking a few simple steps now to prepare yourself and your family will help Lexington recover more quickly and lessen the impact to your normal schedule. Every step that we take to prepare ourselves and our families for emergencies makes Lexington stronger and more resilient when the unexpected happens,” said Gerard F. Cody, Health Director for the Town of Lexington. “Now’s the time to be informed, plan ahead, and get prepared.”

The “Together We’re Ready – Massachusetts Prepared” campaign features online videos and resources developed by DPH. Check out the “Together We’re Ready” web page at where you can find more information about individual and family preparedness, volunteer opportunities, emergency planning for the whole community and tips for flu prevention. You can also join the conversation on Twitter at #readyma.

In addition to the “Together We’re Ready” website, here are other ideas to help you be prepared or to help in the recovery process:

1.) Code Red® Emergency Notification System. Code Red is utilized by the Town of Lexington to notify residents and businesses by quickly providing information, instructions and updates on an emerging threat or emergency situation. It is a high speed telephone and text messaging system that uses a combination of published white page listings. Residents and business owners can help ensure a better response by logging on to the Town of Lexington Code Red website,
( to add preferred mobile phone numbers, text numbers or email addresses. If you do not have a traditional land line phone service, you can still participate in the Code Red Emergency Notification System but you must log onto the website to add your mobile phone number or email address.

2.) Join the Lexington Medical Reserve Corps (MRC): All Lexington residents are encouraged to join the Medical Reserve Corps! LHD needs help filling both medical and non-medical positions.
Medical professionals such as nurses, physicians, pharmacists and other community members such as mental health professionals, office administrators or anyone with a sense of volunteerism can fill a vital role in the MRC. MRC members assist the Lexington Health Division fulfill various public health roles in the community such as staffing public influenza clinics and temporary shelter operations, assisting with distributing disease prevention / health education messages, participating in medical waste or household hazardous product collection events and by performing various administrative tasks. Lexington MRC volunteers are also participants in annual public health emergency preparedness exercises and health education seminars. To find out more, contact Catherine M. Corkery, Regional MRC Volunteer Coordinator, MA Region 4A, Medical Reserve Corps, by email at or by phone at 508-735-3566.

For more information on the statewide campaign, visit For a free “Emergency Medical Info Kit”, please visit the Office of Community Development, Health Division in the Town Office Building at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue. If you have any questions concerning this matter, you may contact Gerard F. Cody, REHS/RS at (781) 698-4522 or by email at

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

6 Ways to Spruce Up Your Lexington Home with Staging

Studies have suggested that staged homes sell faster, and as such, more sellers may be willing to give it a try.

So what are some staging ideas for sprucing up your Lexington property? 

Thomas Rouse, a design producer at “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” offered the following tips in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. 

1. Paint: A fresh coat of paint in a neutral palette can be an inexpensive upgrade with big impact. 

2. Have furniture but don’t clutter: Don’t leave rooms empty because potential buyers may struggle to visualize what all you can do with the space. Also, Rouse suggests avoiding furniture with patterns, which can be distracting. 

3. TV artwork: Mount a flat-screen TV to a wall and have a slideshow playing on it with images of nature, Rouse suggests. 

4. Fill the walls: Don’t leave walls bare, which can make a home feel cold, according to Rouse. Hang photography, framed artwork, and mirrors to spice up the walls. 

5. Flower displays: Have fresh-cut flowers in simple glass vases displayed on the dining room table and in other places in the home to bring more life to a space, Rouse says. 

6. Gender-neutral bedrooms: Keep bedroom colors neutral and have simple bedding — preferably in white — to make a room feel fresh, Rouse says. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

5 Things To Do Before Starting Your Lexington, MA Home Search

Preparing to Buy a Lexington, MA Home

Lexington, MA Real Estate
Buying a Lexington, MA Home

While the prospect of finding your Lexington, MA dream home is probably very exciting, the process of finding it can also bring about some anxiety. A home is one of the largest purchases that anyone makes in their lifetime, so it's only logical that it can be a little scary! There are steps you can take before you start your home search to help make it as seamless as possible. Here are 5 things to do before starting your Lexington, MA home search:

Determine approximately how much you are able to spend. The best place to start is to determine what your finances will allow you to afford responsibly. As a general rule of thumb, your mortgage should not exceed more than 30% of your net household income. Also take into account what liquid funds will be necessary for your downpayment. There are many mortgage calculators available online that can assist you in estimating your buying power.

Prioritize your wants and needs. Once you have an idea of what you can afford, it is now time determine what you are actually looking for in the home. Start the list with those things that are of absolute necessity to you — location, number of bedrooms, garage, etc. Once you have your nonnegotiable list, you should then move onto the “wish list” items. These would be things that you could technically live without but would really like to have in your new home. Prioritize this list from your most desired to least features.

Do your research. There are numerous internet listing sites available to the public today. Venture out to a few of them to see what homes are available in the price range that you have determined you can afford. Once you see what homes fall within that range, refer to your list of wants and needs. Will your price point allow you to purchase a home with everything on your nonnegotiable list? If so, now you can go through your prioritized list of wants to determine which of them your budget will realistically allow for.

Get a mortgage pre-approval. In today’s market, it is highly recommended that you get a pre-approval for your mortgage loan before you even step foot into your first house for viewing. Once you have an idea of the amount that you are looking to borrow, find a reputable lender to determine the exact dollar amount that your eligible to borrow. A pre-approval will also give you more leverage as a buyer, as sellers will take your offer more seriously knowing that you have financing secured.

Find a knowledgeable buyer’s agent. With all of the information available on the internet, many have wavered from enlisting the assistance of a buyer’s agent in recent times. There are still advantages to having an agent in your corner when you are house hunting. A buyer’s agent will be able to help you find homes that meet your requirements much more efficiently than digging through listing sites on your own. An agent will also take the reigns on contacting the seller’s agent to set up viewings and will also go to the negotiating table for you once you’ve placed an offer. The reality is that the seller’s agent is looking out for the interest of the seller. On the other hand, a buyer’s agent will be looking out for your best interest throughout the entire purchasing process.

Have you done all 5 things? Then get to house hunting! With these tasks behind you, all of your energy can now be focused on finding the right home for you. If you are in the market for Lexington, MA real estate, please contact me. I would love to help relieve some of the stress of your home search by navigating your through the process start to finish.