Monday, November 25, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Farmer Don and I wanted to thank everyone who came out this weekend to support the farm through our buying club.  Farmers Don and Phil had a good day sharing our harvest and greeting our customers.  I have said repeatedly, our farm would not exist without the continued support of you, our customers.

December is getting a bit crazy for us, so we are not certain we will be able to offer another buying club before the first of the year.  However, if you need anything, please contact us at the farm and we will work at getting the product to you.  We do have a good supply of pork and chicken right now, and a limited supply of eggs.  Depending on the weather, we may also have some greens available.  Please email the farm with your requests.

Even though we are busy, the farm is still settling in for winter, recovery mode.  For the most part our fields are all in rest mode until next spring and other then our laying hens we have no farm animals right now..  Our laying hens have responded to the shorter day length by decreasing their egg production.  Farmer Don and I are enjoying less time spent on chores and  more time to spend in the kitchen and catching up on our reading.  Even the dogs are low key, spending more time sleeping in the sun then running the farm.  

We will be spending a very quiet Thanksgiving with family.  Thanks will be given for our harvest meal and another year together.  And of course, we will be eating turkey!  The star of the meal, turkey, was raised, on pasture, by a past Dancing Hen Farm employee.  Some of you may remember Farmer Matt from the Back Mountain Farmers market.  Matt, Farmer Phil's brother, now works on a farm/plantation in Virginia.  He arrived in town, during yesterday's snow, with a farm fresh turkey for our meal! 

We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Hopefully your table will be overflowing with the harvest meal and surrounded by those you love.


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Buying Club Ordering Open


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! 

I am happy to announce that our winter buying club will be open for delivery this weekend.  Ordering will is now open for the buying club and will  close on Thursday (11/21) at 5 am.  Deliveries and pick-ups will be this weekend.  Pick up sites and times are listed on our website.  Contact the farm if you have questions

ATTENTION BLOOMSBURG Buying Club members:  We are still determining when we will be getting product to you.  If you place an order, we will contact you directly, either by email or phone to coordinate.  Again, contact the farm if you have questions.

A quick note on our winter buying club, for those of you new to this option.  Our winter buying club is a pay as you go option.  You will meet us at a designated location, pay for your purchases and pick up your items.  We also will need to activate your account before you can order, so please allow us time to do so.  I usually check our website several times during the day when ordering is taking place.  As always, contact the farm with any questions.

So what can you find on this week's buying club.  We are happy to say we have a good supply of 2019 Dancing Hen Farm Apple Orchard pork.  Most cuts of pork are now available, but be aware we sell out of some of the popular items very quickly.  Farmer Don tells me the hams this year are in larger, perfect for a ham dinner.  We also have a good supply of Dancing Hen Farm Pasture Raised chicken and eggs.  Despite the super cold temperatures, we are still harvesting some greens and Farmer Don has made a small harvest of greens available.  Again, first come.

Although not on our buying club, we do have a source for pasture raised ducks.  These ducks are being raised by a family friend.  Please contact us for more information or if you are interested in reserving a duck for the holidays.

Speaking of the cold, it is hard to believe that we have already seen single digit temperatures here on farm.  I am not complaining, as it seems we had some really beautiful days to mark the end of October.  With only our laying hens and a few shivering rows of vegetables to tend to, life is slowing down.  Now we will settle in for the winter! 

On farm, winter is a time for healing, resting and reflecting.  We will soon have our annual business meeting to discuss last season and make plans for next season.  This is an official meeting between Farmer Don and I.  We schedule a time and even type up and follow an agenda.  We always welcome feed-back and suggestions, so if you feel inclined, please send us your comments.

As always, thank you for your support of not only our small family farm, but sustainable and local agriculture.



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

2019 CSA Week 18 News


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Wow!  Lots has happened since the last newsletter.

First, we delivered our last CSA box of the season last week.  Hopefully all our members enjoyed our 2019 CSA season.  Farmers Don and Phil will be making one last round of our pick up sites to pick up share boxes and any coolers left, so please return your boxes to your pick up site.

We also experienced our first hard frost several days ago.  This frost means our growing season for 2019 has come to an end.  All our tender, summer crops are finished or have been killed by the frost.  We do have some hearty crops still in the ground which we can continue to harvest until we get below freezing temperatures.  Greens, including salad mix, always flourish in the cooler fall temperatures.  Spinach and hakurei turnips have also been beautiful this fall.

This past week we also celebrated our annual running of the Dancing Hen Farm Pigs.  Those of you who have followed us over the years know that we raise our pigs high on a hill above our farm in an abandoned apple orchard.  The pigs spend a great summer relaxing under the apple trees and snacking on fallen apples.  Then, in the fall, we must move the pigs from the orchard into the barn so they can be loaded for market.  Farmer Don and our friend Jason spent the bulk of Sunday getting the runway and barn ready to move the pigs.  Finally when the field (or barn in this case) was set, the run began.  The pigs enthusiastically charged down the hill into the barn and oops! out the other side!  Five pigs decided to keep running up the road.  We joked they were headed for the local bar!  Thankfully our friend and neighbor Toby came by at just that time and helped turn the pigs around and return them to the barn.  Unfortunately this was not the last of the pigs adventures.  Farmer Don was off farm all day Monday and the pigs decided this was the perfect opportunity to explore the farm.  Again we were thankful Toby was available to help round up the pigs several times during the day and better secure their barnyard pen.  By the time Farmer Don returned on Monday evening, the pigs were peacefully sleeping in the barn, exhausted from their adventures.  Again we are counting our blessings for good neighbors and friendly pigs!

The kitchen has also moved into fall and winter mode, as the soup pot, rather than the grill has become the tool of choice for meal preparation.  Although, with the beautiful salad greens and spinach being harvested, we are eating our share of salads.  We are back into our cooler weather routine of roasting chicken each week and using the bones to make broth and a nice pot of soup.  These soups tend to be "kitchen sink" type soups made with whatever is available.  This week Farmer Don was soup chef and he created a chicken vegetable noodle soup packed full of end of summer and fall veggies.  He even added some tomatillos we had harvested.  I cannot complain, as the soup was tasty and we have leftovers for another meal.  Last night we had a delicious tomato sweet potato bisque.  This is an older recipe, I have made before, with the sweet potatoes adding a nice flavor to the tomato base.  Last week we featured spinach in a  salad of spinach, apple and sharp cheddar cheese, dressed with a balsamic maple vinaigrette.  Another simple and tasty recipe which will be made again.

Please watch your email for the start of our winter buying club.  If you have not already done so and are interested in participating in our winter buying club, please go on our website and purchase a free winter buying club membership. 

I again want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support over the years.  It is hard to believe this was our 11th season as Dancing Hen Farm.  As I have said before we could not possibly do what we do without the support of our farm members, customers and friends.  Thank you!



Saturday, October 12, 2019

CSA Week 17 News


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

We hope everyone is enjoying their Week 17 CSA boxes.  Week 17 was an egg week and a chicken share week.  Ordering is now under way for Week 18.  Week 18 is the last delivery of our 2019 season. 

With the CSA and farmers markets coming to an end, I want to a bit about our buying clubs.  In the next few weeks we will be beginning our Winter Buying Club.  This Winter Buying Club is a pay as you go program and is separate from our CSA buying club.   To participate in the Winter Buying Club, you will need to sign onto our website and purchase a free membership.  Deliveries are on Friday evening to Bloomsburg and Saturday to Luzerne County locations. You can also pick up your order at the farm.  For delivery, we meet you at a predetermined time and location.  You will pick up and pay for your order at that time.  Around November 1, we will have a fresh supply of pork available on the buying club.  Please note, if you are a member of our CSA buying club and have not used all of your deposit, the deposit carries over and you can use it for purchases through the Winter Buying Club.  If you have questions concerning buying clubs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Fall is in the air.  We have had a light frost here on farm, marking the end to our summer crops. As we transition from the summer growing season into fall, life here at Dancing Hen Farm starts to slow a bit.  We continue to have animal chores and we still have greens growing in our fields, but in general we have more time to work on projects and reflect on this past growing season.  We will spend these next few months planning our 2020 growing season. 

Fall in the kitchen means we transition from the grill to the soup pot.  Last night we had a ham and cheddar soup which had a unique, but good flavor profile as I used a frozen jar of pork stock.  I had simply labeled the jar "pork stock" and didn't realize it was left from a pork roast with fennel!  I am not sure I would have voluntarily added fennel to the soup, but once it was in the pot there was no going back.  So ham and cheddar soup with under tones of fennel it was!  It passed the Farmer Don test, as he had two large bowls. Although this soup was tasty, I wish I had saved the stock for a pot of more traditional vegetable soup!
 
As always, thanks to each of you for your support of our small family farm and local, sustainable agriculture.



Farmer Don's Newsletter

Hi Friends and supporters!
Farmer Don writing the newsletter this week as Joan is a little under the weather. Alot to talk about as we come to the end of the 2019 season.
First a correction to the last newsletter, we have TWO deliveries left for this season, this coming week (17) and the final week (18). The next delivery (17) will be the final egg week. Those members with two egg shares will receive eggs on week 18 as well. The next delivery (17) will also be the final Chicken Share delivery. Each chicken share will receive an extra 1/2 chicken this year to substitute for the free stew hen. The stew hens did not make the market trip this year and they are probably thankful that they didn't. So, the extra, free 1/2 chicken will need to serve as the stew hen. Thank you for your understanding. And finally the most important part of this newsletter is the move up of pick up day from Wednesday to Tuesday for next delivery (17) only, due to family stuff. We apologize for any inconvenience. So, NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY!! NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY. NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY.
We will send out another reminder over the weekend so everyone will be aware of this one time change.
A couple of other farm notes.......frost coming Friday night, so I'll pick all I can. Tomatoes are done, a few peppers left and some beans left. Can't say how much of these, so they will probably hit farmer's choice. The direct seeding I did a few weeks ago has responded to the rain and is growing nicely. I have to do smaller amounts as each of these crops are nice but small so bear with the clamshell packaging. I'll increase the amount available. Acorn squash coming this week. Sweet potatoes will run through the end of the season. Pencil thin leeks will be bunched and put out for choice also. They didn't finish well with the lack of water the past few weeks, but we can still get them out to you. The radishes are nice and a favorite of mine.
Well, time to wrap this up and get busy with the other aspects of the farm.
Be well friends and thank you once again for your support.
Farmer Don

Monday, September 23, 2019

2019 CSA Week 14 News


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Welcome Fall!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Week 14 boxes.  Week 14 was not an egg week.  After Week 14, there are 5 deliveries in our 2019 CSA.  Please watch your email accounts for some upcoming CSA announcements.

Attention Chicken Share Members:  This week, Week 15 will be a chicken delivery week.  On Wednesday, September 25th, please remember to look for a cooler with your chicken at your pick up site.  And please leave the cooler at the pick-up site so we can re-use it.  Week 17 will also be a chicken week.
 
Sorry this newsletter is so late in getting out to everyone, we have been experiencing some computer problems here on farm.

The calendar says this is the first day of fall, but the temperatures recently are more like summer.  We have been hoping for some rain here on farm.  Unfortunately today's cold front seems to be moving through our area with only a minimal shower.  "barely enough rain to wet under the trees".  I just checked the radar and there are still some storms to our west, so I will keep my fingers crossed we will get a bit more rain.

Our fields are starting to feel the effects of lack of rain.  Our fall greens are really suffering and many have stopped growing.  We will do our best to get crops to you as they become harvestable.  Winter squash and sweet potatoes are new on the harvest list right now.  Tomatoes and peppers are starting to slow down a bit.  Kale should continue to be available, as should storage crops of potatoes, onions and carrots.  We have some beautiful French breakfast radishes sizing up  and will be on the choice list soon.

On farm last week we welcomed Farmer Phil back from vacation.  Phil and his family spent a week at Ocean City Maryland.  It sounds like they had a relaxing time crabbing, eating, visiting the arcade and watching the motorcycles roll into town for bike week.  As I have said before Farmer Phil is a key member of our harvest crew.  He spends harvest day in our pack house, weighing and portioning items and getting boxes ready to be packed with shares.  He is really missed when is away, so we were all happy to him return last week.  I also know he was missed at the Back Mountain Farmer's Market as Farmer Don told me customers were asking for him during the markets he missed.  So welcome back Phil, you were missed on farm and at market!

In the kitchen, we are gradually shifting from what I call summer food to winter food.  Fall and winter for us mean roasts, casseroles, soups and stews.  Farmer Don made a really nice pork roast the other week complete with some delicious root vegetables cooked with the meat.  We also recently made eggplant lasagna using not only our own eggplant and also freshly canned sauce.  Speaking of sauce, canning season is also about wrapped up for this season.  We are hoping to can some applesauce next weekend.  And we have plans for some sauerkraut a bit later in the fall.  Then we will get busy planning meals to use all this preserved food!

We still have bulk/freezer apple orchard pork available.  We sell bulk pork by the half or whole.  All cuts come individually wrapped and frozen.  If you have questions about purchasing freezer pork or if you would like to reserve pork, please contact the farm.  Individual cuts of pork will be made available through our buying club.

Wow!  Time is getting away from me again.  I still have dishes to clean up from supper, so I will sign off until next week.  As always, thank you for your support of our small family farm.  And from Farmer Don "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies".


Thursday, September 12, 2019

2019 CSA Week 13 News


Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

We hope all our CSA members are enjoying their Week 13 share boxes.  Week 13 was an egg share week.  Ordering for Week 14 is now open.

It looks like fall, the leaves are slowly turning, the golden rod is in full bloom and the days are most definitely getting shorter.  But it certainly feels like summer is still here.  Just as I was getting ready to pack away some summer clothes we get another day of "air you can wear", as the local weatherman likes to say.  We are not complaining on farm, as some warmer temperatures will help with ripening of the last of our summer crops.  Tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, beans and eggplant all like warmth.  However our fields could really use some rain.  Yesterday and today some areas very close to us received some nice rain, but here on farm we have had only a few short lived showers.  This lack of rain is really delaying the maturation of our fall greens.  And the forecast is for another dry week ahead. 

Although dry, our fields are still looking good moving into fall.  We continue to harvest tomatoes.  This week we have placed green tomatoes on the availability list, so get your fried green tomato recipes ready.  We have also made tomato seconds available.  Seconds are generally what we eat here on farm.  They are usually ripe and ready to eat, but may have a few spots or cracks on them.  If you order seconds you can expect a generous portion.  Other than tomatoes, we are harvesting a small number of beans and zucchini is also making a late summer come back.  Like tomatoes, peppers should continue to be available until we receive a killing frost.  We have some beautiful radishes starting to size up and with a bit of moisture, they should be available next week.  Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be harvesting some tender young greens as well. 

I am really happy to be doing some canning and preserving this year.  As I have said in the past, I really enjoy canning and preserving.  It brings back not only fond memories of my childhood, but also of various gardens Farmer Don and I have tended over the years.  Last year was really tough for me, as I found myself too ill to spend time extending our harvest.  So, I set a goal this year to get canning.  So yesterday, on one of the hottest days of the year, for some reason, I decided to make good on that goal and can tomatoes.  Well to be fair to myself, the tomatoes decided they needed to be canned.  After pack on Tuesday night, Farmer Don told me he had tomatoes harvested which were destined to become pig food if they were not used.  They would not hold for the weekend's markets or next week's pack.  So I dug the canner out of the closet and got busy Wednesday morning processing tomatoes.  And boy did I heat up the house!  Even the dogs couldn't stay in the kitchen!  I only got a yield of 6 quarts (one short of a canner load), but I am happy to say all 6 quarts sealed and are resting on the kitchen table, ready to be washed off and put away for winter use.  And my canning chores, hopefully,  are not over for the year. 

It seems, once again I have been writing this newsletter for a long time.  The weather has now cooled, the dogs have been fed and it is time for me to get some supper started.  On the menu tonight -- salmon on a bed of sauted kale and sungold tomatoes.  And, of course, some sliced heirloom tomatoes as a salad. 

Thank you to each of you for your continued support of our small farm and local sustainable agriculture.