Welcome to Week 16!
Bugs! Yes, bugs! That is the biggest topic of conversation right now, at the grocery store, the feed store, the hardware store, farm market.... What is up with the bugs this year? Sometimes I feel like they are holding me captive in the house. The minute you head outside, they immediately swarm. Yesterday, I had to wear my hat to eat lunch on the deck! Harvest was really rough, as even hats and hoods and Burt's Bees couldn't hold the gnats at bay. I hate to say the F word, but I am almost wising for a Frost! Of course a heavy frost could be a detriment to some summer crops we are hoping will still size up. We have a late planting of green beans and squash. Each of the these crops has fruit, but needs a few more days (or weeks) to reach a harvestable size. Our peppers could also use a few more weeks of warm weather to really size up.
In the fields right now, we are in a bit of a transition. We have a large planting of lettuce which is sizing up nicely. Look for head lettuce to be available soon and salad mix to continue to be available through the end of the season. Our green mustard is winding down, but we will soon be harvesting red mustard again. The collard greens we are currently harvesting are really beautiful and our radicchio has headed up nicely. We also have some beautiful large heads of green chicory available. Chicory is one of the more bitter greens we grow. To temper this bitterness, try steaming or boiling the greens before adding them to the saute pan. This pre-cooking method will mellow the bitterness of most greens, including dandelion.
Our 2014 season is slowly winding down. Six more CSA deliveries and only two Back Mountain Market and two regular season Forks Farm Market remaining. As we did last year, we will again be operating a winter buying club. This buying club is separate from our CSA buying club and we are anticipating it to begin October 18, the week following our last farmers markets. To participate in the winter buying club, you will need to register on our website and "purchase" a free winter buying club member ship. At this time, if you were a member of our winter buying club last year, you will not need to re-sign up. If this changes, we will let you know via email. With the winter buying club, you place your order on line and then meet us at a designated location to pick up and pay for your purchases. As always, if you have questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In the next few weeks we will also begin taking memberships for our 2015 CSA season. As we have in past years, we will offer a discount to returning members and to members signing up early. Please watch email for an announcement concerning this. We will continue to be a choice CSA, in which members are able to choose the items they receive in their box each week. We are considering adding a chicken share to our CSA for next year. Stay tuned on the chicken share, as we are still working out the details. If you have questions or need additional information on the CSA, please see our website (www.dancinghenfarm.com) or contact us at the farm.
Last week I put out a notice about our pork. We have gotten some interest and we have an individual who feels a half may be too much for her small family. If anyone is interested in splitting a half with this family, please contact us here at the farm. We are anticipating pork to be ready around the first of November and we should have some prices to you in the next few weeks. Our pork arrives vacuum packed and frozen. We often get asked about freezer space. To store a half a pig you will need between and 4 and 5 cubic feet of freezer space. Again, if you have questions concerning our pork or would like to reserve some meat, please contact us. If you are looking for grass fed beef, we know of neighboring farms who are currently taking reservations for their beef. If you send us an email, we will forward you their contact information.
Our kitchen has been fairly quiet recently. I am still busy drying herbs and am hoping to make applesauce and possibly apple butter this week for canning. Last weekend we cooked a ham and Farmer Don used the bone and some leftover meat to make ham and bean soup for dinner tonight. We have been eating bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches recently, as we rush to get our fill before the end of the tomatoes.
A quick note to CSA members as the season winds down. Please let the farm know if you cannot pick up your box. We will donate these veggies and not let them go to waste. If you are running late and unable to pick up your share on Tuesday, please contact your site host and let them know you will be picking up late. The site hosts at our central pick up sites are only responsible to hold boxes until 5 pm on Wednesday. (This is actually an extension from our noon Wednesday earlier cut off time.) After this time, 5 pm, your box will be donated. Please pick up on time. The site host will not store your veggies in the refrigerator if you do not pick up. Many site hosts have been overly accommodating for late pick-ups. Please remember our site hosts are volunteers. They are gracious enough to allow us to utilize their facilities, properties, houses, etc., for a share box drop site where members can go to pick up the delivered shares. The site hosts manage these sites by collecting and storing the share boxes for pick up the next week, so they can be used again during an upcoming pack. A huge responsibility that the farm appreciates the hosts for doing.
Market news! We have a new market employee, our nephew Phil. If you see him helping Farmer Don at market, be sure to give him a warm welcome to the Dancing Hen Farm crew. This week's markets include the Bloomsburg University Market on Friday and Back Mountain Market on Saturday. Stop by, say hello and pick up some local foods. If you go to Back Mountain, you can again sample Farmer Don's kimchi. Vegan, although maybe not totally authentic, kimchi.
Time to move on to the next task. Be well, be safe and enjoy those veggies!