Saturday, November 22, 2014

Frozen Farm News!

Greetings from a frozen Dancing Hen Farm!

Although the weather is predicted to be warmer for the next few days, the damage has already been done.  We and our plants were not ready for January temperatures in November!  We lost most of our greens, even those we had tucked under row cover or growing in our unheated greenhouses.  The kale should be fine.  It will be a bit limp to touch, but will still be oh so sweet and good to eat.

Thanks to all of our buying club members for your understanding and support as we deal with this unprecedented cold!  Some of the items in your most recent orders really showed the effects of the freezing temperatures and other items we were forced to leave off of your orders.

Speaking of the buying club, we will be continuing the buying club on a limited basis in December.  From our farm we will have chicken, eggs, pork and a limited amount of winter squash and kale available.  We will also be offering storage crops from our friends at Landisdale Farm.  These storage items will include Landisdale's famous sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes and hopefully some beets and carrots.  Watch your email for when the buying club is open again.

This cold weather has turned our basement into a greenhouse!  Our unheated plant nursery was full with beautiful transplants when the temperatures took the plunge.  Rather than lose flats and flats of plants, we moved them all into the basement.  These plants are to be planted in our unheated greenhouse.  Every fall we fill our unheated greenhouse with transplants, lettuce, kale, scallions, beet greens.  Once planted, we cover the plants with row cover and allow them to overwinter.  In late February, the days begin to get longer and the plants begin to grow again.  By March we are harvesting greens!  This year, the cold came a bit too early and the soil in our greenhouse is frozen solid!  It does freeze most years, but not in November!  We are hoping to get these plants planted Monday and Tuesday of this week and we will keep our fingers crossed that the weather will stay a bit warmer and they can become established before the next round of temperatures in the teens and single digits.

I also want to thank everyone who has already signed up for our 2015 CSA and for remitting their payments!  It is always so exciting for us to see so many new and returning members sign up for the next year's harvest!  As most of you know, we are now accepting memberships for the 2015 CSA season.  Our CSA runs for 22 weeks and starts around the first week of June.  We offer 2 share sizes and multiple pick-up and delivery options, including home delivery.  Everyone of our CSA members is able to choose exactly which items they receive in their boxes each week.  We also offer egg shares to CSA members.  If you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact us at the farm.

Dinners this past week included a one pot meal Farmer Don made using ribs with roasted winter vegetables.  This was a recipe from the most recent issue of Mother Earth News and boy was it good!  I don't generally think of cooking ribs and serving them almost as part of a stew or soup, but I really would recommend this recipe.  We saved the leftover broth and I will use it to make a vegetable and sausage soup this week.  Here is a link to the recipe  I will keep you posted on how the soup turns out!

Speaking of winter vegetables.  We have these HUGE turnips growing randomly around the farm.  And when I say HUGE, they are HUGE.  Larger than softballs and pushing the size of a bowling ball!  When we first located them we laughed and joked about them and tried to determine where they came from.  We were certain, because of their size they would be strong tasting and woody.  The other week, I harvested one the bigger ones and presented it to Farmer Don.  He cut it open and proclaimed it beautiful!  I was still skeptical, convinced Farmer Don was again bonding with his vegetables a bit too much.  But, after I got done praising him for the rib and vegetable dish, he told me it contained half of his prized turnip!  I had to admit, the turnip was tasty, but I am not sure I can go as far as calling it beautiful!  So, if anyone is in the market for a basketball sized turnip, please contact the farm.

Thursday is Thanksgiving, that means this Tuesday is Forks Farm's Turkey Market.  This market runs from 1 to 6 pm and is always so much fun and very festive!  If you have the time, stop by and pick up some fixings for Thursday's feast.  Farmers Don, Phil and Neil will be behind our table.  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

You know the drill by now.  Once I talk about markets, the newsletter is drawing to an end.  Just in time, as I have two dogs starting to demand dinner!

From all of us here at Dancing Hen Farm, Happy Thanksgiving!  Be safe and be well!

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