Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter Sun!

Finally some sun!  The perfect day for outdoor exploration!

Sunny Skies.

Getting the campsite ready.

The campsite.
Farmer Don, Rosie and their snow angel.

And the chickens get dinner.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20 Newsletter - Buying Club Open

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Yes, ordering for our buying club is now open.  The ordering window will end Thursday (1/22) at 5 am and deliveries will be made this weekend. 

We have added some new products to the buying club.  From our farm, we have added lard and scrapple.  These are both old fashioned homestead products which helps assure no part of the pig goes to waste.  Scrapple is a traditional Pennsylvania German treat made by combining pork trimmings with cornmeal (mush, for those of us raised in a Pennsylvania Dutch family), spices and a bit of flour.  Scrapple is traditionally sliced thin and fried.  The finished cooked product should have a crisp outer crust.  Serve it topped with ketchup and as a side to dippy eggs!  I must say, I think my Father had scrapple for breakfast every morning.  Lard is rendered fat from our sustainably raised pigs.  I realize we are a bit late for holiday baking, but I used our lard for pies over the holidays and I must admit my Mother was correct.  Lard makes the flakiest, most tender pie crusts!  Lard can be used as you would any fat for cooking and is a healthier, more sustainable substitute for margarine or crisco.  Here is a Huffington Post article from last year discussing cooking with lard

We are also now offering some cuts of grass fed beef on our buying club.  This beef is raised on pasture by our friends and neighbors at Stillwater Fields Farm.  This beef is lean with a superior taste and flavor.  Nothing compares to a grass fed beef burger or a slow roasted chuck roast!  To learn more about Scott and Tali and their farm, please visit their website (

While we are talking about buying club products.  We still have poultry available, including pasture raised broiler chickens, stew hens and eggs.  Our apple orchard pork has been very popular, but cuts are still available.  Farmer Don is working with Farmer Dan at Landisdale Farm to secure some greens for next week's buying club. 

On farm, we are still moving at a bit slower pace, as we continue our winter re-coup.  We are spending time visiting with friends, reading and discussing our plans for the 2015 growing season.  We have also spent some time reflecting.  It is hard for us to believe, 2015 will be our 8th season of growing on our current farm.  We have learned so much, but there will always be much, much more to learn.  Our farm will forever be evolving, as we refine our production methods and learn to grow and live in this microclimate we call our farm, our home.

Has everyone noticed how the days are getting longer?  Yesterday, it was still partially light after 5 pm!  The lengthening of the days gets us energized and eager to get growing!  And it won't be long before we are starting seeds for transplant and prepping our fields for the early plantings of peas, onions and potatoes.  Peas, is there anything better than the first peas of the season?

It has been a few newsletters since I have reminded everyone of our online presence.  We have an active facebook page and we post regularly to our blog (  and post recipes to our pinterest site ( 

Thanks again for everyone's support.  For supporting us by ordering from our buying club and from signing up for our CSA. 

Until next week.....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January News and Buying Club open

Greetings and Happy New Year from Dancing Hen Farm.

Winter on the farm is a time for reflection, planning and rejuvenating.  Life slows a bit, and our main farm chores involve keeping farm animals warm and watered.  Water to our greenhouses and barn are shut off in the winter, to avoid frozen pipes.  This means we do the 10 gallon challenge several times during the day.  Those of you who have visited our farm know that our house sits down hill from the barn.  At least twice a day, we haul 5 gallon buckets of warm water from the house to the barn to assure the chickens have water to drink.  Hauling these buckets of water uphill over ice and snow is a definite workout and a challenge!

The seed catalogs have arrived!  Those of you who are closer to Don's and my age may remember the excitement the Sears Wish Book brought each year.  I can remember spending hours paging through  this catalog!  Well, seed catalogs are the farm version of the Sears Wish Book.  We page through them until they are dog eared!  We make lists of what we dream of growing, narrow those lists down to what we will grow and finally come up with a list of seeds we need to order. 

Speaking of seed orders.  We are always looking for feedback from our farm members and friends.  If anyone has suggestions on items they would like to see us grow more or less of, please drop us and email.

Our buying club is open again this week.  Orders need to be placed on line by Thursday (1/15) morning at 5 am.  We continue to offer storage crops and new this week, are limited amounts of kale and brussel sprouts from our friends at Landisdale Farm.  We have a good supply of eggs, chicken and pork available as well.  One change to the buying club order sheet.  All meat (chicken and pork) will show a total price of .01.  Once we know the exact weight of your selected cuts, we will update the price to reflect the accurate total price.

With a chill in the air and a slower pace on farm, Don and I spend lots of time in the kitchen creating comfort food.  At least once a week we slow roast a chicken.  We stretch this one chicken into 3 meals.  Meal one is, of course, chicken dinner, complete with mashed potatoes and sauted kale or frozen green beans.  Next we use any leftover meat for lunch time sandwiches, either cold or warm, as pulled chicken.  And finally we cook down the carcass to make broth for soup.  Farmer Don's favorite soup is very simple (broth, cheese tortellini and greens). 

I have given this recipe before, but another farm favorite is sausage, kale and potatoes.  These three ingredients really complement each other and this is a real "go to" meal for us.  We tend to use our loose sausage in the recipe.  Here is a link to the actual recipe ( ).  However this is a really easy dish to make without the recipe.  Simply roasted potatoes and garlic in a hot (400 - 425) oven until slightly browned and cooked through.  Meanwhile brown the sausage in a dutch oven.  When the sausage is cooked through, add a bit of broth to the pan with the kale.  Put a lid on the pan and allow the kale to steam.  Stir the potatoes into the kale and sausage and enjoy!  If you have any of this dish leftover, it is fabulous stirred into scrambled eggs. 

A quick word on emails.  Some of you will be receiving multiple copies of this newsletter (and some future newsletters).  I apologize for this.  This is occurring because you are both a csa member and a buying club member. 

We are still taking memberships for our 2015 CSA.  Thanks to everyone who has already signed up!!!  If you have questions about our CSA (or our buying club), please email us at the farm.

Stay warm!