Sunday, March 29, 2015

Chilly March Greetings!

Chilly March Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

There will be NO buying club this week.  Have a great holiday weekend!  The buying will resume the following week with deliveries April 10 and 11.  We will keep our buying club going for as long as possible, discontinuing it once our farm markets begin.  Vegetables will become available as they become harvestable on farm.  Once our CSA begins for the year, only excess vegetables will be made available to the buying club as our first priority is to our CSA members.

Temperatures on farm this morning were 14!  Not exactly the temperatures we need to thaw the ground and keep our unheated greenhouse warm.  But, the sun is high in the sky and that makes 14 in March seem much warmer than 14 in February.  We are very thankful for the sun!  All things in time, spring will come and soon we will be planting and ultimately harvesting from our still frozen fields.

Our nursery greenhouse is slowly filling up with planted flats of greens.  As mentioned above, we still have frost in the ground, so we are still in a holding pattern for field work.  We have our crop rotation planned and we anticipate peas will be our first crop planted.  We will be planting them in one of our cooler fields this year.  Peas take approximately 60 days from planting to harvest and they do not tolerate hot temperatures.  A cooler field will hopefully allow us to get a harvest, even if we skip spring and move directly into warm summer temperatures.  We are actually hoping to have peas in our first week's CSA boxes!  Stay tuned for pea planting!

Some exciting news.  We will be getting a weather station and our on farm weather data will be available for all to see online.  A professor at Bloomsburg University will be installing a weather station here in the next few weeks.  This is part of a grant awarded to monitor the weather conditions in the Fishing Creek watershed.  Once we go live, we will post the link.

Last Monday our newest laying hens arrived.  We now have an additional 200 hens on farm, so we should have plenty of eggs for sale this season and our farm will be alive with dancing hens this summer.  The new girls are slowly getting used to life here.  They are still a bit skittish and aren't real fond of the cool night time temperatures.  Currently, they are in  temporary housing in the barn and in the next few weeks they will move to unused greenhouse in the field next to the barn.  This move will give them access to the outdoors so they can eat grass and forage for insects.  These new layers should start laying eggs in a month or 2, just in time for the start of our CSA.

Farmer Don was in the kitchen last night.  He used a beef brisket to make a Cuban Braised Beef.  Paired with some black beans and rice and it was delicious!   Don is partial to the magazine "Cook's Illustrated" and the recipe he followed was in the April 2015 edition.  Farmer Don has been working off farm in the evenings this winter, so dinners together have been limited.  Most of our meals together are brunch and revolve around eggs, so sharing this hearty dish was a real treat. 

This year our winter buying club has been a huge success.  We are getting great feedback from everyone concerning our pork and poultry.  Sign up for our 2015 CSA is really starting to pick up.  Please remember we have a limited number of shares available.  Memberships will be held in the order in which payment is received, not in the order in which online registration is made.  If you have questions concerning our buying club or CSA, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Farmer Don asked me to be sure to thank everyone for their support of our farm.  As I have said in the past, it is you, our friends and customers, who allow us to sustainably farm this hilly patch of ground we call Dancing Hen Farm.  You allow us to do our part in preserving a piece of land for future generations. 

Until next week......

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