Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free Ranging Chickens

Our newest chickens are becoming free range experts. 

Birthday Hike

We have a tradition of a birthday hike for Farmer Don's birthday.  This year we postponed the hike a bit and decided to celebrate Farmer Phil's and Matt's birthdays with a combined family hike.  6 people and 3 dogs spent last Sunday in the Loyalsock Forest, hiking parts of the Loyalsock and World's End Trails. Farmer Don was the photographer, so he is missing in the pictures...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Another Update and Buying Club

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Yes, the buying club is open this week.  Ordering will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, 4/28 at 5 am and will close Thursday, 4/30 at 5 am.  Deliveries will be made Friday to Bloomsburg and Saturday to Dallas and Forty Fort.  On farm pick-ups will be ready after 4 on Friday and all day Saturday.  This week we are featuring protein.  Dancing Hen Farm Apple Orchard Pork, pastured chicken and free range eggs.  We will have a limited amount of greens on this week's availability.  This week will be offering two herbs, sage and lavender (the lavender will be leaves only, as it is not in bloom).  Farmer Don will also be putting together a spring gourmet salad mix for sale.  This mix will be made up of early spring greens, including several varieties of lettuce, mustard, spinach and more.  Spinach will be available, but in extremely limited quantities, so order early to assure you can select spinach.  New this week and for the farm, we will be offering some radish micro-greens.  These tender young radish sprouts have a peppery flavor and are packed with nutrition.  Again all greens will be in very limited supply.

This week's buying club makes Dancing Hen Farm history.  We will be offering our eggs at a discount price.  The is the first and most likely the only time we will discount our products.  Our profit margin is so low, we honestly cannot afford to discount.  However, spring has sprung in our chicken coop and our hens are ramping up their egg production, leaving us with a surplus of eggs.  We will be donating some of this bounty to our local food cupboards, but also want to share the bounty with our customers.

Today was planting day on the farm.  Farmers Don and Matt spent the entire day planting in our lower field.  And boy were they productive!  Farmer Don just handed me the list of what all was planted  Today, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, Swiss chard, tatsoi, mustard greens, zucchini, yellow squash, arugula and cilantro all were planted.  The zucchini and summer squash are under plastic row cover and the other crops are under fabric row cover for protection from cold temperatures and insects.  It is good to see our fields filling up.  These newly planted crops join our earlier planted peas, snap beans, sunflowers, new potatoes, carrots, beets, beet greens, spinach and radishes.  We have been monitoring our perennial herb beds to see what plants survived the winter.  We are happy to say our oregano, sage, lavender, thyme, mint, parsley and sage are re-growing nicely. 

Today is Farmer Phil's birthday.  If you see him on Saturday's deliveries, wish him a happy belated birthday.  Last year Farmer Don and I started a tradition of going hiking in honor of Don's birthday.  This year we decided to include Farmers Phil and Matt in the celebration.  So, on Sunday we joined Phil, Matt and their family for a birthday hike, followed by a picnic supper,  to celebrate Phil, Matt and Don's birthdays.  The six of us, along with 3 dogs, spent the better part of the day hiking a loop in the Loyalsock Forest.  I think I speak for everyone in saying we all had a great day and we all slept well last night!  I will try to get some pictures posted soon.

Farm markets have already begun for the season and our first CSA delivery is a little over a month away.  This Friday Farmer Don will again be at the Bloomsburg University Market.  In May we will be at Forks Farm on the 9th and the 23rd.  And we anticipate the first CSA delivery to be around the week of June 5th.  We will need to see how our crops are maturing before we can give you an exact date for the CSA, so stay tuned.

Speaking of our CSA, we would like to welcome all new and returning members to our community.  We do still have some memberships available for this season.  We hold memberships in the order in which payment is received, not when registration on the computer is made.

Just another friendly reminder about our web presence.  In addition to our website, we have a facebook page ( and  a blog ( where we post our newsletters, farm pictures and farm updates.  If you are looking for recipes, please visit our pinterest page ( 

Have a great week!

Monday, April 20, 2015

April Farm News and Buying Club Open

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm. 

Our buying club will be open this week.  As always, ordering will open on Tuesday morning and close Thursday morning.  Deliveries will be Friday to Bloomsburg and Saturday to Dallas and Forty Fort.  We are hoping to have a small amount of kale available for sale.  This is kale we planted last fall and overwintered under plastic in our lower field.  The leaves are small, but, oh so sweet!  We are very close to being sold out of broiler chickens and some of our pork cuts are running very low as well.  We still have an ample supply of eggs, stew hens and grassfed beef is still available from our friends and neighbors at Stillwater Fields Farm.  We have a new product on the buying club this week, Natalie's Craft Kombucha.  This kombucha, fermented tea, is made locally and we are excited to be offering it to our members.

Wasn't this past weekend beautiful?  So nice to have two days in a row of warm temperatures.  Maybe we have turned the corner and spring is really here?  That would be nice, but from experience, we know  surely there will be another frost before the warm weather is here to stay.  This week is to be cooler, but not overly frigid, maybe low enough for a light frost and it looks like rain.  Rain will be ok, as our freshly planted peas, radishes, carrot, beans and potatoes can use the moisture to help them germinate.  We are happy to report our first planted peas, shelling peas, are already starting to germinate.  We also have small plots of radishes and carrots poking through the ground as well.

Our nursery greenhouse is really filling up.  We have flats of greens growing and they are getting close to being ready to plant out.  We also have some beautiful summer squash and zucchini just starting to pop out of the soil.  Farmer Don likes to have an early crop of summer squash.  He will plant them out and protect them with row cover for several weeks and with any luck we will have squash in early June.  My mouth is watering just thinking of summer harvest!

We were busy on farm this week, not only with seeding and planting, but also with chickens.  Farmer Don and Farmer Matt worked late into the night on Wednesday and moved our new flock of laying hens to their summer home.  They are now in a shade cloth covered greenhouse just east of our barn.  In the next few days we will put up some poultry netting and allow them access to the pasture.  We are already starting to get eggs from these chickens, so we should have a good supply of eggs this season.  In addition our first batch of meat birds are growing nicely in the brooder.  They look healthy and are really starting to eat.  In the next few weeks they will also be moved onto pasture.

We have again been getting quite a few inquiries about our CSA, so I will once again give a quick overview.  Our CSA runs for 22 weeks, with week 1 being around June 1 and week 22 being around November 1.  We do not have an exact start date at this time.  Everyone will be notified by email once we determine when our fields are ready to harvest.  And yes, our CSA member's choose the items they receive in their boxes each week.  You will still be eating seasonally, but each week you can sign onto our website, pick the items you would like and we will custom harvest and pack your box for you.  And yes, we also offer home delivery to some areas of Luzerne, Columbia and Montour counties.  Contact the farm to find out if home delivery is available to your location or if you have questions about our CSA.

The first Forks Farm Market was Saturday.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table.  Farmers Don and Phil were busy selling some greens and saying hello to everyone.  The next Forks market is May 9th and we should have some additional vegetables and some transplants for sale at that market.

Thanks again to all of you, our community, for your continued support of our small family farm.  Have a great week!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Buying Club Open and More Farm News

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm

Yes, the buying club will be open this weekend.  Ordering will open early tomorrow (Tuesday 4/7) morning and deliveries will be made on Friday to Bloomsburg and Saturday to Dallas and Forty Fort.  We are starting to add some items to the buying club.  New this week is wildflower honey from The Beekeepers Daughter.  In the next few weeks, we also hope to add maple syrup from our friends at Fork's Mountain Family Farm.  We continue to have our own chicken, eggs and pork and our neighbor's grass fed beef available on the buying club.  If you have questions about the buying club, please do not hesitate to contact us at the farm.

I feel like I have been talking about spring and peas and seeding for weeks!  And it seems I will be talking about these things for a few more weeks.  Well, at least this week.

Big news!  Farmer Don got the first of the peas planted today!  He felt today was his window of opportunity, with rain forecast for the next 4 days.  Now we will watch for these to germinate and do our best to keep the groundhogs out! 

We have also been busy in the seed house.  Cooking greens and salad greens have been seeded.  We are planning on an early cucumber crop in the high tunnel this spring, so these cucumbers were seeded last week and some are already starting to push through the soil.  A couple of flats of tomatoes, again for the high tunnel, were also started.  Farmer Don created a small hot house within our seedling/nursery greenhouse.  He basically built a greenhouse within a greenhouse and uses heat mats and a small external heat source to keep the temperature inside this germination chamber nice and toasty for germinating seeds. 

I can honestly report, spring, I think, has really sprung now.  The purple crocuses which line our front path are now in full bloom.  The later spring bulbs are all up several inches and the daffodils are starting to show flower buds.  We heard spring peepers for the first time this week!  A welcome sound!  The ice has finally melted off the pond and tonight on our walk, Rosie jumped right in!  So wet, stinky dog season has also begun!

Can you believe our first Farmer's Market is less than 2 weeks away?  The first Forks Farm Market is April 18th.  We should have some transplants for sale and maybe a small amount of kale.  Stay tuned for Farmer Don to give me the final list.  As always, if you visit any of the markets we attend, please stop by our table and say hello.  You can find more about Forks Farm on their website.

This week our farm population will swell yet again.  We are receiving our first batch of pastured chicken peeps.  Farmers Don and Matt will be busy tomorrow getting our brooder ready.  We use a caged off area in our barn's granary for our brooder.  They will be making sure the enclosure is secure to keep out other animals which can harm the peeps.  A fresh layer of peat moss will be spread and the heat lamps will be plugged in.  Feed and water containers will be washed.  The peeps are set to arrive on Wednesday.  They come in the mail!  And we will get a call from the post office telling us when they arrive so we can go down to the post office and pick them up.

More chicken news.  Farmer Don found an egg in the coop with our newest chickens.  We don't expect them to really start laying for another 6 weeks, but it is always exciting to find that first egg!  It also means we need to get their outside accommodations ready. 

Just a reminder, we will try and keep the buying club going until the Back Mountain Farmers Market gets started.  We anticipate some spring greens coming on in the next month or so and these will be made available to buying club members.  However, once our CSA begins, our CSA members are given first harvest, so buying club availability will most likely decrease.

Well, it is getting late and I still have not done the supper dishes!  I will end here with another thanks for your continued support.