Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! Welcome to Fall! I hope everyone is enjoying their Week 15 boxes. Week 15 is an egg week.
Sorry this newsletter is a bit late getting out. I had a minor setback this week, but am once again back home and hopefully continuing to move forward. Thanks again to everyone for their support! So many times it is our family combined with our community which keeps Don and I both keep moving forward.
I had plans to welcome Autumn with this newsletter, but Wednesday came and went and no newsletter. But, we can still say welcome to the new season. I hope some of you were able to celebrate and welcome this solstice. I really love the change of the seasons. Don and I spent several years living in Florida and I think I missed Fall the most. I can remember looking out the window of our air conditioned apartment and noticing how long the shadows were and thinking “oh it looks like a beautiful fall day”. Only to open the door and be slapped in the face by heat and humidity! One of Don’s goals when we were in Florida was to wear shorts every day. I think he accomplished that goal, although our second winter there, brought some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded, with a fairly hard freeze as far south as West Palm Beach and snow showers in Orlando. That year, we visited Disney World with some family members and all of those beautiful tall palm trees were frosted. The tops of the palms were dead and hanging over. I am fairly certain they recovered, but that year they provided a visual reminder not only of the chilly temperatures, but also that these majestic trees are not native to the Orlando area.
Our weather here in Stillwater has been warm and dry recently. We could really use a couple of days of steady rain. The forecast is calling for some possible showers this week, but nothing really measurable. Of course the clouds are to move in tomorrow, Sunday night, just in time for the lunar eclipse. This is a total lunar eclipse and it seems the peak eclipse will begin a little after 10 pm, although I have seen some reports saying it will not be total until 11 pm. This full moon is also a supermoon, so it will be large and reportedly should turn redish during the eclipse. Even with the threat of clouds, I will definitely be outside tomorrow night with my eyes to the sky!
Let’s see. On farm. Once again, I am a bit out of touch, as I don’t have my “farm legs” under me quite yet. I do know we are still harvesting tomatoes! In the lower field, which the dogs and I tour daily, I do see some nice greens, chard, collards, radish, and kale. I have toured our large high tunnel, greenhouse, and can say our tomatoes are about done in this location. In the next week or so, these tomatoes will be pulled out and replaced with greens, lettuces and cooking greens. We also have some large plantings of winter greens for field production this year. These plantings in the field will be tucked under plastic and will hopefully be ready for fall and early spring harvest. We have yet to dig our sweet potatoes, but we did bring in some sweets from Landisdale Farm for next week’s pack.
Time to once again start talking a bit about our buying clubs, as they often create a bit of confusion. We actually have two buying clubs. One is a buying club only open to our CSA members and is currently open for CSA members, with a buying club deposit, to order from. Your order will be delivered with your CSA share. The second buying club is our “winter buying club”. This buying club does not require a deposit and is open to everyone. With the winter buying club, you will still need to visit our website, register, and “purchase” a free winter buying club share. Winter buying club members meet us at a designated time and location to pay for and pick up their purchases. We anticipate the winter buying club to start once our farm markets end. Please watch your email for buying club news. We are planning a new pick up site in Mountain Top this year; again watch your email for details. As always, if you have questions or need assistance with the website, please do not hesitate to contact us at the farm.
In the kitchen, things have been fairly quiet this summer. Unfortunately, Farmer Don and I both spent a lot of time off farm and therefore ate way too many meals filled with non-farm foods. It is sad to say, but, we are just now getting back into the swing of eating what we produce. Recently we have been really focusing on chicken. I cannot say enough about pasture raised chicken. If you have never eaten chicken raised on pasture, I would encourage you to give it a try. You will find moist flavorful chicken and may never eat a store bought organically raised chicken again. We have half and whole chickens available, but there are other farms in the area who do sell different cuts of pastured chicken, including boneless breasts. Our chickens are large this year and we find that one chicken easily gives Don and I, two, if not three, meals. In fact I am planning chicken salad sandwiches for dinner tonight with some leftover chicken! I like to make a curried chicken salad, adding some dried cranberries, finely chopped apples, and a bit of curry powder.
Farmer Don and Farmer Phil are at the farm market in Dallas today. Hopefully, if you were at market, you stopped in and said hello. We will also be at the Mountain Top market tomorrow, Sunday. Stop by and sample some of our tomatoes. Farmer Don likes to have several varieties ready for sampling. If you sample tomatoes, be sure to let him know which ones you like best, so we can be sure to plant those next year.
You all know the routine by now. Market talk means the newsletter is coming to an end. Thanks you again to each of you for your support of our small farm. As I have said before, it is you, our community, which allow to farm our rocky, hilly land sustainably. And, of course, as farmer Don would say, “be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies”.