Thursday, November 12, 2015

Images from Week 22's Harvest

Week 22 Harvest

Farmer Don and his girls harvesting greens

Fall Production

Farmer Don spinning greens before packing

Farmer Phil's "to do" list

Greens ready for portioning

CSA Week 22 Newletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm.  Welcome to Week 22 of our CSA.  This is the last week of the CSA.

First Farmer Don and I both want to thank each and every member for their support!  It is you, our community, our members and friends of the farm, who enable us to do what we do.  Thank you for allowing us to "share the harvest" with you!

Thank you also to all of our site hosts, our volunteers and our employees.  Without this support system we would not be able to do what we do.  The amount of work which goes on behind the scenes by these individuals is huge.  Their hard work makes it possible for us to get our vegetables, eggs, and chicken to all of you.

Our work and our sharing of the harvest is not over for 2015.  As with last year, we will again be offering a pay as you go winter buying club for as long as the weather allows us to harvest.  This buying club operates a bit differently than the buying club associated with our CSA.  First, we do not drop boxes at central pick up sites or at individual homes.  Instead, we meet customers at designated time, at a designated spot.  The window for ordering is a bit different as well.  Ordering opens on Tuesdays at 5 am and closes on Thursdays at 6 am.  Deliveries are made on Friday night to Bloomsburg and Saturday mornings to Dallas, Forty Fort and Mountain Top.  You can pick up on farm as well, any time after 4 on Friday or anytime on Saturday or Sunday.  To participate in the buying club, you will need to purchase a free buying club membership.  Also we need to activate your account before you can order.  I try to check the website regularly to activate individuals, but there will be a delay between registering for this option and being able to order.  As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yesterday was our annual running of the pigs here on farm.  Our pigs spend their summer high on the hill above our farm.  Each fall we are faced with the challenge of moving these now large hogs off the hill and into our barn.  Some years the run goes smoothly, other years not so.  This was one of the not so smoothly years.  These pigs have been unusually ornery all season and they really decided to express their independence yesterday.  Eventually they ended up in the barn, but I am not sure wrestling pigs was an activity our volunteers expected.  Thank you to Mike, Joyce, Phil, Matt and Kirk for your help.  Without you, I am sure the pigs would still be in the orchard! 

Planning for the 2016 CSA is underway and registration should open in the next week or so.  Please watch your email.  As I have indicated, we are making some changes to for next year.  First and foremost we will be limiting our CSA membership this year to 75 members.  Memberships are reserved once payment is received.  We are changing on farm pick up day from Thursday to Tuesday.  Our base CSA price, for pick up on farm, and our price for shares delivered to a central pick up site will remain the same.  We will however be increasing the price for home delivery and for egg shares.  We will also be consolidating some of our delivery sites.   New this year will be a chicken share.  Chickens will be delivered once a month for the CSA season, with a total of 6 deliveries.  Each delivery, you will receive 2 chickens, one whole and 2 halves.  In addition, twice during the season (most likely in June and November) you will receive a stew hen.  Details, including pricing and delivery location changes, will be announced in an upcoming newsletter and will be posted to our website.  As with past years, we will be offering an early bird discount and a returning member discount for 2016.

Pork. Our own Apple Orchard Pork should be available on our buying club around December 1, if not earlier.  This year all ham and bacon will be cured using a nitrate free cure.  We still have a very limited amount of bulk/freezer pork available.  If you are interested in bulk pork, please contacted us.  Bulk Pork should also be available around December 1, if not before.

I’m not sure if anyone watches WNEP’s Home and Backyard, but last week our friends at The Blind Pig Kitchen in Bloomsburg were featured.  The Blind Pig is a relatively new farm to table restaurant in Bloomsburg.  Owners Sarah and Toby are committed to sourcing their ingredients from local farms and producers.  This includes purchasing CSA shares from us here at Dancing Hen Farm.  Here is a link to the Home and Backyard segment.

Boxes!  We will make one last trip to our central pick up sites to collect boxes.  Please try and return any boxes to your pick up site.  We will also accept boxes at our buying club pick ups or on the farm.

So, I sign off for the CSA season, but I will continue to send out weekly emails as long as our buying club is operating and periodic emails after that.  If you want to keep up with farm news, we post regularly on facebook ( and to our blog ( 

Be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Blind Pig Kitchen

The Blind Pig Kitchen in Bloomsburg was featured on WNEP's Home and Backyard.  The Blind Pig is a true farm to table restaurant, only sourcing products from local farms and producers.  For more information see Blind Pig's website (  And  be sure to check out the clip from WNEP:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

CSA Week 21 Newsletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm and welcome to CSA Week 21.  Week 21 is an egg week.  Hopefully everyone is enjoying this week’s boxes.

The 2015 Dancing Hen Farm CSA is rapidly coming to an end.  Next week is week 22 and therefore our last week.  We will be back to the drop sites in the weeks following the last week to pick up boxes, so please plan to leave your share boxes at a drop site.

Haven’t the last few days been beautiful?  Temperatures in the 70’s in November, what’s not to like?  Farmer Don was working in shorts today.   He has uncovered our crops under plastic and they are flourishing in this nice weather.  I do have to admit, we were complaining a bit about it being hot outside!  Hopefully we will remember this day come January, when the high for the day is in the teens!  The forecast, however, is predicting that over the weekend and into next week, we will have more seasonal temperatures, but nothing too cold. 

Before I forget, I need to give some more details on our apple orchard pork.  Our prices for bulk or freezer pork will be 4.50 per pound hanging weight.  Hanging weight is the weight just before the meat is cut into roasts, chops, etc.  Some hogs are bigger than others.  Average hanging weight should be between 175 and 225 pounds.  Thus, half a hog would cost around $375 to $475 and a whole hog would be $750 to $950.  A half hog would put an average of 70 pounds of meat in your freezer and a whole hog around 140 pounds.   We have opted to have ham and bacon cured this year with a nitrate free cure.  Curing of the hams and bacon, as well as seasoning of the sausage is included in the price per pound.  There will be an additional charge if you would like scrapple ($15 per hog) or lard ($75 for a 5 gal bucket) included with your purchase.   If you have reserved pork, we will be contacting you very soon to confirm your order.  If you have not yet reserved pork, but would like to, please contact the farm as soon as possible, as our pigs are leaving the farm early next week.  We anticipate orders to be ready towards the end of this month or the beginning of December. 

As long as I am talking about pork.  People interested in purchasing individual cuts of pork will have the opportunity to do so through our winter buying club.  As with the bulk pork, these cuts should be available on the buying club in 3 or 4 weeks.  Please watch your email for details.

And as long as I am talking about the buying club.  Are you interested in continuing to receive vegetables once the CSA ends or ordering pork or chicken?  Consider joining our winter buying club.  It is free to sign up, but you will need to log into our website and “purchase” a winter buying club share.  The winter buying club is a pay as you go program.  We deliver buying club orders to Bloomsburg on Friday evenings and to Dallas, Forty Fort and Mountain Top on Saturday.  You can also pick up your order on farm after 4 pm on Friday, or any time on Saturday or Sunday.   You will pay for your order (cash or check) when you pick up your order. 

On next week’s availability you will continue to see an assortment of winter squash available, as well as cooking greens.  Our mustard greens look really beautiful right now, as do our turnip greens and Asian greens.   Of course all these greens are great added to stir frys, braised with garlic and olive oil or added to soups.  Raw mustard greens have a sharp spicy flavor, similar to horseradish.  Farmer Don likes to add raw mustard greens to salads.  You can also create a wrap sandwich using mustard leaves as a grain free wrap.  To make the leaves more pliable for wrapping, you can blanch them (dip in boiling water) briefly or simply allow them to sit out on a paper towel until they wilt.  Also worth mentioning is that the heat from the mustard green will mellow slightly with cooking.  I really enjoy cooked greens with a fried or poached egg.  Recently, I came across this recipe for a fried egg sandwich with mustard greens.

Another recipe, I don’t think I have mentioned yet this season, is what we call “Don’s soup”.  This is a really easy and filling soup for a cool fall or winter supper.  I guess a more descriptive title would be “greens and tortellini soup”.  I think at one point I may have had a recipe, but now we just make the soup as follows.  Add a bit of olive oil or butter to your soup pot and saute some diced onions, garlic and carrots.  Once these veggies are tender add several quarts of stock (chicken or vegetable) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add tortellini and cook until the tortellini is not quite tender (6 or 7 minutes?).  Next add chopped greens (kale, mustard, turnip, chard, etc – your choice) and continuing cooking for several minutes until the greens are tender and tortellini is cooked through.  Once everything is cooked, stir in some crushed red pepper.  Ladle into bowls and top with grated parmesan cheese.

Farmer Don and I want to again thank each of you, our community members, for your support and patience during this CSA season.  As most of you know, we faced many challenges during this growing season.  It truly has been you, our community, which has kept us farming this season.  On farm, we are ready for the slower pace of winter.  Ready to reflect, regroup and re-energize. 

We have already been planning for 2016.  Registration for our 2016 CSA will open up soon.  We do have a few changes planned for 2016, so watch your email for details.

The dogs are eagerly staring at me waiting for their nighttime walk, so I will wrap things up.  Have a great week!