Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm. Happy eve of New Year's Eve!
We hope your holidays have been happy and that this new year will be filled with health, happiness and peace!
Winter is here! We celebrated the winter solstice a little over a week ago. This is exciting, as now our days are starting to get longer. We are still waking up in the dark and eating supper in the dark, but January will bring sunrises close to 7 am and sunsets after 5 pm. By the end of February, sunsets will be after 6! February is when our plants overwintering in our unheated greenhouse will begin to grow again. And depending on how well they survived the winter, we will hopefully have some greens to harvest in March.
Speaking of harvesting. Our winter buying club is on hold for a few weeks. If you are interested in our apple orchard pork or eggs, please contact the farm. We will work with people on an individual basis to get product to you. If we have enough people interested, we may do a buying club delivery to a drop site.
With the new year, comes the end to our early bird specials for CSA sign up. We will still honor your early bird discount, as long as your envelope is post marked by December 31. That is tomorrow! After December 31, returning members are still eligible for a returning member discount and all members purchasing a summer and fall share are eligible for a discount on the fall share. As always, if you have questions about our CSA, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Each year, the start of our CSA sign up is a very exciting and humbling time for Farmer Don and I. Exciting and also humbling to see so many new and returning members investing in our farm. Thanks to each of you. As I have said in the past, these early funds help us order supplies, at a discount, for next season's production. And without you, our dedicated members and friends of the farm, we would not be able to do what we do; farm and preserve this rocky hillside we call home and more importantly share our harvest with you, our community.
Farmer Don has been very busy in the kitchen recently. For a number of years now he has been a fan of the magazine "Cooks Illustrated". We even have one of their huge how to cook anything style cookbooks. For the past month or so, he has been applying more and more of their techniques and making many of their recipes. Although I sometimes feel as though the kitchen has been turned into a science lab, I have to admit the resulting meals have been delicious! And is has been really nice to have a resident cook in the house. Most recently he made a gumbo utilizing a dry roux. The dry roux was made by baking the flour, dry, in the oven until it turns a beautiful cinnamon color. Probably not very authentic, but I have to admit this may be the first time we actually got a nice dark roux and therefore a nice dark gumbo. And as a northerner, I thought the resulting soup was delicious! Tonight he is making a beef bolognese for us for dinner and he has a breakfast strata casserole picked out for New Year's day breakfast. Speaking of New Year's day. I will be back in the kitchen on New Year's Day making the traditional pork and sauerkraut; one of my all time favorite meals!
On farm this time of year means planning and projects. We are busy planning production for next season. This involves evaluating the past season and its successes and challenges. It also means analyzing our weekly availabilities and harvest lists to determine crops we need to grow more and/or less of. Farmer Don is busy reworking some of our greenhouse space. When complete, we will have 2 small greenhouses with woodstoves installed and a smaller germination area heated passively with compost. Hopefully, the woodstoves will allow us to get transplants going earlier in the spring and alleviate some of the losses we have endured most every year due to late spring freezes.
Here, I will end and wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous 2017!