Friday, April 22, 2016

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm.  Happy Earth Day!

What a nice run of beautiful weather we have been having.  Warm sunny days and cool nights, what more can a farmer ask for? How about some rain?  The fields at Dancing Hen Farm are oh so dry.  We did have some showers overnight and we are hoping for some more rain today.  I do think the really cold temperatures are over for this spring.  We do anticipate at least a few more frosty mornings, but we don’t anticipate temperatures in the low 20’s.  Generally here on farm, our last frost is some time mid to late May.  For that reason we hold off on planting tender crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, until closer to June 1.

Speaking of cold temperatures.  We are a bit worried about our apple trees.  Farmer Don is certain the recent temperatures in the high teens and low 20’s have damaged our budding apple trees.  Only time will tell just how much damage was done and if we will be able to offer “Dancing Hen Farm ugly heirloom apples” this year.  We that being said our thoughts and prayers go out to the fruit growers in our region.  These growers will most definitely see economic loss from this cold snap, including, most likely a complete loss of their apricot crop.

I am happy to report our peas are up!  These peas were planted close to 3 weeks ago.  Last night the dogs and I walked up to the field they are planted in and it was so nice to see beautiful long rows of baby pea plants.  I was beginning to really worry about them, but Farmer Don kept assuring me they were fine and just need some moisture and warmer soil temperatures.  I am glad his farmer’s intuition was correct.  We have sugar snap, snow and shelling peas planted.   We are hoping to have peas for our early CSA boxes.

Around the time Farmer Don planted the peas, he also direct seeded some greens.  Like the peas, these greens are also enjoying the warmer temperatures.   We are hoping to harvest these greens for some early farmer’s markets and buying club deliveries.   We have some nice young Asian greens and a bit of spinach in these plots.   We also have direct seeded radishes and some carrots planted.  The radishes need some rain to get them growing and the carrots have not yet germinated, again moisture will help boost the germination along.

Our nursery greenhouses are filling up with trays and trays of sprouting seedlings.  Kale, Swiss chard, scallions and lettuce are all sprouting and sizing up nicely.  In the next few weeks these seedlings will be planted out and before we know it they will be ready for harvest.  This week we started seeding some early summer crops, including summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers.  These seeds generally germinate fairly quickly and the resulting plants are extremely frost sensitive.  Therefore, when we plant them out, we will need to put a protective row cover over them and monitor temperatures closely.  Next week we will continue with seeding lettuce and have plans to start seeding some tomatoes and eggplant.

We have a busy couple of weeks coming up, with many opportunities to come out and meet the farmer.  Tomorrow, April 23, we will be at Forks Farm for their first market of the season.  Market hours are from 10 am to 1 pm.  Forks if a really nice local market on the Hopkins family farm and features many local vendors.  Information about Forks Farm and their market can be found on their website.

We are excited to be adding a CSA drop site in Plains at Danko’s All American Fitness on North River Street.  Farmer Don will be at the gym this Monday evening (4/25) and next Saturday morning (4/30) to answer any questions you may have about our farm or our CSA.  If you are in the area, please stop by and say hello.

The following Saturday, May 7, we will be in Luzerne at a Fit Food Fest and market sponsored by Chic Chic Marketplace and Changes Fitness.  The market is at Changes Fitness at 37 Tener Street in Luzerne from 11 am to 3 pam.  At this market, we will be promoting our CSA and selling eggs, chicken, pork and hopefully some greens.  Again, stop by, say hello, learn about our farm and pick up some local nutrient dense foods.

With so many new people signing up for our CSA and starting to follow our farm, I cannot end this newsletter without a few words about us and our CSA.  We are a small diversified family farm located in northern Columbia County.  As Farmer Don likes to say, “We are primarily vegetable growers”, although we do keep a large flock of laying hens and raise chickens and pigs for meat.  We use organic methods on our farm, but, we are not certified organic.  If you have questions about our farm or our farming methods, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our CSA is a full choice CSA. This means each week, members sign onto our website and choose the exact items they wish to receive in their boxes.  All boxes are delivered (or ready for pick up) on Tuesdays.  The CSA runs for 22 weeks and we anticipate our start date will be the first full week of June.  In addition to vegetable shares, members can also purchase add on egg or chicken share.  Please see our website (www.dancinghenfarm) or contact us at the farm if you have questions or need additional information.

The sun is up (aren’t these longer day nice!), the dogs just came in from chasing deer, the chickens are clamoring for breakfast.  Time to get the day’s work going.  

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