Thursday, May 19, 2016

News and the start of the 2016 CSA

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Please read on for some important updates.

The Farmer has spoken and our CSA first delivery will be June 14 and will run for 22 weeks.   This year, ALL boxes will be available on Tuesday, both off farm deliveries and on farm pickups.   On farm boxes will be available anytime after 9 am on Tuesdays this year.  If you have selected to pick up your box at one of our pick up sites, the week before deliveries begin, you will receive an email with site details.

And, Farmer Don has updated member accounts on our website.  This means, if you have sent in your 2016 payment, your online account should reflect this.  If your account is still showing funds due and you feel you have paid, please contact us so we can work through this. 

We have confirmed that we will be at the Pittston Farmers Market on Tuesdays this season, starting on July 5.  Thanks to Farmer Jason for helping us out with this market!  This means we will be at four markets this season.  Starting on July 9th we will be at the Back Mountain Memorial Library market every Saturday.   Please note, the location of this market moved last year to the Dallas elementary school.  This year, we are again returning to Forks Farm Market in Orangeville.  Forks is the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, with the next market on May 28th.  And finally, on Sundays, we will be returning  the Mountain Top market held in the Crestwood High School parking lot.

Signups for our 2016 CSA have been strong, but we still do have a few spots available.  If you are interested in obtaining 22 weeks of organically grown veggies, please sign up on our website.  Remember we are a full choice CSA, meaning each week you have the opportunity to choose the items you receive in your box.  In addition to veggie shares, we also offer egg and chicken shares.  If you have questions concerning our CSA, please do not hesitate to contact us.

I think that about covers our announcements.  Now onto the weather and farm updates!

You know I am unable to write a newsletter without talking about the weather, especially considering the weather we have been having.  Monday morning was not a good weather event for the farm.  After enduring sleet storms and heavy wind all day Sunday, Monday morning brought a hard freeze.  Despite Farmer Don's hard work and effort to cover crops, we still had crop loss on farm.  Our cucumber and summer squash were nipped - both in the field and in our germination greenhouse.  We are hoping these plants will grow out of the damage, but they will definitely be set back.  At this point we are thinking this first planting of these crops will be ready about the same time as the yet unplanted second planting.  We also had damage to our potatoes.  They were sprouting nicely in the field and now they are blackened by freezing  temperatures.  In all honesty, we are not certain if these potatoes will come back.  Luckily Farmer Don was able to quickly secure some additional seed potatoes and they were planted today.  In our germination greenhouse, we also had damage to tomato seedlings.  We over planted most varieties with the hopes of selling some seedlings at market, but now we will most likely be needing every surviving seedling for our own fields.  On a positive note, our peas are looking good, as are our greens and radishes.  Now all of our plants need some sun and warmth to get growing!  Long term forecast is showing a possible warming trend the end of next week. 

The farm is really buzzing with activity right now.  May is probably one of our busiest months on farm.  The tractor seems to be continually in the fields, as ground is tilled, beds are formed and plants are set out.  At the same time, we continue seeding in the seed house.  Many crops, such as salad and cooking greens are seeded every few weeks, so we can have a continual planting and hence, harvest from our fields.  Within the next 3 weeks  all of our crops will be planted, even the second rotational planting of some.   We will continue planting rotations of greens, beans and root crops until August or September. 

We are currently harvesting a small amount of spinach, mixed Asian greens and radishes from the fields.  If you are interested in purchasing any of these foods, eggs or pork, please contact us at the farm.  We will have the veggies at Forks Market on the 28th.

In the kitchen, we are so happy to again be enjoying Dancing Hen Field to Table cooking.  Harvesting Asian greens mean lots and lots of stir frys.  Stir Frys are a go to recipe for us all season, as they allow us to quickly get dinner on the table and are flexible enough to allow us to use whatever crops we are harvesting.  I use a basic recipe found in Andrea Chesman's Serving up the Harvest cookbook, but numerous recipes can be found online or in other cookbooks.  Recently we have also been firing up the stand mixer to make homemade pizza dough.  We turn this dough into pizza or calzones.  For me there is something so satisfying about working with dough -- the smell of the yeast, the feel of the dough and of course the taste of the end result!  Spinach calzones are a favorite right on farm now.  Over the weekend, when the chill was back in the air, we decided soup was in order.  We used greens and some ground pork to make a delicious and warming Lion's head meatball soup.  This was the basic recipe I followed.  I didn't have water chestnuts in the pantry, so I skipped that ingredient and used mixed Asian greens rather than all nappa cabbage.  We also added a bit of hot sauce and a bit more broth to make more of a soup.  This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Ah yes, the sun is up and Farmer Don has already out in the fields.  Time to get to work! 

Have a great day and watch your email for farm and communications and csa updates in the upcoming days and weeks.

Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 CSA

Yes, we are still taking memberships for our 2016 CSA.  We are a full choice CSA.  Each week, for 22 weeks, you choose exactly what you want to receive in your box.  We custom harvest, pack and deliver your box to you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May News

Greetings from a soggy and cool Dancing Hen Farm!

Recently, I had been complaining about how dry it is here on farm.  Dry enough to cause a delay in germination of our peas and dry enough that Farmer Don has already been watering some of our field plots.  Well, the rain has come and we are thankful.  We could use some warmer temperatures, which hopefully will return next week.  The rain already has our fields greening up and the weeds, well growing like weeds.  Some of our crops’ growth is stalling with the lack of sun and warmth, but with all this nice moisture, once the sun returns things should really take off.

We are happy to say, despite the late freezing temperatures, our apple trees are blooming.  Blooms seem spottier than years past and we are not certain if this is due to the recent cool temperatures or the freeze.  It will be a waiting game to see if the trees set fruit.  Stay tuned for Dancing Hen Farm ugly apples this fall!

The farmers have been busy the last few weeks.  Our peas are germinated and stakes are in place ready for peas to be trellised.  The first planting of string beans is in the ground, as well as direct seeded lettuce and some red potatoes.  Radishes have germinated and we are waiting from them to size up.  This rain should help push the radishes along.  We have a small bed of carrots and beets planted and are awaiting germination and then our ongoing battle to keep these root crops weeded.  We have beds ready and waiting for transplants of summer squash, cooking greens and more lettuce.  We are hoping to get these beds planted early next week.
This week’s rain has kept us for the most part out of the fields and has given us the opportunity to seed flats and flats of seeds.  The seed house is now full of trays of germinating seeds. We continue to seed greens and also seed our true summer crops, tomatoes, eggplant, more squash, eggplant and more.  We have moved kale, scallions and chard outside to harden off before being planted out next week.  Any ground cherry fans out there?  Those were seeded yesterday!  Stay tuned for more information on ground cherries as they appear on the order list towards the middle of summer.

Are you looking to purchase some of our products before the start of our CSA and farm market season?  We will be at the Fit Food Fest at Changes Health and Fitness at 37 Tener Street in Luzerne this Saturday (May 7) from 11 to 3.  This is a pop us farmers market with a number of farms and other local producers selling their wares.  We will have plenty of eggs for sale, as well as pastured chicken and pork.  Farmer Don will also be harvesting some greens, but these will be in limited quantities, so come early for the best selection.  If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and pick up some local nutrient dense foods, learn about our CSA and meet your farmer.  This market is inside, so don’t let the threat of showers keep you home!

Speaking of the CSA.  Welcome and Thank You to all members who have signed up and sent in their payments.  We do still have memberships available for 2016, but please remember memberships are reserved in order in which payment is received.  Please visit our website ( or contact us at the farm for more information.

Since we will be at Changes Health and Fitness in Luzerne on Saturday, the buying club, will once again not be open for ordering this week.  But, watch your emails, as we are planning on some spring buying clubs.  Ordering will be announced via email and on our facebook site.
We have added a new Mountain Top drop site for 2016.  We are excited to be dropping boxes at Crestwood Pharmacy.  If you have already signed up at a different site, but would like to switch to Crestwood Pharmacy, please contact the farm and we will update your account.  In the next week, members should be able to select the Pharmacy as a drop site.  If you have difficulty, please contact us.

We have been busy lining up our farm market schedule for 2016.  We are happy to be returning to the Back Mountain Memorial Library Market in Dallas, on Saturdays, at the elementary school.  We will also be, once again, setting up a table at Forks Farm Market in Orangeville and the Mountain Top Market at the Crestwood High School.  In addition, we are in planning stages of adding the Pittston Farmers Market to our market schedule this year.  Stay tuned for more details on when these markets open.

Ok, time to move on to my next task!  Be safe, be well and soon we will all be enjoying those veggies!