Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 Week 20 and the Buying Club is Open!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm.  Welcome to Week 20 of our CSA.  After this week's deliveries, there are 2 weeks remaining in our 2016 CSA.

The winter buying club is open this week.  Ordering closes at 5 am on Thursday.  Deliveries are Friday night to Bloomsburg and Saturday morning to Dallas and Forty Fort.  Mountain Top orders can be picked up at market on Sunday.  All buying club ordering is done online.  If you have not already done so, you will need to create an account on our website and "purchase" a free winter buying club share.

Ah, yes, the weather.  The seasons are changing in Pennsylvania and that means temperature swings!  Crazy to think we were in the 80's a week ago and tonight we are to get a hard freeze.  And I have heard a rumor there may be some snow on the ground on Thursday!  Hard to believe,  Farmer Don was working in shorts last week and he now he is burning our woodstove for heat!  Let's hope he doesn't have to get the plow out just yet!

Even though our main CSA season is winding down, we are still busy, busy, busy on farm.  In the fields we are planting the last of our winter cover crops and getting beds of greens ready for the winter.  Tonight, we will be covering many of our cooking and salad greens with row cover and plastic to protect them from the cold winter temperatures.  With a bit of luck, we will be able to harvest from many of these beds into December and then will again harvest from them in late February or early March.  If the weather and the wind cooperate, this week we will be putting the plastic back on our large greenhouse.  The past few weeks we have been cleaning out and preparing the beds in this greenhouse for overwintering.  Lettuce and kale will be planted for early spring 2017 harvest.  It will nice to have our greenhouse back for production next season. 

In boxes this week, we are continuing to pack winter squash, cabbage, sweet potatoes, kale, swiss chard, arugula and mustard greens.  New this week are rutabaga.  Our rutabaga are a bit small this year and please do not throw away the greens.  Rutabaga are in the same family as kale, mustard, cabbage and turnips and their greens are tasty and nutritious.  Use the greens as you would any cooking green.  It appears as though tomatoes, green beans and peppers are done for the season.  Look for greens and storage crops to continue to be available.  We have a small planting of celery and a small planting of baby leeks which will, hopefully, be ready before the end of the season.

With our regular season winding down, we have put a plan in place to extend our CSA into the fall.  The extension will be for 4 weeks, starting November 15.  The extended shares will be part shares, six items per week, and will be farmer's choice shares.  Egg shares are also available.  Vegetable shares are $100 and egg shares are $10.  If you would like eggs every week, you can purchase two egg shares.  These shares will not be offered through our website, so if you are interested, please email the farm.  We will need to receive payment prior to the start of the extended season.

So, I have a confession to make.  I have a habit of buying kitchen appliances which I am convinced will change my life.  But in reality, I have a shelf of kitchen gadgets which seldom get used.  Some of the things you will find on this shelf are, a pressure canner, an immersion blender, a food processor (now used often to make dog food!), a stand mixer, and a crock pot.  Although I use all these gadgets, I don't find them nearly as life changing as I had anticipated.  For instance, I had visions of using the crock pot to make chicken and beef stock and then using the pressure canner to produce jars of shelf stable, non-frozen stock.  Let's just say, I am still making stock in my trusty stock pot and storing the jars in the freezer!  I did make some delicious peach butter in the crock pot the other year, but canned it in my old enamel hot water bath canner.  But, over the weekend, I used the crock pot for dinner!  I started by placing a mix of veggies in the bottom of the pot.  I used onions, sweets, winter squash and white potatoes.  Next I rubbed a chuck roast with some salt, pepper and dried herbs and seared it on all sides.  The roast was then placed on top of the veggies and a small amount of liquid was added.  The liquid was a mix of wine, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and water.  I set the pot to low and let it cook all day.  The resulting dinner was really tasty!  And as I did chores around the house and farm, it was nice knowing that dinner was already made!  Maybe there is still hope for the crock pot to change my life?

We do still have some bulk freezer pork available.  If you are interested in bulk pork or have questions for us, please contact us!  We are anticipating pork orders to be available the second or third week of November.  Individual cuts of pork will be available through our winter buying club around that same time.  Bacon and hams are cured using a nitrate free cure.

I want to take a few minutes to thank some Bloomsburg area restaurants who regularly use our, and other farms, products.  The Blind Pig Kitchen is a true "farm to table" restaurant, sourcing all meats fruits and vegetables within 65 miles of the restaurant.  Toby and Sarah purchase 5 CSA shares from us each year to use in the restaurant.  More information, including their seasonal menu, can be found on their website (www.blindpigkitchen.com).  We also sell produce and eggs to the Inn at Turkey Hill.  The farmhouse at the Inn is a fine dining establishment and their menu features locally produced items.  More information can be found on their website (www.innatturkeyhill.com).  Please support your local farmers by supporting these two fine restaurants!

The end is here...  until next week.... "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies"

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