Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Greetings and Biying Club Open

Greetings from a foggy, soggy Dancing Hen Farm!

We will be running our Winter Buying Club this weekend.  That means ordering is now open and will close on Thursday morning at 5 am.  If you have questions about delivery locations and/or times, please contact us at the farm.  All ordering is done online for the buying club.  If you have not already done so, you will need to create an account and "purchase" a free winter buying club share.  Once purchased, we will need to activate before you can order, so there will be a delay between registering and being able to order.  We will continue to run the buying club for several weeks or until our storage crops are finished and our greens are frozen beyond harvest.

This week on the buying club we have a good supply of apple orchard pork and eggs.  Storage crops available include sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets and cabbage.  We also have some salad and cooking greens available, including, mustard, kale, chard, mixed salad greens and arugula.

Hopefully everyone had a great Thanksgiving and everyone has recovered from the post dinner food coma!  Our dinner was peaceful and the food plentiful.  We are still eating leftovers!  I will be cooking down the turkey frame over the weekend to make soup.  I think I enjoy turkey frame soup almost as much as the Thanksgiving meal!  My soup usually is a turkey version of chicken corn soup.  Chicken corn soup was a stable in my Pennsylvania Dutch family.  Following my Mother's and Grandmothers' leads, I think my chicken (or turkey) corn soup is a bit different each time I make it.  I will say, I do not add hard boiled eggs to my soup.  I did not even know they were in corn soup until I moved to central PA, where everyone's corn soup included eggs.  I also generally do not add homemade rivels or dumplings to my soup, but I do often add some thin egg noodles.  If you google Pennsylvania Dutch chicken corn soup, you will get a good list of websites with recipes.  My mouth is watering just writing about this soup!

Please watch your emails closely for the opening of registration for our 2017 CSA.  We are planning some changes for next year.  We will be offering a shorter main season and also a fall season.  The main season will run for 18 weeks and the fall season will follow the main season and run for 8 weeks.  We will again be offering add on egg and chicken shares.  Discounts will be offered for retuning members, members registering early and members purchasing both the main and fall season shares.  We anticipate the website to be updated shortly and once we are up and running, I will send an email out to all members.

Last Saturday, Farmers Don and Phil had a great adventure.  Rather than doing buying club deliveries, they were in the stands at Beaver Stadium cheering Penn State on to a victory.  This was Farmer Phil's  first time at a Penn State game.  Even though the day was a bit windy and chilly, both farmers report having a great time.  Rumor has it Farmer Phil was high fiving everyone around them in the stands!  Now they are trying to convince me they should go to Penn State's bowl game.  But first Farmer Phil is traveling with his Mom and Dad to Disney World for some Christmas pre-gaming! 

Until next week.......

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Happy Thanksgiving!

There will be no buying club this weekend as we celebrate Thanksgiving and spend time with family.  Buying club deliveries will resume next week, with ordering opening, Tuesday, November 29 and deliveries Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3.

It seems winter has arrived in Pennsylvania.  That means the rhythm of the farm is also changing to our winter mode.  For the most part, other than a few covered beds of greens, our fields have been put to rest until spring.  We continue to do projects on farm, but generally our activities center around keeping chickens watered and keeping wood chopped for our wood stove. 

Farmer Don and I will again be spending Thanksgiving on farm.  We will miss spending time with some of our extended family, but it is always good to avoid the travel rush and enjoy some time together in the kitchen.  Our meal will be very traditional, including, of course, turkey and stuffing!  I am hoping make pies this afternoon, but if I don't get to them, we will stray a bit from tradition and have apple crisp for desert! 

Please watch your email for the opening of our 2017 CSA registration.  We will again be offering discounts for returning members and early sign ups.  Our CSA will continue to be a full choice CSA, allowing each member to sign onto our website and customize their box each week.  In addition to our vegetable shares, we will also offer add on egg and chicken shares.  If you have questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Farmer Don and I want to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving!  We are so thankful to have such a supportive community!

Time to refill the coffee cup and move onto the next task!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15 Farm News

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! 

With our main season over we have moved into our extended season.  This is the first week of our 4 week extended season CSA.  Today is delivery day.  If you have signed up for the extension, you should have received an email from us yesterday.  If you have NOT received the email, please contact us.

The other way we extend our market and CSA season is through our winter buying club.  Ordering for buying club is now open and will close Thursday morning at 5 am.  Deliveries are to Bloomsburg Friday night and to Dallas, Forty Fort and Mountain Top on Saturday morning.  On farm pickups are anytime after 4 pm on Friday.  If you need information on our pick up sites, including times and exact location, please see our website or contact us at the farm. 

Pork -- Our 2016 pork is here and available for purchase.  We are sold out of bulk/freezer pork, but individual cuts are available.  Last night Farmer Don updated our buying club availability to reflect the new inventory.  This means pork chops and bacon are again available! 

Haven't we been having some beautiful fall days recently?  Wow!  Cool mornings, sunny warmer afternoons.  I love this weather, I just wish the days were a bit longer.  It seems a change is on its way.  The forecast is for cloudy and highs in the 30's on Monday.  And maybe even some snow!  Did everyone get a chance to view the super moon?  A bit cloudy last night, but Sunday night the November beaver moon was huge and bright over the farm. 

On farm, we are entering into winter mode.  Days are short meaning hours to get farm projects done are also short.  Once the freeze of winter sets in, we spend most of our time and energy on keeping our chickens supplied with warm water and keeping our woodstove supplied with split firewood.  But for now, some of our fields still have greens in them for harvest.  Farmer Don has them tucked under plastic row covers to keep them a bit warmer.  We should be able to harvest these greens for the next several weeks.  Many of them will overwinter and we will again harvest in the early spring.  We are also working on getting our chicken houses ready for winter.  In the summer we put shade cloth on the coops to keep the temperatures down.  In winter, this shade cloth is removed to maximize the heating of the sun for the chickens.  Other fall farm projects include garlic planting.  In the next week we will finish planting our garlic for 2017 harvest. 

It is hard to believe that next week is already Thanksgiving!  We will be roasting a turkey this year.  Our menu is always very traditional and we are excited that, once again, most everything on our table will have been grown within 5 miles of our farm.  One of the many things to be thankful for! 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, our friends at Forks Farm will be hosting their annual Turkey Day Market on Tuesday, November 22.  This is always a fun and festive market and although we will not be there as a vendor, we will be there shopping and picking up our turkey.  If you have never been to a Turkey Day, I would encourage you to visit.  The market is open from 1 to 6 pm.  If you haven't purchased your turkey yet, you may want to contact the Hopkins and see if they have turkey still available.  www.forksfarmmarket.com

Well, it seems I didn't have too much inspiration for this newsletter, but the sun is now up and I need to move on to my next task.  Time to get this newsletter posted to our website. 

Thanks again to everyone for their continued support.  Have a great week!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 CSA Week 22

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Welcome to Week 22 of our CSA.  Week 22 is the FINAL week of our regular season CSA.  Week 22 is NOT an egg week.  Week 22 IS a CHICKEN Week.

Our buying club will be available for next weekend deliveries.  Ordering for the buying club opens 5 am on Tuesday (11/8) and closes at 5 am on Thursday (11/10).  All buying club orders should be made through our website.  In the coming weeks, look for additional pork products to be available through the buying club.

Farmer Don and I both want to thank everyone 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, chicken and pork to all of you.

Even though this is the last week for our regular season CSA, our sharing of the harvest has not ended for the season.  We are extending our season for 4 additional weeks and as mentioned above we will again be running our winter buying club.  Just a reminder, we need to receive payment for the extended season CSA prior to the first delivery.  Our first delivery is scheduled for Tuesday, November 15.  If you are interested in the buying club, you will need to purchase a free "winter buying club" share through our website.  As always, if you have questions, please contact us at the farm.

We are already planning for 2017.  2017 CSA registration will open shortly on our website.  Watch your email for when registration is available.  We will again offer a returning member discount and an early bird discount.  To take advantage of the early bird discount, we need to receive payment by December 31, 2016.  As with this year, our regular season CSA will continue to be a full choice CSA.  All members will be able to sign onto our website and choose the exact items they receive in their boxes each week.  We will again offer egg and chicken shares, but will most likely be limiting the number of egg shares.  We are debating adding a pork share and will send out an email if and when we add this option.

I will continue to sent 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 (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dancing-Hen-Farm/111155465564952) and to our blog (http://www.dancinghenfarmcsa.blogspot.com/). 

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

Don't forget to vote on Tuesday the 8th.  And get ready for a night sky show on Monday the 14th.  November's full moon is a super, super moon.  This full beaver moon will appear as the largest and brightest moon in the sky since 1948!  Get out and enjoy!  Hopefully we will have clear skies.

So, have a great holiday season, stay warm this winter, enjoy those veggies, be safe, be well and enjoy your veggies.  As always, thank you for your support of local organic agriculture.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

2016 CSA Week 21 Newsletter and Buying Cub is Open!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm.  Welcome to Week 21 of our CSA.  After this week's deliveries, there is ONE delivery remaining in our 2016 CSA.  This week is an EGG week and NEXT WEEK IS our final CHICKEN delivery week.  I hope everyone is enjoying their Week 21 boxes!

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 and Mountain Top.  On farm orders can be picked up after 4 pm on Friday or anytime on Saturday.  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.  This buying club is separate from our CSA.  If you have questions, please contact us at the farm.

Yesterday was our annual running of the pigs.  This is a yearly tradition at Dancing Hen Farm.  We raise our pigs high on the hill in an abandoned apple orchard.  The pigs spend the summer grazing between the trees, sleeping beneath the trees and eating leftovers from our vegetable fields.  Each fall we must move the pig down to our barn.  So, on a designated fall day, our neighbors gather with us on farm and we literally walk/run the pigs down to the barn.  Some years this task is accomplished with little to no stress to humans or animals and other years, well let's just say, "pigs rule the hill".  This year, went so smoothly that I missed the actual running.  With the run falling on a CSA delivery day, I stepped in and did afternoon deliveries for Farmer Don so he could work with his pigs.  By the time Farmer Phil and I were done with deliveries, the pigs were already sleeping peacefully in the barn.  Thanks to all who assisted!  The farm and the pigs are grateful for your calm assistance.

Last week, we had another gathering of the neighbors as we replaced the plastic on our large greenhouse.  Getting plastic over a 30' by 100' metal frame is not an easy task.  We tie rocks and rope to one side and literally throw the ropes over the top and then pull on the ropes to pull the plastic over the frame.  The clothesline we used as rope wasn't quite up for the task and broke several times, putting some of our helpers on their backsides!  Once the plastic is over, we have to work quickly to get it fastened into placed, before the slightest wind creates a giant plastic parachute.  Our mission was accomplished and our greenhouse is currently being planted for late winter/early spring production.  Thanks again to all who assisted with this task!

Is anyone looking to continue receiving Dancing Hen Farm products after the CSA ends?  For the first time, this year, we are offering an extended season to our CSA.  This extension will be 4 weeks of deliveries, starting immediately after the regular season ends (November 15).  These shares are not being offered through our website and will be farmer's choice partial shares (6 - 7 per week, chosen by Farmer Don).  Egg shares are also available.  Egg shares will again be every other week, or purchase 2 egg shares for one dozen every week.  The cost is $100 for the veggies and 10 for a single egg share.  If you are interested, please email the farm.  We will need to receive your payment prior to start of the extended season.  Payment can be mailed to the farm.

We will also be continuing with our Winter Buying club this year.  As I mentioned above, the winter buying club is separate from our CSA.  The winter buying club was created as a way for our dedicated farm market shoppers (and CSA customers) to continue to purchase Dancing Hen Farm products after markets close for the season.  This buying club is a pay as you go option and requires you to meet us at a designated place and time to pay for and pick up your selections.  If you would like to participate in the winter buying club, you will need to "purchase" a free winter buying club share on our website.  As always, if you have questions or need additional information, please contact us at the farm.

In the kitchen, I am just about finished with preserving food for the season.  I am hoping to can another batch of applesauce and I have some cabbage safely stored away in our cooler to make sauerkraut with.  Last winter we added a German fermentation crock to our kitchen "appliance" shelf.  Yes, another appliance!  And like many of my appliances, I find I do not use the crock as much as I had anticipated.  This crock is quite large and in all honesty is too big for most bathes of vegetables I ferment.  Recently I fermented some radishes and I would have needed over a half bushel of radishes to fill the crock!  That would be a lot of radish pickles!  Too many!  But, for sauerkraut, the crock is a perfect size.  So, this month, Farmer Don and I will brine and pound the cabbage and put up to ferment in the crock.  The sauerkraut will easily be ready for the traditional pork and sauerkraut New Year's Day dinner!

Wow, how time flies when you are drinking coffee and writing newsletters!  It is now mid to late morning.  I need to end this newsletter, as I am driving to Philly today for a doctor's appointment.  Wish me luck, with the transit workers on strike! 

Be safe, be well and thank you for your continued support of our small farm!