Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy New Year and Farm News!

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!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Farm News, Buying Club this week and CSA Registration

 Greetings from a festive Dancing Hen Farm!  Our tree is up and decorated, the lights are hung outside and the wreath has been hung on the side of the barn.  Thanks to Jason, for once again helping us with "the hanging of the wreath".

The buying club will again be open for deliveries this coming weekend.  This will be our last buying club of 2016 and possibly our last until early spring 2017.  Overnight temperatures in the single digits by the end of the week will most likely end any outdoor greens harvest for this season.  Remember, ordering opens on Tuesday morning at 5 am and closes Thursday morning at 5 am.  If you have questions concerning ordering, delivery or pick up times, please contact us at the farm.  This week, we will continue to have apple orchard pork, eggs, as well as a limited supply of storage vegetables and greens.

Thinking about joining our CSA for 2017?  Please consider signing up this month.  Not only will you receive some early bird discount (up to $75 plus a free egg share or buying club credit), but these early funds received allow the farm to save hundreds of dollars on supplies that we can buy at a substantial discount before January 1. 

We are making a few changes to our CSA for 2017.  We will continue to be a full choice CSA, meaning all our members will have the opportunity to chose the exact items they receive in their boxes each week.  We are, however, making changes to our summer, main season, CSA and we are adding a Fall CSA.  Our summer CSA will now run for 18 weeks and our Fall CSA will run for 8 weeks.  If you sign up for both the summer and the fall season you will get 26 weeks of organically produced farm fresh vegetables starting June 9.  We will continue to offer add on egg shares for both the summer and fall season.  We will offer an add on chicken share during the summer season only.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

It seems winter has arrived at Dancing Hen Farm.  Snow is on the ground and temperatures are predicted to really plummet over the next few days.   The season changes are good for our souls and the snow is beautiful!  Of course, Farmer Don may disagree, as he just got done digging us out!  And it seems Shady, our older dog, also disagrees.  I just watched her look longingly at the barn as she contemplated leaving the shoveled walk way to make her way to the barn.  Her desire is to get to the barn so she can have her "second breakfast", as we call it.  She knows where some of the chickens secretly hide their eggs and much to the farmers dismay, she looks forward to getting to these eggs before him and feasting on them daily! Rosie, our border collie, on the other hand, loves the snow.  She races and jumps and rolls and harasses the farmer as he tries to shovel or sweep!  She also likes hidden eggs, but playing in the snow is way more fun than hunting for eggs any day.

In the kitchen, we still have not gotten our large batch sauerkraut made!  Hopefully today or tomorrow that project will be complete.  We will slice the cabbage, most likely with our food processor, salt it and pound it to release the juices.  Once sufficient juice has been released from the chopped cabbage we will pack the cabbage into our fermentation crock and wait for the beneficial bacteria to do their work.  We make a very basic cabbage kraut, preferring not to add carrots or caraway seed.  Well, I guess I should say I prefer a cabbage only kraut.  Farmer Don often convinces me to add some carrots, but has yet to sway me over to adding caraway seeds.  I had hoped to have this new batch of kraut ready for our traditional New Year's Day feast, but I am thinking it will not quite be sour enough by then. I will keep you posted.

Time to end this note and move on to the next task at hand (baking some breakfast bars!)

Thanks to each of you for your continued support!

Glad Tidings to All!

Monday, December 5, 2016

2017 Registration now open!!!!

Greetings from Winter Wonderland at Dancing Hen Farm!

Although we  awoke this morning to a layer of wet snow covering everything, our thoughts are to next spring and summer, as we plan for our 10th CSA season.
Registration is now open for the 2017 season!  We have made some changes for this coming season and by signing up now, members have the opportunity to save up to 75 dollars and receive a free egg share or credit towards our buying club.  Our CSA will continue to be a full choice CSA, allowing our members to customize their boxes each week.  Full and Partial shares will be available.

First the changes.  We have decided to go with a two season CSA.  We will offer a Main or Summer season which will begin June 9 and run for 18 weeks.  This Summer Season will be followed by a Fall Season which will run for 8 weeks, starting October 10.  We will continue to offer an egg share for both the Summer and Fall season, with eggs delivered every other week.  We will also, again offer our chicken share.  Chicken shares will be delivered with the Summer season CSA and will consist of 5 deliveries.
Now the savings.  All returning members will receive a $30 discount.  If you purchase both a Summer and Fall Season CSA, prior to the start of our Summer CSA, you will receive $25 off the cost of the Fall Season.  And all members signing up, and paying, for their shares prior to December 31, 2016, will receive a $20 early bird discount.  In addition to the early bird discount, members registering and paying by December 31, will also receive their choice of a free egg summer season egg share or a $40 credit to our buying club. 

Please visit our website for additional details and pricing. 

As always, thank you for your support of our farm and local agriculture.  If you have questions for us or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.