Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm. Welcome to Week 6 of our 2017 CSA. Week 6 is not an egg week.
Another week of hot humid weather is behind us. Today is a bit cooler, but, oh so muggy, with rain threatening. The forecast is for cooler, and hopefully drier weather this week. For us, this summer has been the summer of threatening rain showers. We haven't always received the rain, but it seems storms have been brewing around us most every day. It will be a nice relief to have a few drier days.
On farm, we continue with our planting, harvesting maintaining schedule. Recently the seed house has been a busy place. We like to have all seeding done for fall crops by the first or second week of August, so this week and next will be our final push for the seeding. Once we get into August, the days will start getting noticeably shorter and plant growth will slow. Hard to believe we are already starting to talk about shortening day lengths and final seedings of crops! August and September are actually our months with the largest and most diverse harvests. Summer crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants all ripen in August and September and by the end of September we are usually starting to harvest some fall crops, such as winter squash.
In general our fields look good, despite our usual battle with the weeds. Our chard continues to flourish under shade cloth. We are harvesting a beautiful new crop of greens which, like the chard, have been growing under shade cloth. Dandelion greens, escarole and lettuce are looking good. Look for a lapse in Red Russian Kale availability as we await our new planting to size up for harvest. Cucumbers are starting to slow down a bit, but harvest amounts are still good. Summer squash varieties are still being harvested in large numbers. CSA members can expect to see green beans on next week's choice list. Farmer Don has been talking with one of our Amish neighbors concerning organic sweet corn, so we may have sweet corn available for the CSA and our markets.
Currently, chicken and eggs are available in very limited quantities. Chicken is actually sold out! We have increased our production and we anticipate extra chicken to be available in approximately 8 weeks. Our chicken CSA share has been very popular this year, so most of our chicken is pre-sold. Egg shares are also a very popular add on to our CSA, so as with our chicken, most of our eggs are pre-sold. Our laying hens have slowed their egg production a bit, leaving us with a very limited number of extra eggs available for sale.
The baby deer are back on farm. Each year, we have twins or even triplets born in the orchard. We have not seen the babies in the orchard this year, but Farmer Don saw two fawns on the farm road going up to the upper field this past week. They were innocently eating Japanese honeysuckle, but I am sure they are being taught the beans, chard and lettuce are a much better meal! There is nothing more entertaining than watching fawns get their land legs and begin to jump and play with each other. Unfortunately, these innocent little fawns soon become veggie eating machines!
Our kitchen has been fairly quiet recently. The heat has us eating lightly and preparing simple foods. We continue with meat and zucchini on the grill, salads and simple braised greens. I have not yet started preserving for the season. Generally, I preserve a bit later in the season, when tomatoes are ripening and hopefully the days are a bit cooler. However, with our chard doing so well this summer, I may try to freeze some chard later this week for use in soups and stews over the winter. Each year I plan to can tomatoes and tomato sauce and hopefully make some ketchup. I always freeze green beans, sweet corn and sweet peppers. And as fall approaches, we will again make sauerkraut and can applesauce. If I feel really motivated, I like to make and freeze zucchini muffins for winter breakfasts.
For any of our members and farm friends who are on social media, the farm has a facebook page, a pinterest page and a blog! I post farm updates, these newsletters and pictures to our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Dancing-Hen-Farm-111155465564952/) and to our blog (http://dancinghenfarmcsa.blogspot.com/). Please follow along!
As usual, I started this newsletter in the morning and here it is bedtime and I am just now finishing it! How can it take all day to write a simple newsletter? I have yet to figure that out! On positive note, Farmer Don just brought in a surprise for me -- three ripe sungold tomatoes -- It won't be long now before they show up in CSA boxes and on our market table!
Until next week. "be safe, be well and enjoy the veggies"