Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm. Welcome to Week 18 of our Summer/Main Season CSA. Week 18 is the final vegetable delivery of the summer season. So, if you did not sign up for a fall share, the box you received yesterday, Tuesday October 17, is your last veggie of the season. Week 18 is not an egg week. If you purchased a chicken share this year, you will have one final chicken delivery next CSA week on Tuesday, October 24.
Fall/Winter members: The first fall delivery will be Tuesday, October 24. That means the window to sign onto the website and pick the items for your box will begin on Thursday, October 19 at 6pm and close on Sunday, October 22 at 6 pm. Fall members will be receiving a number of emails in the next day or two. Thank you for your patience, as much of the information is a repeat of our summer info emails, but, we do have new members for fall.
Big news on farm were last night's low temperatures. We recorded 27 at our weather station up above our barn, near our production fields, and 32 on our back porch. 27 means most of our summer crops were killed or had significant frost/freeze damage. We were able to salvage beans and peppers by harvesting, but summer squash, okra, and basil are done for the season. We will store the beans and peppers in our cooler and make them available to our fall members. Farmer Don just reminded me the frost also killed many of the weeds -- something to really celebrate! Also time to celebrate greens. Many of the greens we grow love the cooler weather and will actually become sweeter with frost.
Monday was a flurry of activity on farm. Mondays are our big harvest and pack day for Tuesday's deliveries, so it is always a long day in the field and in the pack house. However, yesterday was even busier as Farmer Don and Farmer Mike scrambled to put the end walls up on our large unheated greenhouse. We still have some sungold tomatoes in this greenhouse and we are hoping to harvest from them for a few more weeks. The end walls combined with the lower side walls, will give protection to the tomatoes until overnight temperatures fall into the mid to low 20's. In addition to harvesting for pack and building end walls, we also were busy getting crops harvest and covered with row cover to protect them from the frost.
Farmers Markets are quickly coming to an end, which means we will be starting our winter buying club in the next few weeks. Our winter buying club is separate from our CSA buying club. The winter buying club is a "pay as you go" buying club and requires you meet us at a designated location (or on farm) on Saturday morning to pick up and pay for your items. If you are interested in this buying club, you will need to log into our website and "purchase" a free winter buying club share. Once we activate your account and open the buying club, you will be able to order items for pick up. Please watch your email for announcements concerning the opening of the winter buying club.
Speaking of buying clubs (both the CSA and winter buying clubs). In the next few weeks, you can expect to see eggs and chicken returning as items for sale. And by the end of next month our Apple Orchard Pork will also be available. If you are interested in bulk pork to fill your freezer, please contact the farm for details.
Our kitchen is quickly moving from the grill to the oven. Last night for dinner we had, what we consider, a very summer like meal. Chicken, roasted zucchini and roasted potatoes. Generally we cook this entire meal on the grill, but with the shorter day lengths and cooler temperatures, we cooked the entire meal in the oven. Last night's chicken was a real treat for us. We have been sold out of chicken for most of the summer. So not only have we not had chicken for sale, we also have not had chicken for our own use. Soon we will have stew hens available, as well, and I cannot wait to replenish my chicken stock supply.
Boxes. With this being the last week for delivery, we are asking everyone to return boxes to your drop site so we can pick them up next week.
We are already reflecting on this season and planning for next season. We may be finally adding some sheep to our production system and have plans to grow some additional crop varieties. If you have ideas on crops you would like to see us grow, please send us an email. As always This growing season has been filled with successes and challenges. We have been happy with our late season bean harvest, our cucumbers, and swiss chard. Tomatoes and peppers did well, but the cool wet summer delayed ripening and caused disease to establish. I would say the weather and deer, as always, presented our biggest challenges. The summer months arrived cool and wet and then our traditionally cooler fall months arrived hot and dry! However, if Mother Nature had told us this was Her plan, we would have planted our fall crops for summer harvest and our summer crops for fall harvest! As Farmer Don likes to say "Mother Nature always bats last". For next year we are hoping to invest in some fencing and better row covers to deter our area's growing deer population.
Thanks again to all of you for supporting our farm. We hope everyone has enjoyed sharing the harvest with us.
So, the sun is rising quickly, the morning coffee has me fully awake. Time to end this newsletter.
Please watch your email for farm announcements.