Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Final Fall CSA delivery and Buying Club News

Greetings from a cold and windy Dancing Hen Farm!
CSA Members:  Tuesday's delivery, Week 8, was the final delivery for our Fall CSA.  Week 8 was not an egg week.  Thanks to each of you for your support!

Winter Buying Club:  We will be delivering for the winter buying club this weekend.  Ordering is now open and ends tomorrow, Thursday, morning at 5 am.  This will be the last buying club delivery until after the New Year.

This weekend we will also be doing a market at The Whole Life Center for Health on Route 309 in Drums from 1 to 4 pm.  Farmer Don will be there selling some organic produce, pasture raised chicken, apple orchard pork and CSA Shares for 2018.  If the weather allows he will also be grilling and handing out samples.  We will be discounting our 2018 CSA memberships for this market only.  If you pay in full (on Saturday, at the Whole Life Center) you will receive a $50 discount!  This is on top of our early bird discount and returning member discounts.  We will donate $25 of each discount to the Valley Food Pantry.  Come on by on Saturday, learn about the Whole Life Center, say hello to Farmer Don and pick up some locally produced goods.

It looks like cold weather has arrived!  On farm, we have only received a dusting of snow, but today the temperature is struggling to reach the 20's and the wind is howling.  But, a quick check of the weather shows, temperatures returning to the 40's by the beginning of next week.  It is hard to believe that in just about a week we will be celebrating the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice is marked by the shortest day of the year, but more importantly is also means days will start getting longer!  Yes, longer!  I know there are many, many weeks of winter weather and snow still ahead for this winter, but longer days already brings joy and hope for an early spring.

On farm, we are preparing for the holidays.  Our Christmas tree is up and decorated and the house gets more festive each day.  Our Christmas tends to be very low key, quiet time at home.  This week brought our annual hanging of the barn wreath.  Thanks to Stacy, this year, for her wreath building talent!  Farmer Don has started baking cookies, chocolate chip, of course.  Unfortunately he needs to bake them frequently, as one batch tends to only last a few days in our house! 

We will be announcing the opening of our 2018 CSA in the next week.  For 2018 we will be offering a Summer Season Share of 20 weeks.  Add on egg and chicken shares will also be available.  We will be limiting the number of CSA shares available this year to 75 members.  Egg and chicken shares  and buying club options will also be limited.  Please note:  Memberships are reserved in order by which payment is received.  Watch your email for 2018 CSA registration opening and details.
I want to take a bit of time to talk about our buying club options, as this is a bit confusing.  We offer 2 different buying clubs.  One is our Winter Buying Club.  This is a stand alone buying club and is free to join and no deposit is required.  With this buying club, you will need to purchase a free Buyer's Club membership and you will need to place your order online using our website.  We meet members with orders at a designated spot and designated time on Friday night or Saturday depending on the location.  Orders are paid for at the time of pick up.  Our other buying club is offered to CSA members.  This CSA buying club is offered to allow CSA members to purchase additional items to be delivered with their weekly boxes.  The CSA buying club does require a deposit.  Your orders will be deducted from this deposit.  As always, if you have questions concerning the buying clubs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Farmer Don has, once again, been the resident chef. Over the weekend he made a really delicious pork roast with sauerkraut.  Pork and sauerkraut is one of my favorite meals, so it is always a  winner for me. Even if he did serve it with roasted, rather than mashed potatoes!  We will repeat this meal for a traditional New Year's Day meal.  We once again have chicken to eat. For most of the season we had been sold out of chicken and this included the extra chicken we produced for ourselves!  It is nice to bring chicken back into our rotation of proteins.  There is nothing like a Sunday dinner of roast chicken!

Well, the hours is getting late and my creative juices are succumbing to sleep, so I need to end this newsletter and move on to a cup of herbal tea and bed.

Be well, be safe and have a joyous holiday season.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Fall CSA Week 7 Newsletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  We hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

I apologize for not being on top of newsletters recently. 

CSA members:  This is week 7.  Week 7 is an egg week.  There is ONE week remaining in our 8 week Fall/Winter CSA.

Winter Buying Club Members:  There will be NO buying club delivery this weekend.  Currently our plans are to resume deliveries next week.

Farmer Don and I spent a quiet Thanksgiving on farm.  We had an invitation to travel a bit south of here and join my nephew and his family for dinner.  However farm chores kept us close to home.  We still have a batch of meat birds on pasture which are requiring quite a bit of attention to keep them in food and water.  We did take time during our meal to be thankful that most of the food we were enjoying was produced on our farm or neighboring farms.  We have so much to be thankful for, including easy access to locally produced, nutrient dense food.

Here on farm we are slowly shifting to winter mode.  This week we will shut our irrigation down until next spring.  We had already drained most of the system, but some of the buried lines to the greenhouses and lower fields have remained open.  With cooler temperatures predicted for this weekend, we will need to drain and shut down the entire system to prevent freezing of our pump and above ground outlets.  This will increase our workload as we will now have to haul water from the house to keep plants and animals watered.  Speaking of animals, the shorter days and cooler temperatures have caused our chickens to decrease their egg production.  Our barn cats, on the other hand, have increased their production. Their production of fur that is!  Two of our barn cats have long hair and it always amazes me how much fluffier they become during the winter. Come spring this same fluff will fall off in big clumps.
This past weekend Farmer Don and I spent a few hours planning for next season.  We are finalizing our plans for the 2018 CSA.  It is hard to believe this will be our 11th year of production on this farm.  We are still (and probably always will be) tweaking systems.  And, again this year, we will make some changes to our CSA.  This past season, we tried a slightly new approach to our CSA.  We shortened our main/summer CSA and added an extended Fall CSA.  We feel our fall harvest has been a mixed level of success.  Although storage crops are looking good, many of our greens did not survive a hard early November freeze.  For this reason, we are going back to a slightly longer Summer CSA, with, at this time, no commitment for a Fall season.  Later in the summer or early fall of next year we will make a final decision on extending the CSA.  In addition, we will be limiting the CSA to 75 members and we will be limiting the number of egg shares we sell.  Watch for an upcoming email announcing details for our 2018 season and when registration can begin.

In the kitchen, I am making a bit of an early New Year's resolution.  I am committed to making bone broths on a regular basis.  For years, I saved all of our bones and vegetable scraps to make broth and I always had a supply of homemade broth in the fridge and in the freezer.  Recently, I have gotten out of this habit.  But, when I cooked down our turkey carcass and tasted the delicious nutrient packed broth, I knew I needed to put the stock pot to use more often!

Speaking of the kitchen, the dishes are not washing themselves!  I will end this newsletter and here and move onto getting the kitchen in order.

Thanks, once again for everyone's support and please watch your email for details of our 2018 season.