Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas Buying Club

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Yes, you can still get Dancing Hen Farm items for your Christmas Dinner!  Farmer Don will be doing deliveries this weekend.  Ordering is open and will close tomorrow, Thursday 12/20, at 5 am.  Deliveries will be Friday or Saturday, depending on your pick up site.  We continue to have storage crops available, pastured chicken, apple orchard pork and a limited supply of eggs available.

Speaking of eggs, we are trying our best to get eggs to people on a first come, first serve basis.  Unfortunately, the cooler temperatures and shorter days mean our chickens are laying fewer eggs and our eggs supply is limited.  Some farmers will put a light in their chicken coop to keep their chickens laying eggs by making birds believe the days are longer.  We do not do this, preferring to allow our chickens to stay in sync with Mother Nature.  This means fewer eggs during the winter months, so fewer eggs this time of year for everyone's holiday baking needs.

The farm is in holiday mode!  We are decorated.  The wreath has been hung on the barn (Thanks Jason!) The Christmas tree is up, as are our other decorations and outside lights.  Farmer Don is in cookie mode.  Farmer Don's favorite snack is chocolate chip cookies and a milkshake.  This time of year he gets out the stand mixer and makes cookies.  As I mentioned previously he likes to use the recipe from Cook's Illustrated, but he also has a recipe for Chocolate Chip Kale cookies.  The kale cookies are not nearly as complicated to make as the Cook's Illustrated ones and we get to pretend they are healthy because they have kale and oats in them.  I think Farmer Don would prefer not to have kale or oats in his cookies, but I think I actually prefer the flavor of the kale cookies. 

I don't even want to talk about the weather.  It is winter, so it is cold and cloudy!  Friday is the first day of winter, but the first day of winter is also the Winter Solstice.  The Winter Solstice is also the shortest day of the year, with days getting gradually longer after Friday.  Another interesting fact is that the full cold moon is on the 22nd this December, very close to Friday, the 21st.  A full moon coinciding with the solstice is a rare event, so it is exciting to have a full moon so close to the shortest day.  It may be hard to enjoy the full moon, as the skies are to be cloudy, but we will turn our eyes to the night sky nonetheless.

As I mentioned last week, we are busy making plans for next year.  Please watch your email for some new and exciting changes coming your way. 

And, as always, a huge thank you to each of you for your support of our farm.  Without our farm friends and members, we would not be able to sustainable produce on the rocky hillside we call Dancing Hen Farm.

We at Dancing Hen Farm want to wish everyone a Festive and Happy Holiday Season.  Take some time to enjoy the magic of this season and as always, don't forget to count your blessings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Newsletter and Buying Club Open

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

We will be delivering Buying Club orders this weekend.  Ordering is not open and will close Thursday (12/13) morning.  Availability includes eggs, pastured chicken, apple orchard pork and storage vegetables.

It was so nice to have sunshine for a few days this week.  The sun always helps to bring a smile on a winter day!  I know this part of the country is not known for sunny days, but it seems we have really had your share of clouds this year, so the sun has been very welcome!  Warmer temperatures, but rain over the weekend, so more clouds on the way.  But, in about a week and half we will be celebrating the Winter Solstice and then the days will begin to get longer.  Slowly getting longer, but longer none the less!  Seems strange to be talking about longer days when there are still so many winter filled days ahead of us.

Farmer Don has been busy with the "wood stove shuffle" recently.  He replaced a large (homemade?) wood stove from our main nursery greenhouse with a much more efficient air tight wood stove.  This air tight stove will allow us to keep a fire burning for longer periods of time and also use less wood.  Hopefully we can avoid our transplant freeze out from occurring again this year.  But, I fear the dance of the wood stoves has just begun, for now Farmer Don is convinced the stove in the greenhouse is better than the one in the house! 

We have started to make some tentative plans for our 2019 season and the word of the year will be "change".  We are excited to be implementing a new marketing and business plan for our farm.  And we want to thank everyone in advance for their continued support.  Watch social media and your email for announcements concerning the 2019 season.  "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead.

With less than 12 hours to get your buying club orders in, I need to end this newsletter and get it into the email stream! 

We wish you a peace filled holiday season!  Be safe, be happy and count your blessings.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Buying Club this weekend!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Yes, we will be delivering for buying club this weekend.  Ordering is now open and will close early Thursday morning.  Deliveries will be Friday (12/7) and Saturday (12/8) depending on your pick up location.  Look for a good supply of Dancing Hen Farm Apple Orchard pork, pastured chicken, eggs and storage crops (potatoes, beets, carrots, etc).  We also have a very limited supply of salad greens and baby salad turnips.  More information about our winter buying club can be found on our website ( or by contacting us at the farm. 

The farm has most definitely made the transition into winter.  The snow and very cold temperatures a few weeks brought an end to most of our crops.  Even the plantings in our unheated greenhouse did not respond well to the cold temperatures.  But, as a fellow farmer once told Farmer Don:  "we aren't supposed to grow vegetables in the winter in Pennsylvania".

Speaking of snow -- the heavy wet snow several weeks ago, almost also brought an end to our chickens.  During the storm one of our coops collapsed.  Farmer Don was out at 2 am trying to rescue chickens and salvage the structure.  This was our "summer" chicken house, so it really was never built to withstand snow.  Generally we move all the chickens into a more sturdy coop for winter and the summer coop is partially dismantled prior to the first major snow.  We are lucky to have not lost any chickens.  Farmer Don was happy to report that most of the birds had already moved into the other coop by the time he realized there was a problem went to their rescue.

Farmer Don has been very busy in the kitchen lately.  He has been pouring over past issues of Cooks Illustrated to make everything from the perfect turkey to the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  And to think for years turkeys have been roasted at 325 until done and chocolate chip cookies were made following the recipe on the back of the bag!  But, no, Farmer Don's turkey was brined and rested and even flipped during the roasting time!  And his cookies involved browning the butter, rather than simply creaming it and as with the turkey there were several times when the cookie batter rested.   But, I have to admit, the turkey was delicious, very juicy, tender and flavorful.  And as the recipe promised, the cookies were tasty and have remained soft and chewy.  So the next time I make cookies, will you find me browning butter and resting batter?  No, you will probably find me smoothing the wrinkles out of the bag, so I can read the recipe better!  But, I have no problem eating all the food which flows from the kitchen when Farmer Don wears the chef hat!

Ok, it is getting late, the dogs need a walk and I need to get ready for bed.  I will bid you all good night!
May this holiday season find each of your safe, healthy and happy. 

Thanks again to each of you for your continued support of our small family farm.