Sunday, January 27, 2019

2019 CSA Registration and More!

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! 

It's here!  No not spring!  2019 Dancing Hen Farm CSA details and Sign Ups!

New for 2019.  We are implementing an Online Market Share.  This share is a pay as you go, order when you want share.  This share is only available for on farm pickups and deliveries to a central pick up site.  The will be no home deliveries for the Online Market.  Online Market Shares will require a non-refundable deposit of 100 dollars to get started.  The deposit will act as a bank account and your purchases will be deducted from this balance.  All purchases will be at farm market prices, including eggs and chicken.  You will need to deposit additional money into your account when your balance gets low.  Add on chicken and egg shares are not available to Online Market Share holders.  Your items will be delivered with our CSA share boxes.

Details for our 2019 CSA.  We will continue to be a full choice CSA, meaning each week you will be able to pick the items you receive in your box each week.  You will have your choice of a full (10 items each week) or part (6 items each week) share and you can add an egg (9 dozen eggs) or chicken share (5 deliveries) to your CSA share.  Our early bird sign up is back and will run through February.  We will also, again, be offering a returning member discount.

New for our 2019 CSA:  Our drop sites have been consolidated, resulting in fewer drop sites.  We have shortened the CSA by eliminating a few weeks of deliveries at the end of the season, resulting in an 18 week season.  In 2019, deliveries will be on Wednesdays.  In addition we are downsizing the size of our CSA by cutting the number of shares available by half.  Shares will be reserved by order in which payment is received.  At this time we only accept cash (in person) or checks for payment, although we have begun exploring a system to take plastic. 

After many family and farm meeting and more heartfelt talks then we can even count, we feel it is necessary to implement these changes due to family needs, health and transportation costs.  Thank you for your support and understanding as we move Dancing Hen Farm into 2019, our 12th year of growing for you, our community! 

As we have indicated in past newsletters, 2018 was a very difficult year for us.  Like most farmers in Pennsylvania, we battled Mother Nature with all we had and She fought back hard!  Our washed out road serves as a constant reminder to us, how torrential and downright scary the rains were this year!  Farmer Don asked me to be sure to say a special "Thank you" in this newsletter to all of our farm workers and volunteers during the 2018 season.  Perseverance was the name of the game for our workers last season.  I think almost every week's harvest was completed in the rain last season!  Farmer Don also asked me to again thank you, our farm members and friends for your continued support of our farm.  Your kind emails, notes and words of encouragement at market go a long way to keep Farmer Don farming!

On a more personal level, my goal is to stay out of the hospital in 2019.  2018 found me spending many, many, way too many, nights in the hospital and many more nights and days recovering at home.  I am still recovering, but getting stronger all the time and doing my best to stay as healthy as I can.  I want to also thank everyone for their kind words, notes and prayers.  It brings me comfort to know I have the Dancing Hen Farm community behind me.  So here is to health and strength in 2019!

So, on that emotional note,  let's get back to the 2019 CSA!  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Buying Club Newletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!  Happy New Year!

Buying club ordering is now open for this weekend's delivery.  Ordering will end at 5 am Thursday morning and deliveries will be Friday or Saturday, depending on your pick up site.  We currently have half chickens available (we are sold out of full chickens until next summer).  We also have a good supply of apple orchard pork and storage vegetables available and a limited supply of eggs. 

Welcome to 2019,our 12th year of growing here at Dancing Hen Farm!  Recently I was looking at some old newsletters from our very first season.  I am sure some of you remember these newsletters.  Farmer Don used to write all the newsletters and I would type, format and print them.  Each box received a hard copy of our newsletter.  We have come a long way from those first packed boxes.  We still stress and struggle a bit over what items will be available for shares.  Now, as a choice CSA, that stress is more drawn out, as we try to estimate our harvest of crops almost a week in advance and watch and beg these crops to be ready for harvest in the numbers we need to, fill our members' choices!  One very obvious common denominator in the past 11 growing seasons has been the weather.  I sometimes tell people our best weather for growing was our first year.  But, then I remember the hail storm.  How could I ever forget?!  The day before our very first CSA harvest, we witnessed hail do damage to our crops like I had never seen before.  Beautiful, ready to harvest salad mix and heads of lettuce were pulverized, kale was stripped from its stems, peas and tomatoes were snapped off and row covers were ripped to shreds.  We scrambled that first week to work with other growers to find product to put in our member's boxes.  And I might add we packed those first boxes by candle light, as the storm had also left us without power!  (on a side note -- we will forever be indebted to Farmer Don's sister Gail for her help packing those boxes!)  So, after the hail of season one, we saved what plants we could and re-planted others and then the better weather started! 

These long winter months are often a time for us to reflect.  Reflect on these past seasons, reflect on life before farming, and reflect where we want to go from here.  We often find ourselves wandering why we do this, why farm?  I usually turn to Wendell Berry to answer this.  For those of you not familiar, Wendell Berry is an American author, novelist and poet, he is also an environmentalist and an observer of social behaviors.  I turn to his quotes often for inspiration and reflection.  In the words of Wendell Berry:

 “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide.”  

So, here at Dancing Hen Farm we are moving forward with plans for our 2019 season.  Please watch your email, as we will be rolling out the details for the coming season soon.  We will be downsizing, but Farmer Don is committed to continuing to offer choice CSA shares to members.  Memberships will be available for purchase soon, as well as some other new options for purchasing Dancing Hen Farm products.  

With philosophies of life and pending season opening, I will end here.  Thanks for reading and as always, thank you for your support of our farm and local sustainable agriculture.