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.

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