|Photo by Farmer Don.|
Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!
Welcome to Week 7 or our CSA. Week 7 is an egg week.
It is hard to believe that tomorrow is August first. We are already starting to notice the days getting slightly shorter. Temperatures and evening thundershowers, however, continue to be very summer like. Although this July has been unusually hot, we are happy to have avoided the drenching rains of last July. Hopefully we will also avoid the drenching flooding rains of last August as well. Some of our neighbors (and our local roads) still have not recovered from the flash floods last August.
In the fields the summer temperatures continue to push along our tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and other summer crops. We are still several weeks from our own tomato harvest. However, Farmer Don was able to secure a small number certified organic cherry tomatoes from a neighbor for next week. These will be available as pints of mixed tomatoes on a first serve basis. Our chard is starting to slow a bit, but our kale continues to look good. We are monitoring our tomatillos daily and they should be ready for harvest soon. Basil continues to look good, but some of our other herbs have gone to seed. Our next planting of beans includes yellow, purple, dragon and flat Italian beans. The plants are up and beans should be ready for harvest in the coming weeks. The seed house is slowly filling up with seedlings for our fall crops.
The other evening, Farmer Don came in telling me he had something to show me in our tomato patch. So off we went to explore and there in the middle of the sungolds was a fawn bedded down. Don tells me this baby has been alone for several weeks and recently it has decided the coziest place on farm is in the tomatoes. Deer do so much damage to our crops, but it is hard to not love this beautiful baby!
Ok, so I have to admit, I saw something I found even more inspiring than the fawn on this farm tour. On farm we allow some areas to remain weedy or more wild. One of the plants we like to allow to grow are milkweed. Milkweed are a food source for Monarch butterfly larvae. Several years ago Monarchs seemed to have disappeared and there was worry about the future of the species. Well, there beside the tomatoes was a patch of milkweed with a large number of Monarch (and tiger swallowtail) butterflies flying from plant to plant! So exciting to see this species of butterfly becoming more common in Pennsylvania again! Monarchs really are amazing insects. Each fall they migrate, over 2000 miles, to a small area in south central Mexico, to overwinter. In spring the Monarchs fly back north. So, come September, if you see one of these orange butterflies, wish it luck on its journey to Mexico! And if you have children in your life, I would encourage you to point these beautiful orange butterflies out to them and help them learn about the Monarch's life cycle and migration.
Today is delivery day, Farmers Don and Phil were just here for lunch and to pick up the boxes for afternoon delivery. I need to get off the computer and continue checking items off my "to do" list for the day. So, I will say, in Farmer Don's words, "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies"!