Wednesday, October 23, 2019

2019 CSA Week 18 News

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

Wow!  Lots has happened since the last newsletter.

First, we delivered our last CSA box of the season last week.  Hopefully all our members enjoyed our 2019 CSA season.  Farmers Don and Phil will be making one last round of our pick up sites to pick up share boxes and any coolers left, so please return your boxes to your pick up site.

We also experienced our first hard frost several days ago.  This frost means our growing season for 2019 has come to an end.  All our tender, summer crops are finished or have been killed by the frost.  We do have some hearty crops still in the ground which we can continue to harvest until we get below freezing temperatures.  Greens, including salad mix, always flourish in the cooler fall temperatures.  Spinach and hakurei turnips have also been beautiful this fall.

This past week we also celebrated our annual running of the Dancing Hen Farm Pigs.  Those of you who have followed us over the years know that we raise our pigs high on a hill above our farm in an abandoned apple orchard.  The pigs spend a great summer relaxing under the apple trees and snacking on fallen apples.  Then, in the fall, we must move the pigs from the orchard into the barn so they can be loaded for market.  Farmer Don and our friend Jason spent the bulk of Sunday getting the runway and barn ready to move the pigs.  Finally when the field (or barn in this case) was set, the run began.  The pigs enthusiastically charged down the hill into the barn and oops! out the other side!  Five pigs decided to keep running up the road.  We joked they were headed for the local bar!  Thankfully our friend and neighbor Toby came by at just that time and helped turn the pigs around and return them to the barn.  Unfortunately this was not the last of the pigs adventures.  Farmer Don was off farm all day Monday and the pigs decided this was the perfect opportunity to explore the farm.  Again we were thankful Toby was available to help round up the pigs several times during the day and better secure their barnyard pen.  By the time Farmer Don returned on Monday evening, the pigs were peacefully sleeping in the barn, exhausted from their adventures.  Again we are counting our blessings for good neighbors and friendly pigs!

The kitchen has also moved into fall and winter mode, as the soup pot, rather than the grill has become the tool of choice for meal preparation.  Although, with the beautiful salad greens and spinach being harvested, we are eating our share of salads.  We are back into our cooler weather routine of roasting chicken each week and using the bones to make broth and a nice pot of soup.  These soups tend to be "kitchen sink" type soups made with whatever is available.  This week Farmer Don was soup chef and he created a chicken vegetable noodle soup packed full of end of summer and fall veggies.  He even added some tomatillos we had harvested.  I cannot complain, as the soup was tasty and we have leftovers for another meal.  Last night we had a delicious tomato sweet potato bisque.  This is an older recipe, I have made before, with the sweet potatoes adding a nice flavor to the tomato base.  Last week we featured spinach in a  salad of spinach, apple and sharp cheddar cheese, dressed with a balsamic maple vinaigrette.  Another simple and tasty recipe which will be made again.

Please watch your email for the start of our winter buying club.  If you have not already done so and are interested in participating in our winter buying club, please go on our website and purchase a free winter buying club membership. 

I again want to take a moment to thank everyone for their support over the years.  It is hard to believe this was our 11th season as Dancing Hen Farm.  As I have said before we could not possibly do what we do without the support of our farm members, customers and friends.  Thank you!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

CSA Week 17 News

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!

We hope everyone is enjoying their Week 17 CSA boxes.  Week 17 was an egg week and a chicken share week.  Ordering is now under way for Week 18.  Week 18 is the last delivery of our 2019 season. 

With the CSA and farmers markets coming to an end, I want to a bit about our buying clubs.  In the next few weeks we will be beginning our Winter Buying Club.  This Winter Buying Club is a pay as you go program and is separate from our CSA buying club.   To participate in the Winter Buying Club, you will need to sign onto our website and purchase a free membership.  Deliveries are on Friday evening to Bloomsburg and Saturday to Luzerne County locations. You can also pick up your order at the farm.  For delivery, we meet you at a predetermined time and location.  You will pick up and pay for your order at that time.  Around November 1, we will have a fresh supply of pork available on the buying club.  Please note, if you are a member of our CSA buying club and have not used all of your deposit, the deposit carries over and you can use it for purchases through the Winter Buying Club.  If you have questions concerning buying clubs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Fall is in the air.  We have had a light frost here on farm, marking the end to our summer crops. As we transition from the summer growing season into fall, life here at Dancing Hen Farm starts to slow a bit.  We continue to have animal chores and we still have greens growing in our fields, but in general we have more time to work on projects and reflect on this past growing season.  We will spend these next few months planning our 2020 growing season. 

Fall in the kitchen means we transition from the grill to the soup pot.  Last night we had a ham and cheddar soup which had a unique, but good flavor profile as I used a frozen jar of pork stock.  I had simply labeled the jar "pork stock" and didn't realize it was left from a pork roast with fennel!  I am not sure I would have voluntarily added fennel to the soup, but once it was in the pot there was no going back.  So ham and cheddar soup with under tones of fennel it was!  It passed the Farmer Don test, as he had two large bowls. Although this soup was tasty, I wish I had saved the stock for a pot of more traditional vegetable soup!
As always, thanks to each of you for your support of our small family farm and local, sustainable agriculture.

Farmer Don's Newsletter

Hi Friends and supporters!
Farmer Don writing the newsletter this week as Joan is a little under the weather. Alot to talk about as we come to the end of the 2019 season.
First a correction to the last newsletter, we have TWO deliveries left for this season, this coming week (17) and the final week (18). The next delivery (17) will be the final egg week. Those members with two egg shares will receive eggs on week 18 as well. The next delivery (17) will also be the final Chicken Share delivery. Each chicken share will receive an extra 1/2 chicken this year to substitute for the free stew hen. The stew hens did not make the market trip this year and they are probably thankful that they didn't. So, the extra, free 1/2 chicken will need to serve as the stew hen. Thank you for your understanding. And finally the most important part of this newsletter is the move up of pick up day from Wednesday to Tuesday for next delivery (17) only, due to family stuff. We apologize for any inconvenience. So, NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY!! NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY. NEXT PICK UP WILL BE TUESDAY.
We will send out another reminder over the weekend so everyone will be aware of this one time change.
A couple of other farm notes.......frost coming Friday night, so I'll pick all I can. Tomatoes are done, a few peppers left and some beans left. Can't say how much of these, so they will probably hit farmer's choice. The direct seeding I did a few weeks ago has responded to the rain and is growing nicely. I have to do smaller amounts as each of these crops are nice but small so bear with the clamshell packaging. I'll increase the amount available. Acorn squash coming this week. Sweet potatoes will run through the end of the season. Pencil thin leeks will be bunched and put out for choice also. They didn't finish well with the lack of water the past few weeks, but we can still get them out to you. The radishes are nice and a favorite of mine.
Well, time to wrap this up and get busy with the other aspects of the farm.
Be well friends and thank you once again for your support.
Farmer Don