Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm!
Welcome to Week 3 of our CSA! Week 3 is an egg week!
Some CSA notes to start the newsletter: We have just purchased new boxes for our shares. Boxes are a fairly large expenditure for us each season, so please treat them with care. The new boxes are stiff and sometimes hard to work with. So, rather than immediately pulling up on the top to open your box, please PUSH DOWN first to allow the tabs to release rather than tear. The farm and our boxes thank you for your help with this!
It seems as though summer has arrived! Lots of heat and humidity over the last week. Yesterday brought some nice rain to the farm. We had been missing many of the storms which popped up near us the last few days and we really needed some soaking rain. And with Farmers Don and Phil out on deliveries, it was the perfect day for rain!
Fields are looking good and filling up with plants. String beans should continue to be available with numbers increasing. Summer means zucchini and our zucchini is looking good, so get your recipes ready. Unfortunately, lettuce does not like the heat and these hot summer days, so look for a lull in lettuce. Harvests of beets and potatoes should continue. Our kale is looking really good right now.
Speaking of kale, I always get a bit of a smile on my face when I think about kale. When we first started to sell at farmer's markets, we spent a good deal of time educating our customers on kale. Many people thought kale was simply a garnish, but the news media was telling everyone what a super food it was. We learned quickly our customers were curious and needed to know that kale could be eaten, it was delicious, and that it was good for you. We learned people were willing to try kale and we just needed to have some easy ways for them to prepare it. I spent lots of time telling people about sauteing kale and making a farm favorite of roasted potatoes, kale and sausage. What is funny is that suddenly, overnight suddenly, everyone at market wanted kale and we could not grow enough. Customers not only were demanding kale, they were passing recipes on to us and even knew the difference between red Russian and curly kale! About this time I was excited to learn about massaged kale salad. I would stand at our market table and enthusiastically tell people how to make it, how good it was and how massaging made the kale almost appear cooked. Then I would learn most of our kale followers were already making these salads. Now it seems kale's popularity has diminished and again quite suddenly, again almost overnight! So my real question from all of this is "what is the next super food?".
We do try to eat in season here on farm. Meaning we try to either eat what is being harvested or what I have been able to preserve from the previous year's harvest. This means sometimes our winter menus are a bit limited, but summer time means lots of variety! With lettuce in a bit of a heat lull, we will be relying on massaged kale salads now and soon tomato and cucumber salads. The grill has been fired up and we are already eating grilled zucchini - a farm favorite. With early beets being harvested, I have my summer jar of red beet pickled eggs in the fridge. To me a pickled egg and some beets is a perfect afternoon snack! I am hoping to pickle and can some beets this summer so I can make pickled eggs in the winter without relying on grocery store canned beets. With string beans being harvested, I am hoping this weekend to make a batch of my Mother's bean salad. Another nice dish to have marinating in the fridge for a quick snack or lunch.
This Saturday is the opening of the Back Mountain Farmers Market. This market is held at the Dallas High School. Market opens at 9am. Many local farmers have lost outlets to sell their product due to the pandemic, so please come out and support the local economy by purchasing from local producers. Farmers Don and Phil will be at market with lots of Apple Orchard Pork, Pasture raised chicken and veggies.
I want to take a little extra time to thank everyone for their support this season. We are trying to get product to you, but, by far, this season has been one of our most challenging seasons yet. Health issues are always hard to deal with, but trying to farm while healing poses an extra challenge. Farmer Don is doing well and is slowly recuperating. His throat is healing and he is now able to drink and eat small amounts of soft foods. He is still fatigued and sometimes it breaks my heart to see how exhausted he is when he comes in for lunch or at the end of the day. Farmer Don is strong and he is very committed to Dancing Hen Farm. This commitment and his continual push forward keeps us all motivated and moving forward. We are already planning for next year, a healthy year!
Ok, time to actually send this newsletter!
And as Farmer Don always says: "Be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies!"