Thursday, July 30, 2020

Week 6 CSA Newsletter

Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! 

Welcome to Week 6 of our 2020 CSA.  Week 6 is not an egg week.  Ordering for Week 7 is now open.  Thanks to everyone for treating their CSA boxes gently and returning them to us.  Please also remember to return the green pint and quart boxes for the farm to reuse.  And as always, if you have questions or concerns for us, please do not hesitate to contact us at the farm.

Welcome to August!  Can you believe it is already August!  Soon we will be talking fall.  I already think the days are noticeably shorter!

The weather for this summer has been hot and dry.  We had a couple of downpours Tuesday morning and some nice steady showers last night.  But what we really need is a good soaking rain.  The weather forecasters are saying Sunday may bring us a soaking rain.  We are dry here on Dancing Hen Farm, but we are counting our blessing as farms to our west are drought dry.  On a recent drive, we saw corn stunted and dying in fields and soybean plants wilting in the fields.  Without some rain soon, the harvest will be greatly reduced from these fields.  These farmers will therefore see not only a loss of income, but also a reduction in the amount of feed available to for their livestock this winter.  On a positive note, on some of these same drought stricken farms, we saw some beautiful hay being bailed and stored in barns.  So I am asking you, to keep your fingers crossed, say a collective prayer or do a rain dance, that Sunday brings us a nice soaking rain and some cooler temperatures.

The harvest of our summer crops is pushing into full swing.  Last week we saw our first eggplants hit CSA boxes.  We should have more eggplant in the coming weeks.  Peppers are near ripening and tomatoes and summer squash should continue to be available.  We are hoping to continue to make cooking greens available and with any luck (and some rain) lettuce should also continue to be harvested.  We have broccoli in the ground and after fending off a small groundhog attack it is now struggling to make heads.  We are hoping as the weather cools a bit the broccoli plants will react with some fruit.

In the next few weeks we are anticipating a real burst in our egg availability.  Unfortunately this spring we had a fox in our hen house and lost quite a number of laying hens to Mr or Mrs Fox feeding their babies.  Thanks to some helpful neighbors, we now have our chicken house on lock down!  Electric poultry netting now encases the house as well as an area of pasture and so far (knock on wood) we have not lost anyone to the fox.  In the meantime, Farmer Don got word of some pullets (teenage chickens) which were available from a friend of ours.  He arranged to pick up 150 pullets and they will be starting to lay any day now.  For a few weeks they will lay small eggs, but before we know it they will be laying one large brown egg a day.  So, look for more eggs on our buying club and available for sale at market.  Chickens by nature go inside their coop to roost each night and Farmer Don now shuts them up as an added protection against predators.  In the morning when Farmer Don goes up to open the coop door, he reports the chickens rush out in a big red wave.  If he doesn't quickly get out of the way he will have multiple chickens fly full speed into his head and face!  Not an enjoyable experience!

Farmer Don asked me to thank everyone for coming to market on Saturdays and saying hello.  He really enjoys catching up with our members and meeting new members.  As a reminder Farmer Don and Farmer Phil are at the Back Mountain Farmers Market every Saturday from 9 to 1.  This market is at the Dallas High School.  Come by on Saturday, support your local farmers and say hello to Farmers Don and Phil!

Our kitchen has been fairly quiet lately.  We are cooking lots of veggies, of course.  Farmer Don made Lion's Head meatballs this week.  Farmer Don loves meatballs and these are a favorite of his.  He uses a recipe he found in one of his favorite magazines, Cook's Illustrated.  It is an interesting recipe in that it calls for the pork to be worked with a stand mixer.  This is opposite of what I have always been told about making meatballs.  I was always told to handle the meat lightly or the meatballs will become dry and tough.  But, this recipe really does produce a large, tender and tasty meatball.  This week he served the meatballs with ramen noodles and kale, as we had both of these on hand.  Here is a link to a recipe which seems to be based on the Cook's Illustrated recipe.  I didn't do any preserving this week and I have decided not to can peaches this year.  Instead I am hoping this fall to can extra applesauce.  Farmer Don and I eat more applesauce than canned peaches, so extra applesauce just makes more sense.

It is getting late and I need to start to unwind before bed.  Thanks again for all of your support.  We feel so very lucky to have so many friends and members of our farm.

So, in Farmer Don's words:  "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies".

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