Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 6/24/2014 11:46am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Asparagus; Chard; Kale; Lettuce; Garlic Scapes; Summer Squash; Tomatoes for full shares; Snap or Snow Peas; Basil/Rosemary/Parsley/Dill

FARM NOTES: It feels like summer! Hardly a chance to sit down lately.  We’ve had nice long sunny days lately, which is always great for growth.

Some of the highlights on the farm this week:

  • Strawberry Festival & Farm Tour
  •  Planted tomatoes and melons with the no-till method (into rolled down cover crop mulch)
  • Harvested peas for the first time this season
  • Lots of Cucumber and Squash harvest
  • Winter squash is in the ground
  • Lots and lots of trellising of tomatoes
  • Weeding galore

Have a great week, Hannah 

NOTES ABOUT BOX CONTENTS: This is the last week for asparagus & garlic scapes. Everyone is receiving either snap or snow peas. Snap peas are from our farm. Snow peas are from our neighbor’s farm and are certified Organic.  We only have enough tomatoes for full shares but, soon enough, everyone will be loaded down!

RECIPE:
Piselli con Asparagi e Basilico ( Asparagus, Peas, and Basil)
www.epicurious.com

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or onions (about 2)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 pound fresh peas (2 1/2 cups shelled or 1 3/4 pound in pods)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt ans ¼ tsp pepper
Handful of torn basil leaves (about 3/4 cup)

Cook shallots in butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in asparagus, peas, sea salt, and pepper, then seal skillet with foil. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente, about 8 minutes. Stir in basil and sea salt to taste.

 A glimpse into the Strawberry Festival… We had a great time with CSA members, their families and friends this weekend at the Strawberry Festival. We had an awesome potluck, there were plenty of strawberries for people to pick and we all enjoyed ice cream and strawberries for dessert. Oh, and the kids all really enjoyed the face painting! 

UPCOMING EVENTS:Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Posted 6/17/2014 7:49am by Jackie .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Strawberries, Asparagus, Lettuce Heads, Kale, Chard, Garlic Scapes, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, and Basil/Parsley/Cilantro. 

Field Notes

It interesting that just as the summer is heating up, we are starting the winter crops in the
greenhouse. Cabbage, broccoli and winter squash stir up images of hot soups on a cold day, but as the temperatures approach the 90s this week, I am more interested in a possible dip in the creek. We did have a few wet days there, which were a little bit of a blessing so that we could get caught up on greenhouse tasks. Weeding, suckering heirloom tomatoes and trellising cucumbers is much more tolerable on overcast days. This week is looking good for catching up on outdoor transplanting, weeding (always more weeding to do!), and making hay to feed the animals over the winter. Not to mention, a dip in the creek.

Animal News

The new laying hens have a brand new laying house that includes a communal nest and individual nests with outside access for us to collect eggs. The girls have been checking it out and are starting to get the hang of it, but they sometimes still lay anywhere...in the grass, in the feed trough, under the roosting house, under the nesting boxes, under the water...it’s like an easter egg hunt every day! We have a small flock of araucana hens (they will lay blue eggs) in the barnyard, and we started hearing the distinctive first cries of a rooster coming from their area. Well, they were supposed to be all hens...Finally, in chicken news, we just received another batch of broilers that are settling in nicely in the brooder house with seven heritage breed turkey chicks. 

The bees are doing their job, I’ve spotted them pollinating flowers all over the farm. We are up to five hives with the addition of a swarm Roy and I caught at another farmer’s house. They were only about six feet off the ground and we were able to just cut the limb, shake them into the box, and then come back to pick them up after dark. Luckily, they stayed in the box and have been building comb and collecting nectar and pollen over the past few days. I was able to collect 36 pounds of beautiful, light colored honey off what I have dubbed “the super hive,” which is the original hive that was on the farm when I arrived. The honey looks to be a mix of locust blossom (rare spring honey) and clover. I will be selling it at CSA while supplies last. There should be more coming soon, as it looks like the split I made off of “the super hive” should have honey ready to harvest in the next couple of weeks. The two hives we purchased in April are just now really
starting to bulk up their numbers, and should be bringing in loads of nectar soon. I do not expect any honey from the swarm we just caught; my goal is to keep them alive over the winter and have another super hive next year. Of note, “the super hive” bees make fantastic honey, but they are serious about protecting their hive, which is a good thing. One figured out how to squeeze through the rivet hole in my hat and sting my forehead. I woke up with an eye swollen shut, and as I write this, it is just starting to go back down. Duct tape over all rivet holes in hat? Check!

An Ode to Garlic Scapes

I know we talked about scapes last week, but the harvest window is so short that I have to share my love for them. Okay, it’s been a long time since high school lit class and I don’t remember exactly what an ode is, but I do remember it’s how those old poets used to show their love of something, like a vase or a horse. My love affair with the garlic scape began in 2010 when I joined a CSA. One of the reasons I joined a CSA was to access produce that stores don’t carry, usually because the food industry hasn’t figured out how to preserve and/or standardize it for long-distance travel. The scape was the first such item that I encountered. While we wait for those garlic bulbs, we have a small window of opportunity to enjoy the scape, which has a mellow garlic flavor. I was ecstatic to see those curly green stems appearing in the fields. Before I get to a couple of awesome scape recipes, I do remember how to write a haiku:

Scent of summer grass
Twisty, twirlly, whirlly shoots-
Pesto on my pasta

~Jackie

Garlic Scape Hummus (adapted from lazyhomesteader.com)

In a food processor or blender, blend:
8-12 garlic scapes, roughly chopped juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed salt to taste
When everything is well combined, add 1/3-1/2 cup olive oil in a thin stream while the food processor is running.
Serve with chopped veggies, pita or bread.

Pasta with Feta and Garlic Scape Pesto (adapted from lazyhomesteader.com)

~Pesto (makes about 1/2 cup)
5 garlic scapes, chopped About 1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan Sea salt
1/4 cup slivered almonds 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Blend scapes, half of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Add the remainder of the oil in a thin stream and, if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add oil. Season with salt and lemon juice. If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. You can also freeze remaining pesto in ice cube trays and store it in a freezer bag for future use.

~Pasta
1 lb of pasta garlic scape pesto
1/3-1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese salt
Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before
draining. In a bowl, whisk together the hot pasta water with the feta and pesto until smooth. Toss over
drained pasta and serve.

UPCOMING EVENTS: Strawberry Festival this Saturday! (6/21, 3pm-6pm)Join us for a potluck. We’ll provide the dessert, farm tour, wagon rides, children’s activities and strawberries for picking. As the harvest allows, each CSA member may pick up to 2 quarts of strawberries for free and extras should be available for purchase by anyone. Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

 

 

 

 

Posted 6/10/2014 11:29am by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK:

Asparagus, Rhubarb, Scallions, Strawberries, Kale, Lettuce Mix, Spinach, Garlic Scapes, Summer Squash or Cucumbers, and Basil/Chives/Parsley/Rosemary


FARM NOTES:

Things are really starting to roll around here at this point. Every day is full of field prep, planting, weeding, harvesting, covering, uncovering, mitigating, irrigating…you name it! The intermittent heavy rain has been challenging as our clay soil isn’t the best for drying off quickly. Planning tractor work and harvesting on many of the last few days, including knowing whether that hour might be the last dry one we have for a while, certainly has kept us on our toes! It has, though, made for some beautiful rainbows!

What a fantastic turnout for the events this past weekend! We had the best attended breakfast to date with over 30 people here AND the best attended live music event with over 80 people. It was a wonderful day full of familiar and new faces! We’ll continue with the farm breakfasts monthly and our next music events will be the fall.

Don’t forget to come to the strawberry festival on June 21 and pick your additional share of the strawberry harvest! New and sweeter varieties continue to come in every day.

Enjoy!  Hannah 


NOTES ABOUT BOX CONTENTS:

As the season is just getting started, we do not have enough of some items for everyone. Full shares have summer squash and medium shares a solo cucumber. In the coming weeks, everyone’s boxes will have plenty of both of these.

Early varieties of strawberries are not as sweet as some that are just coming in.

PLEASE WASH YOUR SPINACH AND SALAD MIX. For maximum shelf life of greens, we do not pre-wash them and they are typically very clean. With all the rain we’ve had, though, they are going to require washing.


REMINDERS:

If you are interested in grass-fed beef or lamb or free-range pork, you can place an order with our partner farm, Blue Rooster (family members), at www.BlueRoosterFarm.com and we'll deliver it with your CSA share.


WHAT IS THAT???

This week’s “what is that?” item is garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants. They add punch to pasta, pesto, and dips, but you can also sauté them for a simple spring side dish. Here are a few ideas from www.seriouseats.com

Pesto – use as the main green ingredient or in combination with other herbs

Grilled – once grilled, scapes lose their pungent flavor and resemble something like asparagus

Hummus – replace garlic with scapes in hummus

Butter – compound scapes with herbs in butter

Stir-fry: Use as you would green beans with a punch


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Strawberry Festival (6/21, 3pm-6pm): Join us for a potluck. We’ll provide the dessert, farm tour, wagon rides, children’s activities and strawberries for picking. As the harvest allows, each CSA member may pick up to 2 quarts of strawberries for free and extras should be available for purchase by anyone.

Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.


 

 

 

Posted 6/3/2014 12:59pm by Hannah.

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Asparagus, Rhubarb, Scallions, Lettuce Heads, Chard, Carrots, Herbs and Basil/ Parsley Plant Starts


FARM NOTES: Welcome to the Summer CSA! 

We are happy to be at the start of a new growing season, knowing that we have the support of a group of committed CSA members, old and new, that value good food, grown locally, in a conscientious way.

The past few days have been full of productivity, every tilled field has been filled with plants that will produce the food on your dinner table in the next months.  Our cover crops are at full height, meaning that as we work them into the soil in the coming weeks, we will realize their full potential for soil building and fertility for the plant that will soon follow in their place. 

This spring has been cooler than last season which has been great in some ways - the slower growth rates on many crops meant that we haven't felt overwhelmed right of the bat, but we are finding that many of our crops are about 1-2 weeks later than in the previous few years.  The first few boxes may feel a little lighter and will be filled with greens, herbs, and spring favorites of asparagus, rhubarb, and spring onions, but very shortly strawberries, cucumbers and summer squash will all be joining them!

Don’t forget to come to the strawberry festival on June 21 and pick your additional share of the strawberry harvest!      

Deb


REMINDERS: We like to pack your share in durable wooden crates with breathable plastic liners for optimal delivery and shelf life. In order to do this in a cost-effective manner, we ask that you just take the liner with you and return it the next week (or even come with a reusable bag). If you do find yourself needing to take home crates and liners (and we know there are occasions for doing so), please bring them back the next week so that we can continue to keep our costs down.  We reuse most types of containers - the berry, tomato and egg containers we give you, as well as clean plastic grocery bags.

If you are interested in grass-fed beef or lamb or free-range pork, you can place an order with our partner farm, Blue Rooster (family members), at www.BlueRoosterFarm.com and we'll deliver it with your CSA share.  


UPCOMING EVENTS:

Farm Breakfast (6/7, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music at the FoodShed (6/7, 6pm-?): Erica Shellenberger & 61/49 playing Delta Blues-inspired, soul-based music, as well as rockin’ modern. Kitchen opens at 6pm with music at 7pm. Pulled pork, veggie dish and maybe even strawberries. BYOB. Family-friendly. Stop by and get yourself ramped up for summer!

Strawberry Festival (6/21, 3pm-6pm): Join us for a potluck. We’ll provide the dessert, farm tour, wagon rides, children’s activities and strawberries for picking. As the harvest allows, each CSA member may pick up to 2 quarts of strawberries for free and extras should be available for purchase by anyone attending.


RECIPE: Roasted Carrots with Parsley Butter

1 ½ lbs carrots
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil  
1 garlic clove
¼ tsp kosher salt  
¼ cp chopped parsley

Roast Carrots: Heat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut carrots into 2 to 3-inch sticks. (Depending on how wide the thicker ends are, you may need to slice each stick in half, lengthwise). Toss carrots onto the baking sheet with the olive oil and salt. Make sure the carrots are coated then spread out into one layer. Roast carrots, stirring twice, until they are tender with edges that are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Make Garlic Parsley Butter: While the carrots roast, melt butter in a small pan over low heat. Use the back of a large knife to gently crush the garlic clove. Remove the skin then add clove to the butter along with the parsley. Wait until the butter bubbles gently then cook for 1 minute. Slide pan away from the heat and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic for a more subtle flavor.

Coat Carrots: Slide the roasted carrots into a bowl with the garlic parsley butter. Toss then season to taste with additional salt.

 

 

Posted 5/27/2014 12:49pm by Hannah.

Farm Notes:

Thank you to everyone for supporting us this season and for trusting us to produce good food for your family. Today is the last distribution of our winter/spring season. Next Tuesday is the first distribution of our summer/fall season. If we won’t see you next week, we hope to see you next winter!

If you have any boxes, bags or cartons to return, please do so as soon as possible as we’ll definitely need them for next week.

Please complete our end-of-year survey at http://goo.gl/HKB04g

Please note: last year, we considered switching to only one size share (medium) and we received tons of feedback, asking us please not to do that. Yet, most people signed up for medium shares this summer (even a few of you who asked us not to! J). So, please remember that we do take your feedback seriously.

This past weekend we threw Chandler a surprise 16th birthday party and it went off without a hitch. Her birthday is June 1st, so tell her Happy Birthday if you see her!

Here's to an abundant season!

Hannah

 


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Purple Kohlrabi, Scallions, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Potatoes (from neighbor farm- not certified organic), Lettuce, Kale, Cilantro/Parsley, Basil Starts


UPCOMING EVENTS:

June 3rd: First Summer Distribution. Are you signed up? We will be closing registration soon as we are quite full for the Summer & Fall.

June 7th: Farm Breakfast (8am-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Saturday of every month, April-November). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

June 7th: Live Music at the FoodShed (6pm-?): Erica Shellenberger & 61/49 playing Delta Blues-inspired, soul-based music, as well as rockin’ modern. Kitchen opens at 6pm with music at 7pm. Pulled pork, veggie dish and maybe even strawberries. BYOB. Family-friendly. Stop by and get yourself ramped up for summer!

June 21st (3pm-6pm) Strawberry Festival: Join us for a potluck. We’ll provide the dessert, farm tour, wagon rides, children’s activities and strawberries for picking. As the harvest allows, each member may pick up to 2 quarts of strawberries for free and extras should be available for purchase.


RECIPE: Spring Rhubarb Potage with Potato

Did you know rhubarb is technically a vegetable and is often served in savory dishes in Eastern Europe?

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1.5 cups spring onions chopped

4 cups diced potatoes

2 stalks celery chopped

4 stalks rhubarb chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic (3-4 cloves)

3-4 cups of hot vegetable stock

1 tbsp of crushed fresh or dried Thyme

2 cups of milk        

Melt butter and olive oil in stainless steel large skillet on medium heat. 

Simmer broth in a separate large stainless steel soup pot.

In skillet, add onion and cover for 5 minutes; stir in potatoes and celery and cover for 10 mins; add in garlic and stir.

Turn heat to low and add in rhubarb and thyme. Stir everything together. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Puree 1/2 of veggies in skillet in a blender then add to broth pot. Add remaining veggies to broth pot.

Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in milk until well mixed. Serve hot.

 

 

Posted 5/13/2014 10:05am by Debra Brubaker .

Farm Notes: For many people, temperature changes are what signal the changing of seasons, and I bet we all remember our relief when we concluded winter was over. Until last week, however, the winter season on the farm still overlapped with those 70 degree days. But finally, despite the risk of frost, we have left that fierce winter behind. Here’s how I’ve noticed: 1. I need at least 2 hands to count the crops transplanted outside. Rows of eggplant and tomatoes sit next to an increasingly-tall rye grass cover. Cucumbers and summer squash join the crowd, all covered in row fabric to preserve a bit of extra warmth at night. Also under row fabric, you can find just-germinated spinach and arugula, unaware of the flea beetle threat posing on the other side of that fabric. 2. Boxes of asparagus overwhelm the refrigerated cooler. I went in yesterday and had to pick out a contorted path to get something out of the back. 60+ pounds a day fills it fast. We’re out in the asparagus field everyday, taking advantage of the last year of twenty-year-old asparagus plants. Have no fear for next year: new asparagus crowns have already been planted. 3. Our bushy rhubarb plants yield generously, adding to that full cooler. (Abundance is such a great thing!) Our summer help, Maddie, Emma and Aida, did all the rhubarb harvesting last week, as well as planting new rhubarb crowns. A farm must always look ahead, in front, and behind simultaneously. 4. Most crops in the high tunnels are summer season; only lettuce remains from the early spring, and that’s coming out today. Goodbye, cool weather crops, and hello fruiting hot weather plants! Remember what fresh salsa tastes like? At least you will receive cilantro in your shares today to get a head start on Mexican cuisine! 5. Root vegetables in storage have been cleared out, so tell your family or housemates to expect a simmered soup the next rainy day. Or perhaps a curry, using that cilantro? 6. I put on sunscreen every day. We’ve all got farmer’s tans, anyway, though. -Allison  

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Asparagus, Rhubarb, Lettuce Heads, Lettuce Mix, Hakurei Turnips, Red Beets, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, Herbs (Chives, Thyme, Parsley, and Cilantro) and Parsley starts.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Last Winter Distribution: May 27th (State College, On Farm, Lewistown), May 28th (Harrisburg)

First Summer Distribution: June 3rd ((State College, On Farm, Lewistown) and June 6th (Harrisburg/Selinsgrove).  Are you signed up? Email us to confirm if you aren't sure. 

Farm Breakfast: June 7th . 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Saturday of every month). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music at the FoodShed: Saturday June 7th- Erica Shellenberger.

Interested in Grass-fed Beef, Lamb, and free-range Pork? We partner with Blue Rooster Farm to make these meats available to our customers.  Visit their website www.blueroosterfarm.com to join their mailing list and/or to order products.

 

Recipe: Grilled Flatbread with Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta

(Adapted from marthastewart.com) Jackie and I tried this last night, and it was delicious.

Make your favorite pizza dough or the following.
Mix with electric beater or by hand:
1 c warm water
2 ¼ t (1 pkg) yeast
½ t salt
2 t oil
1 ¼ c white flour
Add: 1 � c whole wheat flour
Knead briefly, cover with a damp towel, let rise 15 minutes.
Toss a handful of asparagus with herbed or plain olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cut dough into 2 or 4 pieces, roll â��-¼ inch thick. Brush one side with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper.
Grill asparagus on medium flame until tender. Remove from heat.
Grill dough, oil side down, until grill marks show. Brush top with olive oil; sprinkle salt and pepper. Flip.
Sprinkle toppings: grilled asparagus
garlic, minced
lemon zest
ricotta cheese (not skim)
Cook a few more minutes, rotating as necessary to avoid burning the crust.

Posted 4/29/2014 11:06am by Hannah.

Farm Notes:

This week, Jackie provides you with insight into goings on at Village Acres over the last few weeks. Look to hear from her regularly. "Bee" sure to check out her animal update at the end of today's post. It's a must read!

We have finally been able to get into the fields!  Strawberry plants are out from under winter blankets of straw, berries are trimmed and trellised, purple asparagus heads are pushing to the sky, garlic shoots are just shy of a foot, bushy crowns of rhubarb are concealing ruby red stalks, potato seed was cut and pushed into damp soil, and over 6,000 onions are in the ground.  However, we did have a bit of a cold snap for a few nights that required some quick maneuvering and creative stacking of sensitive tomato, basil, eggplant and pepper plants on the greenhouse heat tables.  The tables were well over capacity given the fact that we had just seeded many flats of fennel, lettuces, summer squash and zucchini. 

All of the over-wintered spinach and kale has been pulled from the field tunnels to make room for heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and peppers.  I’m very excited about the tomatoes we grafted, in hopes of increased vigor and disease resistance, and planted this past week…I can’t wait to slice into the first one! 

Allison and I had a marathon seeding morning this past Wednesday, seeding 40 flats of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, cantaloupe, and watermelon.  Is it too early to be thinking about cucumber-lime or cantaloupe popsicles?

-Jackie


 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Red Beets; Radishes; Hakurei turnips; Bok Choy; Tatsoi; Carrots; Lettuce Heads; Lettuce Mix; Potatoes (not certified Organic); Chives/Thyme

Extras for Sale: Mushrooms (button and mediums); honey; olive oil; pecans; duck eggs; frozen chicken breasts; lip balm

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast: May 3. 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Saturday of every month). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Still a few spaces in our Summer/Fall 2014 Season! Sign up via our website at www.villageacresfarm.com/csa

Interested in Grass-fed Beef, Lamb, and free-range Pork? We partner with Blue Rooster Farm to make these meats available to our customers.  Visit their website www.blueroosterfarm.com to join their mailing list and/or to order products which will be delivered to your CSA pickup location. 


 

Bok Choi and Tat Soi These delicious Asian greens are making their first appearance this year, and for some of you, they may be totally new.  Last year was the first time I tried tat soi.  Both make excellent side dishes when sautéed in olive oil with garlic, red pepper flakes and salt.  They are both also outstanding additions to a stir fry.  I would recommend taking the small leaves from the center of the tat soi (the flat emerald green head) and mixing them with your lettuce mix for a little kick.   


 

Recipe Jackie loves browned butter pasta, so this recipe from backyardfarmingblogspot.com is right up her alley.

Browned Butter Pasta with Tatsoi

- Your pasta of choice, preferably curved or with ridges 1/2 stick unsalted butter  
- Leaves of 2-3 small or 1 large bunch tat soi, rinsed
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped sage
- Freshly grated parmesan
- Lemon wedges, optional

Cook pasta to al dente in salted water.  When pasta almost done, melt butter in a skillet. Swirl the butter in the pan as it foams. (At this point, remove pasta from the heat and drain well in a colander.) When butter begins to brown, toss in pasta and mix to coat with butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tat soi and sage and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Plate and serve immediately with grated parmesan and lemon wedges on the side.


Jackie’s Animal News…

Poultry: This past week was a tough one for me and chicks.  We lost several of them between moving the new laying pullets to the fields and an adult chicken getting into the brooder house and scaring the broilers into piling up on each other.  We did get our second batch of broilers, which are doing well and we should have all of them ready for you on schedule.  The mature laying hens have moved out onto the fields and are happily pecking and scratching up on the hill.   

Goats: One thing we try hard to do here at Village Acres is to keep animals out on pasture as much as we possibly can. This year, with the combination of bitterly cold temperatures and goats unexpectedly kidding, we made the decision to move the goats into the barn. Well, they ended up having to be confined to the barn and barnyard MUCH longer than we’d have liked and they ended up with a parasite not uncommon with confinement…lice. Yes, goat-specific lice! The cure?  Wash them with Dawn dish detergent and spread a lard/sulfur mix on them (recommended by our friends at Yeehaw Farm in Duncannon).  It wasn’t exactly how I had expected to spend a Tuesday afternoon, and I think we all hit the ground diving after goats at some point, but it was actually pretty fun.  I learned that goats do not like cold water and their horns can tear a hole right through your t-shirt. 

This past weekend, Debra and Hannah spent 4 hours washing them again with a scrub brush and a soapy bucket/hose approach (effectively removing all that caked-on, matted lard/field clay soil they’d added over 3 days). Let’s just say the goats were none too happy!  

Bee Report: We had a very strong hive survive the winter on the farm.  Debra and I performed what is called a “walk-away split,” where you don’t necessarily need to find the queen bee, just fresh eggs.   We put a frame with fresh eggs in a new hive with a bunch of bees, making sure the original hive also has a frame of fresh eggs, and came back in a week to see which hive is building “queen cells” (unqueened) and which hive had fresh eggs (queened). Both hives are doing well, and the secondary hive should have a queen in another week or two. There are many reasons to split a colony, but the main reasons are to 1) reduce the risk that a full hive will swarm in the spring, and 2) multiply on the genetics of a strong colony.  Anything that survived this past PA winter must be extremely robust, and needed to be propagated.

We also purchased two new colonies from Fisher Bee Farm, which are both doing swimmingly even though I thought I had dropped the queen on the ground at the bee farm when I was transferring them to my homemade boxes.  I couldn't find her at the bee farm or the next weekend, but, no worries, I found her happily laying brood this weekend. 

On this past gorgeous Sunday afternoon, I set out to see what sort of foraging the bees were up to on the farm.  I found several pollen drunk bees on dandelions.  Bodies covered in yellow powder from head to toe, packing it onto their legs creating bright yellow saddlebags.  I sat down in a large patch of bluebells in the woods and listened to the hum of dozens of honeybees and bumblebees collecting nectar.  If you have a garden, please consider native, pollinator-friendly flowers to help save the bees and other pollinators. 

If you are interested in learning more about pollinator plants, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation lists pollinator plants by region at www.xerces.org/pollinator-resource-center

 

Posted 4/15/2014 10:44am by Debra Brubaker .

The rhythms of the farm are quickening and we farmers are doing our best to adapt.  Thankfully a little sunshine and warmer temperatures puts a little extra bounce in our steps.  Spring truly is a great time to live on this farm.  All living things are showing renewed energy- cover crops pushing new growth that will feed our soil, wild ramps emerging in the woodlots in places we hadn’t seen them last year, skunk cabbages along the stream edges, multi-flora rose brambles that will soon be fodder for our herd of goats, and of course a Village Acres spring staple of Rhubarb (with Asparagus soon to follow we hope!)  When I dig down in the soil, I can see that the peas we planted just a few days ago are pushing out there first root- the mystery of seed germination never ceases to amaze me.   The farm also gets lots of visitors these days, mostly in the form of trout fisherman as our farm is the location of one of the Fish and Game Commission’s stocking areas on the Lost Creek.  It is great to see folks out enjoying the natural peacefulness of the stream (and our farm) and be reminded that the way we farm this land has great potential to contribute to the health (or detriment) of that beautiful stream.  This spring we are working on a project with the Nature Conservancy to educate and encourage farmers and other community on the importance of stream side vegetation for the health and vitality of the stream, and specifically for the native brook trout that are threatened in this stream.  This stream is a vital piece of our farm, defining our margins, providing life source for our plants in dry times, rejuvenation for workers

in hot times, and peaceful respite whenever needed.  Of course you are all welcome to come and enjoy the stream as well- bring your fishing rods, wading shoes, or your lawn care and enjoy its beauty and life! 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Sweet Potatoes, *Cabbage, Red Russian Kale, Spinach, Lettuce Mix, Carrots, Turnips, and **Onions *Cabbage from neighboring farm, not Certified Organic. **Certified Organic purchased from TOG.

About this week’s vegetables: This week’s box has the last cabbage of the season, as well as the last harvest of kale and spinach from our greenhouses.  I just would like to take a moment to thank our kale and spinach plants for sustaining us all through a very long and cold winter.  These plants have been producing since early October, have produced many pounds of nutritious greenery for us in the dark months, and have now decided it is time to set seed.  Don’t worry we will have our spring planting of kale and spinach before too long, if all goes as planned, but in the mean time we will rely on some other types of greens.   

Recipe: Peppery turnips and spinach by Ron Mikulak   1½ pound turnips, trimmed, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes 1 teaspoon kosher salt 5 teaspoons olive oil 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 pound baby spinach 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar Toss turnips with salt, and let stand in a colander at least 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. In a large skillet, heat 3 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. When shimmery, add turnips and cook, tossing, until lightly browned, 5 minutes or so. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook another minute. Add the spinach, cover, lower heat and cook 2 minutes. Toss turnips and spinach together, cover and continue to cook until vegetables are tender, 4 or 5 minutes more. Add vinegar and remaining oil, and serve hot or at room temperature.  Serves 4.

Posted 4/1/2014 12:39pm by Hannah.

Farm Notes:

For those of you picking up your CSA share at a staffed distribution site, look to be seeing more of our interns, Allison and Jackie over the summer. For those of you picking up at unstaffed sites, be sure to say hello to them when you come up for breakfast or a visit.

Allison GlickAllison Glick, originally from Illinois, comes to us after a stint with the Peace Corp, working in Guinea, West Africa, as a teacher. She says Village Acres is a perfect fit for her interests: science and good food. She’s also enjoying exploring Mifflintown and the surrounding area by way of running and pedaling. If only we could keep up with her!

Jackie Swihart grew up in central-Ohio, where she spent time on her Grandparent's farm working and playing in the greenhouse and barns, as well as picking loads of strawberries and blueberries. After working in Academic Healthcare for a number of years, she caught the farming bug again when she did a summer work-share at a biodynamic farm in Carnation, WA. Last year she interned at Buckhill Farm in Lititz, PA. Her ultimate goal is to start a full-diet CSA program.

Allison and Jackie are both super team players, always at the ready to dive right in and make things happen. We are really grateful for their commitment to sharing the season with us.

Things are really shaping up here and we are eager to share it all with you! 

Hannah


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Butternut Squash, Potatoes*, Carrots, Parsnips, Mesclun Mix, Spinach, Kale, and Garlic. *Potatoes from neighboring farm, not Certified Organic Extras for Sale: Pecans, cheese, honey, chicken, olive oil, soap, and lip balm


UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast: April 5. 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month, April through November). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music: April 5. 6pm kitchen opens. 7pm music starts. McMinn & Bingman at the FoodShed. www.hannahbingman.com


Summer/Fall 2014 Signup is open!  Sign up here!

Interested in Grass-fed Beef, Lamb, and free-range Pork? We partner with Blue Rooster Farm to make these meats available to our customers.  Visit their website www.blueroosterfarm.com to join their mailing list and/or to order products which will be delivered to your CSA pickup location. 


 

Recipe: Garlic Parmesan Kale Dish

Ingredients

½ lb. (or one large bunch)

kale ½ lb. (8 oz.) pasta or rice

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt & pepper

¼ cup grated Parmesan

pinch red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

1. Tear the kale leaves from the woody stems and rinse well in a colander under cool, running water. Allow the kale to drain. Cut the kale into thin strips or small pieces.

2. After starting the pasta or rice, add the olive oil, butter, and minced garlic to another large pot or skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the kale and continue to sauté until the kale has wilted and has turned a deep green color (about 5-7 minutes). Turn the heat off.

3. Add the drained pasta or the rice to the pot with the sautéed kale. Toss together. Allow them to cool to the point that steam is no longer rising from the pot. You want the dish warm, but not hot enough to melt the Parmesan.

4. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to your liking. Add the grated parmesan and toss to coat. Sprinkle red pepper flakes (optional).

 

 

Posted 3/18/2014 12:31pm by Hannah.

Farm Notes:

Brubaker Tent RocksWell, we did it! We took our vacation! We had a wonderful time visiting with friends in New Mexico. I had a 5 day stint at the National Farmers Union convention in Santa Fe, but otherwise we soaked up every minute exploring.
This photo was taken at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
As Debra says, “We are all happy to be back, and so grateful to my parents, Jackie, Allison, and Will for holding down the farm. It is a wonderful thing to be able to step away every once in a while and come back with renewed energy.”
We were amazed at the growth of plants and animals alike in our absence. Our goat kids look huge to us, even with having missed only a week of their growth. Spring is truly teasing us and we anticipate lots of continued growing of everything living here! If you are on Facebook, don't forget to check out our photos from time-to-time.
For those of you interested in eggs, we have duck eggs now to purchase as extras. As for our chickens, we have added some araucanas and marans to our flock. They should be laying green and deep brown eggs this summer.
It’s hard to believe that by the end of next month we’ll likely be harvesting asparagus!
Hannah


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Sweet Potatoes, Rutabaga, Redbeets, Onions*, Mesclun Mix, Spinach, Kale *Onions from Tuscarora Organic Growers Extras for Sale: Duck eggs - $5/doz; pecans, cheese, honey, chicken, turkey, olive oil, soap, and lip balm


 

UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast: April 5. 8am to 11am. Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (first Saturday of every month, April through November). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.

Live Music: April 5. McMinn & Bingman at the FoodShed. www.hannahbingman.com


Recipe: Mesclun Salad with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar

2 heaping cups 1" cubes sourdough bread
3⁄4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
12 lightly packed cups mesclun greens
1 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup pecan halves, toasted
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 oz. goat cheese, chilled

1. Heat oven to 350°. Toss bread cubes with 1 tbsp. of the oil in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden brown, 12–14 minutes. Let cool.
2. Roughly chop garlic; sprinkle with a little salt. Using the side of a knife, scrape garlic into a paste; transfer to a bowl. Add vinegar and mustard; whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in remaining oil while whisking constantly to form a smooth vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Combine croutons, mesclun, cranberries, pecans, and thyme in a bowl. Add some of the dressing; toss well to combine. (Reserve remaining dressing for another use.) Crumble goat cheese over salad and divide between plates.

 

 

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