Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 7/26/2016 2:18pm by Debra Brubaker .
Week #11

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Cantaloupe, Red Watermelon, Sweet Corn, Sungolds, Heirloom Tomatoes, Red Field Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Chard, Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Hot Peppers

***Upcoming Events***

First Saturday Breakfast: August 6th 8-11AM, Please join us for a farm breakfast- donations benefit our community fund which help make our shares available to all. 


FARM NOTES:

This past week has been one of those weeks that really makes me as a farmer feel a little anxious.  Crispy pastures and wilting trees are never a good sight.  And when I leave the farm and our irrigated crops, I feel pain for our neighbor farmers who are powerless to help their crops along. We did get a little bit of a shower on Sunday evening for which we are very grateful, but off course we need more, especially when the temperature are so high every day. 

Despite the fact that we can get water to most of our plants, we are still noticing some effect of the drought on our crops.  Our tomato yields are lower than last year at this time as we have lost some of the fruit to blossom end rot (a common side effect of drought).  The melons too this week may not  be as flavorful as some in past year, as the vines they grew on were more stressed than ideal (the watermelons especially).  We have tried our best to pick out the melons that look the most promising to include, but problem with watermelons is you never know for sure until you cut it open.  

The sweet corn in your shares this week is from plants that we started in the greenhouse and transplanted.  We have additional plantings of corn planted, but we have struggled to achieve uniform stands without steady rain to get them germinated well. We tilled under 2nd planting because it was so poor, so it will likely be late August/September until you see it in your share again.  

The one nice thing about the dry weather is that the onions we are bringing in to cure are starting the curing process nice and dry.  Similarly, the potatoes (whose plants have died back already) are dry coming out of the ground so should store better.  Expect to see both onions and potatoes in your share fairly consistently over the next months. 

Deb


Recipe Ideas
We have been sending a lot of zucchini your way so perhaps some different uses of zucchini could come in handy.  This recipe for Mama Ghannouj (Baba Ghannouj made with zucchini) might help use up a few:-)  It comes highly recommended.
Posted 7/19/2016 2:20pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Salanova Lettuce Heads, Sungolds, Green Beans, Eggplant, Green Peppers, Cucumbers, Green Zucchini, Gold Zucchini, , Tomato, Hot Peppers (outside the box or in plastic bag), and Herbs (Basil, Dill, and Cilantro.)

***Upcoming Events***

First Saturday Breakfast: August 6th 8-11AM, Please join us for a farm breakfast- donations benefit our community fund which help make our shares available to all. 


FARM NOTES:

It's really beginning to feel a lot more like summer now that we're harvesting ever-increasing amounts of cherry tomatoes, and now that we have enough eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes for everyone's shares. The shares are definitely beginning to fill out, and we're eagerly anticipating cantaloupes, watermelons, and sweet corn. As the summer continues, more and more of our efforts turn towards harvesting. The summer squash and cucumbers are picked on a nearly daily basis, tomatoes are picked every other day, and green beans a couple times a week (depending on how our succession plantings are doing). We're still definitely weeding crops, planting, and staking peppers and tomatoes, but the majority of our focus is on the harvest. Thus is the ebb and flow of the work on the farm: we are constantly busy, but enjoy the changes in the pace of things as the season progresses. -Kat

 

Recipe Ideas
 
Now that your shares include cucumbers, tomatoes, AND peppers, it's time for gazpacho! I like this refreshing, cold soup with a side of sauteed green beans, or just a full summer salad. There are probably hundreds of gazpacho recipes out there, and I'm sure you will easily find one that suits your tastes. The important thing is that the ingredients are going to be very freshly picked and ready to mix. Enjoy it during these hot summer days! -Kat

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 7/12/2016 1:19pm by Debra Brubaker .
Week #9

Just a quick reminder to come and pick up your  share.   This is an odd week for egg pick-up.  Please remember to return share liners and egg cartons. We are especially short on the plastic liners, and we really do like to re-use them as many times as possible. If your liners are intact, please be sure to return them to us! We also reuse pint and quart jars (used for honey).

Have questions? Call 717-348-4916 (Deb's Cell) or email csa@villageacresfarm.com


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: New Red Potatoes (from our neighbor, Aaron Kanagy), Red and Chioggia Beets, Cucumbers, Green Zucchini, Yellow Zucchini, New Garlic, Lettuce Heads, Eggplant (full shares only, for now), Tomato, Basil, Dill, and Cilantro.

***Upcoming Events***

First Saturday Breakfast: August 6th 8-11AM, Please join us for a farm breakfast- donations benefit our community fund which help make our shares available to all. 


FARM NOTES:

Last week, we had the year's garlic harvest. Garlic harvest is always a very exciting time of the year, as it only happens once a season, and it means that the wait for garlic to use in cooking is almost over. We plant the garlic in the fall, and mulch it to protect from the cold, as well as to provide some buffer against weeds in the spring. Usually, we end up weeding the garlic a time or two anyway, to make sure that it has as little competition as possible. The garlic that we plant is a hard-neck variety, which means that in the late spring/early summer it makes a scape (we hope you enjoyed them in your shares earlier in the year). If the scape remains on the garlic, the head of garlic itself does not get very big because it takes a good bit of energy from the plant. This is another reason why we try to harvest the scape: to maximize the size of the garlic head. 

During the harvest, we use both forks and the tractor's undercutter to loosen the garlic from the ground. We pull it up into piles on the ground, then transfer it to a wagon, and take it to be strung up to dry in bundles in a barn. The drying period is crucial for garlic--that is what allows it to be stored for the remainder of the season. The garlic that you're receiving in your shares is not fully cured yet, and you will probably notice that the inner membranes separating the cloves are fresh, rather than papery. You can see pictures from the garlic harvest and the storage of it in the barn on our facebook page.  Hope you enjoy the garlic as much as we do! -Kat

This Week's Extras: Frozen ground turkey, Honey, and Olive oil.  


Recipe Ideas
Although we're trying to not inundate you with squash, there is a fair bit of it in the shares this week. One of my favorite ways to use a surplus of squash it by turning it into a delicious, herby spread. You can find the full recipe here on Philly Homegrown. Both the yellow and green zucchini work well in this recipe. You can definitely substitute one of the herbs available this week for the thyme, but perhaps add it in later during the cooking process, as the flavors of fresh dill, cilantro, or basil are a bit more delicate. -Kat
 

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 7/5/2016 2:24pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Rainbow carrots, chard, kale, lettuce heads, fresh onions, cucumbers, green and gold zucchini, garlic scapes (the last), and string beans. 

***Upcoming Events***

First Saturday Breakfast: August 6th 8-11AM, Please join us for a farm breakfast- donations benefit our community fund which help make our shares available to all. 


FARM NOTES:

We are very grateful for yesterday's rain--glad that it reached us before the slight heat wave that is predicted for later in the week. Even though we are fully prepared, with irrigation reaching almost all or our crops, nothing quite replaces a good, saturating shower. This rain also softened the ground for seeding the winter carrots and beets. We love those crops in the summer, as they come out so vibrant, and the weather allows their tops to stay nice enough to enjoy. In the winter, though, they are irreplaceable as storage vegetables, and help bridge the gap in fresh produce. 

The days are getting shorter already, but summer is just getting into full swing. Each day, we are keeping our eyes on the few ripening tomatoes; know that it won't be long before they are included in your shares. We harvested the first few eggplant this week, which means that an abundance of them is coming relatively soon. The melons are starting to size up in the field, and a few are even getting a fine netting on them--a sure sign that they will be ripe in a matter of weeks. As you can tell from your share this week, the bounty keeps increasing! We hope that you enjoy the fruits of the season.

This Week's Extras: Frozen ground turkey, Goat Burger/Sausage, Honey, and Olive oil.  

Recipe Ideas
 
When looking at the vibrant rainbow carrots going into the shares this week, we couldn't help but think of their beautiful greens, too. Carrots are related to parsley, which means that the whole vegetable is usable and delicious. I hope you forgive me for reaching for Deborah Madison as inspiration again; I don't think you'll be disappointed in this soup. 
 
 Carrot Soup with olive oil and minced carrot tops (makes about 1 quart)
 
The Stock:
Carrot peels and tops from the soup ingredients (below), a few of the finer greens reserved
1/2 onion
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
The Soup:
1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 onion, thinly sliced
3/4 lb rainbow carrots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced (or a few garlic scapes)
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon chopped carrot tops
1 Tablespoon white rice
Few drops of apple cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
 
To finish:
3/4 cup cooked rice (optional)
Olive oil
1 Tablespoon minced carrot tops
 
1. Put 5 cups water in a pot with the stock ingredients. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, and tablespoon of rice. Cook a few minutes, then add 1/2 cup water, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes more. Meanwhile, pour the stock through a strainer into a 1 quart measure. Add water if necessary to make a quart and add the stock to the pot. Simmer until the carrots are soft, 15-20 minutes.
3. Puree the soup with an immersion blender. Add a few drops of vinegar, then taste for salt. To serve, pour the soup over cooked rice, if you're using it, drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle on the minced carrots tops, and season with pepper. 
 

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 7/1/2016 10:20am by Hannah Smith-Brubaker.

Posted 7/1/2016 10:18am by Debra Brubaker .

Week #7


IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Red and Chioggia Beets, Carrots, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Green and Gold Zucchini, Lettuce Heads, Garlic Scapes, Dill, and Basil

***Upcoming Events***

First Saturday Breakfast for July is CANCELLED, Please join us August 6th for our next Farm Breakfast!


FARM NOTES:

We are officially one week into summer, and things are looking pretty great on the farm.  The heat has been pushing the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant to grow very quickly, and the crew has been spending lots of time staking and trellising these plants.  They should be ready to start harvesting in the next few weeks.  The crew had a good time harvesting the first early summer crops for the box this week.  In addition to red beets, we have some beautiful stripped Chioggia beets.  These beets are very sweet, and will not take quite as long to cook as other beets.  If cooking in water, add a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to retain the beet’s color.  Also, don’t forget to eat your beet greens (see recipe)!  We were impressed with the first carrots of the season, which can be tricky due to inconsistent spring weather, but the majority were nice and long and oh so tasty!  We also picked the first green beans of the season, which are one of Roy’s favorite vegetables and he was right out there on his home-made bean picking stool all morning.  Have a great week and enjoy your box!


Recipe Ideas
 
There is a great Roasted Beets with Beet Greens and Feta Salad on Epicurious: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-salad-with-beet-greens-and-feta-3188
 

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 6/21/2016 12:34pm by Debra Brubaker .

Week #6

 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: (It's a green one) Cucumbers, Green and Gold Zucchini, Snow Peas (from our neighbor Aaron Kanagy), Lettuce Mix, Lettuce Head, Kale, Garlic Scapes, Dill, and Basil

***Upcoming Events***

Revival Kitchen: Village Acres Featured Farm Dinner, Reedsville, PA- Wednesday, June 22nd. Make a reservation now to enjoy a 9 course meal created by Chef Quitin Wicks.  Space is limited.  If you haven't visited this fine dining establishment that opened last August, you must make it a destination!  More information on this event will be available soon, but to make a reservation or for more information on Revival Kitchen visit http://www.revivalkitchen.com/ or call 717-667-7089.


Village Acres Farm & FoodShed, llc's photo.

FARM NOTES:

Summer is upon us! The little tiny cucumbers from just a couple weeks ago are swiftly turning into more recognizably-sized vegetables. The summer squash row already seems almost endless. Soon, it will be time to start picking the tomatoes--we're keeping a close eye on just a few that are starting to slowly change from green to orange or red. The garlic harvest also won't be long from now, especially since the majority of the scapes have been harvested. All of the work of spring transplanting is transforming into the familiar routines of harvesting and preserving. Although we've had the longest day of the year, the days will seem quite long for a while yet. We are enjoying the newness of the hot season, with the crisp cucumbers and squash. And maybe in August, we'll feel differently, but for now, it's a nice change. 

This Week's Extras: Frozen ground turkey, Goat Burger/Sausage, Honey, and Olive oil.  

Recipe Ideas
Now that the summer squash is starting to roll in, I like to make a dish that really celebrates it. Later on in the season we'll have to get creative in using it up, but for now, I'm excited about the summer vegetable, after a long spring of various greens. This thai-inspired stir-fry is the perfect way to use them; when I make it, I extend the sauce a bit and also throw in some of the tender peas at the end for a nice crunch. Also, feel free to substitute the garlic scapes in for the garlic cloves. Hope you enjoy!
 

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 6/15/2016 7:08am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Strawberries, Asparagus, Lettuce Head, Garlic Scapes, Chard, Snow Peas (from organic neighbor), Summer Squash or Cucumbers, and Dill

Because we are still waiting for the full abundance of the summer squash and cucumbers, we had to split them up between the different pick-up sites this week. The State College CSAs received cucumbers, while the on-farm pick-up folks are getting a handful of young squash. In the next few weeks, we should have enough that everyone will receive some of each. Thanks for understanding!

***Upcoming Events***

2016 Village Acres CSA Strawberry Festival- Saturday June 18th, 10 AM- 1PM.  Come pick your own strawberries and enjoy a lunch time picnic potluck by the creek.  Please bring chairs and a potluck item to share.  In case of inclement weather please stay tuned to emails. 

Revival Kitchen: Village Acres Featured Farm Dinner, Reedsville, PA- Wednesday, June 22nd. Make a reservation now to enjoy a 9 course meal created by Chef Quitin Wicks.  Space is limited.  If you haven't visited this fine dining establishment that opened last August, you must make it a destination!  More information on this event will be available soon, but to make a reservation or for more information on Revival Kitchen visit http://www.revivalkitchen.com/ or call 717-667-7089.


FARM NOTES:

 Although it does not seem like much changes here from week to week on the farm, things are starting to move at a summer's pace. We're still busy transplanting and harvesting, but are also engaged in the ever-important task of plant support here at the farm. The long-season summer crops require quite a bit of help from us, as they will become large plants and begin bearing heavy fruit. If the fruit is in contact with the soil, it tends to spoil very quickly, and is also difficult to pick. We are supporting our tomato plants with a variety of methods: cages, poles and woven string, and just plain stringing them up to the greenhouse rafters. The greenhouse cucumber are also given something to climb on, and vine--whether it's strings or cattle fencing. Sometimes, we have to get a bit creative to accommodate the large number of plants, but we like to make sure that all the plants are supported so they can accomplish their fullest potential. It's long work now, but will make for a more successful season for both them and us. -Kat

This Week's Extras: Strawberries, Eggs, Frozen ground turkey, Honey, and Olive oil.  

Recipe Ideas
 
When the spring vegetables (and not just greens) start really coming in, I look to Deborah Madison for inspiration. She is most renowned for her vegetarian cooking, and I especially like her vegetable soups. Soup is a simple, but very nourishing way to enjoy all the flavors of the season at once. This soup is best enjoyed just as everything is finished cooking, and still a bit crisp. Feel free to improvise on the vegetables; the peas and asparagus are the stars of this recipe, so don't substitute those out. Try it out for a quick and refreshing dinner, with a side of salad!
Ingredients: 
1 quart vegetable stock, 2-3 cups water
9-10 small, fresh turnips, cut up into quarters
12 radishes, cut up into rounds
1 tablespoon butter
1 bay leaf
a sprig of thyme
1 bunch of finely chopped garlic scapes
1/2 bunch scallions or half an onion, chopped
1 pound of asparagus, ends snapped, and cut into inch-long pieces
1/2 pound of peas, stems removed
(chopped fresh parsley as garnish, optional)
 
Prepare the vegetables. Warm up the butter in a stock, and start by cooking the garlic scapes. Once the scapes have cooked for a couple minutes, add in the scallions or onion, and the turnips. Cook those for 3-5 minutes, and add the stock with the water and the aromatic herbs. Bring to a light boil, then add the remaining ingredients, except the peas. Simmer gently for 7-10 minutes, depending on how done you like your vegetables. Add the peas at the end, and cook for one additional minute. Serve with the parsley and a dollop of cream. Savor the flavors of spring! -Kat

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 6/7/2016 12:05pm by Debra Brubaker .

 Week #4

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Strawberries, Asparagus, Lettuce Mix, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Braising mix, Red Beets (from last fall!), Kohlrabi (full shares only), and Herbs (Rosemary, Cillantro, Oregano, and Dill)

***Upcoming Events***

2016 Village Acres CSA Strawberry Festival- Saturday June 18th, 10 AM- 1PM.  Come pick your own strawberries and enjoy a lunch time picnic potluck by the creek.  Please bring chairs and a potluck item to share.  In case of inclement weather please stay tuned to emails. 

Revival Kitchen: Village Acres Featured Farm Dinner, Reedsville, PA- Wednesday, June 22nd. Make a reservation now to enjoy a Mulit course meal created by Chef Quintin Wicks.  Space is limited.  If you haven't visited this fine dining establishment that opened last August, you must make it a destination!  More information on this event will be available soon, but to make a reservation or for more information on Revival Kitchen visit http://www.revivalkitchen.com/ or call 717-667-7089.


FARM NOTES:

 It seems like oftentimes throughout the season farmers go through periods of anticipation--waiting for something to be big enough to harvest, or ripe enough to pick. Once a crop is planned and planted, the waiting begins. Before too long, though, the anticipation turns into abundance (if the weather and pests cooperate with us!). The strawberries that we've been waiting for are upon us; probably as early as the end of the week, we will be picking the first summer squash and cucumbers--after which there will be ever-increasing amounts. The cycle continues with the season! We planted more young cucumbers, melons, and watermelons just yesterday, and will be looking at those for new growth, and eventually production. Keep an eye out for them in your CSA shares this summer. ~Kat

This Week's Extras: Strawberries, Eggs, Frozen ground turkey, Honey, and Olive oil.  Also for the first time we have Village Acres Raised Goat meat options- Moroccan goat sausage, goat burger, shanks, leg roasts, and tenderloin. . 


Recipe Ideas

We continue to be sending kale your way.  Here is a link for a recipe for a massaged kale, strawberry, asparagus, walnut salad.  I made this over the weekend for Chandler's graduation party and it was a hit.  

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

Posted 5/31/2016 2:42pm by Debra Brubaker .

 Week #3

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Lettuce Heads, Kale/Chard, Scallions, Potatoes (last fall's), Rhubarb, Rosemary, Dill, Cilantro, and some Asparagus. 


FARM NOTES:

This heat makes it feel like summer, but it really starts to feel like summer on the farm when the melons go into the field.  We transplanted them this past week and immediately covered them to protect them from pests.  We have had issues with our floating row fabric floating away, but the crew really piled on the dirt this time so the fabrics would stay put until we are ready to take them off, as you can see from the picture.  We have also been spending a lot of time setting up irrigation in anticipation of this heat wave, as well as weeding beets and carrots this past week.  

 In pollinator news, Hope has the flower beds and the pollinator strips around the farm looking great and they are loaded with happy flying creatures every day.  Jackie was able to catch a swarm of bees this past week in one of her traps, and spotted another, but they relocated before she could get to them.  Finally, we have been spotting many toads around the farm, and captured a shot of this one sitting on top of the lettuce bed when we went out to harvest this morning.  

This Week's Extras: Eggs, Frozen ground turkey, Honey, and Olive oil.  Also for the first time we have Village Acres Raised Goat meat options- Moroccan goat sausage, goat burger, shanks, leg roasts, and tenderloin. . 

Recipe Ideas

There are tons of great recipes out there for kale...soups, salads, chips, smoothies, pasta, but I like to make kale grilled cheese.  Take some good bread, a little parmesan and sharp cheddar cheeses, a sprinkle of garlic powder and some finely sliced up kale. A tomato is also good if you have one on hand.  Grill it up and enjoy!

Did you know we have hundreds of recipes on our website and they can all be searched by ingredient? Simply visit www.VillageAcresFarm.com/recipe and search away. We are in the process of adding this year’s newsletter recipes but we’ve got tons to choose from. If you come across a recipe that you would like to share, please send it to csa@villageacresfarm.com

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