Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 5/26/2016 7:23pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Asparagus, Scallions, Salad Mix, Kale/Collards, Chard, Radishes, Oregano, Parsley Plants, tomato plants. (Full share pictured at above right)


FARM NOTES:

Some warmth has come to Central PA with the start of this week!  These are the days that I think having a time lapse camera would be a lot of fun- zooming in on those tomato plants as they transform from a small single stemmed transplant to a bush in short order.  After a slow start to the season, we are eager to see this growth spurt.  This week in addition to our normal routines of packing and harvest, we will be focusing on manicuring our strawberry patches-  the little green berries are forming, and we want to ensure the best air flow and sun exposure to bring on this spring favorite. We should start seeing red in a few weeks!  

Deb

Posted 5/17/2016 11:15am by Debra Brubaker .

Greetings and Welcome to our Summer CSA!

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Asparagus, Rhubarb, Scallions, Lettuce Heads, Kale, Bok Choy, Onion Chives, Thyme, and Basil Plants. (Full share pictured at above right)


FARM NOTES:

This is the start of our 19th CSA season and while much has changed from that first season, the excitement that we have a group of folks willing to commit to supporting us for a full growing season has not changed.  We are extremely grateful for your commitment to local, conscientiously grown food, and we will be doing all we can to make sure we bring you the highest quality food possible from this land we are so fortunate to have.  

At the start of each season, I often refer back to the first emails of the previous season to make sure I am covering the necessary details for folks that may just be joining the CSA.  It is always a good reminder of how different each year is- and of course much of the difference is a result of the weather.  Last year's first email came after a period of unseasonably hot and dry weather- temperatures in the 80s and I was speaking my praise of the evening rain shower that cooled things off, and brought needed rain to new planting.    Well, this year is a very different start- with the past three weeks being rainy with below average temperatures. Growth rates are slow, and many fields are too wet to prepare for our next plantings so we are eagerly looking forward to some heat and sun in the forecast to help bring on the strawberries, speed up the asparagus, and allow us to make beds for the many plants in our propagation house that would like more soil.  

While we wait, we will enjoy spending some time in our rhubarb forest, and delight in the leafy greens that thrive in these conditions.  We hope you enjoy your first share of the season- and if you have any sway on the weather gods, send some sun our way;-)

~Deb 

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


Need ideas for using your Rhubarb?  Here is a link to the Local Kitchen Blog which has a wide variety of recipes to utilize this spring favorite.

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 4/26/2016 11:13am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: 

Full Share: Beets, Butternut, Watermelon Radish, Sweet Potatoes, and Carrots plus the green share items below.
Greens Share: Lettuce Mix, Lettuce Heads, Kale, Green Garlic

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 

Photo to right: Kat, Fred, Lena, and Mary transplanting onions while Jackie drives. 


FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

Today marks the end our 2016 Winter/Spring Season.  While we are always eager for spring, it is still a little sad to say goodbye to all the wonderful greens in the greenhouse which are always sweeter and more exotic when the temperatures are cold and little else is growing.  We also will miss the slower pace that winter provides with the every other week delivery schedule, but... the excitement of asparagus beginning to emerge (we are just starting to harvest a small amount each day- it needs some rain!), and the smell of tomato plants being rustled as we plant them into high tunnel is quickly energizing us for the main growing season!  

We truly appreciate our winter CSA members, and your commitment to supporting our farm, and sourcing local food year round!  We hope you enjoyed your winter share options this year, and of course would like to hear feedback.  

After a three week break from deliveries to provide some time for us to concentrate on getting our main summer crops into the fields and off to a good start, we will begin our Summer/Fall Season with our first delivery on May 17th (Tuesday) or May 20th (Friday).  We look forward to continuing to provide many of you with vegetables over the summer.  If you are taking a break for the summer to do your own gardening or frequent the many local farmers markets that grace our region, we hope to see you back next winter!  

Thanks again for your support!

Deb for all at Village Acres

Also, our first Farm Breakfast will take place on Saturday, May 7.  Bring the family (and your Mom for Mother's Day) to celebrate with farm-fresh eggs, sausages, omelettes, quiche, pancakes or scones; and to see all of Chandler's new lambs!  This year, breakfasts will be pay-what-you can, and proceeds go to our Community Fund, which helps families in need to purchase a share.  Farm Breakfasts will be the first Saturday of each month through November. 

Last Call for 2016 Summer/Fall CSA shares!

If you haven't signed up yet,  please do so immediately- we still have some room.   Our first Summer delivery will be in 3 weeks.  Visit  http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!
 
You are our best advertiser, please spread the word of our CSA to friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  

 

Posted 4/12/2016 10:47am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: 

Full Share: Carrots, French Fingerling potatoes, Yellow Onions Sweet Potatoes, Frozen Red Raspberries  plus the green share items below.
Greens Share: Salad Mix (Lettuce and Mesclun), Bunch of Assorted Kale,  Yakina Savoy, and Bok Choi.
 
We will also have some of our remaining daikon radishes, and turnips available at pickup.  They are not very pretty and we don't want to put them in the box, but if you can use some, please help yourself!

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 


FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

What a week!  Between bracing for record low temperatures and the excitement of lambing season, I have been a little bit on edge this week-. Luckily it seems like we did not experience significant loss over the weekend. Spring has always been an anxiety producing season for farmers, but it appears that with climate changes, the temperature swings in swing are becoming more frequent.  We are grateful for the tools of high tunnels that provide us a nice buffer for early spring plantings. In the next week we hope to start field plantings in earnest.  Our onions are eager for new soil so we are hoping for some warmer dryer days to grace us. 

Today's distribution is the second to last distribution of the 2016 Winter/Spring Season.  We hope you all have enjoyed having local produce, fresh greens, and eggs available through the darker months of the year.  We will work at creating our season end survey in the next week or so, so please do give feedback if there are things that we can improve on.  Also we still have room in our 2016 Summer/Fall season so if you have not yet signed up, please do so soon.  The first summer distribution will be the May 17 (Tuesday)/ May 20 (Friday).  This means there is a three week break (farmer planting spree) between the last winter share and the first summer share.  We will have extra eggs available at next distribution if you want to stock up for those 3 weeks and help us work to reduce the nearly inevitable backlog of eggs that occurs when we take a break. We also have some storage crops that will be available as well, so feel free to preorder lots of extras next distribution to hold you through:-)

2016 Summer/Fall Season Sign-up Now Open!
If you plan to sign up for our Summer Season but haven't signed up yet,  please do so soon so we can plan for the season- our first summer delivery is just 1 month away
Visit http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!
 
You are our best advertisers!  We will have brochures for our CSA available at distribution over the next few weeks.  Please help us recruit new member by taking some brochures with you to give to friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  

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

Posted 3/29/2016 10:49am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK 

Full Share: Red Beets, Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes, Butternut Squash, Onions, plus the green share items below
Greens Share: Spinach, Lettuce Mix, Yakina Savoy (relative of tatsoi see photo to the right.  can be used as any other braising green)

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 


FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

It's the end of March already and we are quickly trying to transition with the shifting seasons. The winter hardy plantings of spinach and mesclun were just harvested for the last time in advance of them bolting.  Within weeks small tomato transplants will begin to take their place in our high tunnels.  Our propagation greenhouse is full of little plants- Cucumbers, eggplants, field tomatoes, onions, celeriac, celery, basil, onions, leeks, sprouting ginger and turmeric.  We are also back in fields- working in winter cover crops to provide space for our earliest field plantings.  

Needless to say with the seasonal shift, our to do lists are expanding rapidly. Luckily our farm team is growing as well.  Late last week we welcomed Kat and Fred to our farm community.  They have quickly jumped into action, helping to make the work load more manageable and enjoyable.  State College members will have the chance to meet Kat and Fred at distribution today, but in the coming weeks look for their own introductions in the weekly farm note!

2016 Summer/Fall Season Sign-up Now Open!
If you plan to sign up for our Summer Season but haven't signed up yet,  please do so soon so we can plan for the season- our first summer delivery is just 2 months away!  We always like to give returning members first chance to be part of the new season before starting to do much advertising.  May is just around the corner, and our planting has already begun- let us know if we should plant things for you :-) 
 
Visit http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!
 
You are our best advertisers!  We will have brochures for our CSA available at distribution over the next few weeks.  Please help us recruit new member by taking some brochures with you to give to friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  

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

Posted 3/15/2016 10:10am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK 

Full Share: Carrots, Potatoes, Celeriac, Onions, Garlic, and the greens share below.
 
Greens Share: Spinach, Mesclun Mix, Choice of Collards or Chard

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 



FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

Last week's spring-like weather really gave a burst of energy here on the farm. Our greenhouses truly greened before our eyes.  The spinach that has been producing so faithfully all winter is growing fast and reaching skyward, showing signs that it may be in it's last weeks of production.  As if to step up to take it's place, our plantings of mesclun that we have been coaxing along all winter are ready to kick into gear.  We have also been transplanting lots of other plants into the greenhouses in the last week- Lettuce heads, bok choy, scallions, kohlrabi, lots of spring kale and more.  Our first plantings of peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are germinated in the propagation greenhouse, and soon we will begin seeding our first spring roots-radishes, spring carrots, and beets.

Outside the greenhouses, signs of spring are also appearing.  Our young pullet hens are now about 16 weeks old and are starting to lay eggs for which we are very grateful.   You may notice  a little more color in both the egg yolks and the shells as the pastures begin to green, and the Americana hens that seem to slow egg production in the winter months are again laying!  Also this week, Chandler and I sheared our small folk of sheep in preparation of the lambing season which we expect to begin in a few weeks.  

While the winter provides a more relaxed schedule for us farmers, we are always excited when spring returns to the farm.  For those of you on the Penn State calendar, we hope you had a wonderful week of Spring Break and have new energy for the rest of the semester.  And for those who did not get at break, we trust the lengthening days, warming temperatures, and increasing size of the greens share are providing a new energy for you as well!    

Deb

2016 Summer/Fall Season Sign-up Now Open!
If you plan to sign up for our Summer Season but haven't signed up yet,  please do so soon so we can plan for the season- our first summer delivery is just 2 months away!  We always like to give returning members first chance to be part of the new season before starting to do much advertising.  May is just around the corner, and our planting has already begun- let us know if we should plant things for you :-) 
 
Visit http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!
 
You are our best advertisers!  We will have brochures for our CSA available at distribution over the next few weeks.  Please help us recruit new member by taking some brochures with you to give to friends, neighbors, and coworkers.  

 

Posted 2/16/2016 10:51am by Debra Brubaker .

Hello Folks,

We are planning to keep to our scheduled distribution today.  Should we encounter problems, we will let you know ASAP. 

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK 

 
Full Share: Carrots*, Onions, French Fingerling Potatoes, Red Beets*, Parsnips, Garlic
 
*Note: Due to the extreme temperatures this weekend we did not have the opportunity to wash daikon radishes so we substituted red beets which we already had washed.  We also did not have enough washed carrots, so some of you will be getting unwashed carrots in your share.  We thank you for being willing to do the washing this week so we didn't risk freezing pipes and bodies.  
 
Greens Share: Spinach, Mesclun Mix

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 



FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

This past week has been a time for learning and seeding! We were able to spend time at both the Mid-Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association meeting and the PASA (PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture) conference last week, where we heard researchers and farmers speak on topics from potatoes to alternative greenhouse heating techniques.  It was great learning about the latest research and connecting with our farmer friends from all over the state.  

Back on the farm, we have been doing loads of seeding both in the propagation greenhouse and in the field tunnels. Above are scallions that will be transplanted into the greenhouse in hopes of making it into the first summer share (now there's a box prediction)!  For the full share members, you will be receiving Red French Fingerlings today, which are grown by one of our TOG farm friends.  These are such a tasty potato that I like to parboil, smash (I just use the bottom of a cup), and then skillet fry in butter with a bit of garlic and parsley.  A great side dish or to eat with your morning eggs.  These potatoes are also available for a la carte ordering.

Jackie

2016 Summer/Fall Season Sign-up Now Open!

Signup for our 2016 Summer/Fall Season is going on now.  We are eager for the return of spring and summer flavors and colors.  The planting has already started for our summer season, so we are eager to know how many CSA members to plan on supplying these season, so please sign up early and help us plan well.  Our Summer Season will begin the 3rd week of May and continue through the 3rd week of November.
 
Visit http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!

 

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

Posted 2/2/2016 11:04am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK 
 
Full Share: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Watermelon Radishes, Celeriac, Turnips, Butternut Squash
 
Greens Share*: Spinach, Swiss chard/Collards, Red Cabbage
 
*Sorry the share prediction indicated Mesclun Mix would be part of this week's share- but we decided to let it grow till next time in the hope that we have a larger portion size to share with you all.  

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 



FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

February is here, and after a January were I was feeling a little discouraged because our greenhouses were looking sparser than we had hoped for, we are beginning to see hopeful signs brought on by the return of the light.  Our little kale and lettuce transplants (above right) are really taking off in the propagation greenhouse and will be ready to transplant to our field tunnels in another week.  We also have multiple planting of our salad mix germinated which makes me very happy.  This time of year, we are entirly sun dependent in our high tunnels.  A sunny day can result in a 60-70 degree greenhouse, generating enough warmth to germinate these cool weather plants.  

In addition to keeping up with our weekly planting schedule, we have many other projects in the balance this winter.  We perhaps foolishly have decided to gut and renovate our kitchen over these winter months which adds an element of chaos to our lives, but we trust the results will be well worth the sacrifice now.  We are also working on designing and building a new structure for housing a new flock of laying hens we're are expecting in early March (another farmer friend with larger heated space started chicks for us in November).  We have seen an increase in demand for our eggs over the past 2 years, and are working to be able to accommodate a larger number of hens for the coming season.  

In addition to these fun projects we are working to build our farm crew for the coming season.  We are looking to hire 2-3 additional staff willing to live on farm this coming year.  We have a few applicants we are interviewing, but if you hear of folks looking for experience of a diversified farm, please urge them to contact us.  

Deb

2016 Summer/Fall Season Sign-up Now Open!

We have also just open our signup for our 2016 Summer/Fall Season.  We are eager for the return of spring and summer flavors and colors.  The planting has already started for our summer season, so we are eager to know how many CSA members to plan on supplying these season, so please sign up early and help us plan well.  Our Summer Season will begin the 3rd week of May and continue through the 3rd week of November.
 
Visit http://www.villageacresfarm.com/csa for more information and to sign up! We'd love to continue to grow for you and your family!

 

 

Posted 1/19/2016 8:47am by Debra Brubaker .

In this week's share:

Greens Share: Spinach,  Braising greens (3 types of Kale and a little chard), White Salad turnips with tops, pea shoots. 

Full Share: Onions, Potatoes, Beets, Carrot, Garlic, Acorn Squash, plus the greens share items

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 

Please note this weeks' Delivery times.  

On Farm/Lewistown: January 19th 3-6:30 PM

State College: January 19th 4-6:00PM Late pickup at 323 Keller St.

Harrisburg: Friday January 22nd  12PM-6PM


What's Going on at the farm:

It's the start of a new year and it has been packed with activity so far.  This past week our family was deeply immersed in Pennsylvania's 100th Farm Show in Harrisburg.  Hannah, in her position of Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, oversees the Farm Show, and therefore was also very involved in pulling off this week long celebration of Pennsylvania's agriculture.  New this year, she coordinated a "Know Your Farmer" area of the complex, that included a farmer's market display of all the seasonal fruits and vegetables available in PA in January, a beautiful collage of PA's agriculture, an activity station by Rodale institute teaching kids about soil health and microbes, a indoor high tunnel showing the possibilities for season extension (done they PA vegetable growers Association), and a hydroponic tunnel displaying the work of a school to table program at Steelton High School, and booths by Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Farmers Union.  For more pictures from activities in the Know your farmer area, check out this photo album. In addition to helping set up and tear down this area, our family spent much of Wednesday at the Farm Show as welling, cheering on Chandler as she competed in the sheep to shawl competition there, spinning to her heart's content :-) 

In addition to the work and excitement of the Farm Show, we have also been trying to keep up with all the work at home.  Seeding has begun in the greenhouses which means that wood stoves require frequent tending to maintain the proper temperatures for the newly emerging seedlings.  We have also been fine tuning our seeding schedule for the year, making sure we have all supplies on hand.  Dad have been a trooper tending the hens in these cold days, taking fresh (unfrozen) water to them several time a day. Just this past week we moved the hens to a pasture closer to the buildings were they also have access to a small high tunnels with provides them with some additional warm space to scratch and eat during the day.  They are hardy little birds and we are so grateful to have them and their eggs. 

Produce Notes:

I mentioned in my initial email last week, that our salad greens are a little sparse at the opening of this winter CSA season due to the fact that the mild December triggered early growth (ie great surplus for the December shares) but threw off our scheduled harvest for this time of year.  Due to this we are trying to be creative and perhaps sending some less familiar greens your way.  Below are some ideas for the less traditional "greens"- we hope you enjoy them.

Turnip tops: use them with other braising greens.  They have a very mild mustardy flavor.  And the root is a delicious addition to a salad, crisp like a radish, but sweet, not spicy!

Pea shoots:  The pea shoots in the share are new for us.  We trialed a few trays in the past few weeks, and we also harvested the pea shoots from trays of Pea Shoots grown for the Farm Show exhibit by Peace Tree Farm (organic).  Rather then compost them at the end of the week, we harvested them and decided to let you all give them a try this week. They are great as a lettuce substitute in a wrap or sandwich, or can be mixed in with a salad.  

Deb for all at Village Acres.


 

Posted 12/22/2015 10:57am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THIS WEEK'S SHARE: Frozen Red Raspberries, Mesclun Mix, Kale Mix, Rainbow Chard, Fingerling Sweet Potatoes, Parsnips, Salad Turnips, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Yellow Onions, and Parsley 

Please remember to return share boxes/liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 

Please note this weeks' Delivery times: 

On Farm/Lewistown: December 22nd 3-6:30 PM

State College: Tuesday December 22nd 4-6:00PM Late pickup at 323 Keller St.

Harrisburg: Wednesday December 23rd 12PM-6PM


FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

What a year it has been here at Village Acres- surprise governmental appointment for Hannah, a growing season requiring lots of attention to irrigation, details of farm transition planning, and so much more.  While it was maybe one of the most hectic seasons in my tenure here, it seemed to be one of the smoothest years as well.  Jackie and Allison have been huge assets here at Village Acres.  As this was the second season here for both of them, they took on much of the responsibility of making sure everything was harvested and packed on time for deliveries.  I am ever grateful to have employees that I can trust will get the job done and will do it well.  Today we are saying goodbye to Allison, and while we are excited to see her pursue new interests are sad to see her go.  She has been a joy to work with.  One of my favorite things about Allison is that she is an inherently happy person.  Often times as she is walking from the packing shed to her house and I look out my office window and catch her break out into a radiant smile in response to something going on in her head. This sight has automatically brightened my day on so many occasions.  Allison is also very detail oriented and has taken the initiative of setting up a database that we will continue to use for developing planting schedules for years to come. I'm very happy to have had two years working along side Allison and look forward to seeing where see goes next.  If you see Allison today, send her will well wishes.

While we have to say good bye to Allison, we are pleased that Jackie will be saying with us again next season.  It is a real asset to have experienced employees stay with us for multiple years, so we really hope to treat Jackie well and have her stay as long a possible! 

We hope you all have enjoyed the 2015 season.  We of course hope that you feel well fed and that participating in our CSA has been worth your investment in our farm.  We are looking forward to a few weeks break here in January, but will be eager to see you all in January and will opening our 2016 Summer/Fall CSA in early January.  

We wish you all a wonderful holiday season filled with good food and quaility time with friends and family.  Thanks for choosing us to be your farmers!

Peace,

Deb for all at Village Acres.


 

 

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