Blog/Farm Newsletters

Posted 9/15/2015 2:00pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share):  String Beans, Leeks, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Kale, Lettuce, Broccoli, and Hot Peppers.

Note: We were a few heads of broccoli shy of having for everyone today, so those of you picking up on farm will not have it in your share this week.  Please select alternative items from the table today.  We will make sure you get broccoli next week.

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

Extras for sale at Pickup today: Peaches, Canning tomatoes, Frozen Chicken, Eggs, Honey, Olive oil.
 

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

As much as I love the heat, the crops and the daylight of summer, the arrival of fall has been invigorating. Change seems to zap me back to attention, break the end-of-summer inertia, help me focus again. Although the majority of our time is still spent outside of the high tunnels, there is increasingly work to take us inside. Last weekend, chard and spinach were planted in one of the tunnels for your late fall and winter enjoyment, and the tomato family crops are being ripped out, one tunnel at a time, to be replaced with future leafy greens. 

~Allison

Turkey Preorder: Please take the time to reserve your Turkey for Thanksgiving festivities.  You can do this online at http://villageacresfarm.com/store/thanksgiving-turkey-preorder.
 
Thanksgiving/December Shares Available: We have added some additional weeks to our delivery schedule- the week of Thanksgiving, the week of December 8-11, or the week of Christmas. You can select to received vegetables for one or all of these weeks at http://villageacresfarm.com/store/thanksgiving-december-share-signup
 
2016 Winter/Spring Season Signup: We have also just open our signup for our 2016 Winter/Spring season which will begin the week of January 19th and continue with every other week deliveries through April.  Signup for a full produce share, a greens only share, egg shares, and a la carte ordering options.  To sign up for our Winter/Spring season visit http://villageacresfarm.com/members/types

Recipe Ideas:

Norma's Arroz Salvadoreño 

The mother of one of our summer laborers recently showed me how her family prepares rice.

Begin to saute an onion or leeks, chopped, in a generous amount of oil.

Add garlic, minced, a tomato, in chunks, and 1.5 c rice. Saute 5-10 minutes.

Add mixed vegetables, minced into bite size pieces (green beans, corn, partially cooked carrots, edamame, and/or a small amount bell pepper). Stir, then add 3 c water and salt to taste.

Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer. Stir occasionally for the first 10 minutes. Cook for 15 more minutes for white rice and 40 more minutes for brown rice. Serve hot. The crispy rice on the bottom of the pan is the best part!

 


 

 

Posted 9/8/2015 10:50am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share):  Celeriac, Acorn Squash, Eggplant, Potatoes, Leeks, Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Kale, Lettuce, Basil, Thyme, Sage, and Hot Peppers.

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

Extras for sale at Pickup today: Canning tomatoes, Frozen Chicken, Eggs, Honey, Olive oil.
 
Note on canning tomatoes- Our second planting is coming in, but we have less quantity then earlier in the season.  Please preorder if you'd like to get some yet this season. 
 

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

I hope you all had an enjoyable Labor Day weekend.  Hannah, Chandler, Owen, and I spent the weekend camping near the PA Grand Canyon and really enjoyed a good dose of hiking and biking.  We also enjoying cooking wonderful food from the farm (and Blue Rooster Farm) over the campfire- we sure do eat like Kings and Queens! 

Despite the 90 degree temperatures, there is no denying that fall is upon us.  Our winter squash is making it's first appearance in this week's share.  We are disappointed with our squash this year, the super wet June (when the squash were first planted in the field) put them is a stressed state to start the season, and then a super dry August resulted in them never realizing their full size potential.  Our total yields were also impacted greatly by the fact that the local deer decided to spend the night hours browsing in our squash fields.  You will get winter squash this fall, some of our own, and likely some of our neighbors over the next months, but if you wonder why they look smaller you will know why. 

For those of you new to our CSA, you may be encountering celeriac (celery-root) for the first time this year.  This root crop, as the name suggests, is in the celery family, and provides the same flavor that celery does for many recipes.  As celery is something that is very challenging for us to grow here, we have found celeriac to be a great substitute and it holds in the winter much better than celery.  It is great is soups, mashes, as well as sliced thinly or in strips and added to stir fries. 

Recipe Ideas:

Celeriac Recipes: http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=celeriac

Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage


 

Posted 9/1/2015 10:15am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share):  Beets, Bell Peppers, Cantaloupe, Edamame, Eggplant, Lettuce Head, Sweet Corn, Sungolds, Tomatoes, Herbs and Hot peppers.  

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

Extras for sale at Pickup today: Peaches (Hillside Orchard), Canning Tomatoes, San Marzano Paste Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Frozen Chicken, Eggs, Honey, Olive oil.
 
Note on canning tomatoes- Our second planting is coming in, but we have less quantity then earlier in the season.  Please preorder if you'd like to get some yet this season. 
 

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

This week's share will include some lasts of the season- sweet corn and cantaloupe.  You may notice the sweet corn this week is smaller eared and potentially more wormy- despite this, it seemed to good to not share!  This corn is the second harvest off the same planting that was in your shares last week.  Many of the other summer crops are also waning.  We are slowly removing our heirloom tomatoes from our greenhouses as their production slows to a hault, and the bell peppers too are less plentiful.  We will continue to have a few tomatoes and peppers in your share for the next weeks, but you will most likely begin the transition to fall crops with next week's share. This week we will be digging the last of the potatoes, and soon after the start of the harvest of storage crops will happen one at time- winter squash, red beets, celeriac, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and much more.  

As we start to see how these harvest look,  we are better able to plan  the details of our winter offerings including share options for December as well as January through May of next year (we take a break from Christmas throught the end of January).  We will also be opening our Thanksgiving turkey preorder in the next week. Pay attention to your email inbox for a special email with more details on both of these topics in the next week or two.  ~Deb

 

Recipe Ideas:

Edamame Pesto

Boil and shell your portion of edamame.

In food processor, blend:

Shelled edamame

1/2 c parmesan, grated

1-2 cloves garlic

salt

Add 4-5 T olive oil

1 T lemon juice

Serve on sliced baguette topped with halved sungold cherry tomatoes.

Posted 8/25/2015 11:02am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Chard, Cucumber, Fennel, Garlic, Lettuce Head, Onions, Sweet peppers (Bell, Yummy), Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Basil and Hot peppers.  

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

Extras for sale at Pickup today: San Marzano Paste Tomatoes, Frozen Chicken, Eggs, Honey, Olive oil.
 
Note on canning tomatoes- We continue to have a few cases of canning tomatoes each week, but as the quantities are hard to predict, I have not added them to the website.  If you would like canning tomatoes yet this season, either send us an email on ask at distribution and we will fill your order as we are able.  
 
Still interested in Peaches?  Our friends at Hillside Orchards will have another batch of peaches available next week September 1st.  If you would like more for canning or fresh eating, please let us know by preordering by this Friday, August 28th.  

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

 As a worker who spends the majority of July and August harvesting whatever needs to be harvested, you notice trends in said harvests. Of course, everything starts out slowly, picks up speed then slows again, but it's not quite as straightforward as you might expect. Tomatoes were a more gradual climb up to peak abundance, while bell peppers burst up out of a long period of almost empty waiting.

Sometimes you think a crop is done (the first planting of sungolds) but turns out it still produces enough worth harvesting for the co-op. Same with last week's kale: one of the first crops planted outside this spring, we had mostly abandoned it out of preference to summer specialties and dislike of the flea beetle feast that had happened on the leaves. Fast forward two months, and hey look! We should give this beautiful kale to our members!

Then you've got overlapping peaks: we picked from three differently-timed successions of melons last week, something we weren't able to do last year. The infographic-nerd in me want to see a visual of the harvest peaks, their slopes, timing, overlapping, comparison of last year's peaks. I bet you've noticed some of the trends manifesting in your shares yourself!

Also, this week is the peak of Jackie's San Marzano Paste tomatoes, so if you want to cook sauce or can with them, they are for sale at distribution today! ~Allison

Recipe Ideas:

Like you, this is the first fennel of the summer for me, so I haven't had a chance to cook with it. However, esteemed chef Deborah Madison's Braised Fennel Wedges with Tomato and Saffron sounds delicious!

 

 

 

Posted 8/4/2015 11:28am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Sweet Corn, Bell Pepper, Snack Peppers, Lettuce, Green Beans, Sungolds, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Red Potatoes, Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Dill, and Hot peppers. 

Interested in Peaches for canning/freezing? By next week we expect our friends at Hillside Orchards to have free stone peaches available.  If you would like to preorder a half bushel, please let us know.  

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

August is the season of abundance.  We are blessed to have land that can produce such a great quantity of food!  Often times though, August's abundance can be overwhelming- coolers are packed to the brim and, almost without fail, the items we need to get to are blocked in by pallets of the most recent harvest.  At least twice a week, some lucky person gets to spend an hours or so in the cooler reorganizing and imposing some method to the madness.  We are still getting record harvest off of our first planting of tomatoes and, this week, our third planting of beans hit us with another bumper crop (talk to me about freezing quantities).  These successes help offset our disappointment with some of our first planting of sweet corn (the first of which you will see today).  We hope our next planting will yield greater quantity and quality of corn as this first distribution is admittedly skimpy.  Also our cucumbers, summer squash, and heirloom tomatoes are waning as our bright bell peppers appear to be hitting their stride.  

We realize that the August abundance can also become overwhelming to some members.  We want you all to share in the abundance while not being overwhelmed by it as well. Each household is different and so it is hard to make the perfect share each week.  If you are overwhelmed by or dislike one type of vegetable, we encourage you to utilize the sharing table at distribution or share with a neighbor.  

One final note... This morning our day old turkey poults arrived. They are quite curious and vocal, eagerly exploring the brooder house where they will spend the first few weeks before hitting the pasture when they are fully feathered and able to withstand cooler nighttime temperatures.  Be on the lookout for sign up announcements in a month or so for Thanksgiving turkeys. Word is on the street that, with the shortage of poultry and eggs in the midwest this year, turkeys are expected to go fast this fall.

 

Recipe Ideas: 

Tomato, Squash, and Red Pepper Gratin - MyRecipes.com
Serve with a salad of fresh summer greens.
Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients
5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped red onion
1 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 pound yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3 ounces aged Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 1/2 ounces French bread baguette, torn
1 (12-ounce) beefsteak tomato, seeded and cut into 8 slices

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 4 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add squash and garlic; cook 4 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Stir in quinoa, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper.

3. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, milk, cheese, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to vegetable mixture, stirring until just combined. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Place bread in a food processor; pulse until coarse crumbs form. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add breadcrumbs; cook 3 minutes or until toasted. Arrange tomatoes evenly over vegetable mixture. Top evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until topping is browned. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil. 

 

Posted 7/28/2015 12:13pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Colored Bell Peppers, Yummy Snack Peppers, Jimmy Nardello Sweet pepper, Swiss Chard,Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Fresh White Onions, Red Beets, Tomatoes, and Red Watermelon, Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Dill and Poblano (medium hot) Peppers. 

Pick up times and locations are listed below.  Please remember to return share liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 
 
Extras for sale at Pickup today: Plums and canning tomatoes, as well as the usuals (chicken, eggs, honey, and olive oil).  

FARM/PRODUCE NOTES:

I'm sure that by now most of you have noticed that I'm making an effort to take a photograph of every week's share (see photo above) over the course of the season.  It has been a good project, grabbing a random box that has just been packed and laying it out on our table to display the literal fruits of our labor each week. The colors are shining bright the past weeks and will continue with that trend as pepper season arrived this week.  If you'd like to see photos of full shares from the first 12 week of the season check it out here.

While most of our crops are doing well, we did have a disappointing harvest of our short season onions this week. The access rain in June and early July caused them to begin rotting before we even started to harvest them. We saved out the best of these onions and included them in your shares this week, but admittedly they may require peeling off a layer to remove spots.  We wish they were better quality, but really didn't want to compost the whole crop.  We are starting to pull out our longer season onions as well, and hopefully these will fair better. 

We continue to have a bumper crop off our first planting of tomatoes this year.  We have included a good number in your share, but have many more that are ripe and need to find eaters.  We will have additional tomatoes available to select from at distribution today (perhaps you have a tomato deprived neighbor??)

 Recipe Ideas: 

As the peppers start hitting your share boxes, I would encourage you all to start experimenting with stuffed pepper recipes.  In my household, stuffed peppers are a favorite.  As I love poblano peppers, I often stuff them, but can easily accomodate the taste buds of my more spice adverse family members by using the same ingredients to stuff a bell pepper or snack pepper. Below are several recipes for stuffed peppers of different types. 

Poblanos Stuffed with Cheddar and Chicken http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/poblanos-stuffed-cheddar-chicken.aspx

Stuffed Red-Bell Peppers: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/stuffed-red-bell-peppers-106226


Pick up times and Locations: 

On-Farm: 229 Cuba Mills Rd., Mifflintown, PA 17059 3-8PM

State College: Friends Meeting House, 611 E. Prospect Ave., State College, PA,  4-6:30 PM

Lewistown: Community Partnerships RC&D Office, 23 North Main St., Lewistown, PA 17044, 3-7PM

Late Pickup info

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

 

Posted 7/21/2015 12:27pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Blueberries*, Purple Viking Potatoes, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes, Salanova Lettuce, Head Lettuce, Basil, Parsey, Cilantro, and Hot Peppers. 

*Blueberrries are from D&S Produce (Adams County).  They are not certified organic, but the fruit has not been sprayed.  

The potatoes are a little gnarly looking due to the dry weather in May and some issues with proper irrigation.  Our next potatoes should look nicer.  


FARM NOTES:

Our fields are exploding with tomatoes.  Two weeks ago we picked a total of 5 flats of sungold cherry tomatoes over the course of the week; this week we will will likely easily top 100 flats. July brings with it impossible to complete task lists and times of high stress as we all work our minds and bodies to the max to harvest crops.  These are the days we dream about in mid February, which oddly, when they arrive make us idealize the cold and dark of winter.  I'm sure all of you are also busy with the height of summer schedules as well.  Let us all try to keep peace of mind and enjoy the best the season offers even as we feel a bit crazed.  Happy eating all of you! ~Deb

 Recipe Ideas: 

Need some ideas for using Heirloom tomatoes?  Here are some of my favorites

Gazpacho

Tomato Tart

Posted 7/14/2015 12:20pm by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Parsley, Dill, Basil, Carrots, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Yellow and Green Zucchini, Orient Express Eggplant, Lettuce Heads, Blueberries* , Sungolds, Hot Wax Peppers.

*Blueberrries are from D&S Produce (Adams County).  They are not certified organic, but the fruit has not been sprayed.  

Pick up times and locations are listed below.  Please remember to return share liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 

FARM NOTES:

This is my favorite box of the year! Not because it's inherently better, but because with the blueberries, the rainbow is completed in produce form! Bright colors and smooth shapes make for a visual feast before the real one, I think. Have some fun in your presentations this week, maybe a salad individually arranged on top of a lettuce leaf like artwork on each plate by any children or artists you may have in your household.

Heirloom tomatoes certainly contribute to the mix of colors, so I thought I'd introduce two new varieties we've got this year. At left is the Striped German, or the Bob Marley, as I like to call it. Besides the tie-dye it's got going on, the flavor and texture is superb. At right is one called Aunt Ruby's Green German, and you should know that it won't turn red but ripens to a faint yellow-green. Touch it to determine ripeness as you get acquainted with another delicious heirloom tomato. Happy eating the rainbow this week! ~Allison

 Recipe Ideas: 

I've been eating fresh tomatoes with salt and pepper for years, but this year, I've got an addition: ricotta cheese. I highly recommend thick slices of tomato each garnished with a grind of sea salt and black pepper and a dollop of ricotta cheese alongside toast for a quick lunch. 

 


 

Posted 7/7/2015 11:57am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Chard, Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Green Bell Peppers, Fresh Onions, Yellow and Green Zucchini, Orient Express Eggplant, Garlic Scapes, and the first Sungolds (full share this week- next week we will have enough for everyone hopefully).

Pick up times and locations are listed below.  Please remember to return share liners and egg cartons! Also we happily reuse quart and pint mason jars. 

FARM NOTES:

May was super dry, June was super wet, and we are crossing our fingers that here in July the weather will start include a nice mix of warm sunny week days followed by one gentle soaking rain every Saturday evening (preferably between the hours of 10 PM and 5 AM)- We can dream right... Luckily, our investments in high tunnels over the years help us mitigate extreme weather to sum extent, . Harvest is ramping up for all high tunnel plantings of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant. And in-spite of the wet cool recent weeks, the field tomatoes are starting to ripen.  The crops that are facing bigger challenges are the beans, corn, and melons which are all experiencing long durations of water logged roots. We expect them to pull through, but most likely will have decreased yield and vigor.  We are eagerly awaiting a break from the frequent rains- there are fall carrots and beets to plant, lots of cultivation urgently needed, and our boots would benefit from a day or two to dry out.  Here's hoping...! ~Deb

Note: If you see dry grass on the chard and or sungolds, we apologize.  We seed grass between our aisles to help with weed control and soil retention, but with the wet weather, when we mowed last, the grass stuck to the wet leaves.  A quick rinse should take care of it. 


 Recipe Ideas: 

The eggplant season has come in full force.  I know eggplant is one of those love/hate vegetables.  It sometimes requires a little more creatively to use, but I would argue is one of the best when prepared well.  Eggplant is a sponge for flavor so can be through in wide variety of dishes.  As summer time does not allow for lots of advance dinner prep here on the farm, I often resort to just broiling eggplant with salt and olive oil until it is a little crispy and then throw it in a stirfry of other vegetables.  For a plethora of simple eggplant recipe ideas visit http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_eggplant_recipes


 

 

Posted 6/30/2015 11:06am by Debra Brubaker .

IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK (quantities in photo are reflective of a full share): Eggplant, Herbs (Basil, Rosemary, Dill ) Garlic Scapes, Lettuce Mix, Kale, Lettuce Heads, Zucchini, Red Beets, Spring Onions, Cucumbers, and the first heirloom tomatoes (which will vary from share to share.) 


FARM NOTES:

I think we have all been singing it under our breath...rain, rain go away!  Luckily, we were ready and before it started really coming down, we pretty much cleared out the tunnel that holds our transplants.  Out went lettuce, melons, winter squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts all in one day!  We even got the protective covers on the melons before the skies decided to open up.  

Besides being a little miserable picking squash and cucumbers in the rain on Saturday, we did have a mishap on the farm.  About this time each year, we put the goats down near the big greenhouse to clean up the field next to it.  They do a great job of it; however, the temptation of the peppers in that greenhouse are just too much for them.  Last year they broke out of the fence and went in and ate some bell pepper plants and then moved onto grass in the field.  This year, a branch fell across the fencing and it looks like they spent the rainy night sleeping in the greenhouse and munching on the poblano pepper plants, which are Deb's favorites.  No one was happy...anyone want a goat? 

On the brighter side, we all enjoyed the beautiful weather yesterday while we harvested the bulk of the box contents.  The fresh beets are looking great this week.  If you haven't done it, I really encourage you to try cooking the beets tops. They would be great sauteed with the kale.    ~Jackie


 Recipe Ideas: 

A member recently shared with me that she eats her yellow zucchini squash with scrambled eggs in the morning.  I tried it, and it was great!  I sauteed some of the fresh onions, a bit of chopped scape and chopped zucchini.  I cooked my scrambled eggs, mixed the squash mixture back in, sprinkled in some fresh tomatoes, grated a little cheese on top, salt, pepper...now that's breakfast!  

The eggplant are kicking into gear, and if you haven't had them before, I recommend trying them grilled or baked with herbs (you can add in the squash for a veggie mix).  Just chop up some of those fresh herbs and mix them with a bit of olive oil and salt.  Chop up your eggplant (and/or squash) and toss with the oil/herbs.  You can cook them either on your grill, in the oven or in a non-stick skillet.  It's a great summer side dish!  If you are an eggplant veteran, I just tried an awesome Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce recipe I found at http://thewoksoflife.com/2014/08/chinese-eggplant-garlic-sauce/.  I substituted fresh onions for the scallions and scapes for the garlic.  I also cheated and bought pre-made spicy bean sauce, 'cause I couldn't find bean paste to make the sauce as recommended.  I did thin it out a little with a bit of all of the other ingredients listed for the sauce.  

 

Mailing list sign-up