Oh my heavens… too cute… baby piglets!

These little pigs are too cute for words!

 

Meet the newest team members!   These little guys will be turning our compost this summer.

Meet the newest team members! These little guys will be turning our compost this summer.

 

I have so much to tell you again about what’s been going on at the farm this spring!   First, we got our piglets for our compost program this season.   We also built another cold frame and planted it with early tomatoes, French Breakfast Radishes, and Beets.IMG_3597

Broccoli and cauliflower under row covers

Broccoli and cauliflower under row covers

 

We have begun planting our early cold season crops and will continue to plant and work the soil as weather permits.

 

Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem Artichokes

 

We harvested all of our Jerusalem artichokes, aka sunchokes this week, and will provide them for our CSA members and Market.   Cooked sunchokes are best when eaten within 2 days. When raw, they store well in your fridge’s vegetable bin, wrapped loosely in a paper towel.

Roasted Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts and Sunchoke

 

1 head Cauliflower

1 pint of brussel sprouts

2-3 sunchokes

3 T olive oil

1 t sea salt

1/4 cup chives

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine all the vegetables, coat with olive oil and season generously with salt.

Spread the vegetables on a sheet tray in an even layer, don’t pile them up. The vegetables don’t need to be spread out but they need to be pretty much in a single even layer. If this is not the case, use 2 trays.

Put the vegetables in the preheated oven. 15 minutes into the cooking process, stir the vegetables so they have the chance to brown all over, and rotate the tray to insure even cooking. Repeat this process after another 15 minutes. Roast the vegetables for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are roasty brown and should smell almost like popcorn!. Check for doneness. This means taste some! If they aren’t very roasty brown, let them go for another few minutes until they are. Season with salt, if needed. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with chives and serve immediately.

I have been making lots of Feta Cheese and our hens are producing lots of eggs this week too…

Straight from the farm, no color added!

Straight from the farm, no color added!

 

 

Happy St Patty’s day everyone! Lettuce pray.

I took a look around today and I saw life.

Cilantro Ready To Be Transplanted

Cilantro Ready To Be Transplanted

Cold Frame

Edible Flowers and Onions

Edible Flowers and Onions

Swiss Chard and Carrots

Swiss Chard and Carrots

Lettuce and Cauliflower

Lettuce and Cauliflower

Germination Tent

Germination Tent

Edible Flowers and Onions

Edible Flowers and Onions

 

Germination Tent

Germination Tent

Cold Frame

Cold Frame

Cilantro Ready To Be Transplanted

Cilantro Ready To Be Transplanted

 

Lettuce and Cauliflower

 

Kale and Broccoli

Kale and Broccoli

Lettuce and Cauliflower

Lettuce and Cauliflower

I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote for St Patrick’s Day a few years ago:)

Ode to the Potato

Oh we have misunderstood you, dear potato, taking your children but only a few.   We depended on them to provide for us and when they got sick, we fled.

Oh how we massively mistreated you, giving you a bad reputation, slicing you skinny and frying you in oil.

We didn’t see the beauty, your rich history, your diversity and complexity.

How I long to find your real roots, so I may restore you to your former glory.

I will plant you today with your eyes looking up.

I will respect you whole.

 

Beware the Ides of March

That theme has rung true this week, and that statement has sounded clear a few times this week.

Oh I have so much to tell you all!

We had a visit from our PCO inspector and was awarded our very official Organic Certification

Organic Certification

We gave a workshop on organic gardening for Care for Creation.   Care for creation is a non-profit organization that has been growing vegetables for food banks and soup kitchens in our area.    Care For Creation is located at the Monastery in Holidaysburg PA.   They welcome volunteers, and if anyone would like to participate you may use the link to their website here:

http://www.thefranciscanfriars.org/c4c

We also had a wonderful Farmer to Farmer workshop here at the farm.   There were close to 40 participants from all over the state.   The high tunnel was part of the workshop.

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Hightunnel at during the workshop

Our hot water heater stopped working early in the week, so Rob spent some time fixing it.   Hot water is back, so nice!

Our high tunnel took a huge spill this week too.   This is what it looked like just hours after our workshop.

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So we picked up the pieces and life goes on.   I would like to thank all of the volunteers that helped us clean up!

We are trying to negotiate a reasonable and satisfactory solution with Grower’s Supply, a division of Farmtek.   We will keep you all updated with any progress on this.

We had a seed starting class on Saturday Morning.   We worked with seeds and seedling transplanting then Saturday afternoon we had Open Farm for tours of the farm.   It was great to meet all of our new farm members and show you what we do here1   Thanks everyone for the support you give!

We are putting up another cold frame so we have a place for all of the beautiful lettuce that’s growing here right now!

It will also be placed over our hot water heating pipes, so we will have some warmth during the really cold nights.   That has worked out really well for us this winter.

This week our hens have been laying oodles of eggs!   We are placing an order for peeps with Myers Poultry Farm.   They are located in South Fork, PA.   We plan to pick up the peeps, rather than have them go through shipping, and if you want to add to our order, we’ll pick them up.   The benefits of a combined order and reduced shipping will save $$$ so consider placing your orders with us.   I would like to have our peeps before Easter, so we have plenty of time to prepare for them.

Here is a link to that website:

http://www.myerspoultry.com/

We will also have spinach this week and Swiss Chard- Oh so exciting to see more veggies:)

I’m so glad the ides of March have passed….Whew!

We’ll see you this week-D

I can pretend that it’s spring, can’t I?

OK so technically winter isn’t really over, but we have quite a few families that have sought warmth in vacations this week…Good for YOU!!!

I am working on a batch of Kombucha candy made with our own Maple sugar from our trees here at the farm.   Paneer is a favorite here too and we are making it this week!   Our kids are beginning to be weaned, and we are milking  six does every morning.   We have the babies in with their moms all day, and at night they go to the nursery until the next morning.   So far we have made yogurt, neufchatel, and now paneer.   I am so excited to make feta again, it’s my personal favorite!

Steph, our farm apprentice is making goat’s milk lotion that is absolutely divine!   The bottles are 12 oz. and cost $10.00 per bottle.   All proceeds go to Steph to give her some spending money while she works and stays here this summer.   Right now she has Vanilla Lavender scented lotion, and she is toiling away in the lab to create some fresh new fragrances.

Tomorrow is our Organic Certification Inspection, We have been preparing our records to show each step of the way on our products from seeds to sale…Wish us luck, I hope all goes smoothly.

Great fun next week as we will be having our Advisory Committee Meeting on Tuesday, a farm mentoring workshop on Wednesday and our seed starting class, seed swap and open house on Saturday.   Whew, it really isn’t spring just yet, but we are certainly winding up to it farm style!

We are still in need of a few baby goat names, I’ll leave you with a pic of our family and extended-

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See you all this week!

Maple Trees, Kombucha, and Fun on the Farm!

We have been so grateful for the warmer weather on the farm this week! It is nice to have the snow and the ice melt away, though it leaves some mud behind! ;)

Winter CSA offerings are once again market-style this week, as this has been our most popular option that we have given. There will be tomatoes, kombucha, and bread (of course!). We are so appreciative of all those who have tried a Winter CSA with us this season, and we hope you are enjoying this program and what we have offered so far! If you have liked what you have received, consider leaving a review on Facebook, Google, Local Harvest, etc for any potential customers who might want to join us, either for a Winter or Spring/Summer share, but who aren’t sure what to expect.

CSA shares are filling fast for the 2014 growing season! If interested in joining our farm family, please check out the ‘CSA’ tab at the top of the page to find out more information!! We want to thank all of our returning customers, and we also welcome all of the new friends who are joining us for the first time!

A reminder and note–any packaging with our products that can be re-used (i.e. clam shell containers, CSA bags, Mason jars, and so forth) can be brought back instead of being tossed in the trash! If it can be re-purposed and re-used, we’d love to have them! It helps us to continue our mission of sustainability, keeps materials out of landfills, and saves us some pennies in the process. ;)

We have another class this week, which is a follow up to the Tapping Maple Trees class we had last Saturday, and the class is Making Maple Syrup, and it will be held on Saturday, March 1st at 10:00am. Our Tapping Maple Trees class was very well attended, and a great time was had by all! Participants learned how to tap maple trees for their sugary sap, which will be processed into delicious maple syrup. We also toured the farm, which involved visits to the barn, the chickens, our greenhouse, and our hoophouse! We even had some kombucha on hand for everyone to taste and try! (A few even brought some kombucha “babies” home to make it themselves!) So glad the weather cooperated so we could walk in warmer temperatures! Here are some pictures of our class for you to enjoy! Have a great week!

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Yes, We Have Even More Baby Goats (And Tomatoes)!

Greetings, friends!!

Would you believe that there are MORE brand new baby goats on the farm? We still have a few more pregnant does, so with that comes the babies! Want to name one? The next few people to sign up and submit a deposit for a year’s CSA will get to name one of our newest kids! (CSA details can be found under the “CSA” tab at the top of the screen.)

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Aren’t they precious?

Speaking of CSAs, we have a few things to share with you….

First, we have received a few questions regarding the volunteer hour requirement that has been added to the purchase of CSAs for the 2014 growing season. This year, we will be having a increased amount of what we like to refer to as “indulgences”–items such as meats, cheeses, vegan products like tofu and “soysage” (made from our own organically grown, non-GMO soybeans), and breads and other items processed and made from grains that are grown here organically from heritage seed that we sourced last year. These are only a few of the “extra” items you might see from us, in addition to the traditional fruits and veggies that you would normally expect. Due to the increased workload that results from the addition of these products, we need help from our CSA members. A half-share requires 5 hours of volunteer time, a regular share requires 10 hours, and a full share requires 15 hours of volunteer work.

Some of you will not be making it to the farm because of distance, work or other related reasons. If you have any recipes you can share, that counts.  Perhaps you could provide some website help, or help in writing reviews.  We are not looking for all 5 star ratings (though we try–ha!). We would just like to give others an opportunity to make informed decisions about whether our farm’s CSA is right for them.
We are having an advisory committee meeting on March 11 @ 5:00 pm.   This is a CSA member board that we are counting on to help guide us to meet the needs of our members better.   We already had our 1st meeting in January, and there is room for more members to join, and that would count as volunteer time, too. (Open to previous CSA members only.)
We do have very light duty, pleasant work to be done here for those who would prefer not to be pulling weeds all day, but still would like to come to the farm.   This would include transplanting delicate seedlings into larger growing containers, helping at the farmer’s market, posting pictures to our Facebook page, whatever floats your boat.   The greenhouse work is already going on, so if you have cabin fever, this is a nice atmosphere to shake it off. :)  Keep in mind, this is supposed to be fun, not a drag, so think positive about it, and if you have any apprehension at all about volunteering, let us know, and we’ll see how we can tweak the duties to fit your needs.
For those of you who would like to get into shape for the summer, we have our very own Goodness Grows workout that will trim you down in no time!
The volunteer hours will be counted per person, so if you are a couple, that would be 2 hours for 1.   A family of four would equal 4 hours for every 1 (4 people working 1 hours would make 4 man-hours of work completed), so the time commitment isn’t all that bad, either.
For those who are Winter CSA members, we have the usual market style offerings, PLUS, we will be harvesting some tomatoes and might even have some eggs. Quantities are limited–so consider coming to pick up your items on the farm early to ensure availability! (We will still do deliveries, but we can’t promise what will be available when.)
Yummy tomatoes in a steamy greenhouse….
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We have a Maple Tree Tapping class on February 22nd at 10:00am. Making Maple Syrup will follow at 10:00am on March 1st. Details are still forthcoming, and the classes ARE weather dependent, so feel free to follow us on Facebook to stay up to date on class status, additional information on cost, etc.
Want to know what to do with leftover bread from your Winter CSA that is getting a bit stale? Included is a recipe for Best Bread Pudding  with Whiskey Sauce from Better Hens and Gardens. (Recipe can be found by clicking here.) Blog owner Lesa, from the Homestead Bloggers Network, includes the note in the recipe that it is good even without the whiskey sauce/bourbon, if you choose to omit it.
Have a pleasant week! Stay warm! :)

More on Kombucha, Even More Baby Goats, and More Events!

Hello, friends!

Remember when we had our kombucha and herbal teas class in January? Our friend, Becky Wallace, taught participants how to make their own teas and kombucha “mothers” on a cold, snowy morning (we had a lot of fun!). Well, thanks to her help and her willingness to share kombucha “babies,” we now have kombucha to share with our Winter CSA members as part of this week’s market style offerings!

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Kombucha is so unconventionally pretty!

This week, we had not one, not two, but FOUR more baby goats born, and they are as cute as can be.

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There are three girls this time, and one little boy (our other babies born so far have been boys). These little cuties, like the others, need names. Please feel free to leave suggestions on Facebook or here under “Comments,” and we will pick our favorites! We’ve been asked what we do with all of these baby goats! We do sell some of the babies, and we also keep some for milking. Rob and the boys intend to train some of the bucks to pull a cart. If you know of anyone interested in Nubian goats, please let them know about us!

We have a lot of exciting events in store for the next few weeks. We have a Fruit Tree Pruning Class on Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at 10:00am. Cost is $20.00 per participant, and class is weather permitting. Also, we have a series of classes scheduled that relate to maple trees and syrup production: Tapping Maple Trees for Syrup (Weather Dependent): Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 at 10:00am, and also Making Maple Syrup (Weather Dependent): Saturday, March 1st, 2014 at 10:00am. The weather for both the maple classes, as well as the pruning class, has to be cooperative in order for us to hold them, so keep a close eye on our Facebook page for more information, updates, cancellations, etc. We also have a on Seed Starting Class on Saturday, March 15th, 2014 at 10:00am. Here you will receive tips of the trade for getting the very best start to your garden. Cost of the class is $15.00 and will conclude with a free seed swap, so if you have an abundance of something, you may trade with classmates after class. We will discuss seed soil, depth, water requirements, transplanting, and you can take home some of your work. We will constantly update the Facebook page with information regarding these classes, so follow us there, and keep apprised of all of the potential changes and additions we will be making as time goes on.

We will also be having a Farmer’s Workshop, open to other farms in the area, on March 12th, 2014 from 9:00am-3:00pm. This workshop will be held both at a neighboring church (for presentations), and then an interactive farm tour and discussion will be held on site at the farm. Lunch will be served. This event is sponsored by Penn State, and we will be adding more details, contact information regarding RSVPs, etc. as soon as it comes available.

Thanks again for stopping by and sharing a week with us!

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