Blooming Glen Farm | bloomingglenfarm
1
archive,paged,author,author-bloomingglenfarm,author-1,paged-4,author-paged-4,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,paspartu_enabled,paspartu_on_bottom_fixed,qode-theme-ver-12.1,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2.1,vc_responsive
 

Author: bloomingglenfarm

Farro is an ancient grain, similar in appearance to rice, but with a more nutty nuanced flavor and a chewy texture. To prepare whole grain farro you need to think ahead and soak the grains overnight, but you can cheat and get the semi-pearled variety, which cooks in 15-25 minutes, and is available at most grocery stores and whole foods stores. Whole farro retains all the grain’s nutrients; with semipearled part of the bran has been removed but still contains some fiber.

I fell in love with farro after making this one-pan farro with tomato dish from Smitten Kitchen. If you aren’t familiar with the blog Smitten Kitchen, you should be! Her seasonal recipes that highlight the delicious flavors of farm fresh veggies always impress me- it is super easy to search her site by ingredient, and pull up lots of ideas. You can choose a simple recipe like the one pan farro and tomatoes, or get a little more ambitious, like this delicious zucchini galette I made with our zucchini and some farmers market ricotta from Fulper Farms (they have a stand at the Wrightstown Farmers Market on Saturday’s). And don’t get me started on Smitten Kitchen’s desserts!

So when I saw the first harvest of our giant green bell peppers, I knew I wanted to stuff them with some sort of farro mixture. I brought 3 cups of water to boil and threw in a cup of farro and simmered it until the grains were the texture I wanted (chewy but not mushy), about 30 minutes. Some people say to simmer covered, I did it uncovered but had to add water periodically as it cooked off, so covered is probably a better bet (or start with more water and simmer gently).

In a large saucepan I sautéed in olive oil 4 cloves of garlic and one thinly sliced onion (you could use a sweet onion or the red torpedo’s). Then I added in a chopped tomato (or two), about a cup of leftover cooked corn kernels from our dinner the night before (cut off the cob). I also diced up a chicken breast from Hershberger Heritage, also leftover from grilling the evening before, and threw in a handful of chopped basil. Then I added most, but not all of the cooked and drained farro.  I simmered everything until the juices from the tomato were running.

Meanwhile, I cut two bell peppers in half lengthwise, seeding and coring them, being careful not to pierce the walls of the pepper. I also cut the tops off of some poblano peppers. The peppers went into a steamer basket for 15 minutes. Let cool enough to handle and carefully lay out on a cookie tray. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spoon the farro mixture into the pepper halves, and stuff into the poblanos. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and mozzarella (or whatever cheese you have on hand). Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melting and peppers are slightly browned. You can really improvise with the ingredients and scale depending on how many peppers you are stuffing and what you have on hand. Removing the seeds of the poblanos does reduce their heat, but I noticed that the membrane that the seeds are attached to is very hot, so as we got closer to the tip of the pepper, we were in for some delicious heat. You can either try to remove this membrane better than I did, or save the poblanos for those in your family who like that smoky heat.

Serve with a tossed salad- chopped romaine, cucumbers, grated carrots (and a glass of white wine?). Delicious!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

Yesterday at the farm, Chef Rich Baringer of Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service served up some delicious samples of dishes he made using farm fresh ingredients from this week’s CSA share. He also shared tips on using some of the more unusual greens like dandelion and agretti. (Though agretti was not in the share this week, we figured you might still have some in your fridge from the past 2 weeks). The recipes are below for your enjoyment. Be sure to check out Chef Rich’s website and sign up for his newsletter for more recipes and tips, or check him out on Facebook.

Mediterranean Chopped Salad (adapted from Cook’s Country)

Serves 6. Chef’s Note: I used heirloom tomatoes in place of cherry and added dandelion greens for half of the romaine.

Ingredients
12 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into ½” pieces
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
¼ cup red onion, minced
1 Romaine lettuce heart, cut into ½” pieces
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup parsley, chopped

  • Toss tomatoes, cucumber and ½ tsp salt in colander and let drain for 15-30 min.
  • Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in a large bowl. Add tomato, cucumber, chickpeas, olives and onion. Toss to combine. Let sit at room temp for 5 min.
  • Before serving, add lettuce, feta and parsley. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper

 

IMG_4711Agretti Salad

Serves 4. Chef’s note: You can blanch the agretti in boiling, salted water for a minute or two if you want it less raw.

Ingredients
1 bunch agretti
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 large oranges, 1 sectioned and 1 juiced
¼ cup sunflower seeds, toasted
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt
Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)

  • Trim agretti from woody stem (thinner, more tender stems can be used) and roughly chop.
  • In a bowl, whisk the oil with the juice of one orange. Add salt and pepper flakes to taste and set aside.
  • Dry the agretti (if damp) and place in serving bowl. Toss with dressing. Add orange sections and toss. Garnish with seeds and cheese (if desired).

 

IMG_4710 (2)Green Bean Salad (adapted from Cook’s Country)

Serves 4. Chef’s note: Some thinly sliced radish is a nice garnish.

Ingredients
2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 ½” pieces
Salt and pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp dill, minced (I used lemon verbena, which is available in the herb boxes a the farm.)
½ cup almonds, toasted

  • Bring 4 qt water to a boil in a large pot. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Add beans and 1 Tbsp salt to boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 6 min. Drain and place in ice bath. Drain again, dry in salad spinner.
  • Whisk shallot, mustard, zest, juice, garlic and 1 ½ tsp salt in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until incorporated. Toss dill and beans in dressing and let sit for 30 min (or up to 2 hrs), stirring occasionally. Stir in almonds. Season with salt and pepper.

 

IMG_4712Grilled Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary (for gas grill) (from Cook’s Illustrated)

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 Tbsp olive oil
9 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 Tbsp)
1 tsp rosemary, chopped
Salt
2 lb red potatoes, small, scrubbed, halved and skewered (so flat sides are level with each other)
Pepper
2 Tbsp chives, chopped

  • Preheat grill to high for 15 min. Clean grill grate. Leave primary burner on high, reduce others to medium.
  • Heat olive oil, garlic, rosemary and ½ tsp salt in small skillet over med heat until sizzling, about 3 min. Reduce to med-low and cook until garlic is light blond, about 3 min. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl; press on solids. Measure 1 Tbsp solids and 1 Tbsp oil into large bowl and set aside. Discard remaining solids, but reserve oil.
  • Place skewered potatoes in single layer on large microwave-safe place and poke each with a skewer. Brush with 1 Tbsp oil and season liberally with salt. Microwave on high until potatoes offer slight resistance to knife, about 8 min, turning halfway. Transfer to baking sheet coated with 1 Tbsp oil. Brush with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place potatoes on the hotter side of the grill. Cook, turning once, until marks appear, about 4 mi. Move to cooler side and cook 5-8 min until knife slips in and out easily. Remove potatoes to bowl with reserved oil and solids. Add chives and toss.

 

IMG_4709Grilled Zucchini Salad (from The Barbecue Bible)

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 lb zucchini (and/or yellow squash), scrubbed and trimmed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
12 large mint leaves (or 1 tsp dried), minced
2 Tbsp parsley, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin

  • Preheat grill to high.
  • Cut zucchini into ¼” length-wise slices. Brush each with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Grill, turning until tender and well browned, about 8-10 min. Transfer to cutting board.
  • Cut each slice on bias into ¼” strips. Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining 2 Tbsp and rest of ingredients. Season with salt, pepper and additional lemon juice. Should be highly seasoned.


Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. 
Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

 

Excessive heat warning in effect is not something to underestimate. Our tractor operator Tom Thorpe, a 10 year veteran of the marines, gave a presentation to our crew on how to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and how to prevent them. The take away- start thinking about the work week ahead over the weekend- hydrating and getting enough rest.

20160707_155613_1467921401161-001At this point our bodies have become somewhat adjusted to the heat, as have the vegetable crops. But they require lots of hydration, just as we do. Our irrigation manager Jeff (pictured to the right), is kept busy zipping around the farm on the orange 4-wheeler, managing the water needs across the entire farm. Monday night’s rain was cause for celebration, but we were right back to watering the next day. Tom was able to direct sow carrots, beets and green beans just before the rain arrived.

The tidal wave of red field tomatoes is probably about 10 days away. Hopefully we will have enough volume of heirloom tomatoes from our greenhouses to start distributing them to the CSA next week. Don’t worry- they’re coming! Also sizing up beautifully are the watermelons (first up- a delicious yellow variety) and cantaloupes- we’ll be enjoying them in just a few weeks.

Looking ahead to fall, the sweet potatoes are vining out and slurping up as much water as we can spare them. The spaghetti squash will be here before we know it. We are busy prepping ground and preparing to plant fall crops like Brussel sprouts, kale and cabbage. As farmers we must always look ahead a few months- there’s no playing catch up- it won’t grow if we don’t plant it. Erick keeps busy in the propagation greenhouse sowing seeds and potting up plants when necessary.

IMG_4592

We will see a gap in the cucumber harvest. This first planting we have all been enjoying went through that late frost we experienced back in mid-May, and never fully recovered. It’s weakened plants were more vulnerable to bug damage- that’s the scarring you see on the skin. The next planting coming up looks way healthier and productive. Another casualty of the late frost seems to be the potatoes. Overall we are getting lower yields per plant compared to previous years.

The pick-your-own flowers are a sight to behold. There is no excuse not to fill your house with flowers for the next few weeks.

IMG_4509

My favorite variety, nigella (first photo above), is thick right now with wiry blue and purple blooms. It is only in bloom for a short time, but then the seed pods are just as lovely. As I was harvesting them to make market bouquets the flowers were alive with the sound of hundreds of honey bees, all with pollen balls tucked under their wings. I hope you enjoy the flowers as much as I do- it is a labor of love to grow such an extensive variety of blooms. Enjoy them while they are at their peak.

In this week’s share is agretti- most likely a new crop for many of you. It is an Italian green, also known as seawort or monk’s beard. You can eat it raw- it has a tangy flavor, or you can sauté it with lemon and garlic and toss with pasta or put with fish. Think Mediterranean!

CSA on-farm share, week #6, 7/5/16, week B.

CSA on-farm share, week #6, 7/5/16, week B.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

Varieties of summer squash and zucchini are are abundant during the summer — which is a very good thing! (And to clarify, at the farm we just call it all summer squash, of which this week’s dark gold and green zucchini is included under that heading. I am referring here to the lighter yellow squash as “summer squash”- it is also milder in flavor than the gold and green zucchini varieties that Blooming Glen grows). These light and mild veggies are not only delicious, but also healthy and versatile. Nutritionally speaking, the manganese in squash helps promote strength by building strong bones and connective tissues. As we know, vitamin C supports our immune systems, preventing colds and other infections, but it’s also an antioxidant that can help protect our bodies from the damage caused by pollution. Finally, the fiber in zucchini and summer squash aids digestion and promotes a healthy gut. In order to get all these benefits, it’s important to skip the peeler; like most other vegetables and fruits, a lot of the healthy stuff in zucchini and summer squash lives in or near the skin. Instead of peeling, simply rinse off the veggies under running water to remove any dirt. Here are a few tips for using up your stock of zucchini and summer squash:

  • Dice ’em up: Diced zucchini and summer squash can be added to soups, stir-fries, chilis, crepes and quiches, stews, curries, spaghetti sauce and rice. They can also be enjoyed raw, mixed into pasta salad, grain salads and green salads.
  • Cut into coins: Sliced zucchini and summer squash make a great topping for pizza, taste great layered into lasagna, or used in casseroles.
  • Savory pancakes: Add grated squash and zucchini to whole wheat pancake mix, along with some garlic powder and chopped spring onion. Serve with a dab of sour cream for a savory, summery side dish.
  • On the grill: Slice zucchini and squash lengthwise, into planks and spray lightly with high-heat cooking oil. Place on hot grill or grill pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-10 mins., until tender and charred, flipping once.
  • Thicken up soups: Cook and puree squash and zucchini to use as a creamy soup base.
  • Preserving: Shred and freeze zucchini and squash to preserve. Use thawed veggies in breads, muffins, casseroles, fritattas, and quiches.

Post and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, health counselor, and co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating and living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com

P1016499Greens are probably the best food to add to our diets to improve nutrition. They provide cancer-fighting vitamins & minerals, the fiber we need for heart & digestive health, & assistance to our body’s detoxification processes. They’re also really easy to add to our meals; a great way to start is by simply adding a handful of chopped up greens to whatever you’re cooking — sauces, salads, soups, stir-fries, casseroles, just about everything! Another great strategy for getting more greens into our diets is to keep a green side on-hand; make the recipe below to serve with your meals throughout the week!

This recipe also makes use of two super flavorful ingredients that we’ve been finding on our shares lately, garlic scapes & fennel. Scapes have been called a “vegetable, aromatic & even herb all in one,” & I would also put fennel in that unique (& delicious) category.  Both fennel & scapes also give us a nutritional boost with fiber, antioxidants, & phytonutrients.

Add your favorite plant-based protein to make the this dish heartier & more complete — chickpeas, seitan, or quinoa would be tasty.  You can also enjoy this recipe hot or cold.  Eat immediately after preparing as a hot side dish, or let cool & use as an ingredient in a whole grain wrap or mixed into a green salad.

Sautéed Greens with Scapes & Fennel

P1016502

Ingredients
1 tbs cooking oil
5 garlic scapes, sliced
1 fennel bulb & stems, sliced up to fronds
1/2-cup white wine or broth
6-8 cups kale, chard, &/or collards, stripped from stems & chopped
1 tbs red wine or balsamic vinegar
Nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese, & sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions
Heat oil, scapes, & fennel in skillet until veggies are tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add wine or broth & stir in greens until coated evenly. Allow greens to reduce about 5-7 minutes, stirring often & adding additional wine or broth if needed. Remove pan from heat & toss with vinegar. Serve with optional toppings.

Post & photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, health counselor, & co-founder of Guidance for Growing, an integrative wellness practice in Souderton. Read more about healthy eating & living on her site, http://guidanceforgrowing.com

In our team meeting today we reminded our crew to take a moment and look around as they are hustling from job to job. We are very ground focused- scouting for bugs, pulling weeds, checking soil moisture levels, installing irrigation, crawling around on our knees weeding and thinning, bending to the ground to harvest. Occasionally we look to the sky when it darkens or the wind picks up, or a hawk flies overhead. A reminder to take in the bigger picture can be necessary, the whole farm organism as a season. One minute we are harvesting spring radishes and strawberries, then in the blink of an eye, the weather changes, the season for that harvest ends and we are on to the next crop.

IMG_4335

Our early spring beds are already being tilled under, fall crops like the winter squash and sweet potatoes are planted and growing, and we are focused on getting all our summer field tomatoes staked and trellised, and weeding crops like green beans (pictured above) and tomatillos (below).

IMG_4359

Staking tomatoes is a serious upper body work out. Our crew is getting stronger and more fit by the day, learning not only what makes a good size bunch of beets, or a large enough head of lettuce, but also how to hold your body to maximize drive force when putting in hundreds and hundreds of stakes.

IMG_4355

After the stakes are in, we’ll go through with boxes of tomato twine, and weave the tomatoes into a trellis. We will keep adding strings as they grow. This work on the front end will make the harvest easier in the long run. One of the first farms Tom and I worked on over 15 years ago did not trellis their 1000 foot beds of tomatoes. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than crawling along searching for ripe tomatoes under a dense canopy of vines, in the heat of August, during one of the worst mosquito years I can recall. In that instance we learned how not to grow tomatoes, and we’ve embraced trellising ever since!

This season we are experimenting with undersowing our corn with a cover crop- a mix of crimson clover- a nitrogen fixing legume- and lacy phacelia, which attracts beneficial insects. Tonight’s much needed rainfall (keep your fingers crossed it comes) will get those seeds germinating and help with weed suppression over the harvest season. Pictured below, Jeff is using a spin seeder in the popcorn to spread the cover crop seed.

IMG_4360

This week’s share sees the spring crops overlapping with the summer, the strawberries winding down, the peak of the sugar snap pea harvest, as well as the first of the freshly dug new red potatoes and the first pick of summer squash. Hard to believe that same planting of summer squash went through a frost just four weeks ago!

For new CSA members who are intimidated by the new (to you) vegetables you are seeing in the share, don’t forget you can search by vegetable (see the sidebar to the right) and pull up recipes we have posted in the blog over the years. I had lots of questions in the distribution room about kohlrabi- a search with that title brought up a few delicious recipes: “Roasted Beets and Kohlrabi with Fennel“, “Kohlrabi fritters with yogurt dill sauce“, and “Kohlrabi Dal with aromatic rice“. You can do the same search with garlic scapes or fennel. We will begin posting new recipes soon as well. Enjoy!

June 15 delivery shares, medium box on the left and large box on the right. Pictured at teh top of the post is CSA on-farm share week #3/A, 6/14/16.

June 15 delivery shares, medium box on the left and large box on the right. Pictured at the top of the post is CSA on-farm share week #3/A, 6/14/16.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

 

The farm was invigorated with new energy these past two weeks as smiling CSA members filled their baskets with produce from the farm, and headed out into the fields to pick strawberries, sugar snap peas, and herbs. I love seeing the familiar faces, many who have been with us since the beginning 11 years ago, as well as introducing new people to the process. The positive energy, and grateful members provide a reason for the long hours my husband Tom and I, Pete our assistant farm manager, and our stellar farm crew put in daily to the work of growing these amazing organic vegetables. To hear how excited and thankful you all are to receive food just hours from the earth, and to bring that bounty and health home to your kitchens, helps to make all the hard work worthwhile.

IMG_4251-001

The work of the last few weeks has involved a lot of trellising and staking of tomatoes, and keeping up with all the weeding. We weed by hand, with hoes and with cultivating tractors (pictured below the sweet corn is being cultivated with our old farmall tractor). Often the weeds outpace the crops in their growth, so it is a constant scramble to stay ahead, and to do it while the ground is dry, which it was for quite awhile. There is also weekly transplanting and seeding to stay on top of, as certain crops we plant multiple rotations of- cucumbers, summer squash, beans, lettuce, and corn for example.

Every year we have new folks join us on our farm crew, so there is a quite a lot of training that goes on, especially in those early weeks of the CSA as we get into the swing of things. It’s not the easiest to get 6 or so people all making uniform bunches- but we’ll get there!

IMG_4248

We have been super pleased with our bumper strawberry crop- full share members have already received 5 quarts! The plants this year were big and healthy, resulting in big tasty berries. On a side note, I feel I should explain that you may notice long white fibers on some of the berries in the field or in the bulk flats you are purchasing. This fiber is from the big white sheets of floating row covers we had to use over the berries to protect them from that late frost that came in mid May. Do not be alarmed- it is not human hair, but a fiber that can be washed or pulled off. We are doing our best to remove them as we pick, but are not always successful!

IMG_9127

The sugar snap peas are so sweet and abundant this season, and a joy to pick. Coming up in the share next week will be the first of the new red potatoes, as well as garlic scapes- the delicious curly cue that grows out of the center of our stiff neck garlic plants.

Now that everyone has at least one pick-up under their belt, here are a few reminders:

  1. BYOB: please remember to bring your own bags, coolers, or baskets to get your produce home in. If you’re picking up at the farm, you will also need your own clippers for pick-your-own crops like herbs and flowers.
  2. The on-farm pick-up times are between 1 and 7:30pm on your designated pick-up day. The distribution room will get cleaned up at 7:30pm, but you may do the pick-your-owns until 8pm. If necessary, you may do the pick-your-own crops on another day within the week before your next pick-up, preferably within a few days. The farm is closed to pick-your-owns after 3pm Saturday and all day Sunday.
  3. What if I go on vacation? One option is to “Share your Share” with a friend. You can have someone else pick up your share while you are gone (no need to tell us). However, you are responsible for explaining the pick-up location and procedures to your substitute. For on-farm pick-up members, another option is to change your pick up day from a Tuesday to a Thursday or vice versa. Just let us know by email by 7pm Sunday of the week you wish to switch. Unfortunately, because we harvest a precise number of shares each harvest day, we cannot accommodate last minute switches. Please do not call or email us if you forget to pick-up your share- this just puts us in an uncomfortable situation, as you can imagine.  *Delivery share members do not have the option of switching pick-up days, or picking up at a different site.
  4. Recipes: A wonderful way to get ideas about using new veggies is to ask your fellow CSA members as you are picking up. We also have a wonderful cookbook, “From Asparagus to Zucchini” available for sale in the distribution room- it is a fantastic resource for new members. You can also search our blog by key ingredient and pull up old recipes we have posted as well. And there’s always Google.
  5. We will post a labeled share photo on Tuesday evening on Facebook. This photo will show the on-farm pick-up share, as well as the medium and large delivery shares. This is the quickest way we have found to post the photo, so in case you get home and forget what you have, it is there as a reference. Other folks take their own photo of the chalkboard in the distribution room, or as one resourceful young man pictured below did, make a list. Blog posts will happen as frequently as we can manage, and we will begin to post recipes as well.

IMG_4237-002

You may have noticed our new farmstand wagon at the farm. It will be open to the public Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from 10-7pm. We will also stock it with a few extras of certain items on pick-up days so your able to purchase more of things while you are here- a common request we have received over the years. As a CSA member you will receive 10% off- the same if you visit us at any of our weekend farmers markets.

View More: http://vanessalassinphotography.pass.us/20160602bloomingglenfarm

If you are interested in signing up for a sustainable seafood share, follow this link: www.communitysupportedseafood.com to enroll in the 2016 programs for wild caught Halibut, Sablefish, Rockfish, Sockeye, Coho and King Salmon with Otolith Sustainable Seafood.  Delivery will be from Otolith to Blooming Glen Farm- you will be able to pick up your seafood share from the freezer on your pick-up day that is closest to the delivery.

CSA on-farm share, week #2, 6/7/16.

CSA on-farm share, week #2, 6/7/16

 

Photo above, left to right: Medium and Large delivery Share 6/8/16.

Photo above, left to right: Medium and Large delivery Share 6/8/16.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Farmstand photo and strawberry field photo by photographer and CSA member Vanessa Lassin.

What is that bright shining orb in the sky?? I don’t recognize it! May almost came and went without a legitimately sunny day. But looks like here in the last week we will squeeze a few in. A great reminder that yes, plants really do need the sun to grow. What a month. On the 15th we had probably the latest frost we’ve seen here at the farm. We rushed around the evening before in the ferocious howling wind, attempting to batten down row covers (without a doubt all frost and cold weather events are precipitated by crazy wind- leaving us to look like a bunch of kindergarteners playing parachute games). The next morning we had a little bit of damage here and there- the cantaloupes, basil and green beans weren’t happy, but nothing insurmountable.  Over the course of the month, we also saw some light hail, plenty of wind, rain and thunderstorms, and now finally some heat and sunshine, and with it, the tidal wave of strawberries approaching.

One crop LOVED the cool rainy weather. The sugar snap peas look the best they have in years. It seems as quick as we add a string of trellis, they reach their tendrils high above, and are ready for another. This season we planted two different varieties, a shorter and a taller type, which should hopefully result in a longer harvest window. We are already seeing signs of the first baby peas.

IMG_4127-001Snug in their warm protected high tunnel, the heirloom tomatoes are growing quickly. We experimented by throwing in a few rows of cherry tomatoes in the tunnel- those have teeny fruit already. The field tomatoes were definitely sitting around waiting for the sun, but should get jumping with the heat this week. We’ll be planting out the eggplants in the next few days as well as the final batch of peppers.

IMG_4183

Looking ahead to late summer harvests, we transplanted our spaghetti squash and winter squash varieties. To help protect the transplants from all the bugs that find them delectable, we dunk the plants in a clay mix. The clay irritates the bugs enough that they stay away, at least until the transplants are bigger and hardier, and can withstand any damage.

IMG_4175 (2)

The carrots are starting to size up- it should only be a few more weeks until the first batch is ready to harvest. Not everything is roses (it never is!). We lost a planting of radishes and broccoli raab that got too wet in all the rain, the row covers battered some crops in the winds, and we are battling a new insect that is wreaking havoc on our alliums and has us concerned for our garlic crop. The flowers, despite the weather ups and downs, are thriving and finally starting to grow. The cold weather has set bloom time back a bit though, so it will probably be another 3 weeks or so until we see any flowers to cut, but when we do, it will be a sight to see!

Speaking of flowers, a dear friend of mine, and a fabulous painter and teacher, will be holding a plein air (or open air) oil painting class at the farm this summer- mark your calendars for August 27th and 28th. It will be held over two days, painting in the light of the mornings and late afternoons out on the farm with the gorgeous summer fields and flowers.  Artists of all levels are encouraged to attend- from beginner to experienced. For more information and to register, head on over to Heather’s website. I cannot wait!

With the return of the sun comes the return of the CSA season. On farm pick-up: Full shares start next week- May 31st, as well as half shares/week A. Half shares/week B start the week of June 7th. (Please email us if you are unsure of your pick-up day or week assignment. Or log in to your account on the website.) Weekly delivery shares of large and medium boxes begin Wednesday June 1st.

The first CSA shares will contain some of our beautiful spring heads of lettuce as well as cooking greens and hakurei turnips and other goodies. You’ll have to be surprised as to the details…we typically wait until the day before, and sometimes even the morning of, to make our decision as to what to harvest, since we’ve learned over the years that weather and other factors can alter even our expectations. Or as the saying goes, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or your tomatoes before you harvest.

IMG_4150 (2)

Some pick-up tips to remember: BYOB (Bring your own bags and baskets!). On-farm pick-up is between the hours of 1 and 7:30 pm. Please do not arrive before 1pm- we harvest the morning of the share pick-up, so we need every minute to get your produce picked, washed and ready to go. We will start cleaning up the distribution room at 7:30 pm, so please arrive earlier than that so you have time to collect your share. There will be pick-you-own strawberries, and possibly sugar snap peas the first week, so come prepared to head out to the fields.

For Wednesday delivery shares- your share will be boxed up (they will not have specific names on them, but will be labeled large or medium). You will need to check your name off in the sign in book, transfer your share from the box to your own bags and leave the box at the delivery sight. Your pick-up times are according to your delivery site- Summa Crossfit Doylestown is 4:30-7:30pm, Beth El Yardley is 4:30-7pm and Langan office (employees only) pick-up will be delivered midday during office hours.

A reminder that final CSA payments are due June 1st. If you are unsure of your balance, you can click the registration link and login as a member with your email address. Then you can view payments made and owed.

We are looking forward to the start of the CSA season! It’s not too late to sign up for a pasture raised chicken or pork share with Ledamete Grass Farm. They will deliver your share to the freezers at Blooming Glen Farm for you to pick-up at the farm with your veggie share. You can also sign up for a bread share with Bakers on Broad.  Please click here for a sign-up form. Registration and payment is directly through Bakers on Broad. Any questions please contact Bakers on Broad directly at breadsharebg@yahoo.com, or call #215-703-0518.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

It’s official! The first CSA pick-ups are scheduled for Tuesday May 31st and Thursday June 2. This is distribution week A for half shares and the first week for all full shares and delivery shares (Delivery shares begin Wednesday June 1st). Half share week B pick-up will start Tuesday June 7 and Thursday June 9. Registered members who are half shares should have received an email which contained their week A or B assignment. You can also click on the registration link on the website and navigate to member login to check your member type and balance owed. Payments are due in full by June 1st. Please kindly make your final payments before you come to the farm for your first pick-up.

Just a reminder to sign-up for your bread share with Bakers on Broad– with enough interest they will deliver their fresh baked loaves to both Tuesday and Thursday pick-up days. Located in Souderton, we think this artisanal French bakery’s bread is some of the best around! We are also offering chicken and pork shares through Ledamete Grass Farm again this year, delivered to Blooming Glen Farm monthly for your convenience- their website details the share sizes they offer, as well as other information about their wonderful farm. And new this year, our friends at Hershberger Heritage Farm will be setting up in our parking lot on Thursdays from 2-6pm to offer their grass fed, certified organic eggs, fresh chicken and pork for sale, no pre-orders necessary. Hershberger Heritage Farm is a fourth generation veteran owned farm about 5 min from BGF in Sellersville, Pa. We are happy to introduce them to our customers…we love their delicious eggs with the bright yellow yolks!

Here at Blooming Glen Farm we have been steadily training our new crew members on the myriad of small tasks that make up our busy days. As the weather bobs around from hot to cool, wet to dry, we tweak our plans for the day: “You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust the sails to reach your destination.”

Tucked inside our high tunnels are an assortment of heirloom tomatoes (see photo above)- trellising them onto individual strings will keep us busy when wet weather prevents us from going into the fields. The spring crops are thriving, and we’re excited for Friday’s harvest of hakurei turnips, radishes, arugula, green garlic and broccoli raab, all destined for this weekend’s opening day farmers market’s in Easton and Wrightstown. And for those gardeners out there, we are also selling some of our extra plant starts this year- lettuces, tomatoes, cabbage, kale and chard. CSA members receive 10% off at our farm stand.

Out in the field, the sugar snap peas in particular enjoy this cool misty weather, as do the spring heads of lettuce that are slowly sizing up. Almost everything in the fields are covered by floating row cover, adding a little warmth on these cooler days. We used almost every last scrap on the farm- driving down 113 it looks a little magical, like giant white blankets, which is essentially what they are.

IMG_3843

Below is a photo of potatoes planted the same week (shown in our last blog post) where you can really see the benefits of the black mulch and white row cover for added warmth. The bare ground potatoes are planted and hilled and cultivated throughout the growing season. The taller potato crop is on black plastic, and under row covers. They will be harvested first for new potatoes, hopefully by mid-June. Despite being planted at the same time you can really see the difference in rate of growth with the two different methods.

As we continue to tend the spring crops (like weeding rows and rows of itsy bitsy carrots and trellising all those sugar snap peas for your picking ease), the first of the summer crops are being transplanted into the field. Out this week went a planting of summer squash and cucumbers, followed soon by green beans and our second sweet corn planting.

IMG_3866

The strawberries are growing quickly, now that their row covers are off and the honey bees are actively pollinating. The plants are loaded with beautiful white flowers and small green berries are starting to form.

IMG_1175

We’ve been appreciating the rain these past few days. Despite having a great irrigation system, we can only water a certain amount of crops at a time. The plants are all happy with a good rain after that extended dry period. A few of our fields were planted with cover crops almost a month ago. Those we don’t irrigate in- cover crops are planted with the sole purpose of feeding the soil- so the rain will finally get them sprouting.

CSA shares are still available- only four more weeks until the first pick-ups, so please help us out by reminding your friends to register now! Remember to “subscribe” to this blog if you’d like to receive an email reminder whenever we post something new. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay tuned to the blog for some crew profiles, as we introduce you to the rocking team making it all happen here at Blooming Glen farm!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

March is howling out like a lion here on the blustery hill top of Blooming Glen Farm in aptly named Hilltown Township. We have begun our annual spring dance with the weather. A hot warm streak in mid-March and overall dry weather has us eager to charge forward. Our enthusiasm is reigned in when we check the 10 day forecast and see a 24 degree low next Tuesday night. Snow?! That forecast changed, thank goodness.

This is the first March in the history of the farm when we had to irrigate. Irrigating in March means turn on the irrigation system, set up the pipes, water, then drain the underground system when below freezing temperatures threaten, and repeat. Germinating under their protective row covers and in need of water are hakurei turnips, radishes, spinach, arugula, broccoli raab, carrots and beets. The row covers provide a layer of warmth, keep pesty bugs away, and help the ground stay moist in the howling winds. The challenge is getting them on and off to cultivate, especially in the wind. Certainly a great team building activity!

The warm dry weather gave us a jump on farm clean-up and field and bed prep. We have a few acres of ground made into beds, ready for planting as soon as the weather allows. The beds below, covered in silver mulch, are for onions. The silver color helps deter thrips, a super tiny bug that can vector in disease to the onion and affect long term storage.

Our plants move from the warm propagation greenhouse where they are first seeded, into the coldframe to be hardened off. Spinach, kale, onions, peas, lettuce, chard, kohlrabi and cabbage all await their time to be transplanted.

The farm took on a bustling rhythm this week with the start of a handful of new employees joining our full season farm crew. We are excited for fresh faces and the enthusiasm, experiences and energy they bring to the effort. After orientation they all jumped right into the swing of things, quickly learning new skills and working together fluidly with our returning crew members. Pictured a the top are just some of the folks working to grow your food here at Blooming Glen Farm this season.

Red and white spring onions were the first crop to be planted into the field in early March, a rainbow of potato varieties went in this week. The potatoes are placed in a line a foot apart by the riders on the transplanter, below, then another small tractor follows and hills them.

2016_April

Overwintered garlic is about 6 inches tall at this point, looking beautiful on its bed of straw.

We are looking forward to a bountiful season, full of sunny days and gentle rains. CSA registration is still open and available on the website, so if you haven’t already, head on over and register. We’d love for you to join us for our 11th season growing organic produce for our community. We typically start the first CSA pick-ups at the end of May. As we get closer, and see when those strawberries are ripening, we will be in touch with CSA members with an exact start date. Until then, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or here on the Blog. Happy Spring everyone!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.