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Author: bloomingglenfarm

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter, it did. Our unofficial observation is that these past few days have been the hottest of the summer yet. The lawn is crispy brown and dry, the summer crops are winding down and the fall crops are looking pretty sad, and our steady irrigation continues. Pretty similar story as last week!

Hopefully the rain on the horizon will not all fall in a fast downpour (slow and steady would be great!). Exacerbating our struggles with the heat, the “new” refrigerated box truck is in the shop awaiting parts, resulting in the unpopular farm dance known as the cooler shuffle.

9/8/15, on-farm CSA share #15, week A

9/8/15, on-farm CSA share #15, week A

With rain in sight we spent Tuesday afternoon harvesting our popcorn crop. Though we grew the same variety as last year, the plants are taller this season, so we were unable to use the conveyor belt- it was all harvested by hand. Our crew hung in there through the heat, working steadily down the narrow tunnels created by the dry crackling corn plants. The next step will be to get the beautiful kernels off the cobs. I see a volunteer work day on the horizon 😉

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Today our goal is to plant 10,000 strawberry plugs. All in a days work, right?!

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We treat our strawberries as annuals and replant them every fall. This makes it easier to rotate where they grow, and better manage disease, pest and weed pressure organically.

strawbs for 2016

Hot peppers are still abundant in the share this week. The following photo should help you identify the varieties. Large box shares beware- you have poblano peppers (mildly hot) – not to be confused with green bell peppers (no heat at all!), as well as an assortment of other colorful tiny but very very hot peppers, and the larger sweet Italian peppers (sweet! not hot). We made a whole batch of pickled hot peppers last weekend- recipe here from a previous blog post.

**A special note for boxed share members picking up at the YARDLEY delivery site. Pick-up at the Congregation Beth El site only for Wednesday Sept 23rd will be rescheduled for Thursday Sept. 24th (same hours) due to Yom Kippur. We thank you for your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.

hot peppers

Post and *photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. *Corn photos by Justin Seelaus. Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

As the calendar flips to September, the weather is challenging our reserves. It’s crazy hot and extremely dry, which means the alarm goes off around 2 am, to switch irrigation somewhere on the farm.

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We are irrigating as much as possible, running drip all day long, and overhead sprinklers in the mornings and evenings.

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Despite our best efforts we are still seeing certain crops suffer- the lettuce is bolting very quickly (bolting is when the plant goes to flower, a result of stress signaling to quick, make seeds!). Plantings of arugula and spinach have wilted and died from the heat, despite watering and attention. We are trying to baby our fall crops through to cooler weather- though relief does not seem in the near forecast. It is just too stinking hot.

9/1/15, on farm CSA share week B #14

9/1/15, on farm CSA share week B #14

In the meantime, we are getting fields that are finished for the season ready for cover crops. This means pulling plastic and drip tape up, discing the fields and prepping them for seeding some combination of oats, clover, rye and hairy vetch to name just a few. Cover crops help prevent erosion, increase organic matter, and improve soil tilth. What cover crops we choose to sow has to do with what will be planted there next season, as well as what the specific needs may be for that area of the farm.

Twenty more days until the equinox and the official start of autumn. Let’s hope that summer gives us some relief well before then.

August's super moon, or the full "corn moon" , rising over our popcorn planting.

August’s super moon, or the full “corn moon”, rising over our popcorn planting.

Post and *photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. *Irrigation photos by Justin Seelaus; this week’s share photo by Megan Clymer. Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

These are the weeks where we are starting to really feel the affects of the early summer continual rainstorms. With all this warm dry weather it can be easy to forget that there was a period of 6 weeks or so where it poured every few days. We are feeling it now in a gap in our tomatoes- the first plantings are finished due to disease issues from too much water. Hopefully it will be just a few weeks more until our next planting comes on. In the meanwhile plum tomatoes are in the share for this week- delicious as sauce of course, or even in sautés, but my favorite is to oven roast them, slowly at a low heat to really deepen the flavor.

8/25/15, CSA on farm share #13, week A.

8/25/15, CSA on farm share #13, week A.

The peppers are filling any gaps left by the tomatoes. Bulk sweet peppers are available for purchase- these are so easy to freeze- just slice them in strips and lay them out on cookie trays in your freezer. Then they can be scooped up into freezer bags for the winter. You can dice them frozen into winter soups and sautés- or my daughter likes them right out of the freezer as a snack.

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As a reflection of the harvest, our house has been enjoying stuffed peppers pretty regularly. I cook up some farro, my new favorite grain (it takes only 15 min, and has a delicious nutty flavor with a bit more texture than rice. It really holds up well which makes it perfect for stuffing peppers with). While the grain is cooking, sauté some diced veggies like onions, squash, eggplant, tomatillos, tomatoes- whatever you have on hand, then toss it all together with a handful of chopped fresh herbs. Cut the tops off some poblano peppers, and some sweet frying peppers- wow- the orange ones are really the best!- and roast them at 400 on a baking sheet for about 20-30 min. So good with a salad or a sautéed green.

This week is the last of the melons and sweet corn- a perfect way to wrap up August. It’s that time to really savor the flavors of summer as cooler weather approaches. Speaking of fall greens- kale and collards are back on the scene next week- hooray! The leeks, cabbages and sweet potatoes are coming along nicely. Our direct sown fall roots are up and growing- winter radishes, turnips, beets and carrots- and are all being irrigated steadily by Justin.

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**Just a reminder that now that we have a smaller field crew as our college and high school help heads back to school, we need every minute until 1pm to be ready with your CSA share on pick-up days. Please hold off entering the distribution room until 1pm. Also, please remember that the farm is closed on Sundays. Thank you for your understanding!

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

We were getting complacent- it was starting to feel like fall for a minute. Not the case, for mid-August’s soaring temperatures reminded us otherwise. It’s been a hot one on the farm. There’s nothing better than a sweet juicy watermelon on a hot steamy day- and we’ve been harvesting watermelons steadily the past few weeks. The share this week includes a choice of a red or orange watermelon or a cantaloupe. I personally am in love with the orange watermelons, called new orchid- they are sweet and fleshy with minimal seeds and a depth of flavor, and unlike the yellow watermelons, these grow to a nice size (though not as large as some of the whopping red ones). We’ll be growing more of those next season for sure.

The first of the sweet Italian peppers have arrived. We love these peppers for both their flavor and their prolific harvest. They make a great snack enjoyed raw, or sautéed with other veggies like onions, tomatoes, and tomatillos (toss this sauté with fresh herbs and top your roasted spaghetti squash for a delicious dinner).

8/18/15, on-farm share #12 (week B).

8/18/15, on-farm share #12 (week B).

In the next few weeks our farm crew starts to diminish in size as our high school and college students head back to school. We will miss their energy and added enthusiasm (especially on Fridays when we harvest and pack for three farmers markets!).

Getting ready for our weekly team meeting.

Getting ready for our weekly team meeting.

Thank you Byron, Emma, Daniel, Robbie, and Spencer, as well as Mr. Grace, our resident fourth grade teacher. It’s always a rough couple of weeks as we adjust to less hands on the farm, but we’re so grateful for your hard work and dedication this summer!

Spencer and Byron planting cilantro.

Spencer and Byron planting cilantro.

Save the Date! Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest is coming up in October. This year’s farm gathering is on Sunday, October 11, at 3pm, community potluck at 5:30pm (that’s Columbus Day weekend). Start planning your winning pie entry for the annual pie bake-off contest! More details to come. We hope you’ll join us to celebrate another bountiful season of good food and community connections.

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

P1016490 smWell, maybe not 100 ways… but spaghetti squash is so incredibly easy to prepare and so versatile, I bet we could think of 100 ways pretty quickly!  Spaghetti squash can be served as a simple side dish or as a flavorful full meal, and although I won’t list exactly 100 ways to eat it here, the preparation possibilities are truly endless. 

Nutritionally speaking, spaghetti squash is most notable for its high fiber and vitamin C content. The heart- and belly-healthy fiber found in this squash not only promotes cardiovascular health, but also helps maintain blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling full longer. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in everything from boosting our immune systems to protecting our skin.

Use the basic roasted squash recipe below as a starting point, then try out the side or main dishes listed, or experiment by using your own favorite flavors.

Spaghetti Squash 100 Ways

P1016492 smBasic roasted spaghetti squash: Preheat over to 400-degrees. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, being careful not to dig into the flesh of the squash. Place squash halves on a baking sheet or in a baking dish, cut side down. Put a little water on the pan, enough to just cover the cut ends of the squash. Bake for 30-45 minutes (smaller squash will cook more quickly), until squash is tender and a fork can easily pierce through the skin/peel and flesh. Remove the squash flesh by scraping a fork lengthwise across the inside of each half. Toss squash with a little oil or butter, salt and pepper.

You can also microwave spaghetti squash: Pierce squash all over with a fork or paring knife. Place in microwave and cook for 10-15 minutes, until squash is tender and a fork can easily pierce through the skin/peel and flesh.

As a simple side, toss above-cooked squash noodles with:

  • Lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs
  • Chopped tomatoes and garlic
  • Tomato sauce and nutritional yeast or Parmesan cheese
  • Capers, lemon, and parsley
  • Butter and scallions

As a main dish:

Taco-style
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 cup black beans
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 cup peppers, chopped
1/2 cup tomatillos, chopped
Toppings: shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, shredded cheddar cheese
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion, garlic, chili powder and beans until everything is tender and heated through. Add tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos and cook ~5-7 minutes minutes, until peppers are just tender. Add squash and combine well. Serve immediately with toppings.

Buffalo and Blue Cheese
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chickpeas, or mock chicken, shredded or chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1/2-1 cup wing sauce
Toppings: green onion, chopped celery, blue cheese crumbles
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion, garlic, and chicken until everything is tender and heated through. Add carrots and cabbage and cook ~3-4 minutes, until crisp tender. Add squash and combine well. Toss with hot sauce, adjusting amount to desired spiciness. Serve immediately with toppings.

Pad Thai
Grapeseed oil
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cubed tofu (baked tofu works great)
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, shredded
Whisk together sauce ingredients:
3 tablespoons tamari sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Toppings: chopped green onions, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, sriracha sauce
Method: Heat a large pot with oil, sauté onion and tofu cooked/heated through; cooking time depends on whether you’re using raw or baked tofu. Add sprouts, carrots, and half the sauce and cook ~3-4 minutes, until crisp tender. Add squash and remaining sauce and combine well. Cook for a few minutes over low-medium heat, allowing flavors to meld together. Serve immediately with toppings.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified 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!

Late August and yes, the tomatoes are literally rolling in. Into the packing shed they come in from the field- colorful heirlooms and ripe red beefsteaks and sweet teeny cherries of all colors and shapes. Then as quickly as we can find homes for them they head back out into the world. Whether this is to the farmers market, CSA or wholesale, we are kept busy picking, sorting, weighing and packing.

Melissa and Emma are packing tomatoes for wholesale accounts like Zone 7 and Ambrogi's.

Melissa and Emma are kept busy packing tomatoes for wholesale accounts like Zone 7 and Ambrogi’s who supply local groceries and restaurants.

Though our hands are busy with summer harvest, we are always looking a few months ahead. Joining the parade of bounty out of the fields this week was the winter squash. It is ready quite a bit earlier this season- our local seed rep informed us this is not an isolated event, but occurring across the region. We harvested the spaghetti squash last week, and then before Tuesday’s rain came we scrambled to get the butternut squash out of the ground, followed by the kabocha and a few gigantic alien blue hubbards.

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The kabocha is a corky stemmed winter squash which needs to be cured. They will get spread out on tables in a greenhouse covered with a shade cloth. This time period in a warm protected environment will enhance flavor and shelf life. They will be ready to enjoy just as the cool fall weather rolls around and we are all craving heartier fare.

8/11/15, CSA on-farm share #11

8/11/15, CSA on-farm share #11

Meanwhile enjoy the fruits of summer- the juicy melons, sweet delicious tomatoes, and spicy hot peppers- all the salsa fixings! Check out a previous post by Mikaela with a delicious Tomatillo Jalapeno Soup recipe, or Jana’s directions for oven-dried cherry tomatoes.

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

This week’s harvest features some new veggies: spaghetti squash, tomatillos, red torpedo onions, yellow and red watermelons and hot peppers, as well as a return of swiss chard and sweet corn. Can you say salsa time?? There is a serious amount of food coming out of the fields right now- which requires quite a bit of juggling to manage all the picking that needs to be done while also squeezing in some field work.

Watermelon harvest; late field tomatoes yet to ripen

Tuesday’s watermelon harvest; a late planting of field tomatoes yet to ripen, but looking good after a little weeding.

A few of our tomato plantings that were meant to be staggered are both peaking at the same time (go figure!), and the cherry tomatoes- well, no surprise there, they are prolific as always. No matter how many cherry tomatoes we pick for markets and wholesale and the CSA picks each week, they just keep coming in a tidal wave of sweet rainbow goodness. It won’t be long until the plum tomatoes are rolling in as well (yikes!). We will be offering them soon in half bushel quantities for canning and preserving so get your supplies ready!

8/4/15, CSA on-farm share #10

8/4/15, CSA on-farm share #10

The farm is truly living up to its name right now- every where you look, it’s blooming!

Sunflower; sweet potato flower.

Sunflower; sweet potato flower.

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the most common barriers to health eating that I hear is time. Between family & friends, work & school, hobbies & activities, there just never seems to be enough time, does there?

There are two tricks that I always recommend — and use myself: 1) A little meal planning & food prep each week, and 2) A repertoire of quick, simple, & adaptable recipes.  The Summer Veggie Noodle Bowl here serves double duty, playing a part in both of those tricks!  Prepare a big batch at the beginning of the week & reheat for lunches or dinners throughout the week, & when the seasons (or contents of your pantry) change, simply adapt the ingredients to what’s available.  Bonus: this dish taste great both hot & cold.

Summer Veggie Noodle Bowl

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Sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup tamari or liquid aminos
2 TBS sesame oil
3 TBS agave (or other sweetener)
6 gloves garlic, minced
1/2+ tsp crushed red pepper

Noodle bowl
1 package (~10 oz) brown rice vermicelli*
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cups zucchini &/or summer squash, shredded or julienned
2 cups carrots, shredded or julienned
kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 head escarole, chopped
1 can (~1-3/4 cups) black soy beans**
Sesame seeds for garnish
* Or 1 package (~9 oz) whole grain soba noodles or 1 package (~8 oz) whole wheat angel hair pasta.  Or, change it to a whole grain bowl & use any whole grain (brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, etc.)
** Or shelled edamame, chickpeas, adzuki, other bean, or any other protein of your choice.

Directions
In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until combined & then set aside.

Prepare noodles per package instructions, drain & stir in a small splash of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions for 3-4 minutes, until translucent. Add zucchini, carrots, corn, escarole, & 1/3* of the sauce & sauté for 5-7 minutes, until heated through. Stir in beans & sauté another 5 minutes, until beans are heated & escarole is cooked down. Stir in noodles & 1/3* of the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until everything is heated through. Garnish with sesame seeds & serve immediately.

* If you’re making a batch that will be reheated, reserve 1/3 of the sauce for reheating.  Otherwise, use 1/2 the sauce while cooking the veggies & 1/2 the sauce when stirring in the noodles.

gfg_head shot mPost and photos by Mikaela D. Martin: Blooming Glen CSA member since 2005, board-certified 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!

It’s almost August, and here at the farm we liken it to the “middle of the lake” effect. We are equidistant from all shores, and as we tell ourselves and our crew, we just need to keep paddling. The farm has a fuzzy feral look about it- the weeds are higher than we’d like them to be (break out the weed wacker!), the mosquitos and horse flies are taunting us as we harvest, disease is encroaching on the tomatoes, and the heat just exacerbates how tired we all feel. When the day finally ends with the setting sun and we step inside our homes they mirror the farm outside- dirty, with piles of dishes and laundry and loads of unchecked off to-do lists- and with most of us working 6 days a week, we barely have any time to cook the food we are growing, let alone preserve the bounty.

7/28/15, on-farm share #9

7/28/15, on-farm share #9

So how do we keep the paddles moving? We remind ourselves and our crew that the work we are all doing is important, that we each play an integral part in the season long effort to grow food on 40 acres of land. We are impacting people’s daily lives by providing organic nutrient-rich produce raised sustainably and with heart, and through that, a community connection to something greater than the worries we might have over will we have enough produce?, enough variety?, enough income? to provide for us all.

Breaking new ground- about 5 acres back by the woods.

Breaking new ground- about 8 acres back by the woods.

Though we are tired, we all feel physically strong, and we can find joy and satisfaction in the small things- the sweet ripe flavor of a juicy cantaloupe and the discovery of a new variety we love, the tiny sundrenched package of a cherry tomato bursting with summer heat, the soft warm feel on bare feet of newly plowed earth, the myriad of butterflies flitting amongst the bright colored patches of flowers, the synchronicity of working as a team to achieve not just daily but season long goals.

Storage onions harvested and being laid out to dry and cure.

Storage onions harvested and being laid out to dry and cure.

We hope that you feel the same way, that in some small way our work has touched your life for the positive. That this good food grown by so many hands and with such intention nourishes and supports you in your own work, and that the connection it brings to community and the earth ripples out though all our lives in positive ways out into the world. August on a veggie farm is not easy, but we can see the distant shore ahead, and we’re gonna keep paddling!

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

The heat wave of the last few days was a doozy, but it and the roving thunderstorms seem to be behind us for a few days at least. We are hustling to make the most of the break in the weather. The cultivator is on the move again, beds have been made and crops planted.

Lexi Berko, cultivation manager, back in the fields after a soggy few weeks.

Lexi Berko, cultivation manager, back in the fields after a soggy few weeks.

The work days have gotten longer as the harvest increases. Bringing in all the cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and cantaloupes has our days stretching late into the evenings.  The first and second planting of sweet corn look amazing, with minimal bug and bird damage, and we had fun harvesting over 2000 ears for Tuesday’s CSA pick-up.

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Thought the harvest is just starting to reflect the main season summer crops (corn! cantaloupes! tomatoes!), we are already looking ahead to fall, transplanting leeks, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, and the final rotations of summer squash and cucumbers. We have a watchful eye on our ripening winter squash crop and anticipate golden spaghetti squash in August.

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After 9 months in the ground, almost all of the garlic was harvested last week. Our last minute email brought out a handful of stellar volunteers, who not only lent their hands, but their company as well. It is always a treat for us to be able to chat with enthusiastic CSA members and get to know some of you a little better. It makes the time pass that much quicker, and the work that much more fun. So thank you!

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We are seeking a farm chef to prepare lunch for our farm crew once a week on Tuesdays, using fresh veggies from the farm.  Unfortunately our current chef is unable to continue with the job, so please contact us if you know anyone who might have the skills and interest to feed our hungry crew once a week. Our farm crew works incredibly hard, and we’d love to be able to provide them a nourishing meal made with the fruits of their labor. We were sad to have lost a chef mid-season, right when energy levels on our crew are low, and the days long. So please help us spread the word!

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 entering its 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Tricia is passionate about food, art and nature and the intersection and expression of all three.

(*Photo of Lexi Berko contributed by Justin Seelaus)