Blooming Glen Farm | On The Farm
103
archive,paged,category,category-on-the-farm,category-103,paged-2,category-paged-2,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
 

On The Farm

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.

With ten seasons under our belt at Blooming Glen Farm, we felt it was time to brush off the cobwebs and spruce up our website. We loved our old site- it was a beautiful design from our friend in California, it aged well, and got us this far, but a lot has changed in the past 10 years, and we felt it was time for the website to reflect that growth. Sheesh, there was a time when we sent out the newsletter at night using dial-up internet! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When we arrived on this land 10 years ago with a year old baby, there was little to no infrastructure. The photo below was taken in January 2006, as we were breaking ground on the construction of the heated greenhouses which now stand adjacent to the Discovery Garden.

We started out with a 100 member CSA, on just a couple of acres. Over the past 10 years we’ve gone from 5 to 40 acres under cultivation, adding in seven hoophouses, one massive deer fence, and an extensive irrigation system. Our equipment and our staffing and our lessons learned have grown exponentially. We’ve increased the numbers of pounds of crops we are harvesting, and by default the numbers of folks we are feeding. But one of the most important numbers we have increased is harder to see and harder to measure- our soil organic matter, and in turn our soil microorganisms, the unsung heroes of organic agriculture- the bacteria and fungi, the nematodes and earthworms.

Our new website will hopefully carry us into the next 10 years, whatever that may bring. These days websites are expected to be informative, but concise, while also appealing visually. We added a short video which expresses the flavor (we hope) of the CSA. We have a few more video ideas in the works for this season, so stay tuned for future collaborations with our website designer, and photographer/videographer, Dave Barbaree. With our new website we were able to integrate the blog into the site, the site works equally well on smartphones and tablets, and most importantly we are able to change and update content ourselves. If you wish to receive an email whenever we post a new blog, you can subscribe (see the sidebar on the right). Unfortunately, if you were a subscriber previously you’ll need to subscribe again, as we lost you in the conversion.

Also new this season is our registration system through Small Farm Central. Click on any of the registration links sprinkled throughout our website and, if you haven’t already, easily sign up for a season of farm fresh produce! We are able to accept credit card payments through Paypal. The new registration system is visually intuitive, with lots of features we will introduce as the season continues, and most importantly Small Farm Central provides us with stellar customer service, so we in turn can do the same for you. Available for the 24 week 2016 CSA season are full and half shares for on-farm pick-up, as well as medium and large boxes for delivery to Yardley and Doylestown.

IMG_3060

Gazing out of the office window at the frozen landscape, we are busy gearing up for the new season. We are entering the last of our records from the 2015 season, taking stock of our seed and supply inventories, perusing seed catalogs and discussing variety changes. We are always tinkering, looking for crop varieties with the right combination of factors that will make it a winner here at Blooming Glen Farm- will it grow well in our heavy clay soil, in our variable and finicky climate, is it productive and does it fit with our organic management practices? Do we want to grow it? Does our community want to eat it?

IMG_3062

Though we won’t start seeding until mid February, there is still plenty of work to keep us busy- we are updating our job openings, managing registrations, and above all, dreaming of a season that unfolds exactly as planned (though experience tells us that’s about as likely to happen as winning the power ball).

The 2015 CSA season has come to an end. This was the 10th season for Blooming Glen Farm CSA, and we think it was one of our best yet. From strawberries to tomatoes to winter squash, it has been a long bountiful harvest season. Looking back we can barely remember the wet spring, followed by the weeks and weeks of dry weather.

The last share of the season saw the addition of brussel sprouts and a Cuban pumpkin, along with favorites like frost sweetened carrots, spicy ginger and popcorn. Similar in flavor and texture to an acorn squash, I roasted the Cuban pumpkin and had enough puree to enjoy as a side to dinner and for a batch of pumpkin muffins. Our last farmer’s markets of the season are this Saturday at Wrightstown and Easton. Come see us and stock up for the winter- CSA members receive 10% off at our market booth. All the winter squashes will keep for many months in a cool (not freezing) place.

Final share of the season 11/10/15

Final share of the season 11/10/15

With the end to the CSA season, we’d like to thank some of the faces from behind the scenes. We often talk about our field crew, but as you can imagine there are many hands involved in the chain from growing to harvest to your table. If you’ve been impressed by how clean the vegetables in the share are, you have these four folks pictured below to thank. We have come to rely on our CSA wash crew. No matter how many crates of veggies we harvest, no matter how much mud is clinging to their roots, they keep them moving through the wash tanks and into the cooler, all with a smile, undaunted by the rush to be ready for CSA pick-up by 1 pm sharp.

Sister Jess and Meghan bonding over carrots on Tuesdays; Les and Jen our Thursday team

Sisters Jess and Megan bonding over carrots on Tuesdays; Les and Jen our Thursday team

Megan Clymer has been washing with us for almost as long as the CSA has been in existence, and now she’s recruited her sister Jess Schultz into the fold to lend a hand on Tuesday mornings. Les Swartley lives just down the road and grew up in Blooming Glen. He wrote a wonderful blog post a few years past with a fantastic photo of his great-grandfather, dubbed the potato king of Blooming Glen. Be sure to check it out- there’s also a photo from 1914 of what was to become Blooming Glen Farm! Jen Westdyke joined Les again this season on Thursdays, and together they get the produce clean and ready to be distributed.

Summer crew 2015.

Big thanks for a great season from the 2015 farm crew!

As we wrap up another season on the farm, we are beginning to look ahead to the next. After a bit of a breather, we will begin seed ordering, record keeping, hiring and crop planning for another year. We are also in the midst of redesigning our website- stay tuned! We very much appreciate your looking and planning ahead with us, as it is your CSA registration and payments for the 2016 season which make it possible for all the work that needs to happen in the winter months. It is this community commitment and mutual support that set us apart from other farm models, and allows us to grow and continue to prosper from year to year.

As a thank you for planning ahead, we are offering an early bird discount. Blooming Glen Farm’s early bird discount is for returning members who re-register and pay for the 2016 season by Jan 1st, after which time we will open registration up to the public.

Members who register and pay by Jan 1st will receive a 5% discount. Depending on your share type that’s a savings of anywhere from $21 to $40. That’s no small potatoes!

This year we are trying a new registration system through Small Farm Central. We hope you will find it easy to use. Please do not hesitate to email us directly if you have any questions. To register for the 2016 CSA season, click on the following link (or copy and paste into your browser): http://bloomingglenfarm.csasignup.com. *You will need to select your share type and register first. DO NOT click on the member login button. This feature is for use after you register. Since we are using a new registration system, everyone must go through the share selection and registration process first.

With the new registration system we are able to offer the convenience of paying either through Pay Pal, or directly to the farm by check. If you choose to pay through PayPal, we will be adding on a 3% service fee to cover the fee that they charge for online transactions. We will continue to offer a down payment option- please note that you will need to make the down payment immediately and a final payment by June 1st. Both payments must be made using the same payment method you choose at registration.

Blooming Glen Farm is grateful for the opportunity to provide certified organic produce to you and your family. As we finish up our 10th season growing, we look ahead to a great 2016 season, and hope you’ll share it with us!

To Register for the 2016 farm season: http://bloomingglenfarm.csasignup.com

Have a delicious Thanksgiving and a wonderful winter!

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 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

Unseasonably warm weather has put a spring in our step as we reach the home stretch of the CSA. It certainly feels a little strange to be this warm during harvest in November, but we’re not complaining! We’ll take t-shirts over frosty fingers any day!  The share this week contains a few new items…arugula, popcorn and carrots. Check out my popping instructions in last season’s blog post if you are new to popping your own corn. A few blisters later, we got most all the kernels off the cobs for you. I did go ahead and purchase a hand crank sheller- (after we’d shelled most of it by hand of course 🙁 ). Hopefully it will allow us to increase production even more next year, as it is one of those crops that just tastes so remarkably better “homegrown”.

11/2/15, CSA on-farm A week #23.

11/2/15, CSA on-farm A week #23.

Another crop with a stupendous flavor is the frost nipped carrots. Oh so sweet and glowing with orange goodness, store bought carrots trucked in from California literally pale in comparison. They were a major success story of this season’s new machinery acquisition of a tractor drawn vacuum seeder. Sowing at the exact spacing we wanted completely eliminated the need to go through and thin the extra plants out. We are also pleased with the choice in carrot variety- certified organic seed, 50 days to harvest, and a great taste. That’s a win win!

2015 May12

Reminder- this week is the last boxed delivery share, as well as the last week for on-farm half shares week A. Next week (Nov. 10 and 12th) is the last week for on-farm full shares and half shares week B. Thanksgiving box details were emailed out separately today. If you did not receive an email and wish to purchase a box, please email us directly and we will contact you.

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 10th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

Frosty mornings have us waiting for the crops to thaw before harvest can start. We are looking forward to daylight savings time giving us a jump on the cold mornings. This week was spent planting garlic and beginning the process of covering it with straw mulch. The straw will protect the garlic on its journey through the cold winter and help suppress weeds for the 9 months the garlic is in the ground. We are increasing our acreage planted, as we can’t ever seem to have enough of this crop. A certain amount of our harvest is saved for seed each year- this season is the first we will be buying in seed to help increase our yields.

Fresh from the farm this week: butternut squash, frost sweetened greens, leeks, red celery and a delicious array of roots. Baby Hawaiian ginger grown here at the farm makes its debut in the CSA share.

10/28/15, on-farm CSA week #22, B

10/28/15, on-farm CSA week #22, B

We get our certified organic ginger seed direct from Kauai, presprout it in early March and grow it all season long until harvest starts in late September. We prefer to grow the ginger in large bags of our own soil mix- allowing us to really control the nutrients and soil aeration, and to start and end the growing process in our heated tunnels.

ginger-003Ginger is a warming herb- often used for the circulatory and digestive systems. It is a well-known antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. You will find the young ginger has a more nuanced floral flavor with less of the searing heat we are used to in store bought ginger. You can use the whole thing- no need to peel off a tough exterior layer. There isn’t one!

IMG_2445

Use your fresh ginger in tea, in soup (ginger carrot or ginger squash soup is delicious!), in stir-fries or in a marinade for topping salmon. If you don’t use it fresh in about 10 days, I would recommend preserving it by drying, pickling or freezing. When freezing, you would just grate it frozen into whatever dish you are preparing. If you want to use frozen chunks in your smoothie- cut it to the size you like before freezing and blend it while frozen.  Pickled ginger is a wonderful accompaniment to winter dishes, or make a ginger simple syrup to spice up your winter cocktails. Last season I dehydrated some ginger and made my own ginger powder for use in baking. Another wonderful option. Have fun with it!

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.

We woke to a frosty winterscape Monday morning, with the low temperature dipping down into the mid 20’s. It is always with mixed emotions we greet this time of year. There is a certain relief to see the page turn on the season, to think about planning and improving and moving into a less physically demanding time on the farm. It is with barely stifled glee that we gaze on the skeletal remains of the weeds we have battled all summer, but bittersweet to see the end to the peppers and tomatoes that have been tenuously holding on for the past few weeks. And I was a bit choked up to see my beautiful dahlias, even in the hoop house, smoked by the cold. Sigh.

IMG_2661

Despite the freeze warning proclaiming direly “the growing season is ending” the reality is there are many cold tolerant vegetables still in the ground, still being harvested. Though it is true that most of their growing is done, there is plenty of abundance to come. The leafy greens will be sweeter- their natural defense mechanism against the cold converts starches to sugars.

2015 May11

Tom and I noticed the sweeter flavor significantly in our sautéed raab for dinner last night. You can expect the same in the roots- beets, turnips, carrots and radishes, and in crops like leeks, broccoli, and brussel sprouts.

10/20/15, CSA share #21, on-farm week A.

10/20/15, CSA share #21, on-farm week A.

Certain crops have been harvested already and are in warmer protected storage: the winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes and celeriac. Our ginger was moved to the heated greenhouse- and will be coming up in the CSA share (along with popcorn), and will continue to be at the farmers markets.

It was quite the monumental effort from our crew last Friday, with everyone chipping in to row cover or harvest anything that we thought might perish in the cold. They all worked well into the evening, with tractor headlights guiding the way. It was easier to face Monday morning, knowing that we had done all we could, and it was out of our hands.

2014-09-26

This week saw the first harvest of the winter radishes: the black radish, green meat radish and watermelon radish. The black Spanish radish is popular in Eastern European countries, has a black skin, ivory flesh and a dryish texture with a pungent earthy flavor. High in Vitamin C it also touted for its medicinal properties. It can be grated raw to use as you would horseradish, or roasted. The green meat radish is a unique green fleshed Asian radish. It is similar to its close cousin, the larger white daikon. An excellent keeper, it is good eaten raw, cooked or pickled. The watermelon radish, so named because of its bright pink interior and greenish rind, is beautiful in a raw salad, but can also be roasted, pickled, or sautéed. Milder than most radishes, it is slightly sweet with a nice crisp bite when eaten raw.

Please note, the last on-farm pick-up week for the CSA is week #24 (half shares week B and all full shares), Tuesday Nov. 10 and Thursday the 12th. If you are an on-farm half share pick-up week A, your last week is Nov. 3rd or 5th. The last delivery for the 22 week boxed delivery shares will be on Wednesday Nov. 4th.

We will be offering a limited number of boxed Thanksgiving shares for pick-up at the farm on Tuesday Nov. 24th- ordering, pricing and payment instructions will be emailed out next week.

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.