Blooming Glen Farm | On The Farm
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On The Farm

A flurry of floating row covers have been unfurled on the farm in masses of white waves. The focus on the farm this week has been prep for the coming cold snap headed our way this weekend. It is typically around October 10th that we see our first few light frosts, but the forecast is calling for temperatures dipping down to 28 degrees Sunday night. This is quite a freeze and cause for some alarm, so we shifted our efforts to laying hoops and row covers over all our tender greens. Swiss chard, herbs, broccoli raab, arugula, lettuces, escarole, fennel, carrots, hakurei turnips, and beets are all tucked in under their cozy covers.

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Though the roots of the carrots, turnips and beets will survive, we want to save their green tops from being smoked in the cold. We dug the last of our sweet potatoes and will be harvesting all the celeriac this week. Both these crops were in the CSA share, along with our favorite, kabocha squash. Don’t put this squash on your porch for decoration- it is too delicious to miss out on! It is a very sweet thick dry squash, one of our favorites to enjoy oven roasted, scooped out and mashed.

10/13/15, on-farm CSA share #20, week B

10/13/15, on-farm CSA share #20, week B

The harvest festival on Sunday was a wonderful event- it was a perfect fall day, with a few hundred people in attendance. Twenty-four pies were entered in our 6th annual pie bake-off, the most entries ever! Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye, Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie!

The people's choice trophy, to be kept for one year and then passed on to the next winner.

The people’s choice trophy, to be kept for one year and then passed on to the next winner.

Over 100 people tasted the delectable entries and cast their votes. The three winning pies in the people choice category, as well as the three judges winner’s will be featured in another blog post coming soon, complete with recipes just in time for your holiday baking!

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The harvest festival was a celebration of all things veggie. Pumpkins were decorated, veggie tattoos applied, and scarecrows made.

View More: http://vanessalassinphotography.pass.us/20151011bgfharvestfest

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Goose Creek Pioneers kept up a steady jam of bluegrass music, entertaining young and old alike, while a steady stream of wagon rides took folks on a looping tour of the back forty, followed by a delicious potluck feast. It was a wonderful community celebration- thank you all for attending!

View More: http://vanessalassinphotography.pass.us/20151011bgfharvestfest

Katia McGuirk unveiled her beautiful gift to the garden- a little free farm library. The next time you are at the farm, please take a moment and visit it in the discovery garden. It is truly a magical addition, stocked with mostly children’s nature and garden themed books as well as a few adult selections. Book donations are very welcome! For those who are unfamiliar, you can borrow a book from the little free library, and either return it to us, or to another little free library. There are tons in Doylestown, thanks to the efforts of my friend Marlene Pray- who inspired the idea. There is a lovely facebook page with a map and information on the little free libraries located in and around Doylestown. We are looking forward to registering ours on the official free library site. Thank you Katia- you are a blessing to this farm!

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Post and photos* by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Additional photos contributed by Vanessa Lassin (of Vanessa Lassin Photography), Katia McGuirk, and Cheryl Gilmore. 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.

Rain and cool weather- just what our fall crops ordered. How quickly the farm greens up with a little extra moisture. Not that we haven’t been irrigating, but there is nothing like a good rain after weeks and weeks of dry. Hopefully the upcoming hurricane will spare our area the worst of the downpours. Earlier in the week before the rain fell, our farm crew scrambled to get our sweet potatoes and more field potatoes harvested while also fulfilling our regular harvest commitments, picking fall crops like broccoli and fennel, pictured below.

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The sweet potatoes are a little berserker- 11 pounds was the largest one we came across. What do you do with an 11 pound sweet potato??  Yields were high, but cosmetically they are not perfect- unfortunately the exterior skin is affected by scurf. Scurf is caused by the soil borne fungus monilochaetes infuscans which grows on the surface of the sweet potato tuber. The diseased areas are grayish-brown to purplish black and are only skin-deep.  This does not in any way affect edibility or the interior look or flavor- in fact our sweet potatoes are an incredible vibrant orange inside with a sweet and delicious taste- after curing for 10 days in the warm greenhouse, we will begin to sell and distribute them.

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Scurf does however decrease the marketability of the sweet potatoes (they don’t look pretty), and can cause them to lose quality faster in storage. Typically conventional growers will turn to fungicides as a preventative, which is not a tool we will use as organic growers. Crop rotation and clean sweet potato slip sourcing have not made any difference for us, and supposedly scurf is worse in soils that are heavy, with not so great drainage, and high in organic matter (that’s our farm). We will continue to research this issue, and hopefully find a solution (other than growing them on some light sandy Jersey soil!). Until then, don’t judge a book by its cover, or sweet potato by its skin color.

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9/29/15, on-farm CSA share #18, week B

The summer crops are truly winding down- the last of the tomatoes and sweet peppers and flowers are in this week’s share. We hope you are enjoying the transition to fall as much as we are. I personally love the return to making soups every week and roasting roots in the oven- the hakurei turnips can be eaten raw, especially those grown in the spring, but this time of year I prefer them oven roasted. Delicious!

With the  change of the season, the cacophony of cicadas in the trees have segued to the chirping of tree frogs. I was lucky to spot this little guy all nestled in the crook of our pear tree. To the right is a picture of a praying mantis on a large sunflower stalk, another lovely sign of health in the garden.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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)