Blooming Glen Farm | On The Farm
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On The Farm

Sunday was a beautiful sunny afternoon, sandwiched between two dreary rainy days. With over a hundred votes cast in Blooming Glen Farm’s 5th annual pie bake-off contest, we are judging attendance around 150 to 200. The band was hopping, the popcorn popping and the scarecrows multiplying. What a fun way to wind down this wonderful growing season with amazing weather and amazing people. The festival, and especially the potluck was truly a celebration of the bounty of this land! Thanks to all who volunteered and attended, and those who contributed their creativity, like clay artist Katia McGuirk, playwright Anne Hamilton and her actors and actresses, chef Kristin Moyer and popcorn popper Justin, the goofy and talented band members of Goose Creek Pioneers, and all the pie bakers. It really felt like a very special community celebration.

2014-10-10

Next week we will be posting the winning pie recipes- the top three in the people’s choice, and the top three judges vote. All the pies were superb- as one pie judge said- there must be something in the veggies at Blooming Glen Farm! This year’s first place winners were new to pie baking. The people’s choice first place went to a novice 16 year old baker with her chocolate pecan recipe, and the judges vote went to two young children who baked a classic apple pie with the help of their dad. Pretty cool! More details and recipes to come!

The share this week features two winter squash varieties to chose from, the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin and the Cuban pumpkin.  A classic pumpkin of the 1800s, the Long Island Cheese pumpkin was most likely named for its shape and color, which bring to mind a wheel of fresh cheese. The name may also stem from the colonial practice of making “pumpkin cheese”, a sweet preserve we’d call pumpkin butter. In addition to its beautiful pale orange skin, this pumpkin contains a sweet flesh that’s fantastic for baking.

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10/14/14, share #20

The other winter squash choice was a Cuban Pumpkin, also called Calabaza, or Jamaican pumpkin. It is mottled green, yellow and tan, with a light yellow flesh and a smooth sweet flavor. We grew this pumpkin sucessfully last season, and increased our planting this year. As the name suggests it is typically grown throughout the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. A popular Cuban dish is Arroz con Calabaza, or Pumpkin Rice. Chunks of squash are simmered with rice, garlic, onions, peppers, and fragrant herbs and spices. The squash can also be baked or made into soup, and substituted in recipes for other hard skinned winter squashes like butternut and hubbard.

Also new this week- romanesco cauliflower and kohlrabi. The fall kohlrabi is a variety that is grown to be large, store well, and still maintain its sweetness. We’ve featured this strange alien shaped veggie in various recipes on the blog over the year: Kohlrabi Dal with Aromatic Rice, Kohlrabi Fritters with a Yogurt Sauce, and Kohlrabi and Turnip Slaw (and variations). I love kohlrabi raw as a slaw with apples and fennel. Enjoy the flavors of fall!

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

 

Join us this Sunday the 12th at 3pm to celebrate the season, at Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest and Potluck. We have lots of fun planned-and we are still taking entries for our fifth annual pie bake-off! Local bluegrass band Goose Creek Pioneers will be jamming for us again this season, and the popular scarecrow making and veggie pumpkin creations will be happening. Catch a sunset wagon ride led by Corbin or join Katia McGuirk in her community clay project.  4th Street Foodworks is bringing their big kettle and will be popping Blooming Glen’s own popcorn with Chef Kristin mixing up herb and veggie blends to go on top. Rest your feet in the Garlic Seed Social area as we split up bulbs of garlic for planting. Or hop in a potato sac and get jumping with some old-fashioned family fun.

New at the festival this year: The Farm Show, site-specific theatre at Blooming Glen Farm, written and directed by longtime CSA member Anne Hamilton, Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy. Shows at 3:30pm and 4:30pm, the walking tour lasting approx. 45 min. Space is limited so sign up when you get to the festival. Don’t forget to bring a potluck dish to share, your beverage and place settings and a picnic blanket. With all these food lovers, this is one community meal not to miss! So grab a friend, bring your family and join us this Sunday!

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This week’s CSA share introduces the first fennel and leeks of the fall, and continues with sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and winter squash. It may be because of the favorable conditions, namely cooler weather we had later in the summer, but whatever it is, the fall crops are looking big and beautiful this season. Farmer Tom is feeling partcularly good about the tall leeks!

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We haven’t quite said goodbye to summer yet. The last of the tomatoes are still trickling in. We are slowly dismantling the trellis systems of the summer crops in order to get the fields cleaned up and planted in cover crop for the winter. We had two light frosts at the farm in the past week, which is typical around the full moon of October. Speaking of full moon, I got up early Wednesday morning to try to catch the lunar eclipse of the blood moon. I didn’t see it, but I did catch a beautiful sunrise over the village of Blooming Glen- pictured below.

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We’ve had a few questions about the end of the season- the last distributions of the CSA, week #24, will be Nov. 11 and 13th. This Friday is the last delivery share- week #16. We will be offering special holiday boxed shares for purchase and pick-up the week of Thanksgiving- stay tuned for more details. We will also let you know as soon as we have registration renewal up and live for the 2015 season. Thanks, and see you Sunday!

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

Sweet potatoes, beets and winter radishes- the cooler weather and shift in crops signals a time to turn the oven back on and dive into delicious fall soups and roasted root vegetables.

Looking way back to April, spring radishes are one of the first things we plant when the ground dries out. French breakfast and red radishes grow fast -as quick as 3 to 4 weeks from seed to maturity. We harvest them pretty small- about the size of a gumball, and their peppery kick is a welcome kick start to our digestion after a long winter. Winter radishes on the other hand are planted beginning of August and take almost twice as long as spring radishes to mature, growing best into the cooler fall weather. To help them reach their full size potential, we thin the plants. The long daikons can reach a length of 12 inches or more, the round globe types grow happily to 3-5 inches around. Sturdy and beautiful, winter radishes are chock full of hardy nutrition.

This week’s CSA harvest had a choice between daikon radish and green meat radish. These are just two of the four varieties of winter radishes we grow here at Blooming Glen Farm.

9/30/14, share #18

9/30/14, share #18

The daikon radish looks like a giant unicorn horn, and has a mild moist texture. Traditionally used in Japanese cuisine as pickles or in stir-fries, daikon is valued medicinally as a blood and kidney cleanser- it can be combined in a broth with seaweed or in a tea to aid digestion. Two thin slices of pickled daikon is the traditional end to a meal in Japan as it is said to both cleanse the palate and aid in the digestion of the meal. 

Grated on a greens mix, watermelon radishes, or rose heart, with their bright pink interiors will jazz up any salad. Appearing more like a turnip at first glance, peeling back the moss colored shoulders reveals a hidden splendor. They are sweetly mild, with a little bit of spice, and thanks to the fun color, the kid friendliest of the group. Though it can be cooked, I prefer it raw so as not to lose that vibrant rose color. It pairs well with the flavors of fennel and apple.

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The Spanish black radish has a dull black exterior that hides an irridescent pearly white center. Its hot flavor is tempered by a bitter earthiness, almost as if the radish takes on the terroir of our land. In China and Europe it has been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years as a gallbladder tonic and a natural remedy for digestive problems. High in Vitamic C, some people say the pungent spiciness can help ward of colds and flus.

Green meat radish is a type of daikon with a much spicier flavor than its elongated white cousin. Green meats are touted as sweet and mild but I found the ones we are harvesting the most aggressively hot of the bunch.

All these radishes can be enjoyed grated, with the addition of soy sauce and touch of freshly grated ginger, and served with grilled meats or fish, or vegetables, in the style of daikon oroshi, which is simply Japanese for grated radish. Winter radishes are also wonderful roasted with other roots or added to soups.

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

 

 

 

 

 

The crops coming from the field are reflective of the change in seasons. I love autumn vegetables- the colors and flavors, the earthy sweetness, the warm satisfying meals. From a farmer’s perspective fall is the one time of year we can really relax- the successes and failures of the season have been determined, the chores are geared more toward harvest and field clean up, the temperatures are friendly to physical labor. 

Harvesting Arugula

Harvesting arugula

We exhale, and breathe in a feeling of accomplishment. We take in the views from the farm, the colors of the sky and trees and the smell in the air. It’s not the frantic hot pace of summer or the eagerness and anxiety of spring, nor the planning and office work and excel spreadsheets of winter.

9/16/14, share #16

9/16/14, share #16

This week’s harvest has the first winter squash, as well as kennebec potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and collard greens. Delicata squash is one of my favorites. Also known as sweet potato squash, it is delicious baked in halves or rounds. We’ve featured it in a number of recipes in the blog over the years. Here is one: Sweet & Savory: Warm Curried Millet Salad with Delicata Squashand another recipe featuring acorn squash: Herbed Acorn Squash & Quinoa Risotta. Unfortunately, we did not have as much success with our acorn squash, but there is plenty of delicata, butternut and kabocha to look forward to.

A little history on Kennebec potatoes: this light tan, thin-skinned potato, though widely grown is rarely seen in grocery stores. They were introduced in the 40’s by the USDA as a good frying spud and subsequently gobbled up by big companies like Lay’s. The Kennebec was destined to a life as a crispy potato chip, or in the case of California fast food chain In-N-Out Burger, a french fry. With its dry and firm texture, and vivid nutty flavor, Kennebec is a potato that tastes like a potato, whether fried, mashed or baked. 

Speaking of potatoes, we started digging the sweet potatoes this week. After they are dug they will need to cure in a warm place for 2 weeks to encourage optimum sweetness and longevity. Unlike regular potatoes that grow in hills that are super easy to dig with our tractor drawn potato digger, sweet potatoes grow under a mass of vines and take quite a bit more time to unearth.

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Ryan with a 5 pound sweet potato!

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Corbin and crew harvesting sweet potatoes

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Save the Date! Blooming Glen Farm’s annual Harvest Fest is coming up in October. This year the event is on a Sunday, October 12, at 3pm, community potluck at 5:30pm (that’s Columbus Day weekend). What’s on tap? Local music and performance, community art, pie bake-off contest (plan your winning entry now!), garlic seed social, farmy crafts, wagon ride and more! We can’t do it without you! Please consider volunteering to help the day of the event. Sign up sheets will be available in the CSA distribution room. Help us celebrate year nine of Blooming Glen Farm, and another rocking harvest season!

9/9/14, share #15

9/9/14, share #15

Speaking of the harvest, we are excited for the first of the fall broccoli, swiss chard and cabbage.  All these crops are loving the cooler weather, and are growing beautifully.

Broccoli Harvest

Broccoli Harvest

Looking ahead, we planted next spring’s strawberry crop. We treat our strawberries as annuals, replanting every fall so as to avoid weed and disease issues. This planting was our largest yet, with over 10,000 strawberry plugs going into the field. Every plug goes in by hand. Since it’s so crucial not to bury the crown below the soil level, we forego using the transplanter, and tuck in each plant with care. In late fall the aisles will get mulched with straw and by early winter we will cover the plants with a heavy cloth row cover to help them survive the harsh cold.

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Even though the strawberry plants are on drip tape, since it was such a hot day when they were planted, we turned the overhead sprinklers on immediately. Then (some of us) promptly ran through the sprinklers.

sprinklers

tcheadshotPost and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Tricia and her husband Tom have been growing together since 1996 and farming together since 2000. They started Blooming Glen Farm in 2006. Tricia is passionate about food, community, art and nature and the intersection of all four.

Get ready to eat! There is always one share each season that is truly epic. This might be that one. The summer bounty is at its peak, and you may just need a wheelbarrow to get this share home…or at the very least a strong back.

8/19/14, share #12

With three pounds of plum tomatoes in the share, small batch sauce may be on the menu, or oven-roasted tomatoes. My favorite way to enjoy the plums is to halve them, toss in olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt, and roast on a cookie tray in the oven. Roast them at a low temp, around 225 degrees. I put them in the oven in teh morning and let them go all day. These are delicious on pizza or in pasta. The whole tray can be put into the freezer, than the frozen tomatoes popped into freezer bags. They make for a delightful winter treat. If you’re feeling ambitious, 25 pound bulk boxes of the plum tomatoes can still be purchased.

This week was the last harvest of melons- both the cantaloupe and watermelon fields were picked, mowed, tilled and readied for cover crop seed to be planted. Hard to believe this is week #12, the midway point for the CSA distribution!

Justin weeds the brussel sprouts

Keeping an eye toward fall, we’ve been digging around in the sweet potatoes and they are sizing up beautifully. Coming out of the ground this week is the first of the celery root (aka celeriac). The fall cauliflower and broccoli is also looking awesome as we keep the weeds pulled and the plants watered.

Fall cauliflower field

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner. Additional photos by Tom Murtha.

It’s been an unusual summer here at the farm. The cool nighttime temperatures have affected some of the crops that are typically more prolific. The sweet peppers are ripening slowly- we see the first of the harvest this week. We are actually noticing blossom drop because of the broad temperature difference between night and day. The heirloom tomatoes continue to be profuse however, coming from both the field and the high tunnels- 7 pounds of tomatoes in this week’s share, not including the cherry’s. I’ll be posting Chef Kristin’s recipe featuring tomatoes, so check it out.

8/12/14, share #11

Out in the field the focus is on fall. The harvest of the winter squash has begun. Kabocha and blue hubbard were first, next will be butternut and delicata. Look for spaghetti squash in next week’s share.

Multiple varieties of kabocha winter squash

Most of the crop of storage onions have been harvested and are laid out in the now shade cloth covered greenhouse to dry down and cure.

The winter radishes, varieties like green meat, watermelon and black radish, are being thinned and cultivated; carrots and beets are not far behind.

Tractor cultivation of the winter radishes.

Even though it is still August, as farmers we are aware of the shortening day length (which means growth slows down) as we head into fall and winter. We are busy looking ahead, tending to the cabbage, broccoli and romanesco, as well as kale, chard, broccoli raab and arugula. Enjoy the remainder of the summer, and get excited for the bounty of fall!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

This week’s harvest screams summer… watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers and yes, the tomatoes are finally here!

7/29/14, share #9

Out on the farm, the acre of garlic is being harvested. We started last week, and will be finished today. Keep an eye on the Zone 7 website for their final video in their garlic series, filmed at our farm.

This is one of Tom and my favorite crops to grow. Planted last October, the garlic has a long journey to harvest.

After it is pulled from the field, (a tractor bar loosens under the garlic beds and then we pull each one by hand) it is then bundled and strung from the rafters in the Rosenberger’s beautiful barn.

The next big task on the farm is to harvest all the storage onions. You’ve been enjoying the sweet white onions pulled fresh from the ground. The storage onions are pulled and dried on racks to be used well into the winter.

Farming is pretty hard work, that’s no doubt. This week was a particularly fun share to harvest (heavy, but fun!)- seeing the mountains of beautiful corn and melons was awesome. However, one of the more rewarding parts of our job is to see the fruits of our labor end up in appreciative hands, whether leaving in bags at the farm market stands, or headng home in your baskets from the farm. I love seeing all your smiling faces each week enjoying the CSA shares, especially the pick-your-own!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

Another strange summer in Pennsylvania… It may feel warm during the day but these cool nights that are such wonderful sleeping weather are keeping our tomatoes from ripening, and testing our farmer patience. Loaded with green fruit, we are finally seeing the first blush of red on the plants.

It may still be a week or two until we see the full avalanche of ripe fruit. This is definitely a later harvest than usual- caused by both the current weather and the late winter that pushed the spring planting back a few weeks. Hopefully the first frost of the fall will be later than usual as well!

The conveyor belt worked overtime this week as we put it to use to harvest the sweet corn and cantaloupes. This back-saving harvest tool is a favorite of the whole crew, used almost every other day in the cucumbers and summer squash. We harvest right onto the belt which funnels the crops directly onto a wagon to be packed.

The cantaloupes are a success story this season. We have tinkered with variety and planting methods in hopes of getting a great harvest- and here it is!

The sweet corn, as we have written about in the past, is always a challenge to grow organically. We mainly battle the corn worms and the black birds. Each year we hang dozens of cards on the corn tassels which contain thousands of beneficial wasps. 

Farmer Tom hangs the cards containing beneficial wasps in the sweet corn.

To keep the birds at bay, we invested in a noise making cannon- our experience from last year proved it is effective after just a few times. Still, you will see some bird and worm damage on the ears in this week’s share. In addition to managing pests, another challenge with growing sweet corn organically is that corn has heavy nutrient demands. We switched corn varieties this season, in hopes of growing a larger ear. Since we do not utilize chemical fertilizers like conventional growers, we have to look for varieties that respond well to organic management practices.

7/22/14, share #8

Another treat in this week’s harvest are the Purple Viking potatoes. This beautiful variety has a deep purple skin with hot pink splashes and a creamy white flesh. Delicious baked, roasted or mashed, this is one of Tom and my favorite potato varieties, not only for its appearance but for its wonderful flavor.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.

With just a few weeks to go to the start of CSA pickup, thousands of tiny residents from Blooming Glen Farm have been hard at work. Not your typical Carhartt clad farm workers, these foraging buzzing honeybees are contributing to the effort just the same, helping pollinate the strawberries, vegetable crops and various flowers around the farm.  Justin Seelaus and Lexi Berko, our residential beekeepers, have been frequently checking the newly established and revamped apiary on the property to promote healthy and sustainable growth on the farm.

As the next generation of beekeepers, Justin and Lexi practice Treatment/ Chemical Free Beekeeping, as well as provide our honey bees’ access to flowers, fruits and vegetables grown by organic processes. This in turn results in healthy and hardier bees with chemical free honey. By using Treatment Free Beekeeping, our beekeepers encourage our bees to use their natural bee biology, promoting natural habits and responses to typical environmental stresses.  In addition, we have introduced diverse genetics from New World Carniolan Honeybees, Apis mellifera carnica, which provide the gentleness and honey production of a typical Italian Honey bee, with disease resistance and hygienic behaviors favored in Treatment Free Beekeeping.

More traditional beehives to the left and center; yellow top bar hive to the right.

Finally, the latest addition to our apiary is our very first Top Bar Beehive.  This new style of beehive is gaining in popularity by allowing beekeepers to inspect their hives with minimal invasiveness to the colony. And just as important, the design is also easier on the beekeeper, as it eliminates the need to lift extemely heavy honey-filled boxes. The design follows that of a typical trough with a series of bars placed over the top, spaced evenly to account for bee space and inspected weekly to ensure proper comb construction. In the Top Bar Beehive, the bees are not provided with foundation (a wax guide to build comb), so they must build it from scratch, allowing a more hygienic system of beekeeping.

A frame from the Top Bar Beehive, with comb built entirely by the bees.

With all these recent additions to the apiary and new practices in beekeeping, thousands of bees on the property have been busy collecting the first spring nectar and pollen flow this year has to offer.  As you walk around the farm in the upcoming months, gathering flowers or eating strawberries, please take the time to thank the honeybees for helping us with even the smallest of tasks.

We will continue to provide you updates as our apiary grows and expands in the upcoming months! If you have any questions about the bees on the farm, or have questions about beekeeping in general, feel free to contact our beekeepers Justin Seelaus or Lexi Berko. Justin Seelaus:  jcseelaus@gmail.com and Lexi Berko berko.alexa@gmail.com.

Post written by Blooming Glen Farm crew members and amateur beekeepers, Justin Seelaus and Lexi Berko, both recent graduates of Delaware Valley College. Beekeeping photos provided by Justin Seelaus; flower photos by Tricia Borneman.