Blooming Glen Farm | Weekly Share
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Weekly Share

Summer solstice and the longest day of the year came and went this weekend. With the hot summer weather it has felt like summer for weeks, but now it’s official. By the solstice we have planted our last rotations of corn and tomatoes, for though it may be less noticeable to us, the plants know that we have rounded the bend and the daylight starts to wane a bit each day as we move closer to fall. In the propagation greenhouse we are already looking ahead to those cooler days by seeding our fall brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and collards.

Weeding the eggplant.

Weeding the eggplant.

In the fields we are focused on harvesting, pulling weeds, and trellising tomatoes, while continuing with jobs like moving row covers, our best protection against the bugs that descend on our tasty plants. Another tool in our tool box of pest control is beneficial insects. We are starting to release trichogramma and pediobius wasps in our sweet corn and green beans to help battle the corn ear worms and bean beetles.

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On-farm CSA pick-up, 6/23/15, share #4

The summer crops are starting to appear in the share- cucumbers, summer squash, freshly dug red potatoes, and new this week, pick-your-own flower bouquets and green beans. Looking ahead, the cantaloupes aren’t far away- the fruits are sizing up steadily.

Baby cantaloupes.

Baby cantaloupes.

Just a few reminders about on-farm CSA pick-up: It takes us until 1pm to have your food harvested and washed and ready to go so please arrive no earlier than 1 pm. Pick-up starts at 1 pm and goes until 7:30 pm. Please pick-up your share in the distribution room by 7:30 pm so our greeter Sandi can start cleaning up at that point and be on her way for the evening. If you need to switch your pick-up day or week for any reason, please let us know by Sunday evening at 7 pm prior to the week you wish to switch. Cut flower harvest has begun, a favorite for many CSA members. Please bring your own clippers for harvesting flowers, and herbs- do not try to rip the plants in lieu of clippers. If you have not already, please read the CSA Rough Guide for more details on the pick-up protocol for on-farm pick-up. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

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.

Seems like almost every evening the sky to the northwest darkens a deep purplish blue, the soaring temperatures drop, the wind picks up, and the storms head in, sometimes blowing past to the east and towards the river, but more often than not dropping inches of rain on the farm.

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The summer crops- the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and melons- love the heat and rain and humidity. I think if you sat in front of a tomato plant in the field you could watch it grow. Overnight they seem to jump a foot above each trellis string we add. We are predicting the first field tomatoes in early July, right around the corner.

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The wet ground is a challenge, as all the crops don’t necessarily love it, but the weeds sure do. And boy are the weeds growing, outpacing the veggies we plant, and outpacing our efforts to hand weed them out, as our cultivating tractors are temporarily sidelined due to the wet fields. At our crew meeting, in an effort to raise morale, we likened it to the farm’s 5 o’clock shadow, or as I pointed out, the farm is looking fuzzy, just like Farmer Tom.

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This week in the share you’ll be enjoying a trial crop at Blooming Glen- iceberg lettuce. Like many people, I grew up on iceberg lettuce- the American cheese of vegetables. In my mind it stands for industrial food and a bland uninteresting American diet, perhaps because of my memories of it served chopped and soggy with croutons, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes at most diners in the 80s and 90s. But I do remember mom’s BLT’s, and the crunch of that lettuce. And Tom and I had a memorable meal recently at a farm to table restaurant, with a dish featuring a wedge of iceberg lettuce served with a creamy salad dressing. Perhaps iceberg is just a hapless victim of long distance agriculture. We wanted to reclaim this veggie as our own and see what it would be like homegrown and harvested fresh. Let us know what you think.

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.

Our crew donned their muck boots and headed out this morning, pumped up for what we all knew was going to be a huge harvest. Tuesday is always a more popular pick-up day for our farm share members, so it is the larger CSA harvest of the week. Plus today we added in the numbers for our first boxed shares to Yardley and Doylestown to be delivered on Wednesday. Everyone did an amazing job getting the produce out of the field and ready for the on-farm pick-up by 1pm. Not bad for a morning’s work.

Yesterday was also a flurry of activity on the farm. With impending storms breathing down our neck, we cultivated, planted, made more beds, weeded and trellised. We knew that heavy storms and up to 3 inches of rain were headed towards us. The window of opportunity was small, and we needed to seize it. Things had finally dried out enough from the last rainstorms, so we really only had the one day to get as much field work done as we could before the fields were a soggy mess again. We worked well into the evening, until the skies darkened and common sense told us to head inside. Luckily the tornado watch for Upper Bucks County did not come to fruition.

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Still, it was more than a bit disheartening to see how much standing water we had in the fields (again!) this morning. It was pretty intense downpours at the farm last night, especially tough in the middle of strawberry season. I must admit, one of the downsides of being a farmer is that when your crops are growing you lose the ability to be lulled asleep by the sound of rain- instead you lie awake thinking about what veggies are suffering in the deluge. Still, it is always amazing how resilient crops are, just like us farmers I guess! We keep planting, and the crops keep growing, some better than others. But in the end it all comes together in a robust share.

6/9/15, CSA share #2

6/9/15, CSA share #2

This week’s harvest contains a veggie that may be new to many of you. Agretti, an Italian vegetable, is the hot new food trend that chefs are clamoring for in their kitchens. It’s needle shaped leaves are succulent in texture- the tender tips are the tastiest- the tougher base of the stems can be removed before cooking, Also known as saltwort, or friar’s beard, or land seaweed in Japan, it is close in taste to spinach, albeit with a saltier flavor. It is traditionally served with oil and lemon, a theme I replicated by very lightly sautéing it (to retain its bright green color and texture) and adding a dash of fresh squeezed lemon juice. We enjoyed it both sautéed and served with pasta (agretti spaghetti, anyone?) as well as a topping on our homemade wood fired pizzas. A quick google search will bring up a variety of recipes if you are still feeling stumped. We hope you enjoy this special treat in this week’s share!

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 rain may have been falling but the smiles were bright at the start of the CSA season at Blooming Glen Farm. The wet weather has brought an end to the month long mini drought and scorching summer humidity. Temperatures have dropped a full 40 degrees since the weekend- another predictably unpredictable spring! We do like drier weather here at Blooming Glen- it means we can plant on schedule, and irrigation allows us to keep the crops growing. However, I’d never seen our soil so alarmingly dry, and certainly a lot of our spring crops suffered tremendously from the heat- the peas in particular. Despite that, I wouldn’t have minded the rain holding off a bit longer until after the strawberry season, or at least falling a bit and then moving along. Alas, not the case, but the berries are still looking beautiful for those brave enough to venture out in the chilly drizzle and slog through the mud to pick them.

2015 May1It’s always a welcome change of pace here at the farm when the CSA starts. It’s wonderful to see new and returning members- clad in their bright raingear this week!, and to witness the collective excitement for fresh picked veggies. We have committed to consistently growing spinach this season- so far we’re off to a great start. The share this week contains a variety of spring roots: french breakfast radishes, a milder yet still spicy radish, as well as hakurei turnips and kohlrabi (or as one of our crew members coined- “purple alien plums”).

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All three of these roots are wonderful grated raw in a slaw. Check out our previous blog post on slaw variations for some great recipe ideas. Don’t forget that you can always enter a veggie into the search box of the blog, or check out our recipe section on the website.

6/2/15, CSA share #1

6/2/15, CSA share #1

Also in this week’s share is green garlic, a young garlic pulled fresh before it bulbs up, with a sweet mild garlic flavor. It can be used like a leek or scallion- I just chop the whole thing up- bulb stem and stalks, and sauté it first with a few spring onions, then add whatever greens I am cooking. Enjoy!

Next week, Wednesday June 10th, is our first boxed delivery shares to Beth El Congregation in Yardley, and Crossfit Summa in Doylestown. More information on pick-up protocol at these specific sites will be emailed out to those members tomorrow, so keep an eye out. We are excited to be partnering with these new communities of members. Thanks!

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.

CSA share number 23 was this week, and the last week for half share “week A” folks. Next week is the final CSA distribution for everyone else. Re-registration info for returning members as well as Thanksgiving boxed share details have been emailed out. Please let us know if you did not receive that information. Registration for new members will open December 1st. Take advantage of an early registration discount and sign-up by Feb. 1st.

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This week in the share is Blooming Glen Farm popcorn! Our crew has been hard at work removing the kernels from the cob for you. Crew member Justin was determined to find an easier, blister-free way to shell the corn. Thanks to the plans for a hand-held tool found on Mother Earth News, things went a little smoother, and relatively quickly.  

At our house we use an air popper to pop our corn. But you can just as easily make it on the stovetop, electric or gas, which I experimented with for the following recipe. I’m happy to say I did not burn it, and there were only a few unpopped kernels at the end.

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Ingredients
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I assume canola will work just as well.)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
sea salt to taste
yield: about 9 cups popcorn

Melt the coconut oil in large pot over medium-high heat. (A heavy botom Dutch oven is preferrable but my regular 4 quart stainless worked fine- you just want a pot that has a fitted lid.) Add 3 kernels of corn and cover and cook until all 3 kernels pop.

Take the three kernels out of the pot. Add the rest of the popcorn kernels. Cover and take the pot off of the heat. Wait 30 seconds.

Put the pot back on the heat. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally. After about 2 minutes, and the popping has slowed down, remove from heat and take the lid off of the pot.  Pour it into a bowl and add your toppings. I just added sea salt to taste, which is a great complement to the mild coconut flavor imparted by the oil. You of course can add your favorite toppings, be it salt and butter, or try nutritional yeast and savory herbs like rosemary, or go for sweet with cinnamon and honey or sugar. At the harvest fest Kristin did a wonderful seasoning of dark cacao powder and cayenne pepper that was delicious.

11/4/14, share #23

11/4/14, share #23

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.

With Labor Day come and gone, it may be the unofficial end of summer, but the weather is telling us we still have three weeks until the equinox. This late season heat is keeping the tomatoes and sweet peppers pouring in, and our irrigation manager Jared on his toes. We thought we’d give you a break, however, from all the summer squash of the last few months and roll out the spaghetti squash for a little taste of fall.

9/2/2014, share #14

9/2/2014, share #14

The easiest way I’ve found to roast these is whole (because who hasn’t struggled in alarm with a big knife and a twirling squash??).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick the squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

Saute in some olive oil a bunch of kale, a few torpedo onions and a couple cloves of garlic and toss it with the spaghetti squash “noodles”. Delicious!

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

 

School starts next week, but we are only in week #13 of 24 of the CSA. As schedules change and lives get busier, we start to see more missed pick-ups. Don’t forget to make time to come get your veggies! There are lots of great lunch box snacks to be had- sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers all go fantastic with hummus or your dip of choice. Kale, tomatoes and summer squash are delicious sauteed with pasta and tossed with cheese.  Chef Kristin will be focusing on back-to-school themed demos over the next two weeks, so stop by her tasting booth during CSA pick-ups for some great ideas.

8/26/14, share #13

8/26/14, share #13

Out on the farm the winter squash harvest is ongoing- this week we filled bin after bin of delicata squash. We are continuously seeding cover crops in fields as the vegetable harvests are finished, and the crew moves forward with the work of weeding and thinning fall roots like radishes, beets and carrots. Out of curiousity we dug up a sweet potato plant, and holy cow! The weeding and steady watering has resulted in a beautiful crop. As soon as we find a place to store them all, the harvest of the sweet potatoes will be next up on the to-do list!

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If you are here late doing your pick-your-own crops look up for a 10-inch long grayish black bird with a conspicuous white strip on its wings. Thanks to the keen eyes of a CSA member, we’ve noticed a number of common nighthawks circling the fields at dusk, gobbling up flying insects. Add them to our list of natural pest controls! On our evening walks around the farm we also captured this sunset shot of the fall cabbages, a preview of what’s to come.

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

Ode to Tomatoes
by Pablo Neruda

The street
filled with tomatoes
midday,
summer,
light is
halved
like
a
tomato,
its juice
runs
through the streets.
In December,
unabated,
the tomato
invades
the kitchen,
it enters at lunchtime,
takes
its ease
on countertops,
among glasses,
butter dishes,
blue saltcellars.
It sheds
its own light,
benign majesty.
Unfortunately, we must
murder it:
the knife
sinks
into living flesh,
red
viscera,
a cool
sun,
profound,
inexhaustible,
populates the salads
of Chile,
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
we
pour
oil,
essential
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
pepper
adds
its fragrance,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
parsley
hoists
its flag,
potatoes
bubble vigorously,
the aroma
of the roast
knocks
at the door,
it’s time!
come on!
and, on
the table, at the midpoint
of summer,
the tomato,
star of earth,
recurrent
and fertile
star,
displays
its convolutions,
its canals,
its remarkable amplitude
and abundance,
no pit,
no husk,
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
its gift
of fiery color
and cool completeness.

8/5/14, share #10

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

On the scene this week is the first of the eggplant, an oblong deep purple Asian style. This type of eggplant has a long, skinny shape, with a thin skin, delicate flavor, and not as many of the seeds that tend to make eggplant bitter. I made a wonderful dinner the other night that was a hit with the whole family. It used four ingredients from the share (eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and onions), fresh oregano and thyme from the discovery garden, and mozzarella from the farmer’s market. You can check out the recipe for Roasted Eggplant, Zucchini and Chickpea wraps at marthastewart.com. Delicious!

Also new this week is fresh garlic. Chances are you’ve only seen garlic in its dried form, its ivory cloves encased in their papery husks. You’re probably used to struggling to peel dried garlic, only to reveal itty-bitty sized cloves. Not this garlic!

The flavor is exquisite and subtle, the skin moist and incredibly easy to peel. The cloves are at their largest, not having shrunk in size at all in the drying process, for this garlic is straight from the ground. The drying process strengthens the skin and prepares it for long term storage, so handle your fresh garlic with care- it can bruise easily. Store in the refrigerator if you don’t plan to use it right away.

You can use both the cloves and the aromatic wrappers. The following recipe for Fresh Garlic Spread makes use of the fresh garlic wrappers.

Peel 2 heads of garlic, and separate the fresh wrappers from the cloves, as in the photo below.

Put the garlic cloves in a glass jar in the fridge and reserve for another use. Fill a medium saucepan half full of water, bring to a simmer. Simmer wrappers for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Blend the garlic wrappers in a food processor, slowly adding approximately 1/4 cup olive oil, until it is bright golden in color with the texture of mayonnaise. Add sea salt to taste. Use to spread on crusty baguette, or as a base for salad dressing.

Like the scapes, the season is fleeting, so enjoy! As soon as the field dries out a bit we will be pulling the entire garlic crop, bundling it and hanging it for a month or so to dry.

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

This week in the share and on the market stands we have the first of our fresh summer sweet onions. The variety we are harvesting now is called Ailsa Craig. We love this onion! Our market sign description reads “So sweet you can eat it like an apple.” Though you may not wish to enjoy it that way, this is one delicious onion.

7/1/14, share #5

It is named after Ailsa Crag, a small round island off the coast of Scotland that is solid rock. It was introduced in 1887 by David Murray, head gardener for the Marquis of Ailsa, at Culzean Castle, Maybole in 1887. Ailsa Craig is globe-shaped and solid. It is best for fresh use, not extended storage so that’s how we’ll harvest it for you.

As you are observing the farm and our photos, you may notice that we use a number of different color plastic mulches in our fields. In addition to its main duty of weed suppression and moisture retention, we also factor in what color choice will result in highest yields. The color of the mulch changes the intensity of certain wave lengths of light and in turn has an impact on plant growth. Our choices are based on research conducted by Penn State University, as well as similar findings by Cornell and Clemson. Studies at PSU over the past 10 years on the affect of mulch color on various vegetable crops has yielded some interesting results.

Tomatoes and eggplant yields have been as much as 12% higher with red plastic mulch than with black. Red mulch reflects intensified red light to the developing plants which increases their photosynthetic capacity. Peppers appear to respond more to silver mulch compared to black with an average 20% increase in marketable fruit yield and fruit size over a 3 year period.

Eggplants close up and from afar.

In our eggplants in particular, in addition to choosing red mulch, we also quickly covered the young transplants with row cover. This effectively kept off the colorado potato beetle and more importantly the eggplant flea beetle. Partnered with diligent cultivation, as well as timely staking and trellising, this resulted in the plants looking better than they ever have.

Last week we were excited to sow a few different cover crops in fields where the spring crops are finished. Buckwheat is a rapidly growing summer annual with a short growing season, flowering in as little as 4-6 weeks. This “smother crop” suppresses both weeds and disease, frees up phosphorous and calcium, and is best preceding fall sown crops. As an added bonus, buckwheat is a favorite flower for honey bees, and results in a distinctive dark buckwheat honey.

Buckwheat seed going into the hopper to be sown; Buckwheat sprouts

This heat is no joke- I’m sure you all are feeling it as you pick your green beans and flowers! It’s hot out here on the farm, but our large motley crew keeps it going day after day, working through all sorts of weather. It is a major team effort! What an awesome group- they cover crops to prevent bug damage, order beneficial bugs, problem solve, and delegate, cultivate, irrigate, seed in hot greenhouses, trellis, harvest, wash and pack, organize, repair, sweep and clean, answer emails, greet CSA members, sell at markets, disc fields and make beds, mow grass, cook meals, bake treats, and have a good time (most days) doing it! A big shout out to every one who makes BGF grow!!

Some, but by no means all, of the BGF crew!

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