> Click here to check out our online calendar to see what's happening on the Farm!
> For photographs of a typical share, click here.
> For 2009 Internship Program info, click here.

meghan

From the Field…..

(November 13, 2008) - Another fantastic season draws to a close. Do you know how many pounds of tomatoes each full share got? Read and find out! Check out this newsletter for some of the CSA survey results. And find out some of the changes the farmers have in store for the 2009 season! [read more]

From the Field…..

(October 24, 2008) - The harvest festival was a fun, warm day for a celebration of this season's bounty. The season is drawing to a close as the first big frost of the year came to the farm last week, the garlic is in the ground and mulched, and we bid our Peruvian intern off to Hawaii. In this newsletter, read a local naturopathic doctors take on the flu shot, and check out some great seasonal recipes like butternut squash pancakes and leek-celeriac stuffing. And be sure to take this season's survey!
[read more]

From the Field…..

(October 3, 2008) - "I'm on my knees, quick-finger gathering green beans that look like canoes" (J. Isaacs). As we near the end of 10 steady weeks of pick-your-own beans, sometimes 4 quarts at a time- read one CSA member's wonderful poem about gathering and canning "Phaseolus vulgaris". Cooler weather is upon us and with it the return of celeriac. If you're not familiar with this root vegetable, check out the description, and delicious scalloped celeriac and potato recipe in this newsletter. Harvest festival is this Saturday the 11th- check out the details. [read more]

From the Field…..

(September 19, 2008) - The farm crew encounters unusual vegetables and tales of the past on a field trip to the garden of local seed saver and food historian William Woys Weaver. Read about the heirloom hot pepper "Fish" that was popular in seafood dishes in this area in the early 1900s. It is available today, we grow it at BGF, thanks to the seed saving of Weaver and his grandfather. Coming up in the share: delicata winter squash- another heirloom variety. Check out some cooking tips for this beautiful golden squash, as well as a some recipes using eggplant and Swiss Chard.
[read more]

From the Field…..

(September 5, 2008) - With cooler weather around the corner, we transition from summer to fall crops. New in the share this week- winter squash, arugula and spinach. Read about garlic's medicinal properties and how munching it raw can help with flus and colds. And a 3 year veteran CSA member shares some helpful tips she's learned over the years.
[read more]

From the Field…..

(August 22, 2008) - Read about an amazing visitor we had at our farm this week. With the cool weather we have been thinking about our fall harvest and the changing of the seasons. Also, read all about the great heirloom tomatoes and a story about love for tomatoes and the memories they bring.
[read more]

From the Field…..

(August 8, 2008)- Enjoying the gorgeous array of pick-your-own sunflowers at the farm? Ever wonder about the origins of sunflower farming? Read this issue of the newsletter to find out more about this flower. Feeling gourmet? Make homemade swiss chard, beet and goat cheese empanadas. Also, get involved now with planning this fall's Harvest Celebration!
[read more]

From the Field…..

(July 28, 2008) - Since the last newsletter’s irrigation woes, we’ve received 3 plus inches of rain at the farm. The majority of the crew’s time these days is spent harvesting, for the CSA and Sunday farmer’s market. To keep up with those cucumbers and summer squash, they need to be picked every other day!, and there’s still all the other field work that needs to happen. [read more]

From the Field…..

(July 11, 2008) - It’s 10:30 pm– the fireflies flicker around Tom’s headlamp– we navigate the aisles through the warm air pockets under the glow of the crescent moon and starry sky, setting up the irrigation in the onion field. It’s 2 am, the alarm rings– turn off the pipes, and turn
on the drip tape to the winter squash. Tom gets a gold star for
rising out of a deep slumber, doing his best to keep things watered
around the clock. [read more]

From the Field…..

(June 27, 2008)- In this issue of the newsletter: solar panels update the farmhouse hot water system; the farmer's give tomato grafting a try; a great recipe for those garlic scapes; and the details of a hands-on cheesemaking class offered at the farm Wednesday evening July 23. [read more]

From the Field…..

(June 15, 2008)- Thousands of honey bees are hard at work at Blooming Glen Farm. Learn why beekeeper Martin thinks the farm's bees have been unaffected by the rising bee blight, and what you can do to help your native pollinators. In this issues, you'll also find out what to expect in the upcoming share. And be sure to check out the two yummy recipes on page two, Quick Kohlrabi Pickles and Basil Oil and Puree. [read more]

From the Field…..

(May 30, 2008)- Our first pick-ups went off without a hitch last week. Despite this wet clay soil our cherry tomatoes, fall celeriac and leeks are in soon to be followed by sweet potatoes. Check out the new black mulch we have been using - it may look like black plastic in the onion, flower and tomato fields, but it is really a biodegradeable mulch. [read more]

From the Field…..

(May 16, 2008)- Plant, plant, plant! That has been the farmers' mantra here at Blooming Glen this month. Read the newsletter to find out just exactly what they have in store for members this year, and to learn the very best ways to keep your produce fresh. Of course, you'll be able to see these lovely crops for yourself, when pickups sart next week on May 27 and 30! Also in this newsletter: Do you think you know spinach? We bet our new veggie columnist, Rachel Dilkus, will have a couple surprises for you in this issue's Spinach: from Asia to Blooming Glen article. [read more]

From the Field…..

(April 14, 2008)- Meet our three awesome interns for this season, learn about some exciting classes offered at the farm- like natural body and hair care, and cleaning your clothes and home naturally, and read how Bucks County is putting itself on the map with the the fourth largest solar facility in the nation. Don't forget the Earth Day Open House this Saturday April 19th from 11-2- come check out our garlic field! [read more]

From the Field…..

(March 1, 2008)- It’s a warm and sunny 70° in the propagation greenhouse- little sprouts are pushing their noses to the soil surface- onions, shallots, celeriac, basil, tomatoes and cucumbers- the first wave in the upcoming months of succession seeding. Our heated bench system has been redesigned, a work table added, fans installed, and the plastic cover re-skinned and inflated. Seeds have been ordered, varieties compared and debated, the season sectioned off in orderly Excel gridlines, plantings scheduled from the comfort of a desk chair. The view of the season from February…now we can imagine it all unrolling smoothly, sunny days ahead with just enough rain falling gently in the evenings, perfectly spaced over the growing season. No major downpours, no flooding, no hail, strong winds or late spring snow storms, no mechanical complications or pest infiltrations, no tired muscles….it all looks so perfect on paper….in February, a blank slate, the chance for all the players (workers and weather, seeds and schedules) to come together to create the perfectly orchestrated season! Hmmm, wake up Tom- stop snoring… you’re daydreaming again…that certainly doesn’t sound like farming!!

It has been a great winter, busy as always, but wonderful to have more time to devote to our little sprout. Tom and I didn’t quite make it on the tropical vacation honeymoon we daydreamed about last summer- this winter’s excursions typically revolved around farm conferences to exciting locales like Rutgers, NJ, State College, Pa and Saratoga Springs, NY. (There has to be a farm conference somewhere in Florida or Hawaii!) It was exciting as always to socialize with others in the sustainable farm movement, and leave with notebooks full of handouts and information to help us grow as farmers. I always leave the PASA (Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture) conference inspired and invigorated, and this time was no different. Thousands of people come for the two days of workshops and speakers. Tom and I attended a break-out session for Southeastern-Pa- we expected to see a few dozen people, but the room was packed with a few hundred of the movers and shakers in our regions local sustainable food movement. Each county reviewed what is happening in their area- farmers markets, food shed alliances, farm to cafeteria movements - it is exciting stuff, and it seems the supply can barely meet the demand for fresh and local.

News and Notes: We are excited to have three full season interns this year- more about them next month. Thank you for all the donations we have received so far for their housing. Please check the list on the website (accessible from the Home page) for items we are still looking for. This year we are noticing that many more of you chose Tuesday for a pick-up day. If you are flexible on this at all, and remember if you are worried about long weekend vacations you can switch occasionally, please let us know. We are looking for people to change to Friday pick-up- you’ll have more elbow room in the distribution center, and it will help us keep the harvest more manageable. We still have about a dozen shares available, so spread the word (however, they are limited to Friday pick-up only).

We have been hard at work on a “CSA Rough Guide”- a handbook of how the CSA works. It lays it all out, from Parking, to Split Shares, to “What do I do when I get there?”, and “What if I go on Vacation?”. Much of this information is available on our website FAQ’s, but we wanted a guide book you could have on hand to reference those questions you might have. We will be mailing that out to you in the next few weeks. Finally, if you prefer to do your work hours from the comfort of your own home, we are looking for people to help type up recipes for the website. We would also love help planning an Earth Day Open House for April 19th and could use a hand with snacks and kids activities. Just let us know. We look forward to seeing new and familiar faces around the farm this season.

Take care!
Tricia

From the Field…..

(November 15, 2007) - "I enjoy the whole experience of the farm and it has become part of me and my life." Read this and other survey responses as the CSA members and farmers reflect on a bountiful 2007 season. Also, keep abreast of the latest news in food labeling and check out what one member has learned after two seasons.
[read more]

From the Field…..

(October 5, 2007) - Farmers make it official with a magical fall farm wedding (more photos to come). Farm intern Nic reflects on his season on an organic farm. And what is celeriac anyway? Find out here!
[read more]

From the Field…..

(August 20, 2007) - So we have one more week of these amazing watermelons and cantelopes and our Fall crops will begin to be harvested soon. Garlic will start to be distributed this week (yum!). This newsletter has some interesting news about the effect of organic meats and dairy on breast milk, an invitation for all who want to be on a committee for the Harvest Festival and some great garlic and okra recipes!
[read more]

From the Field…..

(July 23, 2007) - Has everyone had enough of the summer squash? We thought there was no such thing as overabundance! Meet two of our heirloom tomoato varieties up close and personal, Aunt Ruby's German Green and Orange Oxheart. Also, these tomatoes can be great raw or fried, but is a completely raw diet right for you? Get some insight from Dr. Brian.
[read more]

From the Field…..

(July 9, 2007) - Thankfully, people all over the world are more concerned than ever with their impact on the environment. We are all looking for ways to cut our energy consumption and our petroleum use. Check out the article on the bottom of page one for another helpful tip to keep our planet healthy. Also - an idea for what to do with all those beautiful beets!
[read more]

From the Field…..

(June 18, 2007) - What a crazy week of weather, unpredictable as always. We had a handful of thunderstorms roll through last week– not too much rain all told, but lots of lights and rumbles. The gigantic old oak tree in the back corner did take a lightning strike– the noise made us all jump...

[read more]

From the Field…..

(June 4, 2007) - It was a wonderful week here at the farm, as the first distributions began. We farmers were excited to finally get to do some harvesting after the months of preparations and planting...

[read more]





From the Field…..

(May 21, 2007) - You can always spot an organic farm by the floating white row cover, or remay, draped across beds in the field. Used for bug and frost protection it can be an organic farmer’s best friend. Not only is it draped across the fields, there’s usually at least one piece tangled high up in the tree tops, accompanied by good storm story. As I sit at the computer, my view across the fields is obscured by a large white piece of remay dancing in the breeze, our new windsock, twisted high in the sycamore tree by the house.

Wednesday’s wind storm was a doozy- it snuck up on us fast and furious. The sky got dark and within minutes we were racing around in the sideways rain trying to close all the greenhouses, then watched helplessly as the wind lifted and twisted the floating row covers across the field. It also blew and rearranged quite a bit of the straw mulch that many of you helped put down last week. But the plants proved their resilience and stood up to the hail and ferocious wind. Now it looks like the sun is back and here to stay.

Last week’s crazy hot weather had us feeling like August here at the farm. We are finally getting back on schedule after the rainy cold spring we had. Just to recap, most of our spring crops were late to be planted due to all the wet weather. We lost a few beds of pea seed to rot in all the spring rain we had, and the broccoli plants are certainly not loving this recent hot weather. Unfortunately we just weren’t able to get in as many plantings as we would have liked of things like peas, spinach and other cool weather loving crops. We are very happy however that our thousands of onions and shallots are planted and mulched, the potatoes are in the ground and beginning to sprout, our first planting of zucchini and cucumbers actually went in a day early, as did our numerous varieties of sweet peppers and field tomatoes, and everyone’s favorite’s- those yummy cherry tomatoes.

The greenhouses are all planted and flourishing. So things are definitely looking up. We have also been busy installing a number of French drains around the greenhouses and across the top field, to help with drainage when we get these big rains. It was lots of digging and moving gravel around, but we hope the effort will be worth it in the long run. This week we are looking toward planting our sweet potato slips, leeks and eggplants, as well as some of those summer flowers you all enjoy so much.

You may be wondering by now when the first pickup will be. Well folks, unfortunately we just don’t know. We were scheduled to start May 22, and those of you who were members last year know that we started a week early last season because we had such a warm dry spring. Those are the extremes! We are hoping to start either May 29 or June 5th- the head lettuce in the greenhouse looks beautiful (see photo) and the strawberries are covered with blossoms and blushing berries. We anticipate the share being light at first and then picking up momentum as we move into the summer crops. Please be patient and keep an eye out for emails as we will let you know the first pickup date the minute we know. We will continue to email about work opportunities, until we get into a more regularly scheduled routine.

Mark your calendars- the first potluck of the farm season will be Saturday, June 9th at 5:30pm, unless it rains. Bring a dish to share, and your own plate, cup, utensils and beverage. We have some picnic tables, or you can bring a picnic blanket or camp chairs. Come out and meet the farm community!
Take care!
-Tricia and Tom

From the Field…..

(April 30, 2007) - This spring can be summed up in three words: wet, wet, wet. The cover crop is growing and growing. The fields are too wet to plow and plant. It’s a slow spring as we pray for sun to dry out our heavy clay soil. According to an article in the Philadelphia Intelligencer on Saturday, April’s average rainfall in our area is 3.5 inches. The average total this month for the Philadelphia area was 11.34 inches. Blooming Glen Farm’s rain gauge has recorded 8.5 inches in the past two weeks.

We had a small window between the Nor’easter that brought us 5½” of rain and the following storm that brought us 3”. We dashed around trying to cram 3 weeks of work into 3 days. We broke in our new transplanter (see photo)- what an improvement over the back breaking labor of planting by hand last year- well it is still by hand, but with the transplanter you are riding along on a comfy seat and the holes are made for you. So in 3½ days we transplanted broccoli, kale, collards, swiss chard, escarole, radicchio, 6 beds of everbearing (fall) strawberries and 4800 feet of 9 different varieties of potatoes- blue, red, gold and white. Then we barely managed to direct seed a few beds just as the rain started coming down. Again. But still, thanks to all that rain, we are way behind on those direct seeded spring crops- salad greens, carrots, spring greens, turnips. And our gorgeous onion and shallot seedlings are waiting eagerly to go in the ground. It’s all nicely scheduled there in our planting chart- if only Mother Nature would cooperate!!
Late this past week, with the fields muddy and sopping wet, we did enjoy planting some of the small hoophouses with early tomato varieties, cucumbers and basil, as well as the big greenhouse, now full of 10 different happy heirloom tomato varieties. Now we keep our fingers crossed for some consecutive warm, sunny, breezy days to dry out our fields. And we are thankful once again for the CSA model of agriculture that brings everyone together in shared understanding and support of the Farm.

A student from Del Val College stopped by this week, in the middle of the sunniest day, as we raced around planting our potatoes. He wanted to know what the biggest challenge was in organic farming. How could I pick just one, I wondered? What isn’t challenging about this? But at that moment the answer was clear- coming to grips with our inability to control the weather, riding those waves of unpredictability. Maybe in another 10 or 20 years that one will sink in, but for now, it’s still a hard lesson to learn.

On a final note, our membership is officially filled for this season. Thank you! We had a very successful Open House and Earth Day celebration this year- thanks to everyone who helped out with crafts and food. A special thanks to farm member Julia Thomas at Sundial Studios Tile Gallerie on 313 in Dublin for donating and firing the tiles that the children painted. They turned out beautifully and will be a great addition to the children’s garden as some sort of mosaic sculpture (stay tuned to help out with that).

Also, you can click on the following link to check out another great article from local food advocate Michael Pollan published in The NY Times Magazine, April 22, 2007. He discusses the Farm Bill which you may not be aware is up for debate and renewal this year.

Here’s hoping for more “sunny days, sweeping those clouds away!”
Take care!
-Tricia and Tom

From the Field…..

(April 5, 2007) - Looks like it’s shaping up to be a wet spring. I think we were spoiled last year with the early dry weather. We are already behind where we were last year with our first plowing and plantings. Unfortunately when it comes to plowing, with our heavy Bucks County clay soil, you can’t force the issue, no matter how much you may want to! So it’s the end of March, your planting schedule says get out there and get some peas, beets, carrots and spinach in the ground. It looks dry, your boots aren’t as caked with mud as they were a week ago, so you hook up the plow, head to high ground– but how do you know if the soil is on the same schedule as you?  What you want is for the soil to crumble off the plow. Tom says you almost hear a whooshing sound, like waves in an ocean, as the soil parts (Farmers can’t ever make it to the beach in the summer, so I guess we have to pretend the farm is one!). What you don’t want is huge shiny wet clumps, sticking to the plow, to the tractor tires, generally making a big mess that will eventually harden into cement like chunks, and are very difficult to then till and make into beds for planting. It is just not sustainable in the long term on your land. That’s what we had yesterday. The soil is close (though we got more rain today). Hopefully the windy hill will work to our advantage. As one local veteran farmer told us matter-of-factly, “It’s a long season, you just have to be patient.”

So this is why we have a flexible CSA start date. Each year is a little different. Some things we can control, but the weather is not one of them.

On another note, a big thanks to our first member work crew of the season– a very enthusiastic bunch who made short work of erecting the skeletons of two more small hoop house frames. Our early tomatoes, basil and head lettuce will be happy to have a home soon. As the rain comes down, it’s hard not to daydream of covering the farm in one big greenhouse! A walk around the farm this week revealed the garlic poking through its straw blanket and the June bearing strawberry plants look green and vibrant under their cover of remay cloth. Something to look forward to!

We are also looking forward to welcoming our first full time seasonal apprentice, Nic. Originally a Bethlehem/Allentown area native, he is returning to the east coast from Colorado with farming aspirations of his own. We are excited to share our experiences with him, and to have his energy and enthusiasm be a part of the farm. We are also bringing in some local part time helpers, both also with an interest in sustainable farming and gardening, Kimberlee and local high school student, Dan.

Keep your eyes on your email, as we will be posting work opportunities over the next two months. If anyone is interested in helping provide some food or snacks for our Open House on April 21 (11-3), or if you would like to help out with Earth Day themed children’s crafts, let us know.  We are also looking to improve on our children’s garden this year, so if this is a project you would like to be involved with, let us know!
Thanks!
Tricia

From the Field…..

(March 5, 2007) Welcome to the 2007 growing season! The wind is howling, but there is a hint of spring in the air. I heard the first red winged blackbirds and killdeers singing this morning, not to mention the honking geese scattered across the fields. We have enjoyed a restful winter, watching our favorite little sprout, Dakota, grow. We poured over seed catalogs, aaahed and ooohed over the pictures and descriptions, pondered what did and didn’t work last year, and started assembling it all into our master planting chart. After a few too many late nights in front of the computer, we looked at each other and wondered if other farmers debate every decision, which crops, which varieties, how much to plant, when to plant it, how often, how far apart, then twist their brains in knots figuring how much seed to buy per bed, per row, per package, grams per ounce, per pound- can’t we just get outside and get dirty, already?!! ...Tom also attended a few farm auctions, experiences onto themselves, in search for that elusive bargain, but apparently every last farmer and hobby collector in the tri-state area had the same idea. We did however make a few inevitable equipment purchases that will undoubtedly make our lives a little easier, so stay tuned; we’ll introduce you to some of our new gadgets later on. We also attended a number of sustainable farming conferences and gatherings, a great opportunity to learn new techniques, and meet other growers.  Despite gloomy statistics regarding the plight of the family farmer it is reassuring to see countless other sustainable farms springing up in Pennsylvania alone, not to mention across the country. If the latest Time magazine cover story is any indication, the word is out about the benefits of a local sustainable food system. We fired up our big propagation greenhouse yesterday and seeded all our onions and shallots into flats, as well as spring broccoli and cabbage. Next we’ll get into the leeks, celeriac, parsley, and peppers. Before you know it the greenhouse will be a lush green oasis. It feels great to put the work clothes back on and get our hands in the soil again. For those of you who are eager to join us in the dirt, we will let you know as work opportunities arise- don’t worry there will be plenty! We are also looking for yummy recipe additions to our website, so if you had any favorites from last year, send them to us. We are looking forward to seeing your faces again and meeting those of you who are new to the farm this year.

Take care!
Tricia and Tom

Previous Newsletters

October 23, 2006
October 9, 2006
September 25 , 2006
September 11 , 2006
August 28 , 2006
August 7 , 2006
July 24 , 2006
July 10 , 2006
June 26 , 2006
June 12 , 2006
May 29 , 2006
May 15 , 2006