Author: bloomingglenfarm

Eat (and drink) your veggies! Join fermentation author and blogger Amanda Feifer to explore two great ways to turn those CSA veggies probiotic. In the first half of this class, we’ll dig in to pickled, seasonal vegetables, made tart not by vinegar, but through the power of microbes from the soil. Then we’ll switch it up and make kvass, sometimes called “rossol,” for a refreshing sour tonic drink.

Each participant will chop and salt their way through fun fermented recipes with a full understanding of how it works, why it’s incredibly safe and how to troubleshoot and experiment on their own. Everyone will make one of each of these gut-healthy goodies to ferment at home while sampling finished fermented pickles and kvass.

When: Wednesday, June 7, 6:30 8:30 PM
Where: Blooming Glen Farm, 98 Moyer Rd, Perkasie, Pa
Cost: $35
Registration: https://phickle.ticketleap.com/kvass-and-pickles/dates/Jun-07-2017_at_0630PM

Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 12th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. Register now for our CSA and enjoy 24 weeks of delicious produce!

Photos above provided by Amanda Feifer of phickle.com

The sun is shining and the birds are singing their songs of spring. Our greenhouse is bursting at the seams with beautiful plants. Now is the dance as we wait until the ground dries out enough to begin working the soil, sowing seeds in the fields and transplanting crops. In the warm and sunny greenhouse, Brienn pictured above and below left, is busy with the weekly sowing, moving flats around to make room as things gets more and more crowded, keeping the babies watered and happy. Our peas are beginning to sprout. Sowing them into flats and transplanting them enables us to get perfect germination, and stay on schedule despite the soggy soil. Peter, pictured below right, is in the barn dealing with the annual overflow of equipment, getting things organized, repaired and ready so when the time comes we can focus on planting.

Amidst the sounds of the melting snow, we ushered in spring with a beautiful vernal equinox blessing at the farm last weekend. Rebekah Barnes of Rooted Rhythms gathered us in a circle to honor the spirit of the land, the sky and within, moving us towards the directions and their corresponding elements. As we turned to the south we rubbed our hands together, feeling the heat generated by our own bodies, the fire within. To the west, as we licked our lips, we felt the water within and how it is connected to the waters around the world. Turning to the north, we felt the strength and stability of our own body, connected to the earth and hugged ourselves, feeling our solid presence. To the east we took a deep breath, inhaled, exhaled, feeling the breath of life in our body and around us.

I spoke of the wonder of the soil, and had everyone take a handful to feel and smell, and to offer up a blessing for the season ahead. In just one handful of soil there are more soil microbes than there are people on the earth!  These are the unsung heroes of our farm. These tiny microscopic creatures, the billions of bacteria, yards of fungal filaments, thousands of protozoa and nematodes, all lead incredibly active lives. They are a little more sluggish in the winter, but like us, they are waking up with the warmth of spring. And they each have incredibly important jobs to do. We take care of the soil so that it can do its important work and together we can raise healthy strong plants.

Did you know that snow contains nitrogen which can benefit the soil? As precipitation falls through the atmosphere it collects atmospheric nitrogen. When snow collects on thawed soil, it slowly melts, allowing a slow release of nitrogen into the soil profile, adding to the total nitrogen content that the microbes then convert to plant available forms.

We ended the vernal equinox ritual by making a spiral out of branches against the blanket of snow. Wood is an element of spring. The power of wood is gentle, persistent, and filled with creative potential. It has the power of both being and becoming. Thank you Rebekah for bringing this to our farm, and I am already looking forward to the summer solstice ritual on June 21 at 7pm.

CSA shares are still available! Please spread the word and help us expand our community. Those first juicy strawberries will be here before we know it! And for your friends that may have their own vegetable garden, let them know we are offering pick-your-own flower shares. For 10-weeks of pick-your-own bouquets, this is a wonderful opportunity to connect to nature in a field of blooms. In these tumultuous times, it is certainly my happy place, to be out in the flowers, under the rosy glow of the setting sun.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  (*Vernal equinox blessing photos by pro photographer Vanessa Lassin.) Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 12th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

“The earth has music for those who listen” ~Reginald Vincent Holmes

What: Vernal Equinox Ritual
When: Sunday, March 19, 3-4pm
Where: The fields of Blooming Glen Farm, 98 Moyer Rd, Perkasie, Pa
Led by: Rebekah Barnes, Rooted Rhythms

Join us to honor Mother Earth as she welcomes Spring!
Let us come together and connect with her awakening energy of renewal through song and the offering of our blessings as we stand upon her fertile farmland.

We will move through a facilitated family ritual together, tapping into the surging spring energy of Mother Earth through song, creating a blessing sculpture out of wood, the element of spring and offering gratitude to her for worldwide healing.

Please arrive at 2:45 for parking and walking out to the field
All are welcome!

This is the first in a series of Earth Rhythm Rituals we will hold throughout the year, celebrating the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices. Vernal Equinox Ritual, Sunday March 19, 3 pm; Summer Solstice Ritual, Wednesday June 21, 7 pm; Autumnal Equinox Ritual, Thursday Sept. 21, 6:30 pm; Winter Solstice Ritual, Thursday Dec. 21, 5 pm. Join us as we honor the rhythms of Mother Earth on the Wheel of the Year. We will come together to connect with the seasonal energy of our sacred planet.

Free Family-Friendly Ritual
Registration appreciated for planning

Offered by Rebekah Barnes of Rooted Rhythms
https://www.facebook.com/groups/rootedrhythms/
Hosted by Blooming Glen Farm, Perkasie, PA

The weather outside on the farm may be variable, with warm temperatures feeling like spring then cold windy days reminding us we still have 3 weeks of winter, but inside the propagation greenhouse it’s consistently beautiful and balmy. The tables are starting to fill up already as the sowing for this season has begun. The onions are the biggest wave of flats so far…200 cell trays, 1 seed per cell- hundreds spread across the tables, germinating on the warm coils of 70 degree water. Spring greens, early tomatoes, flowers, celery, parsley, slowly we move through the excel spread sheet seeding plan that we labored over this winter.

Here on our hilltop in Hilltown the wind can blow fierce and strong- our greenhouses take a constant beating. We reskinned one house that lost its cover in the worst of the storm, and are replacing two others that have ripped in the past year. We have grown accustomed to this part of farming here on this land…the howling wind used to keep us up at night. Now we roll with it a little better, for that which you can’t control is best let go.

The winter planning component is behind us, our annual organic certification paperwork has been submitted, seeds and supplies ordered. As CSA memberships steadily flow in we are thankful, for that income in the spring carries us until the crops can be harvested.

Winter is also the time for developing and tweaking systems of efficiency- be it tractor and equipment maintenance schedules and logs, creating food safety systems, planning for a larger cooler and wash facility, revising employee job descriptions and hiring practices…all the components that may not necessarily be horticultural, but come together to make our business stronger, safer and more efficient.

We are looking forward to trying some new crops this season. We are excited to plant asparagus in the spring. It will be a few years until this perennial is ready for harvest, and during those few years we will have to be vigilant with weeding and watering, but we are hopeful it will do well and reward our patience.

We are also looking forward to some new events and classes at the farm this season. We are partnering with my dear friend Rebekah Barnes of Rooted Rhythms for a series of short equinox and solstice blessings to be held out on the farm- one in spring, summer, fall and winter. We hope you’ll join us in the opportunity to connect with the rhythm of nature and the energy of the earth. The first event, a vernal equinox family ritual, will be held on Sunday afternoon, March 19, at 3pm so save the date! We will post event details on facebook very soon.

We are also planning a vegetable fermentation class with Amanda Feifer from Phickle in Philadelphia, scheduled for Wed. evening, June 7th, details coming soon. This class was a huge hit when we held it a number of years ago.  Fermentation is all the rage, and it’s so simple and easy to incorporate into your weekly routine. And it’s a fantastic nutritional way to use up your CSA share! Amanda is the author of the must-have book,  “Ferment Your Vegetables: A Fun and Flavorful Guide to Making Your Own Pickles, Kimchi, Kraut, and More”.

Enjoy winter’s last hoorah- spring will be here before we know it!

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 12th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the one above consists, in part, of these: sweet, tart, juicy, crunchy, crisp, aromatic, sugary-tart, rich, velvety, smile, slurp.” ~Lisa Kerschner, North Star Orchard

My mouth is already watering in anticipation! We are super excited to be able to offer this incredible add-on to your vegetable share in 2017: a 12-week CSA Fruit Share membership from our friends at North Star Orchard, which you’ll be able to pick up here at the farm on your CSA day! The share will start in August, but registration fills up fast, so sign up now (directly with North Star Orchard) to reserve your spot for weekly delivery to Blooming Glen Farm. CSA Members of North Star have been enjoying the Fruit Share for many years, and we think you will too! We encourage you to take a look at what their share has to offer here: https://northstarorchard.com/fruit-share.

Farmers Ike and Lisa Kerschner started North Star Orchard in 1992. They met while fellow students at Penn State. While still in college, they started their first apple breeding project, growing baby trees in their apartment. Their business has grown over the past 20 plus years into a thriving fruit and vegetable farm located on 20 acres in Cochranville, Pa, in Chester County. One of the apple varieties they developed in that apartment in college, Monolith, is currently being grown in the orchard and sold at farmers’ markets.  We met tie-dyed clad Ike a number of years ago when we had neighboring booths at the Headhouse Farmers market in Phila. We would always look forward to the arrival of this mad scientist of fruit, and subsequently the addition of their delicious offerings to our diet.

This is not ordinary fruit, but unique and heritage varieties which are full of flavor: plums with pizazz, perfect peaches, amazing Asian pears, great (seedless) grapes, astounding apples, and a sprinkling of heritage pear varieties. North Star Orchard grows no standard varieties, but rather heritage and super-flavorful varieties which you’ve likely never heard of and will knock your socks off.

Sign up directly with North Star on their website at https://northstarorchard.com/fruit-share, or if you need to reach them directly, email Lisa@northstarorchard.com. Benefits of the fruit share include: a weekly supply of delicious fruit starting at the beginning of August and going for 12 weeks; a balanced mix of different fruits each week to suit the whole family; fantastic varieties selected for flavor; a weekly email detailing varieties, and offering recipes and other information; the ability to add on extras to your weekly delivery if you so desire.

To read what Farmer Ike calls their “certified sensible” growing practices, head over to their website https://northstarorchard.com/growing-practices.

And for a quick view of North Star Orchard itself, enjoy this 90-second bird’s eye view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izdj6VIWyao

North Star Orchard Fruit Shares delivered to Blooming Glen Farm are only available for Blooming Glen Farm CSA members. You will have the option of picking up your weekly fruit share on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons at Blooming Glen Farm (during regular CSA pick-up hours of 1-7:30pm). So sign up for your veggie share with Blooming Glen Farm (early bird discount is currently in effect!), then check out North Star Orchard’s website and their fruit share!

Post by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  (Photos provided by Lisa Kerschner, North Star Orchards). Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

As the weather turns to freezing and the ground hardens, the wind howls and the landscape grays, our preparation for 2017 begins in earnest. The heavy fabric row covers are draped over the strawberry plants, a thick layer of leaf mulch is spread on the garlic and the greenhouses are battened down for gusty weather. We will be spending (quite a lot of) time entering our crop harvest records into a computer program, then the seed catalog ogling and ordering will begin. Planting charts from last season will be analyzed and edited. Adjustments in timing will be made, and the complicated game of crop rotation chess will begin.

Taking a cue from the energy of the earth drawing inward, we like to use this time to reflect back on the past season. Typically we talk about crops that have done well, and those that failed. Bugs that plagued us, and lessons learned (and there was plenty of both). Over the years we’ve seen all sorts of weather events- hail and wind, lightning strikes, drought and downpours, frost too early and frost too late. This year was hands down the hottest farm season we can remember in our 18 years of farming. It was hard on both the plants, and on the farmers. Not hard as in drink some water, put on your sunscreen and your straw hat, and head on out there. Hard as in, how do we prevent heat stroke, how do we keep this farm growing and producing food? I am quite sure we are only beginning to see the tip of the (rapidly growing) iceberg of challenges that we will face farming in a changing climate. Politics and that little thing called scientific evidence aside, ask anyone who does manual labor outside, day in and day out, where there is no thermostat, and you’ll find plenty of anecdotal evidence for global warming.

It’s scary and it’s overwhelming. But wait, there’s actually some really good news. By supporting organic agriculture you are doing your part to combat climate change. Really? Yes!! Numerous studies have demonstrated that a switch from conventional to organic farming methods can decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrogen heavy chemical fertilizers used in conventional agriculture are a serious contributor of N2O (nitrous oxide) production- a major greenhouse gas. In addition, chemical fertilizers damage the mycorrhizal and microbial interactions that store carbon in the soil. A 30 year study by the Rodale Institute proved the soil’s ability to reverse climate change, but only when the health of the soil is maintained through organic regenerative agriculture. That’s the kind of agriculture we do, the kind that uses cover crops, residue mulching, composting, crop rotation and conservation tillage. Take cover crops for example- crimson clover, tillage radishes, rye, vetch and buckwheat are some of our favorites. There are a lot of reasons to grow cover crops- erosion control, nutrient management, attracting beneficial insects and increased soil organic matter. But now when I look out over the sea of green on our fields I see a blanket of carbon sequestration.

Plants need CO2 to grow, so through photosynthesis they suck carbon out of the air. What the plant doesn’t need for growth is exuded through the roots to feed soil organisms, whereby the carbon is humified, or rendered stable. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. And that’s a win win for us. Using methods of organic agriculture not only reduces atmospheric CO2, it boosts soil productivity and increases resilience to floods and droughts.

So if your own health isn’t reason enough, let’s really start to think and talk about how this community of eaters is doing a vitally important job in supporting the health of these 40 plus acres of soil.  Soil is an incredible thing. A teaspoon of soil contains more living organisms than there are people on earth! And these 40 acres of organically managed soils at Blooming Glen Farm, in our little corner of Bucks County, can convert carbon from a greenhouse gas into a food-producing asset. As my dad would say, that’s turning a setback into a comeback. Since the first day that I discovered agriculture as a way to speak my truth in the work that I do, I have been motivated by a desire to do meaningful work on a local level. Moving out of 2016 and looking toward 2017 I look up a bit from my grassroots focus and recognize with more gravity the global importance of the work we do here. One in which good healthy food, a result of good healthy soil, is just one of many benefits.

So take a moment and go on over to our website and register for the 2017 season. If you register by March 1st you will receive an early bird discount, so don’t delay. That early bird discount is a thank you to those folks who make that commitment to us in the off-season, in those cold wintry months when you may not be thinking of sweet spring strawberries and sugar snap peas, and juicy summer tomatoes and watermelons, but we are. That’s our job, and that’s what we do in the “off-season”. We do all that planning and tweaking of plans, and supply ordering and hiring. And we couldn’t do it without your support and commitment to help us pay those bills in the winter and early spring. Farming is a crazy business, all that work and investment has to happen months and months before the first seed even hits the ground, then it’s months and months more before that seed becomes a marketable crop. But it will! If our 11 years growing here at Blooming Glen Farm has taught us anything it is that a seed wants to grow, and if we do our part to help it along its way, the avalanche of crops will follow.

We are excited to have a new addition to our offerings this upcoming season. We will be offering a pick-your-own flower share. This will be an add-on for delivery share members who may want the opportunity to come out to the farm and pick a bouquet of flowers, or for those folks who might have their own garden and therefore are not interested in the veggie share, but would like to partake of just the pick-your-own flowers. More information can be found on our website. (*Folks who register for the CSA share with pick-up at the farm in Perkasie will continue to receive PYO flowers as a part of that share, so you do not need to register for the additional flower share).

Spread the word. Tell your friends. Register now. We need you. The soil needs you. The earth needs you. Thank you for your continued support. We wish you and your loved ones a joyful, healthy new year in a world where peace and love for one another and for this beautiful planet prevails.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

This season we experimented with new popcorn varieties, in our quest to find one that not only grows well and tastes great, but also has large enough ears to go through our hand crank sheller. First up are the golden yellow kernels of the variety Pennsylvania Dutch Butter Flavor. This is a pre-1885 heirloom popcorn maintained by the Pennsylvania Dutch, introduced in 1988 by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It has a superior flavor to commercial popcorn (as really all the varieties we grew do), and pops into nice fluffy white kernels. We also grew the beautiful dark glossy Dakota Black, an open-pollinated variety bred by Prairie Road Organic Farm in North Dakota and Calico, a colorful heirloom variety from Minnesota. (I read in one report that Calico pops most consistently if you freeze the kernels first then throw them directly into a kettle with hot oil. I haven’t tried this yet, and have had good luck without doing so.)

At our house we use an air popper to pop our popcorn. But you can just as easily make it on the stovetop, electric or gas, which I experimented with for the following recipe.

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I assume canola will work just as well.)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels (you can do more or less, just adjust oil. I’ve seen recipes with 2/3 cup kernels to ¼ cup oil)
sea salt to taste

Melt the coconut oil in large pot over medium-high heat. (A heavy bottom Dutch oven is preferable 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 and let the steam out. 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 a cinnamon and honey-butter combo or spice it up with dark cacao powder and cayenne pepper.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

Frosty mornings and a cold chill in the air- no better time to make a super nutritious soup chock full of vibrant fall greens and a bit of ginger and jalapeno heat. Pair it with warm-from-the-oven perfectly spiced muffins that take advantage of the proliferation of winter squash this time of year and dinner is served. Thanks to Chef Samara Salisbury (bio after recipes) for sampling her wonderful recipes at the farm on Tuesday. Delicious!

Gingery Super Green Soup with Coconut, Jalepenos & Lime
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1 1/2 tablespoon organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil
1 small yellow/sweet onion
1 leek, top removed, washed well and sliced thin
1 stalk celery, small dice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
5 tablespoons fresh ginger root, peeled and grated on micro-plane
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 kefir lime leaves, broken in half
zest and juice 2 limes
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and minced (add more or less depending on the level of spice you prefer)
7 cups greens (any type of kale, collard greens, spinach or Swiss chard leaves), washed well, stems and ribs removed then chopped
4-5 cups cold water
2 cups unsweetened fully fat organic coconut milk
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Garnish Suggestions
Fresh grated coconut, hemp seeds or roasted chickpeas

Method
In a large heavy bottom stock pot warm coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, celery and leek and sauté about 5 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Generously season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Add grated ginger root, jalapeños, lime leaves, zest and juice, greens, 4 cups water and coconut milk. Turn up heat and bring to boil then turn down and simmer on low for 25-30 minutes. Greens should be very soft and tender. Turn off heat, remove kefir lime leaves and add cilantro. In small batches, puree soup in Vita-mix until completely smooth. Check seasoning and adjust with more sea salt and black pepper.

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Spiced Butternut Squash Whole Wheat Muffins
Makes 16 standard size muffins (or 48 mini)

Ingredients
3 eggs, room temperature and beaten
2 cups roasted and pureed butternut squash **
1/2 cup organic, unrefined & virgin coconut oil, melted
1/3-1/2 cup water
1 cup local raw honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root, peeled and grated on micro-plane
3 cups Castle Valley Mill whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or almonds (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 24-cup (or 16-cup standard size) mini muffins pans with a small amount coconut oil. In a large mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, squash puree, coconut oil, water, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger root. Whisk until smooth. In another medium mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and using a wooden spoon mix until just combined. Using a small ice cream scoop, portion out batter to fill 48 mini muffin tins. Bake for 9 minutes (or longer for larger size) then cool on wire rack. Store in glass airtight container up to 5 days or freeze.

** Butternut squash puree can be substituted with any of the following: Cheese pumpkin, kabocha squash, acorn squash or sweet potato. You can also combine different squashes.

Recipes created by Samara Salisbury. Chef Samara Salisbury, known as “Chef Sam” to her clients, is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Her background includes cooking professionally in both New York City and Paris, and working in marketing for Whole Foods Market. Over the years Chef Sam has developed a strong passion for supporting local organic farmers and food artisans. She enjoys using her cooking skills to help educate customers about where to source locally grown ingredients and how to prepare simple wholesome dishes with them.

Chef Sam has worked extensively with farmers markets in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has created seasonal recipes featured in Edible New Jersey magazine and cookbook. This past year she created a farm to school afterschool cooking program for 3rd-6th graders at Bridge Valley Elementary in Furlong, PA. Her goal is to further educate young children and their parents about the many amazing farms we have right here in Bucks County. Raising more awareness about supporting sustainable agriculture and nourishing our bodies with fresh wholesome foods needs to be a priority with this generation. Chef Sam is hoping to expand this program district wide.

Services include: Personal cooking lessons/parties, Monthly Farmer’s Market Recipe Club, Farm to Table Catering and Wholesome Pantry Make-Overs. For more information please visit her website http://www.chefsamcooks/ (website currently under construction but will be live soon) or follow her Chef Sam Cooks Facebook page and @chefsamcooks Instagram page. You can email Samara at mailto:chefsamcooks@gmail.com or call 973-202-2026.

Post and photos* by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community. (*Muffin photo provided by Chef Sam.)

The signs of autumn are here. The warm color of the light at dawn, as the sun breaks through the mist. The view from our hilltop of the golden hued trees shedding their leaves. We shift to a later start, an extra hour to sleep, or plan, or sip coffee, as we move toward darker and colder mornings. Sweatshirts and muck boots and warm layers abound.  Fields that sat empty during the drought are able to get tilled and seeded with cover crop seed, as a stretch of rainy days has finally moistened the earth. Out into the fields we spin seed- crimson clover, rye, vetch- a mix depending on our plans for next year, or the needs of the soil in that particular field. Out on the farm we are cleaning up the fields of summer crops, cutting down the cherry tomato and eggplant trellis twine, removing stakes and lifting mulch.

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Our annual organic inspection was last week, another marker of the passage of time. Though this was the third year, we still get excited and a little nervous. We do enjoy the challenge of the audit where we trace a crop from seed to sale- on a 40 acre farm growing dozens of different crops it is no small task tracking everything that happens over the course of a season. We look at it as a fantastic opportunity to test our record keeping systems, to see where we need change and improvement. And we enjoy chatting with the inspector, hearing about the greater organic community which we can often lose sight of during the mayhem of our farm’s personal challenges.

Looking ahead to the remaining weeks of our season, we have garlic to plant, fall greens and roots to continue to harvest. Our sweet potatoes are out and curing in the warm greenhouse. The last of our potatoes will be dug as soon as the ground dries. Winter radishes and fennel will soon follow.

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The vegetables are a reflection of what our body needs to eat as the weather turns. Nutrient packed greens fortify us, winter squash contains the summer rays in its golden flesh. Celeriac, turnips, beets, carrots, radishes- all roots, ground us. Root vegetables are a true comfort food, delicious and satisfying, they fulfill carb cravings and often a sweet tooth- think beets, carrots and sweet potatoes- without bombarding our body with sugar. They are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytonutrients, from the lowly turnip to the earthy beet.

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In our CSA share and on our farm stand this week you’ll find kabocha squash- this is my favorite squash to eat, and that’s coming from someone that really loves winter squash. Acorn, delicata, butternut, they all have their place, and their recipes are in a steady rotation in our house, but oh so sweet kabocha, with your beautiful blue gray skin, you’re the one we hoard and store for the winter, the one my daughter requests the most. You are definitely the least well known and perhaps most under appreciated of all the winter squash we grow. So I am here to sing your praises. Enjoy kabocha while we have it! This Japanese pumpkin is an excellent source of beta-carotene- just look at that bright orange flesh! I halve or quarter it, roast, scoop out of its flesh and mash and eat as a side with our greens. No need to add a thing! So incredibly moist and delicious all on its own.

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The fall greens are abundant and beautiful- kale, collards and swiss chard, broccoli raab, arugula, and those magnificent beet greens. If you do one thing for yourself and your health, eating your greens should be it. Sauté, add to a soup or blend them raw in a smoothie. Find ways to incorporate them into your daily diet and you will see and feel a difference in your well being.

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Our spaghetti sauce and ketchup is ready for sale…made almost entirely from ingredients grown on our farm. It was prepared and bottled locally by The Bauman Family in Sassmansville, Pa. This historic apple butter factory has been in their family since the late 1800s. A massive wood fired cast iron boiler from 1926 sends steam through the copper coils that heat up the vats of tomatoes (or apples).  It is quite an amazing operation! We hope you’ll purchase a sauce or ketchup to enjoy this winter- they taste fantastic and make great gifts.  The labels were designed by Michael Alan, an artist from Philadelphia. He has just completed the illustrations for a beautiful cookbook/history book, Colonial Spirits. Truly a collaboration, and an extension of the season, that we are so excited to share with you!

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Important CSA dates: Tuesday Nov. 8 and Thursday Nov. 10 is the final week of CSA pick-ups for full shares, and week B half shares. Tuesday Nov. 1 and Thursday Nov. 3 is the last week for week A half shares. The last boxed delivery shares will go out Wed. Nov 9.

Please note: *We will be taking this season off from holding our annual harvest festival in order to get inspired and energized for the 2017 season.

Post and photos by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.

With back to back chef demos last week (hmm…maybe we need to do our own version of an Iron Chef competition!), here are a few more recipes for your enjoyment. These are from Chef Rich Baringer of Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service.

Spaghetti Squash Salad with Chickpeas and Feta (adapted from Cook’s Country), Serves 4

This is a different take on spaghetti squash. It’s light and tasty–and it’s not trying to pretend the squash is real spaghetti. Try it! ~Chef Rich

Ingredients
2 ½ lb spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Salt and pepper
2 tsp lemon zest
7 tsp lemon juice
15 oz canned chickpeas, rinsed
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
4 scallions, sliced thin on the bias
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with 2 Tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Place squash, cut side down, on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until just tender, 40-45 min. (Paring knife should go in with little resistance.) Transfer to a wire cooling rack, turn squash cut side up and let cool completely, about 1 hr.

Combine zest, juice, ¼ cup oil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in large bowl. Use fork to scrape squash strands into bowl. Toss. Add chickpeas and toss. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with cheese, parsley, scallion and seeds. Drizzle with more oil before serving, if desired.

grilled-eggplant

Grilled Eggplant Dip (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook), Serves 4

This is a very healthy and flavorful dip/spread much like baba ghanoush–just with a few adjustments from the traditional. Serve with vegetables or crackers. You could even use it as a sandwich spread. ~Chef Rich

Ingredients
2 lb eggplant, halved lengthwise
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp parsley, minced
2 sweet peppers, halved, seeded and stemmed

Preheat grill to high. Score eggplant with paring knife, about ½” deep. Brush with oil and season with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Brush the peppers with oil and season with salt and pepper. Scrape and oil grill grate.

Lay eggplant, cut side down, on grill until very soft and skin is shriveled. At the same time, place peppers on grill, skin side down until charred. Remove eggplant to a sheet pan to cool slightly. Place peppers in a zipper bag and seal. When cool enough to handle, scoop eggplant pulp into a mesh strainer set over a bowl and let drain 3 min. Meanwhile, remove skins from peppers and roughly chop.

Place eggplant, peppers, tahini, juice, garlic, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper in bowl. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency. Chill for 30 min. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

Recipes by Rich Baringer, Dinner’s Done Personal Chef Service. Phone: 215-804-6438; Email: mailto:DinnersDonePA@comcast.net Web: http://www.dinnersdonepa.com/ Like Dinner’s Done: http://www.facebook.com/DinnersDonePA

Post editing by Tricia Borneman, Blooming Glen farmer and co-owner.  Tricia and her husband Tom have been farming together since 2000. Blooming Glen Farm is celebrating its 11th season bringing high quality certified organic vegetables, herbs, fruits and cut flowers to our local community.