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Farm News for Saturday, February 11, 2017

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Hi all!

This is our 2017 garlic crop, coming up and greening nicely. It's amazingly cold-hardy, not that it was necessary much yet this winter.

Produce this week

The sunshine and warmer temperatures have really brought on the greens, which are the real highlight of this week's offerings. Arugula, lacinato kale, microgreens, salad mix, spinach and Bibb lettuce are all available in good supply. Go for it!

[photo] This creamy parsnip & apple soup was dinner last night (with cornbread on the side), and it was sooooo good we are offering it to you with most of the ingredients and a recipe. Try it out... we guarantee you won't be disappointed!

This week's CSA produce line-up (new/back)

  • Greens: Arugula, cabbage (2), young kale, microgreens mix, salad mix & spinach.
  • Veggies: Beets (2), carrots (2), celeriac, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, parsnips, parsnip soup pack, dried Cayenne peppers, potatoes (2), winter radishes (3), rutabagas, shallots, sweet potatoes (2), turnips (2) and our turnip soup pack.
  • Herbs: Chives, cilantro, oregano, Italian parsley and thyme.
  • Tree fruit: Apples, apples, apples.
  • Poultry & Cheese: Frozen stewing hens & eggs; the usual cheeses plus baby Swiss from the Byers, and we've run out of goat cheese from Pipe Dreams, but got in contact with the Hess' at Little Antietam Goat Dairy and will be trying out their chevre. Let us know what you think!
  • Preserves: The new usual, with all of Sarah's canned goods.
  • Apple cider: We're going to try out putting gallons of cider in the store for you to preorder (even though I've told many of you we never would again :) Just trying it out! Half gallons at the truck on Saturday.
  • Firewood: 40-lb. boxes of logs.

On the farm, and off
We've been a busy bunch since last we spoke. Last week was our annual winter conference week. I went to Hershey for 3 days at the beginning of the week for the "Conventional Ag" conference, came home for a day, then the three of us drove up to State College for the "Alternative Ag" conference. There are things we can learn at both. There were lots of crop meetings where we learned useful or interesting things all the way from managing bugs in the greenhouse to the best varieties of hothouse tomatoes to farm "hacks" on machinery, tools and methods.

CSA focus
By far the biggest focus and number of workshops we attended had to do in one way or another with CSA: What's the status of CSA nationwide? What new trends are out there? What do members or potential members want? Is it a viable business model? Is it working for those of us doing it?

I had planned to do a very thorough review of all that with you, but ran out of time, so here's a brief glance at what we are hoping to do with our/your CSA. We want to make it better. Here are some of the ideas we have in mind.

  • Get more input from you about what you are missing or feel we are lacking, and what we might do to make our CSA better for you. Shoot us an email right now if you feel like it, but we'll also be setting up some sort of survey that we'll foist upon you sometime in the near future.
  • "Loosen up" a bit on some of our rules. For example, we've decided that due to a new way Chris is sorting orders, it wouldn't be a big problem if you place a second order for something you forgot on the first one. So go ahead!
  • We want to continue to add diversity to our product line-up, including offering more (mostly) self-contained "packs," such as the two soup packs we've added to the store this week!
  • Continue to work towards a better "renewal/re-up" method, following along with the reduced re-up amounts and offer to accept credit cards in person there at the truck started last time we were down.
  • Find more and perhaps better ways to communicate with you about what we're doing up here, growing your food.

In short, we hope to revitalize our CSA for you, (and just as importantly for us), and get people involved and liking it and telling their friends and ordering more and, and, and... well, you get the picture :) And we know, some of you do that all the time, and if you got any more revitalized....

So, thanks for supporting our small farm and the other nearby farmers we partner with to get you the best produce we can, offered in a way and on a schedule that works for us both, and furthering the connection between us and you, making good on the "KNOW YOUR FARMER, KNOW YOUR FOOD" theme coming out of USDA recently.

Hoping to see you Saturday,
Randy, Chris & Sam
at Star Hollow Farm

[photo] Sam has taken advantage of the warm spell to get back to work on his cabin. He put up the interior walls and trim last week, stained the trim today, and will be putting down the floor tomorrow. Looks good!

[photo] Things were dreary this morning, and it rained all night, but got better!


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