Farm Update 10-05-23

We have once again reached the end of another season. Seems like it was January just a few days ago, June a day or so later, and then another couple more and here we are. Strange pace for the year, I suppose, but it is what it is. This weekend, Columbus Day weekend, will be the last the farm stand is open for the 2023 season. As I’ve been doing with most holidays, there will be extra hours:

Monday 10/9: 10 – 4

Beyond this weekend, you can still check the What’s Available page to see if I have what you’re looking for, and if so, you can text to arrange a time to pick up. I’ll be adding some additional info to the What’s Available page to help clarify what to do if there are any items you would like to get, and also any specific times when I will be unavailable.

Unfortunately, the start to this weekend looks to be about on par with most of the rest of the summer, with considerable rain at the start, and then getting much colder. Hopefully, you’ve been able to enjoy the last couple of days with the temps in the high 70s and clear blue skies.

For those of you who like checking out the fall colors, most of the trees in the area are now changed or changing rapidly. The colors are a little on the browner side this year, but there are also patches with some nice vibrant yellows and reds. Of course, being able to head off the mountaintop and see a variety of color changes is also a nice treat.

In the field, virtually everything is finished growing, with the exception of Kale and Chives. I still have even more Potatoes to dig going forward, so if you’re looking for fresh dug Potatoes (mostly Red Potatoes) I should have a good supply of them for some time.

In the coops, the Laying Hens are being their usual selves – always begging for more treats. I swear, I could shower them with nothing but mountains of food and treats and they would still constantly be squawking for more. They are, however, still producing good numbers of eggs, which will also continue, and be available after the stand closes. I’m not sure exactly how long I will have the Laying Hens this year, but it will likely be well into November, if not December.

The remainder of the Broiler Chickens will all be processed for this weekend. There will be a little variety in the sizes, but they are tending to the larger side. There will be both Fresh and Frozen, Whole and Half chickens for this weekend, and then Frozen from that point on until they are sold out. I am still taking orders for over the winter, and can hold the chickens for a time, if need be.

I also have a bit of a request. Given the news that Kern’s Nursery will be closing up at the end of this season, I would very much like to hear feedback on whether or not there is interest in the farm selling both vegetable and flower plant starts, as well as potentially selling some potted plants in the spring at the beginning of the season. This is something I’ve considered in the past, but just not followed up on doing. Please let me know what you think.

That’s going to be it for this update. I would like to thank everyone who was able to come by this season and help support and keep the farm going. I hope you all not only have a great holiday weekend, but a fantastic fall, winter, and spring, along with joyous holidays along the way. Take care and have a great time.

Farm Update 09-28-23

If it wasn’t about the time I normally finish for the season it certainly would be after this week. The temps here on the farm dropped as low as 30F, with the temps remaining below the freeze line for more than 3 hours on Wednesday morning, and it’s looking like the same as I write this update on Thursday morning, with the temperature again hitting 30F. These readings are well below the forecast temperatures, averaging about 10 degrees below the published lows.

It is, however, coming up to the end of the season for the farm stand. The last day for this year is Monday, October 9th, which is the Monday of Columbus Day weekend.

In the field, aside from just a couple of things, like Potatoes and Kale, most everything else has been either killed outright, or burned by the freeze. This includes all the remaining flowers as well. I hope all of you who wanted to get pictures of them were able to before now.

In the coops all is generally going well. There have been a few times that the heating for the Broiler Chickens has given me problems during the middle of the night, but was dealt with without too much of a hassle. Given that I am approaching the end of the season, and due to scheduling, I have already re-homed half of the Laying Hens. They’ve gone to the farm I’ve been dealing with for a few years, and they keep them for the remainder of their lives.

As for the Broilers, they are getting on the bigger side, and eating everything in sight. Fresh Chicken will be available again this and next week, and after that, there will be Frozen Chicken available until they sell out. After I close for the season on October 9th the What’s Available page will list approximate sizes and quantities of chickens available for purchase.

Since it is well and truly Fall, I have made a small batch of Cranberry Preserves. I also made some more Strawberry Preserves, since I was about to run out. In the end, I was not happy enough with the Cherry Preserves recipe I had been working on, so they will not be available at all this year.

I suppose that’s it for this update. Thanks very much to all of you who were able to come by and help support the farm. Hope you all have a great week, and enjoy the sunshine while it’s here.

Farm Update 09-21-23

Well, what was expected last week showed up with a vengeance this week. Not only did the temps drop on Wednesday (9/20) to the point where there was a solid frost, with a low temperature of 34.5F, but the follow up this morning (9/21) dropped the temp to 32F. Needless to say, this does not bode well for the crops still in the field. And I should mention that none of the forecasts for the local area showed the temps dropping anywhere near these levels, with the actual temperatures registering seven to nine degrees lower than forecast.

In the fields, given the back-to-back frost/freeze, there is little expectation of all but the hardiest plants, and crops like Potatoes surviving. I do still have some herbs in the greenhouse, so there will still be some of my own stuff, along with some Tomatoes I harvested prior to the frost. Beyond that, it will be at least another 24 hours until the full extent of the damage is known. Please check the What’s Available page for the full listing for this week.

In the coops, the Layers are laying, and the Broilers are eating everything in sight. Both Fresh and Frozen chickens are available this weekend.

I was able to get time to make more Raspberry Preserves this week. If I can get a chance in the next few days I will also be making a planned batch of Cranberry Preserves. Sadly, I will not be making Cherry Preserves this year.

Before I end the update, allow me to remind you all that the last day the farm stand will be open for the 2023 season in Monday, October 9th, which is the Monday of Columbus Day Weekend. After that date, there will likely still be items (Preserves and Frozen Chicken) and even some crops like Potatoes available for some time. After checking the What’s Available page you can text or call to place an order and we can arrange a pick up time.

So that’s going to be it for this week. Thanks to all who have come by and helped support the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 09-14-23

Hope everyone has been enjoying the warmer conditions we’ve been having since Labor Day, as the long-range forecast is showing the approaching decline in temps. Luckily, we’ve managed to avoid the mild, patchy frost event that happens all too often this time of year. Make no mistake though, fall is here, and the trees are turning at a pretty good pace. Work has also now changed over to the usual fall activities, as has a fair selection of goodies at the farm stand.

In the field the plants are already slowing down as they normally do with the cooler weather. String Beans will be ending soon, and the Zucchini have officially bitten the dust. Cucumbers are valiantly trying to make a comeback, but honestly, at this point, I’m not sure they’ll be producing much more. Due to other commitments, I have not been able to get into the Winter Squash area yet, but hope to find Acorn, Butternut, and Spaghetti Squash. I’m not going to list them on the What’s Available page until I actually have them in hand.

Flowers are slowly coming to an end. While they still look impressive from a distance, up close is a different story. There should still be just a few Gladiola this week, and then potentially a few more per week for a bit longer. Field Flower bunches will still be available, and, weather permitting, should be available right through the end of the season.

In the coops, things are also going pretty well. The Laying Hens continue churning out eggs at a steady pace, though still with very few Jumbo. There are, however, a good amount of XL size eggs. The Broilers are now big enough that I will be processing some this week, and will therefore have Fresh Chicken available for this weekend, and then right through until I close for the season on October 9th.

Lastly, I was able to get some more Strawberry-Rhubarb Preserves made. This may be the last of it I can make for the season as I am having trouble sourcing Rhubarb. There are still plans to make more Raspberry, and if I can somehow squeeze it in, a batch of Cranberry as well.

That’s going to be it for now. Hope you all have a great week. Thanks to everyone who has been able to come by and help support, and keep the farm going.

Farm Update 09-07-23

Welcome to fall, or at least welcome to the post-Labor Day time of year. I hope everyone had a great time this summer, and despite the weather was able to get in all the fun activities you wanted. Here on the farm, the work is now quickly shifting over to the fall schedule. As was previously mentioned, there are some operational changes that take place, though not really anything that someone visiting would notice.

In the field, the crops that made it through the rains of the summer are still doing pretty well. I will be getting into the Winter Squash and Pumpkin patch over the next week, though I do not have particularly high hopes for a good set of crops from either. The next round of Snap Peas I had planted are getting bigger, but have not yet begun to flower, so it’ll be a couple more weeks at least.

Speaking of flowers, the Gladiola are still blooming like crazy. They will not be around too much longer, so be sure to swing by and check out the great colors. The Field Flowers are also doing great, and for those who did not ask when at the stand – the flowers toward the front with the reds, yellow, and orange are called Pampas Plume Celosia and they are annuals.

The little tubbies, aka Broiler Chickens, are getting big rather quickly. If they maintain this growth rate, then I will likely be processing for Fresh Chicken next week. It’s not definite yet, and would be the following week at the latest, but please be sure to check back if they are what you’re looking to get. Also, if you are thinking about ordering a few for over the winter, please don’t wait too long to let me know.

There was a major run on Preserves last week, with the holiday and all, so as of right now there are a few types sold out. Until I get a chance, which may even be this afternoon/evening, both sizes of Raspberry and Strawberry-Rhubarb are sold out. I will be making more shortly, it’s just a matter of squeezing them into the list of critically important things that must be accomplished in short order. That list is like 5 pages long, but who’s counting, right.

That’s it for this week’s update. Thanks again to everyone who has come by and helped support the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 08-31-23

The end of summer holiday is here, although honestly it doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, as the work on the farm will continue just the same even after it comes and goes. Still, it does mark a shift in focus, and of course, for families it means the kids return to school. As a reminder, for the holiday weekend, the farm stand will be open an extra day with the following hours.

Friday 10 – 6
Saturday 10 – 6
Sunday 10 – 4
Monday 10 – 4

In the field, the rains have succeeded in making a good old mess of things. The damage is now rather extensive, with zucchini completely ruined, and the Tomatoes suffering badly also. Still, I am harvesting what I can, so please be sure to check the What’s Available page for current offerings.

While many flowers are still at full bloom, the Gladiola will be ending soon. The second plantings are blooming very rapidly, and as a result, will likely be finished within a week or two. Field Flowers should hold on until real cold weather sets in.

In the coops, the chickens continue chickening. The Broiler Chickens are getting bigger faster than previously expected, and while I’m not yet giving a specific date of availability for fresh ones, it will likely be a week earlier than expected.

I know this is a shorter update, but I think that’s it for this week. Thanks again to everyone who has come by and helped support the farm. Hope you all have a great week and a nice Labor Day.

Farm Update 08-24-23

Another week closer to the end of summer, and as if to make the point I have the last of the Pennsylvania Peaches for this season. While the seasons change, work on the farm continues as it does.

In the field, the rains that we had last week finally did what I hoped wouldn’t happen and caused a widespread and sudden fungal outbreak. While Snap Peas were ending (hopefully temporarily until the next planting), the majority of damage was done to Zucchini (which were already suffering from other issues), Cucumbers, Pumpkins, and Winter Squash. Initial surveys are not promising, though it may be possible to salvage some of the crops and keep plants like the Cucumber producing at minimal levels.

As was mentioned above, I have the last of the Peaches for this season. They are ending a week earlier than usual due to a light crop. I will have Local Apples available again this week, featuring Honeycrisp, Zestar, and Gala varieties (Macintosh possibly next week). I also, based on several people asking, got some Italian Plums. Local Blueberries are back this week after a short hiatus, and I will also have some more of those Canadian Wild Blueberries.

The weather this past week, although not even remotely close to the initial forecast, was dry enough that I was finally able to dig a significant amount of Potatoes. There will be Russet, Red, and Yukon Gold varieties available.

Flowers are pretty much all still in full bloom, so if you want to get pictures, then now is the time. There should still be good numbers of Gladiola for the next couple of weeks.

In the coops, the chickens are all doing great. The newest round of Broiler Chickens are getting big so quick that I will have to move them out to their normal housing this week. That is more than a full week ahead of schedule, and is based on their size. If they continue to grow at this rate, I will be processing earlier than anticipated. While I don’t have a firm date yet, please keep an eye out for announcements.

Lastly, I’m sure a good few of you have already noticed the trees, and no, I do not mean any specific ones on the farm. Based on the color changes already taking place, which began much earlier than usual, they are telling me that Fall is basically already here. I had begun making preparations to deal with any rapid changes in the plants a couple of weeks ago, and already dealt with some of them, but there is only so much I can do as the vast majority of farm operations are outside and directly affected by those changing conditions. Anyway, I just thought I would mention what I’m seeing and make note of the plans and actions.

That’s it for now. Thanks to all who have been able to come by and help support the farm. I heard from a number of people last week that it was their last weekend and they were headed back home to their usual routines, so I wanted to say an extra thank you to all of them and that I hope you all had a great time over the summer. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 08-17-23

As seems to be the case this year, the time is absolutely flying by, and we are now halfway through August. This means I will soon be shifting into more of a fall mode, and moving my attention to the later season crops. Additionally, the weather continues to misbehave, and the rains, while already having caused some issues, are starting to seriously impact a number of additional crops.

In the field, it is now confirmed that my Sweet Corn did not grow properly (so there will be none this year). That is the worst of the weather-related issues, so far, but is not the only one, and in the end may not even be the worst. Fungal outbreaks have started in a number of areas, so I am doing what I can to keep them in check.

Please check the What’s Available list to see what I’ll have this weekend. I will still be picking Snap Peas this week, but there won’t be as many, and I think that’ll be it for that planting. There is another round growing, but it will be some time before it produces. String Beans will be picked and are generally doing well, but are slowing down. Zucchini has taken a beating from the rain and fungal issues, so my own will be limited. I picked up some from a local operation to help fill in for the weekend. Herbs in and out of the greenhouses are still not growing properly, but I should have some Cilantro in addition to the Basil this week.

Pennsylvania Peaches are still available this week, but will be ending any time now. Local Blueberries are between pickings, so I got some wild Canadian Blueberries for this weekend. They have really nice flavor. While I will still have the Honeycrisp, Paula Red, and Zestar Apples again, there were no new varieties this week.

For the flower lovers, Gladiola are still blooming wonderfully. There will also be Field Flower bunches available as I get time to make them, which usually means later in the afternoon.

In the coops, the Laying Hens have finally started laying more XL-sized eggs. I think the feed mix they are getting now is about the best I’ll be able to do. They are still producing very few Jumbos.

The new batch of Broiler Chickens are growing at an incredible rate. Not only does this mean they will likely have to be moved to their primary house sooner, but also, if they keep growing at this speed, that I will be able to start processing them a week or so earlier than expected.

That’s it for now. Thanks to everyone who has come by to help support and keep the farm going and growing. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 08-10-23

Big news this week, Local Apples have started, and I was able to get some. There’s more that’s gone on, but since so many people wait for the Apples I figured I could probably have just posted that one line and it would have been fine for the entire update. While it’s tempting, there are a few other things I think I should pass along.

In the field, the Zucchini have slowed way down. This is likely a result of the rain, and I am hopeful that the plants will push back into better production soon. So far, unlike quite a few customers who have gardens, my Cucumbers seem to still be producing. Hopefully that holds up for the remainder of the summer. I will be picking Snap Peas and String Beans again this week, and there will be Basil (Genovese, Lemon, and Ruby).

Off the farm, there has apparently been a bit of a hiccup at the berry farm, with a very limited amount of Blueberries available this week. To make sure I have enough, I also got some Jersey Blueberries (they will be clearly marked when they go out). While the next little bit of news won’t really directly affect the farm or any of you, I wanted to pass it along as a bit of information on what farming is like. Talking to the fruit broker, they told me that the same orchard operation that produces the Peaches (which I will have) also has farms growing Apples. This past week, they were about to harvest, but decided to give the crop one more day. Overnight, surprise thunderstorms with marble-sized hail pounded the area. The estimated loss due to damage is approximately a quarter million bushels (nearly 10 million pounds) of apples. From what I gather, nearly their entire apple crop was wiped out by the storms because they wanted to give the apples one more day on the trees.

Moving on, the day-old broiler chicks arrived on the farm on Tuesday. They’re currently sleeping quite a bit, and alternately are quite busy doing their best imitation of land piranha when I top off their food. It really is amazing just how fast they can move. The Laying Hens are also doing a great job, so I’ve been giving them some extra treats.

The flowers are pretty much all blooming at this point. There should be lots of Gladiola for the next few weeks, and Field Flower bunches when I can get a chance to put them together.

That’s it for this update. A very big thanks to everyone who has been able to come by and help support the farm. Hope you all have a great week.

Farm Update 08-02-23

Being that it’s August, I guess that means that summer is half over. From the weather the past couple of days, you’d think we’re already in September. This morning (08/02), the low temperature here at the farm was 39F, and the prior two mornings it hit 43F as a low. These extremely low temps for the summertime have caused some problems, which I will detail in the crop section below. Anyway, it is certainly nice to have the humidity under control for a little while.

So, in the field the temps were cold enough to have caused both general crop slowdowns, as well as some individual plant damage. In general, most crops have slowed a bit, though this will correct itself over a couple of days. The more sensitive plants like Basil, Peppers, and Tomatoes, have some plants showing cold damage. Thankfully it wasn’t quite cold enough to cause frost, though it was close.

As far as crops go, Green Cabbage, Russet and Red Potatoes are all newly available this week. I’m still picking String Beans and Snap Peas. The corn does not look like it’s doing well this year, so I’m not sure I will have any of my own. I found some Pumpkins and Winter Squash set on their vines, so hopefully they’ll grow nice and big. The Eggplant have started flowering, so there should be some in a couple of weeks. There should be a very limited amount of Cherry Tomatoes, and the early Salad Tomatoes are just starting to turn reddish, so they shouldn’t be too much longer. And lastly, due to the radical changes in the weather over the last few weeks, quite a bit of the Lettuce that was planted for the next few weeks has bolted (gone to flower), so there will only be very limited amounts, or even none of my own for a time. I will fill in the gaps with Local Lettuce as needed.

From beyond the farm, I am told that Local Blueberries still have a few weeks to run. The Canadian Strawberries were looking nice, so I got some extra ones this week. The unhappy news is that the Pennsylvania Peach crop will not hold out as long as previous years, and so they will likely only be available for two, or maybe three weeks. There was no word yet on Local Apples, and honestly I didn’t expect an answer given how early it is.

The Laying Hens are doing great, though they are demanding more treats of late. As for the Broiler Chickens, this will be the last week to get fresh ones until sometime in late September. There should be a reasonable selection of sizes, including some of the larger birds. I will not be doing half-chickens this week, though there are frozen ones available.

I think that’s everything I needed to cover for this update. Hope you all have a great week.