Well, Hello Rain.

Well, Hello Rain. 5/28/15

Sustainable, hand-tended produce and mushrooms.   www.rollinghillsfarm.org

Before last night it had been about a month without rain here at the farm.  It seemed every time I looked at the weather forecast the day before the chance of rain would be over 50% and then always.. no rain.  The grass here is looking very yellow, creeks aren’t running, our swimming hole is only at knee height and our irrigation pond has gone down a lot.

While I would give my pinky toe for a day of a good, steady rain, I will still take the hour long storm we had last night. Wednesday is our Easton Market evening and my intern and I found ourselves holding down the tent during the strong gusts. Through the storm we were still selling strawberries because apparently the appeal of the strawberry is so strong that people will trudge through the worst weather to get those first few spray free pints.

Our yellow butter oyster mushrooms (certified organic!) have been exploding in the mushroom room and have the sweetest scent and a delicious buttery flavor.  I hope you all enjoy them as much as we have been!

All our greens are hand picked, washed and spun dry!

Swiss Chard in the morning light.

Weeding the Broccoli furrows.  Can’t wait for this stuff!

Our lovely certified organic butter oyster mushrooms

Evening pond walks.

An amazing shot of the spider webs here by our wwoofer Savannah

the radish beauties.

Recipes:

Turnips, Potatoes and Greens

Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound baby turnips with greens attached
  2. 1/2 pound small red potatoes
  3. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
  5. 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  6. 1 teaspoon butter, divided
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  8. salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Trim leaves and most of stems from the turnips and place in a bowl of water. Swish around to remove any sand or dirt from the leaves. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Rinse turnips and cut into quarters. Slice potatoes into quarters about the same size as the turnips.
  3. Fill a medium pot with water and kosher salt and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and turnips, Reduce heat to a rapid simmer and cook vegetables until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.
  4. In a medium skillet or cast iron pan, heat 1/2 teaspoon butter and 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add sliced turnips and potatoes. Saute vegetables until crispy and browned. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Add remaining butter and olive oil to the pan. Add shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly tender. Add the greens and cook until just wilted. Add the potatoes back to the pan and toss to combine.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Spinach Polenta

For 2 servings:

  • 2 c. water
  • ½ c. cornmeal
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. vegetable broth
  • 1 c. (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp. grated Parmesan
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, combine ¼ cup of broth and spinach leaves in a blender. Purée until creamy; set aside.  Add cornmeal and a ¼ teaspoon of salt to the saucepan. Cook, stirring continuously, until it thickens slightly about 5-7 minutes. Lower to temperature to low heat. Add spinach purée, Parmesan, and black pepper. Let it cook for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally – add additional vegetable broth if necessary, a tablespoon at a time, if the mixture thickens too quickly and is not creamy anymore.

Stir-fried Bok Choy and Oyster Mushrooms
Ingredients:
1 head Bok Choy
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
10oz fresh mushrooms thinly sliced

Directions: Heat some oil in a pan, fry the garlic till fragrant. Add the mushrooms, fry for about 5mins, then add the bok choy stems and fry for about 5 minutes till cooked but maintaining the stems’ crisp and tenderness.  Add bok choy leaves and saute for another minute. Pinch of sea salt and ground pepper to taste.

At Market This Week:
Strawberries
Spring Mix
Spinach
Kale
Swiss Chard
Radishes
Bok Choy
Arugula
Oyster Mushrooms
Turnips
Beets
Butterhead Lettuce
Asparagus (last week!!)
Basil

This Week’s ShareHalf Share:       Full Share:

1 bunch kale 1 bunch kale
1 head bok choy 1 head bok choy
1 head butterhead lettuce 1 head butterhead lettuce
1 pint mushrooms 1 bunch beets
1/2 pound spinach 1 pint strawberries
1 bunch turnips 1 bunch turnips
1 bunch radishes
1 pint mushrooms
1 pound spinach
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First Week Of Box Shares!

Box Shares Week One! 5/21/15

Sustainable, hand-tended produce and mushrooms.   www.rollinghillsfarm.org

This Saturday is our first box share pick up at Washington Crossing, PA.  The bottom of all of our newsletters will let you box share folks know the vegetables that will be in the shares this week as well as what we will have at our markets.  It’s seemed a long time coming, but the first share is here!

Please note: bring your own bags to pick up your share for the week!  We will have bags available for any who forget.

Since December we have been planning, building, seeding, planting, weeding and much more to get this beautiful moment where we can share our bounty with even more people!  Tomorrow is our first big CSA harvest day of the season and we are all excited to go to sleep early so we can rise before the sun and start harvesting all of the amazing, delicious produce out in the fields!

I found my first ripe strawberry today as well, which is only a sign of the amazing things to come!

beds of swiss chard ready for harvest

baby peas starting to pop

growing tomatoes

Kohlrabi peeking out

beautiful bok choy

Recipe:

One Pan Singapore Noodles

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 White Onion, sliced
  • 1 plant green garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch radishes, chopped
  • 1 head Bok Choy
1 carrot juliened
  • handful wild allium flowers for garnish
  • 8 oz Thin Rice Vermicelli
  • Seasoning:
  • 2 teaspoons Curry Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 2 teaspoons Sweet Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Tamari
  • ½ teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare vermicelli noodles by soaking in a large bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large wok or saucepan, heat oil up. Gently stir fry garlic, radishes and onion for a minute, then add in carrot. Continue stir frying for 30 seconds.
  3. Drain noodles from water and add into wok. Using tongs, loosen up the noodles so they cook evenly.
  4. Add all seasoning ingredients to the pan and make sure to keep moving the noodles around so they don’t burn or break up. Stir fry until all the liquid in the wok has been absorbed by the noodles. Taste for seasoning and alter to your preference.
  5. minute before you’re done stir frying, add bok choy into the wok. Toss to heat the veggies through and then turn off heat. Add sesame oil after heat has been turned off and stir to mix through.
  6. Dish up and enjoy!

At Market This Week:
Spring Mix
Spinach
Kale
Radishes
Bok Choy
Asian Greens
Arugula
Oyster Mushrooms
Basil
Heirloom Vegetable Transplants

This Week’s ShareHalf Share:       Full Share:

1 head bok choy 2 heads bok choy
1 bunch green garlic 1 bunch green garlic
1 bunch chard 1 bunch chard
1 bunch asian greens 1 bunch asian greens
1 bunch radishes 2 bunches radishes
1/2 pound salad mix 1 pound salad mix
1/2 pound spinach
1 bunch baby kale

The Perfect Day

The Perfect Day 4/9/15

Sustainable, hand-tended produce.  www.rollinghillsfarm.org

It seems every Spring we search for the perfect day.  That day when everything comes together.  When the fields are dry enough to make beds and transplant/direct seed our crops.  When there’s a forecast of rain to water in the newly planted young plants.  When it’s nice enough to wear a t-shirt, but the wind isn’t blowing hard enough to damage anything.  When what you need to happen happens.

Once the middle of March hits, every farmer around is itching to get into their fields to start their journey out there to provide the earliest produce possible.  This Spring it seemed like the cold would never leave, the ground never thaw and the rain never leave.  It always does though and we have had quite a few ‘perfect days’.

This week to the sound of peepers all around us we’ve planted; peas, carrots, radishes, turnips, kale, salad mix, asian greens, lettuce, chicory and spinach.  There are many plants waiting outside the greenhouse to get planted on another perfect day this weekend.  Fresh vegetables are just a few weeks away!

mottistone, a new lettuce variety we’re excited about!

white oyster mushrooms fruiting!

the end of the day trek back home after a day of deer fence building

garlic poking it’s way out of the ground

hydroponic tomatoes getting tall!

Our Markets this Season:

Washington Crossing Farmer’s Market, Washington Crossing, PA Saturdays 9-1 May – November

Wrightstown Farmer’s Market, Wrightstown, PA Saturdays 9-1 May-November

Easton Farmer’s Market, Easton, PA Wednesdays 4-7 May-October

Asbury Fresh Farmer’s Market, Asbury Park, NJ Sundays 11-4 June-September

Our CSA Shares are still available!

Full and half boxed shares are available for pick up at Washington Crossing, PA and Summer shares are available for Asbury Park, NJ

Our market share is available for use at any one of our farmer’s markets!

Learn more at: www.rollinghillsfarm.org

  We look forward to growing with YOU!

Hoophouse building for early vegetables!

Hoophouse building for early vegetables! 3/12/15

Sustainable, hand-tended produce.  www.rollinghillsfarm.org

We love season extension.  Being able to provide fresh, local produce earlier and later then usual is a great achievement, as you’re never quite sure what cards mother nature might deal you.  From the many farms we have worked at we’ve discovered there are so many different types of hoophouses you can choose from.

Our favorite has always been the moveable hoophouse as you can move the house from a crop that’s almost finished, over something already planted, giving you twice the amount of growing space.  However, these are the most intricate houses to build and require very level ground.  As we have many “rolling hills” here, we wanted to build a tunnel that would be super easy to take apart and move in an afternoon.  That is how we decided on the Hanley hoophouse, which we put up in the course of a few hours, in lovely 60 degree weather, with snow still on the ground.

welding our hoop bender last Fall

Bending the hoops

hoops up and end walls pulled taught

View from inside

Finishing in just a few hours!

In other news:

The babies are growing! Beautiful onion sprouts.

Our Markets this Season:

Washington Crossing Farmer’s Market, Washington Crossing, PA Saturdays 9-1 May – November

Wrightstown Farmer’s Market, Wrightstown, PA Saturdays 9-1 May-November

Easton Farmer’s Market, Easton, PA Wednesdays 4-7 May-October

Lower Makefield Farmer’s Market, Yardley, PA Thursdays 3:30-6:30 June-October

Asbury Fresh Farmer’s Market, Asbury Park, NJ Sundays 11-4 June-September

Our CSA Shares are still available!

Full and half boxed shares are available for pick up at Washington Crossing, PA and Summer shares are available for Asbury Park, NJ

Our market share is available for use at any one of our farmer’s markets!

Learn more at: www.rollinghillsfarm.org

  We look forward to growing with YOU!

The Smell Of Seeds

It’s the coldest February recorded since 1934 according to the New York Times.  That’s over 80 Winters and the coldest I’ve seen in my life.  John and I were discussing last year, and looking through our notes.  We were in the fields 10 days from now a year ago and both sporting t-shirts in one lovely photo, which now seems so far away.

I’ve been working on my tan though.  We’ve been spending a lot more time in the greenhouse, getting everything ready and starting our seeds.  On sunny days it gets to be about 80 degrees in there, which can feel quite heavenly this time of year.

Recently I’ve been smelling seeds.  They’re delicious, with my favorite being carrot seeds.  Every seed has it’s own exquisite smell and mixing those smells with the smell of the potting soil and the warm greenhouse air has a certain effect on a person.  With these freezing temperatures, this experience seems even more special.

We pushed back firing up the greenhouse for a couple weeks to save on heat costs.  However that didn’t stop us.  We rigged up our spare bedroom with grow lights and our heat mats so we could still start our seeds on time.  Today we moved them to their new home in the greenhouse where they are enjoying this snow storm from the warmth of the greenhouse, their new leaves reaching towards the Sun.

We are excited to announce our markets for the 2015 growing season so far:

Easton Farmer’s Market: Wednesdayevenings May-October
Wrightstown Farmer’s Market (limited vegetables!): Saturdays 9-1 May-November
Washington Crossing Farmer’s Market (Box Shares available!): Saturdays 9-1 May-November
Pennington Farmer’s Market (just mushrooms!): Saturdays 9-1 May-October
Asbury Fresh Farmer’s Market (Box Shares available!): Sundays 11-4 June-September

And as always, our Market Share is available for pickup at any of these markets!

Happy March to you all!

CSA Shares are filling up fast, but are still available!  Visit our website for more details.  Pick-up in Washington Crossing, PA and Asbury Park, NJ.

fresh greens in Winter!

Root vegetable wraps!

 Spinach stretching it’s arms

 the first tomatoes!

Bed of snow

New Beginnings in The Midst of Winter

In the middle of one of the coldest Winters I can remember, we are finding ourselves starting new projects and feeling the oncoming of Spring with each project completed.  We are very excited to become full-on mushroom producers this year, with our new grow room close to completion and with that, quite a few new skills learned.  I can now proudly say that I can frame a door, build a room, do electric wiring and hold many tools with a firmer grip.

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In less then a month we will be putting up our high tunnel for super early baby greens and carrots and planting our greenhouse tomatoes, which should be ripe by the end of May!

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Through the snow and ice we have been putting up a sturdier deer fence to help prevent any future heads of perfect lettuce from being eaten!

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Our CSA sign-up season is well underway and it seems many of you are looking forward to the oncoming of Spring as much as we are.  This year we are offering both a box share and a market share.  The box share will be available at the Washington Crossing Farmer’s Market and at the Asbury Fresh Farmer’s Market.  We are offering both a half share(5-10 pounds!) and a full share (10-20 pounds!), both with pick-up every week.

Our market share is available at any market that we do and is not limited to just one market.  This share option gives you the ability to choose the produce you’d like, when you’d like it.

Tomorrow we start our first seeds in the warm greenhouse.  With the oncoming snow, I have a feeling it will be a peaceful, serene, first greenhouse day.  On the schedule to start is; our greenhouse tomatoes, spinach, onions and leeks!

Giving Thanks

As we come to the end of our first year there is so very much to be thankful for. Our farm has grown and changed in so many ways, breathing in a life of it’s very own. Thinking about when we first looked at the land, fields overgrown with grass, an old concrete pad where our greenhouse is now, it boggles my mind to think of how much a few people can get done in a single year and how beautifully a parcel of land can mold into something you hold close to your heart.

As we are preparing for Thanksgiving on this snowy day there are quite a few people we would like to extend our gratitude to.

First and foremost to Jane and Jason our landowners, for their endless supply of support, encouragement and kindness, they are truly something special. And along with them, Martha Pickles Washington their bulldog for her endless love for our dog Dixie.
Will, our property manager for helping us make basically anything out of basically nothing, teaching us about building/welding/tractors/life and bringing so much enthusiasm and intelligence into everything he does.
Patty Spock for all the times she came out full of vigor and excited to weed. She brought so much joy to the farm and was always willing to help out with just about anything and let us talk to her about whatever was stressing us out that day. We appreciate you so much.
Charlie Spock for lending us equipment, helping out at farmers markets and taking care of Dixie.
Joe, Sharon, Mark and Ali Squicciarino for all your help at the farm when John was away on his internship this October. Joe, for listening to and answering our endless business/financial questions.
Di and Lisa of DeAnna’s restaurant and Rory of Blue Bottle Cafe for always helping us to change our schedules around based on markets and things that had to get done at the farm. Your encouragement this Summer uplifted us so much.
Steve of Great Road Farm for allowing us to start our transplants in his greenhouse and taking care of them. It was a pleasure getting to see your face those first few weeks.
Andrew and Lindsay of Double Brook Farm for allowing us to bother them with questions about things from the past, letting us borrow things we couldn’t yet purchase, and entertaining us when we were on 4 hours of sleep and stopped by.
Jean Martin-Fortier of The Market Gardener for helping us to believe that you can make a living off of 2 acres and the endless amount of information about permanent beds we received from your book.
All of the market managers, workers and volunteers at our many markets this Season. They all work so hard and dedicate so much of their time to getting good food to their community, it has been incredible to see.
All of our friends for their encouragement and excitement about our endeavor. Also, for remaining our friends even though you barely saw us the past 6 months.
Last, but certainly not least, all of our customers and local community. All the praise, kindness and vegetable love we felt from you was unending and allowed us to push through the hardest of days.

We are so excited to start planning for next year’s markets and CSA, start producing mushrooms and welcome even more people into our hearts. Thank you all!