7686 Herber Rd. New Tripoli 18066 Google Map 610-298-2197
Banner
banner

News and blog

Posted 4/12/2016 8:42pm by Reuben DeMaster.


Hello,

     Thanks to the support of many, many people, Willow Haven Farm is growing this season.  Many volunteers help during the season and we need several dedicated volunteers. New opportunities for paid positions show that we are serious about our growth.  Please take a few minutes and consider if you know anyone who might be interested in these opportunities.

1.  Blue Mountain Farm Market - I am working with a few other farmers to start a farm market in Slatington.  It will be open on Friday and Saturday at the trailhead park pavilion.  You will receive more details soon.  We are looking for someone to work the stand on Fridays and/or Saturdays.  This will be a paid position.  We also need help with advertising this new market. 

 

2.  Willow Haven Farm Market - We need help on Saturdays with setting up the vegetable display and with making pizzas.   In the past, we have offered farm products as compensation but we would consider paying someone. 

 

3.  Deliveries - We need help delivering vegetables on Wednesday afternoons.  Drivers must be at the farm by 1 PM on Wednesdays and they deliver 10-12 boxes to homes in the Lehigh Valley.  Drivers receive a weekly box of vegetables. 

 Please reply to this message if you are interested in these positions. 

- Reuben DeMaster

 

Posted 3/7/2016 1:38pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Last week, Tessa and I traveled to my brother's wedding in Mexico.  The 6 day trip was the longest that we have had together in 15 years.  My brother and sister-in-law live in L.A. but chose to get married in Mexico.  To get there, we flew into San Diego, drove across the border along the Pacific Ocean, and entered the Ruta Vina - Mexican Wine country.  Like most people, I had not realized that Mexico has its own wine producing region.  We drove through a large, flat valley with almost 100 wineries and farms.  Although this is a vacation region for Mexicans, it did not have the gaudy commercialization that we always find in the United States.  In fact, most of the roads were not paved, there were only a few billboards, and there may have been one stoplight in the entire valley. 

Many of the vineyards had a restaurant, a vegetable patch, and a place to stay.  We stayed at an elegant place that had 12 rooms and a pool.  It was a modest scale with kind and good employees.  It was set back from the road which made it quiet.  There was not a TV in our room and the place didn't attempt to entertain it's guests.  The hospitality of the place felt different from anything in the United States, but I can't describe exactly what made it that way.  It felt welcoming, honest, simple, and kind. 

Tessa and I visited several other places in the valley.  At Villa del Valle, we were able to visit with Claire (the farmer) for almost 2 hours.  She had been working the garden for over 4 years and had moved from California.  She explained some of the challenges posed by the climate and soil.  Growing vegetables is hard work anywhere you go!  We ate at a restaurant owned by a chef who grew up in Lancaster.  We visited a four acre vegetable patch run by a farmer who didn't speak any English.  Tessa and I have not practiced our Spanish in many years but we managed to communicate a little. 

Through a chance connection, a friend of my brother knew the vintner at a large vineyard.  This gave us a chance to get a wine tasting and tour.  During the tour, I was able to speak with her about the challenges of producing wine in that region.  They have alkaline soil with a high salt content.  They receive very little rain each year and have very hot summers.  The salt and mineral content are present in the wines.  Since it is so hot during the growing season, the grapes develop a high sugar content.  With more sugar in the grapes, the wines have a higher alcohol content - often 15% or more.  From experience, I can tell you that they are strong. 

The wedding and family time were the highlight of the trip even though that is not the focus of this post.  It was a small, beautiful wedding in a part of the world that I would not have otherwise visited.  Tessa and I are thankful that her parents were able to stay with our children and that our children were able to take care of the farm. 

Maybe Willow Haven Farm will someday become a wedding destination with a farm-to-table restaurant, winery, and resort.  I'm tired just thinking about it.  Maybe someone wants to operate it on the neighbor's land! 

Posted 2/22/2016 12:39pm by Reuben DeMaster.

This past weekend was our most productive lambing weekend ever.  When we fed the sheep on Saturday morning we found 4 new lambs and then the same thing happened on Sunday!  The best part of all was that each ewe gave twins.  Jacob lambs are about 7 pounds at birth and are able to stand and walk almost immediately.  In fact once they are 24 hours old, we have a difficult time catching them because they can outrun us!  We have had lambs born in all conditions.  The mothers refuse our help and will not enter the shelter that we provide.  Our sheep are independent and we are proud of them. 

This year, we have 9 ewes.  Seven have given birth so far this winter and all of them have given twins.  This is always the goal but we have never had such a productive lambing season.  The remaining two ewes look large and have bellies that hang low.  Is it possible that each ewe could give twins in a season?  

The previous weekend was a different story.  If you remember, an arctic blast hit the northeast and our temperatures dropped to around zero degrees.  The wind blew very hard all weekend.  On that Saturday morning, we also woke up to find twin lambs.  One died quickly because the ewe had not cleaned it off.  We took the other lamb into the house to warm it up.  The lamb was bathed and fed milk from a bottle.  Later in the day we brought it back to the ewe so that it could bond with his mother.  The next morning, it was again very cold and we had to bring the lamb back into the house.  This time we noticed that it was sick and lacked vigor.  Unfortunately that lamb did not make it.  

We generally think of farmers as people who grow things.  But this is not quite true.  I cannot cause one seed to germinate, cannot produce one baby animal, and cannot cause one drop of rain to fall.  I live close to conditions which I cannot understand or control - the weather, new birth, growth, and fruiting.  I observe these things but cannot cause or prevent them.  Every day I am reminded of our smallness and of the mystery of life.  

Farmers attempt to control some of the conditions that make life and reproduction possible.  For example, I keep certain sheep and other animals within a fenced area.  I plant certain seeds to grow into plants that the animals can eat.  I give them water and food during the cold months.  I ensure that only one male will be with the females to prevent fights.  At times I provide shelter.  I make sure that the fleece is removed from the sheep every year.  I make sure that there are the correct amount of animals for the amount of grass available to eat. 

It is possible for anyone to lose sight of the mysteries in life.  Even farmers need to remind themselves that the control that we attempt to impose on the world has limits.  And this mystery is what gives my life meaning.  

Posted 2/15/2016 6:31am by Reuben DeMaster.

In January, the week before the record setting snowfall, I injured my knee.  Injuries are not uncommon to those who regularly do physical labor.  This felt different however.  I was sitting on the floor taking some measurements for a piece of drywall.  When I stood up, something was wrong with my right knee.  It lacked the strength that I expect from that joint.  I could not put much weight on that leg and I knew it was a significant injury.  

Although I did not shovel any snow that weekend, I had several projects scheduled for the following week.  Of course I did them in spite of the discomfort.  When I finally had someone examine my knee, he called it a muscle tear that required rest and rehab.  This sounded like a good idea at first until I realized how many simple things that I could no longer do on the farm.  Stairs became a problem and I could not do any daily animal chores.  My sons and wife have done the extra chores every morning and afternoon in the snow and cold.  It takes a supportive family to be able to operate a farm!

The result has been that I am spending more time at my computer than I have done in the past few years.  I completed my taxes, I planned my seeding and transplanting schedule, and I have a budget for this year.  I am interviewing interns and I attended two workshops.  I have more time to spend on projects with my children and have done some volunteer work.

Each of these things benefit the farm and family and I am glad to be able to do them.  However, I learned several years ago that spending time on certain things means that other things are not getting attentions.  This year, I am spending less time earning a winter income and less time on farm projects.  The fruit trees and berries need pruning, I had planned to trim fencelines, and I have firewood to cut.  Every year really is different on the farm and I am challenged again this year to hold my expectations loosely.  I cannot control many of the conditions that this year will bring.  My job remains to enjoy the positives, minimize the negatives, and manage the farm as best I am able.  I remain hopeful that another 6 weeks of rest will be enough time for my knee to heal.  

I thank all of the people who have supported us each year in so many ways.  

Posted 1/27/2016 9:39pm by Reuben DeMaster.

In this Email:

- Farm News

- CSA Discounts

- CSA Sign Up Info

 

Dear Friends, Customers and Members of Willow Haven Farm,


January is the planning season on the farm.  The details for next year must be planned in order to make the season run smoothly.  One of the first steps is to complete the financial recordkeeping and get ready to file the tax returns.  Then seeds must be ordered so that I have them in time for planting.  If the seed order goes in late, I run the risk of my preferred varieties being out of stock.  Then I look at soil tests, talk to one or more consultants, and make a plan for soil improvement.  This year, I am planning to transition another field into organic production.  To do this, I needed to add several dry nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, boron, and zinc.  Currently, I am working on a planting plan which will record all of my planting dates both in the greenhouse and in the field.  It will help me decide how many plants to start and where each planting will grow in the field.  This is very important in order to be able to harvest a crop like lettuce for multiple weeks for the CSA and Saturday market.


In addition to these details, I am ordering supplies and equipment for next season.  Each year, I need potting soil, extra trays, harvest bins, hand tools, irrigation supplies, and more.  Animals from last year get picked up from the butcher and distributed to those who purchased them.  A variety of farm projects are worked on such as drywalling and organizing storage areas. In the winter, I also try to spend time fixing things in the house that were neglected during the growing season. Lastly, there are still animals to care for and I even picked a few vegetables in January!  This week I will be baking bread for the farm market on Saturday.  


Many of these planning details are expensive and require me to pay for the supplies before the crop is ready.  When you sign up for a CSA share in January, you help the farm pay for what it needs now to get ready for the season.  


CSA DISCOUNTS

To encourage past members to rejoin the CSA for 2016 we offer a Returning Member Discount of 3%.  This can be added to the Early Bird Discount of 2% off your entire membership which is only available through this weekend (ends Jan 31).  That is a total of 5%, which can equal as much as $65 off, depending on your choices.  Total payment must be made in order to earn the discounts.


Beginning Feb. 1st we will be offering the option to set up automatic payment plan on our website for those for whom this will be convenient.

SIGN UP INFO
Click Here to Sign Up on Our Website
For more Info Read The Articles Listed HERE.
Returning Members: Click here to begin your renewal process. Or just copy and paste the link below into your browser: %%renewal-link%%

Each year we get better at what we do, improve our methods, add nutritious products and serve more households.  We are looking forward to a great season with new members and many returning friends and supporters.

We’ll keep farming for you.


Sincerely,


Reuben & Tessa DeMaster

Willow Haven Farm





Posted 1/1/2016 12:49am by Reuben DeMaster.

Dear %%user-firstname%%

Starting today, we will begin CSA signups for the 2016 season. Like past years, we will offer a discount for returning members and for early sign ups.  If you pay in full by January 31, we will offer a 3% discount.  You may choose to pay with a credit card but a small fee will be added to your total.  You may avoid this fee by mailing a check.  We will respond to email questions as soon as possible during the holiday season.  Here is the link to sign up: http://www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/types 

 We hope you have a Happy New Year!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster

Willow Haven Farm

Posted 12/3/2015 10:30pm by Reuben DeMaster.


Dear friend, %%user-firstname%%,

This warm late fall weather has produced a bounty of still growing, green and healthy fall vegetables.  Too many for our CSA, market and our family!  We would like to give you the opportunity to benefit and enjoy by conveniently making a special delivery to your home.  Our Saturday markets on the farm are a great way to visit, support and buy healthy food but we know that not everyone can get out here.  Let us bring some great food to you.

This is what we have available:

DELIVERED FALL VEGETABLE BOX - $35

A box of vegetables will include: radish, turnip, carrot, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, sweet potato, cabbage, rutabaga, and cutting celery  

DELIVERED PORK PACKAGE - $50

A mix of chops, ham and sausage of about 7 pounds. Please have a cooler ready to receive delivery.

HOW TO ORDER

Vegetable and Pork orders will be delivered to your home on Tuesday, December 8.

Reply to this email or willowhavenfarm@live.com to order. Please include address and payment arrangements.

Deadline to order is Monday, December 7.

Delivery area is within 10 miles of our farm, (or if you have received a delivery from us previously). 

Drop of to the Keystone Homebrew Store in Bethlehem is available.

Payment is due upon delivery.

Have a great weekend.

Thank you.

Reuben DeMaster

Posted 12/3/2015 10:24pm by Reuben DeMaster.


Dear friend %%user-firstname%%,

This warm late fall weather has produced a bounty of still growing, green and healthy fall vegetables.  Too many for our CSA, market and our family!  We would like to give you the opportunity to benefit and enjoy by conveniently making a special delivery to your home.  Our Saturday markets on the farm are a great way to visit, support and buy healthy food but we know that not everyone can get out here.  Let us bring some great food to you.

This is what we have available:

DELIVERED FALL VEGETABLE BOX - $35

A box of vegetables will include: radish, turnip, carrot, kale, swiss chard, lettuce, sweet potato, cabbage, rutabaga, and cutting celery  

DELIVERED PORK PACKAGE - $50

A mix of chops, ham and sausage of about 7 pounds. Please have a cooler ready to receive delivery.

HOW TO ORDER

Vegetable and Pork orders will be delivered to your home on Tuesday, December 3.

Reply to this email or willowhavenfarm@live.com to order. Please include address and payment arrangements.

Deadline to order is Monday, December 7.

Delivery area is within 10 miles of our farm, (or if you have received a delivery from us previously). 

Drop of to the Keystone Homebrew Store in Bethlehem is available.

Payment is due upon delivery.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.  Have a great weekend!

Thank you.

Reuben DeMaster

Posted 10/20/2015 11:05pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Greetings %%user-name%%,

This has been a great season and we hope you enjoyed your fresh vegetables from Willow Haven Farm.  It has been our pleasure to serve you and your family.  Thank you so much for supporting our farm and our family! 

Today is the vacation make up week for anyone who took a scheduled vacation during the season.  See below for the list of members to whom that pertains.  If we have made any mistakes, please let us know.

Our drivers will be stopping at EVERY members house today to pick up empty boxes and containers from the season.  Please remember set them out to return them to the farm.

You can still get our vegetables and other unique farm products. We will be open on Saturdays until December 19th and you are welcome to come!

Please consider signing up for our Fall Share on our website www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/types

Also, watch for announcements via email and facebook of when next summer's CSA sign ups will open.  This is usually in late December, with an early bird sign up discount available for about the first month.  Stay tuned. We'd love to have you back.

If you have any feedback about this season, whether bad or good, please reply to this email or send one anytime.

Thank you again for your support.

-Reuben & Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm
610-298-2197

Members receiving vegetables today:

 Rowland
 Gerencher
 Nichols
 Cunningham
C Young
Warnagiris
Stock Keister
Sprayberry
Chrisley
 Zimmerman
Harren-Lewis
 Kilpatrick
 Regina
Tindall
 Guillon
 Stalter
 Young
 Snyder
 Reinhard
 Posh
L Young
 Key
 Karl
 Snyder
 Hausman
 Caulwell
Mary Ambrogi
Solosko
Posted 8/19/2015 8:10pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Dear Friends of Willow Haven Farm,


     Most of you know how difficult it is to find locally grown fruit produced under organic conditions.  Our climate makes this a very difficult task and so we rely on other areas of the world to produce organic fruit for us.  Yesterday, I was able to purchase a fairly large quantity of organic apples grown within  a few miles of my farm.  The man who raised them has never sprayed the trees but I was not able to learn the variety name.  I was surprised at the size of the apples, their attractiveness, and most of all by the flavor.  They are crisp, juicy, and sweet.  The texture was just what I wanted in an apple. 

     I will have quarts of these apples for sale at my Saturday market for the next 3-4 weeks but I also want to offer 1/2 bushel quantities to you.  A half bushel is approximately 40-50 apples and weighs 18-20 pounds.  The price is $18 per half bushel. 

     I will not be able to deliver the apples unless you are a home delivery member of our CSA.  If you would like one or more boxes, please send an email with "organic apples" in the subject and schedule a time to pick it up from the farm.

      Since they are organic, I expect that you will find an occasional worm inside of the apple.  Like I said, the man did not spray them.  It would be best to cut the apples for eating.  If you are going to make applesauce, you will be cutting them anyway.

      I will also have a pig available for purchase next month and more in December.  Let me know if you are interested and I can give you more details. 

 

Reuben DeMaster

 

New recipe: Fettucine with ham and napa cabbageOctober 9th, 2017

1/2 pound fettuccine 1 onion, chopped 2 cups chopped Napa cabbage 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/4 pound cooked ham, chopped 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds 1/3 cup heavy cream In a large saucepan of

New recipe: Napa Cabbage SaladOctober 9th, 2017

2 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles, crushed (flavor packets discarded) 1 cup blanched slivered almonds 2 tsp sesame seeds 1/2 cup butter, melted 1 head napa cabbage, shredded 1 bunch green onions, choppe

New recipe: Beef and Napa Cabbage Stir FryOctober 9th, 2017

1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (not seasoned) 2 teaspoons oyster sauce 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 pound flank steak 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided 3 garlic cloves, smashed 1 (1

Instagram

Instagram

Facebook


Twitter

Have a Question?

Contact Us Online or Call 610-298-2197

Willow Haven Farm, 7686 Herber Rd., New Tripoli, PA 18066

Visit us on: FacebookTwitter