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Posted 5/28/2015 7:08pm by Reuben DeMaster.


Hi everyone,

I have a great opportunity for you.  We are in need of some volunteers on Saturday to help us run our market.  We've had several unexpected scheduling conflicts arise with our interns and other volunteers.

We could use help from 8:30 - 2:30 this Saturday at the farm.  Tasks would involve stocking vegetables, helping customers, getting set up and taking down after market. 

We always reward our volunteers with farm vegetables.

This would be a great way to get an inside peak at the farm for new CSA members or those who just haven't gotten out to visit us yet.

Please reply ASAP with your availability and interest. 

Sincerely,

Reuben DeMaster
Posted 5/15/2015 8:11am by Reuben DeMaster.

Hi folks,

Your first CSA pick up or delivery will start in just a couple weeks.  We are excited to send out to you what we've been working on growing this spring! 

It is time to schedule your vacation week for your CSA membership.  This year we are using the "vacation hold" feature on the website.  Please go to http://www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/scheduleactions and follow the directions on the page.

You may elect to take a vacation week during the summer.  If you do so, you will receive a make up vegetable delivery on week #21 of the season .  If you plan to be away for more than one week, please consider donating your box to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or charitable organization. Email us if you have questions.

If you do not have yet know your vacation week, you may schedule it at a later date using the same link http://www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/scheduleactions

Thanks for using the website to schedule the vacation week you will miss.  This will help us keep information organized for our 150 members.

Sincerely,

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster

Posted 5/11/2015 9:40pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Hello CSA members,

      We are getting closer to the start of the 2015 CSA season.  This has been a challenging spring.  The ground was very cold early in April and I was not able to start planting outside until much later than usual.  The season was about 2 weeks behind normal.  In the past 2-3 weeks, we have had warmer than average weather which helped some plants catch up to where they should be.  However, I am still behind on planting because I could not get many early crops planted until mid-April.  Since it is now warmer than usual, I am also trying to get the later crops such as cucumbers, zucchini, and tomatoes planted now.  This means that I am rushing to get the early crops planted at the same time that I am planting the later crops. 

     The good news is that it looks like we will be able to start the CSA the first week of June just as I had planned.  I am just as eager as you to start harvesting and eating fresh vegetables.  The first delivery day will be Wednesday, June 3 and the first pick up day will be Saturday, June 6.  For those who signed up for a bi-weekly share, you will be assigned to either the first ( or odd number) weeks or to the second (or even number) weeks.  I call them week A and week B.  If you would like to schedule around your vacation plans, you may request the week that you prefer.  Please get your requests to me as soon as possible. 

    Early in the season, you can expect to receive a smaller quantity of vegetables.  As the season progresses, the harvest will increase and you will have plenty of vegetables.  We also ask for your patience the first week or two of deliveries.  We have a lot of logistics to figure out and communicate in order to make the deliveries go smoothly.  If you miss items, please let us know and we will get them straightened out. 

    Your deliveries will arrive in a waxed produce box.  In order to open the box, you do not need to tear or rip any part of the box.  Please pay attention and DO NOT TEAR any part of the box.  The boxes are about $2 each and need to last for the entire season.  Each week, you will set the box on your porch and the delivery person will pick up your empty box and will leave another box for you.   The delivery people will do their best to set the box out of the sun. If you have instructions about where to leave the box, please let me know.

Looking forward to a great season,

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster

Posted 2/28/2015 9:09am by Reuben DeMaster.



Hi everyone,

We sent you an email earlier this week about National CSA Sign-up Day and today is the day!

This is the day to support our farm if you have been thinking about, but have not quite gotten around to it. We really appreciate your investment in our farm when we are making the investments that will result in a harvest many months from now!

To celebrate National CSA Sign-up Day, we are offering a $10 discount on new members who sign up on February 28th. Use coupon code CSADAY to get the discount.

If you are already signed up or just want to help us spread the word, please post about National CSA Sign-up Day on social media:
Willow Haven Farm is celebrating National CSA Sign-up Day on Feb 28th. Join me in supporting a local farmer: www.willowhavenfarmpa.com #CSAday

To sign up for our CSA, visit:  http://www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/types

Sincerely,
Reuben DeMaster

Willow Haven Farm

Posted 2/25/2015 8:33pm by Reuben DeMaster.

 

 

 

Hi Folks!

On February 28th, we are joining with CSA farmers from across the country to celebrate National CSA Sign-up Day. This is an important time of year for us to get new members signed up because we are in the process of making the investments that will result in a successful harvest many months from now.

The CSA model is an important model to support our farm. Laura, who runs First Root Farm in Concord, Mass. put it eloquently: "The CSA model was what allowed me to start my own farm business at age 23. Without the sale of CSA shares, I would not have been able to buy seeds, potting soil, fertilizer, or anything else. Six years later, my business is still going strong. Access to capital in the off-season; the meaningful connections between farmers and CSA members; the sense of ownership and pride members feel about their CSA farms--all these things add up to healthy farms, businesses, and communities. The CSA model is good for everybody,"

So thank you for your support on this and throughout the year. It is so important for us and we are thankful to you!

 To celebrate National CSA Sign-up Day, we are offering a $10 discount on new members who sign up on February 28th. Use coupon code CSADAY to get the discount.

If you are already signed up or just want to help us spread the word, please post about National CSA Sign-up Day on social media:


Willow Haven Farm is celebrating National CSA Sign-up Day on Feb 28th. Join me in supporting a local farmer: www.willowhavenfarmpa.com #CSAday

To sign up for our CSA, visit: http://www.willowhavenfarmpa.com/members/types

Sincerely,

Reuben DeMaster

 



Posted 2/15/2015 8:41pm by Reuben DeMaster.

      This past Saturday I was at the "Real Health Conference" hosted by Lancaster Agricultural Products.  This one-day conference is unique among the many agricultural events that I have attended.  It is unique because it is sponsored by a company and is held is their warehouse.  It is also unique because the majority of the attendees are plain folk.  This year, over one thousand people attended the event.  Seminars covered topics such as soil biology, organic orchard care, making dairy products at home, pasture and forage management, and human health.  

       This conference placed a strong emphasis on the responsibility that farmers have for the health of the people who will eat their farm products.  The first speaker gave us a lot of information about the harmful effects of growing and consuming GM crops.  There are hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies available that show the danger of GM foods.  The chemical glyphosate has been linked to dozens of health problems.  Tests have shown that it is present in our food supply in unsafe levels.  In spite of this, the federal government continues to approve additional GM crops.  More and more consumers and farmers are aware of these dangers and are doing what we can to oppose their use. 

        The conference also explored the connection between soil health, quality foods, and human health.  These things seem so obvious and yet doctors and scientists seem to be oblivious to the direct connection.  I know someone currently in medical school who has yet to hear one word about the ways in which food contributes to human health.  Doctors are trained to solve problems with drugs.  More and more farmers are learning how to prevent health problems by growing better food. 

       If anyone is interested in these topics, I recommend this conference.  In additional to the technical farming information, there were at least 6 seminars on human health and on food preparation.  I hope some of you will consider attending next February.

 

Posted 1/15/2015 9:39pm by Reuben DeMaster.
 
Our Farmer, Reuben, left this frozen state, last friday (1/9/15)  for a warmer climate south of the equator.  The trip is work related since he will be visiting small farms in Tanzania.  No, there is no ebola in that country.  The trip came about through Catholic Relief Services and US AID - two groups that have been active in East Africa for many years.  They have chosen to send Reuben as a farmer consultant through the 'Farmer to Farmer' program.  This program sends farmers and agricultural workers to other countries to assist with challenges that farmers face and to make recommendations as to how they could be better supported and served. 
 
Reuben's trip is starting to have a routine. When he wakes up he studies to prepare a talk for the farmers (topics: diginity of farming, composting, etc.). Breakfast (all meals take 1 1/2 hours or so), drive to the village up narrow, bumpy, roads. He has a driver and an interpreter assigned to him. The driver is a retired policeman, Sebastian, with whom he has had good conversations. All the village farmers come for the morning conference/teaching session. Reuben is THE teacher. I think he talks for about half an hour and then takes questions. They have lots of questions. After lunch he does farm visits. At some point he eats lunch; yesterday, he had a passion cheesecake, which was wonderful. He likes that the desserts are not as sweet as in the US. When he returns to town in the evening he eats supper with Shea Belahi for Heirloominous Farms, in IL. She is on the same kind of trip but does her work in a different village during the day. In the evening they do research on the questions of the day, diagnose plant diseases, and prepare for the next day.
 
The 80s/90 humid heat is quite a shock coming from freezing temps in PA.  After the first couple days, Reuben was moved to a nicer hotel that has AC, so he is able to sleep and cool down.  Also, the village he visits is up the mountain so it is a little cooler; 70’s in the morning.  He says all the school children are wearing sweaters and crowd around him wanting to practice their English.  So he gets to greet 20-30 of them “Hello.  How are you? I am fine.”  over and over.  He finds it quite beautiful and funny. 
 
Please see our Facebook page for some pictures.  Willow Haven Farm on Facebook

He thanks everyone for their support for this trip.

 

Posted 12/26/2014 12:24pm by Reuben DeMaster.

Six years ago, Willow Haven Farm existed only as an idea.  The land was being rented by a farmer who farms about 100 acres growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay.  His farming methods include the standard variety of sprays, fertilizers, and seeds which means GMO seed and glyphosate. 

This past season, Willow Haven Farm finished its sixth growing season raising organic vegetables, running a CSA and farm market, raising animals, and offering a variety of other farm products.  Through much hard work and a lot of help from other people, we sustain ourselves on about 20 acres.  For the first Winter, I will not have to work off  the farm to earn off season income. 

Your interest and support has made this possible and we are very thankful.  Hundreds of people have supported this farm by purchasing products, telling other people, offering suggestions, volunteering their expertise, and doing physical farm work.  Without your interest in local, organic food we would not be here today. 

This Winter, I have been struggling with questions about how best to grow the farm.  What areas of the farm should get larger or smaller?  Should I produce more bread or more pork?  Do I want to grow more vegetables or have cattle?  Who will work on the farm next season?  Should I borrow money for expansion?  How can I transition the rest of our family land into organic production?  Am I ready to pursue Certified Organic status?  Will the farm be able to pay next year's expenses? 

Small farm struggles will always be present.  Farming is never a secure occupation because things seldom happen as planned.  Your support helps us to continue looking toward another season and we thank you.  Please tell your friends and neighbors about us.  We hope to welcome 40 new members to our CSA this year.

Starting today, we will begin CSA signups for the 2015 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 DeMaster

Willow Haven Farm

Posted 11/3/2014 9:19pm by Reuben DeMaster.

The summer CSA is over and the Fall CSA has begun.  We will miss seeing our summer customers at the farm pick up but you can visit us any Saturday through the end of the year.  We will still have fresh grown and picked vegetables until Christmas.

This time of the fall we have planted cover crops on most of our seed beds which will await the early spring plantings.  The cover crops give the soil rest and rejuvenate the nutrients.  The last fall planting was putting in the garlic bulbs last week.  These will be harvested next July.

We also begin winter projects and this is no exception.  Tomorrow we begin putting us a new greenhouse which will give us more room for our seedlings and transplants in 2015.  This structure will be much bigger than the passive solar greenhouse that has served us well in the past.  The new one will also have heaters so it will be more dependable.  The passive solar greenhouse will still get lots of use.  

Thanks for your support this year.  We look forward to next year.  Please tell your friends and neighbors about our CSA for 2015 and our On Farm Market.

Sincerely,

Reuben and Tessa and Family

Posted 8/28/2014 8:19pm by Reuben DeMaster.

 Join Our 2014 Late Season CSA for fall greens and veggies until Christmas!

Are you enjoying your summer CSA?  Are you sad to think about it coming to the end in a few weeks?  It doesn't have to ... You can keep enjoying fresh, farm produce through the end of the year by adding our Late Season CSA.

Maybe you didn't join the CSA this summer but want to try our Late Season to see if you like it.  This short season farm share will be for seven weeks: Nov 5th - December 17th. 

To sign up, click here or go to Member Sign Up on the CSA tab above. Returning members should click on the green box and you will receive a link to use to sign up. 

New members should just follow the directions.  If you have any problems with the website sign up process, please let me know.

New recipe: Simple Sauteed Yellow SquashJune 20th, 2017

-adapted from www.food.com   3 medium summer squash, sliced 1/8 cup butter 1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly or diced 1/2 to taste salt & pepper   Melt butter in large skillet. Add on

New recipe: Sauteed ZucchiniJune 20th, 2017

2 medium sized zucchinis, washed and unpeeled 1/3 cup pine nuts (or slivered almonds) 1 tbsp butter 1 or 2 cloves of garlic minced Grated cheese (optional)   Cut zucchini in bite sized strips. M

New recipe: CUCUMBER ALMOND COUSCOUS SALADJune 20th, 2017

1 1/2 tsps salt, divided                   3/4 cup plus 2 Tbls couscous* 1 cup slivered almonds    &

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

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