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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.

Posted 7/9/2014 10:37am by Reuben DeMaster.

We are happy with how this summer is going. It is a joy to pick an abundance of cucumbers, summer squash and beans. We hope you are enjoying these vegetables as well. Our CSA tries to balance giving you a share in the abundance that we have while not overwhelming you with too much. If we give you more than you can use, please share the bounty with someone you know.

Very soon we will be harvesting and curing garlic. Garlic cloves are planted in September. They grow in the fall, rest in the winter and grow again in the spring and summer. Each clove forms a new bulb with another 8 – 10 cloves. Garlic is harvested in July and laid out to “cure.” Curing is simply letting it air dry in the hot summer weather, out of the sun. This allows the garlic to store for several months. You will receive garlic throughout the summer and fall.

This week's share box contains: cabbage, yellow summer squash, green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, mixed greens, dill, basil and a bag with 8 turnip and 2 radish.

Here are some ideas to help you use and prepare this week’s vegetables:

  • Cabbage is great for coleslaw or cooked with pork or sausage and potatoes.This weeks yellow summer squash is a round variety called “patty pan.” This firm but tender squash holds up well to stir-fries and grilling.
  • Herbs like basil and dill are great for adding flavor to salads and many recipes. Basil is also a classic ingredient for pesto.
  • You can easily make a fermented pickle with your cucumber in two days. Slice them into a quart jar; add two tablespoons sea salt to one cup of water and pour over; chop 2 tablespoons of dill and add to jar; add 1 tablespoon of pickling spices, optional; add more water to cover all leaving one inch of space to the lid; cover with lid; leave at room temperature for 2 days then refrigerate and eat. These have beneficial pro-biotic properties because of the lactic acid fermentation process. Actually you can use this process to ferment any vegetable.
  • Green beans are delicious fresh and gently cooked. You can make dilly beans using the process above if you want to dry something new.
  • Turnips are best cooked, though some enjoy them raw. They can be grated raw into salads or casseroles. A favorite way is to season with butter and salt and roast in a 400` oven until slightly golden or crispy around the edges. You can even sneak the radishes in and use them the same way. Simply boiled and mashed with salt, cream and butter is a classic turnip dish.

    Thanks again for joining Willow Haven Farm CSA. We are having a great year!
Posted 7/2/2014 11:24am by Reuben DeMaster.

The hot summer weather we are experiencing in July is great for your farm grown vegetables. Plants like tomatoes, peppers, and melons need the sunny hot days in order to grow and ripen. The hotter the weather, the sooner you’ll get these seasonal summer specialties.

This week we have been weeding a lot. Weeding is important because we don’t want other plants crowding our vegetables and taking precious nutrients, water and sun. So a well-weeded row means bigger vegetables and an easier time picking them at harvest.

Willow Haven Farm has a unheated hoop structure with a plastic cover. Every year we plant a different crop in our Hoop House which heats up earlier in the season than the outside air and soil. This year our cucumbers are doing very well in the hoop house and, as a result, you are receiving cucumbers a little earlier this year than normal. Our outside cucumbers won’t be ready for several more weeks.

Some of you have been sharing information about our CSA with friends and neighbors. Thank you very much. New members can join by signing up  on our website, www.willowhavenfarmpa.com.

This week your box contains: cabbage, snap peas, lettuce, cucumbers, basil, chives, swiss chard, and arugula.

Here are some ideas to help you use and prepare this week’s vegetables:

Cabbage is great for coleslaw or cooked with pork or sausage and potatoes.

Snap peas are good cooked or raw. Just pull off the stem and side string.

Swiss chard is eaten raw or cooked.  Separate the stems from the leaves and cook the stems for a longer time so they are tender and lose their slightly bitter property. We also like it stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Arugula is a green with a unique nutty, spicy taste. Some like it in a salad or sandwich. If the taste is too strong for you, try chopping it up into pasta salad with lots of other vegetable.

Herbs like basil and chives are great for adding flavor to salads and many recipes. Chop them up finely and then sprinkle them on. This week try them in a coleslaw, pasta salad, or cucumber salad.

Thanks again for joining Willow Haven Farm CSA. We are having a great year!

Posted 6/18/2014 10:52am by Reuben DeMaster.

Welcome to Willow Haven Farm’s CSA

This week, we are finishing up the main plantings of winter squash, cucumbers, cabbage, and collard greens. Once the winter squash is planted, the spring planting season is over and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Now our task is to make sure we keep things watered and weeded and picked at the proper times. The summer vegetables love this hot weather and I’m seeing a lot of strong growth in the fields.

The vegetables you receive are usually washed or at least rinsed. However, we expect that you will need to do another washing before you eat most things. Getting your food from the farm usually includes a little dirt and, occasionally, you can also expect to find an insect in or on your vegetables – especially in the greens. As organic growers, we do not spray for insects and they are part of our ecosystem. Insects are organic and they like vegetables too. None of the insects you see will do any harm; just wash them off.

This week a full share box contains: Bok choi, rhubarb, snap peas, lettuce, garlic scapes and mizuna, kale, radish and swiss chard. 

Here are some ideas to help you use and prepare this week’s vegetables:

  • Bok Choi can be used raw in salads or cole slaw. It can also be steamed, roasted, or stir fried lightly. We love to use olive oil, garlic and salt to season them. You can separate the white stalk from the green bok choi leaf and cook the leaf for a shorter time because it cooks quickly.
  • Rhubarb is a tart stalk that is usually cut up and sweetened to be used in desserts. Classic ideas are rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp. It can also be sautéed and mixed with a rice pilaf for a savory dish. You can also try adding it to muffins or coffee cakes.Snap peas are delicious raw and you can eat the whole pod, just take off the hard stem. Also stir-fry or lightly sautee or steam them.
  • Garlic scapes are the stem that grows up from the plant while the garlic bulb you are familiar with is forming underground. These have a pleasant garlic taste which you can use raw or cooked. Stir fry with other vegetables or sautee with onions to add to egg omelets or soups.
  • Mizuna is a tender leafy, green that is used like lettuce in salads.   You can eat it by itself or mix it with your lettuce or bok choi or Chinese cabbage leaves.Swiss Chard has a brightly colored stem and a tender leaf. Separate the stems from the leaves and cook the leaf for a shorter time because it cooks quickly. The stem may have a bitter taste unless it is cooked until tender. Some use the leaf raw but I prefer to cook it.
  • Kale is a superfood with lots of minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. It is usually lightly cooked until bright green while the thick stems can be discarded. Our favorites are Sausage Kale Soup and Stir-fried with garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Radishes are a common vegetable used raw in salads. Other ways to use it are to grate it into other dishes, cook it in soups, or even slice and stir-fry. When radish is cooked the spicy quality is reduced.

Thanks again for joining Willow Haven Farm CSA. We are looking forward to a great year!

 

 

 

Posted 6/13/2014 6:25am by Reuben DeMaster.

Hello and welcome to Willow Haven Farm's CSA! We are glad you took the opportunity to connect with our farm for the next five months.  You will be partners with us as we work hard to plant, weed, and harvest Certified Naturally Grown, seasonal produce using organic methods. 

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  When you purchase a share you are supporting a local farmer and learning how and where your food is produced.  CSA participants support local food production by sharing both the bounty and the risks inherent in farming.  We will communicate how the growing season is going, both the ups and the downs and we invite you to come to the farm to see what we do.

     Everyone knows we had a long, cold winter and a cool, late spring.  On the farm, that means that planting was late and the vegetables are growing slowly because they need the warmth of the sun.  As a share member you will see that as the summer gets warmer, more vegetables will ripen and your box will have more items in it.  Right now we are harvesting our cool season crops. We realize that some of these vegetables will be new to you.  Every week the variety of your share will change as we try to rotate what we pick and new vegetables ripen.  Next week you will have some repeat items and some new ones.  Some items like rhubarb, snap peas and garlic scapes only grow for a couple weeks per year so enjoy them now.

This week's box contains: Chinese cabbage, bok choi, rhubarb, snap peas, lettuce, garlic scapes and mizuna. Here are some ideas to help you use and prepare this weeks vegetables:  Chinese cabbage and Bok Choi can be used raw in salads or cole slaw. They can also be steamed, roasted, or stir fried lightly. We love to use olive oil, garlic and salt to season them. You can separate the white stalk from the green bok choi leaf and cook the leaf for a shorter time because it cooks quickly. Rhubarb is a tart stalk that is usually cut up and sweetened to be used in desserts. Classic ideas are rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp. It can also be sautéed and mixed with a rice pilaf for a savory dish. You can also try adding it to muffins or coffee cakes. Snap peas are delicious raw and you can eat the whole pod, just take off the hard stem. Also stir-fry or lightly sautee or steam them. Garlic scapes are the stem that grows up from the plant while the garlic bulb you are familiar with is forming underground. These have a pleasant garlic taste which you can use raw or cooked. Stir fry with other vegetables or sautee with onions to add to egg omelets or soups. Mizuna is a tender leafy, green that is used like lettuce in salads.  You can eat it by itself or mix it with your lettuce or bok choi or Chinese cabbage leaves. 

Have a great week.

Reuben

Posted 12/6/2013 11:49am by Reuben DeMaster.

 

THere is another great article by Brian Snyder.  His article correctly distinguishes between two contrasting views of the natural world. Thank you Brian for writing this.

Brian Snyder is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA).  Willow Haven Farm has been a proud member of this organization since we started farming.  Brian has been writing a series of articles relating to the ongoing food safety debate in congress.   The proposed rules in this bill will affect many small farms. PASA has been involved in the process of discerning who will be affected.

If you would like to learn more about this issue, Brian's blog is called www.writetofarm.com and he has a gift for explaining these issues in a sensible way.  He also includes some helpful information about the Farm Bill.

Posted 11/18/2013 9:29am by Reuben DeMaster.

Occasionally, people come to the farm and ask if I offer gluten-free bread or pizza options.  I usually offer the suggestion that properly prepared grains may be part of the solution.  All of the bread and pizzas that I make use organic grains made with sourdough methods. 

In the past few years, more and more people have realized that their bodies have trouble digesting wheat or gluten - a protein in wheat.  Some doctors diagnose people with Celiac disease, but it appears that people can have gluten sensitivity even without a fully diagnosed condition.  I have spoken with many people who have found that their health has improved by eliminating some or most wheat products from their diet.  A quick internet search will yield more information on this topic that you can handle.  The opinions on wheat vary widely. 

The Weston A. Price foundation has an interesting perspective on grain consumption that I believe should inform our eating habits.  When Dr. Weston Price did his research of 'primitive' cultures, or people groups eating their traditional diets, he found that grains were normally fermented before consumption.  This means that wheat, barley, rye, corn, and even rice had a particular way of being prepared by the peoples that grew and ate them.  In the case of wheat and rye, the traditional way to eat these products was by soaking the grains and letting them begin to ferment.  We call this process a sourdough.  It means that we allow wild yeast strains and various enzymes to work on the proteins in the grain.  What they didn't know but we do know is that this process makes the nutrients in the grains more available to us and helps us with digestion. 

Eating wheat products without this soaking process appears to be very hard on our digestive system and more people are realizing this every year.  However, eating properly prepared whole grain wheat products has been part of a healthy, traditional diet for thousands of years. 

Some people with gluten sensitivity have discovered that they are able to eat sourdough breads without having the same digestive issues.  In other words, people who cannot easily digest gluten find that they can eat sourdough breads without problems.  I have personally met at least a dozen people who purchase and eat my breads that are not able to eat other wheat products.  Obviously there are different levels of sensitivity and I am not offering medical advice.  However, I want people to be aware of the digestive benefits of eating sourdough bread and that it may even help those with gluten intolerance. 

It appears that the science and research has not been able to explain this situation yet.  However, I have a link to a pilot study that tested 16 people with Celiac disease who had been eating a gluten free diet for 5 years.  The results seem to show that after 60 days, the people eating sourdough products did not have the Celiac symptoms.  Although this study is very small and just a preliminary study, it shows that properly prepared wheat products can be safely consumed by some people with Celiac disease. 

We all should be eating grains that have been prepared properly.  The sourdough process makes nutrients available to our bodies and aids in digestion.  Even people with gluten sensitivity may be able to eat properly prepared wheat products.  You can read more at www.westonaprice.org.   

 

 

 

 

Posted 9/24/2013 1:25pm by Reuben DeMaster.

 

Our 2013 Fishing Story

Our summer fishing trip to Bristol Bay is complete!  This year’s Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run came in just over 22 million fish.   Alaska had above average temperatures this spring, pushing the temperatures in May and June into the 70’s.  By June 10th the Naknek River temperature was 10 degrees above average.  The warm water triggered the salmon run to be a few days early and caught a lot of fisherman still on the beach.  Not our crew, we were on the water and ready to fish when the first salmon started to show up.   During the first two weeks of fishing the weather was beautiful…then the winds blew in.  The winds worked their way up to 50 mile per hour over the course of three days and then back down again.  Not much fun fishing in that kind of weather.  During one of the fishing openings, 3 vessels had windows on their boats blow out by taking big waves over the bow.   Once the blow was over, the temperatures returned to the normal 45 to 55 degree days with a steady wind.   Since the warm water temperatures caused the fish to be early, the salmon run started to slow by the 2nd of July.  This is normally the peak of the season.  Since the number of fish returning to the bay slowed down, the biologist halted the season for 4 days to allow the proper number of fish up the rivers to spawn.  Once the biologist got enough fish up the river they let us fish again.  But by this time there was a low number of fish coming into the district.  With the fishing slow, I started to think about getting home to see Jenn and little Ave Jane!  After a couple more slow days we packed it up and headed for the boat yard with another successful season under our keel. 

 

The Full Story

Wild For Salmon is a local business that makes fresh/frozen wild Alaskan sockeye salmon available to you at a common good price. Because we are the fishermen and we are local, we are able to provide you with the highest quality, flash/frozen, Alaskan sockeye available. Wild For Salmon is owned and operated by Steve and Jenn Kurian of Bloomsburg, PA.

Wild For Salmon began as only an adventurous trip to Alaska in 2002 to do some commercial salmon fishing with a friend. Following our first fishing excursion, we arrived home with 2 coolers of salmon for our friends and family. This is when we quickly realized the uniqueness of the product and the possibilities that lie ahead. We have grown to serve individuals, buying clubs, local farm markets, restaurants, and health food stores. Because Wild For Salmon has increased its sales by an average of over 20% per year over the last 4 years, Steve and Jenn have recently purchased their own boat and commercial fishing permit for Bristol Bay, AK.

Our Boat – The R-J Our Boat – The R-J

June and July are busy months on the boat. The fishing season lasts approximately 5-7 weeks. Steve is the skipper of our 32’ boat, while Jenn, the first mate, and two other local men are deckhands. While on the boat, we listen to the satellite radio to hear the official fishing periods. As we catch the salmon they are kept in refrigerated holds, making sure the quality is preserved. Every 10 hours we offload our fish onto a larger crab boat which takes the fish in for processing. It is quickly filleted, flash frozen, and vacuum sealed to capture the “direct from the boat” flavor. After fishing, the salmon is sent back to PA where we sell the salmon at local farm markets and other venues.

We created this business to provide natural, sustainably harvested salmon products of superior quality, priced for the common good. We offer wild, Alaskan sockeye salmon because we believe the health benefits received from wild salmon are an essential part of our mind and body health.

As the fishermen, we are able to experience the beauty of Alaska and participate in the native culture of the land. As the demand increases for wild salmon and Omega3 rich diets, we are proud to be able to make this product available to you at an affordable cost. Wild For Salmon is delighted to be able to supply you with the best sockeye salmon in the world. Our tireless hours of commercial fishing are rewarded with your love for our product.

Sincerely,

Steve and Jenn

Why Wild?

We do know that fish is important for our health.  However, this is a complex issue.  Logically we’d think farm-raised would be better for our  environment and better for us. (by the way, “ocean-raised” fish is the  same as “farm-raised” just a new marketing name.  Farm-raised fish are  fish in pens in the ocean and when this got a bad wrap they changed the  name, that’s all!) But we have learned that farm raised means that the  fish don’t get lots of swimming room, are prone to disease (and therefore fed antibiotics) and can get out and infect the fish in the wild.  They are also high in mercury.

Where does this come from? is the most important question you  can ask yourself about anything you are consuming.

Let’s look at Farmed Salmon.  Since Farmed Salmon are fed pellets instead of what they eat in the wild, three elements are affected:

  1. First, the food that they normally eat in the wild converts into    powerful omega 3s for us; the farm raised salmon doesn’t have as high    nutritional value.
  2. Second, the food they eat naturally helps them turn that beautiful    pink color to which we are accustomed; the farm raised are therefore    fed  colorings to make them more palatable to our eye.
  3. Finally, the food they eat affects how they taste and there is truly  no comparison in flavor or texture.

When choosing to eat fish, we must consider:

  • The importance of fish to our health with valuable Omega-3s,  protein, low fat.
  • The sustainability of the fish, that it is not overfished and that  it is safe for our environment.
  • The health of the fish and the life of the fish (what it eats, how  it lives).
  • Cost.  We really can’t afford to eat farmed salmon.
  • Taste!

Fish, particularly cold water oily fish, have valuable Omega 3s.  We are just now exploring all the benefits of these EFAs and are finding that they are invaluable to good health.  They help reduce risks of heart disease, cancer, age-related blindness and eye problems, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases as well as keep a healthy circulatory system.  We should strive for two to three servings (total of 6 – 12 ounces per week as one serving is considered 3 but can be as much as 6 ounces) per week of a fish high in Omega 3s.

We know that wild Salmon has great benefits; however, most grocery stores and restauants that offer “salmon” are offering a genetically engineered (farmed) salmon that is taking over the environment.  Or, we find out, that because of the way the fish is caught, it’s habitats are being damaged and it’s becoming endangered.  We have to carefully look at where the fish is caught and whether or not the fishery is sustainable.  It is important that we make sure our fish is Sustainable and safe for the environment.

It is also important that we make sure THE FISH is healthy and therefore  truly healthful.  Farm-raised fish are raised in small pens in the  ocean secured by nets or in ponds, depending upon the fish species.  As  with most industries, maximizing revenues is key so they will stock a  pond with as many fish as they can leaving very little room for the fish  to move about freely and they are fed pellets of food instead of their  natural food (sounds like the chicken and cattle scenarios all over  again).  This, in turn, doesn’t allow them to use their muscles  naturally nor convert their natural food into powerful Omega 3s for us.   Therefore, farm-raised fish doesn’t have the health benefits of Wild  fish.  Therefore, farm-raised salmon doesn’t have the color of natural  salmon and they are fed colorings to help make the salmon palatable for  our plates.

“Wild salmon become pink by eating sea creatures like krill, which  contain a carotenoid called astaxanthin. Farmed salmon are naturally  grayish but turn pink when they are fed various sources of astaxanthin,  including one that is chemically synthesized and others that originate  from yeast or microalgae.”
– NY Times, Marian Burros
Posted 5/20/2013 12:10pm by Reuben DeMaster.
 
Kris Snyder-Samuelson posted on Willow Haven Farm's timeline

"I just had my first trip of the season to your market. The bread and granola are wonderful, the greens and brocoli are beautiful and the rhubarb jam is such a treat! Thank you for your hard work and dedication to growing and preparing food for us. "

About the pizza:

Lenore MacikonyczRe: the pizza, my husband said he wished I would have brought two of them home! It was great to meet you all today!

Debra Ranck Pizza was yummy

About Reuben's Bread:

 

Jennifer Houser ChristmanI had this bread last year. My favorite snack was it lightly toasted with a little Nutella. Yum!
 
Jan Petery DyszelMy daughter just took her first bite of this bread. "This. Is. Soooo. Good"

 

New recipe: Corn and Swiss Chard BruschettaAugust 15th, 2017

1          ea.       Baguette A few cloves of garlic 3          ears  

New recipe: Zucchini, Corn and Tomato CasseroleAugust 15th, 2017

2 Tbs Butter 1 ALrge Onion, chopped 1 Green Pepper, chopped 1 1/2 lbs Zucchini, sliced 2 C corn 2 Tomatoes, chopped salt and pepper   1. Saute onion and belle pepper in butter and set aside. 2. C

New recipe: Corn & Basil CakesAugust 15th, 2017

Ingredients 4 ears of corn, kernels cut from cob 1/2 onion, diced 1 jalapeno, diced 1/2 cup of basil, chopped 3 tbsp oat flour (or any flour of preference) 1/4 cup milk 4 eggs   Directions Add al

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