Honeymoon Farm February Newsletter
I wonder if you’re as ready for spring as I am... The first signs of spring have sprung on the farm. Snowdrop shoots reach out of the ground like little green fingers stretching from the frozen earth towards the sun. They don’t seem to mind the cold. Meanwhile, my face stings from the icy wind coming across the field.
This time of year can be one of the most difficult for us when it comes to predators. At this point in the winter, food becomes scarce, making raccoons and foxes desperate for their next meal. Unfortunately, this fear became reality this month when we lost two bantam chickens to a raccoon attack. The raccoons have since been captured and relocated thanks to a friend of ours.
This friend was also thoughtful enough to give us early access to some hoop houses he has set to be sold at auction. It goes to show that it’s not just what you know - who you know is an important piece of the puzzle! We will be using some of the hoops to create pasture pens for our meat chickens, and saving some of them to eventually build a permanent structure to extend our herb growing season.
We are so excited to get our first batch of chicks coming in March. It’s getting down to crunch time for us to get their brooder ready - this is where they will live for the first 3-4 weeks of their lives. There are a few decisions we have to make about how to raise them the first month: what kind of bedding? What kind of heat source? What kind of food?
I could talk for days about each decision, and I promise I will if you’re interested, but I’ll put that in a separate blog post since there is so much more I need to catch you up on today! The overview on this is: we will be raising the chicks on peat moss (TONS of benefits, and it’s a material we already use for growing mushrooms), with a Brinsea radiant heat panel for warmth (and safety!), and we are sourcing our feed from a local feed mill. We will be making a decision in the next two weeks about whether we will go with organic, or non-gmo, or soy-free, or conventional based on the quality, source, price, and delivery methods. Let us know if you have a preference!
Since the cold days have me cooped up inside (pun intended) doing research on how to grow the best quality food, I’ve been inspired to make a list of topics that i think you’ll find helpful and interesting on your food journey. If there’s a topic you are excited to learn about, I’d love to hear from you - just reply to this email and I’ll make sure I answer your questions!
Most of our farm accomplishments this month have been in the digital world - I’m really excited to present to you our newly launched website, and our free guides! We will be adding our mushrooms, herbs, and poultry to the website over the next month or so, but peruse our resources in the meantime - like our free guide to culinary mushrooms - to start cooking like a pro right now!
Our new website will give you the freedom to browse our selection - and even order - all online! It’ll also be where you can go to discover our market and pick up locations, find resources like Tammy’s Recipe Corner, and read past farm newsletters and blog posts.
Tammy has inspired me to do some more cooking from scratch now that I’ve recovered from my post-holiday cooking burnout. We were feeling super slow and unsatisfied with the quick and easy food we were making (or picking up) in January. Cooking with fresh, local, high quality ingredients makes even “junky” food like a cheesesteak feel good. Pictured below is one of Gary’s favorites - a cheesesteak rustic: Flying Plow Farm grass fed chip steak with american cheese on top of fresh bread from Swissalicious, and a side of fries.
The next big development on the horizon is that we are looking to purchase a piece of land to be Honeymoon Farm’s permanent home - and we may have found it! Just 5 minutes from our home in Oxford Boro, we found a 5.6 acre open land parcel for sale for a reasonable price. If you saw our photo on our facebook page teasing a picture of a creek, it’s the creek that runs through the center of that property! There are a few hurdles we will have to go through to use this property, but our first priority is determining if we can financially make it happen.
On Friday, I got all dressed up to attend a meeting at the Chester County Economic Development Council to learn about financing opportunities we might be able to use. It was so inspiring to hear about the support that Pennsylvania has for agriculture! We are really looking forward to exploring these options later this month when I return from my trip to Spain.
I’ll be leaving on my international trip on Sunday, spending 10 days visiting my family that lives in Madrid. I plan to eat my way through the city - I hope you’re ready for a bunch of food pictures to show up on our instagram and facebook pages! You’ll have to let me know if you have a favorite Spanish food so I can make sure to try it while I’m there.
I hope you had a wonderful February, and I want to thank you again for allowing us to be part of your food journey!
Have a delicious day,
Tammy's Recipe Corner
For Valentine’s Day, Liz gave me a basket of king oyster mushrooms, a few portobellos, and a dozen beautiful fresh eggs to cook up something great - mushroom pizza, cheese and pepperoni pizza, and a flourless dark chocolate cake with raspberry garnish. Read all about it and get the recipes by clicking below:
Ingredient Spotlight: Maitake Mushrooms
The maitake (AKA hen of the woods) mushroom is one of my favorites. It has a delicious peppery and savory flavor to it - perfect in just about every dish. The shape of the mushroom makes it easy to get them crispy in the pan.
My favorite foods to make with maitake: sauteed with some scrambled eggs, as garnish for butternut squash soup, as a meat replacement in a cheesesteak, and on top of a nice juicy steak.
Learn more about the health benefits of maitake here:
Where to find us next:
- Pre-order mushrooms for pick up through Flying Plow's website. Pick up locations in Newark, DE, Havre de Grace, MD, Bel Air, MD, and Rising Sun, MD. Pick up dates and order deadlines can be found on their website.
- CSA member pick ups - next pick up date is 3/14-3/15!