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Welcome to 2011!

Hello Farm Friends!

This web page is currently under design construction. Our info is here, but it is subject to look cooler and have more beautiful pictures at any moment!

Want to know when it’s all finished and looking pretty?  Sign up for our mailing list and join us on facebook and we’ll keep you in the know! We’ll also let you know things like when the 2011 CSA info is ready, and when our store is open again. We’ll talk soon!

-Sara & Kevin

610.509.6829

When the Door Closes, Look to the Open Window

While we may be losing tomato plants faster than we can pull them, things aren’t all bad on the farm this year. The cool, rainy weather that has plagued us (or blessed us, depending on your personal opinion) most of the summer has created some prize winners as well.

Overall, the Allium family wins the award for most improved. Our garlic, onions, leeks and shallots are the biggest and best we’ve ever grown! Just yesterday, Kevin harvested all the shallots and showed me one that looked rather small in comparison to the rest. “This one,” he claimed, “is the size of the largest one I had ever grown until this year.” All lined up neatly stacked on tables, they resemble large red onions more than the little shallot bulbs of years past. The garlic heads are bulky, flavorful, and easy to peel, the individual cloves nearly bursting at the seams like clothes they’ve outgrown. The onions are big, beautiful, and sweet. Slicing them isn’t even making me cry a river the way it usually does.

Another bumper crop this year were our fava beans. Favas crave the cool and wet, and most years we’re lucky to get one decent round of them in June before the heat overwhelms them. This year they were not only bigger and healthier, harvest lasted halfway into July, a miracle on our region.

As our CSA members are very aware, this was also the year the turnips kept coming, and coming, and coming! I began to feel sorry our members, deciding week after week what one does with turnips. (For the record, my favorite way I tried them was a cold potato salad-like recipe whipped up by my friend Maya. The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, which is one of the greatest cookbooks I have ever seen.)  The turnips’ close relatives, the rutabagas, got so big they could be classified as morbidly obese.

While these are the winners that really come to mind, there are dozens more vegetables doing just fine on the farm including zucchinis and green beans, the latter being harvested in amounts that can only be accurately described as (pardon my language) a shit-tonne. Come on out to the farm store or to the Jim Thorpe Farmers’ Market to check them out!

Plants Available Now!

Here is a listing of what plants are now ready for sale as of May 14th, 2009. We do have a few more heat-loving annuals and herbs coming later. We also have a few unusual plants that we only have one or two of-you’ll have to stop by the farm to see those.  But all these guys are happy, healthy, and ready to go!

Annual Flowers

6 packs:

Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis Sinuata) ”Royale Mix': Click Here for Dave’s Garden description & size

Celosia ‘Forest Fire’

Ageratum ‘Dondo Blue': Up to 32″ tall, this long-stemmed cutflower version of ageratum that blooms and blooms! Try teaming them up with gem marigolds for a beatiful border. 

4″ pots:

Spilanthes: (12″ tall, 1-2 feet apart) We like to grow this low growing, dark leaved plant for its fun alien-eyeball like flowers, but it has a whole bunch of medicinal properties as well! Click here for Mountain Rose Herb’s medicinal description. 

Euphorbia ‘Kilimanjaro': Click here for photo and description from Dave’s Garden. Here’s a tip: plant this one with other upright things so it doesn’t fall, or group a bunch together in a tomato cage to keep them upright and happy. They look really beautiful in flower bouquets!

Tithonia ‘Torch': This big, bright plant, known as the Mexican Sunflower, reminds me of an orange zinnia. The butterflies always love this one at the farm. It gets huge, so make sure you give it plenty of space! Click here for a pretty picture. 

1 Quart Pots:

Castor Bean: We affectionately call this one the “Dr. Suess Plant”. This is one awesome plant! It can get from 6-12 feet tall, with giant leaves and funny spiked pods. Just be careful-unlike the real Dr. Suess, this is definitely not a plant for kids- it’s VERY poisonous. 

Perennial Flowers

1 Quart Pots:

Wood Betony: This cheery plant was commonly found in amulets of the middle ages to ward off evil spirits. It is astrigent and has medicinal values, but we like it because it is cheery, has pretty green leaves, and small purple flowers to 2 feet. A very nice border plant that will happily come back year after year. 

Veronica (Speedwell) ‘Sightseeing Mix': Pointed spikey flowers in pink, white, and blue-violet. This easy plant grows to 2 1/2 feet tall and just keeps on blooming. 

Achillea ‘The Pearl': This member of the yarrow family looks more like baby’s breath than yarrow, and as an added bonus, it makes a great dried flower. 

Rudbeckia ‘Goldstrum': This black-eyed susan variety blooms larger and more proficiently than its wild counterpart found in fields around here. A cottage garden staple. 

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia Cardinalis): This native water-loving plant has perfect red flowers. It is my favorite perennial. It is also a favorite of hummingbirds. Just make sure you give it sun and lots and lots of water!

Jacob’s Ladder: One of our very few shade loving perennials. The leaves are reminicent of ferns, and in the spring it sends up spikes of pretty purple-blue flowers that smell like candy. 

Lychnis ‘Dancing Ladies': Magenta, white, and pink flowers on pretty white and fuzzy leaves. Drought tolerant and the pollinators love it. Plant one for the bees!

Penstemon ‘Iron Maiden': This hummingbird lover is tall and thin and bright red. It gets better with age, getting bigger and happier in subsequent years.  

Crazy Daisy: A double shasta- slower to grow than regular shastas, but that may not be a bad thing, considering shasta’s overly-hardy nature! 

Maltese Cross: Another bright, 3 foot tall hummingbird and butterfly attractor. This is actually a lychnis, but lacks the white fuzz of dancing ladies. 

Delphinium ‘King Arthur': We’ve had this one for years and ooh and ahh every year when it blooms. Last year, we finally got smart and saved its seed! Beautiful spikes of incredible blue flowers. It is rumored to be short-lived, but the ones in our garden are in year 5 and still going strong. 

Delphinium ‘Black Knight': Dark blue/purple with an even darker center. This one can get to 6 feet tall in subsequent years!

Culinary Herbs

6 Packs:

Parsley

Dill

Cilantro

Basil

4″ Pots:

Creeping Thyme: The quintessential groundcover thyme. Pretty and delicious.

German Thyme: The darker cousin of creeping. Slightly smaller leaves, nice and hardy. 

Oregano ‘Zaatar': This variety of oregano is also known as Syrian oregano and is thought to be the true hyssop from the Bible! Only hardy to zone 8, so you’ll have to pot it up and bring it in for the winter if you want to keep it. 

Stevia: The sugar plant! Dry it and add a leaf to your tea for calorie-free sweetness. 

6″ Pots:

Chives

Medicinal/Dye Herbs

1 Quart Pots:

Angelica Archangelica: The plant has many medicinal properties and young stalks can be candied. It is huge, up to 4 feet flower stalks. These are second year plants, so they will bloom and then the plant will most likely not be coming back. There is a chance that if you cut the flower stalk before it blooms you can keep in around for another year. 

Motherwort: A tincture made from this herb is highly touted by famed herbalist Susun Weed. We like the spikey pink mint-like flowers. 

Skullcap ‘Mad-Dog’ (Scuttelaria lateriflora): Fedco claims this produces a restful sleep when dried and put in your pillow. 

Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium): This is the first year we were able to get seed for this annual dye plant! Here is a great tutorial on what to do with it once you’ve planted it. 

Madder (Rubia tinctorum): A famous vivid red is obtained from the roots. 2 year old plants means you can start harvesting madder as early as next year! Click here for detailed instructions on what to do with all your red roots. 

Agastache: The girls call this one the “jellybean plant”. Also known as anise hyssop, this licorice flavored herb makes an excellent tea. The Native Americans used it for a variety of illnesses, including soothing coughs and sore throats. This perennial self-seeds abundantly, but not in an agressive way-it’s easy to pull out any unwanted volunteers. 

Vitex Negundo: Also known as Nergundi, Huang-jing-zi and Cut-Leaf Chaste Tree, we were really pleased to discover that this zone 6 shrub was hardy enough to survive this past winter. This is actually a small tree that sends out many braches, giving it a shrub-like appearance. The flowers are rumored to make the best flavored honey, and the leaves are very decorative and pretty, almost like a Japanese Maple. For headaches, dizziness, coughs, and mental unrest (according to Richter’s seeds). In India, it is called Nirgundi and is prized for many healing properties. It is also said that a pile of dried Vitex leaves lit on fire will repel mosquitoes. 

Echinacea Purpurea: This is the most medicinal of all the echinacheas. Last year we dug up some two year roots and made quite a powerful, zingy tincture out of them! 

4″ Pots:

Mugwort: According to everyone’s favorite news source, Wikipedia: “In North and South America, indigenous peoples regard mugwort as a sacred plant of divination and spiritual healing, as well as a panacea. Mugwort amongst other herbs were often bound into smudge sticks. Europeans placed sprigs of mugwort under pillows to provoke dreams; and the herb had associations with the practice of magic in Anglo-Saxon times.” Mugwort is dried and ground to form moxa for use in moxibustion, a Chinese medicine practice older than acupuncture. 

Pyrethrum: This is where the organic bug killer comes from. Plant it in with your veggies to help deter pests. 

Burdock ‘Gobo': It is Richo Cech and his family’s enthusiasm for Burdock that convinced us it was worth growing. You can read about why they love it so much here. 

Ashwaganda: This Ayurvedic herb translates to “smell of a horse” and the roots are said to restore vitality. You can read more about it here. 

Soapwort: This easy to grow perennial can be used as an alternative to soap. Here is a fun recipe to make your own shampoo!

Hyssop: This under-appreciated herb is one of my favorite herbs. It stays neat, tidy and pretty in the herb bed, gets pretty dark blue flower spikes that dry perfectly, and the minty flavor is great for making a tea for colds. Grown from seed collected on our farm. Plant a few-you’ll be glad you did! 

Vanilla Grass: This grass smells very sweet when dried. Native Americans used to dry and braid the stalks and burn them as incense. Warning- this plant is aggressive like mint. It is best to cut the flower stalks so seed can’t spread and to put it in a spot where you can mow around it to keep it under control. Alternatively, you could grow it in a pot. 

Motherwort: see 1 quart pot section

Angelica: see 1 quart pot section

1 Gallon Pots:

Hops: The flowers of this hardy vine induce sleep. They are the main ingredient in making beer. An excellent choice for climbing- perfect for covering a trellis. 

Vegetables

6 Packs:

Swiss Chard: Pick the leaves when young for slicing and cooking- let them get big and you can use them as a wrapper for other foods. A rainbow of stem colors make your vegetable garden look festive. 

Orach: This is a green that can be cooked or eaten raw. We have both purple and green. If you let it flower, it will self-seed. The flowering stalks of the purple variety look stunning teamed up with silver artemisias in a vase. It is tradtionally cooked with sorrel in Europe. 

Lettuce: we have several different varieties. Stop by the farm and Kevin, our resident lettuce differentiator, will help you. 

Tomatoes!

Many Heirloom and Hybrid varieties available. They are available in the following sizes: 1 Gallon, 1 Quart, 4″ pot, and 6 pack. A detailed description of tomato varieties might be available soon- in the meantime, stop by the farm to find out, or email us if you’re hunting for a specific variety.