About Our Farm...
Village Acres Farm has a mission of connecting people to their food, the earth and each other. We are committed to growing food and building relationships that are sustaining, restorative, and transformative for our customers, employees, and selves.
Celebrating over 30 years of farming, 20 years of Organic certification and 15 years of serving the community through a CSA model, Village Acres operates as a diversified system, integrating vegetables, berries and pastured livestock.
Village Acres offers on-farm pick-up of produce, eggs, and chicken for CSA members, as well as distribution to State College, Lewistown, Selinsgrove, and Harrisburg. We also serve breakfast the first Saturday of every month (April-November) and live music several evenings a year in our FoodShed.
Located just off Route 322 near Mifflintown - about 45 minutes from State College and Harrisburg - the 30 acre farm is centered in the village of Cuba Mills, nestled along the banks of the Lost Creek close to its confluence with the Juniata River.
Read about our farm in Grid Magazine's Farmbook...
Posted by Hannah :: Tuesday, July 22 :: 12:13pm
IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Sungold Cherry Tomatoes, Blueberries, Beets, Carrots, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Summer Squash, Heirloom Tomatoes, Hot Peppers*, Herbs*, Watermelon (fulls)*, Cantaloupe (meds)*, Chard* *Out of the box
Farm Breakfast August 2nd & Sept 6th (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.
Live Music with Blue Heron Sept 6th (6pm-?): Join us in supporting a local treasure, Blue Heron. Many of you will remember the Christmas Eve tragic accident that claimed the life of locally loved musician Dave Kirkland. His life-partnerDelphine, the other half of Blue Heron, is carrying on with the band and will be joined by other local musicians for a return to Village Acres. A not-to-be-missed performance of soulful blues and rock music! FoodShed grill will open at 6pm with music performance at 7pm. BYOB Family-friendly event.
It’s been a lovely week on the farm. Fall-like weather has graced us in a typically sizzling part of the summer and while we know those hot days will still come, we are taking full advantage of our current comfort.
A farm is in constant transition, but this week especially so as we spent a lot of time removing the remnants of spring plantings, reworking the ground to prepare for cover crops or making way for fall plantings. This coming week the garlic planted last fall will be harvested and hung from rafters in our shed, and the onions planted early spring are also ready to start their curing process.
At the same time we are strategizing our harvest, we are also planning our fall greens planting. This fall we are planning to trial a new lettuce, a variety called Salanova. This is a head lettuce which produces a full head of equally sized small leaves which can be used as a lettuce mix. We hope this helps us produce a better quality lettuce mix in the field (which is harder than the greenhouse). I’ll let you know when it hits your boxes which, if it does, should be sometime in September.
This week we have the first melons coming your way. The quantities ready of both watermelon and cantaloupe worked out so that the fulls will be getting watermelon and medium shares cantaloupe. Don’t worry though; you will get both over the course of the season. Also hitting the shares this week are the summer favorite: sungolds. These are some of the first tomatoes to ripen in the field.
We hope you enjoy these tastes of summer. Deb
RECIPE: Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Tomato Sauce
Serves 6. 30-40 min cooking time.
For a gluten-free option, simply skip the pasta and use almond meal or gluten-free crackers instead of breadcrumbs and it will still be a filling delicious meal!
• 2 medium eggplants (about 2lbs), peeled if desired, and sliced into 1/2" rounds (slicing on the diagonal makes for a larger cutlet, and is especially nice when you reach the narrow neck of the eggplant)
• 1 1/2 c dried bread crumbs (preferably homemade)
• 1 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 tsp Italian seasoning
• few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 large eggs
• 2 Tbs water
• 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• Fresh Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
• 1 13-14 oz pkg spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine pasta
• Grated Parmesan or torn pieces of fresh mozzarella for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
On each of two 15x10 high-sided baking sheets, spread 1 tsp olive oil with a pastry brush.
In a shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, blend together the eggs and water with a fork so there are no gloopy chunks.
Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg mixture, turning to coat. Shake off the excess egg and dredge the slice in the Parmesan mixture (use your hands to add more, if necessary). Place each slice of eggplant on the prepared baking sheets. When all the slices are coated, slowly drizzle a little olive oil over the tops of the prepared eggplant (about 1/2 tsp per slice).
Place the sheets in the preheated oven for 20-25 min, turn the slices and bake another 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden.
Meanwhile, get your pasta pot and tomato sauce going. Prepare the pasta according to instructions. The sauce only takes about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly so everything is finished at the same time.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
• 3-4 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs), diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
• few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 c chopped fresh basil leaves (loosely packed)
• 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
In a 12 inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic for about a minute. Add the diced tomatoes and juice, salt and pepper, and stir. Reduce the heat and allow the tomato mixture to simmer uncovered about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the basil and balsamic vinegar. Stir well and remove from heat. *If you are not ready to use the sauce right away, cover, leaving a vent, to keep warm.
Divide the pasta between 6 plates. Top with 3-4 eggplant parmesan slices and a big spoonful of the sauce. Top with either more grated Parmesan or with torn pieces of fresh mozzarella.
Posted by Hannah :: Tuesday, July 15 :: 5:53pm
IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Blueberries (no spray, not organic), new potatoes,, storage potatoes, lettuce heads, fennel, kale (full), chard, summer squash, cucumbers, fresh onions, eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs
UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast (7/5, 8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.
FARM NOTES from Jackie:
It seems like we have at least one flood watch a week, but those summer thunderstorms have been tempered by lots of hot days to dry up the fields. It’s still pretty wet in some areas, but we have been able to continue to keep to our planting schedule. The berries are starting to really produce, and we had to put the netting over the blueberries to keep the birds away. It’s hard to resist those plump little berries when you spend an entire afternoon in the patch. The first few cantaloupes and standard tomatoes are ripening in the fields, and the eggplants are practically dripping off the branches. Allison and I harvested just over 300 pounds of eggplant last Friday! Baba ghanoush anyone? We also harvested our first crop of fennel for this week, which is one of my more recent favorite vegetables.
The new laying hens are really starting to up production this week. I gathered a record 75 eggs from them today. They are very pretty girls that like to follow me around as I collect the eggs. Most of them just want a scratch on the back or to peck the back of my legs. I take that as a sign that they want me to pick them up, so I usually take a minute to hold a couple of them and scratch the backs of their necks. If you have never petted a chicken, you don’t know what you are missing.
The broilers, along with their turkey friends, have moved out to the pasture, where they have adjusted well to their new digs. This new breed seems to take to the pasture better than their predecessors, and they definitely seem smarter when it comes to moving along with the shelter every morning. Our bees were visited by the State Inspector a couple of weeks ago and they are all doing well. In PA, all hives are required to be registered and, as funding permits, are inspected every two years. The inspections are a great thing, as they help detect disease and mites, which can destroy hives.
Our hives are all healthy and producing honey. So much honey that I was able to get almost 50 pints from the hives. Thanks in part to my family, who was visiting last weekend and helped me with the extraction. My Mom even suited up and went out to the hives with me! Next, I’ll make sure each of our five hives has about 40 pounds (one small box) of honey reserved, which is what they will need to survive the winter. I’m not sure if there will be another harvest this season, but all the honey from this harvest is for sale via the CSA. If you haven’t tried our honey, you’ll be floored when you do. You might just eat the jar in a sitting!
RECIPE: The following recipe is a great side dish, and you can substitute all chicken broth instead of wine if you like. Some Village Acres honey would be perfect for this dish!
Fennel in Wine and Honey (from Allrecipies.com)
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
1/8 cup olive oil
¼ cup chicken broth
½ Tablespoon honey
½ cup white wine
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
Place fennel quarters in a deep skillet with the centers facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and then pour in the broth, honey and wine. Season with mustard seed, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Posted by Debra Brubaker :: Tuesday, July 8 :: 9:26am
IN THE SHARE THIS WEEK: Spring carrots, red beets, cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, chard, tomatoes, hot peppers, basil, dill, and parsley
The summer is heating up! We start the day at 7 am, and always hit the greenhouses first, before the temperatures inside surpass the 100 degree mark. While early in the summer the cucumbers and the eggplant appreciate the extra warmth of the greenhouse, by July, they start to show that they have had enough. Peppers on the other hand, well- they seem unphased. Both the hot peppers and the bell peppers in the greenhouses are looking good this season. Today we are harvesting the first hot peppers for the shares. I’ve grown to appreciate hot peppers a great deal both during a semester abroad in Ethiopia during college, and also during my 7 years living in New Mexico. Hot peppers are central to many cultures and they all have such unique flavors and characteristic. In New Mexico the Chile pepper reigns supreme and each region prides themselves on having the best chile (and they are all good). The seeds for the chiles we are growing this year were given to us this spring by a restaurant owner Robert in Santa Fe after Hannah told him we were farmers. These peppers and have been in his family for generations in the Chimayo region of New Mexico. It was such a gift to be given these seeds, and a great connection to other farmers whom take great pride in the work of their hands and the fruits of their labor.
Recipe: Roasted Eggplant and Pickled Beet Sandwiches
Bon Appétit | April 2013 via Epicurious.com
Yield : 4 Servings
Roasted eggplant and garlic mayo:
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), sliced into 1/2"-thick rounds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Kosher salt, ground pepper
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant slices on a large rimmed baking sheet and rub both sides with oil. Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Roast until golden and tender, 30-40 minutes.
Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, and vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.
Beet salad and assembly:
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup mixed tender fresh herb leaves (such as flat-leaf parsley, dill, and mint), torn if large
1/2 cup chopped pickled beets
1/4 cup chopped pitted oil-cured olives
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 6x4" pieces focaccia, split
6 ounces feta, thinly sliced or crumbled
Toss scallions, herbs, beets, olives, capers, and oil in a medium bowl to combine.
Spread cut sides of focaccia with garlic mayo. Build sandwiches with focaccia, eggplant, feta, and beet salad.
UPCOMING EVENTS: Farm Breakfast August 2nd (8-11am): Stop by for a farm-sourced nutrient-dense (and delicious) farm breakfast (1st Sat of every month, Apr.-Nov.). Proceeds benefit our Community Fund.