Pleasant Valley Farm

  (Tionesta, Pennsylvania)
Real Family Farming in Tionesta, PA
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More Than Rhubarb

It's hard to believe, but by Sunday our opening day of the farm stand season will be behind us.  Now is the time where I get a bit antsy, worrying that I won't have enough things ready to fill the tables.  It's really hard to have fresh produce on May 26, especially when we've had a frost as late as June 2! (and yes, that was only two or three years ago, not ancient history!)  Although I know that we've been doing prep for months, there is only so much we can put in without running a near-certain risk of losing the plants to frost damage.  So it gets to be a little nerve-racking when opening day arrives, because it seems as hard as we try, we never have just the right weather to have a bounty of produce to fill the tables.  Yet it's bad business to have lots of empty space, so I usually spend the last couple weeks fretting about having enough for opening day.

I spent the better part of yesterday setting up the stand.  Dan rented a power washer Monday night, so the heavy scrubbing was done, but there is still a lot involved getting the tables set up, putting up tablecloth and skirting, wiping out fridges and freezers, and figuring out what I had in stock and where it all should go.  While I put the tables back in pretty much the same spots they were before, I quickly realized that, instead of worrying about how to fill all this empty table space, I needed to get creative to find a space for everything we have!

The cheese will no longer be sitting on ice, with just one example of each kind.  Thanks to my mom letting me have my old dorm fridge back, cheese will now be self-serve.  We're hoping to fit a plexiglass door on the front, but it's just not likely to happen before Saturday.  So I squeezed that next to the “free sample” table.  Also on that table is a new feature for the stand...the feather jewelry I created over the winter.  I also have cute wreaths I made from the hop vines last year.  And I have lots more canned goods starting off the year than ever before- 5 kinds of jam, 4 kinds of mustards,  6 different vinegars, dill pickles, hot pepper rings, corn relish, sweet relish, apple butter, Thai dipping sauce, 2 BBQ sauces- one made with peaches and the other with rhubarb.  Non-canned edibles include sun dried tomatoes and a couple kinds of homemade egg noodles, plus honey.  

Today I'm picking up coffee...three regular flavors plus (ground or whole bean) and an assortment of flavored coffees.  I'm really excited about getting a tasting tour of Happy Mug's coffee.  We are very excited to have a local roaster who uses organic, fair trade and farm direct beans!  We're also looking to put our own stone grinder at the stand, so folks who want to grind their own coffees can!

We'll also have meat.  The broilers may be a bit smaller than usual, but we'll have some ready to go.  We'll also have pork chops, ribs, roasts and three or four varieties of our homemade sausage.  Bacon, ham and beef will be in the very next week.  We'll have some chicken eggs, and new for this year, quail eggs as well.

Outside the stand, we've got an assortment of bedding plants.  A wide variety of herbs, plus a few tomatoes, flowers, hop vines and whatever else I started but ran out of room in the garden for.  Come Saturday, I'll bring down some of the baby chicks, turkey poults and quail.  Maybe some baby bunnies too.  There are peacock feathers, and some cat toys made from those feathers too.  I'll also have bouquets of some fresh herbs...I just need to find a place to set them!

I know since it's a farm, I'll get at least one request for fresh sweet corn or ripe tomatoes, even though I do think that folks are getting better about understanding just what seasonal means.  But even if we only have rhubarb and spring onions to pick out of the garden, I think we'll still be off to a great start for our farm stand season!

We hope you'll join us as we open for the season!  Brave the heat and stop by to say hi this Saturday, May 26, from 10 AM- 2PM.  

If you can't make it this weekend, we'll be open all the way through November!
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