Farmers Farewell

signsFriends and Supporters of Blue Rock Farm,

We want to thank you so much for making the past 4 years amazing!  After a lot of thought, endless hours of talking & farming together, and some of our classic wine & french fry nights, we have decided to close Blue Rock Farm.  We appreciate all the support and encouragement we’ve received from all of you.

Love,
EmmaKate & Caitlin

bradyfaceIt’s almost spring here in Lancaster County and instead of tending to the seedlings, organizing the barn, posting CSA flyers around town and all the other million things it takes to run the farm, I am enjoying a quiet morning with a cup of coffee. As some of you may already know EmmaKate and I have reached the end of the road at Blue Rock Farm. And where do I go from here? Well, all this time I have been farming I have also been an undercover student of Spanish, Italian and French. Last December I graduated from Millersville University and I am now putting my language skills to good use as an translator in Guatemala where I have the opportunity facilitate a variety of cultural exchange trips between Guatemalan communities and travelers from the United States. In addition to that I’m working as a language tutor and substitute teacher.  I want to thank everyone who has supported this (ad)venture over the last four years: first and foremost my farming partner EmmaKate, our families, friends, fellow farmers, CSA members, work-shares, my farming mentor David Dietz, the restaurants and groceries we supplied, the market supporters at Eastern Market and Lancaster East Side Market, this amazing Lancaster/York community! Thank you. – Caitlin

 

10498360_10102424499585273_8008578463864467979_oI have to admit – one of my favorite parts of running Blue Rock, was working on puns, photo shoots and stories to share in our newsletter. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as we have!

Here’s my big news: I am living in Philly now and I have a job that will be starting very soon, with the Parks and Recreation Department as a Garden Educator! I will be helping run after school and summer camp programs with elementary aged kids at 5 different Recreation Centers. We’ll be teaching about farming, growing food in raised beds, nutrition and other fun things. I am very excited about this job and am looking forward to becoming a part of the urban farming movement in Philly.

That said, it’s hard to leave Blue Rock Farm and the amazing people that have supported us over the years. A special thank you to my family, who allowed us to plow up the back yard, dirty up the house, bring crowds of people to the farm, and who helped us weed, water, plant, broadfork and so much more! And of course, I want to give my love to my farming partner. Thanks to Caitlin for following a dream and starting Blue Rock Farm, for convincing me and allowing me to become a partner, for teaching me so much and, maybe most importantly for moving to Lancaster! Thank you all! – EK

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April Plowers

Plowing, prepping and planting

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We have been working hard! It’s springtime, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. For us, that means time to get busy. This year we are plowing and prepping our fields all by hand. Each bed has to be broadforked, hoed, conditioned with compost, sand and fertilizer (a lovely organic top dress from out friends at Lancaster Ag) before we can plant. The above photo shows your farmers jumping for joy after finishing the barnyard field!

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 The peas are almost ready to climb, the garlic is getting taller, the arugula has sprouted, the kale is waiting to be transplanted and the farmers are acquiring spring sunburns and calluses. Don’t worry, we are taking precautions to protect ourselves from those ultra violet rays, as you can see.

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We still have produce and flower shares available for the 2014 season! Sign up now for 23 weeks of fresh produce OR get a half share and receive your veggies every other week. Sign up here. We’d love to be your farmers this year!

East Side Market Indie Gogo Flier

We are very excited to say the Lancaster East Side Market has launched its IndieGoGo fundraising campaign! Check it out here

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Special thanks to our friends from the F&M Sustainability House. This is a picture from their latest work day at Blue Rock Farm and they already have plans to come again!

March Greetings from Blue Rock!

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We’re trying to get a jump start on spring!

Working hard under the sun again has been rejuvenating and exhausting! One thing’s for sure, we love our broadfork! We’re excited to have some peas and onions in the ground, our hoop house up and filled with flats and a (mostly) clean barn!

Are you looking forward to the warmer weather as much as we are? We can’t wait to have our fields full of delicious veggies! Don’t forget to sign up now for a 2014 Blue Rock Farm Share. Becoming a shareholder means, not only receiving weekly veggies, but you will be invited to Farm Days throughout the season and have the satisfaction of knowing your farm and farmers!

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Perks of being a farmer:

We’ve been delighted by our spinach and arugula that over wintered in the hoophouses.  As we get back into the work routine, we have been enjoying daily salads from these delicious greens, sweetened by frost and full of vitamins!

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PASA 2014

We were in State College, PA this past February for the PASA Farming for the Future Conference. We were both really inspired by the keynote speaker, agro-ecologist Miguel Altieri from UC Berkley. The weekend was full of workshops, skill-shares and a lot of farmer to farmer hobnobbing. Above is a picture of us at our friends Scottish Highland Cattle Ranch, the Bergenblick Farm!

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Lancaster East Side Market

As you may know, we are part of the board of Lancaster East Side Market at Musser Park!  We will be selling our produce at this new open air famers market every Sunday, starting in May! Check out the website for more vendor details and general updates.

Blue Rock Farm 2014

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Hello Friends of Blue Rock Farm! We have survived the polar vortex. Miraculously, so have some of our winter greens and roots under the hoop houses! We have taken a much needed break from the farm this past month of January and it is with great excitement that we announce the kick off the 2014 season here at Blue Rock Farm. 2014 CSA Shares are now for sale! We have a limited number of slots for Full shares,Half shares and Flower shares available.  You can sign up for your share today and learn more about them on our website: http://www.bluerockfarmpa.com.  As some of you may know the sooner we receive orders and payments, the sooner we can start working! We will be planting in the greenhouse by the end of February and your initial support by buying a CSA Share is what get’s us going and takes us through the year!

In other news, we are going to be selling produce at East Side Market in the Musser Park this spring, summer and fall! We are sad to say Eastern Market on King St. will no longer be open, but are excited to move forward with this new opportunity.  EmmaKate and Caitlin are on the board of this new market project and are working hard in anticipation for opening day! East Side Market will be open on Sundays from May 25th – October 26th of 2014, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stay tuned for more information on this new market and for ways to support us, as we launch this new project.

In a few weeks we will be packing our bags and going to PASA!! The Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agricultural Conference has been held for the last 20+ years in State College, PA. It is a conference of PA organic farmers for PA organic farmers. In our next newsletter we will share photos and let you know all of the exciting things we learned!

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Farmer Update: Caitlin

Hello All! This past month of January I have taken advantage of my break from school and farming to travel around the Southern U.S. I am happy to say I missed the worst of the polar vortex although it was 28 degrees in San Antonio when I was passing through!  I am now back in the school schedule at Millersville and Franklin&Marshall continuing my studies in Spanish and Italian! Looking forward to another beautiful year of farming at Blue Rock Farm!

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Farmer Update: EmmaKate

Greetings! Meet my new friends – Blue Rock’s neighbor pigs and cow! I have been enjoying a break from farm work, but keeping busying. I am continuing my work with the Shalefield Organizing Committee, teaching dance classes with Caitlin and doing a variety of odd-jobbery! But really, I’m just waiting till it’s time to get my feet back into the warm dirt!

Fall Fun!

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What a fantastically fun fall,

full of friends and festivities!

We still can’t believe it, but the last weekend in October marked the end of the 2013 shares and Eastern Market. We had a great time getting to know our new shareholders and meeting folks every Saturday at the market stand. We’re already planning and looking forward to next year! Which brings us to the next announcement…

East Side Market

Next year you can find Blue Rock Farm at East Side Market! We are sad to say Eastern Market on King St. will no longer be open, but are excited to move forward with this new opportunity.  East Side Market will be opening on Sundays from May – October of 2014 and will be located at Musser Park. Stay tuned for more information on this new market and for ways to support us, as we launch this new project.

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  We were working away on Halloween, and were quite startled to come across this scene in the wash yard!

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One lovely Saturday evening in October we were happy to have 30 of our closest friends come over for a cider pressing party! We pressed apples and pears and made (and drank) many gallons of cider. Some of the crew posed with the press for the top photo!
Thanks to the Mack-Bolls for letting us pick the apples and to the Esh-Lind family for letting us borrow the press!

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Many thanks to our 2013 work shares and all of our friends that came out to help!

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Thanks to Jacob Kraybill and Michelle Johnson for the cider photos!)

Gourd-geous September

What a fabulous fall!

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What’s better looking than some fall gourds? Beets us! Check out a few more photos from our gourd-geous photo shoot below! Many thanks to our good friend and talented photographer, Molly for helping out at the farm and taking these photos.

Molly and many other friends came to our Work Day this month! We got so much done in a few short hours and had a blast. Who doesn’t love an afternoon of weeding and mulching in this lovely fall weather?! Sad you missed it? Don’t worry, we’ll do it again soon!

We also had a great time hosting our second Farm Day. All of our shareholders were invited to come out to the farm for an evening. We had a potluck, went on a farm tour and had a lot of fun getting to know our shareholders better! Thanks to everyone who came and for those that missed out, we hope you come next time.

 

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We’re excited to be selling our produce to another local foods store in Lancaster– Lemon Street Market! Make sure to stop by and check out this store if you haven’t before.

 

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Did you know that Eastern Market is open through October? What great news! We’ll be there selling our produce and waiting to see you. Our market also has some deliciously local baked goods, yoghurt, eggs, cheese and more!

 

Now back to the gourd-geous photos:

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The Bounty of Awe-gust!

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Apart from the endless zucchini and summer squash you may have noticed some different items in your shares these past few weeks. We have been adding summer favorites such as a rainbow array of tomatoes, sweet and chile peppersbasilcukesand pineapple tomatillos!  The watermelonscantaloupes and eggplants are just starting to yield there bounties of awesomeness as I type!

Pictured above with us are our friends Jacob and Emily Kraybill who came over last week to help with the first melon harvest of the season!

Roaring Brook Market-Cafe Opened in Downtown Lancaster!!!

Check out Roaring Brook’s great selection of locally produced grocery items which includes fresh produce from Blue Rock Farm , or  sip on some of the best coffee in town in their minty green café and eat a delicious salad made with greens grown here at our farm. Each week they feature locally produced, locally processed, and healthy food from Lancaster County farms and businesses. Roaring Brook is located on 155 East King Street in Lancaster City.

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It’s high time we tell you about our behind the scenes crew here at Blue Rock Farm. We could not do all of this without the help of our wonderful workshares Amanda Howard and Reuben Stolzfus.  We would also like to thank EK’s brother Nick Martin, her parents Wayne and Ruth and her 94 year old grandfather Parke who walks the fields daily to make sure everything is in good order!

1146584_10200349660251888_896804962_nFarmer Caitlin Update:

I’m going back to school in a couple weeks! I will be entering my senior year at Millersville University and finishing up a degree in Romance Language and Literature. I have some exciting classes in Spanish and Italian literature and linguistics to look forward to this fall! A few of the recipes I chose for this month’s newsletter are some of my favorites from Spanish, Latin American and Italian culinary traditions. Enjoy!

1013600_898842021620_181460974_nFarmer EK Update:

I am excited to spend more time working with the recently formed Shalefield Organizing Committee – a community-led Committee that is organzing against the fracking industry in Northeast PA! The group is made up of folks in Lancaster, Philly and Northeast PA, including my friends over at Endless Mountains Farm! We are currently working on fundraising to begin our first Listening Project. I love the combination of farming, where I am working directly in the ground and being a part of a grassroots group fighting to keep our land clean and safe!

July Daze

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Can’t beet the heat!

Hello Friends and Shareholders!

We have been braving the heat waves and thunderstorms these last few weeks to bring you the freshest bounty of summer time. All of our plants have burst into blossom and the fruits of our labors are hanging heavy on the vines.We have been out here day in day out reaping in the bounty of awesomeness! We have so many zucs, cukes,squashbeans, peas, beets, onions, cabbage, garlic and greens! In addition, the blackberries and tomatoes are blushing on their boughs and will soon be ripe for the picking. Look for them in your share and at our market stand!

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Playing some baseball with a Zuc and a Cabbage

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In spite of all this overflowing production we are already thinking ahead to the fall and winter crops! The sowing of pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli and greens begins this week! Blue Rock Farm is offering a winter share which will run from November through January. We have a limited number of spaces so if you are interested in joining email us for more information!

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Did you know we sell some our produce to The Seed? The Seed is the first and only worker-owned, collectively managed, community space and vegetarian/vegan cafe in Lancaster City, PA. Their mission is to provide local, sustainably sourced food and beverage in an open, safe space for Lancaster’s progressive community; a place to gather and continue the work of social justice, community-building and service to each other and the planet. Basically its amazing! Check it out!

Jumping into June

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Things are going well at Blue Rock Farm! The plants are growing, our share pick-ups have started and we’re enjoying spending our Saturdays at Eastern Market. We are working hard and trying to keep up with the weeding, harvesting, planting, and other farm tasks, but we make sure to take occasional breaks for hiking, swimming, dancing and other fun.

We Went Plastic Free!

After years of using and throwing away many plastic bags we decided to quit disposable plastics and go for a greener solution. You may have noticed that this year all of our greens are stored in brown wax paper bags.  These wax paper bags are unbleached and non-toxic, making them both ecologically sound and compostable!

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First Shares

We are finally in the full swing of things! This weekend marked our third share pick-up of the season. We are enjoying getting to meet our shareholders and hear how they are using their produce! This is a lovely bouquet that one shareholder made with this week’s garlic scapes.

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Eastern Market Festival!
We are excited to announce the Eastern Market Festival on June 22nd. A day filled with live music, children’s activities, a skill share and a fun variety of vendors! Hope to see you all there!

Blue Rock Farm has been a part of Eastern Market for three years now. This year has included a big change for the market, as it shifts to being run by the vendors. Due to a lack of grant funding this year we were not able to have a full time market manager. Blue Rock Farm and the other vendors are committed to this market and have working hard to make the market happen. Eastern Market is open on Saturdays from 9am – 2pm.

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Blue Rock Bags

Thanks to the Left Hand Printing Co, we have some locally screen printed, fair trade eco bags for sale! Stay tuned for a new Blue Rock Farm t-shirt that is in works!

May Update

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A little late, but still great!

It must be spring! We suddenly have so many exciting updates, but no time to do it. We have a lot of greens and root veggies growing! Here are some other highlights from the past month:

  • We spent a lovely morning building a rocking herb spiral.
  • We named all of our different plots:The Barnyard, the Back 40, Up Top, the Onion Patch, and the Garden!
  • We have beans, potatoes, okra and corn planted Up Top!
  • Looking out into the fields we see so much green! Lettuces, kale, radish tops….
  • The peas are climbing up the rows of twine!
  • We cleaned out the barn! First time since 1879 when it was built (according to EK’s 94 year-old grandfather)

We reached an exciting goal this month! Our 2013 produce shares are all filled up! We still have a few flower shares left, though. If you’re still hoping to get a veggies share this year, check out our friends at Ornery Ladybug Farm and Green Moon Farm

At the end of the month we will be start to meet our shareholders as they come to their first pick-up! We also will be starting up our Saturday routine at EasternMarket. Come visit us every week from 9am-  2pm.

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With help from Nick, we spread BioTelo rows in the Back 40 for the future home of our peppers, tomatoes and summer squash! We mulched in between each row to stay one step ahead of the weeds… hopefully!

 

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We hoed a few beds along the top of the Back 40 plot for some lettuces, cabbages and kale!

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One of the of our favorite parts about Blue Rock Farm?  All the support we get from our friends!

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Next to the Up Top plot is a giant, 5-year-old leaf pile. We have been using those leaves to mulch between our rows.  At the bottom of the pile we discovered some rich compost for our plants to enjoy!