News and blog

Welcome to the blog
Posted 4/6/2013 10:48am by Gregg Keckler.
Dear Folks,


We printed the WRONG date for the start of the St Mark's, St Luke's and Cedar Lane Farm Stand.


The REAL date for the start up of these Saturday Farm Stands will be on May 4!   


Sorry about the mistake!

   Louise 
Posted 4/5/2013 7:45am by Gregg Keckler.

Hello all,

Well, after a series of un-spring-like snowfalls in March, we are finally into April and relieved that the temperatures are beginning to go up, slowly but surely.  This weekend we are looking at 60 degree days at last!

Remember: April 13th is our 2013 Farm day. We encourage you to come on up, visit the farm, and do some planting with us! We'll begin around 12pm and work/tour the farm until about 4pm when we will provide supper.  Of course you are always free to leave whenever you need to.  Please let us know if you plan on attending for the day.

CSA Sign-ups: We are excited about this year's CSA.  Each year we learn new things, try new things, and do a better job of growing and harvesting good food.  Don't forget to take advantage of our Early Bird discount for whole-season shares which is good through the end of April. You can learn more about the CSA and sign-up here on our website.

  • SPECIAL NOTE: We are offering a special discount to any person who can get a new CSA drop-spot established at their place of work, neighborhood, apartment complex, gym, church, etc.  If you can get 10 other individuals signed up for the CSA at that location for at least 1 session, you will receive a free CSA box for that session (7 weeks).  If you get 10 individuals signed up for the CSA at that location for an entire season (all 3 sessions), you will receive a free CSA share for the entire season as well!!

    Please contact us if you are interested in adding a new stop and we will work with you to make it happen!!

Greenhouse Activity:
The greenhouse has been looking VERY green this past week- here are just a few photos below!

Red Beets On Left:  Now we know Red Beets are not the most popular vegetables, but they are looking good in the
greenhouse!


On Right: During the spring we often run short on planting containers.  We don't want to buy new planters each year, so we use any plastic containers we can find! Milk jugs, cake lids, etc, we use it!
Recycling...


Farm Stands & Markets: We have added a new farm stand this year.  We will be running a stand every Saturday between 8:30am - 1pm during the market season (May - October) at St Mark Presbyterian church off Old Georgetown Road in North Bethesda.  If you know of folks who live that way, help us spread the word!

Time is moving quickly and the Market season is almost upon us!  Here is a list of markets/stands and their starting dates for 2013:

- National Geographic Society Farm Stand begins April 23rd (week of Earth Day)
- DOT Market begins May 7th
- Columbia Market begins May 9th
- St Mark Presbyterian, Cedar Lane Unitarian U, St Luke Episcopal farm stands all begin on May 11th
- Westminster Market begins May 18th

If you have any questions or need any assistance signing up for the CSA please contact us at 717-486-4653

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler  - Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm
www.orchardcountryproduce.com
http://www.facebook.com/orchardcountryproduce

Posted 3/21/2013 8:00am by Gregg Keckler.
Greetings to all of our farm supporters and friends!

We are planning our annual event for CSA members (and non-members as well) who are interested in visiting us, doing a little farm work, and touring the farm!  We will have an asparagus-planting extravaganza/farm tour day on Saturday, April 13th.  We will begin planting around noon.  We will plant/work/tour the farm until about 4pm when we will provide supper.  Of course you are always free to leave whenever you need to.  Meeting place will be at our home:
 
1410 Goodyear Road
Gardners, PA 17324


Please let us know if you plan on attending for the day.  Do not worry if you need to arrive late, someone will be able to direct you to the right place (or you can follow the sound of voices around the farm till you find everyone in the asparagus field :) )  We look forward to meeting new members and seeing familiar faces this year!

Please let us know if you have any questions.

REMINDER:  April 30th is the deadline to sign up and receive the Early Bird Special for the 2013 CSA season!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler
@Orchard Country Produce    
Posted 3/8/2013 4:37pm by Gregg Keckler.

We've added a new member to the family! Meet Demeter (or Demi) named after the Greek goddess of the harvest. 

She is a 1-year-old basset hound whom we adopted from a family that no longer wanted her.  She is a true basset hound and goes crazy tracking scents down all over the farm.  She especially enjoys trailing down our turkey who seems to live in mild fear of her.  We are glad she's here!

Demeter the basset hound Demi likes tree stumps

 

 

Posted 3/4/2013 9:55am by Gregg Keckler.

Hello all,

We're beginning to get spring fever here on the farm and are relieved that March has arrived.  Of course it still feels like winter, but 40-degree days will appear more frequently and we can't wait! 

CSA Sign-ups:
The CSA sign-ups are still actively arriving in our e-mail inbox each day.  Don't forget to take advantage of our Early Bird discount.  You can learn more about the CSA and sign-up here on our website.  You can also access our CSA information and farm profile at LocalHarvest.org (search for Orchard Country Produce, Gardners, PA).

  • NOTE: We are willing to add new pickups (Neighborhoods, Businesses, Residential Parks, etc.) in the D.C./Alexandria/Arlington and Gaithersburg, MD areas.  We require a minimum of 6 shares to establish a new delivery location.  Please contact us if you are interested in adding a new stop.

Planting/Pruning:
In lieu of Spring, Gregg & Oliver have been spending a lot of time planting in the greenhouse.  Seed orders arrive in the mail several times a week.  So far they have planted 15 varieties of Lettuce, 2 varieties of Kale, and many herbs including Parsley, Cilantro, Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, and even Stevia. Red Beets, Brussel Sprouts, Bell Peppers, and Hot Peppers (Habaneros and Jalapenos) have also been planted in the greenhouse. 

Oliver and Sarah continue to prune the orchard trees and are making great progress.  For the past few weeks, Oliver has been scouring listings for a new market truck.  He finally found one that will suit our needs (and should not break down) for a reasonable price.  The new truck will have more space for loading market goods/produce and will be much more fuel efficient.  Oliver and Sarah will be roadtripping to West Virginia this week to pick it up.

Livestock
We added a pig to our livestock herd a few months ago.  She is known as a heritage grazing pig and her particular variety is hard to find because they are slow-growing pigs and thrive off of foraging, which is not of value to commercial pork producers. Since the pastures are not prime for grazing yet, we let her wander around foraging in the nearby fenced-off woods. Her diet is also supplemented with loads of unused and/or rotten produce from one of our neighboring farmers who is still cleaning out his coolers and winterized fields.

Our pig Greenhouse labors Kale sprouting

We hope you are all doing well.  Happy March - 16 days till spring!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler  - Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm www.orchardcountryproduce.com
http://www.facebook.com/orchardcountryproduce

Posted 2/5/2013 4:32pm by Gregg Keckler.

Hello all,

We can't believe February is here already! Our famous groundhog here in PA has predicted an early spring, but we're skeptical because every day so far this week we've had snow fall.

January ended on a bittersweet note as our wonderful basset hound Homer (of Homer's Famous Dog Biscuits) died in his sleep one snowy night.  We've had him since he was 9 months old and he would've turned 17 this spring- which is very old for a basset hound.  Homer made friends with everyone- animals and people alike.  He especially loved cats, in fact, at one point, he was running a nursery for the barn cats' kittens in his dog house.  Homer often tried to steal fruits and vegetables from the crates at Orchard Country (see below - Homer caught red-pawed with a Methley plum).  We will miss Homer, but we are grateful for the fond memories and his unrivaled excellence as 'watchdog' at Orchard Country Produce.

Homer and the Plum Homer makes friends Homer on the porch

 
We've been keeping busy with outdoor activities like maintenancing/repairing equipment and fixing crates. Gregg and Oliver have also been compiling seed order lists for spring plantings.  We are also making between 30-50 jars of jams and jellies nearly every day. As you can see from the photo below- we're concerned that the house might start leaning with all that jam in one room!

Seed catalog time Left: Two generations of farmers, Oliver and Gregg, pour over seed catalogs.

Right: The jams/jellies storehouse at Orchard Country is jammed (pun intended) and this is only half of it!
Jammed!


The CSA sign-ups have been steadily flowing in, thank-you to those who have already signed up and sent  payment! Don't forget to take advantage of our Early Bird discount.  You can learn more about the CSA and sign-up here on our website.  You can also access our CSA information and farm profile at LocalHarvest.org (search for Orchard Country Produce, Gardners, PA).

  • NOTE: We are willing to add new pickups (Neighborhoods, Businesses, Residential Parks, etc.) in the D.C./Alexandria/Arlington and Gaithersburg, MD areas.  We require a minimum of 6 shares to establish a new delivery location.  Please contact us if you are interested in adding a new stop.
We hope you have a wonderful February!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler  - Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm
www.orchardcountryproduce.com
http://www.facebook.com/orchardcountryproduce
Posted 1/11/2013 8:20am by Gregg Keckler.

Hello Winter Delivery folks- and Happy Friday!

Just a reminder - the online store will be closing tonight at 11:59pm.  Please go to orchardcountryproduce.com and navigate to the Store on the top menu bar to place an order before closing time.  The January delivery will be our final Winter delivery for the year.

  The delivery will be on Tuesday, January 15th.  An e-mail will be sent out on Monday with further delivery time details.

Thank you! We hope you are enjoying the New Year!

The Kecklers @ Orchard Country Produce

Posted 1/3/2013 10:02am by Gregg Keckler.

Hello all,

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! We are excited to begin January with our final Winter Delivery on January 15th (if you are interested in participating for January and would like further information, please send an e-mail and we will add you to the e-mail list).

Well, we got several rounds of snow so far and it's been very cold here for the past few weeks.  Below are a few pictures taken around the farm recently that we thought you might enjoy. 

OCP in the Snow Pictured on the Left: Orchard Country Produce on Christmas Day.  We had a beautiful White Christmas.

Pictured on the Right: We had a bumper crop of pumpkins and canned most of them, but still had a lot that rotted before we could process them.  But that's okay, because on the farm, nothing is wasted...the cows absolutely loved the rotten pumpkins.
Cows eating Pumpkins

We've spent the last few days updating the website and preparing our CSA sign-up process for 2013.  We have an addition to the "Share Size" options in the CSA this year, which we are very excited about (see below)-you can also read more about our CSA here:

  • Over the years folks have told us that the Half share size was too much food for 1 person and they wished we had a smaller option.  So we've decided to add a new size this year, the "Personal" size will be the smallest share size and is suitable for 1-person households.

  • We are willing to add new pickups (Neighborhoods, Businesses, Residential Parks, etc.) in the D.C./Alexandria/Arlington and Gaithersburg, MD areas.  We require a minimum of 6 shares to establish a new delivery location.

We are still updating our “Testimonials” page on the website and adding reviews from customers on their experience with our farm- you can e-mail us any reviews and we will post them, or you can go to LocalHarvest.org and post on our profile (search for Orchard Country Produce, Gardners, PA).

We hope you have a great year in 2013!

Gregg, Louise, Sarah, Virginia, and Oliver Keckler  - Orchard Country Produce and Fruit Farm
www.orchardcountryproduce.com

Posted 1/2/2013 3:10pm by Gregg Keckler.

Hello all,

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Years!  Hopefully you are not having too much difficulty with the segue back to work-mode.  In case you really miss shopping, we can help with the transition as our online store is now open for the January Delivery! This will be our final Winter Delivery for the 2012-2013 year.  The January Winter Delivery will be on Tuesday, January 15th.

You can follow this link, orchardcountryproduce.com and go to the Store on the top navigation bar.  Browse through the categories, select your items, and checkout and pay via paypal or check.  If you prefer to pay via check, just fill out the information for mailing a check instead and we will follow-up with you.

When you reach the end of the checkout process, please select the appropriate pickup location.  If you do not see the location you want listed, please e-mail us before you complete your order.  The online store will close on Friday, January 11th at 11:59pm.

We'll be sending out our monthly "Farm News" e-mail in the next few days to the General Mailing list so you can follow along with our activities, snow storms, and general excitement. We're gearing up for the rush of CSA sign-ups in January and February for the 2013 Season, so look out for more information on that!

If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail and we will get back to you ASAP.

The Kecklers @ Orchard Country Produce

Posted 12/14/2012 8:19am by Gregg Keckler.

Hello Winter Delivery folks- and Happy Friday!

Just a reminder - the online store will be closing tonight at 11:59pm.  Please go to orchardcountryproduce.com and navigate to the Store on the top menu bar to place an order before closing time. If you have any questions about items or delivery locations, please shoot us an e-mail and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Thank you! We hope you enjoy the second winter delivery!

The Kecklers @ Orchard Country Produce