Tessa DeMaster

I bet you've never done this with a cucumber! + Recipe & Video

Published almost 3 years ago • 5 min read

Hi Reader,

I never know what I'm going to hear when I talk to the teenage farm workers.

Sitting down at lunch with Gabe revealed a field activity I had never heard of before. He assures me it was a one time experience but it created his favorite farm memory.

Gabe and his older brother, Michael, both worked on the farm last summer but I couldn't interview Michael this time because he was too engaged in a game of Speed Chess during his lunch break. Gabe is 16, always grinning, a hard worker and I've known him since he was 5 years old.

Me: What's your job title and what do you do here?

Gabe: I'm pretty sure that I'm just a field worker. Field workers work in the field and do all the work that's necessary to grow the vegetables. This week on Monday I was tying up tomato plants. Yesterday, I hoed potatoes which makes them grow better and makes it easier to harvest. Today I've been hoeing beans. The beans look okay. There are some gaps in the rows where they didn't grow but the weeds were small and easy to hoe.

VIDEO: Tying and staking the tomatoes. Watch last season's video with a camio appearance of a tiny farm boy.

Me: You worked here last summer and one of your first jobs was tying up and staking the tomaoes like in the video above. Why did you come back?

Gabe: I enjoy it. It's kind of fun, good exercisce and it's probaly good for me. It's great to work with people I know and I enjoy being with them. I enjoy working outside and I get a nice tan.

Gabe works with this crew

Me: What challenges do you have to overcome?

Gabe: The challenges are that when you first starting work you have to rebuild all the calluses that you lost over the winter which means, yes, you will get blisters. Another challenge is fatigue. You reach a certain level of tired and once you have that baseline of tired and you stay tired and get used to it. Hoeing is a challenge because your arms get sore. Planting is hard on your back. Picking is the best because you get compensated by snacking. Every day is different and interesting but at the end of the day you can't remember what you did.

Me: What do you like picking?

Gabe: I think beans are the least favorite becaue they are low and hard to get at. Tomatoes are the best because they are easy and delicious. Most others vegetables you have to bend down for: cucumber, zucchini, lettuce...

Then almost without prompting, Gabe shared this:

Gabe: That reminds me of my favorite farm memory. Last year, after we were done picking all the cucumbers for the day we played a game. Each person grabbed a cucumber then took a bite out of it and passed it down to the next person. We were spaced out so that you had to toss the cucumber. It it didn't matter if you dropped it on the ground, you just had to keep going. The game only lasted 5 minuetes but it was fun.

Me: Ok, gross! But I bet you were all laughing at each other with mouths full of cucumber.

Gabe: Yes. But I can't do it this year because of my braces.

Gabe on lunch break. Not too tired, yet?

Me: What are your favorite vegetables dishes to make and eat?

Gabe: Our family gets your farm share boxes and I like stir fried vegetables like zucchini or eggplant but my favorite is salad. My two favorites are tomato salad with basil, garlic, salt and pepper with chunks of mozzarella cheese and pasta salald with bow tie noodles, basil and prosciuto. (end of interview - back to work!)

Those salads sound good so I looked for recipes and found these which might be similar: Bowtie Basil Salad and Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Salad.

What are your favorite salad recipes? Send me salad recipes that you've been enjoying recently, espcially if you've been using our farm share vegetables.

I'd love to add to my collection, especially since I'm feeding 13 people every day between our kids and farm crew that are living here this summer.

In fact, Britta is making our favorite Chinese Cabbage Coleslaw recipe for supper right now.

Tessa’s Favorite Coleslaw Dressing Recipe

  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 – 3 T sugar, your preference
  • 1 t. celery seed
  • ½ t. salt

Mix thoroughly and pour over slaw. For best flavor let slaw marinate for at least 30 min.

Tessa’s Favorite Coleslaw Recipe

  • 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 -2 T sugar, your preference
  • ½ t. celery seed
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 4 - 6 cups shredded cabbage or chinese cabbage sliced thin
  • Other additions: carrots, onion, celery, etc .

Mix thoroughly. For best flavor let slaw marinate for at least 30 min.

Enjoy your organically grown, farmer supporting vegetables!

And send me your salad recipes!! Please?!

We'll keep farming for you!

Reuben and Tessa DeMaster
Willow Haven Farm
Directions to the farm

Farm logo

P. S. ON FARM MARKET OPEN THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 19! Come in for fresh brick oven bread, organically grown veggies, or check out the Online Farm Stand to make an order for Wednesday.

Are you new? More info about our farm:

SUMMER SHARES: ​Get the six question guide Is a Farm Share CSA Right for You Guide to find out if our Farm Share CSA will fit into your life and your goals. YES! SEND ME THE GUIDE.

How do you Refer A Friend? Members get REWARDED for getting their friends to join too! When you tell others about our farm, you both earn $15 Farm Credit when they start their own membership using your unique referral code. Read this article to find your link, then send it to your friends.

FLOWERS: Annika's private CSA takes members who want flowers delivered to them every week during the summer and fall. Members enjoy the beautiful variety of local flowers, information from Farmer Annika about the flowers, a Flower Guide and a unique note each week. Flower Shares can be added to your farm vegetable share as well. They come carefully wrapped and included in your box with each delivery. Just select Flower Add On Share after choosing your perfect size Veggie Share.

FARM STAND: Get more of your groceries from your local farmer! Order now for Wednesday delivery. Join Online Farm Stand No membership necessary. 1. Get the Farm Stand Email. 2. Choose your Farm Food items. 3. Pick your drop off or delivery location. Find out more Here.

AIRBNB: Curious about our Farm Stay Airbnb? Have you ever wanted to stay on a farm? This well maintained farmhouse is in a quiet valley surrounded by 30 acres of land. Willow Haven Farm is a working organic vegetable farm and dairy. It’s a great place to get away. You can enjoy quiet walks and beautiful evenings. Our goal is to make it hard for you to leave. Willow Haven Cottage

CHEESE: Want to purchase amazing grass-fed artisan cheese from our sister business, Haven Farmstead? The grass-fed dairy cows at Willow Haven Farm are co-owned by farmer Reuben and cheesemaker, Steve. Living on pasture and milked once a day, they produce excellent milk for the best old-world style cheeses. If you've traveled to Europe, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the same excellent flavors here in PA. Shop the Cheese Store.

Thinking of unsubscribing? current CSA members need to stay connected to our emails but you can limit them to just vital information about your membership by clicking here.

Tessa DeMaster

Growing up on my family's farm in Pennsylvania, I never would have pictured the life I live at Willow Haven farm. As a kid I spent summers in our large family garden we called, “The Truck Patch”. I helped mom every summer, picking beans, weeding, and cutting fruit and vegetables for the hundreds of jars of canned and frozen produce we put up. Now I spends less time out in the field and more time in the kitchen doing the same preserving for my own farm family. Farmer Reuben values my many hours doing much of the behind the scenes marketing, writing emails to cultivate customers and capturing the farm story each week. I'm always learning along the way in my quest to improve the farm experience for each of her current and future farm members in our 500+ member, year-round customized farm box delivery program. Reading our stories will connect you with your food in a way you never experienced before. Someday soon you will want to fit local food into your life and we'll be here to help you.

Read more from Tessa DeMaster

Hi Reader, I finally did what I promised. Taking my girls out for birthday shopping kept being delayed because of farm activities. I said I would take them last Saturday, but I got pulled into setting up a tent at Rodale’s Spring Market event. Even a unique situation on the farm last night caused me to detour as we started to drive away. A fight. The story continues... We Are Open! Saturday: 9 AM - 3:00 PMFresh Brick Oven Sourdough Bread: Onion Rye, Ancient Grains, Honey Wheat, Baguette,...

3 days ago • 1 min read

Hi Reader, A snake in the greenhouse! Terrified? Not at all. Farmer Reuben welcomed the garter snake and the sense of security it gave us. You see, if a snake is present, we can be sure that the mice will stay away and our newly planted seeds will be safe. Unfortunately, the snake must have moved on because earlier this week... The story continues... We Are Open! Saturday: 9 AM - 3:00 PMFresh Brick Oven Sourdough Bread: Olive Rosemary, Onion Rye, Cranberry WalnutFresh Veggies: Rhubarb,...

10 days ago • 1 min read

Hi Reader! The young, aspiring reporter met Reuben and Bill at a boring township meeting. Now Olivia Marble is following this lead wherever it takes her. After the zoning meeting in Upper Macungie Township, a young lady with a microphone attached to her iphone stopped Farmer Reuben and Bill Kuklinski, the owner of the building at 8150 Hamilton Boulevard. After that interview she looked up our farm and found out about our Foster A Chick program. She came out to the farm to see the families...

21 days ago • 1 min read
Share this post