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A tribute to the fathers of Laurel Glen Farm

Updated: Jun 14

Happy Father's Day to all of the dads out there, to our customers, our own dads, and the dads on our staff: Henry, Steve, Ethan, and Farmer Randy!


With this being Father's Day weekend and the beginning stages of our 2024 Main Season vegetable subscription program, I thought it was a good time to tell you more about the father figures behind Laurel Glen Farm.


Laurel Glen Farm was founded in 1923 by John Rogowski, who emigrated from modern-day Romania as a teenager in the early 1900s, first working in the coal mines in Pennsylvania before eventually purchasing 125 acres in Shelton, Connecticut.


He established Laurel Glen Farm as a dairy, which milked cows, pasteurized milk, and delivered it to the local community. With the help of his wife and 10 children, the farm operated as a dairy until the 80s. Despite hardships during the Great Depression, like when the farmhouse burned down and the chicken coop needed to be converted into a house, the Rogowski family persevered for decades. Upon John’s death, most of the 125 acres were sold off, but his sons Peter and Alexander continued to raise beef cattle, grow corn, mow and sell hay, and produce vegetables on the 6 remaining acres.



In 2012 when Peter passed away, his great nephew Randy - then 21 years old - took the reigns on the farm, converting it into a vegetable farm. He started with one acre of vegetables, opened a farm stand in the former milkhouse, and established a CSA program. He knew early on that sustainability was important, and received mentorship through the UConn Cooperative Extension to refine his Integrated Pest Management growing practices.


Here we are in 2016, when we used to attend markets together every weekend. For those who don't know me, I'm Randy's wife, Victoria.



In 2019, Randy became a dad to Peter Alexander, named for his great uncle and great grandfather. Our daughter Janina Vera was born in 2023.


Today the farm is 20 acres in all, 3 of which Randy is nurturing as fruit fields, and is where we grow over 80 different kinds of vegetables - and hundreds of varieties in all. Randy is responsible for almost all of the growing that occurs on the farm (with the exception of the seedling sale and flowers - those are my undertakings). I provide sales data to help drive decisions on what to grow, but Randy is responsible for 100% of how he grows the crops here. It's not really funny, but Randy will joke that it's the reason why he's now bald. Yup, scroll back up to the photo from 2016 - he had hair then.



We only joke because we work so well as a team. Randy is the business owner and is the sole farmer responsible for nurturing the crops. I'm responsible for sales, marketing, customer service, and order fulfillment. We feel so blessed to live this life and work together every day. And of course, we couldn't do it without the help of our crew.



Randy's father Ed is involved with maintenance projects around the farm - he helped build our greenhouses and helps with major construction renovations and repairs - and mows all of our drive roads around the farm. My father Jim helps with child care two days a week so we can farm.


There's so much more I could tell you about the farm's history, but we hope you can tell how fathers and father figures have shaped the farm you see today.

 

Funny story time.


Our son Peter named all of our white leghorn chickens "Vicky" and it's now evident why... they're stubborn like me.


More than one Vicky has escaped the coop on multiple nights in the last couple of weeks.

This past week, two Vickies were out at dusk, and one I chased around the parking lot in my pajamas.


The Vickies (white leghorns) can fly and roost a little higher than the other breeds, and they're slimmer, so they've been squeezing through the fence. We've been working on getting more chicken wire up, but it's been so busy and we hadn't quite figured out their acrobatics yet.


Of course this is the thanks we get for all of the delicious fresh produce the girls get every day.


At last, I was able to grab Vicky and whisk her back to safety. The night ended with all the girls back in the coop and roosting. Victoria: 1, Vicky: 0... for now...


 

And on a really cool note: we finally got our strawberries planted this week. Will from Cecarelli Farms loaned us this Farmall Cub, which helped to make furrows and fertilize all at once.


We planted 5 rows of strawberries in 2 different varieties: early and mid-season (June), and hopefully we'll get our first yield next season.


It was all hands on deck to get it done: some of us measured and laid the plants out, some buried the plants' roots just so, and some of us laid irrigation.





Fingers crossed for a mild summer that will help these plants to take root and thrive.

 

And finally, we'll end this week's newsletter with a crop update.


Squash is looking good and we anticipate harvesting the first round within the week. The first ones always take forever to mature! If you follow us on Facebook and Instagram @laurelglenfarmllc, we'll post as soon as they're in.


Broccoli is also forming and should be ready to harvest within the next couple of weeks.


Randy is guessing that beans will also be ready in the next couple of weeks. This is a photo of a later succession planting - we keep seeding them every few weeks so that we have multiple yields over the course of a season.


This week, garlic scapes will be in all members' CSA shares! Garlic scapes are cut from the top of the garlic plant. When the plant senses the end of its life, it sends up a seed pod - the scape. We snip it off in order to send the message to the garlic to focus its energy on making the biggest bulb possible. You can eat the scapes! They're like a cross between garlic and asparagus or green beans. You can chop them up and use them like garlic - they're mild - or, you can roast, grill, or saute them whole like garlicky beans. Members, post your photos of garlic scape creations in the Facebook group this week!

Personally, I'm a big fan of chopping them up and mixing them into butter, which you can then spread on bagels or bread and melt over fish. This also freezes well.


Members are also receiving kohlrabi, which is ready, too!

Kohlrabi (pronounced "cole-robbie") is German for "cabbage turnip," which is the perfect way to describe it. Peel the bulb and inside is a veggie that is similar to the stalk of a broccoli plant. Kohlrabi is one of the most polarizing vegetables - people either love or hate it. If you like raw radishes, you'll love kohlrabi raw. If you're not a fan (I admit, like me), I recommend cooking the kohlrabi. It'll become drastically sweeter. I love to chop it up, saute it in olive oil and garlic, and put it on white pizza. There are SO many ways to enjoy kohlrabi and we can't wait to hear what you think about it. You can even eat the leaves, too!


Don't forget that in 2021 I created an online Vegetable Library of Resources that tells you about every single vegetable we grow - what it is, how to store it, and recipes to cook with it. Please use this to help you on your CSA journey!


And finally, the Asian greens mix in your share is a medley of mizuna, mustard greens, and bok choy, cut as baby greens and bagged.

You can put it into a stir fry or eat it as a salad. My favorite way to enjoy it is with chicken and mandarin oranges with a sesame-soy dressing.


Lots of wonderful new veggies in season - enjoy!

 

We're asking for donations of clean, gently used boxes to pack orders into. Please use the photos below for size references - anything in that range would be so appreciated. No need to break the boxes down either. Simply rip off your address label and bring them into our store. We can also use some clean paper bags at this time - no cloth, please. Thank you so much for your help with recycling!


 

HOUSEKEEPING

  • Balances for Main Season shares are past due. Remember that if you qualified for the early bird cash or check discount, you must pay your balance by cash or check to keep the discount. Please ask if you aren't sure of what you owe.

  • The best way to reach us quickly is always by email - laurelglenfarm@gmail.com

  • Please note that Victoria does not work on Thursdays. Emails or phone calls received on Wednesday night through Thursday will be answered on Fridays. 

 

WHAT'S IN THE STORE THIS WEEK?

Here are the fresh veggies we plan to have in stock while supplies last (through Friday, 6/21):

  • Arugula

  • Asian greens mix (bagged)

  • Beets (limited quantities)

  • Collard greens

  • Escarole (BOGO free - in store only as the number of crates sent to markets becomes unmanageable)

  • Fresh herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, mint, dill, cilantro, and limited quantities of basil)

  • Garlic scapes 

  • Kale

  • Kohlrabi (limited quantities)

  • Lettuce (BOGO free - in store only as the number of crates sent to markets becomes unmanageable)

  • Mustard greens

  • Napa cabbage

  • Radishes

  • Romaine (BOGO free - in store only as the number of crates sent to markets becomes unmanageable)

  • Scallions

  • Sugar snap peas

  • Swiss chard


Farmer Jake from Silverman's Farm in Easton grew a ton of the most beautiful strawberries. Because he has an overabundance, he asked if we'd like to share them with our community. Therefore, we will stock berries in our store daily (while supplies last) and they can be expected through June 21st. $8.50/quart.


The response for Wave Hill Breads was overall very positive! We were thrilled to see so many of you taking advantage of the fresh bread and muffins last weekend. If I am being 100% honest, I feel a little overwhelmed with how much we are committing ourselves to lately.


We have been inundated with special requests and inquiries surrounding bread. We love that and we plan to stock Wave Hill Breads again for sure! But, our first priority is and always will be stocking the freshest produce, honoring our commitment to our vegetable CSA members, showing up at markets every week, and fulfilling our wholesale veggie orders to our loyal clients, so we ask for your forgiveness if bread isn't in the store every week. We're hoping to find a happy medium that works for all of you and us! Because we are hosting PYO peas next week we expect a large turnout in the store and plan to stock bread again then - check back here next week.

 

Where is your LGF shirt traveling to this summer?!

Ever heard of "Flat Stanley"? Send us a photo of your 2024 LGF tee out in the world or tag us @laurelglenfarmllc


Shirts can be purchased in our store. They are $22, unisex, and available in S, M, L, XL, and XXL. They're 100% cotton, incredibly soft, and slightly baggy for a trendy, lived-in feel for stepping out at your favorite casual establishment.

The front is the Laurel Glen Farm logo and the back is a beet with the phrase "keep your friends close and your farmers closer."

 

STORE HOURS

Monday: 10:30 to 6

Tuesday: 10:30 to 6

Wednesday: 10:30 to 6

Thursday: 10:30 to 6

Friday: 10:30 to 5

Saturday: 9 to 4

Sunday: 10 to 3


So sorry, but we can't accommodate early or late arrivals even if we are around. Our staff is scheduled to work on prepping the store with the freshest products right up until we open. We also try to honor personal lives by closing promptly.


** Vegetable subscription pickup occurs during all open hours on members' scheduled pickup day and we hold shares for 24 hours afterward.


MARKET HOURS

Shelton Farmers' Market - Saturdays from 9 to 12 at 100 Canal Street.

Monroe Farmers' Market - Fridays from 3 to 6 at 7 Fan Hill Road.


 

UPCOMING FARM EVENTS


Book Club

Our next book club meeting will take place on a Saturday or Sunday morning in July. The date is TBD and will be determined based upon other farm events. We'll be able to announce the date in late June, but we recommend trying to complete the book by July 1st just in case (although many of us at the meeting had not yet finished! Don't let that discourage you from attending.) We'll ask you to RSVP once we post the date. 


This week's reflection question: What point has the author made that you strongly agree or disagree with?

 

Meet the Fleet

In May, we featured "Little Massey" and in June, we're featuring the Farmall 200. Catch it outside our farm store on Father's Day weekend and June 22nd and 23rd. Read about its history, snap a photo, and let your little ones sit on it!


 

Pick-Your-Own Sugar Snap Peas


We will be offering pick-your-own peas on Friday, June 21st, Saturday, June 22nd, and Sunday, June 23rd. $10/quart. 2024 Main Season and Extended Season members will get $1 off. Very little walking required. Come in during our store's open hours - no reservation required. Check back here and on our website in case of a cancellation.

 

THIS WEEK'S VEGGIE SUBSCRIPTIONS

MAIN SEASON WEEK 2 OF 20

(Tuesday, June 18th through Saturday, June 22nd)

Biweekly pickup occurs on all odd-numbered weeks - 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19. (Next week.)


Share Contents (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)

Large:

  • 2 heads of escarole (+1 if you'd like another. Keep or share!)

  • 1/4 lb. bag of Asian greens mix

  • 1 bunch of scallions

  • 1 pint of snap peas

  • 1/4 lb. of garlic scapes

  • 2 kohlrabi

  • 1 free choice item: Asian greens mix, kohlrabi, lettuce, arugula, romaine, dill, or cilantro


Small:

  • 1 head of escarole (+1 if you'd like another. Keep or share!)

  • 1/4 lb. bag of Asian greens mix

  • 1 pint of snap peas

  • 1/4 lb. of garlic scapes

  • 1 kohlrabi

  • 1 free choice item: Asian greens mix, kohlrabi, lettuce, arugula, romaine, dill, or cilantro



Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources).

  • Store snap peas in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Remove stems and wash when ready to eat, within the week.

  • Store escarole, lettuce, romaine, and arugula in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Wash and spin out; use within the week.

  • Remove the greens from the kohlrabi bulb and store in separate plastic bags in the fridge. Use the greens within a week; the bulbs can last a couple of weeks if stored properly.

  • Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the fridge. Wash when ready to use.

  • Store scallions roots-down in a glass of water in the fridge, like a bouquet. Cover the greens with a plastic bag. Or, store in a plastic bag in the fridge and use within the week.



The LGF Cooking Club (Recipes to try in addition to those in the Library of Resources!)


Additional Large Share Ingredients


 

How to Change Your CSA Share Pickup Day

  • If you need to skip your share for the week, or change your pickup day, you must provide us with 48 hours notice for any of the options below. This is because we pack shares the day before pickup. Once your share has been harvested and packed, we can not cancel your pickup.

  • For Tuesday pickups being changed, we need to know by Sunday.

  • Wednesday pickups, we need to know by Monday.

  • Saturday pickups, we need to know by Thursday.

  • You have the option to choose another of those pickup days in a given week: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.

  • You can skip a pickup and receive a double the following week.

  • If you miss your pickup, we will hold your share for 24 hours after your pickup day, and then it will be donated to a local food pantry. With more members than ever before, we don't have the cooler space to hold onto shares longer than this. This is a great option if you accidentally miss your pickup - just come the next day.

  • You can always send a guest to pick up in your place by simply notifying us of their name.

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