2015 Summer Harvest CSA Share Week #10

 Farm Feature: Carolyn McQuiston from Dawson’s Orchards

carolyn_scott_dawsons_orchardsFor the Farm Feature this week, we spoke with the owner of Dawson’s Orchards, Carolyn McQuiston. They’re located on 45 acres of land in rural Enon Valley, PA.  Dawson’s Orchards has lovingly grown the sweet blueberries and some of the juicy peaches you’ve received in your CSA share this summer. In addition to blueberries and peaches, they also grow apples, pears, nectarines, and other berries.


trees_dawsons_ochardsblossoms_dawsons_orchardsCarolyn is a second-generation farmer who took over for her parents, George and Janet Dawson, after their death. Carolyn and her husband Scott are now continuing on the family business that has been going strong since 1946! Carolyn is the youngest of four siblings, but she is the only one who carried on the family business – her two brothers became ministers and her sister owns a Christmas tree farm nearby.

Carolyn spent her childhood growing up on the farm and has now lived almost her entire life there. Spending her life on the farm has given her a rich understanding of what it means to grow food for a living. In addition to the practical experience learned on the farm, as a young adult she majored in Horticulture at Penn State and then took the knowledge gained there and applied it into running day-to-day operations at Dawson’s Orchards once she came back.

packing_house_dawsons_orchardsCarolyn’s day at the orchard seems to vary depending on the season. For instance, in the winter she’s often packing and shipping apples or pruning trees when the weather is nice enough; in the spring she continues pruning and does frost-control; in the summer all sorts of fruit picking happens and that means it also needs to be packed up for sale; and in the fall – their busiest season – it’s all about picking and packing apples. In addition to the hands-on farm work, Carolyn does a lot of the bookkeeping herself, with some help from her daughter. She also heads up communication with her salesman and other growers, schedules employees, and keeps up with all the paperwork needed to ensure everything runs smoothly.

peach_dawsons_orchardsOut of all the tasks Carolyn does, she says she feels most at home when she’s packing fruit. However, she mentioned that she does enjoy the variety and mixture of duties that her job provides, rather than having to do the same thing over and over again. Carolyn says that there is a lot of input and human labor necessary in order to produce their fruit. There is pruning to do, pest control, watching out for frost, picking a tree often multiple times, and praying for good weather. Even after all that it’s still not guaranteed that the crop will be good that year! It’s one thing she’s noticed her staff being surprised about and that she feels others will likely be surprised to learn too.


weddding_dawsons_orchardsMost of the sales Dawson’s Orchards does are wholesale. That means they’re typically shipping out boxes of produce but not interacting with their customers on a daily basis. But Carolyn mentioned the overwhelming support she received when they sold at a local farmer’s market recently. At the end of the day, she feels good about being able to provide healthy and nutritious fresh food to the public, and the appreciation she’s shown from her customers makes it all the more worth it for her.

Thanks again for supporting local farmers through your Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance CSA. Our farmers work incredibly hard to provide delicious fruits and vegetables for us – and you! Let’s all take some time to thank our farmers for everything they do. We think they deserve it!!




A Route Z Route
peaches, Dawsons Orchards peaches, Kistaco Farm
heirloom tomato mix, Nu Way Farm heirloom tomato mix, Nu Way Farm
leeks, Hostetler Farm sun sugar tomatoes, Nu Way Farm
sweet corn, Matthews Family Farm sweet corn, Matthews Family Farm
green bell peppers, Weeping Willow Farm green carmen peppers, Weeping Willow Farm
rainbow chard, Nu Way Farm rainbow chard, Blue Goose Farm (CNG)
eggplant, Matthews Family Farm candy onions, Weeping WIllow Farm/Blue Goose Farm (CNG)
new red potatoes, Weeping Willow Farm yellow beans, Clarion River Organics (OG)

OG = Certified Organic, CNG = Certified Naturally Grown

Click HERE to check your delivery route


Grower:  Kistaco Farm

Store:  Place them on the counter (as long as it’s cool and not in direct sunlight) until they reach your desired ripeness.  After they ripen, store them in the refrigerator.

Recipe:  peach salsa  easy peach icecream



Grower:  Hostetler Farm 

Store: Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks.  Wrapping them loosely in plastic bag will help them retain moisture.

Recipe:  potato leek soup


medium rainbow-chardRainbow Chard

Grower:  River View Farm 

Store: Keep in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Recipe: swiss chard pesto



sweetcorncropSweet Corn

Grower: Blue Goose Farm and Matthews Farm

Store: Keep the husks on and store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook it.

Recipe: roasted corn and zucchini salad  summer corn chowder  sweet honey corn bread



sunsugarcropSun Sugar Tomatoes

Grower:  Nu Way Farm

Store: Keep them cool, not cold.  When you refrigerate tomatoes, any ripening you want them to do will stop because of the cold.  Unless your tomatoes are very ripe and you’re going to eat them quickly, keep them out of the refrigerator. 

Recipe: marinated cherry tomato salad


heirloom_tomatoHeirloom Tomatoes

Grower: Weeping Willow Farm

Store: At room temperature on a plate not in plastic, keep out of sunlight.  Keep in mind that storing in a refrigerator can make tomatoes mealy and the skin dry. If you find that your tomatoes are not yet ripe, let them ripen on your counter top for a few days.

Recipe: roasted tomato soup


Beans-yellow-waxcropYellow Beans

Grower: Clarion River Organics

Store: In a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Recipe: miso potato salad with wax beans  



sweetcarmenCarmen Peppers  

Grower: Weeping Willow Farm

Store:  In a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Recipe: grilled barbecue vegetables in foil



greenpeppersGreen Bell Peppers

Grower:  Clarion River Organics

Store:  Refrigerate and keep them in a plastic bag.

Recipe: chicken fajita stuffed peppers




Grower:  Matthews Family Farm

Store:  Keep in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator

Recipe:  balsamic grilled eggplant



candy_onionsCandy Onions

Grower:  Weeping Willow Farm or Blue Goose Farm

Store:   In a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Recipe:  squash and onions



newpotatoesNew Red Potatoes

Grower:  Weeping Willow Farm

Store:  Store at room temperature out of heat or sun, if you plan to eat them quickly. New potatoes are not cured so they will not last as long as other potatoes (a few days vs. a few weeks). For longer storage keep them in the refrigerator.

Recipe:  potato salad and green beans

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