Supporting Community Agriculture since 1997
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Week 1 newsletter

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The Weekly Menu

 What you can roughly expect to receive each week:

Here's where we list what is going to be in the weekly shares.  What we think we will harvest when writing the newsletter - may not necessarily be what's actually ready on harvest day.  We'll do our best to get it right!

This week:  Lettuce 3-4 heads, Parsley one bunch, Cilantro one bunch, Spinach, Scallions, Baby beet greens, Pea greens, and Kale

 

Usually, we start the early shares with some trepidation, but this year we are rocking it.  Especially if you're excited about lettuce.  Seriously.  You're going to be eating a lot of salad.... up until the next heat wave.  Our first week is one to be really proud of.


We attended our first farmers market on Saturday and sold a bunch of lettuce....it was beautiful and plentiful.  What really pushed the sale was my Nana's wilted lettuce recipe (see recipe section below).   I know, I know. Warm lettuce? Yuck!  Not when you add crispy bacon!  And you're in luck!  You  can get your lettuce and bacon right here! 

We've planted a lot of crops with our mechanical transplanter, which is set to transplant at 8" between plants.  This is a little too close for most crops, so we've started to interplant smaller, faster growing crops in between the slower, larger ones. This means we are now, not only maximizing space, but also using the quick growing crops to shade and out compete the weeds around the base of the slower crops.  It's interesting to see how the plant relationships develop, but also a pain in the neck to weed some of them.  Farming (like most of life) is a learning process. 

(We wrapped up a misty cucumber/cabbage transplanting session today.  Evs has one bare foot and one pink cowboy boot.  With her toe, she pushes any seedlings into the ground that were "floaters" from the mechanical transplanter).


Interested in pork?  We feed our hogs all verified non-GMO grains, veggie scraps and free-range pasture.  They've a good life and they produce a quality meat!  You can buy pork by the piece, the Homestead Hog CSA Share, or by the 1/2 hog. 

Our Market Card Program - is a great way to support our farm up front when our risks are higher.  You can buy any or our home-grown items in our barn with the market cards.  For $50 your get $60 worth of purchasing power!

Looking for a bit of respite form the city? We have two (soon to be 3) bedrooms available on AirBnB.  Come out and spend a few days living like a farmer.... or watching us farm.  Click this link for more info.


Customers who want to Workshare:  Some of you have already signed up for workshare, thank you!  Maybe you're interested but can't commit to coming out weekly?  No problem. As long as you are here more often than not, we are happy!  If you'd like to do a workshare with us, just show up on Tuesday and/or Saturday at 9. We will get you oriented and then talk details. An email or text would be nice, but not necessary. 

Customers who would like to spend time in the fields:  If you'd like to come out and get a little dirty and see what we are up to, we are happy to have "working visitors" almost any day, except for Wednesday, Saturday afternoon or Sunday. 

If you want to bring the family, check out the farm, visit some farm animals, and snack on a few cherry tomatoes, then you should come by on Wednesday 11-7 or Saturday 3-5. Bring a picnic, buy some veggies, relax, and enjoy the countryside! 

 

 

Find us at area Farmers markets:  Lawrenceville,  Arsenal Park Saturday 1-4.  Phipps Green Market, Phipps Conservatory- Wednesday 2:30-6:30, and Pitt Farmers Market in front of the Union on Thursdays 

We are not maxed out on CSA memberships.  If you know someone who's looking for a healthier lifestyle, curious about local organic food, or wants to eat fresh, nutrient dense food - send them our way (and make sure they mention your name to receive $25 off in the barn or market stand).


For those of you who are picking up your CSA share for the first time this week: 


(I will send an email out on Monday assigning 1/2 share start dates).


If you're coming to the farm to pick up: Stop at the wooden barn by the road  (at 7115 Ridge Rd) it will be open Wednesday from 11am - 7 pm and Saturday 2 - 5 pm.  Just park by the old wooden barn and come in.  We'll check your name off and give you an intro to our CSA system.  Bring your own bags please!

If you're picking up at the Phipps Farmers Market: We'll be at our market stand from 2:30pm - 6:30pm.   Swing by and pick up your veggies.  Bring your own bags please!  If you'd like us to bring down items that we sell in the barn - just let jen@blackberrymeadows.com know.  Each newsletter will list the items we have for sale.

 

Be sure to carve out some time for yourself.  We're now happy to have Alyssa from Adore´Yoga to host Sunset Yoga on the Farm.  Each Wednesday 5:30-7:00  Rain or Shine.  $10.  Please bring your own mat.

Local Goods:

Natrona Bottling Co. - Brewed fresh here in Natrona, this beverage is High Fructose Corn Syrup Free and Local!  If you're gonna eat junk food - it might as well be local junk food!
Allegro Hearth Bakery- Fresh bread and sweets available at the farm pickup only.  Made fresh every Tuesday night - amazing stuff!
Jarosinski Farm - we're excited to be working with Kevin, a young fellow in Buffalo Township who is tending high quality pasture raised chickens for eggs and meat.
Hannah's Honey - talk about local!  These guys keep bees on our farm, as well as other locations in southwestern, PA. (not yet in stock)
Brenckles organic farm and greenhouse - we sometimes purchase potatoes, watermelon, winter squash and other items from them that we may not be growing this year.
Northwood Ranch - supplies us with pasture raised, grass fed beef - of the Highland Cattle variety. (not yet in stock)
Hurry Hill Maple Farm - as award winning maple syrup!  Grade B is the best! Super Dark and Robust flavor

Value added from the Farm
This week we'll have some homemade low-sugar (with Pamona's Pectin) Jelly, and Maple Syrup for sale.

Culinary Tips and Tricks:


Cooking and Preserving ideas - among other culinary hints for produce from the farm:
 
Here's where we will provide you with our favorite recipes for some of the produce you will be getting each week.  We'll also provide links to other helpful websites.  Feel free to share your recipes with us and we'll pass them around our CSA community!

 Wilted Lettuce
 
Leaf lettuce and/or other leafy vegetables
2 green onions (cut)
4 strips bacon, fried and broken
2 eggs beaten
½ c. sugar, ½ c. vinegar, ½ c. water
 
Fry bacon crisp.  Save grease.
Mix eggs, sugar, vinegar, and water together and add to bacon grease. 
Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly
Let cool slightly.
Pour over leaf lettuce.
Add onion and break bacon over lettuce
Top with sliced hard-boiled egg (optional).
 
Serve while warm. 

A quick note about the pea greens - they taste like peas!  We really like them chopped up and added to a salad, but they are also really tasty lightly sautéed with butter and salt, or cooked into omelets.  When you get them home, give them a good rinse, a good shake to dry and then store in a ziplock back with a paper towel.  They keep a long time - but what's the point of saving them?  Eat them up!!
Thanks for choosing our CSA.  We strive to grow nutrient dense, wholesome foods for you.  We think what we do is hard work - but important for our family, friends, and community.  There's a few things that we find important: growing good food, participating in the local economy, being good stewards to the environment, providing our community with access to a farm, farm animals and the outdoors, and teaching new and beginning farmers what we know.  By being a CSA member and supporting our endeavors, you're helping us to achieve our goals.  Thanks!!

Sincerely,

Your Farmers,
Jen, Greg, Evelyn, and Olivia


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