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Week 1 Newsletter 2018

15065 fawn township Natrona Heights Organic Farm Natronaheights organic farm organic farm pittsburgh PGHCSA Pittsburgh CSA pittsburgh farm pittsburgh organic pittsburgh pizza pittsburgh pork

The kitchen is open!

A while back, I told Greg that I really prefer the late summer and fall growing season and would one day like to do a later season CSA.  Spring has never been our strong suit.  The weather is so unpredictable, the bugs are voracious and the weeds can be out of control.  This year is proving to move us closer in that direction.  We've never started our CSA this late (usually aim for the 1st week in June) and will have our last pick up date pushed back to Halloween!  For now, I'll hold off with waxing poetic about the Fall harvest, as the tomatoes still working towards knee high!  Let Summer begin!  In fact - we have the Summer Solstice coming up this week!  Our days are long (usually up at 5 am and done by 9:30 pm, with reasonable meal/family time breaks in the heat of the day).

We're still at the tail end of a spring harvest and waiting for some of the summer crops to start up.  But we've a nice batch of snow peas for CSA this week.  They are an amazing story, as they were seeded way back in March!  Typically a 70 days to maturity crop - they are almost a month behind.  That's how crazy this spring weather was!  

We're growing 26 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes this year and putting in a fall batch of paste -Roma and San Marzano- tomatoes (might as well do the canning when the weather is a tad cooler).  We have several varieties of summer squash, cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers and if everything goes well - purple sweet corn! (I hope it's good...!) - and lots more!

Don't forget that you'll pick up your veggies, meats and eggs up at our farm house at the top of the hill.  There's always glitches in transitions, so we'll do our best to make everything go smoothly.  Don't be afraid to give us feed back.  We'll do everything we can to make you guys happy!   We're hoping to create an environment where you and your family spend more time here, enjoy the farm, the food and the company.  

We'll have the pizza oven fired up on Wednesdays and will be cranking out pizzas for opening day!  We've got lawn chairs, picnic tables, hammocks, play grounds and shade.  Take a walk out to the pigs, visit the cows - check out your farm!  

Take part in it.  Get invested.  Get involved in a healthier option for you, your family and your community.

This week's expected harvest: Beet greens (maybe beets too), lettuce, snow peas, garlic scapes, green garlic, herbs, and seedlings.

What's cookin'?

At 12, 2, 4 & 6 we will be processing our seconds or crop abundance in our kitchen.  Hang out, help, learn, teach and use this resource!  

This week we'll be dealing with Garlic Scapes!   Picked, roasted, marinated, paste - you name it!  Bring your favorite recipe!

The Details:

Farm pick up: Wednesdays 11-7.  7115 Ridge Rd Natrona Heights, PA 15065.  Come up the lane between the barn and the purple garage (follow parking/event signs) and park at the top of the hill (more parking signs).  Head on over to the farm house's (stone house with white roof) patio kitchen.  It's big - you shouldn't miss it.  We'll have your CSA pick up ready for you there.  As in year's past - we'll have the veggies set out and you'll need to collect them, as listed on the blackboard. Bring your own bags.  Make sure you take time to get familiar with our community kitchen, talk to us about this resource  our plans and how you can use it!  Both Greg and I will be around to answer questions and help.

Half Share folks: I will send you an email assigning you to your pick up week.  You're welcome to swap weeks - but just give us a heads up. 

Market card holders can purchase items that are made from or on our farm.  Some items may be limited to CSA members only (if there isn't extra).  You can also purchase value added items, eggs, and pork.  Other items that we buy in  (such as chicken, beef and bread) must be purchased with cash, check or credit.  

City pick up: Wednesday Folks (I will be in contact directly with your pick up address and time).  Since our market at Phipps closed down, we've finally figured out a new location for our city drop - two locations, in fact!  Wednesday drops are in Regent Square and Friday drops are at the Northside Market 3-7 pm.  Please indicate your preferred drop off location, if you haven't already.  

"I'm interested in getting produce and meats from you all - how do I go about it?"

1 - Be a regular CSA member.
 Come out weekly or bi-weekly and pick up a share of produce for 20 weeks (10 weeks if you're a bi-weekly pick up).  Our season starts in mid-June (we'll let you know exactly when) and runs until late October.  Options range from $350 - $850.  You can purchase online or send in a check (if paying by check - you can pay 1/2 now and 1/2 by August 1).  You get the best deal and support us the most by being a CSA member.  You help with our upfront cost in the spring and receive the bulk of the bounty throughout the growing season. 

2 - Need flexibility?  Buy a market card. This allows you to purchase items that we grow or make here on the farm.  You don't have to be a CSA member to buy products from us - just stop in on Wednesdays from 11 - 7 (or call to make an appointment). Buying market cards up front, still helps to support the farm, prior to the crops coming in.  With a market card, you get a deal, $60 worth of purchases for $50! 
3 - Have a garden already? Become a Garden Share member.  It's not too late to join!  We've packed up several extra shares and they are ready for your garden now! We'll supply you with the seeds and seedlings and a bit of guidance to get you through the growing season.  All you need is 100 sq ft and a desire to eat a lot of veggies!  This is the best deal - grow your own!
Additional items available:

Pastured Pork - We have just about every pork cut available and are sending hogs to the butcher regularly.  Our pigs are raised on pasture and eat verified Non GMO grains and veggie scraps from the farm.  

Grass Fed Beef - This year, we're partnering up with Starr Valley Farm.  The Starr Family raises a herd of grass-fed (only) black angus/hereford cattle just about 20 minutes down the road from us.  Their stock  and pastures are certified organic, and the meat would be too, if only we had a butcher/processor that was certified organic near Western PA. We have 1/4 beef packages available and individual cuts as well.

Eggs - We'll supplement our hen's egg production with eggs from Kevin Jarosinski or our neighbor Lenny.  All great eggs and much fresher than the ones you get from the supermarket!

Bread - For almost 10 years, we bring in fresh bread from Allegro Hearth Bakery.  They have a high quality product and make some memorable Chocolate Chip cookies too.

Beverages - Red Ribbon Pop - just down the hill is one of our region's famous pop makers.  We'll have a variety of flavors on hand! We also are known to make our own Kombucha on occasion.

Maple Syrup - We buy in bulk and repackage maple syrup from the award winning Hurry Hill Maple Farm in Edinboro.  Their extra dark syrup is unbelievable!  

Jams and Jellies - Kathy Montgomery cranks out some seasonal flavors - all made with organic fruits and sugars.  She also uses Pamon's Pectin, which is an all natural low-sugar pectin option and brings out the fruity flavors more than the sugar laden sure-gel.

Hand Made Soaps - we render the lard from our pastured pigs, and make our own soaps with certified organic essential oils.  
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!!
Jen, Greg, Evelyn and Olivia

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