Supporting Community Agriculture since 1997
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Week 6 Newsletter

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The Weekly Menu

 
What you can roughly expect to receive each week:

Please note: this CSA summary is written ahead of time, and before we even harvest on Tuesday.  We do some guesswork:  some things may be in your CSA that aren't listed and some things may not be included.  Although we're the farmers, we're still at the whim of Mother Nature. 

This week Lettuce 1-2 heads, Herbs- one bunch, Kale,  Chard,  Baby Beet Greens, New!  Garlic and possibly cabbage.  Maybe we will surprise you with New Potatoes too!

 

Did Della have her calf yet?  

No.. but so far, she's only 2 days overdue.  Maybe I calculated the date wrong.  Tonight is the full Buck Moon (according to the Farmer's Almanac) when the Buck's antlers are in full growth mode).  Anyhow, midwives often say that babies tend to be born under the pull of a full moon.  So we'll see tomorrow! 

Here's Della, looking quite round with a very full udder (meaning her milk has come in).  Brisket is in the background.  She's forgotten she's had a calf a couple of times already! 

 

What's happening in the fields?

Just spent the morning out on the G cultivating and seeding. The zucchinis are just now starting to form and the plants are looking good. If you're a gardener, then you know how difficult growing squash and cucumbers can be. Although prolific, they are attractive to so many pests: the spotted cucumber beetle, the striped cucumber beetle, the squash bug, and the squash vine borer, to name a few. They are also susceptible to cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, stem rot and general fizzling out. 

Because of this, we try to plant more than two successions of cucurbits each season. While the first succession succumbs to the onslaught of mother nature, the second one is just picking up speed. .

On a small scale, backyard gardeners can oftentimes pick off those pests on a daily basis and squish the squash bug eggs too. (Metallic maroon eggs laid in geometric patterns)

We plant about 800 feet at a time... Hand scouting those rows isn't realistic.  When the pest pressure tends to get the best of us, we pull out the big guns. 

It's not something we like to do, but on occasion we spray a National Organic Program compliant insecticide called Pyganic. It's a pyrethrum that's derived from the chrysanthemum flower. Not something that we take lightly or do often (and we are, in a way, regulated by our certifying agency) but it's one of those things that kind of works.  We rararly feel justified in using it and only use it on a very moderate basis, and only when the bees aren't out. 

Instead of getting hooked on the "spray em dead" cycle, we are endeavoring to boost the immune system of our crops and soil.  When our nutrient levels are optimum with plenty of available minerals in the soil, our crops won't suffer insect and disease issues as easily. 

So when pest pressure gets too high, instead of cracking open a fresh can of spray, we look to the soil test results and see what we need to tweak. 

Healthy soil= health plants= healthy you.

 

It looks like we'll have beans and cucumbers coming along pretty soon (2 weeks?) and the tomatoes are healthy but not yet ripening.  We did get all of them staked! 

I'll repost this section, in case other parents/kids want to participate.  

 

We had a nice turn out of kids and moms last Tuesday.  It's really great to have new friends to play with and new helping hands on the farm.  Now that this looks like it might be a popular idea - I'd like to get a handle on how many kids are coming and which parents are willing to spend a couple hours helping to monitor the kids!  Please click on this link to sign up for roughly 2 hour long sessions throughout the growing season.

Kids are welcome to help be in the fields - so long as they are conscientious of where they walk and what they pull out of the ground!  Please bring snacks and lunches for your own kids.  

 


You can buy pork by the piece, the Homestead Hog CSA Share, or by the 1/2 hogInterested in pork?   There's a few new items for you to try:  We have 1 lb packages of unseasoned sausage patties (great for the grill), fresh side (unsmoked and uncured belly bacon), ham loaf (recipe in week 2 newsletter), and THICK cut chops - seriously... 2" thick?!  There's lots of roasts, steaks, and a few hams for sale too.  We feed our hogs all verified non-GMO grains, veggie scraps, and pasture.  They've a good life and they produce a quality meat!  

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 2-5. Bring a picnic, buy some veggies, relax, and enjoy the countryside! 


Our Market Card Program - is a great way to support our farm up front when our risks are higher.  You can buy any of  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.

 


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).


CSA Pick up Details:


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.

We've got a great line-up of Farm Movie Nights!   

We're kicking the series off on July 15th with a few Classic Comedies. Our quadruple feature is 8:30 - Midnight.  Bring your lawn chairs, BYOB, snacks and blankets.  We're happy to supply the popcorn, and will have Natrona Bottling Pop available for sale too!

Africa_Screams  (abbott & costello) 1hr 19min

The_Gold_Rush  (Charlie Chaplin) 1hr 35min

Brideless_Groom 17min 3 stooges

Disorder_in_the_Court 18min

Please RSVP if you plan to attend - we want to have enough popcorn ready for you!

Local Goods:


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. NOW 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.
Northwoods Ranch - supplied us with pasture raised, grass fed beef - of the Highland Cattle variety. GONE OUT OF BUSINESS!! 
Hurry Hill Maple Farm - as award winning maple syrup!  Grade A is the best! Super Dark and Robust flavor

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!

You'll be getting a lot of chard and beet greens this week.  


These are easy to cook up quickly with my go-to greens recipe.  You can make it vegetarian or add some ground pork.

Chop greens and stems up
Chop up garlic and/or garlic scapes

Saute in oil/bacon grease, coconut oil

Add a tsp or so of cumin and salt to taste.

Throw in a can of chick peas and cook a while longer.

Once the greens have cooked down a bit, add a can of diced tomatoes.  

Serve on top of rice, couscous or ground pork! 

This is one of those dishes that is even better re-heated so make a bunch!  

 

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,

Greg, Jen, Evelyn and Olivia

 

 


 



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