Supporting Community Agriculture since 1997
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Week 7 Newsletter

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,  Beet Greens (you can't get beets without thinning them - hence the numerous beet greens!), garlic, and garlic scapes, beans and (let's root for some) potatoes!

 

Please welcome our newest farm family member!  

Monday, the day after the newsletter went out - Della had her calf!  She has a cute baby girl (heifer calf) that's black with a white face.  Everyone is doing well.  The calves have both taken to nursing and following their moms around the pasture.  We're even learning how cows will hide their calves and come back from them later.  We gone on calf hunts a couple of times before we figured out that mom knows exactly where she left her little babe. 


Every summer, we're fighting the flies.  It's hard to watch the cows being pestered by biting flies - but we do what we can to help.  We've got chickens, ducks and guinea hens to help with with catching flies, fly traps to catch flies, and then... we'll, the cows have built in fly swatters... tails.  We've started spraying the calves with apple cider vinegar and garlic combo.  We've tried dusting them with diatomaceous earth and even sprinkling them with glitter!  Anything to help relieve the pesky fly pressure! 
Do you know what an ASA is?  

"Agricultural security areas are intended to promote viable farming operations over the long term by strengthening the rights of farmers to farm and the farming community's sense of security in their use of the land. Landowners in an ASA receive protection from local laws and ordinances that would unreasonably restrict farm practices, as well as protection from condemnation."

We're working to get Fawn qualified to be an ASA.  Fawn prides itself on it's rural and agricultural heritage and we're working with the Allegheny County Conservation District (ACCD) to get 200 acres in Fawn signed on to the ASA.  

Jon Burgess from the ACCD  will be at Wendy's in Natrona Heights on Monday July 24th from 5-7 . He will be there to get the tax parcel numbers for each property as well as the signatures of all the legal owners.

Here's a link for more info on the ASA.   Once an ASA has 500 acres signed on, you can sell (if you want to) your development rights to the Allegheny County Conservation District - ensuring that your property will be preserved for agricultural purposes in perpetuity.  

Please contact Jon Burgess for more info.  We'd love to get this thing done!  

Jonathan Burgess |Senior Agriculture Conservationist
Allegheny County Conservation District
River Walk Corporate Centre
33 Terminal Way, Suite 325B
Pittsburgh, PA  15219
P: (412) 241-7645 | Direct: (412) 291-8017

What's happening in the fields?



We had a great turn out of helpers on Saturday to help with the harvest of garlic.  We guess we made it about 1/3 of the way down the rows and endeavor to complete the harvest next Saturday 9-1.  If you are at all inclined to experience the magnatide of (I'll wager to bet) the largest garlic harvest in Allegheny County, then please come out next Saturday and help pull garlic.  It's actually a very gratifing task.  Who needs to work out at a gym when you can pull garlic!?  

If field work isn't your thing, we also have to spend time hanging the garlic so it can dry and cure (before it gets moldy).  So, if you'd rather be in the barn and bunch and hang garlic on our infamous garlic chandelier, we'd be happy for that help too!  That task can be done during this Saturday - or during CSA pick up day on Wednesday or Saturday.  Just show up and we'll put you to task!  

And - if you know of a football team, scout group or other large group of eager and willing children/teenagers, please let them know we're looking for help with the garlic harvest in the immediate future.

I always say this, but next year, I'm not going to plant this much garlic!  

 

Work Day Sign ups for "Mud Pie Days" 

 Tuesdays are a lot of fun with all these kids!  It's really great to have new friends to play with and new helping hands on the farm.  Sometimes the kids help in the fields and sometimes they stay at the farm house and play in the sandbox or playground.  There's always some parents around to help keep an eye on the kids and they all take turns either kid watching or filed work.  

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!  They are not allowed to go to the barn without an adult. 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.

 

Yoga sessions by the pond are gaining in popularity!  We're mentioned in the Post Gazzette article in this link.  

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:


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

“Beans and Greens”   So, soooo good!
 
2 shallots, or one small onion                         1 Tbs butter
3 Tbs olive oil                                                 2 Tbs flour
3 cloves garlic                                                  1 or 2 bunches of leafy greens, blanched
1 14 oz can of Italian white beans                  salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup chicken/vegetable broth                        fresh grated       parmesan
 
Sauté the shallots in olive oil.  While the shallots are sautéing, thinly slice the garlic, but do not dice.  When the shallots are translucent, add garlic.  If the garlic begins to brown, or after a minute or two, add the broth, blanched greens, and beans.  Bring to a simmer and reduce a few minutes.  Knead the butter and flour together.  Crumble the mixture into the pan while stirring to avoid lumps.  Depending on desired thickness, you may not need all the thickener.  Cook a few more minutes and season to taste.  Serve topped with cheese. 

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 (Mary and Brittany too!)

 



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