Farm Journal 10/29/23

Now that CSA is over – we’re switching Farm pick up to Wednesdays 3 – 7pm. We’ll have your order packed and set outside on the marble counter. Look for the bag with your name. Frozen items will be in a cooler.

Northside (Allegheny Commons) on Friday 3 – 7, until Nov 17.

Squirrel Hill (beacon/bartlette) on Sunday 9 – 1, until Nov 19.

Don’t forget that you can place an order and we’ll bring it to the markets for you!

A blip in our regularly scheduled program!

The day after our last CSA, Greg and I were both knocked out by COVID. We missed going to both markets (the first markets we’ve missed all year!), missed writing the newsletter, and slept for five days straight! It felt like the marathon of CSA came to a close and our bodies just shut down – we needed the rest and the recuperation!

Luckily, the kids didn’t get sick – and Olivia took on the task of making us coffee in the morning, and Evelyn, Dimitrius, and Punkee helped with the barn chores. Kirstin was there for us at the Northside Market – giving out the last of the CSA shares. It’s takes a village to run a farm!

We’re back on our feet and still have a bunch of deadlines and goals we’re trying to meet before the end of the year.

We’re wrapping up “year two” of the Value Added Producers Grant that Greg applied for and won. We’re exploring what it takes for the Farmers Grill to be our retail arm of the farm – making us the Home of the Backyard Barbecue. This winter we are focusing on getting our sausages into the local grocery stores; partnering with them to be our city drop off locations for online orders, incentivizing them, their customers, and our regular customers, to shop at and support the local economy with a Farmers Grill loyalty and rewards program. More on that to come…. but for now, Greg has a grant report to write by Monday!

We’ve also received our first allotment of money from the Allegheny County Conservation District to start work on our “Best Management Practices (BMPs)” to improve conservation practices on our farm. This winter we intend to have 1) a perimeter fence installed, allowing us to pasture the pigs in a safer and more controlled manner (they won’t escape into Fawn Township!), 2) gravel roads built out to the barnyard (no more slogging through mud!), and 3) start construction on our spring, to help direct water for watering the animals, greenhouse and then overflow into the pond.

First things first – get a Bobcat! We’re moving the bed-pack from the pigs, (a black gold mixture of manure, wood chips, and straw) out to the veggie fields. It’s so nice to see these nutrients get put where we need them most!

We also did an extensive soil test of various locations on the farm. Of course, we tested the veggie fields – which look pretty good, although they could use more organic matter. But we also tested the pig’s bed pack areas, our compost piles, areas around, above and below the spring, the woods, and the pasture fields. We have a great base for studying the impact of various conservation practices and their impacts on the soil of our farm. We’ll keep you posted!

Holiday Bundle is coming soon!

Pre-purchase all the roasts, sausages, and holiday hams you’ll need for the winter.

Round One:

Thanksgiving:  One package of kielbasa, two pounds of ham loaf (see the recipe here), and one package of ground bacon (for bacon bits, – great on cheesy baked potatoes and in stuffing (see the recipe here)!! ($38 dollar value)

Round Two: 

Christmas: One five to six pound ham roast, smoked and cured, one pound of bacon, one pound of breakfast sausage, and one dozen eggs.  Dinner and breakfast all taken care of!  Try this (Christmas morning breakfast soufflé). ($72 dollar value)

Round Three:

New Years: One three to five pound loin roast, one pound of kielbasa, one specialty bacon, and one jar of local, organic Sauerkraut.  Here’s our family’s (New Year’s recipe) for a pork and sauerkraut tradition!  ($55 dollar value)

$165 dollar value for only $150!

Don’t have room in your freezer?  We’ll store and deliver (to designated meet up locations) each round of your Holiday Bundle a week before each Holiday.  Make a note during check out if you’d like all three rounds at once or prefer separate deliveries.

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