Farm Journal 2/25/24

Field Updates

Evelyn was excited to show me that her daffodils are popping up already – and it’s not even March! Well, we did deliveries in the city this weekend and I noticed all the crocuses are already blooming! There’s an urban heat-sink there that keeps the temps up just enough, making Pittsburgh practically one growing zone warmer than we are here in Fawn. That’s crazy!

The spinach and beets are looking good in the high tunnel – despite the dramatic weather fluctuations. We’re doing our best to keep those babies watered, in between freezing hoses and 100 degree temps. We’ve always had really nice early spring spinach. I’ll post on here when we’re ready to start the harvest (in mid to late March) and you can buy bags of fresh high-tunnel spinach from us! Yay for fresh veggies again!

I’m trying out new software for keeping my field planting schedule organized. Every spring, I delve into the realm of digital farm planning and always fall back on my memory of when and where things should be planted (aka – if feels like it’s time to seed tomatoes…. I’m usually right, after 20 years of doing this) and scraps of paper. I do use google sheets to help keep track of things, until about August, when all hell breaks loose around here (August burn-out is a real thing with vegetable farmers).

In our efforts to stream-line this operation and move responsibilities off our our shoulders and into the hands of employees who are fresh, young, able bodied, and ready to be farmers…. we need to get our Systems of Operations (SOPs) out of our heads and onto paper. I’m earnestly trying to make sure the CSA produce production is easy to follow this year.

So far, we’ve got a good team, Miles and Dimitrius helping in the fields and barnyard, we’ll have our workshare crew on Tuesdays helping with harvesting, weeding and planting, and then we’ll rotate who’s working the farmers markets over the weekend.

Currently, I have a hard time of keeping track of the days, but once markets and CSA start, it all becomes clock work. Monday’s field work, Tuesday’s harvest, Wednesday’s CSA, Thursday’s harvest and field work, Friday through Sunday’s markets. 20+ weeks blow by faster than you can imagine!

Farm Club Update

Thanks to Farm Club-awaiting-member Paul Fireman, for spearheading an application for a second cohort of Resilient Community students from Carnegie Mellon.  Last year a class explored national and international garden and farm organizations that had pathways to land ownership. The result was a bit bigger than most of our community was willing to take on, 1/5 acre parcels… That’s a big commitment.  This new class will scale it down to the real world.  

Farm Club is starting with 1500 sq.ft. parcels, and the farm has the long-term potential for hundreds of these food plots.  However, hosting hundreds of people growing food on those plots will require more infrastructure than we currently have.  Jen wants to do 5… and if we can ‘iron out the wrinkles’ regarding everyone’s expectations… then we will be able to grow significantly in 2025. 

The class is tasked to help us build the policy framework, training manual, and member agreement for future Farm Club members to adapt over time.  It will be the first draft of a Blackberry Meadows specific plan for folks to organize themselves around.

Their work will also help us to understand roles and responsibilities, since the Club members, the farmers, and the CSA Members all need to interact this season around the farm store, the parking area and the fields. By going through this academic exercise of ‘gardening together’, we hope to figure out the places where conflict could occur and do our best to keep the farm running smoothly… well as smoothly as it can. 🙂

From the Barnyard

This just in! Hotrod just had her litter of piglets – 9 so far! Greg and the girls are out there drying off each piglet and making sure it finds the milk and a warm spot!

CSA sign up has started!

It’s time to start signing up for the 2024 CSA. I’ve opened up the Shares for FARM PICK UP (half and whole), SQUIRREL HILL (half and whole), and NORTHSIDE (half and whole). 

Get fresh organic produce right off our farm. We harvest fresh for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday distributions.

Time to sign up for the Spring Sausage Stuffer Share

Have you gone though your stock of sausages and bacon? We’re opening up The Spring Sausage Stuffer Pork Share, which has monthly distributions through March, April, and May. It’s only available for purchase through Feb 28th. 

Get the best deal on a 3 month pork subscription with a single payment of $249.

Each month, you will pick up: (at the farm or at our drop locations)

  • 4 lbs of Sausage
  • 4 lbs of Bacon

Sign up for the Spring Sausage Stuffer Share here.

Important: Ordering Information

Farm pick
 up to Wednesdays 3 – 7pm. We’ll have your order packed and set outside on the marble counter. Park across from the house, at the top of the land. Cross the lawn and look for the bag with your name. Frozen items will be in a white cooler. 

IMPORTANT: Please make sure you place a minimum order of $30 for delivery. 

Across from Frick Park Market in Point Breeze, this Saturday at 12:00 – 12:15 pm

Across from the Mayfly Market (Arch St) in Northside, this Saturday at 4:00 – 4:15 pm

Outside of Local Provisions in Fox Chapel – at the Plaza on Freeport Rd, this Saturday at 4:45 – 5:00 pm

Here’s a meal suggestion for this week:

Here’s a great way to make a quick sandwich – the Iowa Skinny! Tenderize, bread, and fry up the pork cutlets for a quick and melt – in – your mouth sammie!

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