Farm Journal 2/6/22

$30 order minimum for delivery into Pittsburgh

Place your online order here. Give us a 24 hours heads up please.

The Farm – WEDNESDAY (11 – 7). We’ll set your order out, you come pick it up. (If our driveway is treacherous, we’ll set up a table down by the purple garage).

Northside – Wednesday 12:30 – 1:00 at the parking lot on Union Place by Allegheny Commons. Ask about delivery options.

CSA Share Sales are Available!

You can buy basic weekly pickup and half shares at the farm, Northside Market, East Liberty Market, Squirrel Hill Market, and Mt Lebanon Uptown Market. Limited amounts of shares are available at the markets, as we only have so much room for hauling!

We’ve had an eventful week!

All last week, I was doing an online, day-long training to be an Organic Livestock Inspector. I haven’t sat my butt in front of a computer for that long since college! I currently inspect certified organic crop farms as my “side hustle”. I only inspect a dozen or so farms each year, and tend to do so at the tail ends of the growing season. Now, (assuming I’ve passed the exam) I’ll be able to inspect Organically Certified Livestock farms too. This is helpful, as an inspector, as many livestock farms are certifying their crops fields too. Lots of dairy farms grow their own organic hay, grains, and straw. Soon, I’ll be able to do a double inspection of both Livestock and Crops on the same farm.

The training class I took was intense and I feel like I’ll need a few mock and mentored inspections under my belt before I can confidently say I know how to inspect livestock operations. I think I do have a foot up, in that as a farmer, I’ve met the National Organic Program’s USDA Organic Standards since it’s inception in the last 90’s and have been on the “inspected” side of things for more than 15 years at this farm and another 13+/- years at other farms. It’s also helpful that we’ve run through the gamut of livestock here. We’ve had sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, guinea hens, ducks, rabbits, quail, and milk and beef cows! We’ll get to farming geese, chinchillas and snails eventually!!

Saturday was Olivia’s Birthday and we had a nice celebration and some sledding! It’s like a switch was flipped and she’s now totally helpful with barnyard chores. She’ll just step right in and help feed the sows, collect eggs, and help with straw. It’s so nice to work as a team!

We got a cat! It’s been too long since we’ve had a Breezeway Cat. Let us introduce Ham! In theory, Ham’s destiny is to live outside and in our breezeway, he’s done a fantastic job of integrating himself into the warm farm house for the winter….

Last, but not least, Lilac finally farrowed! We were able to maneuver her into her own cozy pen in the barn, right next to Ms. Brownbutt/B.B. (who wasn’t happy to have a neighbor). Last week, B.B. jumped the fence and attacked Lilac, who was immanently ready to farrow. Greg and I were luckily there when B.B., in her 300 lb rage, bent and clambered over the hog panel. Lilac, weighing in at 600 lbs, put up a good fight. They screeched and bit ears, legs, butts and tails! I hastily disconnected the fence and Greg broke up the fight! We booted B.B. back to her side of the barn and put up an electric line to deter any more shenanigans!

Friday night, about 10 pm, Lilac started farrowing. She was in labor until 12pm the next day! I’ve never seen a sow in labor for so long, and towards the end was getting antsy…. do we need to glove up and check for a stuck piglet? Shouldn’t we have oxytocin on hand? When should we worry?

The answer? Butt out. And that’s what we did. Liliac needed her space and knew what to do.

We’re waiting on one last gilt, Camo. Her nipples are sticking out sideways…. so tonight might be the night!

We’d like to share some good news about Lou!

He worked for us last year and volunteered here a few years back. You’d particularity remember him as Grill Master at the Squirrel Hill, East Liberty and Mt Lebanon Markets. We’d like to support him on restarting his pie business and thought we’d share some info:

Hello! For those of you who don’t know, I used to run a mobile bakery called the Pittsburgh Pie Guy. After seven years, I am restarting it, hoping to work the farmers’ markets alongside vendors like Blackberry Meadows. I’ll sell sweet and savory pies baked with local ingredients sourced from places like Blackberry Meadows. 

To restart the business, I’ve applied for a business loan through Kiva, a nonprofit that facilitates crowdfunded zero-interest microloans. I’m shooting for a goal of $7,000. Before the campaign goes public on the Kiva website, however, 25 people have to lend at least $25 by Feb.16. And once that goal is met, I have 30 more days to raise the rest of the loan amount. 

I’m asking the Blackberry Meadows community to help me reach this goal! After volunteering and then working at the farm, I appreciate the impact of community support, and could not run this venture without it. 

If you would like to contribute (and it’s a loan, not a donation, so you would get the money back when I repay the loan), please follow this link: Please share with anyone who would be interested! More info is on the campaign page. Thank you! 

Lou Butler – The Pie Guy!

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