Farm Journal 3/13/22

$30 order minimum for delivery into Pittsburgh

No limit on Eggs!… seriously guys… we’ve got a lot of eggs! In fact, we could use more egg cartons!

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

Pick Up Locations:

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 cooler 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.

Buy your CSA Share Now!

CSA shares are starting to fill up. If you’re thinking about picking up at one of our farmers markets – sign up soon, as space is limited. If you’re picking up at the farm, you’ve got time to ponder!

We’re proud of our lettuce harvest in Spring, Fall, and Winter!

It’s not too late to join our Garden Share program too. We’re cranking out seedlings in the basement and greenhouse and will be ready for an April planting! If you waiver between joining the CSA and growing your own garden – this might be a good transition program for you. We supply you with seeds and seedlings each month from April to September. This helps you to extend your growing season and diversify your harvest! Move beyond the salsa garden and try to grow year round!

Annie Halcomb – back for her second year at the farm!

Hello! Many of you have met me on the farm or at the markets, but for those who haven’t, my name is Annie! I started working at Blackberry Meadows in May 2021. Most of my time is spent in the field, growing and harvesting for the CSA, but you can also find me at markets taking orders for the Farmers Grill. This year, you’ll also hear from me in the newsletter and through posts on Instagram (Jen will be posting too still!).

A bit about me: I graduated Northeastern University with a degree in Counseling Psychology, but an elective on “Food Justice & Community Development” my senior year shifted my career goals significantly. This was the first class to open my eyes to our current food system and how many social & ecological problems are impacted, or created, by it. A job at Soluna Garden Farm, a tea shop with a small flower farm in Boston, turned me on to working outside and in the dirt. When I first got a paycheck for planting tulips, my mind was blown.  I could get paid to do things I enjoy?!

After moving back to Pittsburgh, I postponed plans for graduate school and got a job on an organic farm. When I was looking for a new farm job last spring, Blackberry Meadows seemed like the ideal place to work. Reading about them though,  they had so many volunteers and community support, it seemed like they didn’t need any workers! Thankfully, a friend had volunteered years before, and he brought me out to meet Jen and help in the vegetable field. After a few weeks, I had a new job.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work with Jen and Greg and to join the Blackberry Meadows community. I’ve already learned so much from so many different people. Looking forward to getting to know more of you and growing this season!

Tractor update

Greg’s glad to have Big Red back!

There’s a three tier gauge for accidents on the farm. “Oops” means it’s going to take a minor repair, most likely with items and tools we have on hand…. about 15 minutes of Greg’s time. “Oh Crap” takes on a more serious tone and involves a trip to the hardware store or machine shop and may take a day or two to complete repairs. “Oh Noooo (and stronger variations)” involves a whole lotta money and/or time.

Mid-winter we had an “Oh No” moment. Greg’s working on fixing up our spring that feeds the pond. He dug out the old system (55 gallon perforated drum) and replaced it with a 275 gallon barrel. It’s impressive! But in the midst of construction, the tractor crapped out and clanked and rattled its way to the top of the hill, awaiting its demise.

We called around and finally had it hauled (for $500!) to a repair shop in Grove City. They worked on refurbishing the engine and bringing it back to life. $5000 later and another hauling fee, we’re back in action!

We’re grateful that it wasn’t so big of an “Oh No” that we had to figure out how to buy a whole new tractor. The cost of repairs is an ugly hit and not something that we bounce back quickly from. Most farms operate on a thin margin, and we’re right there with them! Tenacity is key!

It was a long winter without our tractor at the ready. We use it so frequently to move wood chips, mulch, pallets of feed and water around for the pigs. We’ve schlepped more than we’re used to and we’re excited to have a very important tool back in our shed!

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