Farm Journal 5/9/21

photo of girl holding yellow dandelions

New in the Store front: DOG TREATS! Ground Beef, Eggs, SEEDLINGS (TOMATOES! and more ) and Produce.

You can place your order here for pick up at:

The Farm this Wednesday 11 – 7

The Northside (801 Union Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15212) this Wednesday at 3:30/4:00

***If you miss the pick up window, please get in touch to schedule another time*-

The Grill is Fired up! Find us at the following markets!

East Liberty Market – Monday May 10th – 3 – 7 (N. Euclid Ave. & Broad St. (Garland Parking lot next to firehouse). -Northside – Allegheny Commons Park, East Ohio St. & Cedar Ave. – Friday, May 14th 3 – 7 pm,

Squirrel Hill Market – Sunday May 16th 9-1. Beacon/Bartlett parking lot

Field Update

Saturday, we had a break in the weather and I was able to prep more fields and get more seeds in the ground. We have a mini rototiller that I use for light cultivation, skimming the surface to disturbed the freshly germinated weed seeds. By the time I was done, I knew I had committed a farming faux pas. You should not work the soil when it’s too wet. Determine this by picking up a handful of soil and squeezing it into a clump. Bounce the clump up and down in your hand a bit, and if it breaks apart, into bits, you’re good to go. If the clump remains, the soil is still too wet. The soil clumped and stuck in the tines of the tiller. But looking at the forecast, there’s no consecutive sunny days in sight and no imminent signs of ideal tillage conditions. Wait or get crops in the ground. One of the many farmer dilemmas. I opted for planting and despite the farmer-guilt I felt, I was satisfied that we got a lot planted. Lots of little seeds; arugula, greens mix, haukeri turnips, radishes, and carrots were all seeded. Evelyn and Olivia came out to help too!

Here’s Evelyn pushing the Plant Jr. seeder. It’s heavy and the soil was still wet – so the work was extra hard. But she persisted and was proud to have helped get crops planted.

I have two areas where a nice stand of fall cover crop overwintered and really took off. It’s nearly thigh high and starting to flower. A mixture of clovers and vetch (a legume to help fix nitrogen) and rye to add organic matter. It’s a thing of beauty – but I’m in a quandary on how I’d like to incorporate it into our system. One section, I mowed down with the brush hog. This created a thick chopped mulch that will make it easier to come trough and till in once things dry up a bit. The other section, we’re going “old school” and will sharpen the scythe. I’d like to try scything this cover crop down and having it lay flat on the surface. We’ll then go through and transplant seedlings directly into the mulched cover crop. The clovers will most likely grow back – but maybe it’ll be a good under story and provide shade, nutrients (nitrogen) and habitat. Or it might be a total disaster. I’ll be sure to let you know!

We made a monumental move forward with High Tunnel #1. All spring we’ve been chipping away at it. New plastic, repaired end walls, new chicken wire on the side walls, and new sprinkler system. We added compost to the beds and planted it with BHN Tomatoes, lettuce, and scallions. I also seeded radishes and beets and refreshed the raspberry patch too. With successful chicken exclusion and reliable watering systems we should be golden!

Here you can see a few of the hens longing for the days when they had free access to the dirt-bath day spa. The Shop’s closed ladies!

From the Freezers

Ready to try something new? We have about 15 packages of sliced Freshside and it’s not something that sells very quickly. Freshside is the same cut as bacon – from the pig belly. Desirable for it’s fine layering of fat and muscle. When smoked and cured, you get bacon, but Freshside is an old-timey thing and something you might want to play around with. For those of you who are more careful about eating nitrates and salt, you might want to try your hand a cooking up Freshside. We like to make a salt/sugar brine and let the Freshside soak overnight. In the morning, fry it up on the stove or oven. It’s more meaty and less crispy than bacon – but delicious none the less! Alternatively, you could dredge it in flour, sprinkle with salt and fry. The nice thing about Freshside is that you have more control of the ingredients yet still get the satisfying meaty-fat combo that bacon is known for!

We also have updated our Beef inventory. After selling the bundles of ground beef, we’re ready to move the other cuts we have in the freezer. Mostly we’ll have a stock of ground beef and stew meat with a few steaks available too.

The Dandelion – by Vachel Lindsay

O dandelion, rich and haughty,
King of village flowers!
Each day is coronation time,
You have no humble hours.
I like to see you bring a troop
To beat the blue-grass spears,
To scorn the lawn-mower that would be
Like fate’s triumphant shears.
Your yellow heads are cut away,
It seems your reign is o’er.
By noon you raise a sea of stars
More golden than before.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!