Farm Journal 6/6/21

Click here to place your order for this week

We are adding pick up locations as farmers markets are opening up. You can now find us at

Sundays – Squirrel Hill Farmers Market – 9am – 1 pm

Mondays – East Liberty Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm (closed this Monday)

Wednesdays – Here at The Farm – 11 – 7

Fridays – Northside Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm

First CSA pick up info

Important! Half Share members – if your last name starts with an A through L, your half share starts this week (“Odd” Week 1) – the first week of CSA), M through Z starts next week (“Even” Week 2), regardless of pickup location.

Pick up at Farm: If this is your first year picking up at the farm, here you go: Come on by on Wednesday between 11 and 7. Drive up the farm lane and park (by the Park Here signs) at the top of the hill. Be aware of other cars coming down the lane and kids and animals running amok. Drive carefully. Walk to the red awning and check in at the purple counter. Please remember to bring your own bags. We’ll have the produce set out for you and you’ll follow the sign, telling you how many items you get to take this week. We will have our frozen pork and fresh chicken (this week, frozen next week) for sale as well (all Non GMO and pastured). Eggs are limited, so it’s better to order ahead. If we have extra, we’ll set them out for sale. We hope to have Mediterra Bakery goods for sale too – it comes in fresh every Wednesday morning! As the season progresses, we’ll have lots of canned and homemade goods for sale too. Be sure to check out our white Kitchen Cabinet for all the extra goodies each week. You don’t have to be a CSA member to shop – but that will guarantee that you get access to all the produce. If there’s a limited supply of any particular veggie – it’s reserved for the CSA members, who paid upfront for the whole season. We’ll give you the detailed run-down when you check in.

Pick up at the farmer’s markets: We’ll bring your order down to the designated market (that you signed up for). Be sure to bring your own bag. Just tell us your name and we’ll set your tray aside for you to pack up and take home. It’s not a bad idea to come hungry and get a sammie/salad combo while you’re at the farm stand.

I’m racking my brain, trying to think of things I might have forgotten to tell you. But it’s late, and I imagine questions will come and I’ll do my best to answer them as they come!

What to expect in your CSA this week:

Lots and lots of lettuce. It’s big and beautiful and won’t last long in this heat. So get your mind geared up for salads and lots of them! Salad Mix, kale, green garlic (immature garlic), herbs (oregano or thyme), radishes and possibly scallions or even garlic scapes!!

Wilted Lettuce Recipe

(This is an old-timey recipe that I remember my Nana making every summer. It’s a great way to use up lots of lettuce… and it’s got bacon… can’t beat that!)

Leaf Lettuce

2 green onions (chopped)

4 strips bacon, fried and broken into bits

2 eggs beaten

½ c. sugar, ½ c. vinegar, ½ c. water

Fry bacon crisp.  Save grease.

Mix eggs, sugar, vinegar, and water together and add to bacon grease.  Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly. Pour over leaf lettuce. Add onion and break bacon over lettuce. Top with sliced hard-boiled egg (optional). Serve while warm. 

Movie Night

Typically, at the end of the day on Wednesdays, we’re planning to have a causal out-door movie night. Kid friendly, but starts at dusk, which can be late when we’re talking about July. Bring a camp chair, bug spray, snacks, and a cozy blanket. The movie will be set up under the awning. Ask about camping.

Pigwifery– by Greg

Part One: Economics of the Pig.

To respond to some questions about the $100 loin challenge, some folks have commented about how we arrive at our prices. Frankly, we don’t simply double our production costs, which is a common recommendation. That’s an easy pricing method that usually results in fewer sales because it’s too expensive for most people to feel comfortable spending.  We strive to fund a portion of farm operations, and not make money willy-nilly (although, that would be a fun way to live!).

Naturally, each part of our business needs to fund itself, and then pay a bit extra for the land and utilities, taxes and other management expenses that are not directly related to producing food (aka Overhead). Jen and I average our monthly expenses and then evaluate each business we do (CSA, Garden shares, frozen pork, AirBnB, etc) to cover each month.  The CSA funds around 7 months, while AirBnB is struggling to fund 1 because of Covid-19.  Pork has fluctuated between 2 and 3 months since we started raising hogs 10 years ago.

We’re hearing that feed costs are going up, fuel, and everything else related to producing local pork. And we are concerned about having to raise our prices.  Over 75% of our customers come from within a 10 mile radius, which, frankly, is not known for being an affluent demographic. 

Yet, some items like the $6 ground pork are now $7 per pound, which will afford us a little more cushion to this summer’s potential price spikes. We cannot let pork profits drop below 2 months, or we wind up in the red.

Jen and I dug out the spreadsheets that we use to calculate our pork production costs from The Cloud. Amazing technology! We use these formulas to calculate a break-even point for our pork.  At $7/# for ground, we earn about $2/# which adds up to approximately 2 months of farm overhead from the pig farm business. 

So, about $5/# is the lowest amount of money we can charge for any pork products which come back from the butcher.  It doesn’t matter if it’s bacon, chops, lard, bone or ground. If we don’t get at least this much money then we are paying more than the customers!  Naturally, we can’t price every thing the same or the organs and bones would never sell. 

On the pricing side, we look online at ‘industrial’ pastured pork prices, delivered by Amazon.  We also look at industrial pork prices at Restaurant Depot to determine a range of prices.  This is what we believe has been researched as the affordable price which moves the industrial bacon. We cross that list with USDA marketing publications, and regional terminal/market prices (Pittsburgh, unfortunately, no longer has a USDA produce terminal, but that’s another story). 

Usually, we find that industrial price ranges are below our production costs. So, we try to hover just above the halfway point between the high-end pastured stuff and the top of the industrial (think Boars Head or another name brand). This we feel keeps our prices as reasonable and affordable as possible to continue to feed neighbors of all income levels. Pasture raised bacon was selling for $14 in Philly last year.  And our prices are around $10/#.  We were asked to start selling our meat into Philly, because it made sense to the distributor at $4/# to haul and distribute for us.  We kindly declined the offer to feed Philly, but the point is… Pittsburghers are frugal.  We are totally OK with this, in fact we embrace it and plan around it.  We love yinz.  Keep on nommin’.

New Products

Basil Seedlings are up on the store now too.

Italian Sausage (sweet and hot) and Bratwurst is back in stock

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