Farm Journal 8/1/21

Click here to place your order for this week (please give us 24 hours lead time before your desired pick up date/time).

** There’s no longer a limit on the number of eggs you can buy!

You can now find us at: (we will deliver to all the market locations that we attend)

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

Mondays – East Liberty 3 – 7 pm

Wednesdays – Here at The Farm – 11 – 7

Fridays – Northside Farmers Market – 3 – 7 pm

Saturdays – Mt. Lebonon, Uptown – 9 – 12

The Menu

Tomatoes, green beans, squash, cucumbers, scallions, lettuce, herbs, cherry tomatoes, and chard.

Field Update

My typical response to “how’s things at the farm?” is “It’s August”. August is the Wednesday (Hump day) of farming. We’ve got all the summer crops planted, the weeds are growing like crazy, it’s usually hot an dry and we’re dealing with irrigation on a daily basis, we’re harvesting as much as possible, canning, freezing and drying the excess or seconds, and we’re prepping and planting fields for the fall and winter crops. The days are long, and if it weren’t for kids, we’d be working in the fields with headlamps.

I had a good talk with Annie in the field while transplanting cabbage and scallions. We discussed farmer burnout and how it has a trickle down effect to the rest of life. We get short with co-workers, kids, and family. We don’t take time to take care of ourselves, whether it’s good diet, stretching, or enough sleep or down time. The to-do list grows faster than we can hack away at it and stress mounts.

The typical cycle of a vegetable farm is to keep growing. Got land? Get big. Grow more food. But vegetable farming is one of the most labor intensive kinds of farming out there, and we’ve adjusted our systems over time to be “right sized”. Although we have the capacity to grow 15 acres of vegetables, we don’t have the mental strength. We’ve scaled back to 2.5 acres, decreased our reliance upon tractors, and increased efficiency. We’ve gone from weeding 350′ long beds to working in 50′ bed increments, which is sooo much easier to handle. We’ve added other features to our farm operation, which allows us the manage the scale of our veggie business. The pigs, chickens, eggs, agritourism, education, and side gigs, allows us to keep the CSA small and manageable, evading the worst of the farming burn out scenarios.

I’ve worked on other farms where it was the norm to come home, cry to Greg about how toxic the work environment was and how mis-treated I felt. I didn’t know it then, but I was on the receiving end of “Farmer Burn Out”. Because I’ve gone through that gauntlet, I’m much more aware of how our employees feel when working the Farm. Sure, there’s grueling work that never ends, sure it’s hot and miserable and you’re going to be picking beans til dusk and the pigs just got out. But when we work as a team, keep our heads down and know that we’re all in this together, the hard work gets done and respite is earned. We work hard, eat well, and generally feel good about what we do here.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

The Ubiquitous Tomatillo

Prepare yourselves. Tomatillo time is coming. We planted wayyy too many of these lovely and prolific plants and you’re the receivers of this bounty. It’s your job to step up to the plate and crank out copious amounts of salsa verde and anything else you can make with a tomatillo. Don’t be afraid to use google as a helper. They may not be ready to harvest this week, but it’s coming and I want you to be on the ball!!

Pig Wifery – by Greg

I love growing food for a community who understands the efforts we take to push the envelope of sustainable agriculture.

Within 48 hours of publishing the last pig-whiffery article, complaining about our chippers and sawdust efforts, our friends and fans at Frosty Hollow Hardwoods outside Vandergrift came to the rescue. They brought a BIG truck of sawdust with a handshake and an open offer for more!

Within another 12 hours the PennLine company who has been working in the area for West Penn Power dropped off a load of wood chips! It constantly blows my mind that decency and a community mindset is still actively functional despite the media/news/politics beat efforts to drive us apart.

By working together to transform a few ‘waste’ products (sawdust, woodchips, brewers grains and excess produce) into soil, we are changing the dynamics of our landfills. One truck load at a time (and with a little help from our hogs).

  • remember – what I plan for on Sunday may not happen by Tuesday – we’re at mother nature’s beck and call!

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