Farm Journal 8/6/23

This Wednesday is the 10th week of our CSA (an even week).

Farm pick up on Wednesday 11 – 7, Northside (allegheny commons) on Friday 3 – 7, and Squirrel Hill (beacon/bartlette) on Sunday 9 – 1.

Don’t forget that you can place an order and we’ll bring it to the markets for you!

Ham Loaf

A Western Pennsylvania Tradition. Great with corn on the cob and potato salad!

Get 4 lbs for $30! Enter Loaf2023 at check out for $6 off. Good until the end of August.

Here’s my Nana Rose’s reliable Ham Loaf Recipe!

Our Township News:

This past Thursday, Greg attended our (Fawn) Township’s zoning board hearing. The subcontractor, of a real estate developer (Crossroads?) who hired a contractor, on behalf of Verizon (no corporate layers there…), asked for a zoning variance to install a Verizon 5G tower at the fire-station, adjacent to the farm. Greg said about 20 of our community members showed up (including our driveway neighbor), mostly in protest of the tower, and mostly concerned with the EMFs from the tower. Our zoning board has five members, three were in attendance, one of which had to abstain, as they worked for Verizon; leaving two of the five zoning board members to make the ultimate decision for the whole township.

Greg went to the meeting with Fawn’s zoning book in hand and 20+ bullet points to present to the board to discuss variance conditions, based on our current ordinances. These zoning ordinances and their enforcement is one of the primary functions of our local government. Our zoning officer will finally be getting a raise on Tuesday.

We’ve learned over the years, that you can’t fight big business with emotions, feelings, or “health impacts”. Legalese is their language, and second runner up would be a financial table of some kind. Greg said the township is obligated to allow variances if there is no legal or community hardships… which a cell tower does not cause. Unlike a Frack pad with heavy truck traffic, Cell towers likely will see a tech in a van once a year?

Basically, if Fawn didn’t have a really good reason, and likely even if they did have a really good reason, they’d most likely be sued by hundreds of Verizon lawyers, which would be costly to the township. Just speculating. Greg said our township Solicitor solidly refuted every bullet point and encouraged the zoning board to just approve the variance and move on. Greg was pissed, and disappointed, but in the end figured that grumpy solicitor was working in our Township’s best interest.

Greg was glad to meet and talk about neighborhood history with Fire Chief Adams and Lou Negy, a co-founder, and 73 year veteran firefighter at the Fawn #2 who are both excited, and anxious about the impact during construction. Greg got an invite to be a part of Fawn #2. Lou said the lease will enable the station to finally afford a Tanker Truck, and Greg learned about a few old ponds around the township that used to supply the department.

So, while disappointing, the positive perspective is that a Verizon lease came to our fire station instead of in a neighboring township. Our volunteer fire department will be better equipped.

It won’t be long until Blackberry Meadows is the most ‘on-line’ farm in Allegheny County. Maybe we’ll get a “Chicken Cam” and you can access a live feed from the barnyard anytime you want.

Field Notes.

We’re over the hump with our 10 week mark in the CSA. Although it’s August, it’s time to think about fall crops. We usually get a great batch of turnips for the fall, and yet again we’ll try for more beets! It’s been a great year for beets – as apparently the deer don’t yet prefer to eat them!

Fall brassicas, like arugula, turnips, kale, cabbage, bok choy and tat soi are prone to flea beetle damage, which decreases significantly at the end of August. We’ll get those crops in this week or next – and then 40 to 60 days from now, we’ll start harvesting for fall. My favorite time of year!

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and remember that we still have to get through August, typically the hottest and muggiest month of the year. Bear with us, as we trudge through the heat, fight with irrigation, and get buried in tomatoes. We’ll all make it through in the end!

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