Farm Journal 9/4/22

EAST LIBERTY – no market this Monday.  We’ll meet you in front of Red Start Roasters in Penn Circle – 224 N Euclid Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15206 from 3 – 6:30 pm with your CSA share.  Look for a white Mazda5 

Sept 7 is  the start of Week 14 of our CSA.  

Click here to shop our web-store

Where to find us and pick up your online orders and  csa.

The Farm – Wednesday (11 – 7).

Northside – Friday 3 – 7 PM

Mt. Lebanon ,Uptown, – Saturday 9-12

Squirrel hill – Sunday 9-1

East Liberty -Monday 3:30-6:30 (not tomorrow though… )

SOLD OUT- Sprezzatura for a Wood fired Farm-to-Table Dinner Sept 11, 2022


Fall Farm Party September 24

Come out for a day of fun on the farm! Save the date – Saturday September 24th! We’re hosting our farm picnic from 4 – 9 pm. We’ll have HAMburgers, Hotdogs and s’mores. Feel free to bring sides, desserts and/or drinks to share. We’ll have dishes and cutlery available, but you may want to bring your own picnic blanket or chairs, lawn games, and bug spray. Farm tour starts promptly at 4:30 and campfire later in the evening. There’s a good chance that Greg’s going to want to get the ol’ cider press out – so be prepared to help with that too (it’s messy)! Feel free to bring along extra apples (and containers) and you can press your apples for cider   too! RSVPs are appreciated.


Life on the farm Part 1 – The grandfather clause – by Tim Time

There is a diversity of intelligent life here on the Farm. Some of it is sentient and some is non-sentient. By definition, the non-sentient life is not conscious of being conscious. This includes water, soil and plants and the microorganisms within them. These are not self-aware but are full of life and a cog in the overall intelligent machinery of life. Water would seem to have no brains or consciousness, yet it is ingenious by any measure and the foundational element of life. It is a ridiculous, ubiquitous, spontaneous, liquidity full of other non-sentient life forms, like bacteria, protozoa and more advanced organisms. Water is not a self-conscious life form, but there is no sentient life without it. Maybe self-awareness is overrated. For that reason, I grandfather it into the category of intelligent life.

Next up is the soil under our feet. Another word for Dirt is earth. In fact, all life on Earth takes place on Dirt. Even the great oceans, lakes and rivers sit upon the great ball of Dirt. Dirt is the unappreciated marvel in our life. It is the firmness upon which we live. You can grow corn from the soil, make a clay bowl to cook it in, make a porcelain plate to eat it on and keep it all in the house you made from the trees that were growing on it before you arrived. You can crush it, smash it, scrape it, burn it, soak it, pile it up, spread it around, freeze it, squeeze it and forget it. But you can’t get rid of it. We have made bricks from clay and built great civilizations on Dirt. We have mined the earth for metals and built skyscrapers a hundred stories high. We have fought wars and reduced cities to rubble. We’ve signed peace treaties, buried the dead in the Dirt, cleaned it all up and began again. When the human species has done everything it will ever do, Dirt will still be sitting here. Without the ball of Dirt upon which all life takes place, we would be nothing but thoughts lost in the emptiness of space. It is the ultimate juxtaposition; a thirteen septillion pound orb floating in emptiness. Dirt is the Most Tangible Miracle. As with water, there is no sentient life without Dirt and therefore it is grandfathered in.

When we talk about plants, we begin to move up the sentience ladder. There is substantial scientific debate about the intelligence of plants. In 1863 Charles Darwin published On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects, and on the Good Effects of Intercrossing, proposing that orchids crossbreed themselves in order not to dilute the species. For over a decade, he conducted pollination experiments to prove that self-pollination leads to lower fitness and higher sterility. Inbred plants, like inbred animals, don’t fare well. Are orchids aware that they promote crossbreeding? Dunno, but they do it.

Some plants prey on everything from insects to mice to birds. The Venus flytrap is the most famous, but there are at least 600 species of animal-eating flora. Luckily none here at the farm. These plants have evolved complex lures and rapid reactions to catch, hold and devour animal prey. Are animal-eating flora aware they are carnivores? Dunno, but they do it.

The mushrooms we eat are but the fruit of an underground mycelium neuro-network that  we do not understand very well. Sometimes called the “wood wide web”, mycelium lies underneath nearly every footstep on a lawn, field, or forest floor. As much as 90% of land plants are in a mutually beneficial relationship with a local mycelial network. Without the ability of fungi to process and filter decaying organic matter – without mycelium – all ecosystems would fail. Again, we would not define mushrooms as sentient beings, but sometimes our definitions lack the scope necessary to explain the world around us.

Are plants intelligent? In order to grant plants sentience, we have to shift our definition of intelligence from a human-centric model. Consider them grandfathered in. For more reading on this topic look for Brilliant Green:  the Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola.

This brings us to the higher forms of life at Blackberry Meadows: the pigs, chickens, 2 dogs, 1 cat and various people.

In Part 2, we will begin with Ham the Cat.


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