CSA Newsletter #4

We’re into week 4 already of the CSA.  It’s hard to believe how time flies by – and many of you are wondering where are the summer veggies?  Not to worry, they are on the way.  The summer squash has gotten off to a good start, although we’re now seeing signs of the cursed  squash bug and spotted cucumber beetle.  Those guys don’t create that much damage themselves, but as they munch on the plants (cucurbits), they spread disease called bacterial wilt and it’s ugly!
We’ve got a stellar crop of beets on the way.  In fact, germination was so good that we’ll have to thin the young seedlings and encourage you all to enjoy baby beet greens!  They are great fresh in a salad with a sweet vinaigrette.  This week looks like it’s shaping up to be a gourmet salad week – as you’re also going to receive bunches of purslane and/or lambs-quarters.  These greens are nutrient packed and tasty.  You’d be surprised with all the variety of veggies out there for you to enjoy.  You’re taste buds are waiting!

ON THE MENU

This week you can expect to find in your share:
Swiss Chard, lettuce heads, kale, scallions, herbs, basil, purslane and garlic scapes.
The “On the Menu” list isn’t set in stone, we just put it out there to give you an idea of what may come.  As with all CSAs, it’s good to be flexible and adventurous with your eating!

LOCAL PARTNERS: SLOW FOOD PITTSBURGH

We’d like to thank one of our biggest supporters in the local food movement – Slow Food Pittsburgh.  Virginia, Susan and Marlene are the matriarchs of our local Slow Food Chapter and they are the movers and shakers when it comes to eating good locally produced foods.
When we first purchased our farm, Virginia wrote a great article, “Bet the Farm” , for the Pittsburgh Quarterly.  She focused on our transition year as we learned the ropes of the farming trade and helped highlight the fact that we were (are) greenhorns willingly getting in over our heads.  But, when you do what you love and work hard – things seem to work themselves out.  We keep coming up with new ideas on the farm and Slow Food Pittsburgh is always there to back us up and give a shout out for our local food initiatives.
Next to the Sprout Fund, they are our main supporters for the Heritage Seed Collective project and are now hosting a Pop Up Dinner to help raise funds for this project.  Please become a member of Slow Food Pittsburgh and tap into the local food scene.  You’ll receive weekly newsletter and invites to all sorts of food related events.  They keep abreast of the top restaurants serving local cuisine, offer up cooking classes, host the Farmers at the Firehouse Market (which we attend on Saturdays 9am – 1pm), among other great festivals and events.
Nationally, Slow Food is striving to defend food biodiversity, develop world-wide food networks, create taste and food education projects, and host events that connect producers and consumers.  It’s a great organization.  One that can use as many supporters and food advocates as can get on board.

ANIMALS ON THE FARM: MORE ABOUT OUR HENS – KRISTEN JOHANSON

As the tiny little pullet eggs start appearing from our new hens, I thought I’d tell you a little more about the girls.
Our 2 new flocks consist of Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, Araucanas, Red Leghorns and Cuckoo Marans. As I mentioned last week, each lays a different colored egg but the one thing these girls have in common is that they’re all heritage breeds.
In our previous years farming, we’ve raised a lot of hybrid hens which are extremely efficient layers. We’ve chosen now, however, to move towards heritage breeds. They don’t lay quite as well as the hybrids but they’ll last longer and are hardier, healthier birds.
As more folks are choosing the productivity of hybrids over the heritage birds, we feel it’s important to preserve these older breeds. They do exceptionally well in pasture-based systems as they’re excellent foragers and can handle a varied diet instead of depending on the basic corn and soybean ration. This is an advantage for us as we’ve started experimenting with various other grains in an effort to cope with the increasing grain prices.
Next week I’ll talk more about how our hens live here on the farm and about the health benefits of our eggs.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

We now carry Riverview Dairy’s goat milk Chevre and Feta Cheeses.  The Sam and Susie Byler family milks 45 goats on their Certified Organic farm overlooking the Clarion River south of Emlenton. Their outstanding goat milk cheeses are sold at the Whole Foods Market grocery in Pittsburgh and are used by top chefs in the ‘best’ Pittsburgh restaurants.
We’ll also have raw milk cheeses made by Conneautee Creamery from raw milk from Showman Farms grass fed cows in Erie Co.
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Attention Summerset CSA members:   We are excited to be accepting MORE SUBSCRIBERS from your community!  We reserved 20 shares this season and have only received 9 new members.  We understand the busy holidays and the hectic summer soccer schedules.  Please encourage your neighbors to contact us so we can continue bringing you great food every week!
Need more local products? If you belong to the Boyd, Phipps or Summerset drop offs and would like any of the additional items (see the “Who Else?” section in the right hand column) we sell, please send us a note and we’ll make sure we bring it to you.  That said, we have a limited supply of eggs at the moment (until July/August), and they are sold on a first come first served basis.  Particularly, if you’re interested in purchasing chicken – please let us know.
__________________
The barn is open on Wednesdays from 11 am – 7 pm.  If you think you might be running late – just give us a call (724 226 3939).  The Phipps Market/CSA runs on Wednesdays from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm, on Saturdays from 9 am – 11 am we’ll be at the Boyd Center, and at the Summerset at the Frick Community Center from 2pm – 4 pm.
Be sure to bring your own bags.

CORRECTION: Frankferd Farm orders should by placed by July 29th for delivery on the first week of August.  Click on the link above to view their on-line catalog.  We also have hard-copy catalogs available in the barn.  Mention that the orders are to be picked up by Blackberry Meadows Farm.  We’ll have those items available for pickup on the week of August 1.  Email jen@blackberrymeadows.com and let her know if you’ve placed an order for August.  We will bring orders to Phipps, Boyd and Summerset too!
WHo Else?
Frankferd Farms – a natural foods distributor.  Place an order with them once a month and we’ll have it on hand at your CSA pick-up
Wild Purveyors – join their Cheese/mushroom CSA and get speciality PA Cheeses and mushrooms on a monthly basis.
Natrona Bottling Co. – Brewed fresh here in Natrona, this beverage is made from early 1900‘s recipes – before High Fructose Corn Syrup!
Uppity Women Soaps – locally handmade soaps and creams.
Allegro Hearth Bakery- Fresh bread available at the farm pickup only.
Jarosinski Farm – we’re excited to be working with Kevin, a young fellow in Buffalo Township who is tending high quality pasture raised chickens for eggs and meat.
Building New Hope- a great fair-trade coffee with a great cause and always out there to support the local farms.
Kopar Honey Farm – talk about local!  The Kopars keep bees on our farm, as well as many other locations in SW PA.
Clarion River Organics – we purchase potatoes, winter squash and other items from them that we may not be growing this year.
Conneautee Creamery – fresh raw milk cheeses from grass fed cows in Erie County.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK:

Chard Sauté
2 Tbs Pine Nuts
1  Tbs Olive Oil
1 onion coarsely chopped
1 bunch swiss chard (and/or kale) with leaves separated from stalk.
2 Tbs golden raisins
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper

Toast the pine nuts until brown, set aside to cool.
In large skillet heat the oil at a medium heat and add onions and cook until golden brown and soft (about 10 mins)
While the onions are cooking, cut the chard stalks into strips 2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide and tear the leaves into 2-inch pieces.
Add the chard stalks and raisins to the onions and cook them until the stalks are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally while the stalks are cooking. Once tender add the leaves and vinegar, toss all about to coat the leaves with the oil, and cook about 5 minutes or until the leaves are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a serving dish and top with the reserved pine nuts.

from Chowhound.com

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