Week 10 – August 22

Ever wake up to find that your tomato plant is completely defoliated?  Look hard enough and you’ll find a pinky sized caterpillar munching away on the leaves (and fruit).  The Tomato Hornworm can quickly destroy a tomato plant in a night or two – it takes a good eye to find them camouflaged in the plant – look for recent damage and fresh ‘droppings’.  While we’re picking tomatoes, we’ll scout for the hornworms and squash them.   As a stronger defense, if it seems we’re infested, we’ll spray our tomato patch with Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) which is a bacteria that produces crystalline structures that kill soft bodied insects, like caterpillars.  On top of that, we rely on mother nature to do her thing.  The white egg sacks on the hornworm in the picture above, are from a parasitic wasp from the Braconidae family.  They lay eggs on the host, which then hatch and consume the caterpillar from the inside out!  Amazing!  We’ve hardly found a hornworm on our tomatoes that isn’t hosting a family of wasp eggs on its back!  When we can, we like to stand back and watch our farm ecology stay in balance on its own, with little interference from us.

ANIMALS ON THE FARM

Just a quick note to let you know that we are sold out of chicken. As I mentioned last week, we expect this current batch to be ready around mid-September.

Tomorrow is a big day for these ‘teenagers’. They’re graduating from the brooder and moving out to pasture! We’ll wait until dark as they’re very calm and mellow when they’re sleeping. Then we’ll pack them up in crates and move them out. We’ll place them gently in their new homes in the field shelters and they’ll wake up the next morning in a whole new world.

We can’t wait to see how this new breed does on pasture. I’m sure their eyes will light up at the sight of all that fresh green grass. Moving a new batch outside is always exciting. We love to watch them explore, chase bugs and eat grass.

We’re expecting new arrivals this week and I’m looking forward to telling you about it next time.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Our friend, Patrick Weakland, from Harmony Hill Farm has offered to provide us with 100% grass-fed ground beef from his farm.  It’s a top quality product – and although not certified organic, he doesn’t use herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics.  We’re selling batches of 6 – 7 lbs ( in roughly 1 lb bag increments) of ground beef for $6/lb.  If you’d like to order a batch (6 – 7 lbs $36 – $42) of ground beef, please email jen@blackberrymeadows.com and we’ll put your name on the list.  First come, first served – so let us know soon!  We’ll have your order on hand on the 31st or at your first pick up thereafter.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS!!! The CSA POTLUCK PICNIC is scheduled for SEPTEMBER 17th!

We’re attending the Red Ripe & Roasted Festival at Phipps on August 28th.  We’ll have our various heirloom tomatoes on display and will be bragging about having the strongest garlic around!  Come down and visit with us!
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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.
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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.

Frankferd Farm orders should be placed by August 31 for delivery on the first week of September.  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 September 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.
Riverview Dairy – local artisan made goat cheeses (Chevre and feta).
Flower & Bee – a new grower on our farm is growing and selling beautiful bouquets and is happy to supply your events with seasonal flowers.

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