June 22nd 2015 Newsletter

The Weekly Menu

What you can roughly expect to receive each week:

Here’s where we list what is going to be in the weekly shares.  What we think we will harvest when writing the newsletter – may not necessarily be what’s actually ready on harvest day.  We’ll do our best to get it right!

This week:  Kale, Bok Choy, Lettuce, Herbs, Turnip/Greens, Garlic Scapes, and possibly cilantro.  We also may be able to pull together enough Kohlrabi for everyone.  If not, we’ll wait until next week.

When will the rain end?

In comparison to what else is going on in the rest of the world, we really can’t complain.  

That said, I will complain a little bit about the weather.  This past weekend we had a deluge of over 6 inches of rain within 48 hours.  Our farm is a soggy-wet-muddy mess!  Don’t let the image above confuse you – that rain gauge says 3 1/2″ – but that was just in between downpours.  

The pros of rain: we don’t have it irrigate the crops!  In general, they really love a good soaking.  Our cool season crops are loving it!  The lettuce, bok choy and kale are kicking butt!

The cons of rain: we can’t get into the fields with our tractors (they’ll compact the wet soil), if we could use the tractors we could cultivate the crops – getting ahead of the weeds, we could till the fields – prepping them for planting, we could plant cover crops to build our organic matter.  Instead, we’re hand transplanting and hand weeding.  

It seems to be the general trend for the past 4 or 5 years.  Spring is way too wet – then we get a dry spell.  We just have to go with the flow and do the best we can.  It’s hard to not get overwhelmed with the volume of work that we need to accomplish here.  It’s a big job – but somebodies got to do it!

For those of you who are picking up your CSA share for the first time this week:

If you’re coming to the farm to pick up: stop at the barn (at 7115 Ridge Rd) it will be open from 11am – 7 pm.  Just park by the old wooden barn and come in.  We’ll check your name off and give you an intro to our CSA system.  Bring your own bag please!

If you’re picking up at the Phipps Farmers Market: we’ll be at our market stand from 2:30pm – 6:30pm.   Swing by and pick up your veggies.  Bring your own bags please!  If you’d like us to bring down items that we sell in the barn – just let jen@blackberrymeadows.com know.  Each newsletter will list the items we have for sale.

If you’re picking up at the Mt Lebanon Farmers Market: We’ll be at our market stand on Saturday from 9 am – 12 pm.   Swing by and pick up your veggies.  Bring your own bags please!  If you’d like us to bring down items that we sell in the barn – just let jen@blackberrymeadows.com know.  Each newsletter will list the items we have for sale.

If you’re picking up at the Boyd Community Center, on Powers Run Rd: we’ll be there from 9 – 11 am.  We’re on the playground side of the building – in the little porch/alcove entrance into the building.  There’s some serious construction going on there now – so things may change – but we’ll keep you posted.  Bring your own bags and let me know if you’d like us to bring items for sale from the barn.  Just let jen@blackberrymeadows.com know.  Each newsletter will list the items we have for sale.

**If you’ve signed up for a 1/2 share:  If you haven’t picked up yet, then this is your week!  You are now considered an “even” share and should pick up your CSA this Wednesday and every other week after.

If you’ve signed up for a summer share, fall share, or winter share – (meaning you start later than the rest of the CSA members):  We’ll let you know when your first pick up will be.

Local Goods:

Frankferd Farms – These guys are great!  What a treasure to have here in Western PA – A distributer of natural and organic goods!!  Place an order with them at the end of the month and we’ll have it on hand at your next CSA pick-up.  Give Jen a heads up that you placed an order.

Natrona Bottling Co. – Brewed fresh here in Natrona, this beverage is High Fructose Corn Syrup Free and Local!  If you’re gonna eat junk food – it might as well be local junk food!

Allegro Hearth Bakery Fresh bread and sweets available at the farm pickup only.  Made fresh every Tuesday night – amazing stuff!

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.

Kopar Honey Farm – talk about local!  The Kopars keep bees on our farm, as well as other locations in southwestern, PA.

Clarion River Organics – we purchase potatoes, watermelon, winter squash and other items from them that we may not be growing this year.

Conneautee Creamery – Artisan cheeses made from grass fed cows.

Harmony Hill Farm – supplies us with pasture raised, grass fed beef.  We’ll have ground beef on hand at $7/lb.

Hunter Farms –  keeps us supplied with the best Certified Organic Blueberries  around.  They usually start up in July.  

Una Biological – creams, salves, and balms.  All made in small batches, with organic and some locally sourced ingredients.

Value added from the Farm

We dabble in a few hand crafted items.  We’ll purchase fair trade, organic, green coffee beans and roast them in our wood oven.  

We also make cheese, yogurt, butter, ice cream, chocolate milk, kefir, sour cream, ricotta, skim milk and full fat milk.  If you’d like to purchase any of our raw grass-fed dairy products, you must become a member of C.A.R.E. first – just $20 a year for membership.   Ask Jen for more details.  We have limited supplies.  

We just made some fantastic Garlic Salt this spring.  Mixed with high quality Himalayan Salt – it’s great for a seasoning on most meals and as an addition to popcorn!

Try our Dulce De Leche!  Look in the frozen section for $3.50  1/2 lb packages of homemade sweetness.  Made with milk from our lovely cows and organic sugar and lots of time.

Culinary Tips and Tricks:

Cooking and Preserving ideas – among other culinary hints for produce from the farm:

Here’s where we will provide you with our favorite recipes for some of the produce you will be getting each week.  We’ll also provide links to other helpful websites.  Feel free to share your recipes with us and we’ll pass them around our CSA community!

Last week I included a couple links to recipes for Garlic Scapes.  You’ll be getting them again this week – so do your research.  At the very least, just chop and use in place of garlic and/or onions.  

Now, onto Bok Choy.  One of my favorite Asian Greens, Bok Choy has a crispy stem and a mild flavored greens.  It’s good in a stir-fry or coated in toasted sesame oil and roasted in the oven.  Here’s a link to Martha Stewart’s recipes for Bok Choy and they all sound pretty tasty!

Pigs – we’ll be getting some little piggies soon – hopefully the beginning of this week.  They are great little composers and will eat up a ton of our veggie scraps.  We run them through the woods to root up acorns and help control the edge growth on our fields.   We feed them certified non-gmo grain and they get as much sun, fresh air and clean water has they can handle.  

We’l be selling them by the 1/2 or 1/4 hog.  And they won’t be ready until November or December.  Last year we sold them for around $4 hanging weight (we’ll stick close to that price this year).  This means that, on top of the $4 +/- that you’ll pay us,  you’ll also be paying the butcher to cut and wrap the hog into whatever pieces you desire.  We’ll work that out later.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you are interested in purchasing a 1/4, 1/2 or whole hog, as we’ll be getting them soon!  We are asking for a $100 deposit.  

Thanks for choosing our CSA.  We strive to grow nutrient dense, wholesome foods for you.  We think what we do is hard work – but important for our family, friends, and community.  There’s a few things that we find important: growing good food, participating in the local economy, being good stewards to the environment, providing our community with access to a farm, farm animals and the outdoors, and teaching new and beginning farmers what we know.  By being a CSA member and supporting our endeavors, you’re helping us to achieve our goals.  Thanks!!


Your Farmers,Greg, Jen, Evelyn, Matt, Sam, Dawn and Haven

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