July 13th 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: Scapes (almost done!) carrots, cabbage, chard, purslane, maybe more, but. . . . it’s getting tough out there with all this rain!  

Summer is here, right?

Last week we had about 3 1/2 inches of rain.  This upcoming week looks rather wet too.  After talking with other farmers at the markets and commiserating, it sounds like we’re all going to be in the same boat pretty soon.  The multitude of overcast days (no sun) and cool weather are slowing crop growth and spreading disease.  The excess rain has leached away our fertilizers and we’ll have to side-dress everything for a boost.  Luckily – that deer fence is doing its job and we’re not losing crops to deer as much as we have in the past!

It’s times like this that the strength of “community supported agriculture” comes through.  You all have invested in our farm and are prepared to take the good with the bad.  I’m starting to worry that harvests may be lean for a couple of weeks until some crops come in:  Our tomatoes are looking great (no Late Blight, knock on wood) and the beans are full of flowers.

We’ve got watermelons, cantaloupes, and winter squash coming along – but no where near harvesting stage.  Our summer squash, cucumbers, and peppers are looking good, but still need a few more weeks till harvest.  We will most likely buy in some items to fill the CSA until our crops bring things up to par.  It’s stressful, and not fun to have something so out of control as soggy, weedy fields and a bunch of folks depending on us!

So far you all have been supportive (and seem happy with your shares), but I’m anxious about that coming to a screeching halt and you not prepared for the real reason why.  We hope to make up for any deficit in the CSA later in the season.

Hopefully this isn’t too much of a downer newsletter – I try to keep it real and not overly sanguine!

Sam had friends visit from Brooklyn NY this weekend.  They pushed up their sleeves and put a hurtin’ on the weeds in our bean patch.  We’ve got 8 triple rows of yellow wax and royal burgundy beans on their way to fruition!  Thanks guys!!

CSA Potluck July 18th

Please click on this link https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blackberry-meadows-summer-potluck-tickets-17665562172 to attend our CSA potluck.  It’s  free event – but by signing  up through eventbrite, we can help determine what kinds of dishes we’ll have.

The last potluck was a raging success and we hope this one will be too!!  Hopefully the weather will be nice for us!

Invite friends, bring kids, games, picnic blankets/ chairs and an appetite!

Did you see Sundays Paper?  We’re in the news!


Play Date at the Farm!

Starting on the first friday in August (the 7th), we’ll be hosting a playdate here at the farm.  More details to come – but in general, we’d like to invite you and you’re kids (2 1/2 – 8 years old?) to come out to the farm for a play date.  If you’re a CSA member and would like your kids to get more “farm time” getting dirty, visiting animals and playing on the farm for a couple of hours, you’re invited.  We’ll see how this goes and then decide what kind of structure and time frame works best for us all.  Check in with me if you think you and your kids will attend!

Pasture Raised Beef:

We are going to take a Heifer to be processed this week.  If you’re interested in buying some pasture raised grass fed beef – let me know.  It won’t be ready until next week or the week after.  Again, like the piggies, you can buy a 1/4 or a 1/2 of the heifer.  We’re charging $3.50 per lb hanging weight.  You’ll then have to pay the processing fee.  This is our first time having a heifer processed, so I’m  not sure what to expect weight wise – but I’m thinking she’ll come out to a hanging weight of 400-500 lbs…??  Let me know if you’re interested!

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:

Something you’ll be getting this week – which you may not be used to is Purslane.  Its a super green that is just becoming popular.  Here’s a nice recipe for Purslane and Parsley salad.

It’s a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids.  “Purslane is somewhat crunchy and has a slight lemony taste. Some people liken it to watercress or spinach, and it can substitute for spinach in many recipes. Young, raw leaves and stems are tender and are good in salads and sandwiches. They can also be lightly steamed or stir-fried. Purslane’s high level of pectin (known to lower cholesterol) thickens soups and stews.”

from: Mother Earth News:

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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