September 7th 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: Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Green Peppers, Red Italian (Corno Di Toro) Sweet Pepper, Purple Pepper,and squash and…. Ground Cherries/Pineapple Tomatillos!!.

September Days

Have you and your family adjusted to the fall routines?  Kids are back in school, days are getting shorter…. and supposedly cooler.

Life is still the same here on the farm – it’s hard to believe that we are more than 1/2 way through the CSA and are already making plans for next year.  Now’s the time for you to give us some feed back – while opinions and wishes are still fresh in your mind.  If you plan on joining  our CSA next year, what would you like to see more of (keep in mind we still have 7 weeks left and greens will be back in fashion again), less of, how are the newsletters, farm events, produce quality and quantity?  Every couple of years, I’ll pull together a survey for you to fill out – but as most surveys go – only 15% or so members actually fill it out.

It’s so nice to see the fall greens coming up in the fields: Kale, broccoli raab, arugula, baby mustard mixes, radishes, turnips, etc.  Did I mention that our cabbage took a hit?  We transplanted it one rainy evening and the next day it was super hot and all cooked in the sun.  We took quick action and the above mentioned crops were seeded in it’s place.  They look great, albeit in a very rocky portion of the farm!

We also have ground hog/rabbit pressure.  They’ve taken to nibbling through our deer fence and grazing on the crops on the edge.  If you’re vegetarian/vegan/animal rights…. please skip to the next paragraph….  Some folks (with home gardens) ask how we control groundhogs. – we use a variety of traps – but have just been informed of the “Double Bubble Trick”.  I went out and bought a couple bags of bubble gum and Greg traipsed though the multiflora/poison ivy/bittersweet/grapevine tangle of our field edges and found numerous groundhog palaces.  Each hole gets a couple pieces of Double Bubble.  The groundhogs chomp down on the bubble gum and that’s that.  A lot easier for us, than checking traps every day.  As for rabbits….we don’t have a solution for them – although Maggie (our dog), does enjoy a good chase.

We’ve been canning and drying tomatoes  (71 quarts of pizza sauce and/or puree put up) and are trying to get up the gumption to can more whole tomatoes.  If you’re interested in canning some of our orange tomatoes (Dad’s Sunset) – we’re selling 25 lb boxes for $30.  They taste great, cook up to a good sauce, and are pretty!  Just remember to add lemon juice -to keep up the acidity.

Here’s a nice photo my Dad, Allan, took of our cherry tomatoes – what colors!

We need help!

If you or you know someone who has a relatively open schedule – we could use some more volunteer help on the farm.  Specifically, for harvesting: Tuesdays 9 – 1:30 or Fridays 9 – 1:30 (we’ll provide lunch).  For weeding: Mondays, Thursdays or Saturdays – anytime.  Get in touch with Jen@blackberrymeadows.com and let me know if you’re interested! Thanks!!

We’re all about farm immunity here!

Come out to the farm and build your immunity!  There’s nothing like a good lick from a cow!

“More evidence that the key to allergy free kids is giving them plenty of dirt and cows”

Here’s a link to a good cow lick video – Blackberry Meadows Facebook Page.

This month!:  Outdoor Movie Night!! Sept 19th   Please RSVP

 

We’re excited to try out a new idea – we’re going to have an outdoor movie night at the farm.
Our first ever Movie Night will be Babe!  We will try to start it as early as the daylight will allow.  The sun sets around 7 in mid September – so the show will start around 8 pm.  

We’ll provide popcorn – you bring refreshments, a blanket, bug spray. flashlights, and have fun!

The Big Share

We’re collaborating with CHS (Community Human Services) for The Big Share.  A Farm to Table Dinner and Concert.  Saturday October 3rd.  

Go to CHSCorp.org for tickets!

All profits from tickets sold will go towards buying produce (CSA shares) from our farm which we will then, deliver to the CHS food pantry.

If you’re looking for a fancy local dinner that serves multiple good causes, this is the one!  Help benefit our farm and get good, nutritious food to those experiencing Food Insecurity!
Photo Courtesy of Adam Miliron

We need your help! With Garlic!

The great garlic planting is going to be upon us soon – and that means that we need to start “shucking” garlic.  We’ve set aside the biggest and best bulbs of garlic as our “seed garlic” for the fall.  We need help pulling the bulbs apart into cloves.  Ultimately, we need about 10 5 gallon buckets of garlic bulbs.  If you all take a few bundles of garlic home, shuck it  and bring it back next week, that would be great!

In early October, we’ve got Sewickly Academy coming out with about 70 kids.  We’ll have a power planting day with a bunch of student and get the job done in one day!

Family Friendly Days in our Area!

Join us for a day with Farm Family Kindermusik on Saturday morning, September 19th.  (Weather Permitting)

Help Celebrate!  Christa Beck (one of our long-time CSA members) has been teaching Kindermusik in the Alle-Kiski Valley for 15 years now!

Kindermusik

1212 Carlisle Street

Natrona HeightsPA  15065

MOPS Sarver

It’s about time for MOPS to get together soon! Get together with a bunch of great ladies with a passion for life, love and family!  Join their Meet the Moms event on September 2 & 16th.  Click on the link above for more details.  Once the farm slows down, you’ll see Jen and Evelyn at the MOPs meetings too!

Storytime and Lapsit at the Community Library of Allegheny Valley (Natrona Heights

We really enjoy the story time with Ms Judy!  Hope to see you there!

Repeat from last week: Looking to can some Tomatoes?
Of all the different tomatoes we are growing this year – Dad’s Sunset have been the all time best producers.  They are the yellow/gold round slicer tomatoes that we’ve given out the past couple weeks.  

We’ve found, that despite their yellow color, they have an amazing tomatoey taste (I find yellow tomatoes to be more bland and less acidic).  These guys have proven themselves in every way…. amazing BLTs, great in tomato salad (cut up a bunch of tomatoes, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and a bunch of garlic – yum!), and a seriously bulky and colorful paste tomato – yes, they make superb sauce!  

Have I sold you yet?  We will be selling 25 lb boxes of Dad’s sunset for $30 each.  It’s a good deal – organic, heirloom tomatoes – fresh picked and ready for canning.  We retail our tomatoes at $3.50/ lb at market.  We may or may not have regular paste tomatoes later (San Marzanos).  They were planted late and are up on Deer Hill (the east side of the farm without fencing).  If you’re thinking of canning – this may be the only tomato opportunity you’ll get.  Be sure to let jen@blackberrymeadows.com know if you’d like a box or two set aside.

**remember, because they are a yellow tomato, they may be lower in acidity – which means you need to add lemon juice to your jars to raise the acidity!!

Local Goods:

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.
Brenkel’s Organic Farm – in Zelienople, supplies us with a few veggies too. 
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.
Northwoods Ranch – located in Gibsonia area, this farm specialies in all pasture raised, Non-GMO and soy free beef and pork.  They raise heritage breeds of pigs and Highland Cattle for beef.  Currently, we only have ground beef from these guys.
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.   

Mom’s Red Raspberry Jelly (made with our berries and organic sugar!) will be available this week.

Also – we’ve roasted coffee!  We’ll have that for sale too!

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!!

Sincerely,

Your Farmers,

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

 

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