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NEWS AND BLOG

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 9/24/2013 7:48am by Jennifer.

You can really tell this is the first week of fall.  The nights sure do get chilly, especially in the low-lying valley where our farm is situated.  We tend to get frosts much earlier than other farms in the area.  Some crops love the cool weather and actually thrive in it - spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.  But other more tender vegetation, such as green beans and peppers, need to be covered on cool nights.  We use large pieces of row cover fabric for this.  Applying this is no simple task, requiring at least four individuals to assist with rolling out the fabric, pulling it over the crop while fighting the wind, and securing it around the perimeter with shovelfuls of dirt.  Depending on the type of crop and ground conditions, this fabric may have to be pulled back in the morning to aid in proper ventilation and reapplied at night to protect against the cold. 

 

 

 

Posted 9/9/2013 9:34pm by Jennifer.

We began harvesting our crop of leeks this week.  Leeks are slow to mature.   We sow seeds in the greenhouse in January, transplant into the field in the spring, and then harvest in late summer, which requires much patience and cooperation from mother nature.  Here's a picture of one of workers, Kyle, harvesting leeks for our CSA members.

 

While we were harvesting the leeks, we couldn't help but notice the cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower plants that are sharing the same field.  They are coming on beautifully.  There is virtually no damage from pests or weeds.  It may be odd, but to me it is breathtaking.  The heads of cabbages look as though they are massive blooms floating atop the earth.  When I see this I thank God, not just for the nutritious food that He gives us, but also for the thoughtful ways He presents them - like a bouquet to brighten my day!

Posted 8/26/2013 8:56pm by Jennifer.

This past week was very hectic with CSA baskets, wholesale orders and farmers' markets, but it all came to a satisfying end when we participated in Phipps Conservatory's Annual Tomato and Garlic Festival on Sunday.  Yes, this event is always full of delicious cooking demonstrations, engaging speakers on the subjects of gardening and cuisine, and of course Phipps' beautiful flower displays.  But, for us, the highlight of the day is knowing that it is all for a good cause - the Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank (GPCFB).  Patrons wanting to gain free admission to Phipps can simply bring fresh produce, or purchase it at the onsite farmers' market, and donate it the GPCFB.  This is a wonderful event that takes place every August.  Be sure to check it out next August!

We work with local foodbanks and pantries throughout the year by donating not only produce, but also vegetable seedlings in the spring for area community gardens.  Growing food is our passion for so many reasons.  It keeps you close to family and the local community.  I love being able to work with my children close by every day, and teaching them to respect the earth, wildlife, family and friends - values that we hold dear and can be lacking at times in the current fast-paced, dog-eat-dog world we're living in.  I like seeing my neighbors on a regular basis and catching up with our regular patrons at farmers' markets - over the weeks they have become our friends.  The hard work it entails keeps one humble and requires that you not only appreciate God's gifts of nature, but learn how to work with them.  It is gratifying to be able to give our community yet another option when it comes to their food source.  When my children are grown, I hope that they will still be able to obtain fresh, local, nutritious food from people they know and trust - not just what is made available to them by some unknown, box-store executive whose main concern is money, and not healthy food.  We want this for all people - from children to the elderly.  This is why we donate to foodbanks and pantries.  All people have the right to healthy food, and it is right to share the abundance of food that we have been blessed with.

Posted 8/19/2013 8:50pm by Jennifer.

This week we were pleasantly surprised to find this farm friend in our field of San Marzano paste tomatoes...a beneficial garden spider.

Garden Spider

We are always extremely happy to see these and other beneficial insects making our fields their home - for two reasons.  1.) They are predators of other harmful pests.  2.) They are a positive indicator of the health of our soil.  I know some people hate spiders, but in the garden you gotta love these guys!

Lettuces Ready for Harvest

This week we are harvesting our next field of lettuces.  This includes green leaf, red leaf, red oak leaf, and romaine varieties.  These will go to our CSA members, our wholesale customers, and farmers' markets throughout the area.  This mid-summer harvest of lettuces is one out of the ordinary plus of the relatively cool weather we've had over the last several weeks. 

Posted 8/6/2013 5:55am by Jennifer.

This week at the farm was a time for tying up loose ends - both figuratively and literally.

The mad frenzy of the sowing/transplanting season is coming to an end.  We prefer to not transplant anything after the first week of August, but this growing season has not been the norm, so we sowed seeds that will become our last harvest in the fall (Keep your fingers crossed). These seeds will sprout into seedlings that will be transplanted into the field the last week of August.

We also finished tying up the tomatoes in our high tunnel.  These beauties will provide our customers with delicious tomatoes later into the season than their counterparts out in the field.  And it's a convenient spot for grabbing a little snack on a hot afternoon!

So, even though there is still tons of harvesting, packing, delivering, and planning left to do, for us at the farm this time of year seems like the perfect time to stop and exhale! 

Posted 7/29/2013 9:09am by Jennifer.
Hope you all are enjoying this break from the hot weather.  I love it, but I think our veggies could use a little more heat to push things along.  In general this year our crops are somewhat behind schedule.  This is due to a couple of reasons:
 

(1) This spring was relatively cold, especially compared to last year's unusual warmth.  Since our farm is down in a valley, we tend to get late frosts, and were therefore unable to get things started early.

(2) This summer has been very wet.  At the farm we received over 9" of rain in the month of June.  Talk about soggy and muddy.  This made it extremely difficult to get crops transplanted.  It also made it difficult to cultivate established crops, keeping weeds at bay.  Since our farm is in a low lying area, our fields are slow to dry out.  In fact we lost our first three fields of sweet corn, and approximately half of our tomato field to the large amount of rain water that fell and accumulated in those fields. 

For those of you that love our sweet corn, it's coming - just a little later than usual.  We hope to have some in mid to late August.
 
I thought some of you may be interested in knowing more about the steps we take at the farm to get the fresh produce to you every week, so I thought I'd start posting to our blog every week to give you a peek inside the workings of the farm.

This past Saturday morning, after picking and loading for three markets, we hurried to get our sweet onions pulled before more rain arrived.  The onions are not as large as we would like, and we would prefer to let them harden in the field, but we cannot risk them rotting in the wet fields.  I've included pictures of them drying on several open mesh tables.  You'll be getting some of these in your baskets this week


We also were able to get our next planting of lettuces, kohlrabi, broccoli, and cauliflower transplanted in the morning drizzle.  I've included a picture of the lettuces.

When we dug up potatoes this week we made an interesting find.  A heart-shaped potato.  The kids thought it was the coolest thing.

 
 
 

Have a great week!
Posted 9/29/2011 7:32am by Chris.

Brunton's Dairy is back to doing what they do best...producing the freshest, tastiest milk around.  We will once again be carrying Brunton's milk starting October 5th!  Stop by to get milk, fresh free-range brown eggs, fall produce and decorating needs!