Six new smiling faces joined the CFF crew this Spring. This year, we have both apprentices and seasonal workers to help with our increased vegetable production and larger flocks of laying hens, new broiler flocks and cattle. As time goes on, you’ll get to learn a little bit about each of them here in the Round Up. It’s going to be a great season!
Starting May 11th we will be open for Volunteers! Help out, say hi to old friends and meet new ones here at the farm.
When: Every Wednesday and Saturday morning in season
Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Where: 6127 Mechanicsville Road, Mechanicsville, PA 18934
Please wear comfortable clothes and appropriate footwear. Be prepared to get a little dirty! We provide tools, gloves, and beverages. Please Note: Minors 15 and younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Phil Haynes, Assistant Livestock Manager
I was born and raised in Northern New Jersey and went to Connecticut College for a liberal arts undergraduate degree, where I studied Anthropology and Botany. I got into farming in college and used my time there to study history of food, migration and agriculture.
As a first generation farmer, I didn’t grow up around barns and infrastructure at all, so I like to learn about the old systems that farmers used to do their work before agriculture was fossil fuel dependent. One of the old relics on the farm is the corn crib. I often go into this old barn during my lunch break to explore or to find inspiration from the farmers who worked this land many years ago. We call this barn the “corn crib”, because its main function was to store the season’s corn harvest so it could be fed to livestock through the winter and keep the farm alive. Without animals, the farm would lose its resident source of fertility. In those days, livestock were crucial to a farm’s ability to build soil and grow food year after year. The corn crib is what we would today call a “gravity bin” – a large vessel capable of holding thousands of pounds of grain with a hatch at the bottom for feed to pour out.
When the farm existed as a dairy, the old timers had to come up with energy efficient and ergonomic ways to work using what they had. Before WWII, Americans didn’t live in the energy abundant society that we live in today; resources were limited, people took care of their things – they didn’t throw stuff out, they fixed it. Farmers didn’t have fuel or electricity for every job on a small farm, they were dependent on human and animal power for almost everything and they created systems that reflected that.
After a couple weeks of scooping chicken feed out of a 1 ton, tote I had an idea to elevate the grain so we weren’t breaking our backs to feed the birds. The funny part is that I hadn’t yet seen the corn crib, but I was thinking the same way as the farmers who were here a long time ago. Now that I’ve seen it, I also realize that our Head Groundskeeper, Brian, modeled the design of our DIY gravity bin with a nod to the old corn crib.
Another unique feature of this old dairy barn is the rail system that is tied into the cross beams of the main floor of the barn. The cement troughs on the ground floor collected the manure from the cows and would be shoveled into a bin that hung off the rail. The trolley would be pushed through the stalls all the way to the barn door where a pulley system would empty the manure bin into a larger vessel. The system was also designed with multiple tracks to allow the trolley to travel through the different sections of the barn for easy access.
I’d say most farmers today are inclined to use equipment and fossil fuels to get around the farm and work, myself included. There’s never enough time to get everything done that needs to happen in a day, and machinery allows us to accomplish jobs that much more quickly. I’m not romanticizing the past, but there’s still something to be said for the age-old way of farming and we’d be foolish to turn our backs on the human and animal powered systems that have allowed our species to farm and grow for the last 10,000 years. In fact, some anthropologists would argue that modern agriculture was our species worst invention and is ultimately to blame for all of our human-induced environmental problems. We’re seeing a rapid increase in the effects of climate change since the advent of industrial agriculture; I think there are lessons to be learned from our ancestors either way. We can learn from the ways that they worked and cared for the land, and we can also learn from their more recent mistakes and missteps, and hopefully change things for the better.
By Sam Berenstain
In the winter, I get asked the much-pondered question “what do farmers do?”. It is time for a rest, but not a break. The work stays heavy and rigorous, but the pace slows down as though the earth is telling us to reset our bodies to be ready for Spring. Planning is the most important task at hand during the Winter. Without a detailed and thoughtful crop plan, we could not accomplish the work we do during the growing season. Planning takes time, it is not easy. Is it less work than scuffle hoeing ¼ acre of carrots? Depends on whom you ask.
Rigorous planning happens in all departments at the farm. Craig and Phil develop the livestock plan. Kyle works closely with the head farmers to develop the larger scale seeding rotations and integrated seed cocktails for pasture, hay, and cover crop. Brian plans out his maintenance schedule for the grounds. James, Steve, and I are in charge of the vegetable crop plan. All departments come together to focus on a single goal; how can we best serve our donation partners? After scheduled meetings with each Head Chef and Executive Director of our partner organizations, we then feel ready to plan for our season to come. Receiving feedback from the organizations we serve is our greatest tool to achieving our mission every year. As winter comes to an end, so does our planning. It is finally time to fire up the greenhouse, dust off the germination chamber, clean and sharpen tools, and embrace the slightly longer days and slightly busier schedule.
February 24th marked the first day of seeding in the greenhouse. Alliums are always up first on the greenhouse schedule. Leeks, chives, and shallots all made their debut in the germination chamber. Onions are in the greenhouse for a little over eight weeks, which is why we start them so early. Next up is celery root, collards, and kale. Moving quickly onto head lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and all of the fun summer crops. 2019 is going to be an exciting year for us. We have ginger and turmeric in the plan, two very long and large high tunnels being constructed for year-round production, and have set some ambitious production goals for ourselves based directly off of the Chefs wish lists from our donation partners. It will be a busy year to say the least. I am personally looking forward to a special project we are working on with Face to Face.
Face to Face started as a soup kitchen in the late 1980’s. They have evolved into a “multi-service organization that offers free human services to more than 2,500 low income and homeless individuals each year”. When I first visited the organization, I was excited to learn that they have a fairly substantial community garden where they grow a variety of vegetables for the kitchen. This winter were asked to provide advice and guidance as they hope to boost production for 2019. CFF is going to grow a large portion of their transplants needed this year including tomatillos, collard greens, kale, swiss chard, a variety of sweet peppers and heirloom tomatoes, and plenty of herbs for Chef Altenor. I love seeing community members devote their time to volunteer, get dirty, and grow healthy food for others.
Winter has come to an end. Plans are being put into action. Seeds are germinating. On the horizon we see more mushroom logs being inoculated, mobile poultry coupes being put to use, ginger sprouting, and a crew of happy farmers diving in for a new season.
Carversville Farm Foundation is pleased to announce that our organic pastured-raised eggs will be available for purchase at the Lumberville General Store in addition to The Carversville Kitchen (formerly Max Hansen’s).
The Store is located at 3741 River Rd, Lumberville, PA 18933.
Beginning in late May, we are moving our Saturday Farm Stand to the Lumberville General Store from 9am to 2pm.
Starting May 30th, we will also be at the Lower Gwynedd Farmer’s Market at Ambler Yards on Thursday afternoons from 3pm-7pm.
The market is located at 300 Brookside Ave., Ambler Pa 19002 . Please stay tuned for more information.
All proceeds from these sales are put directly back into our food donations to local soup kitchens and food pantries.
|Beef Bones||124 pounds|
|Bolar Steak||23 pounds|
|Boneless Sirloin||60 pounds|
|Beef Tenderloin||28 pounds|
|Chuck Roast||59 pounds|
|Eye Round Roast||133 pounds|
|Ground Beef||1,083 pounds|
|Flank Steak||4 pounds|
|London Broil||28 pounds|
|Minute Steak||16 pounds|
|Rib Roast||144 pounds|
|Short Ribs||69 pounds|
|Sirloin Steak||33 pounds|
|Sirloin Tip||47 pounds|
|Skirt Steak||5 pounds|
|Strip Steak||54 pounds|
|T-Bone Steak||23 pounds|
|GRAND TOTAL||3,599 pounds|
For this season, we are looking for a seasonal part time Assistant Groundskeeper and a seasonal part time Delivery Driver. If you or anyone you know is interested, please visit our website at www.carversvillefarm.org/#careers to learn more.
Carversville Farm Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Grab your CFF hoodie! Sizes range from Small to X-Large. Sweatshirts are $35.00 and we accept cash, check, or credit card. Merchandise can be purchased directly from the farm by contacting Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, 100% of the proceeds go to feed the needy in our own backyards.
By partnering with several Bucks County food pantries, Broad Street Ministry, Coalition Against Hunger, Cathedral Kitchen and Face to Face, people throughout the Philadelphia area are benefiting from our nutritious harvest.