A Busy Week at Harvest Time

Here’s what’s happening today the rest of this week…

– Whole Foods Farmer’s Market 4 – 7pm, come to whole foods and get as much local produce as you want! We’ll be there and so will many other farms from around the area.

– Garden work, tonight and every Wednesday, 6 – 8pm, corner of Cornwall and Wicklow in Garfield, as long as it’s not pouring down rain!

– Thursday, 4 – 7, Garfield Farm Stand, outside Penn Aiken Dairy. We close up shop if it’s a heavy rain, otherwise come see us! Lots of veggies still to be had.

– Saturday, Shadyside Presbyterian Church Volunteer day at the farm. 9 – noon, email me if you want to join us, john(at)pghopendoor.org

Work at the Farm, 9/23

photoTonight you are all invited to come out to our little farm, do some work, and bring home some veggies. Same as every Wednesday from 6 – 8pm (as long as it’s not raining).

Tonight we’ll be working on three things…
1. spreading mulch
2. building beds for our little green house
3. weeding, weeding and more weeding

Hope to see you!

$.79 Cents for a Whole Chicken?

2 Hot Dogs at Sheetz only cost $.99? 5 Roast Beef Sandwiches for $5.95 at Arby’s…I’m thinkin…Nope! Whole chicken’s for $.79 a pound at Sparkle? Not after reading this article.
My Dad was a wise man.  I still hear him speak about the true cost of things.  “People will drive an extra 10 total miles across town to save $.03 per gallon for 18 gallons of gas.  Don’t people realize that is only a savings of $.54?”  Then he would go on to talk about the high price of cars and how much it costs per mile to drive them. (If you buy a car for $15,000.  Drive it for 4 years and 50,000 miles.  Sell it for $5,000.  That equals a cost of $.20 per mile…and that doesn’t include gas, new tires, brakes, car wash, etc…)  He emphasized a realism that I can’t escape.  We need to know the real value of what we spend our money on!
I won’t start talking about the price of a college education (where the average student changes career direction 3+ time…expensive journey in vocational exploration…Mel has never earned a penny that is attributed to her degree), the cost of the Dallas Cowboy’s Stadium (5,500 sq. ft. beer storage room!), or $4 to throw two darts at a balloon only to receive (and proceed to either celebrate wildly or complain about for hours or both) a foam snake from the local street fair.  These are expensive examples that offer little in long-term value.
The flip-side is true too.  How can we pay so little for a can of tuna (caught off the coast of Japan, cut into pieces, canned, and shipped to our grocery stores)?  Do you realize, because of how they are processed together and packaged, we are getting pieces of 50+ fish in each can for less than $1?  How can they do that?  Or, how can we get what look to be strawberries in January that cost the same as a quart of juicy strawberries from the local farm stand in late June?
One last point in this tirade is a quote from an article I read from the July issue of The Stockman Grass Farmer (pg. 9).  “The Truthful Labeling Coalition estimates that American consumers annually spend an estimated $2 billion for added salt water in commercial grade chickens, the Wall Street Journal reported.  Currently, roughly one-third of fresh chicken sold in the USA is ‘plumped’ with water, salt and sometimes a seaweed extract that helps the meat retain the water (and add flavor).”  Not only is this chicken sold on sale at our grocery store for $.79 per pound but the actual cost the consumer is paying for chicken, after considering the 10% added water is around $.71/lb.  Of course this doesn’t count the neck and gibblets that add weight and usually is thrown away because “What do you do with that?”  Wow.
In light of this, I don’t mind charging $3 per pound for our chicken.  The value comes in many forms: high in Omega 3 fats and cancer fighting acids called Conjugated Linoliac Acids (CLAs), raised in sunshine eating bugs and local grains, handled with care and processed humanely because our name is represented with our birds (do you know who grows or processes grocery store chickens?), returns value to the soil that future animals will be raised on (our waste management is not a negative process like factory farms), allows us to keep going in using this farm to teach people (college students and beyond) that in God’s economy, all things were meant to flourish…including the customer!
You don’t need to buy from us.  Just consider the costs before buying cheap…you might actually spend much more than you think.
Thanks for reading…Don’t forget that article from Time Magazine.
Steve Montgomery

Penn Aiken Dairy

Last Thursday was our first attempt at selling produce outside the Penn Aiken Dairy. The Penn Aiken Dairy is an interesting spot. The store is a centerpiece in the Garfield neighborhood, everyone goes their to get everything, candy, ice cream, lunch meat, cigarettes, even beer! So, it’s a prime location for us to sell veggies outside of, lots of foot traffic and all Garfield residents. The owner was reluctant at first, until I mentioned that we are made up of two churches working to grow food in Garfield and for Garfield. Now he seems very excited to help us. He called yesterday to see how it went last week. The shoppers were interested in our food, we sold a decent amount, all at low prices. We were joined by Maria from Healcrest Farm, which allowed us to take food stamps, which was very cool.

We’ll try this location again this week, so come on out and visit us from 4 – 7pm on Thursday night.