2015 Spring CSA Share Week #3

This week’s featured farm is Blackberry Meadows Farm:

Blackberry Meadows Farm is an 85-acre organic farm located in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.  After meeting in grad school, Jen Montgomery and Greg Boulos purchased the farm in 2008 and began their lives as organic farmers.

Jen was able to take a few moments out of her busy schedule and answered a few questions.  We enjoyed reading her response and hope that you do too!

Is there anything that you would like to tell consumers/members that they may not understand about growing?

Most farmers do everything on their farm:  They are marketers, bookkeepers, web designers, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, agronomists, biologists, horticulturists, road workers, landscapers, therapists, motivational speakers, etc.  It takes every waking hour to keep a farm functioning smoothly.  When you see us smiling at market – remember what it took to get there

When you see us smiling at market, being mindful of what it takes us to get there (when you haggle over fifty cents) .


How do you make it work being a full time farmer and mother?
It’s not easy and it’s not always fun.  I’ve certainly stepped back a lot on the farm.  Now that our daughter is 3 1/2 years old, she’s more independent and tolerant of some of the farm tasks and has more staying power in the fields.  Greg has taken on more of the farm load and we try to have apprentices that can help defray the workload and responsibility.  Thank goodness for our parents, they watch our daughter a couple days throughout the week.
It’s an amazing place to raise a family, I can’t think of anything better.  Someone asked me what we do for family fun….. I was stumped.  We work long days, hardly see each other as a family except for short stints throughout the day.  We work 6 days a week and still have to be around for the animals on Sundays too.  We do watch fireflies, swim in the pond, play with baby bunnies, get dirty, grow things, run freely around the farm, watch the barn swallows grow, eat raspberries and forage for wild edibles.  Each day is an adventure and we make sure to take time out with our daughter, to slow down and be a part of the amazing diversity of life that’s going on at the farm,.
What is a positive way that working with your husband has impacted your relationship?

I think that Greg and I balance each other out.  And working together has really exacerbated that difference.  He’s intense and always thinking ahead.  I’m calm and always trying to keep the train moving.  I hear that it’s often hard for couples to be in business together, but in general, I think it’s great for both of us.  We’re not the type to clock in and out of a job…. we’d rather just keep busy doing things, whether it’s farming, fixing things, being crafty or cooking.  We don’t sit down until we lay down for the night.  I’m sure, not having a TV around makes keeping busy a lot easier.

With the abundance of fresh produce on the farm, do you find time to cook?  If so (or not) what’s a typical dinner like for you? 


A Route

Z Route

ramps, Nu Way Farm

ramps, Nu Way Farm

chèvre, River View Farm

chèvre, River View Farm

apple cider, Kistaco Farm

applesauce, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

cornmeal, Clarion River Organics (OG)

1 dozen eggs, Jubilee Hilltop Ranch

hydroponic lettuce, Harmony Grove Farm

hydroponic lettuce, Harmony Grove Farm

cherry belle radishes, Nu Way Farm

white potatoes, Blue Goose Farm

tomatillo salsa, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

tomatillo salsa, Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

**Vegan and gluten free A Route members will receive pac choi, pea shoots and/or chives in place of the chèvre and cornmeal.

**Vegan Z Route members will receive pac choi, peas shoots and chives in place of the eggs and chèvre.

 Click HERE to check your delivery route



Ramps – Ramps are wild leeks but they taste like garlicky onions. They’re delicious with pasta, eggs or made into pesto.

Nu Way Farm 

Store:  Keep ramps in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. If you notice that they are wet, place a paper towel in the bag to absorb some of the moisture.

Recipe: Ramp and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese, Ramp Omelet, Pasta with Ramps, 22 Recipes Using Ramps





River View Farm

Store:  Keep chèvre in refrigerator or freezer, it freezes very well.

Recipe: Mixed Greens with Pecans, Goat Cheese and Dried CranberriesCreamy Goat Cheese Polenta




Apple Cider

Kistaco Farm

Store:  In refrigerator





Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

Store:  Refrigerate after opening.






Clarion River Organics

Store:  Cornmeal should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. For prolonged freshness store in the freezer.

Recipe:  Southern Cornbread (with or without ramps)





Jubilee Hilltop Ranch

Store:  In refrigerator




bibb lettucecrop

Hydroponic Lettuce

Harmony Grove Farm

Store:  Keep lettuce in the refrigerator. Place in a sealed plastic bag to prevent wilting.




cherryBelleRadishCherry Belle Radishes

Nu Way Farm

Store:  To keep your radishes fresh for as long as possible, separate your radishes from their greens and store them in separate plastic bags in your refrigerator. Don’t throw away your greens, they’re delicious too!

Recipe: Radishes with Butter and Sea Salt, Ramp Tartines with Ricotta and Radish & Ramp Pesto, Sauteed Radishes with Peas and Mint



White Potatoes

Blue Goose Farm

Store:  Keep potatoes in a cool, dark place with plenty of air circulation away from garlic, shallots and onions. 




tomatillo salsa

Tomatillo Salsa

Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance

Store:  Refrigerate after opening

Recipe:  Salsa Verde Chicken Bake




Pac Choi

Crighton Farm

Store: Keep pac choi in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.





Pea Shoots

Pucker Brush Farm

Store:   Keep unwashed pea shoots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Wash before eating.




Aaron Tait Photography


Pucker Brush Farm

Store:  Keep chives in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.



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