Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Chicken Share Sign-ups filling up fast!

Summer is the time for cookouts and barbecues, so don't miss out on our pastured, non-GMO roasting and stewing chickens!

This year our roasting chickens are being raised by Marty at Hidden Valley Farm!

This is Marty's first year raising so many chickens, but he has risen to the challenge. He and his sons constructed portable chicken enclosures that provide the chickens with shade, and set them up in an area with plenty of grass to graze in.

A few chicks were lost in the beginning so they were treated for Coccidiosis with Corid. Corid, or amprolium, is an anticoccidial drug that mimics thiamin (needed for Coccidiosis) and causes malnutrition in coccidia, making the chickens better again.

Our stewing chickens were once again raised on pastured and fed with non-GMO feed and organic scraps by Emanuel Schmucker. Emanuel gets his Rhode Island Red hens in the fall, and uses them as layers for the summer season.

When they first arrive at the farm , he gives them a little Aqua-Nox for stress, but after that are given no antibiotics. Once they get too old to lay eggs, he butchers them for stewing chickens. He has recently cut down on his flock, though, and because of this, our chicken share members will only receive one stewing chicken this season, in the last delivery.

But don't let that stop you from signing up!
We are making up for it by giving members
 3 roasting chickens for the first two deliveries!

So sign up now, because we are almost sold out!                                                                                                                                                                

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Change in Seasons Calls Us to Celebrate

Please join us to celebrate the start of a new growing season. Spring on the farms is lush with crisp greens and lettuces of which we grow many varieties. You'll tour thru a few in the fields and get a shot at Kale picking. 

We hope you can make it out to see our produce and fields, connect with the land on which your food is grown, and celebrate the beginning of the growing season with us, our growers, and each other.

Click HERE to RSVP and reserve your spot!

Once you RSVP the events details such as address and directions to the farm will be emailed to you the week before. Any other inquiries please email info@clarionriverorganics.com or call 412-589-9276

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Season Begins!

Broccoli Raab fresh out of the ground.
This heat has really sped things up in the field!
All of a sudden we have all kinds of green things on the cusp of harvest.

For the first time in years we have Broccoli Raab back. It's a peppery gourmet cooking green. Think a cross between mustard greens and broccoli stalks, or a more robust arugula. The cold start and hot finish to this Spring made them mature before they were fully grown, so we'll have mini-raab for you this week. 

We also have plenty of everyone's favorite spring treats, Asparagus and Rhubarb! 

Produce season is finally here and the farmers are glad to be working the fields dawn to dusk tilling and planting and, soon, harvesting. Our CSA starts in just three weeks and we can't wait to bring everyone from Pittsburgh to Erie to Punxsutawney a steady stream of fresh organic produce. You can still get your share at our CSA page. Until then stop by the Pittsburgh Public Market or our outdoor markets and Zach hook you up.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Pork for your Fork

As with our cows, our hogs are bred and raised on one of our co-op farms, Hill Top Farm, by
Emanuel Schmidt. Emanuel raises mostly Berkshire/Tamworth cross hogs.

Tamworth hogs are a heritage breed that tend to be leaner than other breeds and have a reputation of providing the best bacon. Berkshire hogs are also a heritage breed, and are known to have darker, high quality meat. Crossing these two breeds creates the perfect pork for your fork.

 Our hogs are raised in pasture and have access to hickory nuts which helps to give them a natural hickory flavor.

Though they are not certified organic, the hogs are fed non-GMO feed and scraps of our organic produce. Antibiotics are only used in extreme cases, in small doses, and the hogs are not sent to the butcher until the antibiotics are out of their system, usually within 30-60 days.

The hogs are also sent to Whitings Meats for butchering. Since we raise organic produce and pastured animals, Whitings does not add any MSG or nitrates to our hams and bacon to make them the best around!

So if you haven't yet, hurry and sign up for your pork share before it's too late!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Goodbye and Thank You!

One of the many home-cooked
meals from our farmers
In 2007, quite by accident, I ended up doing a delivery for Aaron Schwartz, the lead grower of what would become Clarion River Organics. That first day we met, just as I was about to leave he called to me from his loading dock. Squatting down as if to check the soil, he looked at me with his big Abraham Lincoln eyes and said "you know we need someone like you to turn this into a business." With one foot in my truck and with an unconvincing confidence and a smile, I told him that I would make it happen. That day I know that neither one of us knew what we would be getting into, but I can remember it clearly because I had that amazing feeling of having found what I was looking for – generous, passionate farmers and the most challenging and rewarding work of my life.

Beet Crazy at the Public Market
Today, Clarion River Organics has 13 farming families, produces millions of pounds of organic food, and feeds thousands of families. I am very proud to have had the honor to be part of this amazing group of farmers as well as to have had the privilege to serve so many wonderful customers. Every farm market purchase, every CSA sign-up, every time you bought from us at the grocery store or for your restaurant YOU made this happen

Home with family and friends
To all of our faithful customers, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This spring, I am leaving CRO to work on a new project that will help farmstead dairies of Western Pennsylvania. My new business is called Family Farm Creameries. I will also be using local milk to start a farm-to-cone ice cream business called Homegrown Ice Cream. You can still visit me at the farm markets, and I hope you will! CRO is in good hands with Zeb, my partner from the beginning, and the rest of the team - Katie, Adrienne, and Zach.

I love the growers of CRO and cannot think of a nicer group of farmers with whom to work. However they taught me two very important lessons: one never be afraid to start new things and if you can be closer to your family it’s probably worth it.

Much love and always EATCRO,


Monday, May 4, 2015

We're Hiring Again!

Join our team!

We're looking for a few great people to join our team. If you know anyone who loves farmers, cares about the environment and is looking for a good job send them our way! We need to find some help soon so please pass this on anywhere you think it would be welcome.

Office Manager

In brief: The manager will oversee the daily office activities of the cooperative including bookkeeping,taking orders, updating inventory, and providing packing and delivery instructions and check lists to other staff. The office manager may also help with delivery driving and warehouse packing regularly. This is a full time year round position.

Delivery Driver

In brief: The driver will pick up produce from member farms, bring it to the cooperative warehouse, and deliver assembled produce orders to customers using a non-CDL delivery truck. The driver will also help with order assembly and other warehouse operations as needed and as available.This is a seasonal part time job, 20- 40 hours a week June through November, with potential of summer overtime and winter part time hours if desired. 
More details: Driver Job Description

Friday, May 1, 2015

Zeb's video interview with The Journal of Lifestyle Medicine

This week Sven at The Journal of Lifestyle Medicine was kind enough to interview me about our cooperative and our CSA program. It's a nice little introduction to who we are and what we do. Check it out!