2018 proved to be our best year yet at CFF. Even with Mother Nature working against us with the 2nd soggiest season on record, we were still able to harvest 56,807 pounds of produce, 8,457 dozen eggs (16,914 pounds of eggs) and 12,959 pounds of meat…86,680 pounds total and 23,000 pounds more that last year!! That translates to approximately 72,233 meals to aid the fight against hunger in our immediate area. Soup kitchens and food pantries in Philadelphia, New Jersey and Bucks County all benefited from our donations this past season.
By James Schleppenbach
Many people ask me, as a vegetable farmer, “what do you do in the winter?” The month of December was a time of reflection and planning. We started by generating detailed summaries of our production in 2018 so we can see how much of each crop we produced and how it was distributed to the people we serve. We also gained valuable feedback in meetings with our donation partners at Cathedral Kitchen (Camden), Broad Street Ministries (Center City, Philadelphia), and Face to Face Kitchen (Germantown), about what they liked most and how we can better serve their operations going forward. These meetings provided an opportunity to better understand how each organization operates, and will inform what and how much of each crop we grow in 2019. Winter planning is an exciting time where we examine all aspects of our vegetable operation to figure out how we can become more efficient and effective at producing the highest quality food for those in need, in a way that is ecologically responsible and certified organic.
By Craig Haney
Many food kitchens (aka soup kitchens) rely on shelf-stable staples, less-than-fresh bread, creative uses for noodles and whatever canned peas land in their donation boxes. One thing you’ll almost never find at a dining room serving the hungry: grassfed beef. But we’re changing that, by raising pastured cattle and donating their meat to area food-kitchen chefs.
You might be surprised by that phrase, but the two kitchens we work with most closely each have an in-house chef determined to nourish families in need with meals made from scratch. And lately, that’s included beef donated by our farm.
I’m deeply inspired by these partners – Chef Altenor at Face to Face in Germantown and Chef Stephen at Broad Street Ministries in Philadelphia—who are determined to cook quality as well as quantity. Chef Altenor reports that he used only fresh ingredients for all of 2018 – no cans in his meal preparations. After all, families in poverty suffer record rates of diet-related disease, exacerbated by the fact that fresh food is often literally off the table. Our farm foundation was founded to address that, by donating organic vegetables, eggs and chicken year-round to soup kitchens serving neighbors in need. And this past year we added an extra offer to the table. We sent fifteen of our beef cows to slaughter and presented our partners with 6000 pounds of nutritious grassfed beef.
I was proud to hear the chefs rave about the beef. It took a lot of work moving them to fresh grass every day, but it was well worth it. After all, it’s almost impossible for soup kitchens to get good protein. Beef is less commonly donated, and even when not grassfed, it’s prohibitively expensive to buy in the quantities a soup kitchen would need. But through our donation, these chefs had quality meat on their menus for weeks – including fresh burgers, homemade meatloaf, beef stew, and roast beef.
We recently sat down with the chefs to plan for the year ahead, including the next five steers, which will become beef in February and be kitchen-bound. I learned that Chef Stephen at Broad Street Ministries prefers larger cuts – up to 15 pounds each – to carve in his own kitchen, as he serves hundreds of people at each meal. Chef Altenor, on the other hand, serves 30-40 families, and prefers smaller cuts like sirloin steaks, 3-pound roasts or narrowly-cut shanks. By cutting to their specifications, we can save these hardworking chefs precious labor, time and money in the kitchen. Which in turn, can then be utilized to support the other services that Face to Face and Broad Street Ministries offer their guests. We look forward to the New Year, continually aiming to serve them – so they can continue to serve others.
For the upcoming season, we are looking for two seasonal full time employees – one in livestock and one in vegetables, as well as two apprentices; one for livestock, and one for vegetables. 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.
On Thursday, February 7, our Livestock Manager, Craig Haney will be presenting; Pastured Poultry Forum, alongside Mike Badger from APPPA and Jeff Mattocks, owner of the Fertrell Company at the 2019 PASA Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Lancaster, PA from 9am to 12pm.
This is a moderated Q&A forum for all things related to pastured poultry production, marketing, and processing. This will be a farmer-to-farmer session with active participation from the attendees. All experience levels are welcome.
For more information about the conference and to register for the sessions visit https://pasafarming.org/conference/
Hoodie season is upon us! 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.