by Lisa White
On a warm and delightful summer evening in early July, more than 30 people came to tour Myerov Family Farm on Elephant Road in Perkasie. Many had joined together earlier for a potluck with amazing home-made pickles, potato salad, cornbread, garden green beans and so much more including blueberry cake for dessert. Farmer Neil Myerov welcomed us into his cool(er) barn for our meal, where they also were selling delicious farm products such as Heirloom ‘Bloody Butcher’ corn, corn meal ground right at the farm and of course, honey from their hives. This was an extra special treat since generally all of what Neil grows goes into the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares.
About the Farm
Neil is a North Philadelphia boy, trained as a classical pianist and then later as an engineer. But in 1980, Neil decided to start farming, selling his produce out of the back of his pickup truck in familiar neighborhoods. The Myerov Farm is set on 12 acres that include the farm house, a new barn (complete with a baby grand piano, tables and chairs, an old-fashioned heavy duty coffee grinder to grind the corn, a wash area, and a large walk-in cooler), two large unheated hoop houses, a greenhouse, 13 active bee hives and extensive plantings contoured to make the best use of the water on the land.
About the CSA
Having settled on the CSA model, Neil works hard to give his 60 members something different in their shares every week. New varieties and multiple plantings continue to keep things interesting. And what a variety he showed us during the tour! Each weekly share contains a selection of 8-12 items depending on availability. In the cool spring season, CSA members can expect items like lettuces, scallions, bok choy, peas, arugula, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, spinach, radishes, and carrots. During the summer months, you will find the CSA shares brimming with items like tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, squash, beets, basil, melons, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, beans, and onions. And in the fall, members can expect pumpkins, gourds, winter squash, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, potatoes, and carrots. Extra special treats are added to shares when they are seasonally in abundance such as raw honey, fresh and dried herbs, cut flowers, and more unusual crops like okra and fig. Most recently, members received fava beans, a Mediterranean staple rarely seen here in Pennsylvania.
About the Farm Tour
On our tour, we got to see the farm in action! The bee hives were buzzing with activity and we learned that Neil himself acts as beekeeper. In the greenhouse, lettuces grow in his self-made aquaponic system. Cucumbers hang from vines reaching up to and along the transparent ceiling. The fields included many plots of asparagus (now gone to their feathery fern form), beans, corn, eating pumpkins, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, flowers and more. In the hoop houses were many varieties of tomatoes and cucumbers, more zucchini in different stages of growth, and herbs. One thing that was admired universally by all on the tour were the many beautiful and fully fruited fig trees, promising an extra special treat for his members!
About Work-share Members at Myerov Farm
Somewhat unusual for today’s CSAs, Neil has quite a few work-share members. Work-share members commit a set number of hours per week to help out at the farm in exchange for a CSA share. They provide invaluable assistance both in the field weeding and harvesting as well as on the business side of things, processing and packaging up the CSA shares. That’s pretty important to Myerov Farm, because only Neil and his son, Micah, run the whole operation of the farm. Neil has room for more CSA members. 1/2 shares are available too! So if you are thinking of joining a farm this year, you may need to look no further than Myerov CSA.
Photos by Evan Marcus