My trip to Churchview Farms for the “Peach Jam” event wasn’t so peachy as I expected.
The farm is lavishly decorated with a “vintage-like” pavilion and a kitchenette for private events — of which “common folk” like me are never invited or informed of, even though my parents live just 5 minutes from the farm in Baldwin. This farm is a secluded, close-knit, clique designed specifically for the elitists of Pittsburgh, those who carry a lot of money and clout. This farm is not catered to actively caring about local neighbors and the food ecosystem. The owner of this family farm only cares about herself and money that she can make off of others. The $35.00 ticket was supposedly going to the Boys and Girls Club, but I really sincerely wonder if the proceeds were going fully to the organization. I think the event was a total rip off.
The farm completely failed in organization, communication, and outreach. According to the Facebook event, there was supposed to be a shuttle bus to pick up people at the Baldwin Borough. It never came. A couple of us were waiting over 20 minutes. We decided just to drive to the farm.
Finding the farm is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The farm is tucked away, down the end of a steep hill on Churchview Road, and there was absolutely no signage at all.
When we arrived, we were greeted by an employee at the end of the ramp who said there was “an email sent out last night informing that no shuttle buses were coming” and he said just to “park on the grass” at some elderly neighbor’s backyard. (I wonder how much the farm paid the neighbor to let us park on his lawn?)
At the entrance way, some of the patrons had e-tickets with QR Codes. I wasn’t going to fall into the trap of being “tracked” for my attendance. I paid $35.00 cold cash and the “receptionist” at the farm looked at me in disgust. She seemed pissed off that I didn’t have a QR Code paper. She said “we normally don’t do this…” and then proceeded to ask me to put my name down on a “mailing list”. I’m sorry — but I am not interested in being “tracked”.
The farm had picnic tables scattered about and hula hoops for kids. A DJ had several loose vinyl records and he told me “yeah I was just called last minute to throw this together.” I blame the farmer for her lack of organization.
The menu was disappointing. I was expecting farm fresh foods, instead, there was crappy flimsy pizza slices, chicken wings, and a grain salad with hard-as-rock peach slices mixed in with tomatoes and cucumbers. The other offerings were beer, cider, sorbet and ice cream from Millie’s, and Honest Kids Honest Tea juice boxes. Since I rarely drink alcohol, I was left sipping a grape juice box. Meanwhile, the line for the food was 30 feet deep. There were around 100 people who attended the event. Also, forget the idea of recycling. I saw paper cups being thrown in the trash.
On top of all this mess, the farmer didn’t even participate in her own event. I saw her once, walking around with her iPhone, and then she disappeared.
There was nothing amazing about her farm. She had a couple of goats, and a solar-powered bathroom sink that spits out “hot water” from a barrel. Yipee, congratulations. It makes me so sick to see farmers profiting out of the innocence of people who just want to haveactual food from the garden to the plate. Instead, we had pizza and ice cream.
Her barn is a total mess, too. The deteriorated wood can no longer be salvaged. It’s best that someone just bulldoze the whole barn down because it looks like it’s going to collapse during a storm anyway.
When we left the farm, I saw a folded sign stating “Churchview Farms: honey, eggs, fruits”. I didn’t see any produce for sale at all while I was there!
The only good thing was that the tables were decorated with fresh cut flowers. I felt like I was cattle … herded and shuffled out. If I were the farmer, I would actually treat my customers with respect and thank them with a special bouquet of flowers or actually give them REAL PEACH JAM.