NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 7/17/2019 2:37pm by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 6 of our CSA Season and Week 1 of Peak-of-the-Season Shares.

This morning while we were packing, the main topic of conversation was the best places to buy farm equipment and related products and where to have service done.  The farmers who were there have well over 100 years of combined farming experience, so each one had tips to share with the others on this and that relating to local businesses.  After the "young" guy left for his day job, one old-timer commented on how good it is to see young farmers raising sustainable products for the local market.

Farm News

Glacial Till Farm

Take a look at the reaction one taster had after eating our fresh carrots! Since we are a small farm we have several advantages over larger farms. One being I can grow sweet tender varieties of carrots that would not easily hold up to mechanical harvesting. Our operation uses no riding tractors, only hand tools and walking tractors. It’s a lot of work but the flavor makes it all worthwhile.

Have you tried our Seasonal Salad Mix?  Every week the mix is a little different based on what’s available in season. This week has delicious blend of 10 different baby greens and 6 types of lettuce. (My note:  Because this mix is so fresh, it keeps in your fridge much longer than the spring mix from the grocery store.)

We harvested two cart loads of garlic this week.  It is drying and will be ready for CSA Shares soon.

Grateful Life Farm

This week our third batch of baby chicks arrived at the farm.  We were grateful that the hot and humid weather during shipping did not cause them any problems, and they all arrived alive and well.  With the drier weather, we also got some much needed grass cutting done and our fence lines are looking much better and the fences hotter. Last weekend we harvested our second batch of chickens for this season. Just in time, because we were almost out of inventory, and we have updated the Webstore for this weekend.

Mickley Farm

We started a new batch of chicks last week.  When they are young, we house them in an old school bus that we converted into a chicken brooder.  The bus keeps the chicks safe from predators as long as the windows and doors are closed at night.  We can open them in the day for fresh air, and also leave windows open a crack at night for ventilation.  You can see heat lamps hanging from the ceiling because young chicks have trouble regulating their body temperature.  They can gather under the lights when they are cold.  The long troughs hold their feed, and the large pan offers grit (tiny stones), which chickens need to digest their food.  The white and red containers hold fresh water for the chickens to drink without drowning in an open container.  Because chicks tend to crowd into corners and smother each other, we put arched dividers on each end of the area to soften the corners and keep the chicks safer.  After the chicks lost their soft down and grow regular feathers, they will be moved onto pasture in open pens.  They will mature in about 6 months and will begin laying eggs.  Our hens are fed organic, non-soy feed.

Harmony Grove Farm

We grow our lettuce and other greens in greenhouses, which allows us to better control the climate and produce high-quality greens year-round.  We regularly release beneficial insects like ladybugs to help control pests such as aphids.  However, once every year or two the aphids get the upper hand.  Recently we had to pull most of our plants and clean out our beds to knock down the aphid counts.  While we strive to provide lettuce for CSA Shares most weeks, this week we needed to clean the greenhouses to ensure future health of our plants.  On a better note, our hay for the year was delivered yesterday and today, and it is in the barn.  This will feed our small herd of cattle in the winter and early spring when there is no grass.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 2 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 cucumber from Byler Farm
  • 1 bunch onions from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 lb. yellow beans from Byler Farm
  • 1 lb. tomatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bag garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Byler Farm, Detweiler Farm, Glacial Till Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Small Share

  • 2 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch onions from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 lb. green beans from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 tomato from Byler Farm
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bag garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Byler Farm, Detweiler Farm, Glacial Till Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. yellow beans from Byler Farm
  • 1 tomato from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 choice from Byler Farm, Detweiler Farm, Glacial Till Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Mediterranean Squash and Pasta Salad (sub all zucchini for the yellow squash)

Cucumber Cream Cheese Dip (sub garlic chives for the green onions)

Yellow Wax Beans with Toasted Almonds

Greek Green Bean Salad (or sub yellow beans)

French Bistro Salad with beans and radishes

Best Ever Grilled Zucchini

Did you know that radish greens are even healthier than the root?  How to Cook Radish Greens

Aunt Rocky's Onion and Garlic Fried Radishes

Rustic Italian Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Sauteed Swiss Chard and Summer Squash

Rich and Creamy Swiss Chard Chicken

Pasta with Swiss Chard and Parmesan

Swiss Chard Tahini Dip

Garlic Chive Kimchi

Did you know that healthy mayonnaise is simple to make?  Try out this Garlic Chive Mayo recipe.

For more recipes from past weeks, check out our Pinterest boards.

Just like we make eating food a centerpiece of our lives, make food preparation an event for family and friends.  Be creative, have fun, and share your creations with others!  

 

Posted 7/10/2019 11:42am by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 5 of our Summer CSA.  The weather has been great lately for growing most of our produce...except leafy greens.  They tend to get bitter and go to seed when the temperature is too high.  But the tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and other veggies are growing by leaps and bounds.  So we are seeing a transition from tons of spring greens into early summer veggies.  We will continue to have lettuce and greens, but you will be seeing fewer of them.

Hazy Hollow Farm

Here on Hazy Hollow farm we embrace diversity.  On the right is my Scots Highland herd bull, MacHugh, and in the left background are his two newest girlfriends, Texas Longhorns, White Lightning and Texas Red.  I am hoping to get calves that are taller than the Scots and meatier than the Longhorns.  If nothing else, I will enjoy the accent. . . a Scots brogue combined with a Southern drawl.   Moooch, y'all!

Glacial Till Farm

Buckwheat cover crop after only one week!  After it matures, the buckwheat will be tilled into the soil for green compost and then something else will be planted in this bed.

Many seeds can be planted in long rows using a walk-behind wheel planter.  This digs a small furrow and drops seeds in even spaces, and then a chain or piece of metal drags behind to cover the seeds.  Here we are planting bush beans.

Grateful Life Farm

This week has been hot and steamy and our flowers are loving it.  However, keeping our livestock cool can be challenging.  The pigs cool themselves by lounging in mud wallows.  I am constantly impressed by their engineering and earth moving abilities, as they dam up choice areas to catch rainfall from our frequent thunderstorms.  The chickens and turkeys hold their wings away from their bodies for air flow and drink more water than usual.  The turkeys are big enough now and their immune system developed enough to leave their brooder and we are transitioning them to pasture.

The rabbits are the most challenging as they are much more comfortable in cold weather, and can really suffer when the temperatures exceed 80 F and the humidity is high.  We make more frequent rounds to replenish their water, make sure they are in the shade, and have the best air flow possible. Four new litters were born this week, including two very large and two very small ones.  I've never done it before, but this time I decided to remove some of the smaller kits from the large litters and place them with the smaller litters to make sure everyone gets enough to eat.  So far, the mama rabbits seem to be accepting the extra babies and nursing them along with their own.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 kohlrabi from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch French radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 lb. new potatoes from Byler Farm
  • 2 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 lb. tomatoes or pint cherry tomatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bag lettuce mix or romaine lettuce from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm and Byler Farm

Small Share

  • 1 kohlrabi from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch French radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 tomato from Byler Farm
  • 1 romaine lettuce from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm and Byler Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 tomato from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm and Byler Farm

Recipes

Mediterranean Style Grilled Zucchini Salad

Keto Zucchini Tots

Lime Pickled Radishes

Miso Butter Roasted Radishes

Baked Kohlrabi Chips with Yogurt Sauce

Baked Kohlrabi Schnitzel with Sour Cream Cucumbers

We finally have fresh tomatoes for your salads!  If you were fortunate to get green or yellow beans from the Choice box, you can make a Green Bean Tomato Salad.  If you don't have cherry tomatoes, just cut your other tomatoes in chunks.

Enjoy the flavors of early summer.  More tomatoes, potatoes, beans, and cucumbers to come!

Posted 7/3/2019 11:54am by Amy Philson.

Happy Independence Day tomorrow!  Some of you may have already begun your celebrations, while others will celebrate through the weekend.  Your farmers will squeeze in some time with family and friends, but many of us will still work a partial day on the farm.  Animals still need cared for, and if the weather cooperates we will spend a little time weeding or planting.  But fireworks, cookouts, and even fishing are on the agenda for many of us.

Farm News

Detweiler Farm

This has been a challenging spring on our farm.  The produce that we planted early did not grow very well, so we have had to cultivate those rows and replant.  We planted winter squash yesterday and will be planting more today.  We usually grow a large portion of the winter squash that comes in your CSA Shares in the fall and winter.

Miller Farm

The wet weather has affected our laying hens along with our crops.  The chickens need to take dust baths to keep mites and fleas off, but it has been so wet that this has been a bit of a challenge.  The bugs are worse this year than in most years.  We are dusting the hens with diatomaceous earth and treating their roosts with natural soap to prevent more eggs from hatching.  We hope this treatment will help our chickens be healthier and happier.

Glacial Till Farm

We continue to add more garden plots to expand our production.  We use cover crops that we till in, along with composted manure, to enrich the soil.

Check out this carrot cuteness!  To see more of the carrot harvest visit 

Glacial Till's Facebook page.  

Grateful Life Farm

This week we worked very hard to get our new rabbits settled into their permanent home.  When they arrived, we sheltered them in various places, in the yard, the garage, wherever we could find room for their cages.  It was stressful because I felt like I would accidentally forget some of them due to the disorganized scatter of rabbit pens. 

In our system, each breeding adult has his or her own stationary hutch or wire cage.  The females will share their hutch with their young until the babies are around 4-6 weeks old, at which point we transfer them to portable pasture pens, similar to our chicken tractors, with wire bottoms allowing access to grass and forage.  The mothers are bred again and are moved back to their permanent homes a week or two before giving birth and the young finish in the pasture tractors.  So we needed more of both kinds of infrastructure – stationary / permanent and portable pasture pens. 

I had a vision of a shaded, but open and airy space, with all the rabbit pens lined up along an aisle, creating an orderly work flow of feeding, watering, and observing each animal at morning and evening chore time.  We’re getting there.  Shawn had the idea of building a lean-to structure off the side of our existing shed, a location that, one week ago, was home to our scrap metal pile, some old tires, lawn mower parts, and a lot of brush and weeds. 

 

We created a 10’ x 20’ footprint on the east side, where dappled morning sunlight filters through the trees and full shade keeps them cool in the hottest part of the day. 

We are still working on benches to elevate all the wire pens to the same height, then we will move on to building more pasture pens. 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 2 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 8 oz. stir fry mix from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch red scallions from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. salad mix from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. baby kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 Choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm,, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Small Share

  • 2 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 4 oz. stir fry mix from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. baby kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 Choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm,, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 zucchini from Byler Farm
  • 4 oz. stir fry mix from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from Glacial Till Farm
  • 5 oz. salad mix from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 Choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm,, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Recipes

Panda Express Mushroom Chicken.  I've been eagerly awaiting fresh zucchini for this recipe.  It's on the menu at my house this week.

Marinated Zucchini.  A great make-ahead side dish for your holiday cookout...or any time!

Sauteed Carrots and Zucchini

Low Carb Green Veggie Stir Fry.  Switch out veggies that you have on hand.  This would be great with lots of different variations, but is perfect for your stir fry mix.  Add a protein to make a one-dish meal.

Baby Kale and Avocado Salad

Baby Kale and Cherry Salad with Grilled Halloumi.  I have never tried halloumi cheese, but it sounds delicious!  If you can't find it, you could sub a different cheese that can hold up to grilling, or skip the grilling altogether.  Or to make it vegan, you could use tofu, seitan, or a bean.  I will probably leave out the corn when I make this.  It's cherry season, ya know!

Poached Egg and Avocado Breakfast Salad.  Or lunch.  Or dinner.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Independence Day this week.  Enjoy the fireworks, the family and friends, and especially the local food!

Amy

 

 

Posted 6/19/2019 12:21pm by Amy Philson.

The big news story on our farms is rain, rain, and more rain.  It has certainly been a challenging spring in western PA for farming.  Of course, our woes aren't anything compared to farms in the Midwest where they have been dealing with major flooding and cleanup for months.  Still, we just have too much water in the ground.  I take the back roads to town from my farm, and there is an area that is prone to flooding.  Usually the water just covers one lane and you can go through the other side.  Yesterday, there were several inches of water flowing across the entire road with a moderate current.  Instead of going the roundabout way home, I took a different route.  I got almost to the point where the two routes meet, and that road was also flooded.  So I got to travel some places that I had never been to make my way back to familiar roads.  This morning the first road was totally clear, but tomorrow promises more flooding.

Farm News

Glacial Till Farm

Thankfully, we are situated on a bed of gravel so our fields drain well.  We are hampered by the rain because we can't cultivate the soil when it is saturated to either till in weeds before they take over or to plant new crops.  This weekend we plan to start over with some of our beds because the weeds are out of control in them. In my first two years of market farming I would say rain gear has been my best investment! 

The lack of sunshine and cool weather is good for some crops like certain greens, but it's slowing growth in others.  We expected more carrots to be ready by now, but we had just enough for Full Shares this week.  We will have to wait a couple of weeks before we can harvest more.

Grateful Life Farm

I’m happy to tell you we have our first butcher day of the season behind us.  Each year the June butcher date seems to come so fast, accompanied by so many to do’s including securing help, double checking custom orders for accuracy, deep cleaning our processing area and equipment, and making sure we have all the supplies we need, many of which are not available locally and need to be ordered via the internet.  It feels wonderful to wake up in the morning, start the scalder and head to the field to start catching the birds and crating them because the time for worrying is finally over and now it is time for doing!  We had plenty of help from friends and relatives and the work proceeded smoothly.  By 12:30 all the dressed chickens were resting in an ice water bath to chill and it was time to clean up and set the table for lunch.  As we rested around the table, eating and talking and laughing, I was completely overcome with gratitude – for the animals who nourish our bodies with their own, for our friends and family for being so generous with their time, for my husband working by my side to make this farm dream come true, and for our customers’ support and appreciation of our efforts.  If you would like to see more photos from the day, our friend Robyn took these.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 qt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 head Barese Swiss Chard from Harmony Grove Farm (in bag)
  • 1 bunch of carrots from Glacial Till Farm (Don't throw those tops away!)
  • 1 head baby bok choi from Glacial Till Farm (rubber band)
  • 8 oz. seasonal salad mix from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Bushel and a Peck Farm

Small Share

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 head Barese Swiss Chard from Harmony Grove Farm (in bag)
  • 1 head baby bok choi from Glacial Till Farm (rubber band)
  • 8 oz. seasonal salad mix from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Bushel and a Peck Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Bushel and a Peck Farm

The Choice box included lettuce, arugula, rainbow Swiss chard, garlic scapes, and kohlrabi (and maybe more that I don't recall).

Recipes

Here's a neat blog that I ran across while looking at recipes.  They are trying to eat almost entirely from their local area for the year.  She also shares some recipes for local produce throughout the season.  Are you up for the challenge?  https://ayearfromnear.com/a-year-from-near-eat-local-challenge/

How to preserve and use carrot tops

When I have fresh-from-the-garden carrots, I prefer to eat them plain and whole because they are so very sweet and crunchy.  But if you are looking for something else to do with them, there is French Carrot Salad

Easy Swiss Chard with Lemon, Quinoa, Olives and Capers

Swiss Chard with Orzo, Canellini Beans and Pancetta (Switch out the orzo with whatever pasta shape you prefer, and sub veggie broth and cheese for the chicken broth and pancetta to make it vegetarian.)

Ginger Garlic Noodle Soup with Bok Choi (Make your own ramen!)

15-Minute Ginger Sesame Noodles

Asian Chicken Meatballs with Mango Slaw (served on butter lettuce leaves)

Simple Butter Lettuce Salad

Strawberry Pecan Chicken Salad (Sub any lettuce for the spinach.  Even better with chicken from Grateful Life Farm!)

Have a great week, and anticipate zucchini, green beans, and tomatoes in the coming weeks!

Amy

 

Posted 6/12/2019 12:38pm by Amy Philson.

We have finally arrived at Week 1 of our 2019 CSA.  Some of you have been anxiously awaiting the start.  Others have been enjoying our spring produce through the Spring CSA or Webstore.  And our farmers have been frantically planting, weeding, and harvesting while dodging raindrops.  The last couple of days have been near-perfect weather for working outside, but only two days without a chance of rain isn't long enough for most of us to make hay, because it needs 2-3 days to dry before baling.  While hay isn't important to many of you because you can't eat it, it's what most of our animals eat all winter.  Grass fed animals eat fresh grass most of the year and dried grass (hay) in the winter.

For those of you new to our CSA, welcome!  We hope you enjoy the bounty of our harvests this season and stretch yourself to try new veggies (or old veggies in new ways).  I send this email out each Wednesday to CSA members with farm news, a list of what is in each share, and recipe ideas for the veggies in your share.  The recipe links are from Pinterest, and you can see past recipe suggestions on our page, too.

Farm News

Detweiler Farm

One local weatherman reported that the past year (June-May) has been the wettest year on record for our area.  I believe it!  The strawberries are doing well despite the rain.  There is a sweet spot between enough rain to give us juicy strawberries and too much rain that they turn to mush.  Last June we had so much rain that our strawberry yield was very low and the season was cut short.  Let's all wish for the opposite for this year!

Strawberries from Detweiler Farm

Do you see the strawberry face?  There are two bulging eyes and a snout and green hair.

Grateful Life Farm

This week was exceptionally busy, but we dropped everything else on the agenda when Shawn looked out the window on Monday and saw a swarm of honeybees gathering on one of our yard statues.

When we hatched our plan to leave Pittsburgh to live in Rockland full time and start our farm, in early 2014, we used to come up here on the weekends to work on projects for the future farm.  Building a top bar bee hive was one of our first endeavors.  Unfortunately we soon learned that we are terrible beekeepers and after many frustrating losses, we now keep the hives mainly for pollination, rarely inspecting or manipulating the bees or extracting honey.  However, when a swarm comes along outside your door at ground level, you can't help but make an attempt to catch it.  We hurriedly cleaned out our empty hive and managed to get most of the bees inside, but by Wednesday afternoon, it was clear we had failed to capture the queen, or make the hive sufficiently inviting, and the swarm had moved on. But then yesterday, as I waited for a pot of coffee to brew, we saw another swarm outside and it appeared to be coming towards the house.  This location could not be any more prime.

Mother Nature was telling us - try again and we listened!  Today many bees were flying in and out of the hive, and for the moment at least, they seem to have accepted our hive as their new home. 

This weekend we harvested our first batch of chickens for this season. 

Glacial Till Farm

From one of Derek's Facebook posts last week:  "With this much rain about all I can do tonight is take farm pics."  But this week has been beautiful for harvesting for CSA!

For those of you unfamiliar with garlic scapes, hard neck garlic varieties send up a flower in June.  We cut this flower stem off before it blossoms so the plant feeds the bulb and not the flower, making for larger bulbs when we harvest in later summer.  These scapes add a mild garlic flavor to your dishes.  My favorite way of using them is to saute them with mushrooms and greens to eat with eggs.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 qt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch scallions from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. arugula from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. spinach from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice items from Glacial Till Farm, Springfield Acres, Detweiler Farm, and Yoder Farm
  • 1 herb choice from Springfield Acres and Bushel and a Peck Farm

Small Share

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. spinach from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice items from Glacial Till Farm, Springfield Acres, Detweiler Farm, and Yoder Farm
  • 1 herb choice from Springfield Acres and Bushel and a Peck Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Detweiler Farm
  • 5 oz. spinach from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice item from Glacial Till Farm, Springfield Acres, Detweiler Farm, and Yoder Farm

Recipes

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

Lemon Spaghetti with Spinach

Strawberry Arugula Salad

Gluten-free, Vegan Spinach Tortillas  These are a batter that you spread in a pan instead of a dough that is rolled out.  If you don't have the flours suggested, you could try them with a different flour.

Rosemary Arugula Pesto Try it with different herbs, too!

Grilled Garlic Scapes with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Creamy Garlic Scape Dip

Radish Relish You will have to reduce this recipe if you only have one bunch of radishes, but it looked too delicious not to share.

Cheesy Radishes  If you're on a keto diet, this dish is for you!

Do you like us on Facebook?  Share photos of what you do with your CSA veggies with us!

Here's hoping for a bountiful growing season and tons of fresh produce.

Amy

 

 

Posted 5/29/2019 4:12pm by Amy Philson.

Say goodbye to Spring.  Summer is upon us, and Summer CSA begins in two short weeks.  The drenching rains continue, and we could really use a dry period to plant and make hay.

Last year we lost a long-time Amish farmer, NuWay Farm, who was one of our major CSA contributors.  We were left scrambling because some of our farms who had expected to fill the gap could not do so for various reasons.  Farmers tend to concentrate on the crops that they grow well.  Our three remaining Amish farmers grow mostly the same produce, so we knew that we needed more variety.  Harmony Grove Farm produces exceptional hydroponic lettuce and other greens.  And our other farms grow limited produce, focusing instead on other farm products.  

Then we met Derek from Glacial Till Farm who was looking for an outlet for his market garden produce.  He has spent much time researching sustainable growing practices, and he is turning out fabulous produce, stepping into much of the gap that NuWay left behind.  He is growing various greens as well as radishes, onions, beets, carrots, and more. 

Derek works a full-time job on his family's conventional farm, and then he farms morning, evening, and weekends at his homestead.  He truly loves the land.

Grateful Life Farm:

This week we picked up our turkey poults, more chicks arrived, and we are now at capacity with all the livestock accommodations full. 

This turkey is looking a little wary about a cell phone in her face.  So far the weather has been hospitable for these babies, without too much heat or cold and no storms knocking out the power supplying their heat lamps. 

Our older broilers are almost six weeks old and we've had unusually good fortune with this first batch of the season.  We've lost very few, had no leg problems, and have been successfully keeping them dry despite the frequent rains.  Our season has been downright uneventful so far, which makes for less entertaining newsletters, but calmer farmers! 

I've also been thrilled at the regenerative effect of our birds on our formerly worn out pasture.  Our neighbor was impressed with the quality of the grass after two seasons of chickens grazing and approached us about making hay.  Here is the sea of tall grass soon to become hay behind the fence.  As well as helping us to keep up with cutting the grass, we will be able to feed our own hay to our rabbits and pigs for the rest of this season. 

CSA Shares

  • 1/2 lb. watercress from Miller Farm
  • 5 oz. spinach from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. popcorn from Detweiler Farm
  • bunch of green garlic from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1/2 lb. red Russian kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1/2 lb. arugula from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1/2 lb. seasonal salad mix from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. Japanese garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 herb from Springfield Acres or Bushel and a Peck Farm

Recipes

Tropical Watercress Smoothie

Sauteed Watercress with Garlic

Super Simple Spinach Salad:  Dress it up with your favorite toppings or leave it plain

Spinach and White Beans:  Sub fresh spinach for the frozen called for in the recipe.

Baby Kale Salad with Cherries and Marinated Lentils

Spinach and Kale Bites:  Copycat recipe for Trader Joe's treat.

Baked Salmon with Arugula Salsa Verde

Crispy Chicken and Arugula Salad

Thank you all for supporting our local farmers this spring.  The competition for your food dollars is fierce, and we so appreciate that you go out of your way to eat locally produced food and support your local economy.  It's easier to grab some produce from the grocery store since you're there for other items, but you choose to make an extra stop on a specific day to pick up your CSA Share.  We hope that you continue into the summer season with us.  We love the land on which we farm, and to be good stewards of that land we need support from local consumers.  

Amy

Posted 5/17/2019 4:27pm by Amy Philson.

In less than four weeks, Summer CSA boxes will be filled with bunches of fresh produce from local farms.  Will you be a lucky recipient?  Enjoy local produce that is chemical-free and GMO-free, picked fresh and transported locally instead of hundreds or thousands of miles.

We have several sizes of Farm Shares available to fit your needs.  Or if you like to choose exactly what you receive, you may opt for the Select Share Webstore instead.  Be sure to sign up before this season's shares are sold out.

Check out our add-on shares, too.  Along with your produce, you can get eggs, ground beef, sausage, chicken, rabbit, and cheese delivered each week.  Our animals are pasture-raised with non-GMO feed where appropriate.

Check out all the details on our Website:  www.nwpagrowers.com

Eat local and eat healthy this summer with your farmers from NWPA Growers! 

Posted 5/15/2019 11:35am by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 4 of our five-week Spring Share.  The sunshine today and tomorrow are a very welcome sight!  We have had so many cool and gloomy days that our veggies are growing at a snail's pace. They should pick up now with a couple of sunny days.  We are all aching to get more planting done, but the rain has almost all of our fields saturated.  So we wait patiently and tend to our seedlings.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

Each day has been a whirlwind of activity lately as we work to get everything set up for the 2019 growing season.  Aside from the regular daily tasks of caring for the animals, cutting grass, setting up fences, cleaning and repairing equipment, receiving feed deliveries, harvesting rabbits, and seeding and transplanting have kept us very busy this month!  Our first batch of broiler chickens made it out to the pasture pens last Wednesday morning.

The rainy cool weather has been challenging as we've had to constantly adjust their scheduled pen moves and feedings to keep them warm and dry.  Three new litters of rabbits have been born and they are just starting to explore outside the nest boxes as their eyes open.  Transplants are going in the ground, making room for more flats to move from the grow room to the greenhouse to harden off, before their turn comes to be planted in the soil.  And because we are still working on the logistics of moving the pigs to pasture, we decided to bring the grass to the pigs.  They get really excited when we pull up on the mower and dump huge piles of fresh clippings.

Glacial Till Farm

Check out this gorgeous mountain of radishes harvested for today's CSA:

And here is arugula being harvested and prepped for CSA:

Miller Farm

The watercress in your shares today is wild-harvested from a clean wetland area near Miller Farm.  Watercress is chock-full of vitamins, one of the healthiest greens.

CSA Shares

  • 8 oz. arugula from Glacial Till Farm
  • 8 oz. baby spinach from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. rhubarb from Yoder Farm
  • 1/3 lb. ramps from Rayburn Farm
  • 1/2 lb. watercress from Miller Farm

Recipes

Orechiette with Ramps and Fava Beans.  This is easily customized with your favorit pasta and beans.  Instead of fava beans, try baby limas, garbanzos, or even navy beans.

Wild Ramp Buttermilk Biscuits

Watercress Pesto and Lemon Linguine

Butter Lettuce and Watercress Salad

Sticky Rhubarb Pudding

Roasted Salmon with Savory Rhubarb and Wilted Chard (sub the chard with any of your greens)

Chocolate Rhubarb Brownie

Spring Radish Salad

Easy Pickled Radishes

Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad

Chickpea Spinach Curry

Easy Brown Rice with Spinach and Parmesan

Greek Yogurt Creamed Spinach

Arugula and Wild Rice Salad

Lemony Avocado Toast with Arugula

That should give you some ideas to use your abundance of greens this week.  Let us know what you do with your veggies on our Facebook page!

Amy

 

 

Posted 5/1/2019 11:31am by Amy Philson.

What a beautiful spring day today!  This should give a big boost to our tiny plants.  We had hoped for spinach, radishes, arugula, watercress, and more for today's CSA shares, but our hopes couldn't make them grow faster.  The weather has been too gloomy and cool most days.  Every year, we wish and hope that our spring crops would grow more quickly, and every year we have to wait longer than we want.

So while we wait, we harvest wild ramps.  Ramps have a short season, typically less than a month.  They offer a delectable combination of onion and garlic flavor, but unique at the same time.  I usually slice and saute the bulbs and stems, and then add the sliced greens at the end of cooking time.  They can also be eaten raw...or preserved to extend the season.  Ramps grow in wooded areas where the soil is always moist.  They prefer southern-facing slopes but will grow anywhere that conditions are right.  When harvesting, you shouldn't dig more than 1/3 of the patch to ensure survival next year.  They spread through rhizomes underground (they remind me of the lily of the valley in my flowerbed), and they also spread seeds in the summer.  This is what a patch of ramps looks like in our woods:

Ramps are a spring delicacy that upscale restaurants pay a high price for, but you get them in your CSA share for a modest cost.  We don't have to plant the ramps, but digging and cleaning them takes a lot of time.  The ramps in shares and Webstore come from Bushel and a Peck Farm and Raber Farm.

Shiitake mushrooms are also popping like crazy.  If you go searching for ramps in your local woods, be sure to look for morel mushrooms, too.  Since most of us don't have hours to spend searching for wild mushrooms, local farmers inoculate hardwood logs with mushroom spores.  The spores reproduce in the logs, and when the weather is right mushrooms pop out ready for harvest.

Shiitakes are a meaty mushroom that also offer health benefits.  They are purported to fight cancer, boost immunity, and support heart health.  Our shiitakes today were provided by two local non-member farms, Raber Farm and Viele Farm.

Our blueberries were grown by Springfield Acres and frozen last summer to be enjoyed during the off-season.  Patty had a plentiful season last year, so you benefit!  I hope you all get your berries out of the cooler bag when you pick up your share!  We didn't want you to find a sloppy mess in your box from thawed berries. :)

CSA Shares

  • 1 quart frozen blueberries from Springfield Acres
  • 1/3 lb. shiitake mushrooms from Viele Farm and Raber Farm
  • 1/3 lb. ramps from Raber Farm and Bushel and a Peck Farm
  • 1 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 8 oz. kale from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 heads lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Spicy Udon Noodle Stir Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms

Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

Chickpea Taco Lettuce Wraps

Green Lettuce Salad with Apple, Brown Rice and Walnuts

Wild Garlic Hummus

6 Ways to Preserve Ramps

Ramp Pesto

Blueberry Smoothie (vegan, 4 ingredients)

Healthy Blueberry Crisp

Flourless Blueberry Banana Muffins (made with oats, so not grain-free)

Enjoy this beautiful day before the rain returns.  I think I will go check my asparagus patch to see if there is enough for dinner.

Amy

Posted 4/17/2019 12:29pm by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 2 of Spring CSA.  Spring is an extremely busy time on the farm.  Our fields are greening up a lot with this warmer weather and rain.  Baby animals are prancing around in the fields.  Baby chicks are in their brooders, waiting until their feathers grow to be moved outside.  We are plowing fields, planting seeds, pruning trees, tending flats of plants, and weeding beds.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

As it is every year at this time, we suddenly find ourselves very busy and I have lots of news to tell you!  The grass is starting to brighten and grow and we’ve moved our youngest rabbits to pasture pens.  Shawn built a new one this year for our new does and their babies. 

It is modeled after our chicken tractors, but has 2” x 4” screen on the bottom to keep the rabbits from digging out.  It is quite a bit heavier than our original rabbit pasture pens, so he has added wheels to help with the daily moves.  We also have a brand new litter from Brandi, and Cinnamon is expected to give birth early next week.

This week, we moved our hardy vegetable starts to the outdoor greenhouse to acclimate them to outdoor temperatures in preparation for planting in the ground.  The onions and spinach will be the first to be planted, followed by the greens (kale, collards, mustard, and chard,) lettuces, and the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.  With the freed-up space in our indoor grow room, I’ll be working on seeding tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and flowers this week.

We were very excited to learn recently that we were awarded a grant from the NRCS to install a high tunnel to extend our vegetable growing season!  We’ve been researching and planning and we will be installing a 48’ long by 30’ wide tunnel, covering part of our existing garden and adding some new area.  We hope to plant our tomatoes in the tunnel, which allows them to mature earlier and also protects them from diseases by keeping them free from rainwater.  We also plan to use our tunnel to grow hardy vegetables all through the winter.  To avoid placing excessive load on our house well water supply, we are working on a rainwater capture system to provide for drip irrigation for the tunnel crops.

Chicken season is almost here!  This week we will be receiving a large shipment of feed and the chicks themselves will ship next Monday, April 15th. 

Glacial Till Farm

After we lost NuWay Farm a year ago, we needed a farmer to supply a lot of various greens for us.  Glacial Till Farm stepped into the shoes immediately.  Owner Derek comes from a farming family, but they operate a large conventional farm.  Derek works all day on the family farm, and then works his sustainably-grown fields at his home in the evenings and weekends.  He is growing many of the greens that NuWay used to supply for us, including kale, spinach, and arugula.  He also grows carrots in his sandy soil, something that is difficult for many farmers in northwestern PA due to the high levels of clay in most soil.  When soil is heavy with clay, you end up with twisted, gnarled carrots because they grow around the clay and pebbles that obstruct their path.  You can follow Glacial Till Farm on Instagram and Facebook to keep up on the progress of their crops.  Here is a bed of spinach that should be ready to pick before the next CSA.

CSA Shares

  • 2 heads lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bag arugula (whole live plant) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 oz. Japanese garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 8 oz. spinach from Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. shallots from TOG
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from TOG

Recipes

5 Minute Arugula Fig Salad

Lemon Arugula Pasta Salad

Chickpea Pesto Salad with Arugula

Sauteed Spinach with Bacon and Shallots

Skirt Steak with Mushrooms and Shallots

Sauteed Lemony Spinach

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet (You could use any meat or meat substitute.  This recipe looks like it would be good with any number of modifications.)

Super Simple Spinach Hummus

In case you're getting tired of them, this should be the final week of sweet potatoes, as well as other storage crops from TOG.  We dug our first ramps yesterday, and they should be at the perfect size in two weeks.  Spring onions, kale, pea shoots, radishes, and more are on tap for the coming weeks.  The greens that are so abundant in the spring help clean out and jump-start our bodies after our winter hibernation.  We are looking forward to more of them!

Amy


Basket of Hope