NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 11/21/2017 10:52am by Amy Philson.

Our Summer/Fall Farm Share (CSA) season has ended, and our Winter season begins next week!  If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late to join.  If you have already joined us, THANK YOU!!

Our Winter Farm Share will mostly include our naturally-grown produce, but you might also receive eggs, maple syrup, and other farm-produced items.  Your share will be full of seasonal veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, potatoes, and onions, plus fresh lettuce and greens grown in greenhouses to extend the season.

Additional shares of eggs, ground beef and sausage are also available.

Our Winter pickup locations include Butler, Franklin, Grove City, Hermitage, Mercer, and Slippery Rock.  Delivery is only twice/month for the winter season.

Since we know that most people's budgets are stretched at this time of year, you can make a down-payment and pay the rest after the holidays.

Give a gift of support to your local farmers this season, and receive yummy farm products in return!

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving and a rewarding time with family and friends.  We are thankful for our neighbors who support local farm efforts.

Your farmers from Northwest Pennsylvania Growers' Cooperative

Posted 11/8/2017 9:59pm by Amy Philson.

Our current CSA season is over in one more week.  But you can still eat locally this winter with our Winter CSA.  Instead of every week, our pickups are generally every two weeks for the Winter and Spring Shares. Support your local farmers even in the winter!

Grateful Life Farm

This week we've had several unwelcome visitors to the farm.  Earlier in the week I was checking on the progress of some of the younger spinach and lettuce.  I pulled back the floating row cover from two beds to find complete destruction.  The spinach looked as though I had walked down the rows with pruning shears and the little lettuces were eaten down to stubby cores.  We've had previous crop damage from voles and I've successfully treated the area with Plantskydd granules.  However, I have only struggled in the past with them eating root crops like beets and carrots and I had not applied any of the repellent to spinach or lettuce beds.  Their population in our garden seems to be expanding, probably because a food source is available and we have fenced out the larger animals that are their natural predators, but they are small enough to go through the fence or tunnel under.  In addition, the landscape fabric we've used this season for weed control gives them somewhere to hide.  We decided to go out in the rain and apply Plantskydd to everything, and also try a sonic deterrent and several packs of mouse traps.

The second visit came last night around 12:30, when we were woken by a hen screaming bloody murder.  Hearts pounding, we jumped out of bed, tugged on boots, and ran to the chicken coop.  I couldn't see anything at first, and we almost thought they had just been alarmed by a spilled-grain munching vole.  Fortunately we didn't go back to bed, because another trip around the coop with a strong flashlight revealed a possum hiding under the nest boxes.  We dispatched the possum and none of the hens appeared harmed.  I'm not sure why the possum was so slow to attack that the hens could sound the alarm and we feel very lucky, but we need to evaluate our system to determine how the possum gained entry in the first place and shore up the weak points.

Bushel and a Peck Farm

We are very busy at our farm right now.  While most farms are slowing down and preparing for long rests during snowy days, our busy season is upon us.  Last year, we set up a stand at Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage for the month of December to sell our maple products. This year, we are expanding greatly.  We are opening a store at Grove City Premium Outlets for the holiday season.  Along with our maple products, we will have lots of locally produced and natural products from other artisans and local businesses.  Our goal is to open this Friday, and we have a ton of work to do to get ready before opening. 
 
Along with our store, we are stretching more tubing in the woods to expand our maple production.  Then, when the tubing is in place, we will wait until the weather is right to tap the trees and collect the bountiful sap to boil into maple syrup in the spring.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 cabbage from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. watermelon radish from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. candy onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 2 garlic from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bag parsley from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Mullett Farm, and Grateful Life Farm

Small Share

  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 cabbage from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. candy onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Mullett Farm, and Grateful Life Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. candy onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Mullett Farm, and Grateful Life Farm

Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower, Mushroom and Wild Rice

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

Roasted Watermelon Radishes

Watermelon Radish Tart with Lemon Thyme

Amish Cabbage Patch Stew

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash Chili

Do you notice a trend here?  With colder weather, we are attracted more toward roasted and stewed dishes.  These make up the bulk of our meals, with a little bit of fresh thrown in, contrasting with summer when most of our meals are based on fresh, raw veggies.  I rather like the change of the seasons and the different ways we prepare foods according to the seasons.  Put on a pot of soup or stew to enjoy with your family this weekend.

Posted 11/1/2017 3:50pm by Amy Philson.

This is Week 22 of 24 of this season.  We have only two more weeks left in the current season.

I want to apologize if anyone was offended by our offering conventionally grown sweet potatoes.  We decided not to put them in the regular CSA shares in case anyone didn't read the email on Friday and doesn't want them.  I know that offering conventional produce is outside of our mission statement.  The matter was discussed with some (but not all) of our Board members, and we all had mixed feelings about the matter.  You see, I ask our growers every year to grow sweet potatoes, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts for CSA shares.  However, when we do have any, there are never enough.  For our Winter Shares, we get beautiful sweet potatoes from an organic farmer's cooperative in eastern PA, but we put off ordering from them until we have to because of distance and to allow our farmers to sell their produce first.  Because we know that many of our CSA members purchase sweet potatoes at the grocery store when we don't have them available, and because we have numerous requests for sweet potatoes, we allowed them to be listed in the Webstore.  I also put a very limited number in the Choice boxes and marked them "conventional" so you have a choice whether to take them. 

Based on the response in Webstore sales, many of you had similar reactions, purchasing locally grown conventional sweet potatoes where you were informed of growing practices rather than from the store where you don't know what was applied.  Others passed them up.  This farmer is considering growing naturally grown sweet potatoes for us next year.  The issue is on the agenda for our Board meeting this week, so I do not know whether we will continue to offer them.  If you would like to weigh in with your opinion, please email me.

Grateful Life Farm

This fall weather is making me think soup!  Last night we had homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner.  I use my crockpot to simmer a chicken carcass in water, either leftover from a roasted chicken, or the backs and necks from making cut ups, or a whole stewing hen.  The broth can be flavored by adding herbs such as sage, thyme, and rosemary.  I simmer for around 24 hours, then strain the broth into a large bowl and place it in the refrigerator.  The fat will harden on top and can be removed easily once the broth is chilled.  I pick through the strained bones for pieces of meat and add those into the broth.  When I'm ready to make the soup, I just sauté carrots, onions, celery and garlic in a little olive oil or butter until soft.  Then I add the broth and meat, bring to a boil, and add gluten free noodles and simmer around 20 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind you may need more salt than you think because unlike commercial broth, homemade broth is not salty.  The soup is even better the next day.  Another chicken soup variation I love is this wonderful Cream of Chicken Soup recipe from my friend Shelly.  She made it for us on a bitter January night and it was pure warmth and comfort in a bowl.  http://www.oldtime.farm/recipesresources/old-time-cream-of-chicken-soup-with-kniffles

This week we've been busy making preparations for colder weather.  We've been bringing in our gravity-fed bell waterers and draining them to keep the tubing and valves from freezing and breaking.  The laying hens will get a galvanized waterer set on an electric heated base to keep their water liquid.  For the rabbits, we just dump out their water and replace it with fresh multiple times per day.  We also covered all of our remaining lettuce, spinach, radishes, and green onions with floating row cover.  As the weather gets colder and heavy snow threatens, we plan to add a layer of plastic supported by metal hoops above the floating row cover to give two layers of insulation, a technique described by Maine grower Eliot Coleman. 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 broccoli from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 3 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. candy onions from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 garlic from Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 lb. red onions from Mullett Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. rutabaga from NuWay Farm
  • 3 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Byler Farm
  • 1 herb from Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Bushel and a Peck Farm

Small Share

  • 1 broccoli from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. candy onions from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. rutabaga from NuWay Farm
  • 2 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Byler Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 broccoli from NuWay Farm
  • 1 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Byler Farm

Recipes

Roasted Delicata Squash, Onion, and Apple Tian

Autumn Harvest Salad with Pomegranates (I would sub quinoa for the faro)

Chicken Broccoli and Mushroom Stir-Fry

Roasted Panko Parmesan Broccoli

Rutabaga Sausage Hash

Roasted Rutabaga with Maple Syrup and Thyme

Rosemary Roasted Radishes

Cabbage, Apple and Radish Coleslaw

This is a soup kind of week for me, too.  We had vegetable beef soup last night (and leftovers for lunch today), and I think I will cook a chicken to make some kind of chicken soup.  Stay warm!

Posted 10/26/2017 9:27am by Amy Philson.

Fall has finally arrived.  It's a bit chilly when we're packing boxes at 7 a.m. in an unheated packing house.  We bundle up and bring hot coffee or tea with us.  In the winter, we use a space heater to take the edge off, but it's not cold enough yet to bother with it.  See how much we love our CSA members?

I got some good news this morning from David Yoder.  His son Willie has started walking with bars to hold on to.  The family is very encouraged about his progress, and they hope to have him home from the rehab hospital within a couple of weeks.  Thank you again for your prayers for them during this time.

Farm Updates

Hazy Hollow Farm

On Sunday we harvested supers from our hives as it appeared to be one of the few remaining days that it would be warm enough to open and inspect the colonies.  Populations look good for now, and we left plenty of honey for the bees.  We will see what winter does.  Actually warm weather, which makes bees more active when there is no nectar or pollen to harvest, is as big a concern as bitter cold.  We will wrap the hives with foam board later to insulate them a bit.  In a couple of weeks we will get out the extractor and pour this fall's crop.

Grateful Life Farm

What a week of lovely fall weather!  I love the cool, clear nights, warm sunny days, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  Leaves are slowly drifting off of our trees in the gentle winds, looking like an autumn version of a snow globe.  The falling leaves are very entertaining for our laying hens and our turkeys.  The hens dig and scratch endlessly, looking for bugs beneath and the turkeys run and try to catch falling leaves out of mid-air. 

Eight tiny baby rabbits were born Sunday night!  I was concerned because the night was cold, but Mama Coco had covered them with plenty of her fur and all of them are doing very well.  They were born completely hairless, but a fine covering of black fur is already starting to grow in. 

We made solid progress this week on our pig plans, building the floor and walls of the pig shelter, and designing the permanent fence and ordering materials.  Although we plan to rotate the pigs around our property, we also need a stationary area with a permanent fence.  When the small pigs arrive on our farm, they will need to be trained to electric fence before they can be trusted without a physical barrier.  In addition, electric fence is not as effective in winter when the ground freezes and snow can insulate animals, both the pigs and potential predators, from being shocked.  Because we plan to raise these pigs through the winter, we are building a four sided shelter with a floor, so we can keep them dry and comfortable and avoid health problems. 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 lb. golden turnips from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. Tokyo bekana from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 red cabbage from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. beets from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm Products, Grateful Life Farm, Mullett Farm, and Springfield Acres

Small Share

  • 1 lb. golden turnips from NuWay Farm
  • 1/3 lb. Tokyo bekana from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 red cabbage from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm Products, Grateful Life Farm, Mullett Farm, and Springfield Acres

Mini Share

  • 1/2 lb. golden turnips from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm Products, Grateful Life Farm, Mullett Farm, and Springfield Acres

Recipes

Roasted Red Cabbage with Lemon and Garlic

Sautéed Red Cabbage with Cranberries and Goat Cheese

Asian Quinoa Salad (red cabbage and broccoli)

Recipes for Tokyo Bekana and other Asian greens

Sautéed Tokyo Bekana with Sesame, Ginger and Soy Sauce

Roasted Turnips with Parmesan

Roasted Turnips with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Sour Cream Ganache (I made these this week with gluten-free flour, and they were delish)

Easy Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Looking for a way to use up extra cauliflower?  This is a great low-carb crust.  It doesn't make a hand-held slice, but it's a good substitute if you're trying to cut back on grains.)

Roasted Cauliflower White Cheddar Soup

Enjoy a good cup of tea or a bowl of hot soup on these cooler days.  May you be blessed with a warm home and friends and family to share it with.

Posted 10/18/2017 5:16pm by Amy Philson.

I love fall.  The cool mornings, the sunshine warming the afternoons, the colorful leaves.  I also like the change in food from season to season, bringing new flavors to our plates that we had tired of several months ago.  This is Week 20 of our 24-week season...only 4 more weeks to go! 

Farm Updates

NuWay Farm

Hello NWPG Supporters,
 
Here we are now in mid-October already.  The leaves are turning color, the days are shortening, winter seems not far away.  I love living where the seasons are so distinct.  Whenever I tire of the present season, a different one will soon be along.  This year's growing season was for us just typical.  Some crops were a flop, while others were a success.  No matter the weather, it is usually good for something.  That's the benefit of being diversified.
 
You all can probably see the changes in the seasons by the contents of your share box.  In the spring, there are lots of greens, in the summer there are tomatoes, in the fall we have root crops, and in the winter storage crops and greens from high tunnels.
 
If your root cellar is filled, your woodshed stocked, a fat hog in the barn waiting on doomsday, winter need not be dreaded.  I look forward to some rest.  Let's enjoy it.

David's son, Willie, is healing slowly.  He is in rehab in Ohio, taking two steps forward and one step back.  His progress doesn't seem fast enough for the family making many trips back and forth and wishing for him to return to normal.  However, a severe brain injury and broken pelvis take a long time to heal. Please continue to pray for them as they come to your mind.

Grateful Life Farm

Last Sunday, we processed the last of our broiler chickens for the season, our experimental batch of Robust White broilers.  We processed them at 60 days old, just a bit longer than our normal 55 days for standard Cornish Cross broilers, and achieved only a slightly lower average weight than our largest batches for this season.  We had no mortality, excluding the two baby chicks that did not survive their first 24 hours, and no lameness or other leg problems.  We enjoyed working with these birds very much because of their energetic temperament and they produced a handsome, tasty carcass, still double-breasted, but with meatier legs.  However, a few weeks prior to processing, we started to notice each day during pen moves that they were leaving a lot of feathers behind.  This turned out to be because they have a lot more feathers than Cornish Cross broilers, probably the reason they are hardier!  The difficulty in plucking them cleanly led to an extra hour spent on our already long processing day.  We will consider carefully if we will raise these birds again.  We may use them in the beginning and end of the season to allow us to extend the production season a week or two beyond what typical broilers can comfortably weather.

This week we moved our rabbit doe Brandi and her four week old litter of seven to their pasture pen.  They always seem so happy to have lots of room to run around and grass and clover to munch on.  Today I put a nest box in our second doe Cocoa's hutch.  She is scheduled to have a litter this weekend.  After being sold out of rabbit for quite some time, we are looking forward to having more available starting in early December and through the winter. 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 cabbage from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. kale from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. beets from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Springfield Acres, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Miller Farm Products, and Mullett Farm

Small Share

  • 1 cabbage from NuWay Farm
  • 1/3 lb. kale from NuWay Farm
  • 1 cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Springfield Acres, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Miller Farm Products, and Mullett Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 cabbage from NuWay Farm
  • 1 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Springfield Acres, Grateful Life Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Miller Farm Products, and Mullett Farm

Recipes

30-Minute Kale, White Bean and Chicken Soup (Sub other veggies that you have on hand for the zucchini, since it is out of season.  I would add carrots, squash, or sweet potatoes.)

Healthy Egg Kale Breakfast Cups

Creamy Cauliflower Chowder (gluten-free)

Low Carb Loaded Cauliflower

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Walnut Quinoa Stuffing (I made this last night and it was delicious!  Even those who usually turn up their noses as squash liked it.)

Italian Sausage and Brown Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Acorn Squash

Sautéed Cabbage

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion Dijon Sauce (I've shared this one before, but it's my family's favorite cabbage recipe.)

Kale and Beet Salad

May your home be filled with the aroma of fall and love around your table.

Posted 10/11/2017 6:50pm by Amy Philson.

We are getting some much-needed rain this week.  Did you notice how brown everything was...and how green it turned overnight?  This will give our fall crops quite a boost.  We have 5 more weeks in our CSA season.  Have you signed up for your Winter Share yet?

Hazy Hollow Farm

Surprise!  Rosebud had a calf on Sunday, so things continue.  Both mother and son seem to be doing fine.

Grateful Life Farm

What an unhappy surprise to have the first fall frost come two weeks early!  For our area, the average first frost date is October 15th and this year it came in the early hours of October 1st and then again the following night.  Our basil got some protection from the floating row cover we applied, but the tops are still blackened.  Green beans, tomatoes, sunflowers, and our fall bearing raspberries are done for the year.  We are very much looking forward to the high tunnel we plan to install next season and the increased protection it will give us from the unpredictability of the weather.

The good news is that the colder temperatures and the much needed rain we've had in the past few days have really helped our lettuce, radishes, and spinach along.  Our kale, collards, and mustard greens are tasting even nicer now that we've had frost.  With the summer crops finished, it's time to prepare those beds for the garlic we will plant starting around the 15th.  I'm adding a fourth variety this year - Music!

Now that we've decided to proceed with raising pigs, we've spent quite a bit of time this week cutting brush and mapping out areas of our property where we will rotate them.  We will need a stationary shelter and fenced in area near the house, where we will keep the pigs in the worst of winter and where we can train young pigs to respect electric fence.  We will also need a portable shelter and electric fence to rotate the pigs through our woods and through some overgrown pasture areas I would like them to till.   

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 head Salad Endive from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch French Breakfast Radish from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head Cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 Butternut Squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 Cabbage from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. Sweet Onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 head Lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Springfield Acres
  • 1 Herb from Springfield Acres

Small Share

  • 1 head Salad Endive from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch French Breakfast Radish from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head Cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 Butternut Squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. Sweet Onions from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 head Lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Springfield Acres

Mini Share

  • 1 bunch French Breakfast Radish from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head Cauliflower from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 head Lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Grateful Life Farm, Springfield Acres

Recipes

The endive that is in shares is a salad endive that can be eaten raw.  If you chose a green from the Choice box that has long deeply incised leaves, that is regular endive, and is usually cooked.

Cabbage, Apple, and Radish Slaw (you can probably sub your endive in this recipe, too)

Endive Radish Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Sautéed Radish Greens (yes, you can eat the greens, too!)

Radish Salsa

Ginger Carrot Radish Salad

Thai Butternut Squash Red Curry

Skinny Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash and Spinach Tortellini

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Enjoy these cool fall days.  I think I'm going to go make a cup of tea to enjoy.

Amy

Posted 10/5/2017 11:01am by Amy Philson.

This is the final week of Peak-of-the-Season Shares.  Thank you for trying us out with a short-season share.  Even though your weekly CSA share is coming to an end, you may still order from the Webstore through the end of the current season in November.  When you place Webstore orders, payment is due at pickup.  I will still send you reminders that the Webstore is open and it's pickup day.  If you do not wish to order and do not want these emails, please let me know and I will turn them off for you.

We have several farm updates for you this week:

Hazy Hollow Farm

It finally got cool enough on September 30 that I thought we could trim the sheep and goat hooves without heat stressing them.  That went well, thanks to the Lakeland sheep table we bought last fall.  It works really well as the animals remain much calmer than working with them on the ground.

Now if it would only rain.  The pastures are really short and dry.  I don't want to start haying yet, but if we have to, we will.

Also, I bought a few Guineas because I was told they eat deer ticks.  Maybe, but they sure follow the sheep and goats around and clean up there.  They're pretty, and pretty loud, but no worse than the donkeys.

Springfield Acres and Silver Wheel Farm

I (Lori from Silver Wheel Farm) baked some Apple Cider Rye loaves, using Patty's cider of course (Springfield Acres). Photo is Patty with bread, cider and her apples that were going to the cider press the next day.

Happy Apple Lady washing up the cider apples on a beautiful day

Grateful Life Farm

I am very grateful that this heat wave has passed and it is finally starting to feel like fall.  Our final batch of broilers, the robust whites, came through the heat without any issues.  Each scorching afternoon when I arrived to move their pen to fresh grass, they were as active and excited as ever.  We had planned to process these birds October 1st, but they have grown a little slower than we hoped, and we will wait one more week.  Our fall vegetable crops also look well.  I was very concerned about the lettuce going to seed, but the damp, cool nights, shorter day length, and my frequent watering seems to have averted bolting.  We will finally have lettuce for the market this weekend and through the rest of the season, some red butter, green butter, and green oakleaf!       

As this season slows down, I am finding myself with more time and energy to work on plans for next year.  We are applying for several grants, for a high tunnel, to extend our vegetable production season, and also for a forestry management plan, to improve our wooded areas through selective timbering and controlling invasive species in the understory.  We have also decided that we will be adding forest-finished pork to our product lineup for next year!  As this project develops, I'll be publishing a blog post on our website with many more details.

Bushel and a Peck Farm

This is one of our busiest weeks of the year.  Friday through Sunday we will have two booths at Applefest in Franklin, selling our maple products at one booth and coffees and teas at another.  Also on Friday, we have a booth at Clarion's Autumn Leaf Festival.  Both of these festivals were new to us last year, and they were on different weekends.  But this year they fall on the same weekend, so we are splitting our forces to attend both. 
 
The week is full of last-minute prepping.  Maple syrup is made in the late winter/early spring, but we store it in 5-50 gallon containers to save space.  Throughout the year, we reheat and bottle the syrup as needed, as well as use it to make our value-added products.  While we have steadily been building up our inventory for this weekend, we have fallen behind where we need to be so we are in a mad scramble to get everything done.
 
We are also debuting a new product this weekend that we have been perfecting:  Cinnamon-infused Maple Syrup.  People tell us it reminds them of a Cinnabon.  This adds to our line of specialty syrups, which includes Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup and Vanilla Bean Infused Maple Syrup.
 
We enjoy markets and festivals, meeting people and sharing our love for maple syrup, but we will all be glad for a (very short) rest next week.  Maybe I can sleep in for an extra hour next Tuesday.  Maybe.
 
If you're in Franklin or Clarion this weekend, stop by and say "hi!" 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1/2 lb. broccoli rabe from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 garlic from Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 Choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Small Share

  • 1/3 lb. broccoli rabe from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Mini Share

  • 1/4 lb. broccoli rabe from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

 

 

Recipes

Spicy Potato Wedges (scale the recipe up or down for the amount of potatoes you have)

One Pan Italian Sausage and Veggies (switch out veggies according to your family's preferences and what is in season)

Broccoli Rice Casserole

Broccoli Apple Salad

Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe (this blog gives a great description of broccoli rabe and how to prepare it)

Lemony Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli Rabe

Delicata Squash and Sausage Gratin

 

Until next week...

Amy

Posted 9/28/2017 9:16pm by Amy Philson.

As the season turns from summer to fall, we hope you have been enjoying good food from bountiful harvests, whether from our farmers, your garden, or local farmers markets.  We encourage you to eat locally as much and as often as you can.  We are reminded that winter is coming, and we need to make preparations for the season ahead.

Enrollment for our Winter CSA is now open, so you can continue to eat locally and seasonally all year.  Some of you depend on our member farms for much of your family's produce, meat, and other farm products.  Others have your own garden and look to us for local food during the cold months.  Some of you are just curious about how a Farm Share works and haven't yet tried it out.

As you know, a farmer's bills don't stop coming just because the growing season is taking a long nap.  Our farmers prepare for this by growing storage crops like squash, onions, potatoes, beets, cabbage, and more.  We also have some greenhouses that allow us to grow fresh greens through the cold, dark days.  Since most of the produce lasts longer in winter, we schedule deliveries every two weeks to several communities in Mercer, Venango, and Butler counties.  If you live outside those areas, you will have to wait until our Summer CSA to enjoy the fruit of our farmers' land when we expand our delivery area.

You can find all the details about our Winter Farm Share on our website.  If you have questions, please send us an email, and we will do our best to answer your questions.

This year, we are asking that our members make a down-payment toward your Winter Share and pay the remainder in 2018 to help us avoid income taxes on money that is not really income for the co-op but goes to the farmers in the remaining months of the Winter CSA.

Do you prefer the Webstore rather than the CSA?  Details and application are available here.

Thank you for supporting our small family farms.  We endeavor to grow the most nutrient-dense food as possible with the resources that we have.

Amy Philson, general manager

Northwest Pennsylvania Growers' Cooperative

Posted 9/28/2017 5:14am by Amy Philson.

The topic of everyone's conversation:  It's soooo hot!  I can't wait until fall weather!  We have been counting the days until the cooler weather would arrive.  It's finally here!  Our fall crops don't like this heat, and the greens and broccoli want to go to seed instead of giving us a delicious harvest.  Now if we could only get a day of rain...

This is Week 11 of 12 for our Peak-of-the-Season Shares.  If you would like to continue your share through the end of the season, please contact me for more information.  Alternately, you will have access to the Webstore through November.  It is Week 17 of 24 for the full-season shares.

Silver Wheel Farm

Here is the newest addition to Silver Wheel Farm-- that’s our Polin Stratos 2 deck bread oven! Isn’t she beautiful? Technicians Andrew and Todd spent two days doing the installation; to ‘season’ the decks and prevent cracking they slowly brought the temperature up to only 194 over an eight hour period. The second day they took it up higher and pronounced it ‘ready-to-bake’. We’ll be baking artisan breads at temperatures up 550 degrees.
 
Many of you might remember when Silver Wheel sold breads at the ‘old’ Slippery Rock Market 'way back in 2003-2008, and also through the NWPAGC webstore for a few years. We are now taking it to the next level, having built a fully-equipped commercial kitchen on our farm to house Going With The Grain LLC. Our breads will be made with organic, non-GMO, local ingredients (organic flours from Weatherbury Farm in Avella, PA) and will also showcase local (NWPAGC) farm produce and products. Stay tuned, we are a few weeks away from our grand opening, but our Facebook page will be up and running later today. As Andrew said (technician on the left) “Hello, we’re here to make your baking dreams come true!”

Grateful Life Farm

This week we have been busy moving fences and mowing the fence lines to make sure our portable electric net fences are as hot as can be after an alarming incident on Monday.  Shawn had come back in the house after morning chores and heard some strange yipping noises outside the window as well as the laying hens sounding the alarm and running for cover.  When he looked outside, he saw a mama coyote and two young, right in our yard in broad daylight!  After processing rabbits on Sunday, I had cleaned out the empty rabbit tractors and one had been left open to air out.  Shawn watched one of the young coyotes climb right in, walk through the hutch, down the run, and hop back out the other side!  We've heard coyotes practically every night the last week, and our theory is that they've been pushed out of their homes by some nearby timbering activity and closer to us.   

I'm still not finished with planting all the transplants I prepared for fall and winter veggies, but very close.  Only seven more flats are staring reproachfully at me.  I have never harvested all through the winter, but the last few mild winters and our purchase of low tunnel supplies have encouraged me to give it a try this year.  According to renowned organic grower Eliot Coleman, crops should be timed to reach approximately 75% of their full maturity when the hours of daylight drop below ten and plant growth slows to nearly nothing.  In our region, this will happen around November 8th.  If you'd like to try some winter gardening of your own, the Johnny's Selected Seeds website has this handy chart showing how many weeks before this date to plant various crops.  According to the chart, I am right on time for spinach, but behind for lettuce and green onions.  http://www.johnnyseeds.com/growers-library/vegetables/winter-harvest-planting-chart.html 

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1/2 lb. baby kale from NuWay Farm
  • 1 pt. sunsugar cherry tomatoes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 6 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Small Share

  • 1/3 lb. baby kale from NuWay Farm
  • 1 pt. sunsugar cherry tomatoes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 4 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Mini Share

  • 1/3 lb. baby kale from NuWay Farm
  • 1 broccoli from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 choice from NuWay Farm, Miller Farm Products, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Recipes

Garlic Baby Kale with Crushed Red Pepper

Copycat Panera Broccoli Cheese Soup

Garlic Parmesan Broccoli

Simple Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Baby Kale Salad with Parmesan and Roasted Chickpeas

Turkey, Mushroom and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Summer Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

11 Delicious and Unique Corn on the Cob Recipes

 

Have a great week, and thank you for your support of our small family farms.

Amy

Posted 9/20/2017 2:19pm by Amy Philson.

Well, after the last couple of weeks, we didn't expect such hot summer weather in the middle of September.  I love fall...the warmish days and cool nights, apples, pumpkins and squash, colorful leaves, sweaters in the morning, cleaning out the gardens.  But sometimes fall just gives me a teaser and then lets summer crowd it out for a little bit longer.  I can wait...as long as fall gets its fair share of days and winter doesn't rush in.

Silver Wheel Farm

Silver Wheel Farm

You are welcome, whoever you are! Now that we (Silver Wheel Farm) no longer sell at Farmers Markets we miss the personal interactions with customers. It was so gratifying to find this little note taped onto a returned flower bouquet container. All of the farmers that are part of our cooperative work very hard to send our members the very best produce, meats, cheeses and more, and it is nice to know that we are appreciated. 

Grateful Life Farm

On Saturday, our rabbit doe Brandi had a litter of seven!  She and the babies are doing well.  Unfortunately, our Silver Fox doe Coco, who was also scheduled to kindle that day, turned out to not be pregnant.  I kept checking the nest box obsessively through the weekend and into Monday, but finally accepted reality, removed her nest box, and took her back to the buck's hutch last evening for a few hours.  That pair has successfully produced a litter earlier this season, so I suspect the buck may have been temporarily sterile from the summer heat and humidity.   

On Sunday, we processed our fifth batch of broiler chickens.  Our daily chores are diminished substantially now that we have only the laying hens, the rabbits, the turkeys, and one last batch of broiler chickens to care for.  This is good because we are losing daylight rapidly and the time between evening chores and dark is shrinking fast.  Despite this, I've managed to clean out some garden beds and plant out several flats of spinach transplants in time for the rain Wednesday night to water them in well.  With more inside time, I've also been able to put a batch of tomatoes through the canner and cook a couple of simple but delicious chicken meals I'll share with you. 

I think we often feel that cooking requires recipes, special ingredients, trips to the store, and more effort than we can muster after a long workday.  While that can be a fun way to cook, we can often nourish our bodies without much effort from our garden, farmer's market, or CSA box and the seasonings in our cupboards.  One night, I placed parchment paper on a baking sheet, preheated the oven to 425 F, and spread out assorted legs, drumsticks, and wings.  I seasoned them heavily with salt, pepper, onion powder and paprika and roasted them for 25 minutes.  I also roasted cherry tomatoes and cut up eggplant, onions, and zucchini tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a side dish.  Another night, I marinated boneless skinless breasts in coconut aminos (a gluten-free soy sauce substitute) with a dash of fish sauce and maple syrup, while I baked a few buttery Yukon gold potatoes.  I grilled the breasts on high heat for 5 minutes per side.  Shawn always complains that boneless, skinless breasts are dry, but he loved these and gobbled them up!  

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1/2 lb. arugula from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch beets from NuWay Farm
  • 6 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 spaghetti squash from Mullett Farm
  • 1 bunch parsley from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Small Share

  • 1/3 lb. arugula from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch carrots from NuWay Farm
  • 4 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch parsley from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Mini Share

  • 1/3 lb. arugula from NuWay Farm
  • 2 corn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice from NuWay Farm, Detweiler Farm, Mullett Farm, Silver Wheel Farm, Springfield Acres, and Grateful Life Farm

Recipes

Save those beet greens!  Citrus Sautéed Beets and Greens

Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots

Carrot Apple Bread

How to Cook Beets

Beet, Carrot and Apple Salad

Arugula and Apple Salad with Goat Cheese and Pecans

Turkey, Mushroom and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash (Cut the recipe in half with one acorn squash)

Baked Acorn Squash with Brown Sugar and Butter

3-Ingredient Twice-Baked Spaghetti Squash

Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash (you could sub arugula for the spinach)

Enjoy this warm "fall" weather!