NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 1/22/2020 11:04am by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 4 of our Winter CSA season.  We are halfway through, so that means spring is right around the corner, right?  Chester from Detweiler Farm commented when I was picking up his produce in the dark at 6:30 this morning that we have chosen all the coldest days so far this winter to pack and deliver CSA.  I had been thinking the exact same thing last night as I was getting everything ready for my early morning.  Since we only use our packing facility for a couple of hours twice a month, we keep the in-floor heat just warm enough to keep the water pipes from freezing, so it was around 40 degrees this morning.  But being a resourceful farmer, Monty from Harmony Grove Farm had a propane tank with attached heater in his truck, so we had a comfortable work area in no time.

One thing I like about my early morning drive to pick up products from Amish farms and transport them to our packing facility is that I get to enjoy the sunrise.  Our home faces east, but a thick woods across the road blocks our view of the eastern horizon.  So by the time we can see the sun, it is broad daylight.  This is what I got to enjoy as I drove this morning:

And did you see the moon sliver this morning?  It was even more magnificent a few minutes earlier, but I couldn't find a place to pull over to snap a photo.  These photos don't do justice to the beautiful sky today.

Farm News

Glacial Till Farm

We are crushing the winter project list! We completed the underground main line irrigation grid. All the plots will now have cam lock irrigation access ports. The best part is we only dug on the access paths, no garden soil was disturbed. I’ll reseed these paths with clover for the bees.

Grateful Life Farm

We’ve been pushing ourselves hard to finish the rabbit pen upgrades prior to the return of cold weather, but we didn’t quite make it.  Poor Shawn ended up outside freezing and finishing the last two hutches as the bitter cold came.  As with all projects, we can already see a few tweaks that would improve things and we are not even finished with our original plans yet!  The final touches will include removable wind screens for winter.  Here are some photos of the upgraded rodent-proof pens with tighter wire and close-fitting, latching roofs.  Dude is relaxing in the sun and checking Shawn's work.

Hazy Hollow Farm

I checked the barn before leaving this morning, and there were new twin lambs still wet from birth shivering in the cold.  I quickly put them in a warming pen before I had to leave.  I rushed back home to make sure they nursed and their momma is taking care of them.

Bushel and a Peck Farm

We had an horrible accident at our farm recently.  Our momma dog loved to be outside while we are working, darting in and out around the tractor or horses.  But when her puppies were only 2 1/2 weeks old, she got crushed under a piece of equipment that was being moved.  It has been a difficult time at our house.  She was one of the best dogs in the world, very smart and loving.  Eric is taking it the hardest since she was his dog and he was the one moving the equipment.  The kids were all devastated, too.  But we were left with seven puppies to care for, so we bought puppy formula and started bottle feeding them.  They have since moved on to drinking the formula from bowls and we have introduced solids to their diet.  They are now five weeks old and very playful. In this photo, they were all playing on the floor, and then one by one they climbed up on Eric's lap and fell asleep in one big pile.  Awww...

CSA Shares

  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Asian greens (tatsoi or pac choi) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 4 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 microgreens (alfalfa and broccoli) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 garlic from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm

Recipes

Thai Style Sauteed Greens with Coconut Milk (use this recipe for any green)

Butternut Squash Ramen Bowl with Rice Noodles, Tofu & Fresh Pea Shoots.  This recipe calls for purchased butternut squash soup and broth, but you can certainly make your own.

Moroccan Butternut Squash, Chickpea, and Spinach Stew

3 Ingredient Butternut Fudge Brownies.  No grains, sugar, dairy, eggs.

Roasted Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Salad

Sweet Potato Paleo Waffles.  If you have a waffle iron, make grain-free waffles.

Our greens are growing nicely since we have had more sun than usual so far this winter.  Enjoy the fresh farm products this week.

Amy

Posted 1/8/2020 12:15pm by Amy Philson.

Winter is back...for one day.  Your farmers are wishing for freezing weather.  While it's more comfortable to feed animals and do farm work when it's mild, we struggle with the mud everywhere.  Our animals choose a path that they follow every time they move from the barn to pasture or from one pasture to another.  Those paths turn to mud because the sod is broken down from all the traffic.  To remedy this, we add gravel to help solidify the paths.

Derek from Glacial Till Farm was hoping to cut firewood today, but he wasn't sure if he could get into the woodlot that he needs to because of the mud. 

At Bushel and a Peck Farm, we are concerned that our maple season will be very short if we don't get a good freeze soon.  We spent many days in the woods replacing maple tubing during the warm days of late December.  We still have more to do, but we got a good start. 

Herb from Hazy Hollow Farm took a few days off to attend the PA Farm Show in Harrisburg this week.  

From Grateful Life Farm:  Despite a lack of daylight, we’ve made good progress on upgrading the rabbits’ housing to make it rodent proof.  We are prioritizing the breeding females and their young and we’ve completed three of those five pens.  Then we will move on to fortify our bucks’ pens, with six more of those to do.  We’re attaching smaller gauge wire to the existing pens, which requires cage clips with their own special set of pliers to crimp them around the wire.  I find the work repetitive but soothing in a way that lets your mind wander free.  Shawn finds it so exasperating he can’t even touch the cage clips!  He cuts the wire to size for me and is doing a beautiful job framing the tops of the pens and making hinged wooden lids with locking hasps.  We’ve caught another of the rabbits that got loose, but two are still free ranging.  I know I will catch them, but it also gives me a lot of joy to watch them sprint across the snow covered yard, munch clumps of frozen grass, and sit up on their back legs watching and sniffing for information in the wind.

The weatherman says we will have to wait for cold and snow.  After today's burst, they are expecting record temps and rain this weekend.

CSA Shares

  • 1 kabocha squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. red potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 garlic from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 4 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 alfalfa microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Is kabocha squash new to you?  It's also called Japanese pumpkin.  It has dark orange flesh with lots of beta carotene and is lower in calories and carbs than butternut squash.  Learn all about it here.

Stuffed Kabocha Squash is vegan and gluten free, filled with rice and veggies.

Red Thai Curry with chicken and kabocha squash will require some staples from the Asian market, but it looks delectable.

Buttery Parsley Boiled Potatoes

Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary, Garlic, and Parmesan

Herbed Skillet Sweet Potatoes

Crock Pot Sweet Potato Stew (with beef)

Asian Vegetable Noodle Soup (with tofu)

Vegan Curry with Bok Choi (also known as pac choi)

Forbidden Rice Salad:  black rice with mango, pac choi, and a curry dressing.

Stir Fried Chicken with Pea Shoots:  this recipe serves 8.  You will want to scale it down some.  I bet you could serve up to 4 with your 4 ounces of pea shoots if you have other side dishes.

Pea Shoot Pesto.  Take your sandwich up a notch with some pesto, or add it to eggs or pasta.

My lunch today?  A pan-fried sweet potato with Everything Bagel seasoning and alfalfa microgreens on top.  One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potato.

Are you as excited as I am about our new CSA format coming this summer?  I have received lots of positive comments about the change.  It's really a great program, because you can set your preferences once in the spring if you don't want to bother with going to the Website every week, or you can tweak your Share each week if that's more your style.  It will be a great fit for everyone!

Eat well...

Amy

 

Posted 1/7/2020 10:33am by Amy Philson.

Happy New Year (a few days late).  Because of feedback from our members, we are making major changes to our CSA this year.  Beginning in June, all CSA Shares will be totally customized.  You can set your preferences when you sign up, and then you will be able to adjust your share each week if you wish.  

So if your family hates kale, you can choose to never receive kale in your Share.  If you love tomatoes, you can always get tomatoes when they are available.  Do I hear lots of cheers out there?

We are working on getting the new system set up to begin sign-ups in February.  But we wanted to share the good news with you so you can look forward to a revamped CSA this year.  

Look for an email in February with more details.

Your farmers at NWPA Growers Cooperative

Posted 12/18/2019 1:33pm by Amy Philson.

Brrrr.  There are some people who love winter.  I am not one of them.  So I don't look forward to picking up boxes of produce in 6:30 a.m. darkness or packing CSA boxes in a barely heated building.  The things I do for the love of local food (insert heart emoji).  All kidding aside, I am just as excited as you are to get fresh local greens, sweet potatoes, and eggs from our farmers today.  I have already eaten some of my microgreens on a grilled cheese and mushroom sandwich for lunch.

I'm sure that many of you have travel plans and family gatherings coming up in the next couple of weeks.  But you still need to eat every day, so healthy local food is essential to counter some of the not-so-healthy fare at holiday feasts. 

While your farmers are slowing down in the cold weather, they are by no means enjoying a long winters nap.  Animals are still being fed and cared for at most of the farms.  Baby lambs are beginning to make their appearance at my family's farm, and our dog just had a litter of seven puppies this week.  Molly is a Blue Heeler and Jack Russell terrier mix, and our daddy dog is a Blue Heeler.  They will make nice cattle and sheep dogs in the future.

At Grateful Life Farm, seventeen new baby rabbits were born right before Thanksgiving.  We’ve been greeted with some beautiful white mornings with just the right amount of snow to make the world fresh and still, but not so much that it makes the day’s work more difficult.  We received delivery of our high tunnel kit, which we plan to put up over the winter to shelter next year’s vegetables.  The delivery was not without excitement as we were promised a 28’ truck with a lift gate but received the shipment on a 54’ truck that couldn’t pull up our driveway and had no lift gate.  Fortunately our neighbor has forks for his tractor and was willing to come to the rescue.  

At other farms, we are taking part in continuing education seminars, planning next year's crops, assessing how we can improve production next year, planning greenhouses, and more.  It looks like we will have some mild weather in a few days, so we will get back outside to do more of the things that should have already been done before the snow came.

CSA Shares

  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 4 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 microgreens (scallion and broccoli) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 garlic from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm

Recipes

Apple Walnut Cranberry Salad.  Serve this festive salad at your next gathering.

Frittata with Pea Shoots

Edamame with Dill Salt and Pea Shoots

Yukon Gold Roast Potatoes (adjust the recipe for the 2 lb. of potatoes)

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Warm Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad

Another festive dish:  Butternut Squash Salad with Spinach, Pecans and Cranberries

Butternut Squash Lasagna

We will be making latkes at our house next week, both traditional  and sweet potato versions.  We serve them with sour cream and homemade applesauce.  Yum!  

All of your farmers wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season.

Amy

Posted 12/4/2019 11:44am by Amy Philson.

Welcome to Winter 2020 Farm Share at NWPA Growers!  Today is the day to pick up your first box of goodies.  If you're new to our CSA, I send this newsletter to our members on delivery day.  It contains farm news, a list of your box contents, and recipe ideas to go along with your Share.

Our Board of Directors met last night, and we have some exciting changes planned for next year.  I will share more about them in January after we get all the details worked out.  But I know that you are going to love the changes!  

One change for this winter is that we have resumed delivery to Pittsburgh and Cranberry Twp through cooperation with another local farm that is already making the trip.  We are thrilled that we are not increasing our carbon footprint with the new delivery options and that we can cooperate with other farms to promote local food rather than competing with them for market share.  We are discussing whether this will be a viable option to continue next summer, too.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we harvested and delivered our turkeys before the big day.  I always feel really sad and miss the turkeys when they’re gone, but at the same time it is wonderful not to worry about them constantly.  A few days before harvest, Shawn was relaxing by the woodstove with a book when he heard their telltale putting sound.  This usually means one flew out and is now racing around the outside of the fence calling to the rest of the flock.  When he went to the window, only two turkeys were left inside the fence and he couldn’t see the others in any direction he looked.  He put on his boots, ran outside and called to them and followed their gobbles a few hundred yards down the driveway and into the woods!  I think they would eventually come back since they aren’t used to rustling up their own meals, but Shawn thinks they might just decide to turn wild.  Luckily he herded them back inside the fence and we didn’t have to find out which theory is right! 

It is very hard to be mad at these guys for long - just look at those faces!

Glacial Till Farm

Here is an aerial view of our fields taken by a friend's drone this fall.  Our fields are enjoying a much-deserved rest with cover crops for the winter.

Bushel and a Peck Farm

We are quite busy with our store, Philson & Friends Artisanal Wares, at Grove City Outlets.  Our store is filled to capacity with products from over 40 local artisans, craftsmen, and farms.  We of course sell our maple products there, along with alpaca, honey, jewelry, home decor, gifts, pottery, and lots more.  If you want to visit us, we are store #140.

December is also the time when we check and repair our maple lines.  The huge wind storm that came through about a week ago knocked out our power for a few hours.  But it also blew down branches and trees in the woods that need to be removed from the maple tubing.  We will also be adding more tubing to expand our production again this year.  We have a large area of woods that hasn't been tapped yet.  Our children are a big help with woods work.  Since we homeschool, we can adjust our schedule to spend a few hours in the woods as needed and finish our schooling after dark some days.  Our farm is truly a family farm with everyone involved in various ways.

CSA Shares

Only one size of share in the winter!

  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 tatsoi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bag garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 acorn squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 2 lb. potatoes from Miller Farm

Recipes

In this section I share recipes that I have found online that go along with your veggies this week.  You can find lots more ideas from past weeks on our Pinterest pages.

Chilled Wilted Tatsoi Salad.  Try subbing chopped garlic chives or other veggies for the radishes if you don't have any.

Fancy Toast with Pea Shoots with a chickpea mash

Sweet Potato and Tatsoi Soup

Potato, Tatsoi, and Caramelized Onion Enchiladas

The BEST Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Smashed Garlic and Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Easy Roasted Acorn Squash

Garlic-Herb Parmesan Roasted Red Potatoes (This calls for 3 lb. potatoes, so adjust accordingly.  Most of you probably don't need 8-10 servings.)

Easy Lentil Potato Soup

Most of you received both onion and broccoli microgreens today.  I like to sprinkle them on eggs, sandwiches, sweet potatoes, soups, etc.  They give a concentrated boost of nutrition to your food.

We have lots more fresh greens on tap for you as long as the weather cooperates.  Eat well.

Until next time...

Amy

Posted 11/20/2019 11:20am by Amy Philson.

Today is our final week of CSA 2019 and Summer Market Webstore.  Thank you all for your continued support of our small farms and local food.  We truly appreciate that you care enough about the small farmer and fresh food to go out of your way to buy our food.  We take seriously our commitment to raise quality produce, meat, eggs, and more so that you can feed your families healthy food.  Again, thank you.

I am sending this newsletter to our Webstore members and to Peak-of-the-Season members today as well.  I send an email every week to our CSA members, so you can see what you're missing.  Our farms are quieter this time of year so there isn't as much to talk about.  It's a way for you to get to know your farmers since most of you won't meet them in person.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

As early November arrived with a blast of cold and snow and dull grey skies, we find ourselves disheartened by several events of the last few weeks.  A predator attacked our laying flock in the early hours before dawn and one of our girls didn’t make it.  A few days later, we noticed two of our turkeys have become sick with fowl pox, a poultry virus transmitted by mosquitoes similar to human chicken pox.  The virus is typically not fatal and does not render the meat unsafe for consumption, but we take illness as a sign that our systems have failed to produce robust health and need to be improved upon.  While predation and sickness are unavoidable parts of farming, they always sting in our hearts, where we hate to see our animals suffer, and also our pride, where we want to be competent at our work and not make mistakes.

Despite these setbacks, we have pressed on and our garlic and spring bulbs are in the ground, our water line is buried to prevent freezing, our high tunnel has been ordered, and all our growing young rabbits are stretching their legs in their pasture pens.  Rabbits can become dangerously overheated in the summer, but seem to enjoy the winter and be impervious to the cold.  In the winter, we make extra rounds to be sure they have fresh water that hasn’t frozen.  It is a joy to watch them hop up and spin in the air, and race to munch fallen leaves and blades of grass peeking out of the snow when we move their pens each morning.  We give each pen plenty of hay for fiber and bedding and they can choose to stay in the dry warm part or explore the more exposed area with ground access. 

Glacial Till Farm

We are working on plans to build a greenhouse so we can start plants earlier in the season next year.  

Bushel and a Peck Farm

Our store at Grove City Outlets, Philson & Friends, is off to a great start.  The seasonal store offers products from 35 artisans, farms, and crafters from western PA and eastern Ohio.  We are also getting ready to get in the woods to repair maple tubing and replace some old lines.  Branches falling on lines can disrupt the flow of sap, so they need to be cleared off.  Raccoons also like the sweet water, so they sometimes chew the lines.  Sap runs in the late winter and early spring, so we spend time now doing repairs and getting everything ready to tap.

Harmony Grove Farm

The sunshine last weekend finally made our lettuce grow.  We had been waiting for a few weeks for it to catch up with our hoped-for harvest.  We heat our greenhouse when the weather turns colder, but the greens still don't grow when clouds fill the skies.  

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 4 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 1 garlic from Glacial Till Farm
  • 2 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Small Share

  • 1 microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 1 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 delicata squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Chipotle Lentil Tacos with Avocado and Microgreens

Avocado Toast with Microgreens

Green Smoothie with Pea Shoots

Delicata Squash with Miso-Maple Butter

Delicata Squash Fries with Garlic Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Herbed Skillet Potatoes

Yukon Gold Garlic Mashed Potatoes

We have one week off next week, and then Winter CSA begins December 4.  If you aren't joining us for the winter, we hope to see you again in the spring or summer.  We are working on some major improvements to our CSA, so stay tuned for news in the coming months.

Amy

 

Posted 11/13/2019 11:44am by Amy Philson.

Winter is here!  Thankfully, the weatherman says it will only last a few days and then be back to normal temps for November.  But it was quite chilly packing produce this morning.  Derek turned the heat on in the packing building, but it is just enough to take the edge off.  We all wear our coats and hats to pack when it's cold out.  

Today is Week 23 of this season.  Next week is our final week!  I don't have much in the way of farm news today.  All of our farms are at a slow pace with this cold.  Outside greens are finished, and the greenhouses are being heated to continue growth.  We are still hoping for broccoli in December if it will grow.  Last year our broccoli came in September, and this year we will be lucky for December.  

I can share photos of my farm's store at Grove City Outlets.  We have photos and videos on our Facebook page featuring our local artisans and vendors.  Check them out here, and come see us if you're in the area.  You might find me, my daughter Gwen who delivers your CSA shares, my husband Eric, Heather (who used to deliver for us) or Shelly (who used to be a farmer of NWPAGC and will be delivering our shares to the Pittsburgh area).  Our maple products are there (including samples so you can taste before you buy!), Heather's natural body products, alpaca, wooden spoons, pottery, glassware, jewelry, and lots more.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from Byler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 2 lb. red potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 4 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bag Asian greens from Harmony Grove Farm (these may be tatsoi, bok choi, or a mixture)
  • 1 container microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Small Share

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. red potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 2 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bag Asian greens from Harmony Grove Farm (these may be tatsoi, bok choi, or a mixture)
  • 1 container microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 2 oz. pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 container microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Byler Farm

Recipes

You can use the Asian greens interchangeably in these recipes.  You can also use them in place of spinach.

Bok Choi Salad with ginger dressing

9 Ways with Asian Greens.  Hopefully you can find something to your liking here.

White Bean Salad with Pea Shoots

Pea Shoots with Shiitake Mushrooms and Soba Noodles.  Or sub other mushrooms and your favorite pasta.

Potato Spinach Sausage Soup

Red Lentil Soup with Potatoes

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Curried Chickpeas and Mushrooms.  My family ate this again last night (at least most of them).  It's delicious.  However, the instructions are a little mixed-up.  Instead of mixing the chickpeas and mushrooms together to season and then separating them, just mix part of the seasoning with each one before roasting.  

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Apples 

Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes (scale it down for a smaller quantity)

Have a great week and stay warm!

Amy

 

Posted 11/6/2019 11:42am by Amy Philson.

Fall has descended on us in a big way.  Your farmers are all scurrying to get things tidied up before winter, cleaning out beds and greenhouses, and planting cover crops.  But we are also still planting and tending certain crops that will be ready to harvest in the cold winter months.  Some farmers take a "vacation" from vegetable farming in the winter while others try to extend the season as much as they can using greenhouses and storage crops.  The farmers who keep animals never get to enjoy much down time, and their work is even more difficult in the winter because of water freezing and the dangers that extreme temperatures pose to their animals.  

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

Wow was last night's storm wicked!  (This was written last Friday.) We went to sleep on a warm and rainy evening with the wind howling eerily, tree branches snapping, leaves whipping through the sky looking like flocks of birds, and the power flickering.  An appropriately spooky Halloween night!  We woke up to giant snowflakes and a small puddle of slush accumulated on the car's windshield.  The world looked different at dawn, a lot more like winter, with most of the trees bare and piles of leaves blanketing the grass.

Most of this week's activities have involved getting ready for winter.  We've had trouble with our water line freezing ever since we built our chicken processing room and the area was not back-filled properly.  This week Shawn placed two dump truck loads of topsoil to bury our water line deeply enough to keep it from freezing.  An added benefit is that I just gained a huge new flower bed on the full sun side of the house!

Bushel and a Peck Farm

We are busy setting up our pop-up store at Grove City Outlets.  Philson & Friends Artisanal Wares is filled with locally-made products from around the area.  We rent a store for two months to sell our maple products for the holidays, and we collect other locally-made products to help fill our store.  Opening day is this Friday, so we're all in a flurry getting everything in place and properly tagged.  We have a wide range of products, including food, jewelry, sports items, decor, and lots more.  If you want to come find us, we are store #140, the same place we were last year.  My family and a few friends take turns staffing the store seven days a week.  You can almost always find me there on Sundays and usually a couple of other days each week.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 2 lb. red potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 8 oz. spinach from Byler Farm
  • 1 pie pumpkin from Detweiler Farm
  • 8 oz. baby kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, Glacial Till Farm, Byler Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Small Share

  • 1 lb. red potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 pie pumpkin from Detweiler Farm
  • 8 oz. Siberian kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 microgreens from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, Glacial Till Farm, Byler Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 pie pumpkin from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from Byler Farm
  • 1 choice from Detweiler Farm, Miller Farm, Glacial Till Farm, Byler Farm, and Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Some of the pie pumpkins were smaller, so some shares have two pumpkins.

I wasn't planning on radishes in the Mini Shares, but we ended up with enough extras today to give Mini Shares a bonus!  That's why they weren't on the pickup list.

Microgreens are full of concentrated goodness, so a little goes a long way.  Add a few to your sandwich or sprinkle them on eggs, veggies, or salads to boost nutrition.  Yum!

To help you identify an item in the Choice boxes that you might not be familiar with:  black Spanish radishes are good for storage, so you will often find them in the colder months.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  I recommend roasting with other veggies or slicing and sauteeing.  

How to make fresh pumpkin puree.  Sometimes I don't even seed my pumpkins and squash.  After it's cooked I throw the whole thing in my Vitamix, seeds and skin included.  It adds more nutrition and makes my puree thicker.  But sometimes I like to roast the seeds for snacking.  Double yum!

The Best Pumpkin Pie Ever! This is my go-to pumpkin pie recipe, whether I'm using pureed pumpkin or butternut squash.  Made with real cream, not evaporated milk, but I have also made it with nut milk.

If you don't want to make pie crust, this one's for you:  Impossible Pumpkin Pie

And if you want to make dinner instead of dessert:  Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms

Garlic Bok Choi Stir Fry

Immunity-Boosting Bok Choi Mushroom Barley Soup

Ground Beef Kale Casserole (you could use most any green in this)

Kale, Olive, and Chickpea Salad

Sauteed Kale with Caramelized Onions

Warm Spinach Potato Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette

Spinach Falafel

We have only two more weeks of CSA 2019!  Winter CSA begins four weeks from today.  

 

 

Posted 10/30/2019 5:15pm by Amy Philson.

We've just added pickups in Pittsburgh (Bellevue) and Cranberry Township on Wednesday evenings for Winter CSA.  We are cooperating with another farmer who makes deliveries there so we don't add more to our carbon footprint.

And if you are in our other delivery areas, now is the time to sign up!  Winter CSA beings in 5 weeks.

Check out all the details here.  To go straight to the registration page, click here.

Questions?  Just reply to this email and we will do our best to give you answers.

Posted 10/30/2019 11:30am by Amy Philson.

We have been hearing and reading lately about more and more farm closures.  It has been happening for a long time, with the mega-farms overcoming and swallowing up the little guy.  With ever-increasing consolidation of our food supply, the small family farm just can't compete in the current market.  The oldest certified organic farm in western PA, Kretschmann Farm near Zelienople, is going out of business.  The farm has continued to be profitable enough for the Kretschmanns, but they are ready to retire and there are no buyers for their established organic farm and CSA operation.  Another farm in the Butler area that ran a farm market and large greenhouse is closing down and auctioning their equipment. And these are just the latest casualties after a long string of dairies that have liquidated their herds because they couldn't sell their milk.

Like NWPA Growers, other cooperatives have been watching their membership decrease the last few years.  The largest co-op in the Pittsburgh area has decided not to run a Winter CSA this year while they reassess their business model.  Thankfully, we at NWPAGC run a lean ship and don't have much overhead.  Several of the farmers volunteer a couple of hours every Wednesday to pack your shares for you.  We try to return as much value to you, our CSA members, as we possibly can in farm products and allow our farmers to earn a mediocre wage for their time and expense of producing this food.  None of us draws a living wage solely from our farms, but we love farming and endeavor to bring you the best food that we can.  While we lament the consolidation of our food systems and all the food that is shipped thousands of miles when it could be purchased locally, we are encouraged by increasing interest in and commitment to the local food movement.  Shop local, not just for your food but for as many items as you can.  Many of our pickup locations are local business that would love your support, too.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

This week has been very calm around the farm with the meat chickens gone for the year.  I’m surprised at how much more soundly I am sleeping and how much less I am worrying about bad weather, without the many possibilities for disaster lurking in the back of my mind.  I even made a new soup recipe - you must try this one (Curried Butternut Squash Soup in the recipe section below).  Instead of vegetable broth, I used chicken  bone broth, using the fat skimmed from the top to saute the onion and garlic.

Last Saturday’s chicken processing got done, but not without some equipment troubles.  Shawn spent quite a while trying to get the scalder to light and stay lit, ultimately bypassing the control module and piping the gas directly to the burner.  He had to shut it off when the temperature got too hot, then relight as the water cooled.  A little later, our plucker made a bad noise and shut off, although it started again and we were able to finish the chickens.  We will make repairs, but we are also considering selling these items and purchasing larger models to increase our capacity for next year.

Glacial Till Farm

On Saturday we planted 1,800 garlic cloves! Garlic stays in the ground all winter and sprouts in the spring.  It is usually harvested in July.

CSA Shares

Full Share

  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 2 lb. potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 2 peppers from Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. ground cherries from Detweiler Farm
  • 8 oz. kale from Glacial Till Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lettuce OR kale OR Swiss chard from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 3 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Miller Farm

Small Share

  • 1 butternut squash from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1/2 lb. ground cherries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 red pac choi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lettuce OR kale OR Swiss chard from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Miller Farm

Mini Share

  • 1 lb. potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1/2 lb. ground cherries from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lettuce OR kale OR Swiss chard from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 choice from Glacial Till Farm, Detweiler Farm, Byler Farm, Harmony Grove Farm, and Miller Farm

Recipes

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Black Bean and Butternut Squash Stew

Butternut Squash, Kale and Sausage

Ground Cherry Muffins

Spiced Ground Cherry Compote

Creamy White Bean Soup with Kale, Rosemary and Lemon

Spicy Potato Kale Bowls with Mustard Tahini Dressing.  Adjust the hot pepper to your taste (or leave out altogether!)

Ginger Sweet Tofu with Pac Choi

Bok Choy Fried Rice

Don't forget to sign up for Winter CSA!  We may cancel delivery to some locations if we don't have enough members, so better sooner than later.  Stay warm and eat good food.

Amy