NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 6/22/2017 10:37am by Amy Philson.

What a beautiful week!  After the oppressive heat and humidity, and then a virtual deluge in some areas over the weekend, we are loving this mild weather for the official start of summer.  We have more farmer news to share with you:

From Grateful Life Farm

     This week we had a visit from the state bee inspector.  We assumed that this person would be a wealth of knowledge and we were not disappointed.  Shawn spent three hours with him, opening our hive, inspecting the comb, and asking questions.  The purpose of the inspection was to check the colony for American Foulbrood, a destructive disease that is easily spread from colony to colony through spores in the brood and honey and can remain viable for up to 40 years!  Fortunately no sign was found in our colony.  The inspector also had some constructive thoughts about our choice of a top bar style bee hive rather than a traditional Langstroth hive.  We have been thinking of trying a hybrid approach in the future called a Warre hive, a vertical design like the Langstroth, but allowing bees to build their own comb, like the top bar.
     This week we have continued to turn in finished crops, lay down landscape fabric for weed control, and plant new successions.  Spinach, radishes, green beans, and sunflowers went in this week.  I also filled in the partial kale bed, where my Tuscan kale was killed by a freeze, with more Tuscan kale.  Only two of approximately 50 plants survived and are flourishing and I was considering saving their seeds for next year to increase cold hardiness.
     Our 4½ week old broilers are doing well in their new pen.  We are enjoying the ease of daily moves with the larger tires, but the increased clearance from the ground has caused a little trouble with escapees.  Chickens that don't care to walk to the new patch of grass can just sit down and the pen goes right over their heads.  They are still small enough that a few even shoved themselves through the openings in the electric net fence.  Fortunately they soon realize they are separated from their group and far from the feeder and head back towards the pen.  
     We will be processing our first batch of broiler chickens this Sunday, June 18th.  [This was written at the end of last week.]  I am really excited to try out our new processing room!  I believe it will save us hours of time in set up, tear down, and packaging and I can use some of that time to make more cut ups.  Our standard cuts are whole, half, boneless, skinless breasts, wings, and leg quarters.  We also offer backs and feet for making stock or broth as well as hearts, livers, and gizzards. 

From Harmony Grove Farm

Hello Friends! We had a sizzling hot summer day earlier this week – it went up almost 110 degrees in our greenhouse! Then we had great amount of gushing water from the sky yesterday!! Fortunately, all our greens survived through this week!

From NuWay Farm

     A few years back and Amish farmer from Lancaster, PA, stopped at our 20-acre produce farm for a visit.  He and I traded secrets and experiences on the farm.  A question he asked me was, "What is your greatest challenge farming in this area?"  Without hesitation, I gave him the answer:  "The weather is our greatest challenge."
     In our 15-plus years of farming, we have learned that it is indeed the weather that determines the farmer's bottom line at the end of the year.  Hoping to meet his budget, the weather can become to the farmer like a monster out to het him.  If it doesn't try to ruin him with frequent heavy downpours, it'll try to roast him out with hot, dry conditions.  We have learned also that in a diversity of crops, no matter the weather it will be good for something.
     Some weeks during May this past spring we had very cold and very warm temperatures all the same week.  Several times we had all of that in one day even!
     The day we chose to set out the leeks was one of those days.  It was cold and blustery that morning.  The two special operators sitting at the back of the transplanter wore thick coats and scarves.  When we got to the end of a row, the farthest from our buildings, it started to sprinkle big heavy ice-cold drops of rain.  I shifted my team of horses into second gear and made a right hand turn and started on a fast trot down the farm lane toward our buildings.  When that rain started coming in sheets I arched my back against its chill and urged the team into third gear. 
     The team of horses was going at a good gallop now, throwing dirt clods from their hooves back toward the operators for a change.  The silence of those operators concerned me a bit; however a quick glance revealed them clinging to their seats, each wearing a grim look.  We skidded to a halt in front of the packing shed, and the operators released their death grips and ran for cover.  I guided the horses into the barn and waited out the rain shower. 
     After lunch that same day the sun came out and smiled brightly.  We all went to the field to again plant leeks.  Whew!  We got so warm that we threw off our coats and hats and gloves and wished for a cold drink.  But hey...that's life on the farm.

CSA Shares

Full Shares

  • 2 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. snow peas or sugar snap peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Grateul Life Farm
  • 2 Choice

Small Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/3 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. snow peas or sugar snap peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. collard greens from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice

Mini Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm (a couple of you got carrots instead because we ran short)
  • 1/4 lb. snow peas or sugar snap peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  See the link below if you're not familiar with this veggie.

My favorite way to eat snow peas is when I peel the stem and string off and just pop them in my mouth.  Sweet and crunchy!

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Cranberry Almond Lettuce Salad

Warm Collard Quinoa Salad

Collard Greens Chicken Burritos

Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Garlic Snow Peas Stir-Fry

How to Cut Up Kohlrabi

Raw Kohlrabi and Apple Salad

Kohlrabi Salad with Cilantro and Lime

As you can see from the Choice box, summer produce is slowly coming.  We should have more variety in your shares next week besides lettuce and greens.  It looks like carrots and zucchini will be ready.  Yay!!!  Strawberries are finished this week, but blueberries will come in a couple of weeks.

As always, if you have any comments about your CSA Share, your pickup location, etc., please email me.

Have a great week!

Amy

Posted 6/21/2017 8:14pm by Amy Philson.

What a beautiful week!  After the oppressive heat and humidity, and then a virtual deluge in some areas over the weekend, we are loving this mild weather for the official start of summer.  We have more farmer news to share with you:

From Grateful Life Farm

     This week we had a visit from the state bee inspector.  We assumed that this person would be a wealth of knowledge and we were not disappointed.  Shawn spent three hours with him, opening our hive, inspecting the comb, and asking questions.  The purpose of the inspection was to check the colony for American Foulbrood, a destructive disease that is easily spread from colony to colony through spores in the brood and honey and can remain viable for up to 40 years!  Fortunately no sign was found in our colony.  The inspector also had some constructive thoughts about our choice of a top bar style bee hive rather than a traditional Langstroth hive.  We have been thinking of trying a hybrid approach in the future called a Warre hive, a vertical design like the Langstroth, but allowing bees to build their own comb, like the top bar.
     This week we have continued to turn in finished crops, lay down landscape fabric for weed control, and plant new successions.  Spinach, radishes, green beans, and sunflowers went in this week.  I also filled in the partial kale bed, where my Tuscan kale was killed by a freeze, with more Tuscan kale.  Only two of approximately 50 plants survived and are flourishing and I was considering saving their seeds for next year to increase cold hardiness.
     Our 4½ week old broilers are doing well in their new pen.  We are enjoying the ease of daily moves with the larger tires, but the increased clearance from the ground has caused a little trouble with escapees.  Chickens that don't care to walk to the new patch of grass can just sit down and the pen goes right over their heads.  They are still small enough that a few even shoved themselves through the openings in the electric net fence.  Fortunately they soon realize they are separated from their group and far from the feeder and head back towards the pen.  
     We will be processing our first batch of broiler chickens this Sunday, June 18th.  [This was written at the end of last week.]  I am really excited to try out our new processing room!  I believe it will save us hours of time in set up, tear down, and packaging and I can use some of that time to make more cut ups.  Our standard cuts are whole, half, boneless, skinless breasts, wings, and leg quarters.  We also offer backs and feet for making stock or broth as well as hearts, livers, and gizzards. 

From Harmony Grove Farm

Hello Friends! We had a sizzling hot summer day earlier this week – it went up almost 110 degrees in our greenhouse! Then we had great amount of gushing water from the sky yesterday!! Fortunately, all our greens survived through this week!

From NuWay Farm

     A few years back and Amish farmer from Lancaster, PA, stopped at our 20-acre produce farm for a visit.  He and I traded secrets and experiences on the farm.  A question he asked me was, "What is your greatest challenge farming in this area?"  Without hesitation, I gave him the answer:  "The weather is our greatest challenge."
     In our 15-plus years of farming, we have learned that it is indeed the weather that determines the farmer's bottom line at the end of the year.  Hoping to meet his budget, the weather can become to the farmer like a monster out to het him.  If it doesn't try to ruin him with frequent heavy downpours, it'll try to roast him out with hot, dry conditions.  We have learned also that in a diversity of crops, no matter the weather it will be good for something.
     Some weeks during May this past spring we had very cold and very warm temperatures all the same week.  Several times we had all of that in one day even!
     The day we chose to set out the leeks was one of those days.  It was cold and blustery that morning.  The two special operators sitting at the back of the transplanter wore thick coats and scarves.  When we got to the end of a row, the farthest from our buildings, it started to sprinkle big heavy ice-cold drops of rain.  I shifted my team of horses into second gear and made a right hand turn and started on a fast trot down the farm lane toward our buildings.  When that rain started coming in sheets I arched my back against its chill and urged the team into third gear. 
     The team of horses was going at a good gallop now, throwing dirt clods from their hooves back toward the operators for a change.  The silence of those operators concerned me a bit; however a quick glance revealed them clinging to their seats, each wearing a grim look.  We skidded to a halt in front of the packing shed, and the operators released their death grips and ran for cover.  I guided the horses into the barn and waited out the rain shower. 
     After lunch that same day the sun came out and smiled brightly.  We all went to the field to again plant leeks.  Whew!  We got so warm that we threw off our coats and hats and gloves and wished for a cold drink.  But hey...that's life on the farm.

CSA Shares

Full Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Grateul Life Farm
  • 2 Choice

Small Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/3 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. collard greens from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice

Mini Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/4 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  See the link below if you're not familiar with this veggie.

My favorite way to eat snow peas is when I peel the stem and string off and just pop them in my mouth.  Sweet and crunchy!

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Cranberry Almond Lettuce Salad

Warm Collard Quinoa Salad

Collard Greens Chicken Burritos

Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Garlic Snow Peas Stir-Fry

How to Cut Up Kohlrabi

Raw Kohlrabi and Apple Salad

Kohlrabi Salad with Cilantro and Lime

As you can see from the Choice box, summer produce is slowly coming.  We should have more variety in your shares next week besides lettuce and greens.  It looks like carrots and zucchini will be ready.  Yay!!!  Strawberries are finished this week, but blueberries will come in a couple of weeks.

As always, if you have any comments about your CSA Share, your pickup location, etc., please email me.

Have a great week!

Amy

Posted 6/21/2017 8:14pm by Amy Philson.

What a beautiful week!  After the oppressive heat and humidity, and then a virtual deluge in some areas over the weekend, we are loving this mild weather for the official start of summer.  We have more farmer news to share with you:

From Grateful Life Farm

     This week we had a visit from the state bee inspector.  We assumed that this person would be a wealth of knowledge and we were not disappointed.  Shawn spent three hours with him, opening our hive, inspecting the comb, and asking questions.  The purpose of the inspection was to check the colony for American Foulbrood, a destructive disease that is easily spread from colony to colony through spores in the brood and honey and can remain viable for up to 40 years!  Fortunately no sign was found in our colony.  The inspector also had some constructive thoughts about our choice of a top bar style bee hive rather than a traditional Langstroth hive.  We have been thinking of trying a hybrid approach in the future called a Warre hive, a vertical design like the Langstroth, but allowing bees to build their own comb, like the top bar.
     This week we have continued to turn in finished crops, lay down landscape fabric for weed control, and plant new successions.  Spinach, radishes, green beans, and sunflowers went in this week.  I also filled in the partial kale bed, where my Tuscan kale was killed by a freeze, with more Tuscan kale.  Only two of approximately 50 plants survived and are flourishing and I was considering saving their seeds for next year to increase cold hardiness.
     Our 4½ week old broilers are doing well in their new pen.  We are enjoying the ease of daily moves with the larger tires, but the increased clearance from the ground has caused a little trouble with escapees.  Chickens that don't care to walk to the new patch of grass can just sit down and the pen goes right over their heads.  They are still small enough that a few even shoved themselves through the openings in the electric net fence.  Fortunately they soon realize they are separated from their group and far from the feeder and head back towards the pen.  
     We will be processing our first batch of broiler chickens this Sunday, June 18th.  [This was written at the end of last week.]  I am really excited to try out our new processing room!  I believe it will save us hours of time in set up, tear down, and packaging and I can use some of that time to make more cut ups.  Our standard cuts are whole, half, boneless, skinless breasts, wings, and leg quarters.  We also offer backs and feet for making stock or broth as well as hearts, livers, and gizzards. 

From Harmony Grove Farm

Hello Friends! We had a sizzling hot summer day earlier this week – it went up almost 110 degrees in our greenhouse! Then we had great amount of gushing water from the sky yesterday!! Fortunately, all our greens survived through this week!

From NuWay Farm

     A few years back and Amish farmer from Lancaster, PA, stopped at our 20-acre produce farm for a visit.  He and I traded secrets and experiences on the farm.  A question he asked me was, "What is your greatest challenge farming in this area?"  Without hesitation, I gave him the answer:  "The weather is our greatest challenge."
     In our 15-plus years of farming, we have learned that it is indeed the weather that determines the farmer's bottom line at the end of the year.  Hoping to meet his budget, the weather can become to the farmer like a monster out to het him.  If it doesn't try to ruin him with frequent heavy downpours, it'll try to roast him out with hot, dry conditions.  We have learned also that in a diversity of crops, no matter the weather it will be good for something.
     Some weeks during May this past spring we had very cold and very warm temperatures all the same week.  Several times we had all of that in one day even!
     The day we chose to set out the leeks was one of those days.  It was cold and blustery that morning.  The two special operators sitting at the back of the transplanter wore thick coats and scarves.  When we got to the end of a row, the farthest from our buildings, it started to sprinkle big heavy ice-cold drops of rain.  I shifted my team of horses into second gear and made a right hand turn and started on a fast trot down the farm lane toward our buildings.  When that rain started coming in sheets I arched my back against its chill and urged the team into third gear. 
     The team of horses was going at a good gallop now, throwing dirt clods from their hooves back toward the operators for a change.  The silence of those operators concerned me a bit; however a quick glance revealed them clinging to their seats, each wearing a grim look.  We skidded to a halt in front of the packing shed, and the operators released their death grips and ran for cover.  I guided the horses into the barn and waited out the rain shower. 
     After lunch that same day the sun came out and smiled brightly.  We all went to the field to again plant leeks.  Whew!  We got so warm that we threw off our coats and hats and gloves and wished for a cold drink.  But hey...that's life on the farm.

CSA Shares

Full Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Grateul Life Farm
  • 2 Choice

Small Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/3 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. collard greens from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Choice

Mini Shares

  • 1 kohlrabi from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/4 lb. snow peas from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

Recipes

Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  See the link below if you're not familiar with this veggie.

My favorite way to eat snow peas is when I peel the stem and string off and just pop them in my mouth.  Sweet and crunchy!

Olive Garden Salad Dressing

Cranberry Almond Lettuce Salad

Warm Collard Quinoa Salad

Collard Greens Chicken Burritos

Asian Beef with Mushrooms and Snow Peas

Garlic Snow Peas Stir-Fry

How to Cut Up Kohlrabi

Raw Kohlrabi and Apple Salad

Kohlrabi Salad with Cilantro and Lime

As you can see from the Choice box, summer produce is slowly coming.  We should have more variety in your shares next week besides lettuce and greens.  It looks like carrots and zucchini will be ready.  Yay!!!  Strawberries are finished this week, but blueberries will come in a couple of weeks.

As always, if you have any comments about your CSA Share, your pickup location, etc., please email me.

Have a great week!

Amy

Posted 6/14/2017 8:30pm by Amy Philson.

This hot weather should bring a great appreciation of your farmers.  Even when it's sweltering outside, we are still out in the fields planting, weeding, and harvesting.  If possible, we get up early to beat the heat, and then work again in the evening.  But sometimes we just have to stay hydrated and keep on going when temperatures soar, like when we're cutting hay.  Most crops stay fresh longer when we pick them early in the day, before the sun heats them up.  Greens are quick-chilled in cold water, and then weighed and packaged under a roof. 

We have a new installment from David Yoder of NuWay Farm:

Ahh, yes, the beautiful Mistress Summertime cometh.  She brings corn on the cob, big red round tomatoes, juicy chin-dripping watermelons.  And let's not forget family cookouts.  Family is important.
 
In our 15-plus years of farming, we have tried many tomato varieties.  The green ones, yellow ones, orange ones, black ones, big ones, little ones.  Mostly we are interested in the heirloom kinds.  We finally settled on three that we like best.
 
This first one we have planted for three years now.  It is not an heirloom but a hybrid.  It's a paste tomato called Health Kick. There's nothing spectacular about it; it's just a paste tomato for canning.
The next one I want to tell you about is not an heirloom either.  It is a yellow cherry tomato called Sunsugar.  We plant this one year after year because of its high yields and very good low-acid sweet taste.  Picking one directly from the vine, popping it into your mouth, exploding it between the teeth, starts a person on a feeding frenzy that won't end until filled or you run out of tomatoes.
 
This last tomato that we grow is, well, really spectacular I think.  It's definitely an heirloom.  It's a large pink low-acid tomato with the least amount of seed pockets I have ever seen in a tomato.  It's kind of sweet; a bit solid yet not crunchy, large enough to cover anyone's homemade wheat bread slices.  An elderly Amish farmer gave me several seeds seven years ago and advised me to try this tomato.  He had been saving the seeds for 30 years, he said.  He had gotten the seed from an elderly lady 30 years ago who had brought the seed with her from Germany.  This delicious tomato did not have a name--so we named it.  At the beginning the boys and I identified the tomato by saying, "that tomato-we-got-from-John-Henry."  Eventually we shortened it to the "John Henry" tomato.  That is how it got its name.  We believe that by saving seeds from only the hardiest plants the tomato may adapt to our regioun and also build disease resistance.  Watch your share box about mid-summer if everything goes well.  You're sure to find some JH tomatoes with your produce.

And an update from Grateful Life Farm:

This week we finished building generation two of our bottomless, moveable broiler pens.  Although our first pen is still in service in its fourth season, it has needed repeated repairs and we also identified some improvements we wanted to make.  Our ultimate goal is to use this pen in pastures much further from our house, so we wanted to build it like Fort Knox for chickens.  The new pen is the same footprint as the original, 10 x 12, but it is built in two halves with a bolted flange down the center which will allow us to take it apart and move it to different pastures later in the season.  We used heavier lumber for key pieces that we have repaired several times on the first pen and we used ½" x 1" welded wire rather than the mix of chicken wire and hardware cloth from the first pen to make it more predator proof.  We also used larger tires which give us more ground clearance when we are moving the pen each day. 
Grateful Life Farm's chicken tractor
 
Tuesday evening we set up a new section of electric net fence and put the second batch of broiler chicks in the new pen.  It has been working very well, heavier than the original design, but easier to move.  We were just in time to clean out the brooder and pick up batch three from the post office on Wednesday morning.  All arrived healthy and are doing well.  We will be processing our first batch of broiler chickens Sunday, June 18th.
 
With the chicken pen completed, we turned our attention toward the vegetables.  We removed crop residues from our first spinach and radish planting, and prepared the beds for the next crops, spinach and basil.  The basil transplants went in on Wednesday evening and are looking well.  Although heavily mulched last fall with leaves and grass clippings, the garlic needed a little weeding, which we breezed through pretty quickly.  It is looking strong and we are excited for scapes soon!  Next, we will be planting successions of lettuce, radishes and spinach, and also green beans and sunflowers.   

For those of you with Chicken Shares, your first chicken will come next week.  Biweekly shares will receive chickens two weeks in a row, and then biweekly for the rest of the season.  When we start chickens too early in the spring, we have found that they are more susceptible to illness and death because of the cold, so we delayed the start of Chicken Shares by one week.  If you don't have a Chicken Share, some of Grateful Life's chicken will be available in the Webstore soon.

Share Contents

Full Shares

  • 1 quart strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/2 lb. lettuce mix from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. collard greens from Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. Swiss chard from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes from Red Dog Farm
  • 2 Choice items

Small Shares

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1/3 lb. lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. kale from Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 head lettuce Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 Choice item

Mini Share

  • 1 pt. strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 head lettuce Grateful Life Farm
  • 1/3 lb. collard greens from NuWay Farm

Recipes

White Bean and Garlic Scape Dip

Simple Spaghetti with Kale, Lemon and Garlic

Spicy Kale and Quinoa Black Bean Salad

One Pot Mushroom and Swiss Chard Pasta

Easy Swiss Chard

Roasted Salt & Pepper Radish Chips

Radish & Herb Cashew Ricotta Crostini -- Sub regular ricotta or goat cheese if you eat dairy and don't want to make cashew cheese.

Cuban-Inspired Black Beans and Rice with Collard Greens and Pan-Fried Plantains -- If you're not familiar with plantains, they are a relative of bananas.

Blanched Collard Greens for Wraps

Garlic Ginger Collard Greens + Eggs & Feta

If one of these recipes looks yummy but you didn't receive that particular green in your Share, I have found that I can substitute other greens in recipes.  Kale, collards, Swiss chard, spinach, etc. can be swapped out in many (not all) recipes.

Have a great week and try to stay cool!  Enjoy some new recipes, try different foods, and have fun with fresh local food!

Amy

Posted 6/7/2017 11:12am by Amy Philson.

Welcome to our first week of Summer Farm Shares!  Each week you will receive this email with farm news, a list of your share contents, and recipe ideas.  If you are on vacation, you will still receive the email so you can drool over what you're missing that week.

News from Leah from Grateful Life Farm last week:

We weathered a pretty intense storm on Sunday night with thankfully no significant damage.  I had just finished planting spinach and tomato transplants, moved the laying hens’ fence and started mowing grass when the first burst of rain hit.  I was initially happy to have my transplants watered in and went in the house to get cleaned up for a trip to the store to buy materials for another chicken pen.  Soon Shawn came in to tell me to hurry up and get out of the shower because the thunder and lightning were getting really close.  We never left the property, but instead spent the rest of the afternoon and evening alternately staring helplessly out the window as heavy downpours, including hail, pelted our vegetables, and running outside during the breaks in the storms to check on the animals.

Hearing stories on the news, I could never picture in my mind how people and cars could be swept away by flash floods, how water could rise so fast, but I could imagine it that night.  The tiny trickle of a stream dividing our property and the neighbor’s, nearly dry in the summer, roared with racing water, overcame the drainage pipe at the bottom of our driveway and partially submerged the road, dumping into an angrily churning Shull Run.  The ground was already so wet and saturated that the additional water just ran across our yard and field, inches deep in places. We had moved the broiler chickens in their pasture pen to the highest ground we have earlier in the day, but by dark their area was getting really soggy and I was sick at heart, feeling like there was nothing more I could do for them.  After my final tour around 10:30 PM, I went to bed feeling depressed and helpless and slept poorly, dreaming of finding all the animals dead and all the lettuce and collards and kale flattened in the morning.

The morning dawned pleasantly sunny and I forced myself out the door for morning chores, dreading the carnage I expected to find.  Instead, I was reminded how resilient plants and animals can be.  There was no damage to our crops and only a handful of wet and cold broiler chickens who were transferred back to the brooder for a few hours of warming.  The hail had broken a hole in the plastic sheeting roof above the brooders, but the hole was on the eave and had not allowed rain on the baby chickens and turkeys.  We are so grateful that all of our season’s hard work was not destroyed that night, but also wistful for the time before we farmed when a bad storm was no more than a beautiful light show.

We also have a new installment from David Yoder of NuWay Farm.  If you have missed his previous journals this spring, you can read them at http://www.nwpagrowers.com/blog

Tonight I'm happy and proud of everyone who helps on our farm.  Today we were able to set out all the tomato and tomatillo plants.  We used a transplanter drawn by two horses.  There are two seats in the back part for the two special operators.  I am the owner and CEO of this 20-acre produce farm; thus, I get to drive the horses and direct the planting that goes on at the back of the unit.
Just in case you think me selfish for grabbing the easy job of driving the team, let me explain one thing:  Those two young Amish girls operating the planter may seem very polite or even bashful at times to you, an outsider.  But to me they are anything but bashful and sometimes not polite.  They must not understand that I'm the farm's CEO!
Because the transplanter dare not go too fast nor too slow, the driver (me, the CEO) is subject to all kinds of abuse.  Mostly verbal.  Sometimes even ducking dirt clods.
"Hey you!  Not so fast," sings out a youthful feminine voice.  So yes, of course, I obediently tighten up the lines a little and talk softly to myself and to my horses.  They slow down gratefully.  After creeping along a while I hear that voice again.  "Hey mister!  What are you doing?  Are you racing with a snail?  Speed up!"  I watch for flying dirt clods, talk to myself, and slack up the lines.  Now the team steps right along.
"Yeow!  Not so fast here, no sense in going fifty miles and hour!"  That voice sounds a bit agitated now.  I check for flying dirt clods and talk to myself.
Whew!  I'm not sure being a CEO is all it's cracked up to be.  I must say though that those girls do a great job of planting in spite of everything.  I wouldn't want to do without 'em really.  I think CEOs just need a thicker skin, that's all.

Farm Shares

Full Shares

  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 head lettuce from Grateful Life Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 pt. strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1 lb. rhubarb from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes from Novotny Farm
  • 1/2 lb. spinach from NuWay Farm
  • 1 herb from Silver Wheel Farm or Bushel and a Peck Farm
  • 2 choice

Small Share

  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1/4 lb. lettuce mix from NuWay Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 pt. strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. rhubarb from NuWay Farm
  • 1/4 lb. spinach from NuWay Farm
  • 1 Choice

Mini Share

  • 1 head lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bunch radishes from NuWay Farm
  • 1 pt. strawberries from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm

Recipes

If you are new or have been away from our CSA for the winter and spring, we are now using Pinterest to share recipes.  Follow us at https://www.pinterest.com/nwpagrowers/pins/.  Besides the recipes that I share each week, you can find additional recipes from previous weeks.  The old recipes are still available at http://www.nwpagrowers.com/recipe if you want to search for an old favorite or look for additional ideas.

For salads that call for red onion, you may substitute your green onions.  And if you want to make a larger spinach salad, mix in some lettuce.

Strawberry, Feta, and Spinach Salad

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Chicken

Creamy Garlic Scapes Salad Dressing

Pickled Garlic Scapes

Savory Radish and Goat Cheese Muffins

8 Ways to Eat Radishes and Radish Greens

Double Crumb Rhubarb Coffee Cake

It's the season of green with a splash of red from the fields.  My family is beginning to tire of salads (not me!  I love them), but that's what is fresh right now.  So they will have to deal with it.  More variety will come soon.

I always welcome your feedback about your Farm Share.  Please let me know what you like or don't like, what you wish for in your share, or how we can make the CSA better.

Amy

 

 

Posted 5/24/2017 12:47pm by Amy Philson.

This is the final day of our Spring Share, full of fresh spring greens!  Summer season begins in just two weeks.  It seems impossible that June is almost upon us, yet the seasons don't wait for us to be ready.  Your farmers are planting seeds and seedlings, mulching and weeding, planting new perennials, tending to baby animals, managing pasture and fence for older animals, and more.  Soon it will be time to cut hay for winter feed.

David Yoder of NuWay Farm shares another installment from his life on the farm:

     I awoke quickly.  I knew it was morning, for I felt well-rested.  Yet, I could tell it was early, somewhere between 4 and 5 o'clock.  I lay on my back for a while staring into the darkness, thinking of the day ahead.  The soil was dry, the weather warm--just right for planting.  Today we hoped to be able to sow more beets, cilantro, arugula, and possibly broccoli rabe.  Actually, I will be preparing the soil with a team of horses and cultimulcher while my son Josiah follows with the planter.
     I got dressed and stepped outside the door of our farmhouse.  From the looks of the eastern sky, the sun was struggling its way to the horizon, evidence of a beautiful day ahead of us.  As I entered the barn, the horses greeted me enthusiastically.  Now I don't believe for one minute that they were overly happy to see me; I think it's mainly that they had been impatiently waiting for their portion of grain.
     With the horses now munching oats, I walked slowly to the woodlot behind our house.  Wow!  Those birds were glad for spring and a warmer climate, too.  Several cardinals were talking to each other at the same time.  How in the world they can communicate that way is beyond me.  A hairy woodpecker drummed on a dead tree somewhere, warning others to keep back.  The trail I was walking on led me past our sugarhouse.  It is a 10x20 building only two years old, a great place to spend an early spring night boiling maple syrup.  I continued my walk, robins, rufous-sided towhees, crows trying to outshout each other, and all the wild creatures entertaining me with music of the woodlands.
Sugar shack at NuWay Farm
     The trail took me past a patch of ramps that we have been coaxing and nurturing to spread throughout our woodlot.  Well, they seem okay.  And would you believe it before I knew it my early morning hike took me somehow to my own kitchen door.  Ahh, the smell of pancakes, sausage, eggs, and warm maple syrup caught my nostrils.  Man!  Was I ever hungry.  After my nature walk and a hearty breakfast, I felt well-equipped to begin my day on the farm.

Farm Shares

Today's farm shares include:

  • Pea shoots from Harmony Grove Farm
  • Rhubarb (2 lb.) from NuWay Farm
  • Broccoli Rabe from NuWay Farm
  • Spinach from Grateful Life Farm
  • Green onions from NuWay Farm
  • Watercress from Miller Farm Products
  • Mixed lettuce from NuWay Farm
  • Lettuce from Grateful Life Farm
  • Lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • Herb from Springfield Acres or Bushel and a Peck Farm

The Broccoli Rabe was a nice surprise.  We didn't think it would be ready yet, but we were surprised.  So we substituted that for mizuna that we had planned.  If you're not familiar with it, it is a member of the brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, etc.).  It forms a small broccoli-like floret on top of a tender stalk with leaves.  Some say its flavor is reminiscent of arugula.  My family ate some with dinner last night.  When I boiled it in salt water for a few minutes, most of the bitter, spicy flavor was subdued.  I then sautéed onions and added the drained rabe and seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Delicious!

Recipes

You will be eating lots of salad in the coming days!

Need Salad Recipes? Chart with Topping Combinations

8 Healthy Salad Dressing Recipes

Avocado, Strawberry, and Spinach Salad

Spring Onion and Pea Tendril Flatbread (this one is a little more involved, unless you take shortcuts and use a purchased flatbread and pesto...but it looks delicious!)

Pea Shoot Salad

Asparagus and Pea Shoot Salad

Spicy Spinach Quesadillas

Simple Crustless Spinach Quiche

Easy Whole30 Lettuce Wraps

Grilled Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Rhubarb Butter

Rhubarb Bars

Classic Rhubarb Crisp

Watercress Namul

Watercress Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Watercress and Pistachio Pesto

Lemony White Beans with Broccoli Rabe

Italian-Style Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

Hmmm...I think I went a little overboard with pinning recipes today.  You should not be lacking for ideas for your veggies, and you have no excuse if you forget them in your fridge. 

We all wish you a festive Memorial Day weekend filled with family and friends.  Take time to remember those who have died in service of our country. 

Amy

 

 

Posted 5/23/2017 9:29am by Amy Philson.

Based on feedback from some of you, we have added a new type of Vegetable Share: Select.  Now you can build your own share to satisfy your family's tastes.

More lettuce and less kale?  Done.

Hate onions but love tomatoes?  Check.

Customize your share each week.  Take a vacation and order extra the following week.  Just like the grocery store but it's fresh, local, and naturally grown.  Just like the farmer's market, but it's already packed for you.

Sign up today to eat fresh and local all season.

Did you already join the CSA for this year, but you would rather have a choice?  You can change your share type and pay the additional 10% for this option.

On another note, Summer Farm Shares begin June 7.  Some of our pickup locations are still lagging behind where they need to be for us to deliver there.  They may be cancelled early next week unless numbers increase.  They include:

  • Erie
  • Cranberry Twp.
  • Greenville
  • Meadville
  • Harmony
  • Sharpsville
  • Pittsburgh

Thank you for your continued support of local farms.  Whether you buy from our farms or others, we appreciate when you spend your food dollars to support local agriculture and for trusting us with a portion of your family's nutrition.

Visit our Website to see all the options and to sign up for your Farm Share.

Email me with any questions or comments.

Amy Philson, manager

NWPA Growers' Cooperative

Posted 5/16/2017 10:28am by Amy Philson.

This was shared by one of our Farm Share members:

"I can't do CSA because I don't have time to cook!"

I would like to challenge this statement with a story. My college aged son was living on his own for the first time last summer and working full-time in Erie. He had grown up going to farmer's markets and CSA share pickups, and I wondered if he would like to be part of a CSA. He agreed to give it a try but was worried about how to use the shares without wasting food. His strategy was to pick up his share on Wednesdays, see what was in the box, and go to the grocery store to pick up any additional ingredients to make a meal that night. Then he used the recipes provided by our CSA manager to cook again on Sunday to use up any of the fresh items he received that week. He would then eat leftovers on the other days of the week. It worked perfectly and what was intended to be an experiment ended up being a very positive experience for him. He is going to be a CSA member again this summer and hopefully for many years to come. 

If you have considered a Farm Share but haven't signed up yet, time is running short!  We have veggie shares that range between $10 and $26 per week. 

http://nwpagrowers.com/summer-farm-sharecsa-types-and-pricing

Posted 5/10/2017 1:08pm by Amy Philson.

We have a special treat for you today.  I have been asking our farmers to compose a paragraph to include in our newsletter, and they just don't take (or have) the time.  So you get to hear what's going on from my perspective.

This week, David Yoder from NuWay Farm made time to do this.  Below is what he wrote:

It's an unseasonably warm day.  The sun is earnestly sending its warm rays down to earth.  Puffy white clouds float in the sky.  An occasional slight breeze ruffles the leaves on the bing cherry tree.
 
It is a Sunday afternoon and I sit on the porch of our farmhouse meditating and watching birds fly in and out of our fields.  No doubt they are looking for worms and bugs to feed their own growing families.
 
From where I sit I can see all six of our fields as they lay in a dip between the house and road.  Although the mega-farmer would call our fields "just little patches," we prefer to call them fields even if each is only one to one-and-a-half acres in size.
 
The field next to the road is planted to potatoes--a whole ton of seed.  The field next to that is sown to oats.  With the heat of today and rain of yesterday, I believe that oat seed will sprout soon.  Whenever the oats are about twelve inches tall, we plan to plow it under, then plant oats again.  We want to continue that schedule until September, when we put in fall crops.  It's all about soil building.
 
The third field is planted to vegetables for my and your growing family.  It contains a lot of green onions.  I just love to walk out and pull up an onion, wipe it on my pant leg, and crunch it down.  For some reason, my wife disapproves.  The field also has radishes, carrots, lettuce, arugula, and Swiss chard growing in it.
 
The fourth field we have in spring fallow, which means it is plowed and worked up but nothing will be planted until June.  Once a week, weather permitting, we run over it with the cultimulcher, killing any sprouting weed seeds.  Of course, we may lose some organic matter by exposing the bare soil to the sun for such a long time, but we have so much horse manure on our farm that organic matter is easily recovered.
 
The next field is all worked up ready and waiting for the right weather to receive the leek crop.  We have 2,880 leeks to set out soon.
 
Field number six is on the other side of the driveway behind the high tunnels.  From where I sit on the porch I can see about half of it.  This field will be our tomato field this summer.  A thousand paste tomatoes, a thousand cherry tomatoes, and two thousand of our famous heirloom tomatoes that we keep seed from every year.  I will tell you more of this excellent old tomato later.
 
Now the evening shadows are lengthening.  It's almost time to chore.  I'm still sitting on my porch thinking of how fortunate I am.  During the day I do the work I love to do.  At night, I'm surrounded by family and friends.  I am a farmer.
 
--David M. Yoder, NuWay Farm

I hope to continue with more of these updates from our member farms in the future.

Here is what is in your CSA Shares this week:

  • 1/2 lb. popcorn from Chester Detweiler Farm
  • 1 lb. rhubarb from Sunny Meadow Farm
  • 1 bunch green garlic from Bushel and a Peck Farm
  • 1 bunch green onions from NuWay Farm
  • 1/3 lb. ramps from NuWay Farm
  • 1/2 lb. arugula from NuWay Farm
  • 1/4 lb. horseradish root from Bushel and a Peck Farm
  • 1/3 lb. watercress from NuWay Farm
  • 2 heads lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm

A note about fresh horseradish:  Making your own horseradish sauce to keep in your fridge is quick and easy.  I hope yours doesn't languish in your crisper drawer until it is no longer useful.  Here is a quote from one of the recipes below that speaks volumes about our modern culture:

"Betty and I were talking about how very few people make homemade horseradish sauce anymore, even when they have access to a horseradish patch. The big batch we did took a couple hours (with digging and cleaning), but we ended up with four quarts of sauce. (I'm gifting out horseradish to local friends and family this fall.) If you were making only a cup, it wouldn't take much time at all.

I think that perhaps our modern palates are spoiled by the abundance of food choices available in the average grocery store, and how much fresh produce is available all year round. In the olden days, folks were more appreciative of the zip of horseradish when they had to rely on storage food all winter. The same might be said of heavy spiced cakes and cookies. I find when baking that spice cakes and cookies are much more appreciated by the older crowd, while young palates more commonly go for chocolate or vanilla."

Use the green garlic just as you would regular garlic.  Slice or chop it and sauté in your favorite recipes.  Most people discard the tough green leaves and only use the tender white/light green portions.

Recipes

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Easy Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish Vinaigrette

How to Prepare Horseradish

Wilted Arugula

Bean Salad with Crips Celery, Watercress, and Red Onion

Watercress, Leek and Coconut Milk Soup (sub ramps or green garlic for the leeks)

Easy Spring Garlic and Oregano Meatballs

Rhubarb Mousse

Soy-Lemon Flank Steak with Arugula (I would serve it on a bed of arugula rather than just sprinkling some on top.)

Spiced Braised Rhubarb Serve it on ice cream or yogurt...or eat it plain!

Savory Ramp and Cheddar Muffins

An update on the email that I sent last week to our entire mailing list:  We have had a great response to it.  A number of people signed up for shares who had been procrastinating.  I have received many emails with encouraging words, ideas, offers of help, and also constructive criticism why some have not signed up again.  We welcome input from you all, both positive and negative.  While NWPA Growers exists to market and deliver our farmers' products, we want to serve you in the best way that we can.  And we are encouraged when former members tell us why our program didn't work for their family but they are still seeking out local foods from other area farms.  We all have the same goal:  healthy food from a healthy local economy.

Enjoy this beautiful day!  I would love to get away from my desk and work in my gardens, but I'm afraid that my day is filled with paperwork and computer work, and then a meeting tonight.  My husband is spreading manure with his team of draft horses right now.  Maybe tomorrow I can get outside...

Amy

 

 

Posted 5/4/2017 9:31am by Amy Philson.

Yes, it's already May.  Flowers are blooming, weather is warming...and farmers are planting their summer crops. 

We need your help.  Sign-ups for our Farm Shares are falling short of our past seasons.  In fact, way behind.  Our farmers depend on the preorders of Farm Shares to plan what and how much to plant.  However, they are shooting in the dark right now.  And they are getting worried that they won't be able to sell their products.  Which means more family farms closing down.

In fact, two of our member farms decided to do just that this year.  They couldn't make ends meet by depending on farming, so they were forced to take a different job in order to care for their families. 

Farming is a gamble, and we seem to lose more often than we win.  And people wonder why the price of local food is so high.  It's because we don't receive farm subsidies from the government.  We prefer to rely on our hard work and the support of our community.

Since you are a part of our mailing list, we know that you see the importance of healthy food.  You value supporting our local economy by purchasing that food from small family farms. 

We all know that there are some drawbacks to purchasing a Farm Share.  Sometimes it is inconvenient to make another stop to pick up your share.  And you have to actually cook!  But if good health is important to us, then we all must make the time to seek out the best food and prepare it for our families.

At our cooperative's recent Board of Directors meeting, we discussed ways to meet the needs of our changing society, including a mobile farm truck, farmer's markets, home delivery, a storefront or market stand, and more.  All of these ideas are in the discussion stage right now, but we welcome your input as we adapt to the needs of our communities.

 

How can you help?

  • Some of you have already signed up for your Farm Share.  A big THANK YOU to you!  You can help by telling your friends, family, and acquaintances about our Farm Share.  Some of our pickup locations are in danger of being cancelled if membership there doesn't increase.
  • Some of you are brand new to NWPA Growers and don't know much about us.  I encourage you to try a Farm Share.  We have several sizes available to match your eating habits.
  • Some of you have been considering a Farm Share but just haven't gotten around to signing up.  Do it now!
  • Some of you grow your own garden.  Consider joining our Webstore to supplement what you grow.  The Webstore also has healthy meats, eggs, cheese, maple products, honey, and more.
  • All of you can forward this email to others.  Or go to our Facebook page and share. 

 

Again, thank you all for your support of local farms.  We take our mission to provide healthy food to our surrounding communities very seriously.  But we can't do it alone.

Live well and eat healthy.

Amy Philson, manager

Northwest Pennsylvania Growers' Cooperative