NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 5/17/2019 4:27pm by Amy Philson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

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

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

Glacial Till Farm

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

And here is arugula being harvested and prepped for CSA:

Miller Farm

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

CSA Shares

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

Recipes

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

Wild Ramp Buttermilk Biscuits

Watercress Pesto and Lemon Linguine

Butter Lettuce and Watercress Salad

Sticky Rhubarb Pudding

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

Chocolate Rhubarb Brownie

Spring Radish Salad

Easy Pickled Radishes

Asparagus and Arugula Pasta Salad

Chickpea Spinach Curry

Easy Brown Rice with Spinach and Parmesan

Greek Yogurt Creamed Spinach

Arugula and Wild Rice Salad

Lemony Avocado Toast with Arugula

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

Amy

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CSA Shares

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

Recipes

Spicy Udon Noodle Stir Fry with Shiitake Mushrooms

Caramelized Shiitake Mushroom Risotto

Chickpea Taco Lettuce Wraps

Green Lettuce Salad with Apple, Brown Rice and Walnuts

Wild Garlic Hummus

6 Ways to Preserve Ramps

Ramp Pesto

Blueberry Smoothie (vegan, 4 ingredients)

Healthy Blueberry Crisp

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

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

Amy

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

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

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

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

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

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

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

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

Glacial Till Farm

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

CSA Shares

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

Recipes

5 Minute Arugula Fig Salad

Lemon Arugula Pasta Salad

Chickpea Pesto Salad with Arugula

Sauteed Spinach with Bacon and Shallots

Skirt Steak with Mushrooms and Shallots

Sauteed Lemony Spinach

Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas

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

Super Simple Spinach Hummus

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

Amy

Posted 4/3/2019 12:54pm by Amy Philson.

Spring has sprung! For new CSA members, I send an email on CSA day with farm news, a list of items in your CSA box, and recipe ideas.  One big complaint of CSA members around the world is that they don't know what to do with all the veggies.  I try to find relatively simple whole-food-based recipes for you to try.  The recipes can be found on our Pinterest page, along with lots of other recipes from past seasons.  If you need more inspiration, we have several seasons' worth of recipes on our website, too!  Current recipe links are embedded in the email so you can find them easily.

Farm News

Glacial Till Farm

Longer days, warmer weather, and sunshine mean that our early crops and seedlings are growing.  Here is a photo taken yesterday of arugula at Glacial Till Farm.  It won't be long!

Harmony Grove Farm

The greens that are in your CSA share today were grown in a greenhouse at Harmony Grove Farm.  They heat their greenhouses all winter to supply local greens for us and their regular customers.  Soon they can rely on the daytime sun to keep their greenhouse warm, even when the temperature dips below freezing at night.

Bushel and a Peck Farm

For those of you who were members of our Winter CSA, Violet the lamb is doing well.  She is still bottle-fed and spending part of her time in our house wearing diapers, but she is enjoying time in the pasture with the other sheep, too.  It's fun to watch the little lambs prance around and play together.  We haven't left her out all night yet since her momma won't care for her, and I am not enjoying being awoken by a lamb stirring at night.  My youngest daughter is 9, and I have gotten used to uninterrupted sleep.  So Violet will be moving permanently to pasture very soon.  If you missed the first installment of Violet, you can read about it here.

CSA Shares

  • 2 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 Rosie Asian greens (pac choi) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 dozen eggs from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. popcorn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 red onion from TOG
  • 2 lb. finger sweet potatoes from TOG

You can look forward to spinach, radishes, arugula, kale, and pea shoots this spring.  Our farmers have these and more planted, and we are just waiting for them to grow for future weeks.

Recipes

Oriental Mushroom and Pac Choi Stir Fry (substitute whatever mushrooms you prefer)

Honey Chicken with Pac Choi

Breakfast Onion Cups.  These would make a beautiful presentation for a brunch or a special weekend breakfast.  Or have them for dinner!

Red Onion Salad Dressing  I would probably only use half the onion since it is so big.

Quick Pickled Red Onions  Have them on sandwiches, burgers, salads...

Glazed Sweet Potato Fingerlings

This isn't exactly a recipe, but it's an Instagram photo with description of a delicious-looking bowl containing roasted sweet potato, egg, avocado, and more.

Flourless Sweet Potato Brownies.  I love to hide veggies in breakfast or dessert.  I even puree liver and mix it with ground beef to make meatballs!  My family doesn't complain when they don't know :)

Easy Egg Drop Soup.  This one has mushrooms and spinach in it (or use your pac choi).

Perfect and Easy Peel Instant Pot Eggs.  Farm fresh eggs are challenging to peel when you hard boil them.  But when cooked in the Instant Pot or steamed, the shells slip right off.

Low Carb Egg Muffins with 9 flavor variations.  You can make these and refrigerate or freeze them for a quick weekday breakfast.

Instant Pot Popcorn.  Or you could use this method on the stovetop, too.  With mix-ins for flavored popcorn.

7 Healthy Popcorn Seasoning Recipes

We hope you enjoy your CSA box, and we look forward to more bountiful boxes as the spring progresses.

Amy

 

Posted 3/20/2019 12:55pm by Amy Philson.

This is the final week of Winter CSA.  We hope you have enjoyed the winter veggies, fresh lettuce, and locally raised meats and eggs.  If you have suggestions for how we can improve, we are always open to feedback from our members.  Spring Shares begin in two short weeks.

Farm News

Bushel and a Peck Farm

At our farm, we are deep into maple syrup season.  The sap is flowing well with cold nights and warmer days.  We all wish for more of the 70-degree days like we saw last week, but when we have too many of those the sap stops flowing.  Maple syrup producers wish for days like today to last for a month or two. 

In our woods, we use tubing to connect the taps to the tank in our saphouse.  A vacuum pump draws the sap from the trees into the pump.  Then the raw sap is pumped into a large tank on the back of the truck to be transported back to the evaporator house.  There, the sap is run through a reverse osmosis (RO) machine which removes pure water and concentrates the sap.  Then it is pumped to a holding tank above our evaporator, where it gravity feeds into the evaporator when we are ready to boil.  The RO allows us to boil more sap in a smaller evaporator in less time.  Our evaporator is a succession of pans that slowly boil off water and concentrate the sap into syrup, and is fueled by firewood from our woods.  We are often boiling late into the night (or even all night when the sap is flowing profusely), making this season exhausting at times.

But the syrup isn't finished yet.  Before we bottle the syrup, we filter out any impurities and niter.  When syrup is boiled, the minerals become concentrated, making the syrup cloudy and eventually settling in the bottom of the bottle.  Backyard maple syrup producers don't bother to filter out the niter, as it can be quite time-consuming (besides the special equipment needed).  They simply pass the syrup through felt filters removing large impurities.  Then the syrup will be bottled or stored in barrels waiting to be made into our various maple products.

We also have a house guest at the moment.  One of our sheep gave birth to twins this week, and she rejected the smaller one.  She won't feed it or care for it, so we brought it in the house to be bottle fed.  Violet is very sweet, and she will transition out to the barn and field as soon as she is big enough.

Grateful Life Farm

Some quiet signs of spring are starting to show.  While tending to the animals in the morning I hear bird song.  The garlic shoots snuck up out of their thick layer of leaf mulch while I wasn’t looking.  The days are getting a little longer and our hens are laying lots of eggs each day.  Maple sap is flowing from our taps like crazy!  The onion seeds I started have germinated and will be ready to trim back soon to promote more vigorous growth.  And each week I’m preparing more flats of soil blocks, starting more seeds, and dreaming of placing them outside in the soil soon.

CSA Shares

  • 2 lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 tatsoi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 maple mustard from Bushel and a Peck Farm
  • 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms from TOG
  • 1 lb. beets from TOG
  • 1 red onion from TOG
  • 1.5-2 lb. sweet potatoes from TOG

Recipes

Oven Roasted Sweets and Beets

Raw Citrus Beet Salad

Simple Butter Lettuce Salad

Healthy Sweet Potato Muffins

Indian Sweet Potato and Red Lentil Curry

Thai Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

30 Minute Chicken and Mushroom Marsala (I served this last night.  Delicious over rice or cauli rice.  I subbed cashew milk for the coconut and thickened it slightly.)

Brown Butter Mushroom Pasta

Chicken Club Lettuce Wrap

Garlic Sesame Chicken Lettuce Cups

Chilled Wilted Tatsoi Salad

Sweet Potato and Tatsoi Soup

Tatsoi Fried Rice

Thank you all for supporting our local farms during our "off" season.  Expenses continue even when income is low, and we really appreciate you sticking with us through the cold months.  Now on to spring!

Amy

 

 

Posted 3/6/2019 12:28pm by Amy Philson.

I am counting on the old adage about March:  "In like a lion, out like a lamb."  This cold is more tolerable in January than in March.  The daylight is lengthening, and this weekend we move our clocks forward (who ever came up with this scheme, anyway?).  So that means that spring is just around the corner...at least I hope so!

While most of us would rather stay inside during these cold days, farmers still have to go out in it.  Animals need fed.  Greenhouse heat needs maintained.  Some seeds have been planted in flats.  And some farmers are working on projects for the coming growing season.  Derek at Glacial Till Farm is drilling post holes to put a deer fence around his fields to minimize damage to his crops.  Hazy Hollow Farm has been making slate roof repairs on the old farmhouse after the windstorm last week.  Bushel and a Peck Farm is anticipating the warm-up this weekend so the maple sap begins running again.

CSA Shares

  • 1 dozen eggs from Miller Farm Products
  • 1 jar honey from Hazy Hollow Farm
  • 2 lettuce (or 1 lettuce and 1 Rosie Asian Green) from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. golden turnips from TOG
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from TOG
  • 2 lb. golden potatoes from TOG

Recipes

Lemon Roasted Turnips

Red Lentil Soup with Chicken and Turnips (or leave the chicken out for a vegan meal)

Instant Pot Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry  You can make this on the stovetop if you don't have an Instant Pot.

Mexican Chicken, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Skillet

Honey Cinnamon Cornbread Muffins

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Veggie Loaded Breakfast Bake

Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce (a "cheesy" sauce made with veggies)

Honey Flan Have you ever made flan?  It is actually quite simple.  My family loves flan made with maple syrup.  I have even made it with nutmilk.  

We have one more week of Winter CSA.  Have you signed up for spring yet?

Amy

 

Posted 2/21/2019 2:15pm by Amy Philson.

Again, I apologize for changing the pickup day this week, especially at the last minute.  I had received some emails from members asking if we were still going to deliver after learning of the weather forecast.  At that point, we were.  But when our van was sliding around in the driveway before it even left and a forecast for freezing rain, we decided it would be safest to delay for a day.

Spring is quickly on its way.  I am late in getting the website updated for Spring and Summer CSA, but finally got it done this week.  With only two Winter season deliveries left, don't delay!  To access the sign-up page, go here:  http://nwpagrowers.com/members

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

This week we welcomed three new litters of baby rabbits!  Our beautiful Silver Fox doe Coco, a reliable mother, had a litter, and we also had litters from two of our new Giant Chinchilla and Champagne D'Argent cross does.  We are experimenting with raising these two does, who are sisters, together in a colony system.  They were bred on the same day, and I feared that only one had given birth when I discovered a nest in only one of the two nesting boxes we had provided.  However, when I checked the nest, I discovered that both does had given birth in the same box and 16 tiny baby rabbits were nestled together. 
 
This weekend we will be welcoming this year's piglets to the farm!  The breeder we purchased from last year did not breed this year, and I looked hard and long to eventually find the Gloucester Old Spots and Tamworth crosses we will be picking up on Sunday.  I have heard wonderful things about the flavor and quality of meat from both of these breeds and am very excited to try them this year.  I am also excited to have these friendly and personable animals on the farm again.

CSA Shares

  • 1 bag tatsoi from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 bag arugula OR lettuce from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 lb. popcorn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 dozen eggs from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. carrots from TOG
  • 1 lb. parsnips from TOG
  • 1 lb. beets from TOG
  • 1 lb. daikon radish from TOG
  • 1/2 lb. shallots from TOG
  • 1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms from TOG

Recipes

Red Wine and Garlic Mushrooms

Crispy Daikon Radish Cakes

Quick Pickled Carrots and Daikon

Mushroom and Crispy Shallot Nachos

Caramelized Shallot and Gruyere Quiche

Instant Pot Chopped Eggs:  Do you hate peeling eggs for egg salad?  Skip that step using your Instant Pot.  I'm sure this could be adapted for stovetop, too.

Roasted Beet Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese

Roasted Parsnip Salad

Bombay Carrot Salad

Arugula Orange Salad

Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup

Maple Roasted Beets and Carrots

Crispy Salmon on Tatsoi

Chickpea Tatsoi Curry Soup

Artichoke Pesto and Burrata Pizza with Lemony Arugula (this one just LOOKS delicious)

If you try any of these, let us know how they turned out.

Amy

Posted 2/20/2019 2:06pm by Amy Philson.

It's hard to believe that spring is just around the corner when I look outside today.  But the maple trees are beginning to flow, lambs and calves are appearing on our farms, and there are signs of green trying to peek out of the ground.  Our farmers have already begun planting seeds for our early crops.  And now it's time for you to think about where your food will come from this year.

More and more we are seeing news headlines about food recalls across the nation.  This is the result of our commodity-based food supply chain.  When lettuce is picked 3,000 miles away and then shipped to our local store, there is greater opportunity for harmful bacteria to grow.  When mega-farms harvest semi-truckloads of a particular vegetable, there is greater chance of listeria hiding on their equipment waiting for a chance to hitch a ride to an unsuspecting consumer.  

But the story is different when you buy locally.  Produce from small, local farms is safer to eat because of the shorter time from harvest to consumer and because of the smaller scale.  Plus, your farmers are eating from their fields, too.

So if you want cleaner, fresher food, choose local.  Plus, you have the added benefit of supporting your local economy.  So don't delay...join our CSA!

Spring Shares begin in April, just 6 weeks from now.  There are only five deliveries in April and May, so it's a great way to "try out" a CSA without the long commitment of the full season.

Summer shares begin in mid-June and run for 24 weeks.  Or you can opt for our 12-week Peak-of-the-Season share July-September.

We also offer various add-on shares if you would like meat or eggs each week.  

For those of you returning, we have the exact same pricing and sizes that we had last year.  Another option is the Select Share, where you can customize your share and your schedule.

If you are thinking, "It's only February...I have lots of time," the earlier you sign up, the more time you have to spread out your payments to help with budgeting.

Stay warm and dry on this dismal day...and dream of fresh greens and field-ripened tomatoes.

Amy

Posted 2/6/2019 1:17pm by Amy Philson.

Today is Week 5 of Winter CSA.  If you read my email on Friday, we had a little mix-up with one of our suppliers, so your shares are a little bit small today.  We will make it up in a future week.  I had to find a couple of veggies from a different farmer to round out our shares.  The celeriac and sweet potatoes are certified organic, grown locally.  After we received delivery on them and I opened the boxes, I was less than pleased with the sweet potatoes.  First of all, they are gigantic.  While that is fine if you have a large family like I do, many of you will likely wonder what in the world you will do with these monsters.  Secondly, some of the sweet potatoes have bad spots that you will have to cut off.  And you should use them sooner rather than later.  I truly apologize.  But the bright side is that most of you who received a single sweet potato have well over the 2 lb. that I allotted to your share.  Some of you have smaller sweet potatoes in bags, which you are used to.  And a couple of you have 1/2 dozen eggs instead of your sweet potato or celeriac.

What in the world is celeriac???  I know that some of you have never eaten it, or even heard of it.  This week, you get to stretch your veggie knowledge and taste buds.  Celeriac and celery are the same plant but different varieties, cultivated for either the root or the stems.  They have similar flavor, but they should not be used interchangeably in recipes.  Celeriac is good in soups and stews, gratins, and even grated in salads.  You will need to peel the root and discard all the knobby skin, which is easily done by trimming off the top and bottom and cutting down through the outer layer while it is sitting on your cutting board.  Use immediately or put it in acidified water to prevent discoloration.

Farm News

Grateful Life Farm

Our laying hens and rabbits have made it through the bitter cold of the last few days and nights, but our incoming well water line was a casualty.  We were very hopeful that our improvements last year of heat tracing and burying it deeper would keep it from freezing, but we’ll have to try again.  In the meantime, we’re purchasing water for the animals and ourselves and I’ve even melted some snow on the woodstove for my camping shower bag!  We will likely have running water again when temperatures warm above freezing tomorrow afternoon. 
 
I am grateful for the warmup because five of our rabbit does are ready to kindle in the next two weeks, with the first one due on Sunday.  We’re expecting litters from our three experienced does, Brandi, Coco, and Cinnamon, as well as two first time mamas. (Amy:  this was composed last weekend, and their water is running again.)
 
Despite the snow and cold, we’ve been trying hard to get outside as much as possible and we’ve taken some beautiful hikes and even done a little winter foraging.  We were excited to identify a tree right in our front yard as an Eastern white pine and the tea we made was mild and pleasant. 
 
We were also excited to make our way back to some of the thickest multiflora rose patches on our property and find rose hips still on the plants.  They tasted sweet, like craisins, and we ate some raw and made a delicious, delicately pink tea as well. 

Bushel and a Peck Farm

During the very cold days, we spend time working on our maple equipment and preparing drops for sap collection.  This involves cutting a section of tubing and using a special tool to attach the tap to one end and a connector to the other.  Later, the taps will be inserted into trees and connected to larger tubing that runs to our collection tanks.  These are used for new lines.
 
This week, however, has warmed up nicely, so we are spending lots of time in the woods clearing lines of fallen tree limbs and attaching new taps to the tubing drops.  The tubing stays in the woods year-round, but we have to replace the plastic taps that are inserted into the tree every year.  The taps can harbor bacteria which can affect tree health and also reduce sap collection.
 
Maple sap is probably beginning to run, but we don't like to tap the trees too early.  As soon as you drill a hole and insert the tap, the tree begins healing the wound.  As the season progresses, there will be less and less sap that comes out of each hole.  So if we prematurely tap trees during a warm spell in the winter, it can greatly reduce collection over the course of the season.  Sometimes this reasoning holds up, but sometimes it backfires on us.  Last year, many producers tapped during the warm January and made lots of syrup, but we waited until late February because we knew there would be another cold spell.  Then, when it did start to warm up, it did so very quickly.  March was unseasonably warm last year, and that curtailed maple season quickly.  So it's always a gamble trying to predict what the weather is going to do.

CSA Shares

  • 1 lb. popcorn from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 kohlrabi from Detweiler Farm
  • 1 Rosie Asian greens OR arugula from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 1 oz. garlic chives from Harmony Grove Farm
  • 2 lb. potatoes from Miller Farm
  • 1 lb. onions from Miller Farm
  • 2 lb. sweet potatoes from TOG or CRO (some may have eggs instead)
  • 1 celeriac from CRO (one of you has eggs instead)

CSA Recipes

Kohlrabi and Sausage Skillet

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

One Bowl Sweet Potato Brownies

10 Best Celeriac recipes

Celeriac Soup with Roasted Garlic, Chives, and Pine Nuts

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad (sub your arugula or Rosie greens for some or all of the kale)

Roasted Broccoli Chickpea Arugula Salad

Celeriac and Potato Mash

Chili and Lime Popcorn

Sauteed Kohlrabi with Onions and Cream

I realized today that some of you may have never made homemade popcorn.  So here's an easy tutorial for you.

Honey Butter Popcorn

I welcome feedback on your CSA Shares!  What do you like?  What would you rather skip in the future?  Would you like more non-veggie items like eggs, maple products, honey, and bath products?  Or do you prefer almost all veggies?  Please share your thoughts.

Amy

 


Basket of Hope