News and blog
While we were packing boxes this morning, we were talking about an organic farming conference later this month in Ohio that a few of the farmers are going to attend. Shelly from Old Time Farm is at a heritage poultry conference this week. Some of our farmers read monthly or quarterly magazines about sustainable farming to keep up on current issues and new practices that improve the way we farm. And we often share books and articles with one another because we should always be learning. Farming should be a community effort.
Here is what is in your shares this week:
- Braising Mix (contains three types of mustard, mizuna, mibuna, arugula)
- Yellow zucchini
- Plus Full Shares have green beans and Swiss chard
I want to issue a warning about late-season sweet corn that is grown organically. It is notorious for having worms. The worms are usually just in the end, so when you encounter worm damage please chop off the end of your ear of corn before you cook it.
The braising mix can be eaten raw in salads, but it will have a little spice to it because of the mustards and arugula. If you prefer, you can lightly braise it (here is a good tutorial on braising greens) or use it in other recipes.
And here are some recipes to try with this week's veggies. Remember that some of these recipes come from other CSAs, so it's not always my commentary on the recipe.
Corn Pudding (a savory rather than sweet pudding to serve as a side dish)
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing in your kitchen. Indulge your tastebuds with lots of flavor this week!
I am loving these fall vegetables right now! Squash, apples, leeks, spinach, and more grace our table every day. Delicious!
This is Week 17 of our CSA, so we have 7 more weeks left. If you haven't used or scheduled your two vacation weeks yet, don't forget. If you would like to purchase those two weeks (or even one), just let me know and I will send you an invoice. The last CSA week is November 18/19.
I am impressed with the dedication of our farmers who harvest and clean their produce for our CSA members, even when it's pouring rain. There just wasn't a break in the rain on Tuesday, when much of the harvesting is done. I did receive a call from one of the farmers (Sarah from Busy Acres/AD), and they didn't have enough onions harvested for all the shares. Thankfully, other farmers have onions already harvested and dried, so we got some from Chester Detweiler's farm (CD) to finish out the shares.
Here is what is in your shares this week:
Zucchini (4 for Full, 1 for Small)
Choice (2 Full, 1 Small)
We were supposed to have two leeks in Small Shares and three in Full Shares, but I had no idea that NuWay Farm's leeks were so big! So they put 1/2 lb. leeks in Small Shares and 1 lb. in Full. Webstore orders have 1 lb. of leeks instead of three.
Here are your recipes for this week:
Orange Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash I see that Brussels sprouts are back in stores. Our local sprouts won't be ready until after it's good and cold.
Zucchini Patties Like latkes, but with zucchini rather than potatoes!
Eat well this week!
There is one thing that we grow really well on our farm, and it seems everyone around us does too. Ragweed. I am very allergic to it, and it's in full bloom right now. Many people blame goldenrod for their late summer allergies, but goldenrod isn't the culprit. Goldenrod tea actually helps fight ragweed allergies. An interesting historical fact: after the Boston Tea Party, the colonists began drinking goldenrod tea since they couldn't get black tea from England. It became so popular that they began to export it.
Ragweed has tiny little blossoms that are almost imperceptible...but they throw oodles of pollen into the air. I refuse to take chemical allergy meds because they cause other problems in my body. So I treat my allergies the best that I can with herbs. I drink a lot of nettle tea, both hot and cold, since nettle is a natural antihistamine. And I suffer with a clogged head for a few weeks. So if you, too, suffer from ragweed allergies, you have my empathy.
Enough about me and my herb lecture. Here's what is in your share this week:
- 1 lb. tomatoes
- 1 lb. green beans
- 1 head bibb lettuce
- Zucchini (2 Full, 1 Small)
- Green pepper (2 Full, 1 Small)
- 1/3 lb. mizuna (an Asian herb...read about it here: http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Mizuna_2027.php)
- Choice (2 Full, 1 Small)
- Herb Choice
- Plus Full Shares have 1 lbl green tomatoes and 1 acorn squash
And now some recipes:
Feel free to change up the herbs in recipes to suit your preferences and what you have on hand.
Have a great week!
What a beautiful week this is! I've been cleaning out garden beds that have been harvested (garlic, peas, onions, etc.), and I'm getting ready to plant fall crops. It's so nice work in the cooler temperatures. And after all the rain we had in May, June, and early July, it's getting dry and our farmers are hoping for rain soon.
About vacation days, remember that you have two weeks to use any time during the season. You must either schedule your vacation days on the Website (http://nwpagrowers.com/members/scheduleactions) or email by Sunday night of the week you would like to take vacation. Since I report orders for the week to our farmers on Monday morning, after that time it's too late to cancel your share for the week. You can schedule vacation as far in advance as you wish. (Please note that this is not directed at anyone that has emailed me too late to cancel your share for the week; there is uncertainty from many about vacations and this is a reminder for everyone.)
Here's what is in your shares this week:
- 1 lb. onions
- 2 cucumbers
- 2 zucchini
- Green pepper (2 for Full, 1 for Small)
- Inferno pepper (yes, it's hot)
- Tomatoes (2 lb. Full, 1 lb. Small)
- 2 choice for everyone
- 1 herb
- Plus Full Shares have cabbage and green beans
And now for some recipes:
Crisp Summer Squash Slaw (substitute or leave out the pattypan squash)
Cabbage Stuffed with Beef, Zucchini and Herbs (substitute beef with other protein for vegetarian meal)
Have a great week!
Did you remember to pick up your CSA share today? I hope so! There is a lot of yummy stuff in there.
Here's what you should have:
2 lb. red potatoes
Bag of pickling cucumbers
Lettuce (Romaine for Full; Bibb for Small)
Small Shares have a cucumber
Full Shares have green beans and collards or Swiss chard
Plus Choice (2 Full; 1 Small) and Herb Choice
Broccoli likes to grow in cool weather, so it's usually planted in the spring for early summer picking and again in late summer for a fall harvest. I find it interesting that spring broccoli is about half the size of our broccoli in the fall. For those of you who are new to our CSA, just wait until you see some of the giant heads late this fall!
Pickling cucumbers are so named because they are crisper and make better pickles. However, you can eat them the same way you eat slicing cukes...sliced, speared, in a salad, etc. Or you can make a couple of jars of refrigerator pickles. There's a recipe on our website from last year.
I am loving all this zucchini! I hope you're not getting tired of it yet. I bought a spiralizer last winter to make veggie noodles because I was on a grain-free diet. (Now, I eat very limited and specific grains, and I feel much better!) I've been spiralizing zucchini and adding olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and some herbs, and it's absolutely delicious! I dress it up with black olives, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, whatever I have on hand. Or I put a stir-fry on top instead of using noodles or rice. You can also make noodles with a vegetable peeler or a julienne peeler.
Here are some recipes to try this week:
Spicy Kale and Quinoa Black Bean Salad: I love quinoa, but feel free to substitute with rice if you prefer.
Enjoy these sunny days! Your farmers are working furiously right now to catch up from all the rain. I am a member of a group of CSA farmers from around the country, and there are many who are struggling to have enough produce right now to put in their CSA shares. I love our cooperative model, because we can benefit from several farmers' fields where one falls short.
And it's still raining. Plants that are growing in raised beds and greenhouses are doing well, although they could use a little more sun. But plants in fields are definitely suffering from being waterlogged. Plus there are many crops that just haven't been planted yet because the fields are more like swamps. I'm not complaining; the weather is a continual frustration for farmers. But I do want you all to be aware of the challenges we're facing with the large amount of rain we have received.
I've had several people contact me saying that they are not receiving emails from me. If you haven't been getting them regularly (at least 3 per week), I hope I have the problem fixed. It was an issue with our email server. If you would like me to resend info about the season, please let me know.
Here's what you should have in your CSA shares this week:
- Chinese Cabbage
- Turnip greens
- Green onions
- Choice (2 for Full, 1 for Small)
- Plus Full Shares have Zucchini, Radishes and Broccoli Leaves
So, what do you do with all these greens? You can use most greens interchangeably (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, turnip greens, broccoli leaves). The heartier greens should be cooked longer than the more delicate leaves in hot dishes. Here are some recipes to help you out with your share this week.
Beet Greens Recipe (again, use this for any of your greens)
Tuscan Kale with Almonds, Plums and Goat Cheese (use any seasonal fruit)
I hope you have a great week. On my agenda for this week is a trip to North East to pick sweet cherries for the freezer. Hopefully we will have a few hours of dry to pick! Then we pit them all and freeze to use in smoothies and desserts. And maybe some cherry jam.
Did you all remember to pick up your CSA share today? I hope so! We have a little break in the deluge of rain as I write this, but more is in the forecast. The biggest issue for farmers is always the weather. Pests and disease that destroy crops are a nuisance, but they can be dealt with in various ways. But rain or lack of rain is forever a problem.
This month we have received over 7 1/2 inches of rain, almost double our monthly average. Fields are either under water or a mucky mess, preventing planting, weeding, and cutting hay. Most farmers in my area have not taken their first cut of hay, and it's nearing time for second cutting. We have a greenhouse FULL of plants to put out, but the planting equipment would just sink in the mud. I was at NuWay Farm this morning, and they have 100-foot rows of lettuce and spinach that have been taken over by weeds. Rain tends to make weeds grow faster than our vegetable plants. So they will all be tilled under and replanted. But the money they spent on seeds and all the labor to plant is forfeit. This is why food costs so much.
Thank you for investing in our local farms and for bearing with us as we overcome the difficult start of this season. I love our cooperative model of CSA because when a crop fails on one farm then another farm can sometimes fill in. But that doesn't lessen the financial sting of the first farm. We do this because we believe in wholesome food and love working with the land and watching things grow. It brings a deep sense of satisfaction to look on our harvest. But there is also much sadness when we encounter obstacles that we have difficulty overcoming.
So here's what you get in this week's CSA shares:
- Zucchini (Full 2, Small 1)
- Green Italian pepper (sweet)
- Bok choy
- Choice (Full 2, Small 1)
- Plus Full Shares have a bottle of maple syrup
Again, the bok choy has tiny holes throughout from flea beetles. These are a bane in the spring for farmers who don't spray their greens. They do little damage to the greens...they just don't look very pretty. Simply wash your greens off, and then cut and continue with your recipe.
Some notes about choice items: The yellow peppers are sweet Hungarian. The bulb with ferny tops is fennel. The curly stems are garlic scapes; chop and use as you would garlic.
And now for recipes:
Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto Did you know you can make pesto out of other greens besides basil? And if you chose basil as your herb, add that for more flavor.
Angel Hair with Early Summer Veggies Substitute frozen peas or zucchini for the sugar snaps.
Maple Glazed Pecans Those yummy pecans that they serve on salads in restaurants, even better made with maple syrup!
Garlic Scape Pesto Another pesto recipe sans the kale.
And remember that you can search our recipe archives for some delicious recipes from years past.
Have a wonderful week. And as you eat your CSA veggies this week say a prayer for our farmers as they battle this rain.
What a lot of rain! Our plants are virtually swimming in the fields. You were supposed to have Bibb lettuce in your shares this week, but the rain did it in. David Yoder of NuWay Farm checked his Bibb on Monday and it looked great. When they went to harvest it Tuesday morning, some of it had grown 12 inches taller and most of it was not good enough to sell. So you have Swiss chard instead.
Too much rain is also damaging to strawberries. One farmer's berries are mushy, but another farmer has enough extra to cover it. That's what I love about our cooperative model of CSA: when one farmer's crop fails, someone else can often cover it. But you will probably want to eat your strawberries quickly rather than saving them. Too much water makes mushy berries that don't keep as well.
You may notice tiny insect damage on the bok choy. This is caused by flea beetles, which often attack spring greens. Just wash the greens off and use them. Interestingly, when produce has some insect damage, it's actually healthier for you (https://www.facebook.com/306461856045017/photos/a.411530438871491.103757.306461856045017/1092998117391383/?type=1&fref=nf&pnref=story) I would much rather have some bug holes than pesticides sprayed on my food!
So here's what is in shares this week:
- Zucchini (yay for early zucchini!)
- Bok choy
- Swiss chard
- Choice (2 for full, 1 for small)
- Herb choice
- Plus Full Shares have spinach
And now for some recipes!
Hot Cranberry and Spinach Salad (this calls for both spinach and kale, but you can substitute chard for the kale)
Herbed Chicken Salad with zucchini in it. Roast a whole chicken, grill some chicken breasts, or buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli.
Coconut Curry Zucchini: Substitute chicken broth for the water and bouillon, since bouillon usually contains MSG. Make it a main dish by adding meat and serving over rice.
Stir Fried Bok Choy with Ginger and Garlic: Again, add rice or noodles and choice of cooked meat to make it a main dish. For a healthier alternative to soy sauce, I use coconut aminos. Find it at many health food stores, Whole Foods, or on Amazon or Vitacost.
Happy cooking! Happy eating! And remember, there are lots more recipes on our website to search through.
Yeah!!! CSA has begun! I know you all have been waiting anxiously for fresh produce.
Here's what we have in this week's shares:
- Rhubarb (2 lb. for Full, 1 lb. for Small)
- Strawberries (quart for Full, pint for Small)
- Baby chard
- Lettuce mix
- Choice (2 for Full, 1 for Small)
- Herb choice
- Plus Full Shares have spinach
As we progress through the season, your shares will change from week to week. This early in the season, we always have lots of greens. You can expect lettuce most weeks, as well as one other green.
Since it is our first week, I have lots of recipes to go along with your share. Many recipes are somewhat versatile, so you can make substitutions with what you have on hand. Don't be afraid to try new things! Sometimes my family doesn't care for a certain dish, and we have leftovers that won't be eaten. So I will remake it into soup or casserole with other foods that I know they like. And cheese or ketchup often covers a multitude of dislikes.
If you don't see any recipes below that appeal to you, you can find hundreds of recipes on our website from past years' CSAs. On this page there is a handy search box that you can use to search by ingredient.
So here are some recipes to try:
Spinach & Strawberry Salad with Dressing (substitute crispy nuts for the pretzels if you wish)
Grandma's Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (if you have some extra time...so delicious!)
Black & Green Wraps (black beans and greens made into tacos with variations)
Berry Blue Smoothie (a great way to get picky eaters to eat greens)
Rhubarb Rumble Recipes (a bunch of different recipes for rhubarb, from farmers in the Pittsburgh area)
That's it for this week. Webstore opens Friday morning. As always, if you have questions about your CSA, feel free to email me.
We have just added two new pickup locations for our CSA beginning June 10:
Turo Family Chiropractic in Ross Twp.
New Wilmington Area Community Center
We are still looking for a pickup location in Cranberry Twp., so if you live in that area and have any suggestions, we would welcome any ideas. So far all of our leads have not panned out.
There is still time to sign up to get a weekly box of fresh-from-the-farm, naturally grown produce. Our 18 member farms are busy planting and caring for their animals, getting ready for this summer's CSA to begin!
If you have already signed up, tell your friends and neighbors about us! If you would like to change your pickup to one of the new locations, just send me an email.
Thank you for supporting local farms and local foods!
Amy Philson, manager
NWPA Growers Co-op