NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 10/23/2013 7:40pm by Amy Philson.
I want to thank all of you for the great season.  I get such satisfaction in helping others eat fresh, local food.  The more I learn and farm and live my life, the more committed I become to supporting local enterprises, including local farmers.  I wasn't always this way.  I used to look at the bottom line...whatever is the best value for the money, that's what I would buy, no matter its origin.  But as I look at how our world is becoming more and more globalized and we're losing our sense of community, my commitment to local becomes greater.  Now, I don't buy everything locally, because I just can't.  Some things aren't available, and some things I just can't justify the larger expense.  But there are many things that I buy from local businesses that cost me more money, but it's worth it.  It builds community.

And there are many foods that I am willing to pay more for because they are local or naturally grown.  Again, with a family of 9, we can't afford to purchase ALL organic food.  But there are some things that we don't compromise on.  We don't buy meat at the grocery store.  We don't buy foods on the Dirty Dozen list.  We try to grow much of our food or know where the majority of it comes from.  We know our farmers.  Again, it comes down to community.

I've really enjoyed getting to know many of you this season...some in person, and some via email.  Thank you for helping make my job enjoyable and rewarding.

I read a recent blog post from one of my favority Real Food bloggers about Real Food Heroes.  If you find yourself spending a LOT of time in the kitchen to prepare wholesome food for your family, you might want to check out this post.  It's inspiring.  I wanted to share it with you if you have an extra 5 minutes to read it.

Now, you're probably wondering what those round things in your box today are...

Watermelon radishes (white on the outside, red inside)
Butternut squash
Sweet potatoes
Green pepper

Plus Full Shares received Cabbage and Garlic.

Recipes?  How about Black Bean Sweet Potato Burritos, Fried Beets and Carrots, Beet Burgers, Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Parmesan Sauce, Mexican Radish Slaw, Broccoli and Cheese Soup, and Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Sage Butter?  See them all here.

Did you know that you can use butternut squash in place of pumpkin in most recipes?  Check out The Best Pumpkin Pie!  It really is!  It's the only pumpkin pie I ever make now (and I didn't used to like pumpkin pie very much).

And be sure to save your squash seeds to roast!  


Posted 10/23/2013 9:08am by Amy Philson.

We wish to thank all of our Summer 2013 CSA and webstore members for being a part of our CSA this season.  From our end, it was a great summer for growing. Mostly enough rain, enough sun, enough heat, and no disasters except for the late blight that took down the tomatoes. We hope you enjoyed your colorful and bountiful share boxes every week, filled with a fantastic variety of produce.( just wait til you see the giant broccoli heads in the boxes today! )

Today marks the last week of our summer  CSA, so please join us in thanking the following:

** the hosts at the pick up sites; they are a big part of our success. Thank you for helping!

** the growers who gathered every Wednesday morning to pack your boxes (for no pay)

** Eric Philson, for driving the CSA route 9 hours every Wednesday without fail (for no pay)

** and especially Manager Amy Philson, who spent hours every week coordinating all of the CSA, webstore and restaurant orders. So many phone calls and emails! (for not as much pay as she is worth...)

THANK YOU and see you next season. Sign ups will begin in early February.

With gratitude from the Board of Directors of NWPAGC

Jesse Allen

Patty Wilson

Lori Sands

Eric Philson

and Manager Amy Philson


Posted 10/2/2013 7:14pm by Amy Philson.
I hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful fall weather!  It has been so nice to get some outdoor projects done.  My family has been picking apples and grapes and preserving them for winter.

In CSA shares today, you should have received:

Sweet potatoes
Green Peppers

Full shares also received Green Beans and Swiss Chard.
Small shares received Broccoli.

New recipes I've added to the Website to use with this week's share vegetables include:

Oven-Baked Potato Fries
Golden Roots and Greens Soup
African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup
Garlic Green Bean Salad
Creamy Broccoli Soup
Vegetable Korma

See all these recipes and lots more here.

Have a great week!
Posted 9/25/2013 1:33pm by Amy Philson.
Hi everyone!

After today, there are four more weeks of CSA for this season!  I can't believe it has gone by so quickly!  Don't forget to sign up for the Winter CSA to keep getting fresh local food.

In today's shares, you should have received:

Green tomatoes
Red and Green Bull's Horn Peppers
Green or yellow beans
Salanova Lettuce

Plus full shares received a watermelon, carrots, and broccoli.

Green tomatoes might be a new food for many of you.  My favorite way to eat them is in Fried Green Tomatoes.  Another recipe I might try is Green Tomato Pizza.

For your spinach and zucchini, you could try Green Quesadillas or Warm Greens Salad. 

Full shares might want to make Fresh Vegetable Stir Fry with their broccoli and carrots.

Find these recipes and lots more here.

Have a great week!


Posted 9/18/2013 4:31pm by Amy Philson.
Fall is here!  We have had a touch of frost at our house the last two mornings!

In today's shares, you should have received:
Squash (acorn or butternut)
Beets (cut the greens off and store them separetely)    
Black Spanish Radishes 
Yellow beans
Lettuce mix

Plus full shares received Daikon Radish, Spinach, and Broccoli.

Some new recipes for this week include Winter Squash Bake, which I have been making for my family for a year or two. 

My family (at least most of them) also like Simple Cabbage Soup with Secret Super Food, from one of my favorite blogs.

There is general information about cooking and storing beets, as well as a couple of recipes to use your beets and greens (Beet Greens and Roasted Root Vegetable Medley).        

Two more recipes that look yummy are Green Beans with Carmelized Onions (use your yellow beans), Minestrone Soup and Creamy Radish Spread. 

Have a great week!
Posted 9/11/2013 7:22pm by Amy Philson.
Good evening.  First of all, there was an error made in deliveries today.  The "choice items" box for New Castle was left at another location in place of a full share.  If you received a full share that looks drastically different from the list below, please contact me.

Here is what was in the shares today:

Acorn or butternut squash
Green peppers

Plus full shares received Sweet Banana Peppers and Arugula.

I love fall vegetables!  My favorite way to cook them is to cut them in chunks and coat with oil, salt and pepper (and usually some fresh herbs) and roast them in 400-450 degree oven.  I mix all kinds of root and firm vegetables together for this...delicious!

The recipes I've added to the website tonight are for
Classic Baked Acorn Squash (or do the same with butternut)
Spinach Calzones
Roasted Beet Salad
Baked Beet and Carrot Burgers
Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Click here to see the recipes.  And don't forget that you can search for other recipes using a specific ingredient.  

Have a great week!
Posted 9/6/2013 6:43am by Amy Philson.
REMINDER!  Registration is open for the Northwest PA Growers Farm Tour on September 21st. 

  Who's YOUR Farmer?
 Visit 'your' farms to experience where 'your' food comes from!        
Enjoy a community lunch, grown and cooked by 'your' farmers.
Connect with local folks who share your passion for local, organic food.

email Patty Wilson  pattywilson@embarqmail.com to reserve your spot on the tour.    
Posted 8/21/2013 7:17pm by Amy Philson.
Greetings!  We're just past the halfway mark for the CSA season.  I know with summer quickly coming to an end, it seems like CSA should be wrapping up soon.  But that's not the case!  Today was Week 11 of CSA, so we still have 9 weeks left.  I'm sure you're all looking forward to the flavors of fall coming soon!

Today in your CSA boxes, you should have received:

Sweet Corn
Green Beans
Green Pepper
Plus Full Shares received Yellow Cherry Tomatoes and Zucchini (besides larger quantities of some items).

New recipes I've added to the Website include:

Green Bean Salad
Bean Fries
Easy Marinated Beets
Beetroot and Cucumber Gazpacho
Beet and Apple Salad
Caramelized Onion, Cherry Tomato and Parmesan Galette (tart)
Tasty Green Bean Dish

Remember, you can also search for other recipes on our website.  Check out all the recipes here.  

Have a wonderful week!
Posted 8/7/2013 7:48pm by Amy Philson.
Did everyone get the downpour that we got during pickup time today?  It sure was wet!

In today's shares, you should have received:
onions (jumbo sweet)
green pepper(s)
Salanova lettuce
plus full shares received broccoli and beets

New recipes that I posted today include

Blackberry Peach Coffee Cake (go find some wild blackberries to pick)
Balsamic Roasted Carrots and Onions 
Greek Salad

How to Dry Herbs

Remember, you can always search by ingredient for past recipes.

Thank you to all of you who responded to my questions about the CSA shares last week.  The overwhelming majority said they like the shares just as they are, with smaller quantities of more items.  I may still put some larger quantities of some things in the shares (like more tomatoes so you can make a little sauce), but it's good to know that most of you like what you're getting.

Posted 7/31/2013 6:37pm by Amy Philson.
Hello everyone!  Isn't this wonderful weather?  Except the cool nights are slowing down the growth of some of the fruits and vegetables a little.  So please be patient for the melons and corn in your shares.

Here's what you should have received in your shares today:
Red potatoes
Sweet onion
Sweet pepper (the darker green pepper)
Hot banana pepper (the lighter green pepper...a mild hot)

Plus Full shares received a cabbage (and larger quantities of some items)

Question:  Are you happy with the makeup of your shares?  Do you like receiving more items, or would you rather receive fewer items but larger quantities?  Feedback is welcome (I can't promise that I will reply to your comments due to lack of time, but I will listen to the majority).  This is YOUR CSA, so I want it to fit your family and your lifestyle.

The peaches you received today are smaller peaches.  That variety tends to grow smaller.  The peaches are not sprayed, which is difficult to find.  NuWay Farm has several peach trees, and they shared their peaches with our CSA members today.  If your peaches aren't quite ripe, please do not refrigerate them.  Allow them to ripen on the counter, and then enjoy them as they ripen.  If you refrigerate peaches, they stop ripening (that's why peaches from the grocery store usually spoil before they ripen).

If you're finding that you can't use your herb each week, here's a tip:  hang it up to dry, then jar it and put it in your spice cupboard to use this winter.

Some recipes that I added to the website today include:

Balkan Cucumber Salad
Kale Basil Pesto
Grandma Dode's Icebox Cukes
Tomato, Basil, Cucumber Salad
Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Click here to see these recipes.

And here is an article about cucumbers that was sent to me:

Cool Cucumbers for Hot Days
When I go out on hot summer days, I often trade my bottle of water for a cool cucumber--or two, or three. The clean flavor and crunch make cucumbers much more satisfying and thirst quenching, not to mention more nutritious, than plain old water--or even newfangled vitamin water.
A Tall, Cold...Cucumber?


Because cucumbers are mostly water, they are refreshing and cooling. Once thought to be largely devoid of nutrients, food scientists have found that cucumbers do in fact have significant amounts of nutrients, especially in their skins. For starters, they contain vitamins C and A, folic acid, iron, potassium, manganese, and silica. Silica works synergistically with calcium and vitamin D to increase collagen production, promoting healthy skin and connective tissue-so go ahead and put those cucumber slices on your eyes like they did in the old movies!

Healthy Inside and Out


In addition, cucumbers are a good source of molybdenum--which is not only fun to say, but is vital for many brain functions, including memory. Finally, cucumbers are one of the very few vegetables that contain the amino acid tryptophan, which can convert into the neurotransmitter serotonin, and may function as a natural mood-lifter and appetite-curb.


Cucumber skin contains large amounts of caffeic acid, an antioxidant that mops up free radicals and prevents cell damage. The skin also contains high amounts of fiber, potassium, magnesium and silica.

Quick and Easy to Prepare


Local farmers often grow heirloom cucumbers, bred for flavor, not for travelling long distances or staying on store shelves for weeks. These varieties have thin skins, and are super-easy to prepare. Try slicing them for sandwiches or salads, or eating them on their own, like an apple or carrot. Here are a few quick serving ideas:

  • Make a cold gazpacho soup by putting cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and/or hot) and onions in a food processor. Then add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add diced cucumber to tuna fish or chicken salad
  • Slice thinly, and make a cucumber salad with a few thin slices of sweet onion, a few splashes of rice vinegar, a few drops of sesame oil, and a little salt and pepper
And, yes, water makes up 90 percent of a cucumber's weight, which makes them low in calories and good for making sure you're hydrated. So instead of toting a bottle of water this summer, carry a crunchy cucumber from your local farmer! 




Asian Cucumber Salad



1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 pound cucumbers

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar

¼ teaspoon instant Dashi granules (optional; available in many grocery stores)

1 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste


1. In a dry heavy skillet, toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until golden. Let cool.

2. Cut cucumbers into very thin slices. Sprinkle with salt and drain in a colander 10 minutes.

3. In a bowl stir together vinegar and dashi granules until granules are dissolved. Add cucumber and oil, tossing to coat.

4. Serve at room temperature or chilled, sprinkled with sesame seeds.


Seasonal Cook's Notes: You can use any variety of cucumber for this salad, but the long, thin Japanese or English cucumbers have thin skins, and fewer seeds.



Send us your photos and links to the recipes you make, and we'll share them with our 1,000+ Facebook followers.  If you'd like to include your name, location, and a caption for your photo, we'll share that as well.  Send to Amanda@thelandconnection.org.


For more information about the benefits of buying local food and a chart of what's in season when, check out our Farm Fresh Now! Infographic.


The best way to enjoy healthy, seasonal produce is to buy it from your local community farmer. To locate the farmers' market or CSA nearest you, or visit www.localharvest.org.

Farm Fresh Now! is a project of The Land Connection, an educational nonprofit that preserves farmland, trains new farmers, and connects people with great locally-grown foods. This series is made possible with generous support from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Article by Terra Brockman; photo by Cara Cummings.