News and blog
Northwest PA Growers Co-op
The Beginning of the Winter Market
The NWPAGC Winter Market started off with a Kick Off Event, held November 9, 2011. This event included music, and a farmers market type atmosphere for the community and the members of the Winter Market to meet and speak with the growers in our Co-op! This was a fantastic event, attended by many community and Winter Market members. Our Winter Market pick up runs each Wednesday from 4:30 to 5:30 pm at the Slippery Rock United Methodist Church located in Slippery Rock. You can still sign up (here) because the Winter Market runs into the early spring!
Christmas Market Tomorrow!
We are hosting a “Christmas Market” tomorrow (12/21/2011) at the Slippery Rock United Methodist Church from 4:30 to 5:45pm. We will have extra items for sale on our Market Table! This event is open to the public, so feel free to bring a friend. We will have a lot of the same regular items, and extra items in addition to help you get ready for Christmas!
Some items we will have:
Corn Wreaths (for the birds or decoration – great gift idea!)
Roasted Vegetables (from allrecipies.com)
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
- 1 red onion, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine the squash, red bell peppers, sweet potato, and Yukon Gold potatoes. Separate the red onion quarters into pieces, and add them to the mixture.
- In a small bowl, stir together thyme, rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss with vegetables until they are coated. Spread evenly on a large roasting pan.
- Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 123 | Total Fat: 4.7g | Cholesterol: 0mg
Lemon Balm Cookies (from cooks.com)
2 tbsp. minced lemon balm leaves
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
Whole lemon balm leaves for garnish
In small dish, combine first 2 ingredients, press mixture with back of spoon to blend. In large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and lemon mixture. Gradually beat in flour and salt. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. Roll in wax paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On wax paper slice into slices about 1/8" thick. On ungreased cookie sheet bake 8 to 10 minutes. Will brown slightly around edges. Yield: about 60 cookies.
Acorn Squash with Cranberry Stuffing (from tasteofhome.com)
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium tart apple, peeled and diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Cut squash in half; discard seeds. Cut a thin slice from the bottom of squash halves so they sit flat. Place squash hollow side down in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Add 1/2 in. of water. Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Add the apple, salt, lemon juice and pepper. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cranberries, sugar and water. Cook and stir until berries pop and liquid is syrupy.
- Turn squash halves over; fill with cranberry mixture. Cover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until squash is tender. Yield: 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 270 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 15 mg cholesterol, 367 mg sodium, 57 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Potato Sausage Bake (from tasteofhome.com)
- 1/2 pound bulk pork sausage
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 jar (2 ounces) diced pimientos, drained
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- Additional minced chives, optional
- In a large skillet, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
- Arrange half of the potatoes in a greased 8-in. square baking dish; sprinkle with salt, pepper and half of the sausage. Layer with remaining potatoes and sausage; sprinkle with pimientos.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, chives and thyme; pour over pimientos.
- Cover and bake at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with additional chives if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
Pennsylvania Farm 2012 Show
Where?: Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, North Cameron and Maclay Streets, Harrisburg, PA.
When?: January 7-14, 2012
What?: The Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural exposition in the country, with nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibits. Be one of 400,000 visitors to join us for the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show and learn about the good work being done on the farm, in the field, in the home and in the classroom, bridging the gap between "farm gate and dinner plate."
Cost?: No cost to attend! $10.00 for parking.
Where can I find more information?: http://www.farmshow.state.pa.us/default.aspx
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s 2012 Annual Farming for the Future Conference
Where?: Penn State Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA
When?: February 1-4, 2012
What?: “Breaking Ground for a New Agriculture Cultivating Versatility and Resilience”. This event includes 13 full day tracks, 100+ workshops, hands-on programming, fun-filled kids activities, cheese tasting, live music, seed swap, knitting, yoga and more!!
Cost?: Main Conference - $185.00 (non-member), $135.00 (member)
Where can I find more information?: http://www.pasafarming.org/conference2012/index.cfm
New Millcreek grocery store set to open in January
By ERICA ERWIN, Erie Times-News
A new grocery store that began as a seed of an idea is almost ready to sprout.
Construction of Frankie & May Fresh Grocer, a grocery store, bakery and deli at 1101 Peninsula Drive, is expected to be done in two weeks, and the store will open in January, owners said Friday.
Amy Cuzzola-Kern and her friend Christine Grady have been planning the new business venture for the past two years. Both saw a need for a different kind of shop, one that offered fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables and top-notch customer service.
"It's going to be really fun opening the doors and getting customers in," Cuzzola-Kern said.
The shop will offer in-season organic and naturally grown produce grown within 100 miles of Erie when possible, as well as fresh meats and fish, baked and dry goods and deli offerings.
It will also house a butcher shop led by a name familiar to local meat lovers: Tom Hill, former owner of the now-closed Tom Hill's Meat Market. Hill closed the West Eighth Street shop in 2007.
Hill had a loyal base of customers that Grady and Cuzzola-Kern hope will follow him to Frankie & May.
"We feel like it's a great fit for us because Tom was all about the highest quality and the best service, and that's what we're striving for," Cuzzola-Kern said.
Once construction is complete, equipment will be installed, including coolers and a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes and special events.
Cuzzola-Kern and Grady have already reached agreements with several providers, including the Northwest Pennsylvania Growers Co-op, a cooperative of farms throughout the region; Clarion River Organic, a cooperative of 15 certified organic farms throughout western Pennsylvania; and Mercyhurst West's garden project.
The store will place orders with providers in December, and have a grand opening in January, Grady said.
The experience of starting a new business has been exciting and intimidating, Grady and Cuzzola-Kern said.
Both are confident the shop will set itself apart from the competition.
"This is about going back to slightly more old-fashioned shopping," Grady said. "More of a community focus, more of a store, less a supermarket, where you understand your customers better, where you have a relationship with your customers."
ERICA ERWIN can be reached at 870-1846 or by e-mail.
Northwest PA Growers Co-op
The End of the CSA Season
The end of our CSA season was November 2, 2011. Our CSA season ran 21 weeks plus one week’s credit in our unique online webstore. Due to the weather conditions at the beginning of the year, we pushed the CSA into November, hoping the weather would cooperate. And, it did! We had a great CSA season this year with a wide a variety of vegetables and herbs! Our customers got one fresh herb each week, plus a spread of local fruits and veggies. We also brought back the “choice box” part way through the season to help our members customize their share each week. The choice box not only helps out our members but our growers as well! We had 87 members this season, and its hard for growers to have 87 units of one item if they are a smaller farm. The choice box lets the growers sell the smaller units they have available that way you all get a variety of well-grown fruits and veggies, and our growers get to share their food with us! Along with the shares each week, we had a variety of products in our webstore, with bulk potatoes, onions, squashes, as well as honey, breads, meats and cheeses! Each week is different! We hope that all our CSA members enjoyed the season! We are always hoping to improve our CSA and welcome your comments and suggestions, as we want to keep our customers happy and well fed!
Join Our Winter Market!
The NWPAGC Winter Market runs throughout the winter, making local, natural food easy to find! The Winter Market is done through the webstore entirely, so you get to choose the items you want to end up on your table! We have a wide variety to choose from, including seasonal squashes, brussel sprouts, greens (cooking and lettuces), and also delicious items from the summer season frozen for preservation - such as blueberries and raspberries!! We also have a variety of hand-made products (that make great gifts), as well as our grass-fed meats!!! To join the Winter Market, visit our webpage and look for the Winter Market Information and Application.
NWPAGC Showcased at Slow Food SRU Meeting!
Monday, November 21, 2011 6:00-8:00pm
McCoskey Center, Slippery Rock University
Slow Food SRU is dedicated to bringing awareness to local, sustainable food. This SRU chapter has meetings every month, usually a Monday evening. This month, Sarah Johnston, manager of the NWPAGC spoke about the organization at their meeting. She spoke about the co-op itself and also the benefits to local foods. The group was a mix of students, faculty and community members. After the presentation, there was group discussion and talk of doing more joint activities in the future.
Farm of the Month:
An Interview with Patty Wilson of Springfield Acres!
How long have you been farming? When and why did create Springfield Acres?
I have been growing things for as long as I can remember, starting with houseplants. Since then I have been growing a small vegetable garden and basically giving away what my family did not eat.
Three years ago circumstances in my life gave me the opportunity to own a small farm with 11 acres. The previous farmers who lived here for 60 years planted apple trees, pear trees, lots of red and white currants, chestnuts, sweet cherry trees, blueberries, blackberries and butternut trees. Their garden area was fallow for ten years. When I learned about the NWPA growers I knew that I wanted to be a part of supporting local farmers and local food systems using natural methods. I am now Certified Naturally Grown and use no chemicals or fertilizers other than compost.
Do you raise any animals? If so, what do you use them for?
I have a small flock of laying hens whose eggs I use.
What do you grow in your gardens?
I am committed to using open pollinated heirloom seeds for my vegetables. This season I grew lots of beans for drying, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, swiss chard, kale, corn for drying (I just finished making cornmeal for the first time!), carrots, salsify, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers, collards and three types of winter squash. This year I added three new gardens, one for herbs, one for peppers and the third for blueberries.
What is your favorite thing to grow? Why?
This year I am enjoying growing rare heirloom deans for drying. I enjoy their bright colors and unique flavor and textures.
Do you have any help on your farm? Or do you manage all on your own?
My son helps sometimes but I pretty much do it on my own. I work at a local high school so I have two months off in the summer which really helps!
Do you have favorite recipe using the things grown in your garden?
Lately I have been enjoying braised greens using either kale, swiss chard, collards or brussel sprout greens. I use lots of garlic, onion and olive oil. I make this after work usually three or four times per week.
Do you have any short term or long term goals for your farm?
I would like to get a couple of pygmy goats to protect my chickens and have plans to begin raising angora rabbits this spring.
Tell us a little about your soap and body care making! Where do you make it? Do you use herbs from your garden in your products?
This is something I really enjoy. I feel like a mad scientist in my lab/kitchen. I use no petroleum products whatsoever in my products. Last weekend I made my first liquid soap using potassium hydroxide, OG sweet almond oil, OG coconut oil and lavender essential oil. My plan is to make liquid shampoo and cleaning products using natural, healthy raw materials.
I just made my first beeswax candles using local beeswax from Butler. They are small votives with no added essences, just the natural sweet honey smell provided by the bees. Each votive burns for 15 hours. I will be offering these in the webstore next week!
I have been making homemade soaps for many years. Since I added my herb garden I can now incorporate flowers and herbs into my soaps. The colorful specks in my calendula bar are finely ground calendula flowers from my garden. I will be making a new bar soap using my lavender flowers over the holidays.
I am very happy with the lip balms and hand lotion. I will be making hand lotion with no added essence for those with sensitive skin. The Coco Butter Body Lotion is still a work in progress. I recently found a technique that will make it much softer and easier to use. I hope to offer this over the holiday season also.
Our staunch NWPAGC supporter, Vince Anastasi, asked that we send an email to Grove City members of the CSA. We are happy to forward this information to you and heartily applaud the propect of chickens in Grove City! Contact Vince at the email address below. We will bring print copies of this email to the Winter Market later today.
**Tomorrow night the Planning Commission is going to be voting on the proposed Chicken Ordinance for Grove City. I have been working closely with Michael Coulter, and it looks like there may be enough support at the Commission level to have the ordinance passed on the the Town Council for final approval. The ordinance would allow residents of Grove City Borough to keep 4-6 laying hens (no roosters) in coops/runs that were enclosed. My son, Sebastian (11) and I have been gathering a list of supporters, a list of those interested, and any letters people would feel like writing to the Town Council. We just need to let the borough know that there is support for such an ordinance and interest from more than just one family. People could just email me at this address and we'll compile all the letters to present either at the meeting Wednesday night or later down the road when it comes before the Town Council itself.
This is your last reminder about the Winter Market Kick Off Event!
When: Wednesday November 9, 2011 (TOMORROW!)
Where: Slippery Rock United Methodist Church (find directions here)
What time: 4:30-6:00pm
Why: This is a chance to meet some of our growers and see what we have to offer! Its going to be a big event with a lot of variety to look at, touch, smell, and buy! We will have: corn wreaths (for the birds and/or decoration), pumpkin bread, apple bread, lettuce, lettuce mix, middlefield cheeses, potatoes (5# bags), dried beans, apple cider, bath and body products and more! The list is long, so stop by and take a look for yourself! Yes, good, local food does exist in the winter! Its not just squahes and potatoes, but greens and more! You won't want to miss this, so set some time aside and support your local farmers!
You don't need a log in or password to access the Turkey Dept, it is open to the general public.
Simply click on the "Winter Market' tab on the Main Page toolbar (upper right), then choose "TURKEYS" from the drop-down menu.
OR click here to go directly to the TURKEY dept.
As always; thank you for choosing local foods and farms!
This is a reminder that we are having out Winter Market Kick-off event this Wednesday, November 9, 2011. This is an exciting event you wont want to miss, as it will be run as a "farmers market" with our own NWPAGC growers! Several of our growers will be present selling their products! We will have a variety of items ranging from fresh veggies, cider, herbs, body care products, corn wreaths, cheeses and more! Here is a list of the things that Patty Wilson, from Springfield Acres will have with her at the event!
a variety of heirloom dried beans
fresh swiss chard
fresh and dried herbs:
dried lemon verbena
fresh cider-half gallons (not frozen)
bath and body:
rosemary lip balm
mint lip balm
coco peppermint lip balm
coco butter body cream
calendula shampoo bar
gourmet bath bar
There will be *small* samples of some of the body products available as well!
The turkeys are coming! The local, naturally-raised, pastured turkeys are coming!
NWPAGC will offer both fresh and frozen turkeys, available in our webstore soon.
Fresh Thanksgiving turkeys will be sold in the webstore as "under 10 lbs" or "over 10 lbs". Pick up your pre-ordered fresh turkey at the Winter Market in Slippery Rock on Wednesday, November 23.
Stay tuned for detailed product and ordering information, we will send out an email announcement when the "Turkey Depaerment" opens for business later this week.
Thanksgiving Countdown: 22 Days
Just a reminder that Wednesday, Novemeber 2, 2011 is the LAST CSA pickup for our CSA season! It is also Chicken CSA day, Cheese CSA day and Mushroom CSA day! So come and pick up your local goodies!!!!
Our Winter Market kicks off Novemeber 9th, with a farmers market style gathering in Slippery Rock at the United Methodist Church on Maple and 108. Stop by and say hi!
Now a letter from the President of the NWPAGC:
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING LOCAL FOODS AND LOCAL FARMS
In these tough economic times, it seems like more and more people are “getting it”; coming to the realization that ‘investing’ in the local food system is a wise choice—and that this choice ensures high-yielding ‘returns’ of higher levels of nutrition, health, and community involvement. The food is fresh, not transported from California or Chile. You know who grew your beef or your beets. You can even see photos of your beefs or beets on our website. You know that it is safe to feed these foods to your family, no food scares or recalls here. No poisons. No hormones. No irradiation.
So, thank you for choosing local foods and farms, and our CSA, again this year.
It was a very tough year for the growers, starting off with 2 solid months of soaking rains in March and April---did you know that there were only five non-rain days TOTAL in March and April combined? We sure did, because we could not get into the fields to plant, and if we did, the seed frequently washed away. Carrot, beet, bean and pea seeds washed away or rotted, the onions and potatoes were planted 4 – 6 weeks late, and the broccoli just melted. Hence the delay in the start date for the CSA, but you were all very kind about the delay and we thank you for your flexibility.
July: wowee zowee we got socked again, but this time with a killer heat wave + drought that burned up the tender, young plantings of fall crops (broccoli again, cauliflower, beets) As I said, a tough year, the worst in a decade. The good weather months this season were the frost-free months of May and October, allowing for early May tomato plantings and extended harvest of crops late into October.
We also thank you for your feedback—the good and the not so good-- as it helps us to do a better job of providing you with what you really want. (which is our goal) So, based on what you have told us so far, the Board is actively addressing the following for 2012:
** consistently including the most popular vegetables in all shares, Small and Full alike.
( weekly lettuce, carrots, green beans, tomatoes in season. Especially lettuce.)
** no mustard, please! Ok, we heard that. No mustard unless you want mustard.
** where’s the cilantro? We heard that too, and will pointedly grow lots more.
** “The apple situation”: during a season with wild swings of weather, we were thrilled that the local apples came through in mega-bushels due to the frost-free May. We understand that they are nothing like supermarket apples; but when you peel the bumpy skin, you find inside the complex, rich, spicy flavor of old-fashioned apple-ness. Putting together a CSA share in any given week is a fine balancing act of what we, the growers, have and what you, the eaters, want. ‘The apples’ are a prime example of the paradox of local sustainable agriculture. Everyone wants it, but sometimes everyone doesn’t like it. And that is my apple homily. Thank you Bender Family Farm, for your apples! Thank you, CSA members, for baking those pies and cobblers!
** Full Shares will once again receive 2 Choice Items per week.
** The Exchange Box will be more visible at all drop-offs.
** Farmers will be scheduled to visit all drop-offs regularly for Meet and Greet.
** At least one Farmer-Grower Event will take place at one of the farms. Maybe more.
** Major changes with the Butler drop-off. (location and coordination)
** We will send out a survey to ask which vegetables, herbs, fruits you like and which you do not. We will also ask (again) for comments and suggestions for improvement.
Our thanks go also to our tireless Site Coordinators who made everything run smoothly every Wednesday. We appreciate your willingness to shoulder the extra duties.
And last but not least, our boundless gratitude to Manager Sarah Lawlor Johnston who started this job 2 weeks before the CSA season, yet fearlessly jumped into the endless phone calls, emails, driving, invoices, checks, and computer work to make the whole CSA run for 22 weeks. Imagine several hundred pats on the back and cheers for you right now, Sarah, because you did it and you did it well! THANKS
Not much time to rest, Winter Market starts next Wednesday, Nov 9th- join us at the United Methodist Church in Slp Rk at 4:30 for this Farmers market-style event to kick off the new season. Our growers will be there in person with their products.
To all of our CSA customers: thank you for joining with us this year to create a remarkable local food system. It is hard work, but it works.
Thank you choosing local food and local farms.
on behalf of the NWPAGC Board members.