News and blog
Today in your CSA boxes, you should have received:
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
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!
In today's shares, you should have received:
onions (jumbo sweet)
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
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.
Here's what you should have received in your shares today:
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:
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
I want to explain a detail about how a CSA cooperative works. In case you're disappointed with the looks of your broccoli (if you received it) in the shares today, I was too. Last year, this same grower had beautiful, huge heads of broccoli. But so far this year, they aren't doing so well. The cabbage moths are loving this wet weather, and even though there is row cover over the broccoli, some moths still sneak under and lay their eggs on the broccoli. The caterpillars that hatch damage the broccoli and can stunt the growth of the plant. We could spray the broccoli to kill the moths, but that's not what we do. We're committed to all-natural produce, and with that sometimes you get a bug or bug damage in your food. But you also get clean food without harmful chemicals.
As a cooperative of 16 farms, I don't get to see the produce until it is delivered Wednesday morning. The farmers have to play a sort of guessing game. On Thursday, they inform me of what they expect to have available for delivery the next Wednesday. I plan the CSA shares over the weekend and put extra produce in the webstore. However, it's almost a week between when they notify me and when you receive it. So the produce isn't always at the point of growth that we would expect in a week due to weather and pests. That's what happened with some of the broccoli being small.
When we receive delivery of a sub-par item, we discount the item for the CSA shares (and for webstore items, too), so even when you receive an item that isn't perfect, you will still receive your value in the CSA share in the long run. I have a budget that I work with each week for shares, and I continually re-evaluate where we are in the entire season's budget.
Here is what was in the shares today:
1 yellow zucchini
1 head broccoli
1 bunch beets
10 pickling cucumbers
1 bunch baby carrots
½ lb. kale
1 head lettuce
1 pint peas
1 yellow zucchini
1 head broccoli or sugar snap peas
6 pickling cucumbers
1 bunch baby carrots
½ lb. Green leaf lettuce
1 choice item
In case you're wondering you can eat pickling cucumbers just like other cucumbers. Their skin is a little thicker, but some people prefer their crispness. Or you can make a jar of pickles! I posted a recipe for 24 hour refrigerator pickles to try.
My niece sent me a recipe for zucchini boats, and I added that to the website today, too. It's stuffed with sausage (I'll make homemade beef sausage from grass-fed beef) with spaghetti sauce and cheese on top. It looks delicious!
Other new recipes include Garlic Stir-Fried Snap Peas, Chilly Cucumber Soup and Broccoli Cabbage Slaw. To check them all out, click here.
Have a great week!
1 lb. rhubarb
zucchini (yellow and green)
kale or collards
Plus full shares received baby beets, Swiss chard, and an extra choice item.
I know many of you were happy to see green peppers and tomatoes in the choice box again. We're adding more variety to your shares as the weeks progress, and the rain the last couple of days will certainly help things along!
My favorite way to cook summer squash is to slice it and saute it with onions, garlic, and red peppers...and mushrooms if I have any. A little salt and pepper, maybe an herb...delicious!
I like to use my garlic scapes in omelettes along with mushrooms, any kind of greens (chard, kale, collards, etc.), peppers, etc. In fact, that's what I had for dinner tonight (along with strawberry shortcake that my daughter made).
Recipes that I just added to the website are for garlic scape pesto, roasted radishes, white bean and garlic scape dip, parmesan stuffed summer squash, beet green and young garlic pasta (you could use any greens for this), and Vickie's rigatoni and Swiss chard. See the recipes here.
In case you're wondering, the recipes I choose come from a database that is hosted by Small Farm Central, the company that maintains our website. Other farms and co-ops from around the country add recipes to this database to use with their CSA shares as well. I have access to all these recipes from other CSAs, and I go through them and choose ones that look yummy and that use fairly normal ingredients.
Enjoy your fresh-from-the-farm produce!
Looking outside, it is obvious that spring is marching on and summer will be upon us soon. Our farmers are busily preparing their fields and planting seeds in flats and in the fields to get things growing. We are seeing the first of the new crop of greens and onions coming to our tables. And we are all looking forward to this year’s CSA season for fresh, local, naturally grown produce and other farm products.
We are still taking memberships for our CSA and Webstore that begins June 12. If you haven’t already signed up, you will want to do so very soon! To look at your options, click here. To sign up, go here. If you want to look at the webstore information, click here.
I’m also looking for site coordinators for Grove City, Butler, New Castle, and Greenville. If you’re interested in helping us distribute produce to community members, please contact me to discuss the position.
Please help us out by spreading the word about our CSA to your friends and neighbors. You can forward this email to them if you would like to. Because we are a non-profit organization, we don’t have a large advertising budget. The majority of what you pay for your food goes back to our farmers. So we rely heavily on word of mouth from our members for our advertising.
Thank you for supporting local farmers with your food dollars.
Amy Philson, managerNWPA Growers Cooperative
Learn how to grow your own shiitake mushrooms! Professional shiitake grower Jesse Allen will lead this hands on workshop which will also feature a tour of his shiitake yard. Participants will inoculate their own shiitake log to take home. Limited to 20 participants. $10.00 fee. Email Lori at email@example.com to register. Rain date April 28. Location: 185 Turk Rd, Slippery Rock, just off Route 8 near the Stone House and Jennings.
We are busy planning the next CSA season and ---while Manager Amy Philson will definitely send out a detailed email prior to sign-ups--- I want to fill you in on the general scope of our offerings this year. Bigger and Better than ever!
More Add-On Share Types: in addition to the Ground Beef and Egg Shares, we will also offer a 10-Week Flower Share and a weekly Milk Share. Back! monthly Chicken Shares.
More Drop-off Sites: Slippery Rock, Grove City, Franklin as always. Back! Butler, New Castle, Hermitage. New! Greenville
More Growers: We added four new farms last year, which really upped our variety and volume. We proudly distributed bountiful, beautiful produce every single CSA week. Two more growers are currently in the application process. Our reputation as the "A Team" for produce and CSA in our region is growing....
The Bottom Line: 20 -week CSA June 12 - Oct 23. Wed afternoons. (price includes webstore membership)
Small Shares $330.00
Full Shares $500.00
The $20.00 price increase over last year is due to an exciting new development: a truck! We have grown so much that we need our own vehicle to transport our products We will deliver the CSA shares to the drop-off sites instead of asking site coordinators to drive to Slippery Rock.
We think that you will agree that a $1.00-per-week increase in share price is fair.
CSA sign-ups will once again be processed through an automated system via our website starting Jan. 15th.
Check out our new look: new website design newly-energized facebook page.
Thank you for choosing local foods and farms.
Board President , NWPAGC
Registration for this workshop is now open in our Webstore. Please log in and go to the new "Event Registration" department. When you click to add this workshop to your cart you will be officially registered. Please note that the $7.00 fee will show up as a charge on your webstore order however we will collect the fee at the event. Do not pay at CSA pickup .
VEGETABLE PAPYRUS WORKSHOP: Monday, July 30th at Springfield Acres 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. (very near the Pottery Dome and Outlets in Springfield Twp, Mercer County. Convenient to Routes 19 and 79. Directions will be emailed to registered participants) LIMITED TO 12 participants. Registration starts now (Thursday) and will remain open until the workshop is filled. This event is open to NWPAGC CSA and Webstore members only.
It doesn't get any better than this! Art and vegetables at the same time! All materials are provided. A workshop fee of $7.00 per person will be collected at the event.
This workshop is led by New Orleans native Vanessa Adams, who is currently interning on Silver Wheel Farm. Vanessa heads up a Printmaking Cooperative in NOLA. Her latest project is the creation of a regional papermaking collective. A graduate of Brown University, Vanessa enjoys using her talents to make all kinds of art and craft accessible to all members of the community. From Vanessa, below:.
'Come learn how to make beautiful and translucent Vegetable Papyrus Papers from vegetables you can find at your local co-op or in your backyard. Egyptian papyrus is made by overlapping pieces of the stalk of the papyrus plant and pounding or pressing the pieces together. A similar technique can be used to make Vegetable Papyrus using common household vegetables or corn husks. Using this technique we will thinly slice and cook local vegetables and create colorful papers—using cucumbers, beets, carrots and more! Papers will be pressed and dried flat to create works of art in which the intricate seed patterns, color, and natural beauty of the vegetables are exposed. These papers can be used decoratively, can be framed or used in other art and craft projects (lampshades, etc.). No previous experience is necessary! All levels and ages are welcome, including children over the age of 7 accompanied by an adult.'
Click here to register : Vegetable Papyrus Registration
Questions? please email Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first CSA picnic was a success (and we are already planning the next one!) It was organized and hosted by farmers Lori and Ben of Silver Wheel Farm. We had perfect weather for meeting-and-greeting fellow CSA members and farmers, stomping in the creek, eating great food, then kicking back on the blanket to take in the harmonies of Lonesome No More band. After dark we toasted marshmallows around the firepit and were treated to a spectacular firefly exhibition; one of those amazing sights you see once or twice in a lifetime.
Thanks to our farmers for the following:
Burgers: ground beef from Fruitful Farm, Hazy Hollow Farm
Buns: burger buns baked by the Philsons at Bushel and a Peck Farm certified farm bakery
Salad: ingredients from Silver Wheel, NuWay Farm, and Wild Roses Farm
Cheeses: Milky Way Meadows raw milk, grass fed cheeses
Veggie Burgers: black beans from Ron Gargasz Farms
Great News!! Becky Lubold sent us the salad dressing recipes that everyone asked for.
Click here: CSA Recipes for the "Double Sesame" and "Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette" recipes.
To see photos of CSA members and farmers enjoying the picnic, click here:
Mossy Rocks Showcase
Thank you to everyone involved. We will announce our July CSA event soon.