NWPA Growers Co-op

News and blog

News about NWPA Growers!
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.

Posted 7/10/2013 8:01pm by Amy Philson.
Good evening!  Are you surviving all this rain?  There is a lot of flooding around us!

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:

Full shares:
2 zucchini
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 choice
1 herb
Small shares:

1 cabbage
1 zucchini
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
1 herb

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!

Posted 6/26/2013 8:32pm by Amy Philson.
Good evening!  I hope you all are pleased with the bounty in your shares today!  Here's what you should have received:

1 lb. rhubarb
zucchini (yellow and green)
garlic scapes
kale or collards
lettuce mix
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!
Posted 5/2/2013 6:46am by Amy Philson.


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, manager

NWPA Growers Cooperative
Posted 3/7/2013 11:26am by Amy Philson.
April 21st, 2013 1:00pm - 3:00pm

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 tchfrch@hotmail.com  to register. Rain date April 28. Location: 185 Turk Rd, Slippery Rock, just off Route 8  near the Stone House and Jennings.

Basket of Hope