NWPA Growers Co-op

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News about NWPA Growers!
Posted 10/10/2011 3:36pm by Amy Philson.

Northwest PA Growers Co-op


October 2011



Fourth newsletter of the season!

Mother Earth News Fair!

The second annual Mother Earth News Fair was held at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Seven Springs PA, September 24 and 25th .  There were over booths of crafts, food vendors, informational booths and more!  The entire resort was packed with booths inside and out with people enjoying the festivities.  There were also informational speakers presenting lectures about things from saving seeds, to hunting, to food preservation, and don’t forget about chicken whispering! There was also a stream of key note speakers who packed the Mother Earth News tent to the seams!  Joel Salatin spoke on our commercial food system and its backwards ways, getting hoots and hollers of support from the crowd.  It was a speech that was not to be missed by many at the fair!  The well-known Ed Begley Jr. was also there, letting people know that even the littlest thing like using compact fluorescent light bulbs can help change our energy consumption.  Both speakers were wonderful and really spoke to the different groups of people who flocked to the fair!  It was a weekend full of information and education! 

Featured Farm: Bushel and A Peck, Mercer PA!

An Interview with Amy and Eric Philson:

How long have you been farming?  When and why did you create Bushel and A Peck?  

We have been “officially” farming for three years, but we have always had a garden and have raised chickens and dairy goats for ourselves in the past.  We decided to grow things for sale because we wanted an endeavor that our entire family can be a part of.

Tell us something about your family life.

We are Eric and Amy, married for 22 years.  Eric is a stone mason by trade and is currently fabricating and installing granite countertops.  We have seven children:  Lee is almost 20, Joel is 16, Gwendolyn is 12, Emma is almost 9, Isobel is 6, Elisha is 4, and Eleanor is 22 months.  We homeschool our children, which includes learning how to work on a farm.  For us, education is a way of life, not an activity to fit into our daily schedule.



What kinds of animals do you raise? What do you use them for?
Right now, the only animals we have are our laying hens, a hive of honeybees and two cats.  We move our chickens to new grass every two days, resulting in rich, nutritious eggs and less grass to mow.  We raise pastured meat chickens, but we don’t currently have any.  We butcher our own chickens, with all of us taking on different jobs in the process.  Gwen’s favorite job is evisceration (degutting), so she’s our expert in that area.  At one point, we had 8 hives of bees, but we lost all but one in the past couple of years.  We plan to expand our hives again next year.  We have hopes of acquiring other animals, such as beef and dairy cows and sheep, but we haven’t made it that far yet.

 What do you grow in your gardens? 

We grow lots of vegetables and herbs…carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce, kale, melons, squashes…and basil, thyme, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, etc.  This year we planted about 1500 asparagus plants, so we hope to have lots of asparagus to share in the coming years.  And we finally started our own blueberry and raspberry patches after wishing for several years.

This year we stopped using plastic mulch to plant in, and we’re transitioning to no-till farming.  This is healthier for the soil and uses fewer non-renewable resources.  However, it does produce more weeds, so we’ve been busy all summer trying to keep ahead.

In the last few years, we have been learning a great deal about nutrition and the huge effect that healthy soil has on the nutrition in plants.  We’ve begun fermenting foods and also learning about wild edible plants (I can’t believe all the “weeds” that we used to pull up are actually some of the most nutritious foods!).  Like I said, when education is a way of life, there’s no end to what we can learn.

Besides growing, we also have a passion for good bread.  We make all of our own bread, and we also sell some through the co-op.  The soaked whole grain bread that I make is my family’s everyday bread.  We grind our flour fresh using a stone grinder.  I soak the grains for 12 hours before making the bread because this reduces phytates.  All grains contain phytates, which inhibit the absorption of nutrients in our digestive tracts.  When phytates are reduced, our bodies can absorb nutrients from the grains instead of just passing them through our systems.  The end result is similar to sprouted grains and sourdough, but through a different process. 


Since this is a family farm, what do the kids do to help?

The kids do everything to help!  They help in sowing seed in the late winter/early spring, preparing the gardens, planting, weeding (which some of them complain about), harvesting (please, mom, not beans again!), caring for chickens, collecting eggs, butchering, and anything else that needs done.  Like I said, this is a family endeavor, so everyone has to help out.


Do you have a favorite recipe that is easy to make for those busy evenings when you have had a full day with the kids and on the farm?

Since we try to eat whole foods and avoid processed foods at all costs, there really aren’t many quick meals.  Real food takes more time to make, but there are ways to get dinner on the table quickly when I need to.  I usually have various kinds of dried beans cooked and frozen to use for quick meals.  I often cook a few chickens and freeze some of the meat and chicken stock for a future meal.  And we can lots of foods like spaghetti sauce.  I bake our bread 8 loaves at a time, so I usually have some bread in the freezer.  And for a really quick meal, we have an omelet with garden produce in it.

For a quick lunch that my entire family loves, I make black bean dip from beans that I have in the freezer.  I serve it with fresh veggies and/or tortilla chips.  It’s similar to hummus, but with different flavors.

Black Bean Dip

4 c. black beans, cooked (I think this is equivalent to 2 cans for those who buy canned beans)

½ c. water

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cumin

1 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

½ tsp. Garlic powder

½ tsp. Onion powder

Put everything in a food processor and blend.  Simple and delicious.

Do you have any short term or long term goals for your farm?

 We have lots of goals for our farm, way more than we can possibly accomplish.  We are working on becoming more and more self-sufficient, making more of what we use and doing without what we don’t need.  We want to raise livestock both for ourselves and to sell.  We want to build a bake oven and expand our offerings of bread.  We want to share with others the things we’re learning about nutrition and disease.  Most of all, we want to teach our children how to work and how to care for the land that God has given us.

Upcoming Event at Jennings Environmental Center!

Fall Mushroom Walk

Sunday, October 16, 2:00 p.m.

Like fruits and vegetables, many of Pennsylvania’s mushrooms emerge and grow seasonally.  Join mushroom enthusiast Ron Donlan for a brief indoor introduction followed by an outdoor walk to search for and identify fall favorites.  Beginners or veterans of past mushroom programs (ages 12 and up) are welcome.  There is no fee for this program, but participation will be limited in order to keep the group to a manageable size.  Pre-registration is requested by Wednesday, October 12, either online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp or by calling 724-794-6011.

Another Upcoming Event!

Western PA Regional

Shared Commercial Kitchen Roundtable


The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture in collaboration with :


October 29, 2011 10:00am-4:00pm Slippery Rock University



Slippery Rock University

Russell Wright Alumni House

and Conference Center

1 Morrow Way

Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Cost: $15.00

(Lunch Included)


On-line at


Or contact Leah Smith at leah@pasafarming.org



Through sharing presentations and discussion, gain a broader perspective on the development of shared commercial kitchens in the region and connect with others to coordinate and collaborate efforts. Learn more about what shared commercial kitchens are and some of the best management practices for the sustainability of shared commercial kitchens.

 Shared Commercial Kitchen Roundtable Agenda

10:00-10:30 Introductions

10:30-11:30 Winifred McGee, Penn State Extension, Lebanon County Understanding the Context for Shared Commercial Kitchen Development and Some Best Practices and Lessons Learned

11:30-12:15 Jim Converse and Pat Rosenthal, Youngstown, OH Northeast Ohio Food Hub, Shared Use Commercial Kitchen Incubator: Survey Research for Planning and Development

12:15-1:15 Lunch

1:15-2:00 Maggie Horne, SBDC Gannon University, Mercer County Regional Food Venture of Munnel Run Farm: Creating a Feasibility Plan and Business Plan

2:00-2:45 Joe Bute, Hollymead Capital Partners, LLC Republic Enterprise Center in Fayette County: Developing a Financing Strategy

2:45-4:00 Open Roundtable Discussion, Facilitated by Professor John Golden, Sustainable Enterprise Accelerator, Slippery Rock University


More Opportunities to Network and Learn!

Penn State Extension Food for Profit Friday, October 28 9:00 am-4:00pm Slippery Rock University University Union

Local Food and Farming Meet & Greet Friday, October 28 5:00pm-8:00pm North Country Brewing, Slippery Rock, PA


New Manager Hours

The manager, Sarah Johnston, will be instilling "manager hours" in which she will be answering phone calls and emails.  Weekdays, she will be answering emails and calls from 5pm to 9pm.  Please be paitient if she does not get to your email right away, but your concerns or questions will be responded to as quickly as possible.  


Winter Market Kick-Off Event to Happen November 9, 2011

The Winter Market starts Novemeber 9, 2011, which is the Wednesday after the Summer CSA ends November 2, 2011.  Sign up now to enjoy the winter season with the NWPAGC!  Just navigate to our webpage and go to the "CSA & Winter Market" tab along the top.  All the information you need is in that tab - just print out the form, sign it and send a check to the manager, Sarah Johnston at the address listed.  You won't want to be left out of this winter season's goodies! 

The kick-off event will be a farmer's market style event, where our farmers will set up a table with their products on it. You will be able to meet the farmers, see the product and visit with other customers!  This will be an event you won't want to miss!

Posted 9/28/2011 4:23pm by Amy Philson.

Butternut Squash:

 How to Store: This hardy squash can be kept for up to three months in a cool, dry place. Do not refrigerate.


Butternut Squash Soup (from marthastewart.com)


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 3/4 pounds small butternut squash, prepared and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Sour cream, (optional)
  • Spicy Pumpkin Seeds


  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, and squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes.
  2. Puree soup in two batches. When blending hot foods, allow the heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove the cap from the hole of the blender's lid, and cover with a dish towel. Stir in juice and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Serve hot, with sour cream, pepper, and pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash (from marthastewart.com)


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock, skimmed of fat
  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Olive-oil, cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine squash, stock, and milk in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Mash contents of saucepan; stir in nutmeg, cayenne, and salt, and season with black pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; cook until al dente according to package instructions, about 8 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl; stir in squash mixture, cheddar, ricotta, and 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
  3. Lightly coat a 9-inch square baking dish (4 inches deep) with cooking spray. Transfer noodle mixture to dish. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan, and oil; sprinkle evenly over noodle mixture.
  4. Cover with foil, and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, and continue baking until lightly browned and crisp on top, 30 to 40 minutes more. Serve immediately.

Acorn Squash:

How to Store: The squash's sturdy exterior allows it to be stored at room temperature for up to one month, or longer if kept in a cool, dark place.

Acorn Squash with Cinnamon Butter (from marthastewart.com)


  • 2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), unpeeled, quartered lengthwise, and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange on sheet, cut side down, and roast until easily pierced with a paring knife, 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, stirring, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Immediately pour into a small bowl; stir in cinnamon. Place squash on a serving platter; top with cinnamon butter.

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash (from marthastewart.com)


  • 2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 box (6 ounces) wild-rice blend (seasoning packet discarded)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add shallot, garlic, and sage; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice and 1 3/4 cups water; bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until tender, without stirring, about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove rice from heat, and stir in cherries and pecans; season stuffing with salt and pepper. Season the inside of each squash half with salt and pepper. Dividing evenly, mound stuffing into halves, and serve.


Lemony White Bean and Arugula Salad (from foodnetwork.com)



  • 5 packed cups (5 ounces) arugula
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained


  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Salad: In a large salad bowl, combine the arugula, beans, red onion, and capers.

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, maple syrup and lemon zest. Slowly whisk in the oil until smooth and combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to coat. Serve.

Baked Potatoes with Sausage and Arugula (from foodnetwork.com)


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed or chopped
  • 1/2 pound sweet or spicy Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato-basil or marinara sauce
  • 3 cups baby arugula or spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (4 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 baked russet potatoes, 8 to 10 ounces each (see Cook's Note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the sausage and break up the meat into 1/2-inch pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and arugula. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until the arugula has wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until the mixture forms a creamy sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut a slit in the top of each baked potato and gently squeeze the ends to form an opening in the top. Spoon the sausage sauce into each potato. Garnish with parsley.

Cook's Note: To bake the potatoes: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a fork, prick the skins of the potatoes all over. Wrap each potato in foil and bake until tender, about 1 hour. To cook the potatoes in a microwave: Using a fork, prick the skins of the potatoes all over. Place 2 potatoes at a time on a dinner plate. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and microwave until soft, 6 to 8 more minutes.

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)


  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lenthwise
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges or 4 or 5 slices
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups or more of vegetable broth*
  • 4 cups of finely chopped kale
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz can of Great Northern white beans, drained

If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.


1 Preheat oven to 400°F (reduce heat by 25°F if using convection oven). Brush rimmed baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil. Arrange carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion, and garlic on sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables until they are brown and tender, stirring occassionally, about 45 minutes.

2 Cut squash and carrots into 1/2 inch pieces; set aside. Peel garlic cloves; place in food processor. Add tomatoes and onion; puree until almost smooth. Pour 1/2 cup broth onto the baking sheet; scrape up any browned bits. Transfer broth and vegetable puree to large pot. Add 5 1/2 cups broth, kale, thyme and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 30 minutes.

3 Add carrots, beans, and squash to soup. Simmer 8 minutes to blend flavors, adding more broth to thin soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Can be made a day ahead. Serves six.

Kale Sauté Recipe (from hubpages.com)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup butter

2 heads of kale

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter. While the oil and butter are heated, remove the kale leaves from their stems. Cut the leaves horizontally into strips about 2 inches wide. When the butter is completely melted, stir in the chopped kale leaves. Add the nutmeg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring constantly for five minutes.

Green Cabbage and Apple Saute (from food.com)

  • 3 lbs head green cabbage, halved cored and coarsely shredded (12 cups)
  • 1 cup riesling wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled halved, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


In a large bowl, toss the cabbage with the wine, lemon juice and sugar. Let marinate for 1 hour, tossing often.

In a large deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and its marinade and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the apples and toss well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Winter Cabbage Salad (from tasteofhome.com)


  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 10 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 2-1/4 pounds)
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced


  • In a large saucepan, bring the first six ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  • In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onions and peppers. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Yield: 16-20 servings.
Posted 9/21/2011 4:14pm by Amy Philson.

TWICE BAKED POTATOES (from cooks.com)


6 large Russet potatoes
1/4 lb. grated cheddar
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp. dill weed
1 tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chives, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper
paprika, for sprinkling
olive oil
coarse salt


Preheat oven to 400°F.


Scrub and wash potatoes very well using a vegetable brush. Dry with a paper towel and rub with olive oil; sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.

Bake potatoes in oven for about an hour, or until fork tender. Allow potatoes to cool until they can be handled but are still hot; about 10 minutes.

Using a melon baller or a sharp spoon, cut an oblong hole in the top of the potato. (You may need a clean dish towel or mitts to handle the potatoes.) Try to preserve the cut out top. Using the spoon, scoop out as much of the potato pulp as you can, leaving the side walls intact.

Return the shells to the hot oven for another 10 minutes to crisp. Meanwhile, mash the potato pulp using a potato masher, adding butter, salt and pepper, garlic, onion, cream, yogurt or sour cream, cheddar (save a little cheese for the top) and other seasonings. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Spoon the mixture into the potato shells until heaping full and return them to the oven. Sprinkle tops with cheese and paprika.

Bake in 425°F oven (on top rack) until tops are golden and bubbly, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Makes 6 servings.



Classic Potato Gratin (from finecooking.com)


2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups whipping or heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).

Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don't break up the slices).

When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don't want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Don't worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit. Before serving, let the potatoes cool until they're very warm but not hot (at least 15 minutes) or serve them at room temperature.

Pasta with Tuna, Arugula, and Hot Pepper Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)


  • 1 pound dried fettuccine, spaghetti or linguine (use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, or more to taste, finely minced
  • Generous pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound baby arugula


1 Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and boil until al dente.

2 While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low heat. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant and sizzling. Add tuna and shred it into fine flakes with a fork. Season with salt. Keep warm over low heat.

3 Just before the pasta is ready, set aside 1 cup of boiling water. Drain pasta and return it to the warm pot set over moderate heat. Depending on the size of your pot and skillet, either add the arugula and the tuna mixture to the pasta in the pasta pot, or add the drained pasta to the skillet with the tuna mixture and add the arugula. Toss vigorously with tongs, moistening with some of the reserved pasta water. The arugula will wilt in the heat of the pasta. Divide among warm bowls and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Arugula Pesto Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)


  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


1 Brown 6 garlic cloves with their peels on in a skillet over medium high heat until the garlic is lightly browned in places, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, and remove the skins.

2 Toast the nuts in a pan over medium heat until lightly brown, or heat in a microwave on high heat for a minute or two until you get that roasted flavor. In our microwave it takes 2 minutes.

3a Food processor method (the fast way): Combine the arugula, salt, walnuts, roasted and raw garlic into a food processor. Pulse while drizzling the olive oil into the processor. Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.

3b Mortar and pestle method: Combine the nuts, salt and garlic in a mortar. With the pestle, grind until smooth. Add the cheese and olive oil, grind again until smooth. Finely chop the arugula and add it to the mortar. Grind up with the other ingredients until smooth.

Because the pesto is so dependent on the individual ingredients, and the strength of the ingredients depends on the season or variety, test it and add more of the ingredients to taste.

Serve with pasta, over freshly roasted potatoes, or as a sauce for pizza.

Yield: Makes 1 heaping cup.


Caponata, Eggplant Relish Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)

  • Prep time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

Our version of caponata is diced fine, like a relish. Serve it on toasted or grilled bread, or with pasta or polenta.


  • 1 globe eggplant - about 1 lb, diced
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4-6 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp small capers, drained
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil


1 Toss the diced eggplant with about 2 tablespoons salt and put into a large bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate that just about fits the bowl and weigh it down with a heavy can. Let this sit for 1 hour. Drain the eggplant, rinse with fresh water and pat dry with paper towels.

2 Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery, season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion begins to soften - about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes more. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3 Wipe the pan with a paper towel, turn the heat to high and add the remaining olive oil. Let this heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add the eggplant and spread it out in as thin a layer as you can in the skillet. Let this sizzle for 1-2 minutes before stirring, then let it sit for a full minute before stirring again. Cook like this for 5-6 minutes.

4 Add the onion-celery mixture, the tomatoes, olives, pine nuts, capers and red pepper flakes. Stir well. Add the vinegar, sugar and tomato paste and stir once more. Cook, stirring occasionally until eggplant is very soft, about 8 minutes.

5 Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mix in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Caponata can be refrigerated, covered, up to 5 days.

Yield: Serves 8-10 as an appetizer.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Soup Recipe (from simplyrecipes.com)


  • 3 lbs plum tomatoes (about 12), tough stem point removed, and tomatoes halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb carrots, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs of eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


1 Preheat oven to 425°F, with racks on top and bottom of the oven. On one rimmed baking sheet, toss together tomatoes, carrots, garlic, 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer, with the tomatoes cut sides down.

2 On another rimmed baking sheet, toss together the eggplant, chickpeas, curry powder, remaining 2 Tbsp oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Place both sheets in oven (tomato mixture on the top rack). Roast until tender, about 45 minutes, tossing the mixtures halfway through.

3 Using tongs, peel off and discard the tomato skins. Purée tomato mixture (including the juices) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large pot. Stir in the eggplant mixture; thin with 3 to 4 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve, sprinkled with cilantro; garnish with toasted bread if desired.

Yield: Serves 6.


Blanching Green Beans (from greenbeansnmore.com)

The freshest of green beans deserve the simplest presentation. A lot of people prefer their green beans just blanched and served with salt, pepper and butter. This is the best way to enjoy the taste of very fresh green beans. Some recipes, such as cold salads that use green beans call for blanched greens beans.

Definition of blanch: This term means to plunge foods into boiling water for a few seconds or a few minutes, then remove and place in ice water. This process sets the color of vegetables, lets you easily peel fruits, and slip the skins off nuts. The food does not cook all the way through, so crisp texture is preserved. Courtesy of busycooks.about.com:


Green Bean and Mushroom Medley (from allrecipes.com)


  • 1/2 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 carrots, cut into thick strips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper


  1. Place green beans and carrots in 1 inch of boiling water. Cover, and cook until tender but still firm. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and mushrooms until almost tender. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 3 minutes. Stir in green beans, carrots, salt, seasoned salt, garlic salt, and white pepper. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Posted 9/21/2011 7:59am by Amy Philson.

Check out these upcoming fall programs offered by Jennings Environmental Education Center:

(Call 724-794-6011 for more registrations or more information.)


Ohio River Watershed Celebration; Networking Cruise

Thursday, September 22, 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Spend the afternoon sailing Pittsburgh's three rivers aboard the Gateway Clipper’s largest boat, the “Majestic”.  This FREE cruise is a regional celebration of environmental accomplishments occurring within the Ohio River Watershed and is open to the public.  Jennings is proud to be a partner and supporter of this informative and entertaining event, which attracted over 800 people last year!  The cruise is designed for adults over the age of 18 who want to learn more about the Ohio River Watershed via displays, presentations and interaction with conservation and watershed related groups, businesses and individuals.

National Public Lands Day

Saturday, September 24, 9:00a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Jennings is looking for interested folks willing to spend a fall day pitching in at the park to celebrate the 16th annual National Public Lands Day. Volunteers will work on several projects related to trail construction and maintenance, painting and staining. Participants must be age 12 or older and must pre-register for the program no later than September 16, either online via the DCNR Calendar of Events (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp) or by contacting the Center at 724-794-6011. As a special thank you, lunch will be provided and each participant will receive a commemorative T-shirt!


Wood Duck Workshop

Wednesday, September 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m

Habitat loss is a leading cause of the decline of certain animal species.  Bring the family and take part in “giving back” to wildlife.  An informal pizza dinner will be provided, while participants learn about wood ducks, take a short walk to view their habitat and then construct a nest box to take home or to donate. Program cost is $20 per each box that an individual or family wishes to build; dinner for everyone is included.  Pre-registration required by September 25.  Register either online via the DCNR Calendar of Events (http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp) or by contacting the Center at 724-794-6011.


Wings over Water

Saturday, October 9, 9:00 a.m. – ~2:00 p.m.

Recreational kayaking can be an enjoyable experience. Jennings will be hosting our first of many seasonal kayaking trips along a tranquil reach of Slippery Rock Creek. While kayaking, participants will have opportunities to enjoy the many species of birds that inhabit the area. All necessary equipment and a creek-side hot lunch will be provided during this four hour paddle. Program cost is $10 and space is limited. Registration begins September 27th at 9:00am, and space is very limited. If interested contact the Center at 724-794-6011.


Fall Mushroom Walk

Sunday, October 16, 2:00 p.m.

Like fruits and vegetables, many of Pennsylvania’s mushrooms emerge and grow seasonally.  Join mushroom enthusiast Ron Donlan for a brief indoor introduction followed by an outdoor walk to search for and identify fall favorites.  Beginners or veterans of past mushroom programs (ages 12 and up) are welcome.  There is no fee for this program, but participation will be limited in order to keep the group to a manageable size.  Pre-registration is requested by Wednesday, October 12, either online at http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/Calendar/list.asp or by calling 724-794-6011.

Posted 9/14/2011 3:19pm by Amy Philson.


Edamame is young soybeans, usually still in the pod. Because the beans are young and green when they are picked, edamame soybeans are soft and edible, not hard and dry like the mature soybeans which are used to make soy milk and tofu.

Some grocery stores such as Trader Joe's also sell green edamame that has been hulled, and is outside of the pod. This hulled edamame is great for making salads or adding to rice dishes or Japanese food, but the flavor of the pod is great if you just want a quick edamame snack.

Wondering how to cook edamame? To cook edamame that is still in the pod, boil the pods in salted water, or, steam your edamame, then sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. You can eat edamame hot or cold.

Wondering how to eat edamame? To eat edamame, place the pod at your mouth, then squeeze or bite the beans into your mouth. You don't eat the pod, just the edamame beans inside, which easily pop out.

Spicy Roasted Edamame (from allrecipes.com)


  • 1 1/4 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place the thawed edamame into a mixing bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with chili powder, basil, onion powder, cumin, paprika, and pepper. Toss until the edamame are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Spread into a 9x13 inch glass baking dish in a single layer.
  3. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven until the beans begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir once halfway through cooking.


Heirloom Tomato Salad (from epicurious.com)


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, halved if small or cut into 1/2-inch wedges if medium or large


Whisk together vinegar, salt, mustard, and pepper in a large bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until dressing is emulsified. Add tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Heirloom-Tomato-Salad-106909#ixzz1Xvl1fx6n

Tomato Corn Salad (from tasteofhome.com)


  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups fresh corn (about 9 ears of corn)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  • In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. In a large skillet, saute corn in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in mustard. Add to vegetable mixture; toss to coat. Serve with a slotted spoon. Yield: 7 servings.


Corn and Zucchini Medley (from allrecipes.com)


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese


  1. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Reserve 1 tablespoon of drippings. Drain bacon, chop, and set aside.
  2. Heat the bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Saute the zucchini, corn, and onion until tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes. Season with pepper. Spoon vegetables into a bowl, and sprinkle with chopped bacon and shredded cheese.


Green Beans and Red Pepper Salad (from mayoclinic.com)


    • 1 pound green beans, stems trimmed
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), seeded and julienne (*sub Italian red)
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste or red pepper flakes
    • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Cut the beans into 2-inch pieces. Bring a large saucepan 3/4 full of water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until they turn bright green and are tender-crisp, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain the beans, then plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and toss and stir for about 1 minute. Add the beans and saute for 1 minute longer. Add the chili paste and garlic and stir for 1 minute. The beans will be tender and bright green. Drizzle with the sesame oil and season with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


Orange infused roasted green beans and red pepper (from veggie101.com)

Simply toss together trimmed green beans and sliced red bell pepper (*sub Italian red) in olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and orange zest. Spread on a baking sheet, bake for about 15-20 minutes, and you're done!

A quick note about the green beans: roasting them raw for 15-20 minutes doesn't exactly yield tender beans. They will still have much crunch to them, and you may even think they're slightly tough. They will wilt, but if you want them to be more tender, try steaming them first for a few minutes. Or, you could try roasting them a bit longer before adding the bell peppers.


Posted 9/14/2011 8:47am by Amy Philson.

Northwest PA Growers Co-op


September 2011


Third newsletter of the season!

Slippery Rock Village Fest!

The 10th annual Slippery Rock Village Fest was held this past weekend, September 10, 2011 in downtown Slippery Rock.  There were over 100 booths of crafts, food vendors, informational booths and more!  The main street was packed with booths and people enjoying the festivities.  The NWPAGC had a booth and was represented by Sarah Johnston, the manager of the Co-op. There was a steady stream of interested persons in and out of the tent all day!  Pat Nelson, John Steiner and Herb Thompson also showed support for the Co-op by volunteering some of their time by manning the booth for a few hours.  Overall, the Co-op was well represented, and we were able to get the word out to the community about what we represent and what services we provide to this region!

NWPAGC booth at village fest Sept. 10, 2011


NWPAGC Poster for Village Fest 2011


Pat Nelson, Herb Thompson and Sarah Johnston at the booth!

Featured Farm: Fruitful Farm, Cochranton PA!

They are a small 3rd in to 4th generation family farm that grows produce and crops with methods to heal the land, and raise animals outside in the fresh air and green grass. Healthier land, healthier plants, healthier animals, healthier families, yours and mine.

An Interview with Lori Bender of Fruitful Farm:

 How long have you been farming at Fruitful Farm?
My dad Ray bought the farm in 1969. It was a dairy farm shortly before then. Dad and my grandpa fixed the place up, and planted a new orchard to replace the original orchard that was here. The farm was mostly a hobby farm with fields farmed by neighbors until 1990's when I was old enough to really help out and started my ideas for what the farm could do. Paul and I married in 1999 and we moved back to the home farm in 2000 right before our first child Judy was born.

What kinds of livestock do you raise?
We raise beef, pork, goats and chickens for meat sale. That is the plain answer. I started with horses as a kid. Then I got into grass fed beef, that were jersey cross calves from a neighbor's farm. That got us hooked on the sweet, yellow fat, and great dark marbled taste of grass fed Jersey beef. We currently have a total of 18 cow critters in the pasture. Daisy (our family milk cow), Flower, and Beauty are our breeding cows. Lilly and Rosey are this year's heifer (girl) calves and the rest are steers of different ages from this year’s calves to full size beef. We started with hogs about 5 years ago. Currently we have two breeding females who are yorkshire duroc cross hogs, Mrs. Piggy and Freckles. Hero is our herd boar and is a Hereford hog. Herford's were originated in Iowa in the 1920's and are an excellent pasture animal. We also have two of our daughter's show hogs from the Crawford County Fair, and two little weanling piggies. The goats are Opal, Ashley, Ann The Goat and Bucky. The girls are Alpines and Sanann which are dairy breeds, and Bucky is a Boar goat which is a meat breed. We expect Opal to kid in the fall. We still have two horses Mizzy and Sassy, a pony Mini Pearl and a mini horse named Misty. Flocks of fuzzy cornish cross chicks arrive and grow into pasture- raised chickens, living in portable chicken tractors in the yard and pastures. The laying hens and noisy roosters roam free like the other fowl on the farm. Our geese, duck (we had more but racoons like duck too) and turkeys are currently at pet status being breeding animals only. All of our babies hatched this year have become raccoon, coyote, or hawk food. We have 3 dogs Shepard, Tippy and Hunter, too many cats and kittens plus the girls two pet Bettas.

Which is your favorite kind of livestock?

This is a hard question to answer. The cows are pretty to watch, and have a routine coming in to the pasture and out of the woods almost like clockwork. Our animals are very quiet and friendly. The cows have an inquisitive nature and love attention and a look forward to moving into the next pasture lot. Plus, I have to agree with the kids, cows can lick their own nose.

 Do you have a favorite animal on the farm?
That too is a trick question. Our horses, dogs and cats have pet status. My picks would be Sassy the horse, Shep the dog and then Pumpkin the cat. The trick is that our breeding animals also become special to us and have their own places in our hearts too.

  Since this is a family farm, what do the kids do to help?
 Paul and I as well as generations of farmers, that farming is not a job, it's a lifestyle. The children live on the farm. They have a deep want to do their part. The biggest thing for us is keeping the children within their abilities, and fosters their love for this life and all that is in it. Our children gather eggs, feed chickens, brush everyone they can get their hands on, fill stock tanks, help move animals, open gates for tractors, chase the goats back into the pasture, pet peeps, clean stalls, help in the garden, pick apples and pears, eat I mean pick berries and all of the rest of it. If Paul and I want to ground them, we take away barn chores. They hate to be grounded to the house.


Bender kids on the farm

 Do you have favorite beef or pork recipe that is easy to make for those busy evenings when you have had a full day with the kids and animals?
Beef is great, Roasts in the crock pot or stew meat with broth, onions, carrots and a potato is easy. The fastest is canned beef sprinkled with flour to make a gravy heated in a sauce pan and poured over anything (rice, mashed potatoes, biscuits toast etc. Pork roast with apples, potatoes and onions is great in the crock pot. Sweet sausage sandwiches cooked with tomatoes, onions and peppers over hearty bread is a hit too.

 Tell us something about your family life.
Our children are Judy 11, Jessica 8, Jordan 6, Joanna 4, and Joshua 20 months. I am Lori and my hard working husband is Paul. We live in a pre-civil war farm house which is been in some form of remodel since 1969, and maybe before that. We own 115 acres, with woods, sugar bush, fields, pastures, orchards, springs, creeks and a pond. I am the last farmer on my dad's side and one of two farming grand-kids on my mother's side. My husband Paul seems to be born to farm, and if you get to meet our son Josh, the first thing he might say is "tractor".
We love this life, our animals, and our land. It can be a lot of hard work, but our children live in the fresh air, know the beauty of the sunset painted each night, and the satisfaction of being caretaker of it all. 
When asked "What is your job? What does your job do?" Only the farmers can answer "We feed the world."

Family Time at the Bender's

Mother Earth News Fair: September 24-25, 2011!

Don’t worry, its not too late to plan a trip to Seven Springs Resort in Seven Springs PA for the Mother Earth News Fair!  Tickets are still available online, or at the gate the day-of.  You won’t want to miss this event, with multiple stages with demonstrations, lectures and hundreds of exhibits, you won’t get bored!  Head to http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/home.aspx for more information on the event, and how to purchase tickets!

 If you cannot make it to this once-a-year event, don’t worry!  We will have more information on the events in the next newsletter as a few co-op growers and the manager are going to this event!

Annual Sustainable Feast!

What? A feast, with live entertainment, local and sustainable food, prepared by top chefs and restaurants

When? Saturday, October 1, 2011, 2:00pm to 6:00pm

Where? Springdale High School, Springdale, PA

Website: http://rachel_carson_homestead.myupsite.com/2011/08/30/annual-sustainable-feast/

Western PA Farm Tour this weekend with PASA!

Take an up-close look at where your food is grown and raised!  This year, seventeen farms are opening their gates to you for an exclusive and personal "behind the barn" look at life on the farm.  Pick an apple, pet some sheep, take a picture with a cow, collect chicken eggs, sample fresh baked bread, purchase fall decorations and much more!”

When? September 17, 2011 from 1pm – 5pm

Website: http://www.buylocalpa.org/farmtour
Posted 9/7/2011 7:55pm by Amy Philson.

Marinated Refrigerated Peppers (recipe from Colorado State University Extension)

Remember, all pickled pepper products stored at room temperature must be processed, to avoid the risk of botulism toxin development during storage. The boiling water bath processing step can be omitted if pickles are stored in the refrigerator. Use the following procedure.

Wash peppers. Small peppers may be left whole with two small slits in each pepper. Core and cut large peppers into strips.

Sterilize jars, lids and screwbands. Pack peppers tightly into sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

For each 6 cups of brine, combine 5 cups vinegar, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon pickling salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer five minutes.

Pour vinegar solution over peppers, leaving 1/8-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust headspace so that brine covers all peppers. Wipe rims.

Place sterilized flats on jars. Do not put on screwbands. Allow jars to cool. Put on screwbands and wipe jars. Refrigerate six to eight weeks for the pickled flavor to fully develop. Keep refrigerated and use within six months. This pepper product allows the peppers to marinate in a high acid solution, at a cold temperature, and in the presence of air. These conditions are not favorable for botulism toxin formation. It does not ensure against other types of spoilage


Jalapeno Poppers - a hot pepper recipe that makes almost the same appetizer you'll find in restaurants (recipe from www.backyard-vegetable-gardening.com)

12 fresh Jalapeno peppers (*substitute any hot pepper)
3 oz cream cheese, softened
3 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
1 cup fine bread crumbs
vegetable oil

Heat 2 inches of oil in a sauce pan to 350 degrees F.

Cut a slit lengthwise in each pepper from stem to bottom. Insert a knife and remove the seeds and veins.

Mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese and salt. Stuff cheese mixture into peppers. Press the seam closed so that the pepper retains its shape.

Beat 3 eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Put flour in a separate shallow bowl. Put bread crumbs in a third separate shallow bowl.

Dip stuffed peppers in egg/milk mixture. Then roll in flour until covered and place on a plate. Repeat this process until all peppers are covered with flour.

Dip floured peppers back into milk/egg mixture and roll in bread crumbs until well covered.

Fry the stuffed peppers 3-4 at a time until golden brown, turning once - usually 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve. This pepper recipe can be modified with mozarella cheese, Monterrey jack cheese, etc...

with ROSEMARY & GARLIC OIL (recipe from kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com)

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 4

1/4 cup olive oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of a knife

Big pot of well-salted water
1 pound fresh green beans, ends snipped
Big bowl of ice water

Fresh basil, chopped into thin ribbons
1 bulb shallot, peeled and sliced thin on the cross-wise
Good salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel or another large-grain flaky salt (don't skip this - it somehow makes the dish)

ROSEMARY & GARLIC OIL In a small saucepan, gently warm the olive oil, rosemary and garlic just until the garlic begins to sizzle. Turn off the heat and let the rosemary and garlic flavors infuse the oil.

BEANS Bring the water to a boil. Drop in the beans and let them cook for about 7 minutes, until done but still bright green and quite crispy. Drain the beans and immediately immerse into the ice water, let cool for a minute or two and then drain again. Place the beans on a double layer of paper towels and pat to dry.

TO FINISH Toss the beans with about 1 tablespoon of the oil, reserving the rest for another purpose (or more beans, tomorrow). (Stop here if making ahead of time.) Arrange on a serving plate, sprinkle with basil, shallot rings and salt.

TO MAKE AHEAD Cook the beans, toss in the oil, then refrigerate. Arrange on a serving plate, let warm to room temperature, then sprinkle with basil, shallot and salt.


WORLD'S BEST GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE (from kitchen-parade-veggieventure.blogspot.com/)

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, November-December 2006
Printer Friendly Recipe
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 8 in small-ish servings for a big dinner

TO MAKE AHEAD The day before, cook the beans, make the sauce and combine; mix the topping but don't add it yet. Before dinner, bring back to room temperature, allowing plenty of time, especially for a double or triple batch; bake at 425F for 10 - 40 minutes until bubbly. Apply topping and bake for another 15 minutes.

Step-by-Step Photos: How to Cook the Green Beans
If doubling or tripling the recipe means cooking the beans in batches, start each batch with fresh water; at minimum, re-salt the water with each new batch. Also, don't skip the drying process.

2 quarts (8 cups) water
1 tablespoon table salt (salt is key to the flavor so don't skimp; if you don't have table salt, use twice as much as the relatively 'less salty' kosher salt or sea salt)
1 pound fresh green beans, ends snapped, snapped into bite-size pieces

Bring the water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. While it comes to a boil, prep the beans. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Add the salt and beans to the boiling water. Cover and cook for 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and still bright green. (Be sure to cook the beans to your desired level of doneness; from here on, they will reheat but won't cook more.) Drain beans in a colander, then plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain a bit in the colander again. Place a double layer of paper towels on a baking sheet, arrange beans in single layer to dry, top with a double layer of towels and pat to dry. Let continue to dry while finishing.

Step-by-Step Photos: How to Cook the Mushroom Sauce
If this looks a lot like a thick, homemade mushroom soup, that's because it is!

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms (I like the color of the brown portabella but taste-wise, they're the same as white button mushrooms)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
Generous grind of fresh pepper or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon dry sherry
3/4 cup half & half or heavy cream (don't use fat-free half-n-half, it won't thicken)
Salt & pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms; break off and discard the stems. (Better yet, use the stems to make a night-before-Thanksgiving mushroom soup.) Break the mushroom tops into pieces. (Breaking the tops into irregular pieces is important to the texture of this sauce for sliced mushrooms have a 'canned soup' texture.) Melt the butter in a skillet til shimmery. (To save a pan, use the pot used for cooking the beans.) Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper. Stirring often, cook til mushrooms begin to soften and exude their liquid, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook a minute. A tablespoon at a time at first, add the chicken stock and sherry; bring to a simmer. Add the half & half, simmer til sauce thickens, about 10 - 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the cooked beans til they're evenly distributed throughout the sauce.

Step-by-Step Photos: How to Mix the Topping and Bake
Note: The quantity below is 'half' what the inspiring recipe used; the full amount seemed way over the top to me, half was plenty and hardly skimpy for the shallow quiche dish I use to bake this in. I use the quantity below even when doubling the beans and the mushroom sauce; how much is needed seems to be a function of the size of the serving dish; 'half' is perfect for that shallow quiche dish.

1 slice good whole grain bread (I use this Light 'n' Fluffy Homemade Whole Grain Bread but any good whole-grain bread will work)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 a 2.8 ounce can of French fried onions
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In the food processor, process the bread, butter and seasonings in about 10 quick pulses. Stir in the onions -- but don't process. If making ahead, transfer to a storage container and refrigerate.

TO BAKE RIGHT AWAY Preheat oven to 425F. Transfer hot bean mixture to a greased quiche pan or baking dish. Top the beans with the topping mixture and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

TO BAKE LATER Transfer bean mixture to a greased quiche pan or baking dish (hold off on the topping mixture), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return to room temperature. Remove plastic wrap. Heat in 425F oven uncovered for about 10 - 40 minutes until hot and bubbly. (Ten minutes is enough for a shallow dish like a quiche pan. Allow more time for a deeper dish.) Add topping and bake for another 15 minutes.


Mashed Potatoes with Brown Butter, Goat Cheese, and Sage Recipe (http://simplyrecipes.com)


  • 1.5 lbs. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh sage
  • 4 ounces of goat cheese chevre


1 Place the potatoes and salt in a pot and fill the pot with cold water until the potatoes are covered. Bring to a boil over high heat, then bring the heat down to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the potatoes. Drain the water from the potatoes.

2 Place the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and brown the butter. The butter will foam for a bit before calming down. When the butter turns to a light amber color watch for it to turn to a nutty brown (this can happen very quickly). Immediately take off heat. Add the chopped sage to the butter (it may cause some foaming). Pour over the potatoes.

3 Add the goat cheese chevre, and milk and mash the potatoes with a potato masher until smooth and all ingredients are well incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

CREAM CHEESY POTATO MASH  (from: www.cooks.com)

6 medium to large potatoes
1/2 cup milk
3 t. butter
1 t. salt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 stick softened cream cheese (4oz.)
1 small onion (chopped)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.

Peel potatoes and cut into cubes. Boil potatoes 15 mins. or until done. Drain and transfer potatoes into a large mixing bowl, add butter, salt, cream cheese, sour cream, milk.

Mix with hand mixer until blended together. Add chopped onion, cheese and stir.

Place in oven-safe casserole dish and bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes.


Posted 9/6/2011 7:24am by Amy Philson.
The NWPAGC will have an informational booth set up at the Slippery Rock Village Fest this Saturday, September 10th.  Join us in the fun and festivities in the festival!  Our booth number is 35, and just look for the big banner with our name on it!  The manager, Sarah, will be manning the table, so come on by and chat with her! The Festival is from 10am to 5pm, so stop by any time!
Posted 9/2/2011 7:40am by Amy Philson.
Posted 8/25/2011 1:37pm by Amy Philson.

Tomato Basil Pasta (from marthastewart.com)


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 pound cooked and drained short pasta (such as campanelle)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1 pound burrata or mozzarella cheese
  • Small basil leaves

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella (from foodnetwork.com)


  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Several grinds black pepper
  • Panzanella Croutons, recipe follows
  • 2 cups trimmed arugula
  • Wedge Parmesan, for shaving


Drain the tomatoes in a sieve to remove excess liquid while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Add the croutons and toss well.

Divide tomato mixture among 4 plates. Top each serving with an equal amount of the arugula. With a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the salad. Serve immediately.

Michael's Notes: I've used basil and tarragon here, but you can use any herbs you like. Parsley and marjoram come to mind as good alternatives.

Panzanella Croutons:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 cups crustless cubed day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)

Sea salt, preferably gray salt, and freshly ground black pepper

6 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and preheat a cookie sheet in it.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until it foams. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the bread cubes and toss to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread to a baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with the cheese and toss again while warm to melt the cheese.

Bake, stirring once or twice, until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored on the outside but still soft within, about 8 or 9 minutes. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Michael's Notes: I use a serrated knife to remove the crust from day-old bread, then switch to a chef's knife to cut the cubes because it doesn't tear the bread. Also note that I recommend grating the Parmesan finely so that it will stick to the bread better.

Yield: about 6 cups

3 ways to use your green beans (from johndlee.hubpages.com)

Bacon and honey mustard green beans

Get a few rashers of a good thick smoky bacon, and fry until almost, but not quite crispy. Meanwhile, boil your beans in well salted water, until just done (beans need to be cooked, none of this al dente business with beans!). Take the bacon out of the pan, and cut or crumble, and use the bacon fat with about half as much red wine vinegar, a dash of honey and a tsp of Dijon, whisked together. Toss with the warm beans, and season with salt to taste. You could also add some new potatoes to make this a more substantial side.

Caramelized onion and parmesan beans

Fry a sliced onion very slowly in olive oil, until golden brown, and seriously reduced. This should take the better part of half an hour. You want the onion to start caramelizing, so watch it closely as it nears the end, as those onion sugars will tend to burn if left unattended.

Boil your beans in well salted water until cooked, about 5 minutes, and toss with the caramelized onions in olive oil. Add about ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and salt if needed.

Grilled beans

A twist on the usual grilled veg's. Coat your green beans in olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill over medium heat, until slightly charred and softened, about 15 minutes. These are great dressed with a little more olive oil and either a balsamic or red wine vinegar. Or use as part of a grilled vegetable salad.

Green bean casseroles, salad Nicoise, Indian spiced fried green beans…it's all so good. Eating locally and with the seasons is a pleasure, and be sure to take advantage of whatever is flooding your local farmers market right now.

7 Ways to use your corn! (from www.mnn.com)

  1. Cut the kernels off the cobs and mix with a small bit of garlic, diced tomato (really just a bit), salt, pepper and some pumpkin seed oil. Makes a great summer salad. (via Chowhound)
  2. Cut the kernels off and toss them on top of a fresh salad (via PlentyOfFish)
  3. Use it to make corn chowder. Try this recipe that calls for three ears of corn from Simply Recipes.
  4. Corn fritters – try this buttermilk recipe from Mother Earth News or this regular milk recipe from Paula Dean (something tells me she knows how to make a mean corn fritter) Note: 2 large ears of corn are about the equivalent of one can of corn
  5. Make some avocado corn salsa
  6. Throw it into cornbread 
  7. Add it to an omelet like in this fresh corn omelet with smoked mozzarella and basil

White Potato Pie (from allrecipes.com)


  • 2 potatoes - peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 (9 inch) pie shell


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl mix sugar, baking powder, and salt, then add potatoes and butter or margarine; mix well. Gradually add whipping cream and milk, stirring until well blended. Stir in lemon rind, juice, vanilla, and nutmeg. Add beaten eggs and mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into pie shells and put in preheated oven. Bake for 55 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Best when served cold.

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