News and blog
Northwest PA Growers is excited to announce two new share options. We are working with Wild Purveyors, LLC, to offer a Mushroom Medley Share and a Best of Pennsylvania Cheese Share. Both will be delivered to CSA drop-off sites once per month July - November. The Mushroom Medley will normally be delivered the first week of each month, and the PA Cheese share the second week. However for the month of July only, both will be delivered at the same time ( July 6th), with the normal schedule resuming in August.
These options are not for CSA members only! They are available to the general public; simply select the CSA drop-off site of your choice when prompted during the sign up process. (we now have drop-offs in Slippery Rock, Grove City, Franklin, Hermitage, Mercer, Butler and New Castle)
Also new: non-CSA members can sign up for access to our Summer Market webstore. A $15.00 fee covers access from June - November 2nd. You may purchase items to be delivered to the CSA drop-off site of your choosing.
Please go to our website for details about all three new options. Sign up is simple with our automated process. We accept Paypal or checks.
Questions? email our manager Sarah Lawlor firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thank you for your interest in local food systems, we appreciate your support.
What to do with those….
Mustard Greens Recipe
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound mustard greens, washed and torn into large pieces
- 2 to 3 Tbsp chicken broth or vegetable broth (vegetarian option)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 In a large sauté pan, sauté onions in olive oil over medium heat until the onions begin to brown and caramelize, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook a minute more, until fragrant.
2 Add the mustard greens and broth and cook until the mustard greens are just barely wilted. Toss with sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Mustard Green Gratin
- 1 pound stemmed mustard greens
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for baking dish
- 3 whole eggs, beaten
- 10 ounces ricotta cheese
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan (approximately 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for garlic and mushrooms
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup crushed round butter crackers
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove any large stems from the greens and wash them thoroughly; do so in a sink with at least 5 inches of water. Moving the leaves around in the water and allowing them to sit for a few minutes to allow the sand or dirt to fall to the bottom of the sink. Once clean, roughly chop the greens. You should have 1 pound finished greens once they are stemmed. (Weigh the greens after stemming, but before washing.) After washing the greens, place them in a salad spinner to thoroughly dry them.
Butter a 9 by 11-inch or 2 1/2-quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
In a large, 13 by 11-inch roasting pan set over 2 burners on medium heat, melt the butter in 1 corner of the pan. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the greens and cook until they are wilted, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. The greens will reduce to less than 1/4 of their original volume and begin to look like thawed, frozen spinach. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the greens to the egg and cheese mixture and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish, top with the crackers, place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch red Swiss chard, rinsed and chopped
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Stir in shallot and green onions; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Stir in garbanzo beans, and season with salt and pepper; heat through. Place chard in pan, and cook until wilted. Add tomato slices, squeeze lemon juice over greens, and heat through. Plate, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Onion Pizza with Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound chard, stemmed, leaves washed
1 14-inch pizza crust (1/2 batch pizza dough)
3/4 cup ricotta (6 ounces)
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)
1 egg yolk
1. Thirty minutes before baking the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook another 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown and very sweet and soft. Remove from the heat.
2. While the onions are cooking, stem and wash the chard leaves, and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard. Blanch for one to two minutes, just until the leaves are tender, and transfer to the ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Alternatively, steam the chard for two to three minutes until wilted, and rinse with cold water. Chop the chard medium-fine.
3. Roll out the dough, oil a 14-inch pizza pan and dust with cornmeal or semolina. Place the dough on the pan.
4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan and chard. Spread over the pizza dough in an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border around the rim. Spread the onions over the ricotta mixture.
5. Place in the hot oven, and bake 10 to 15 minutes until the crust and bits of the onion are nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and serve hot or warm.
Yield: One 14-inch pizza (eight slices).
Sauteed Mushrooms and Green Peas
- Chop or press garlic and let sit for 5 minutes to enhance its health-promoting properties.
- Heat 3 TBS broth over medium heat in a stainless steel skillet.
- When broth begins to steam, add the sliced mushrooms and sautï¿½ for 3 minutes.
- Add green peas and saute for 4 more minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl. For more flavor, toss crimini mushrooms with the remaining ingredients while they are still hot. The Mediterranean Dressing does not need to be made separately.
- Top with sunflower seeds.
Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon kosher for Passover olive oil
- 1 small shallot, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, wiped clean and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed well and drained
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves removed from their stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups vegetable stock, or water
Place a saucepan on high heat and get it hot. Add the olive oil and swirl it around to make sure the entire surface is covered with oil. Add the shallot and sweat (cook until translucent but not brown). Add the crimini mushrooms and cook until brown. Add the quinoa, thyme leaves, bay leaf, kosher salt and black pepper to the pan and stir. Let the ingredients heat up and roast a little to bring out all their fullest flavors. The steam coming up should be very aromatic.
Slowly and carefully add the vegetable stock (it will spatter because the pan and ingredients are hot). When it comes to full boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and allow to steam for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove lid and fluff the quinoa and then replace the lid and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Serve.
- 2 bunches radishes, about 1 pound, trimmed of tops and roots
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper
Place radishes in a skillet with stock, butter bits, shallots, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Uncover the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook radishes 10 to 12 minutes and if the stock has not cooked away, remove radishes and cook down to 1/2 cup, about 2 minutes.
Quick Pickled Radishes
- 2/3 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Coarse salt
- 15 medium-size red radishes (about 6 ounces), ends trimmed, thinly sliced
- In a medium bowl, stir together vinegar, sugar, and 2 teaspoons coarse salt. Add radishes, and stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes before serving. Pickled radishes are best used within a few hours but can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Sugar Snap Pea and Radish Salad
- 1 pound sugar snap peas, ends trimmed, and halved crosswise if desired
- 4 radishes, sliced paper-thin
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Place sugar snap peas, radishes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and oil in a serving bowl.
- Toss well. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Below are some recipes to use with your share this week! I hope you all enjoy!
Strawberry Rubarb Muffins (makes 12)
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1/3 cup amaranth flour
- 2/3 cup brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- Place rhubarb and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Strain the rhubarb, and reserve the juice. Measure the juices, and if necessary, add a bit of water to make 3/4 cup liquid.
- Whisk together rhubarb juice, honey, oil, and egg.
- In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and allspice. Pour juice mixture into flour mixture, and stir briefly to combine. Do not overmix. Fold in rhubarb and strawberries. Spoon batter into 12 oiled or paper lined muffin cups.
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 22 to 25 minutes.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 149 | Total Fat: 4.6g | Cholesterol: 18mg
Beet Greens Recipe
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time: 25 minutes
While this recipe calls for discarding the stems, if you want you can use them too if they aren't too woody. Just cut them into 1-inch segments and add them to the onions after the onions have been cooking for a minute.
- 1 pound beet greens
- 1 strip of thick cut bacon, chopped (or a tablespoon of bacon fat)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup of water
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/6 cup of cider vinegar
1 Wash the greens in a sink filled with cold water. Drain greens and wash a second time. Drain greens and cut away any heavy stems. Cut leaves into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2 In a large skillet or 3-qt saucepan, cook bacon until lightly browned on medium heat (or heat 1 Tbsp of bacon fat). Add onions, cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occassionally, until onions soften and start to brown. Stir in garlic. Add water to the hot pan, stirring to loosen any particles from bottom of pan. Stir in sugar and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil.
3 Add the beet greens, gently toss in the onion mixture so the greens are well coated. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-15 minutes until the greens are tender. Stir in vinegar. (For kale or collard greens continue cooking additional 20 to 25 minutes or until desired tenderness.)
Yield: Serves 4.
Raw Green Garlic
Mince and add to salads
Pound it into a paste to make green-garlic aioli
Use in salad dressings
Cooked Green Garlic
Poach the last 4" of the tips and dress with a mustard vinaigrette
Blanch in water or chicken stock and puree it. Add the puree to a custard or soufflé.
Dice and sauté the tender portions and add to an omelet or frittata
Chop and add to stir-frys
Chop and add to homemade potato soup
Spaghetti with Green Onion Sauce
yield: Makes 6 main-course servings
active time: 30 min
total time: 35 min
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 cups chopped scallions (from 4 bunches)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
print a shopping list for this recipe
Cook spaghetti in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
While pasta cooks, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until scallions are softened and garlic begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes.
Transfer scallion mixture to a blender and add zest, salt, pepper, remaining olive oil, and 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then purée until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.)
Drain pasta in a colander and return to pot.
Toss pasta with scallion purée, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste over moderate heat until pasta is well coated.
GARLIC SCAPE AND ALMOND PESTO
Makes about 1 cup
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you'd like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle). Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil. Season with salt.
If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juciest.
[We apologize if you receive more than one of this email. Many of our customers are listed in more than one membership database ie, 'Winter Market', 'CSA', 'General Mailing list'.]
The Northwest PA Growers Cooperative is pleased to announce that we have hired a new Manager, Sarah Lawlor. She has been training with our current Manager, Octavia Elder, and will take the reins officially on June 1st. Sarah will handle all business related to the CSA and Summer Market webstore. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Dear NWPAGC customers: Hello my name is Sarah Lawlor and I am your new NWPAGC Manager. I am pleased to have been offered this position and look forward to working with you and bringing fresh local food to the members and their communities. Let me tell you a little bit about myself, I have a passion for the environment and personally work towards lessening my carbon footprint. I have a love for farmers markets and local agriculture and have always enjoyed learning from the farmers about the food that they grow. Academically, I am a 2009 graduate of Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Geography, and a 2011 graduate of Miami University with a Master’s degree in Geography. Please do not hesitate to contact me about any questions, comments or concerns that you have.
Well, the end of Winter Market and the Spring Fever Shares is here, and we are very excited about the upcoming CSA. Surely you've noticed--and how could you not?--how wet it has been, and how overcast. It was an unusually cool and rainy spring, which has made planting on schedule impossible. The almost-daily rains of April and May prevented western PA growers from plowing and planting, and many CSAs in our region have made the decision to delay as the spring crops are 4 - 6 weeks behind schedule this year. One of the Spring Fever Share customers said yesterday he heard that normally at this time of year in Pennsylvania, over 90% of corn crops are planted, but that this year, only about 5% of corn crops are in the ground. That said, we've made the decision to take a cue from other CSA groups in Pennsylvania and delay the start of the CSA for two weeks, until June 15th. That will enable us to start the season with a wider variety of top-quality produce, instead of giving out smaller, not-so-impressive shares on schedule. We intend to extend the CSA one week in the fall and also give each person the equivalent of one week's share (full $25, small $18) in webstore credit. Your pickup location and times will remain the same. This will delay the start of egg and chicken shares, too. Thank you for understanding, and for being flexible.
If you just can't get enough of us, and would like to see interesting photos throughout the year, become our fan on Facebook!
I'm sure some of you are unclear on the meaning of the term "blog". It is a rather fluid term that is a shortened version of "weblog." In my mind, it signifies a webpage that displays content of varying lengths in chronological order and invites readers to interact in the form of comments. Often, blog postings are categorized or tagged by topic so that users can navigate through related blog entries by the tags, such as "farming challenges" or "farmer's market." Blogs take many different forms from personal, public diaries to political commentary to blogs that are published by businesses themselves. This is the most popular form of content generation and information retrieval on the Internet today and the very website you are looking at right now, Small Farm Central, is a blog-style site. If you have heard of the term "Web 2.0", blogs are big part of the Web 2.0 movement.
Your farm should blog because it is an easy and time-effective way for you to get your story out to customers. Repeat customers come to you because of the relationship that they have with you and a blog is a perfect way for you to start and augment the real-world interaction that you have with the customer. Granted it does take some time, energy, and thought to produce effective blog posts that communicate the farm experience, but that post will easily be read 100s or 1000s of times over the life of your blog. That works out to be an extremely time-efficient way to build a consistent and faithful customer base. Customers that read your blog will be more understanding of blemishes or crop shortages because you can explain the exact cause of the problems. This becomes a story that they can take home with their produce and they will feel more connected to the farm and the food if they know some of the challenges that went into growing it.
The complaint I hear the most is that farmers don't have time to be writers as well as producers. Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo dedicates one afternoon every two weeks to writing six blog articles. He then releases one each Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. There are other techniques of course too: get a trusted intern to write an article each week, find a very enthusiastic and involved customer who will volunteer to write a blog article every once and a while, or just commit to posting a short update once each week. There is no right way to write or schedule your blog, but post on a regular schedule and write with passion because passion is infectious.
At this point, if you are considering a farm blog, start reading a few established farm blogs and get some general advice on how to write blogs. I have discussed some aspects of blogging at Small Farm Central in Farm blogging isn't always literature, but this is and What I learned during an interview with Steve Sando of Rancho Gordo. Blogging will be a topic that I come back to over the next few months because I believe it is the core of any modern farm web marketing strategy.
Some farm blogs to get you started:
- Eat Well Farm Blog : recently discussing problems with the Med Fly and how they are certifying their packing shed as Med Fly-free.
- Life of Farm Blog : this blog is sponsored by the Mahindra tractor company. Perhaps the writer got a free tractor for writing the blog?
- Tiny Farm Blog : wonderful photos and at least a post a day.
- Rancho Gordo Blog : this popular blog receives 300-500 unique visitors a day (which is impressive for a farm website) and even helped the author secure a book deal.
Read about the process of writing a blog and more:
- Blogging Your Way Into a Business
- Business Blog Case Study: Stonyfield Farm
- Blogging for your customers versus blogging for your business
- How to Write Great Blog Content : Great advice from the #1 blogger.
Spend the next few weeks reading farm blogs and exploring some of the resources listed above. Then when you think you know enough about blogging to start, you will probably want to go back to Hosting Options to get your blog online. Not coincidentally, the Small Farm Central software contains all the features you need to get your blog (and farm website) up and running within a few days. I know that not very many farms are taking blogging seriously as a marketing tool, but I have a strong feeling that every serious farm will have a blog in five years.