Our Blog: The Hoot
We are excited to start the Autumn/Winter CSA with a delicious and bountiful share. We got half the members we were hoping for, but several more folks have said they are waiting for the farmers market season to end, and then they will join. So note if you have any friends or family that are still interested in joining we still have more shares available and the price will be prorated!
Our walkin cooler is almost a ¼ full of carrots. They are delicious and so bright orange. This is our time of year for carrot eating! Roasted carrots, steamed carrots, carrots in everything, carrot soup, etc!
The pick up sites that we have for this and probably next share on the 17th are tentative. We are currently trying to organize pick up sites that will be able to keep the produce from freezing in the months of December and January. If you have any suggestions for your neighborhood pick up site, please shoot us an email.
Coffee: we don’t have our shipment yet, so you’ll be getting double with the next share.
Maple Syrup orders: I’m not sure if we’ll have them for next share or not. I have yet to hear back from David Yeany. I’ll keep you posted!
Pastured Pork: Those of you who put in an order for pork cuts. These will accompany your next share. We ask that you drop a cooler at the pick up site the day before the pick up, so we have somewhere to put it and keep it frozen.
Bacon: Those of you who purchased a Bacon Share this is the first of three deliveries. There will be a cooler at your pick up site, please take your bacon out of the cooler and leave the cooler. Thank you all for joining us for this cool season eating experience. All feedback is welcome. We hope that you enjoy.
Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang
Pick Up Site Address Confirmation:
•Highland Park - Bryant St. Market 5901 Bryant St. 15206
•Oakland - Legume 214 North Craig St. 15213
•Lawrenceville – 316 Main St. 15201
•North Side – 1228 Ingham St. 15212
•Regent Square - 525 East End Ave. 15221
•Sewickley – 804 Blackburn Rd. 15143
•Squirrel Hill – 6636 Dazell Place. 15217
- The Strip - Bar Marco 2216 Penn Ave. 15222
In your share this week:
Nuts and Bolts: Tomato Soup, Onions, Garlic, Butternut or Seminole Squash, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Salad Turnips, Scarlet Queen Salad Turnips, Spinach
Gusto: Tomato Soups, Carrots, Head Lettuce, Onions, Garlic, Butternut or Seminole Squash, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Italian Parsley, Poblano, Salad Turnips, Scarlet Queen Salad Turnips, Spinach
Recipe of the Week:
Last week’s water line got fixed by Thursday late afternoon. It was a busted frost free spigot in the greenhouse! While we had a guy with a backhoe here we decided to deal with the poor drainage we have off the north side of the greenhouse. So this meant digging a ditch along it’s side and putting in a pipe. We also found the waterline over by our new hoophouses and tied them into this existing line, and at the same time ran a gas and electric line to supply the juice for the heaters we will be installing later this coming November. Infrastructure! It’s amazing how much how many lines and drainage ditches we have dug to make this farm run smoothly. This was our first leek in 8 years, so now we know, first check any frost free spigots where it is wet.
Chris and I realized it was foolish for us not to offer a smaller share size for the. So we now have one available Autum/Winter CSA. If you have already purchased a gusto and would like to change to a Nuts and Bolts that is totally fine. We will either reimburse you, or we can keep these funds in a credit and push them forward to 2017 main season share. If any of you are in this boat and would like to change your share size please be in contact. To those of you who already wrote requesting this change. I will be in touch with you shortly.
This is our first winter that we will be working through the winter. We usually shut down and head south with the birds for a bit, but not this year. Krystal and Greg are a couple on our crew that got married this season. They will be joining us through the winter for a mellow three days a week shift and staying with us for next season. Jodoh will be staying to help us until the New Year, and then he is heading back to Pittsburgh to call the city home. We are bidding fairwell to Lauren and Garret this week they have been steadfast pillars to these parts for three seasons now. Garret has been a very safe and reliable driver for our CSA and wholesale deliveries and Lauren has been queen of packshed and greenhouse, doing quality control. We will miss these folks! I told Cedar who has known them more than half his life as family that they are moving soon, and he said “Your kidding me”. They have planned an extended trip to Alaska and then after this jaunt they will be starting up their own farm on Garret’s family farm in Slippery Rock! We wish them the best of luck and fortune, and thank them indefinitely for all of their hard work, sweat, patience, great even keel attitude, and loving care all these years.
We are currently beginning to move a lot of food into storage and we still have a lot in the ground. If you want to keep eating our food this late autumn into the beginning of winter we strongly encourage you to join our Autumn/Winter CSA. Also we will be attending the Bloomfield winter farmers market. This market will be happening the 2nd Saturday of every month from December – March. The dates of these markets are November 19th, December 10th, January 14th, February & March 11th. We will also be selling our vegetables to the East End Food Coop and several local restaurants for as long as we have them.
We are very grateful for you, our CSA Members. We think of you as a backbone of the farm. A source steady source of income and feedback. It is your dollars that support us in tight times. It feels so good to feed you and your families in return. Thank you for this opportunity. We hope that you all had enjoyed your share with us this season. As always we welcome your feedback, and look forward to growing food for you again next season.
Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros, Lauren, Garett, Krystal, Greg, and Jodoh
In Your Share:
Nuts and Bolts: Broccoli Raab or Gunsho, Carrots, Garlic, Leeks, Salad Turnips, and Winter Squash
Gusto: Broccoli, Broccoli Raab or Gunsho, Carrots, Garlic, Leeks, Kale, Italian Parsley, Onions, Salad Turnips, and Winter Squash
Recipe of the week:
There is never a dull moment farming! Yesterday evening...bad news...no water to wash all the carrots that the crew spent the whole day digging. So a quarter acre of carrots are sitting in lugs in the walkin cooler waiting to be cleaned...while we poke around trying to figure out where our water line is busted? Crazy!
So short and sweet. We love you and hope that you enjoy your share! We gotta bust the move to get our water back in line!
Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang!
In Your Share This Week:
Nuts and Bolts: Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Kale, Turnips, Winter Squash of Various Types!
Gusto: Broccoli, Carrots, Cabbage, Garlic,Kale, Parsley, Pea Shoots, Tomatillos, Turnips, and Winter Squash of Various Types
Like most everything we have our farm problems. Pests, disease, drought, and saturation are some of them. Although all of the above can be entirely devastating to a crop in the field, the elephant in the room is land limitations. When demand is high for vegetables it feels amazing to saturate that demand. This year we grew 15 acres of vegetables. This is the most we’ve grown and adding the additional acreage allowed us to grow lots of winter squash, successions of late tomatoes and peppers and more head lettuce throughout the season. Planting more of the vegetables we sell is like planting insurance if we happened to get hit by some of the farm problems listed above. Of those 15 acres, 4 of them are ours….We lease/trade the other 11 acres from our great neighbors. This setup has enabled us to develop a vegetable business and boy has it grown over the last few years! With the increasing demand we realized we are in a land pinch where we’d like to grow lots of different vegetables in great quantities for everyone but we simply don’t have the land base to do it. Bummer…
But wait! On Monday we put in an offer on a 133 acre farm with 60 tillable acres. Our offer was accepted yesterday! It was also Chris’ 39th birthday yesterday, so we celebrated big with a simple wholesome home cooked dinner and some Ice Cream Cake!
The farm is 1/2 mile from our current farm so we don’t have to move the entire farm…We will continue to use our 4 acres where our packshed and all of our hoophouses are located. I can’t tell you just how nice it is to not have to move everything we’ve built over the years. As of now, it all generates money and we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing with some exciting additions we’ve been aching to add to our vegetable repertoire: Sweet Corn! We know the variety to grow and it is the sweetest most delicious corn. Sweet Potatoes – we’ve grown these in the past More melons! More watermelons! More strawberries! Beans! Different kinds of fruit and vegetables…there are lots of options…
Most importantly, the ground to which we’re going to farm is a deep loam soil nestled along the Mahoning River. We grow on decent ground all around and we’ve built those soils up with our farming practices. But we’ve never grown on the kind of ground ya hear about where the onions were basketballs, every melon is perfect, the lettuce is like a shrub and still tender! Everyday is like living on a beach…. Ok I’m getting carried away, but the take home point is that we’ve just made the biggest evolutionary leap Who Cooks For You Farm has made in it’s 8 year history…Things are only going to get more exciting!
Please keep us in your thoughts that all goes smoothly with the appraisal, the closing is set for December 31st!
In your share this week:
Recipe of The Week:
Broccoli Rabe with Garlic This is a very simple recipe that I do with most cooking greens, you can leave out the hot pepper and it's still very yummy!
Enjoy your share! Have a great week!
Chris Aeros and the Who Gang
Autumn weather has finally come. So the morning harvests are a little chilly, but the afternoons are a sure delight.
We are getting ready for many things around here. Preparation for our Autumn/Winter CSA is underway. We now have all of our heirloom tomatoes pulled out of our hoophouses and have winter greens planted! This means that yinz can eat local farm fresh food almost year round. It’s a huge learning experience growing when it’s cold. Things can go very well or things can grow very bad and it depends on how intense the cold snaps are and how exciting we make the environment for pests.
We have asters in full bloom right now and the honey bees are loving it! The chicken pen is full of blooming asters! We have chickens to feed ourselves and our farm hands eggs. They give Cedar and Cyan a daily duty to feed and water, and collect eggs. Cyan is beginning to count eggs and Cedar is now picking up more than one egg in a hand.. GEEZ… How time flies.
If you wrote in saying you wanted a pork share, we need you to sign up online to reserve your share.
We harvested butternut squash on Monday, loaded them in a 40x48 bin and can now easily move them into storage with a new pallet jack. This has been a tool long wanted by farmer Chris. It’s his early birthday present. Being able to move huge amounts of vegetables with little to no effort is important and has instantly made us all very happy. We are taking all sorts of steps to preserve our abilities to continue doing this work….gingerly.
In Your Share This Week:
NUTS AND BOLTS Kale Leeks Flat Parsley Winter Squash Salad Turnips Sweet Peppers
GUSTO Cantaloupe Cherry Tomatoes Garlic Kohlrabi Kale Leeks Flat Parsley Winter Squash Salad Turnips Sweet Peppers
Recipe of the Week:
17 Tasty & Unique Stuffed Peppers The sweet peppers we grow are not your traditional bell stuffing peppers, but they can be stuffed all the same, but instead of standing on their bum they lie on their sides.
Happy Autumnal Equinox! Even though the days are getting shorter faster and faster, it has taken quite a while to see a difference in temperature. Finally we are seeing it drop from the 80’s to the 70’s. Cooler nights are also beginning to be more regular. This week we may see a night as low as 49º. At this rate it seems like we won’t have a frost until mid October. This will be interesting, and give us much greater ease in harvesting. Also keep some crops coming until the frost like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.
We are beginning to bring in some wonderful winter squash. You will be getting a taste of these in the coming weeks.
This week you should savor these tomatoes because they are on their way out. Maybe a week or two more if we are lucky. These saladettes that you are getting in your share have been a delight to our salads, and cracker sandwiches and also the best ornaments for our countertop. They keep so well and are so beautiful! We hope you have enjoyed them.
Salad Turnips are our toast to autumn! They are one of the most popular veggies that we grow. As summer turns to autumn this week, it is apropos to have the salad turnip be the one autumn staple in the share.
Louis C.K. says that “deer are rats with hooves … and that they don’t matter”, well we don’t really agree that they don’t matter, but the rats with hooves bit, is right on. At this time of year deer are our biggest, hungriest, and most prolific pest. Around here you can see herds up to 30, sometimes more foraging the fields in the night. As all the growth in the forest is drying up, our fields are still lush with yummy greens and fruits and they know where we are. So deer management at this time of year is always a struggle. We have impermanent electric fence around the two fields that we barter to work from our neighbors. We have to really be on top of baiting with peanut butter, and also not forget to turn it on.
This coming week 5 of our biggest pigs will go to be butchered by Dixon Meats, a 2nd generation butcher in Indiana county. This will be our second year working with them. It’s always very hard for Chris and I to do this part of raising animals. We were both vegetarian for a number of years, so the slaughtering part is somehow very difficult to get our head around. Especially since we don’t do it ourselves. Handing over a beautiful live creature and then getting back meat, is… well it is what it is… the process of life. We don’t have a facility to butcher in, so we can’t do it ourselves and sell it to others, so this is what it must be.
We still have some Pork CSA shares available, so if you are interested, please speak up. As it’s first come first share. To those of you that sent us a note saying you are interested, you’ve got it. I’m working on getting our website up and running to accept Pork and Autumn / Winter CSA. My deadline is for it to be complete by October 1st, but I should have it done before then. When it’s up and running, you; our current CSA members be the first to know.
Also check out some more details about the Harvest Party Pig Roast happening October 15th on the farm. This is a very affordable farm dinner. It is kid friendly and vegetarians and vegans will have plenty to choose from.
In your Share this week:
NUTS AND BOLTS ARUGULA CANTALOUPE EGGPLANT HOT PEPPERS SWEET PEPPERS TURNIPS SALADETTE TOMATOES
GUSTO ARUGULA CANTALOUPE CILANTRO EGGPLANT GARLIC HOT PEPPERS LEEKS SWEET PEPPERS TURNIPS SALADETTE TOMATOES WINTER SQUASH
Recipe of the Week:
I'm so sorry that I didn't get to writing a Newsletter last week. One of my oldest and closest friends was having a baby and I was attending the birth as an assistant. This was such an amazing experience! I have seen a lot of other species give birth but this was my first human birth. It's amazing that each and everyone of us are born from our mothers, and in a most natural way it is through pain. It was so special to support her and then rejoice in good health and new life. Absolutely amazing! This particular woman was with me at the birth of my first son and she too had a little boy! Oliver!
We hope that you all had a couple good watermelons. We are now on to Cantaloupe! Cantaloupe color determine ripeness. Watermelon is ripeness is determined different. BUT its always a gamble when you cut into it. We’ve had the bummer surprise of a dud melon, but the much more common experience is a delicious juicy melon. We did happen to open a watermelon the other day that sent a huge gush of yellow water with seeds all over our kitchen. This was a first! It was a huge amount of sugary sticky water basically everywhere. 25 minutes later it was cantaloupe time...
Our tomatoes are on their way out. This was one of our best tomatoes seasons ever! We are now in the prime of peppers. It's funny that we go from one nightshade to the next with the season peaks. The yellow and red corno type peppers (shapped like a horn) are some of the sweetest and best peppers we know. We love to eat them raw in the field, warm and sweet! They are also excellent cooked in a sauté.
If you have an abundance of peppers, it is really easy to prepare them for freezing. Cut them up however you like and freeze them in freezer bags. We have also known people to dehydrate them for paprika. They are not a Paprika pepper, but they still make a very nice sweet dried pepper powder. We are offering bulk red and yellow sweet peppers. They will be $1.50/lb. If you would like some please send us an email. A bushel is about 20lbs.
In Your Box this week:
Nuts and Bolts
Cantaloupe, Head Lettuce, Hot Peppers, Curly Parsely, Sweet Peppers, Red Slicer Tomatoes
Beets, Cantaloupe, Eggplant, Head Lettuce, Hot Peppers, Curly Parsely, Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash, Saladette Tomatoes, Red Slicer Tomatoes
Recipes of the week:
Cantaloupe Parsley Smoothie = 3 cups cantaloupe, 1 bunch parsley! This is a just a suggested ratio
Charred Pepper Pesto By Jamie Oliver
For this recipe I would just roast the peppers yourself, you can do this in a 425º oven for 20 or so minutes. The skins should be blistered and blackened in spots. If you like you can then skin the peppers by after taking them out of the oven placing them in a paper bag for another 20 min.
Well we sure hope that you like watermelon. They have seeds! Sometimes this makes people not like them. Well… if you don’t like them fresh, spit them out and save them to try roasting them. This was something I had in a movie theatre in China, roasted watermelon seeds! It’s quite nice. You roast them just like you would pumkin or squash. In a 350º oven on a baking sheet not greased, but with a little salt or any kind of spice you like sprinkled on them. It’s good to rinse them before you roast them, so they don’t burn as easy. Enjoy!
A couple folks have taken us up on ordering half bushels or bushels or several more lbs than you are receiving in your share of tomatoes. We’ll have these to offer for a couple more weeks. So if you want to give canning a whirl or would like to make a big batch of tomato soup to freeze just write us with an order request. Paste will be a week or two yet. But for now we have red slicers available at $1.00/lb.
Winter Squash! This is an exciting harvest for us this season. They are looking great! In this weeks share the Nuts and Bolts got Delicata and the Gusto got Speghetti. Both are delicious in their own way!
In Your Share this week:
Nuts and Bolts: Delicate Squash Garlic Heirloom Tomatoes Leeks Sweet Peppers Watermelon
Gusto: Garlic Heirloom Tomatoes Leeks Onions Parsley Speghetti Squash Saladette Tomatoes Summer Squash Sweet Peppers Watermelon
Receipe of the Week: Thanks to Aviva, a Squirrel Hill Pick up CSA member. Here are two recipes to enjoy!
We hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend!
The Who Gang
We are all running full steam and beyond at this point. All of our high schoolers have gone back to school during the week so we are a little understaffed. We thought this might be an issue and we were right. So if any of you know of anyone who has a touch of farming experience, as well as good physical stamina. We are hiring. So drop them a line to get in touch with us if they are interested. There are only a few months left of the season, and this gig may just be a month or so.
We began digging our potatoes this week, and it was a pitiful sight to be seen. They were tiny and few to a plant and minimal lbs per bed. For a half acre planting, this is a very big disappointment. Well that's what happens when your pump is busted during a drought!
Next seasons strawberries got transplanted last week. Last season we tried to keep our old plants going instead of planting new ones. Well, they just didn't taste as good, so we put new ones in the ground. So we can all look forward to better tasting strawberries next spring.
This week's Share: I didn't label this weeks share. It was to beautiful to muck up with words that you already know! Enjoy!
Nuts and Bolts: Garlic, Sweet Peppers, Leeks, 1 Hot Pepper, Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes, and a quart of Saladette Tomatoes.
Gusto: Chard, Delicata, Escarole, Garlic, Sweet Peppers, Leeks, 1 Hot Pepper, Onions, Pea Shoots, Zucchini, Heirloom Tomatoes, and a quart of Saladette Tomatoes.
Recipe of the Week:
Thanks to David from the Sq. Hill Pick up
The watermelons and melons are looking good. We’re growing red and yellow fleshed varieties of watermelon. It’s very possible watermelons will be ready and available for next weeks share. Don’t hold me to the wall on this one, but there is a good chance. If not this coming share, definitely the following share. If not the following share, then you can hold me up against the wall…
We are continuing to bring in record tomato harvests. Our cool room is loaded to the gills with heirlooms, saladette’s and cherry tomatoes. The farm crew is looking pretty buff these days and we’re debating whether to share our buffness with yinz in some artistic photography featuring tomatoes and biceps… The big harvests are not going to last too long though. Disease is spreading rapidly with this wet weather. We’re hoping for a couple more weeks of field heirloom tomatoes. Field red tomatoes are just starting and they’re looking very nice. Field Paste tomatoes will be ready in approximately 2 weeks so if you don’t want to use heirlooms for salsa, stewed tomatoes or sauce, we’ll have pastes which make delicious tomato products.
FYI We are ready to offer bulk heirloom and cherry tomatoes this coming share 8/25. Heirloom’s and Cherry’s will be $2/#.
Nuts and Bolts
Sadly no recipe this week. Maybe some of you can share some new ones with me. Thank you all so much. Have a great week.
The Who Gang