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Our Blog: The Hoot

Posted 6/16/2016 9:34am by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

We had a brief down pour yesterday evening just around quiting time.  We could use a little more rain than this brief wetting, and we are getting a serious downpour again now as I write.  We feel very fortunate to have it.  We are hoping to not get any crazy hail this evening.  We have so much beautiful stuff in the field that could be severely damaged by hail and strong winds.  So keep your fingers crossed for your veggies this afternoon evening!

The sugar snap peas are very close!  But not quite ready.  The plants look beautiful and there are fruits and many more flowers for more fruits to come.  

We have begun planting in new ground, we call this field Balestrino.  Last season we found an add in the local horse trader magazine.   Someone was wanting someone to farm his land in Eddyville.  What?!  Who is that?  A neighbor to the back edge of our property!  So it was a match made in heaven.  Last summer we tilled the ground that had been hay fields for years, and put a cover crop on it.  Today we planted gobs of kale, as well flat leaf and curly parsley.    

We use solar electric fencing to deter deer from our fields. Sometimes it works great and other times there is that rebel deer that finds a weak point in the fence.  We are really hoping that they get a little bite in their nose as we bait it with peanut butter, to attract and deter them at the same time.    

Coming Soon: Sugar Snap Peas, Summer Squash, Beets, and Kohlrabi 

For Cheese Shareholders! This week we have the coolers we had been hoping for from Family Farm Creameries.  They are a greeny grey blue color and say Family Farm Creameries on them.  Please take only your piece and leave the cooler.  

Enjoy your share of the harvest! Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros and The Who Gang Lauren, Garett, Krystal, Greg, Joddo, Sarah, Bryan, Curtis, and Colton.      

Nuts and Bolts:   Broccoli Escarole Garlic Scapes Head Lettuce Kale Scallions    

Gusto:   Basil Broccoli Escarole Garlic Scapes Head Lettuce Kale Pea Shoots Scallions Spinach Scarlet Queen Salad Turnips

Recipe:  Escarole!  Some of you may be wondering what this vegetable is.  Well it is a member of the endive family; they are a bitter green.  Although Escarole is the mildest of them.  I have a favorite way to prepare this green.  Braised (this is my absolute favorite!)

Here's a link to a few other Escarole ideas.




Posted 6/9/2016 11:02pm by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,

This week has been eventful!  As usual on the farm tons of things happening!  On Monday the cement floor in our pack shed got poured!  Wow! It is incredibly smooth and beautiful and big!  This has been in the making for a month and a half now.  We had not intended for it to take us this long to do.  But things always take longer than expected right?

A couple of weeks ago we added a 1500 gallon cistern to our spring water catchment to increase our water supply.  Sometimes we feel like we were cutting it close with just a 1,000 gallons for our watering our greenhouses and wash water at the pack shed.  Now we are in 44good hands.  Well yesterday afternoon Garret told us after taking a walk he noticed it was unusually wet around the cisterns.  Yep the new one cracked in the corner!  So we drained it out and patched it up!  The overflow to these tanks, feeds our pond, which feeds our irrigation lines on our home farm.

Strawberries are full on now!  We hope you enjoy them.  I don't think they are as sweet as last year.  I'm not quite sure why?  This is their second and last season.  We will be buying new plugs this summer to plant out in early August. Gusto Shares are getting a peak at the future boxes, with a half pint taste of our Haskap berries, AKA Honey Berry. I like to call them Haskap, because I think honey berry is a little misleading.

Nuts and Bolts:

Gusto Share:


Recipes of the week:  

Just in case you don’t want to stir fry your Napa Cabbage, here are some suggestions. For the next week the low’s are in the 50’s so cooking and baking are still fair game.   

Roasted Napa Cabbage  

Heart – warming Chinese Cabbage and Potato Potage  

Napa Cabbage salad with buttermilk dressing  

Strawberries and Cream!  

I know you may be tempted to take the strawberries out of your box and gobble them up and eating everything but the leafy stem.  Here’s an idea!  Strawberries and whipped cream, this it totally worth the time.  This is a household favorite during strawberry harvest. It’s super easy, I can bet you and your kids will love it.  Cut off the stem and slice strawberry in half. With your a mixer; prep your bowl in the freezer for 10 min this helps the cream to whip faster and better.  In your frosted bowl, 1 cup cream, 2 Tbspn sugar, and a dash of vanialla. Whip until your cream looks like a mountain landscape!  All done!  Freshly cut strawberries with whipped cream on top.  Simple and Yummy!

Posted 6/2/2016 2:05pm by Chris and Aeros.
Hooray for a new season!  
I'm posting our newsletter here again as we have been having several last minute csa joiners.  We are almost done with the majority of the major renovations of our pack shed.  Although it's very difficult to find a time now when we won't need to use the pack shed for a day so the concrete can be poured, we're moving ahead and the plan is to pour the concrete floor this coming Monday!  Chris and I may shed tears when it's all done...
This winter we built two spanking new hoop houses.  They are very slick!  They have great ventilation, and awesome rolling doors that are big enough to allow our tractor inside the house.  These have tomatoes in them and we're starting to see some nice sized fruits.
Two of our three older houses have successions of cucumbers! It felt that they needed a brake from tomatoes to help us combat disease pressure.  We should have relatively early cucumbers.  If I wasn't a cucumber monsters I might not care too much.  But I am.  They look great too!  In one of our houses the tomatoes got frosted a bit.  Luckily, they aren't dead and they have bounced back tremendously!  Our crew did such a great job pruning out the frosted dead growth and reclipping up the new stronger leaders.
Coming Soon:
Strawberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Cucumbers, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Beets, 
Please Note:  
Boxes are labeled with the last name of the primary Shareholder.  Please be sure to grab the box with your name on it.  If there is a mistake and you don't grab your box, it creates a huge ripple effect and several people usually miss out on their share. 
When opening your share box, please do it slowly and with care!  You have four boxes to your name.  Please return them to the pick up site flattened and clean when you come for your share the following week. I think one of the best tricks is to bring a bag to the pick up site to transfer all the food into and leave your box there folded.  After the 4 boxes you are allocated, each new additional box costs $2.  
Cheese Share begins this week, and will be every week of the share from here on out.  Our coolers haven't arrived, so i hope you all like our eclectic coolers for the first share.  Please if you have a cheese share, please take one package of cheese out of the small lunch bag cooler at the pick up site.  The cooler has a Who Cooks For You Farm label on it.
Coffee Share begins next week.  
Maple Syrup share will be disbursed in the 3rd week of June.
If you have any questions about your share, please contact us via phone or email.
Your Farmers,
Chris, Aeros, Lauren, Garett, Krystal, Greg, Jodo, Sarah, Bryan, Colton, and Curtis.

Nuts and Bolts Share:

Gusto Share: There was a lot going on this morning with harvest, and packing I thought salad turnips were making it into the Gusto's, but we didn't have quite enough, so Scallions it is in their place.  Don't worry salad turnips will be coming.  It's good for the Gusto's to be a little jealous of the Nuts and Bolts for once.

Some Radical Radish Ideas

  • Stir-fry sliced radishes of any kind with with fresh peas shoots, garlic & ginger, or also do the same thing raw, for a spicy lively fresh treat.
  • Trim fresh from the garden, leaving about 2 inches of the stem to us as "handles."  Serve them with a tiny bowl of coarse sea salt mixed with chopped chives.  Dip and eat!
  • Add chopped radish greens to stir-fries ot omeletts.
  • Saute quartered radishes with orange zest and minced ginger root.
  • Use sliced radishes as "crackers" and top them with herbed cream cheese or goat cheese.
  • Add chopped radishes to potato salad for a peppery crunch.
  • Add thin-sliced radishes to a ham sandwich.
  • Roast em', they stay super juicy, but they are no longer spicy.

Have a great week!  Eat Well and Be Well!

Posted 2/1/2016 2:14am by Chris and Aeros.

Here's a little ditty that we have been singing this winter, inspired by Raffi's Oats And Beans And Barley!

Carrots, peas and parsley grow

Carrots peas and parsley grow

You and I and everyone know

How carrots, peas, and parsley grow


First the farmer plants the seed

Spreads manure and kills the weeds

stamps his feet and claps his hands

to turn around and view his land.


Posted 12/16/2015 10:58pm by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

Wow!  It seems like a northern California Winter Solstice this year!  Snow for Christmas?  Probably not. An Amish fella told me he doesn’t think we’re going to have a winter like we know this year.  Who knows what the New Year will bring!    

We want to thank you all for supporting us on our new venture into season extension for the CSA. This was our strongest autumn growing season yet.  We planted a lot more food and the weather was mild.  The diversity in the autumn share is seasonally predictable and shapes a different experience than the summer share.  Summer is a sort of eating frenzy with many vegetable options every week.  These late fall harvests aren’t as sleek and shiny as summer harvests.  For myself, though, my approach to this fall food is more tempered and thankful that we still have vegetables knowing that shortly we will soon have no more. Roots and greens taste so much better in the fall than summer.  There’s no debate here.  It’s a little embarrassing really and I think summer knows it’s too emotional and intense.  Summer is likely jealous that fall can provide the tender touch to bring the best in roots and greens.  Kale and Carrots are never this sweet in the summer time.  Radishes are not popular, but fall radishes have flavor other than fire.  They’re mild and sweeter like the turnips, beets and greens of all sorts in fall.  Is fall jealous that it can’t grow tomatoes and watermelon at all?  

We’ll be in touch about the CSA for 2016!  Signing up for CSA will be a little different b/c we’ll have a CSA Member program that will allow you to sign up entirely online.  

We’ll offer some winter notes on project progress and other to do’s. We’re erecting two new greenhouses. These will be heated structures that will enable us to get a good jump on the season offering fresh greens and roots to those interested.   

We hope you all have a nice time this winter.   

We’re always interested in sharing information so if anyone reads a good book or sees a good movie, please share it!  

Happy Holidays and Happy New year!  

This is our Vacation time!  So we’re off!   Y

our Farmers, Chris, Aeros & The Who Gang    

In your share: 3# beets, 2 heads cabbage, 3# carrots, 1 head escarole, garlic, 1 bunch kale, 3# potatoes, 2# radish, ½# spring mix, 3# scarlet turnips, The ferment this week is 1 pint kimchi ferment with our own ginger!  The ingredients are komatsuna, radish, carrot, garlic, ginger, onion, hot pepper and salt. Please keep this refrigerated and enjoy!  

Recipe Ideas:  

Mash’em up!  When I was traveling in Holland, I had a mixed vegetable mash that is delectable.  Potatoes, Turnips and Carrots work wonderfully here.  I know some people added sautéed cabbage to get their greens in. I like to spice it up a bit with hot sauce or roasted garlic, thyme, basil or rosemary.   

Caramelize’em! OOhhh!  Caramelized turnips with eggs in the morning is one of Chris’ go to’s! -or- sugary sweet caramelized carrots with rosemary for a dinner side or dessert with ice cream!  

The fall brings out the best in radishes. They are nice grated or sliced raw on a salad.  If you have never roasted radish or thrown them into a soup or a simmering roast, it’s worth a try.

Posted 12/1/2015 11:59am by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! It was surprising to find ourselves outside playing cornhole without coats.  It was in the mid-60’s and it felt good and creepy. There is a lot to be thankful for this year.  It was nice to have some intentional time to think about all of it surrounded by lots of family and good food.  

Harvest outside is just about finished for the season. We’re down to just 3 employees. Small repairs are in order and maintenance on machines.  This is a good time to get greasy with tractor repairs and adjustments. Plans for next season are surfacing and, so too, is the education season.  Farm conferences and intensives are common during winter when farmers have a little more cognitive bandwidth to absorb new information and buy neat shiny tractor stuff.  There are great conferences out there that are for farmers and consumers. PASA’s (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) conference in early February is a good one to check out.  Here is a link to their website

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Krystal, Greg, and Jodo

This week you’ll get a nice big box of produce and a pint of ferment.  The produce contents: 3 # beets, 1 head cabbage, 3 # carrots, 1 head escarole, garlic, 1 bunch kale, 3# potatoes, ½ # spring mix, and 1 ½ # scarlet queen turnips.  The ferment this week is a kimchi spin-off without ginger.  The ingredients are komatsuna, radish, carrot, garlic, onion, hot pepper and salt.  Please keep this refrigerated and enjoy!

Recipe of the Week:

Potato, Carrot, and Turnip Gratin This is a nice rich treat.  This gets anyone to think again about not liking turnips.  The turnips in your box this week are called scarlet queen, they are a fushia color and this color keeps when cooked, so they add a beautiful color to any dish.


Posted 11/18/2015 8:27am by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

We’re quickly coming into the holiday season! What a nice placement for celebration to lighten the heart as we move closer to dark chilly winter. We’ve received some seed catalogues and have made purchases for the following season.  Yes, we’ve begun dipping into next season at WCFY.  Although the growing season may have just about finished this year, we’ll be sifting our minds through the soil of next season.

We have moved a lot of produce from our farm this season.  In preparation to do this, and a little more next season we made small investments to accommodate the needs.  We’re currently figuring plans to create a facility for packing and processing our vegetables that is a little bigger.  We’re doing this for the following reasons:  to accommodate growth, to invest in efficiencies and to have a space in which we can work in the winter months. This is exciting because we forsee the need to make our systems tighter, more effective, our crew happier and taking our vegetable operation to the next professional level. The elephant in the room is in determining just how we can afford such an endeavor.  

Enjoy your share!

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Krystal, Greg, Jessica, and Joh-Doh

In your share this week:

Beets, Broccoli, Blemished Butternut Squash, Carrots, Garlic, Kale, Potatoes, Radish, Ferment, Mizuna, Spring Mix, Tatsoi, Turnips

Recipe of the week:  Happy Thanksgiving!  May you all have a wonderful feast.  I'm including several ideas to help you decide what deliciousness to cook up from your CSA share.  When we give thanks at our feast this Thanksgiving, we'll be thinking of you all and thanking you for your  continued support in our green thumb endeavors. 

The Best Butternut Squash Recipes To Make This Thanksgiving

Roasted Roots


Posted 11/5/2015 8:14am by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

Can you believe this week?  I think we can all agree that sometimes unseasonal weather clearly works to our advantage.  The ground is dry, the air is warm and the sun is shining. Although we’ve been working for this entire warm spell, it feels like we’ve been on a never ending picnic.  

Before I get too caught up in farm stories, I want to thank all of you for joining our first Autumn CSA.  We’re pretty excited to extend the CSA season beyond summer.  We like the idea of extending CSA into late Autumn because, in reality, it’s this style of eating and vegetables that would be common for us most of the year, assuming a local diet.  Roots, greens and winter squash and a little fermented vegetable, as well.   

On the farm, we’re currently putting up our roots for fall and winter.  We harvested a couple thousand pounds of carrots, lots of beets and big turnips. We’ll offer these to all of you when nighttime freezes become commonplace and not much is growing outside. Although we can store lots of these roots outside in the ground, we like to bring them in so we don’t have to work with our hands in super cold temperatures.  An added consideration when working with frozen temperatures is that all crops must thaw in the ground before they are harvested. Some crops like carrots can deal with freezes, but if you harvest a carrot while it’s frozen it will thaw into mush.  I know this will surprise some of you but sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. If not harvested when the weather is appropriate, the time will come when we want to fill CSA boxes with carrots, but the ground is frozen and it’s not going to thaw for a few days. We learned that one the hard way…  

We added Saueruben to your shares this week. For us, this is a household favorite making it’s way onto most of our meals as a condiment. This is a beautiful pink and red ferment made from shredded scarlet queen turnips and salt.  It’s tangy flavor adds a little kick to food and it’s loaded with probiotics.  We use it as a condiment in bowls of soup, on meat or eggs, on salad greens instead of dressing, tacos, pork chops…you name it!  I’m at the point that it’s difficult to eat eggs without it.  Also don't doubt your kids, ours love it.  Cyan, our 15 month old signs "more" and moans for it when he sees it.    Please refrigerate it!

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Jessica, Greg, Krystal, Lauren, Jodo and Brian

In your Autumn CSA Share:

3# Potatoes, 2 bunches of Beets, 3# Carrots, 6 or so heads of Garlic, 2# Broccoli, 3+ winter squash, .5lb salad mix, 1 bunch of kale, 1 bunch of swiss chard, pint of saueruben.        

Recipe of the week:

Carrot Soup by Alice Waters  It's titled like a book.  We eat this a lot in the winter, as carrots are one of our staples.  It's a Soup a doup soupa super souper soup!

Posted 10/29/2015 11:28am by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

This is the LAST SHARE!  We’re super grateful for your participation in our CSA! We hope you enjoyed the season and hope you’ll join us next year!  We always look to next year anticipating a better year.  We appreciate your suggestions in the survey to better accommodate your needs and interests.  We take them seriously.  

When I think of the reasons why Aeros and I decided to grow vegetables, many of them have shifted through the push and pull of business and passion.  When we started Who Cooks For You Farm in 2009, we had $7000, limited experience with farming and just about zero business experience.  This is a first generation vegetable farm, which means we didn’t have any infrastructure waiting for us.  We didn’t walk into the business of growing vegetables with tractors and clip-boards ready to crunch budgets and advertising strategies.  We were, instead, drenched in passion, ambition and energy turning soil, bunching radishes and planting tomatoes. It was this raw enthusiasm for farming that has pushed us through the successes and failures commonplace in vegetable farming.  Throughout the seasons, what has persisted is a love for growing food and figuring just how to do it!  This is tough with varying seasons.  Our love for the outdoors is richer than ever.  Our love for feeding families nutrient dense food and getting to know families over the years has greatly increased our appreciation of what we do here. Your needs contextualize this work. When you participate in our CSA, you’re a part of this farm.  It’s very satisfying to connect you with your surrounding foodshed, environment and rural culture. With your participation, our vegetable farm can continue to be a positive force in the Greater Pittsburgh Region feeding families, adding security to our food system and turning out new farmers to carry the torch in years to come.  

Thank You!  

Please sign up for our Autumn CSA!   It’s open to anyone who wants to join!  

We are accepting members for the 2016 Delivery or Market CSA anytime your ready to join. 

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros and The Who Gang

In Your Box This Week:

Small:  Beets, Braising Greens, Broccoli or Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Head Lettuce, and Potatoes

Large:  Beets, Braising Greens, Broccoli or Cabbage, Carrots, Cilantro, Garlic, Head Lettuce, Husk Cherries, Pea Shoots, Potatoes, Raddichio, and Winter Squash

Recipe of the Week:

Potato Latkes from Moosewood Restuarant Blog

I grew up eating Moosewood Cookbook food and I continue to be inspired from their wholesome recipes.  If you are unfamiliar with them, check them out.  They have lots of cookbooks and a fantastic website!  I've never been to the restaurant.  It's in Ithaca, NY.  I've been thinking we always go south for the winter, but one of these years, I'd like to go north.  This should be one of our pit stops, maybe one for you and your family too!



Posted 10/21/2015 11:53pm by Chris and Aeros.

Howdy Folks,  

Today is garlic planting day!  This is our first year with a snazzy tractor that has a creeper gear. This gear allows the tractor to go super slow, like 2-5 mph.  This should make garlic planting much easier and faster than it ever has for us. This way the folks sitting on the transplanter can keep up with the holes as they move down the bed.  Before we had this folks sitting on the transplanter couldn’t keep up with the tractor, so someone was always walking behind to fill in what whatever holes were missed.  It’s been a crazy day in the office/home, so I haven't gotten to talk with folks in the field to see how super smooth this year’s garlic planting is going. But I suspect they are telling jokes and talking politics whilst putting all those hundreds and hundreds of garlic cloves in the ground. This is the one crop that we plant in fall that will come up in spring.  It's one of our biggest crops.  We give it to CSA.  We bring it to all of our farmers markets in its several stages of development and we also supply the East End Food Coop as well as Legume.  It's yummy hot and nutritious. Just in case you have a pile of garlic sitting around.  I want to warn you that it won't last through the winter. We only grow hard neck, and they are not the storing type.  They only keep until about mid January before they start to sprout and dry out.  So if you want to save it. I recommend peeling the cloves and cutting them up either to dry or to store in olive oil or vinegar.  

Garett is back on tour, for the fall and winter, but he’ll be back in spring for another season with Who Cooks. We are lucky to have him. He’s our calm and cool of the crew. Next year he’ll be our longest employed of the who gang. Awe Family!  

We hope you enjoy your share!  

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan, Krystal, Greg, Lauren, Jessica, and Jodo.

In your share this week:

Small: Carrots, Swiss Chard, Head Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, and Spinach

Large: Braising Greens, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Garlic, Ground Cherries, Head Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radicchio, Radish, Spinach, and Turnips

Recipe of the week: Greens greens and more greens!  You can't eat a share like this and say you don't eat enough fiber.  That's for sure!  

Here is a link to some ideas that might suit your fancy.