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Our Blog: The Hoot

Posted 10/30/2014 11:24pm by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,

We hope that you have enjoyed the CSA season.  It was a beautiful and wild season this year.  With the lingering winter that gave the season a slow start and then a summer that was not too warm and a fall drier than ever, we made out pretty well. The strawberries and tomatoes were delicious.    We worked with no drastic crop failures, and pretty good vegetable yields all around, I'd say the hardest we were hit by this year was deer pressure and voles…  Ok. Maybe there were some modest crop losses. The early season broccoli and cabbages were eaten upon planting by voles.  1 hour after planting the vegetables were gone! The voles were living under the bio plastic we use in the fields and they were giddy when we slipped those fresh transplants in the ground.  So we lost a lot of early starts, but we fed a lot of voles and their families. Kharma is on our side!  

Our crew this year was our best yet. They were mature and got to it when we had to harvest, plant out and pack.  No complaining or dragging their feet…well almost none of it anyways.   AND this made for a relatively easy year.  Work was still work and we all felt tired but that was pretty much the extent of it.  We really appreciated everybody and their contributions.  They’ll all be missed as most of them are leaving this weekend to farm in the bahamas.  Actually, I don’t know where they are going.  But it would be cool to farm down there for the winter.  Thanks Crew!  

We want to apologize for not having a get together on the farm this year.  We thought the pig roast was a great idea, but that idea went with the fire of the slaughter house.  We thought a Halloween hoopla would have been fun, but arranging it became a little hard to plan last minute.  It’s always hard to get people out here for potlucks and the like.  We totally understand that everyone is just as busy as we are.  One reason we encourage people to try the market CSA is b/c we get to see you! We don’t like to miss out on meeting the people that support our farm.  We, also, have an open door policy so you all can come up to the farm and see what it’s all about when it’s convenient for you. It’s likely we’ll plan potlucks on the farm or in the city next season.  

In your box this week:

Small: Bok Choi or Senposai, Carrots, Watermelon Radish, Kohlrabi, Head Lettuce, Leeks or Onions, and Rutabaga  

Large: Bok Choi, Delicata Squash, Watermelon Radish, Carrots, Broccoli, Onions, Senposai or Kale, Fennel, Kohlrabi, Mustard Greens, Head Lettuce, and Rutabaga  

Recipe for the week:  

Kohlrabi< In our house it mostly gets eaten raw.  It gets peeled and then sliced and dashed with salt. I recently found an article that the Huffington Post that gives several ideas of what to do with Kohlrabi.  I hope that you all have enjoyed these Idea recipe postings.  They help me to be more imaginative with my cooking.  I hope that they are inspiring for you too!  

May you all have a beautiful fall, and don’t be a stranger.  If your craving Who Cooks For You Farm food, come and visit us at one of our three different markets in the Pittsburgh area.  We’ll be selling at the Markets until the week of Thanksgiving. And you get a 10% discount too! Please come to market and introduce yourself if we haven’t already met.  Here’s a link to the find more info about the exact locations of the markets.  

Saturday mornings from 9- 12. Monroeville Lions  

Sunday mornings from 9-1 Squirrel Hill  

Monday afternoons from 3- 7 East Liberty  

Also we’ll be selling a few things to the East End Food Coop in the next months, like pea shoots, salad turnips, and carrots. So if you still need your WCFYF food fix, you can find a little of our stuff there for a little while. Come late December into February we hibernate a little. Although we’ll give you all a shout out around the New Year to get you thinking about the upcoming season and a reminder to take advantage of our early bird special.   

Thanks for your support and healthy appetites!  

Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe and Jess  

Happy Halloween!    


Posted 10/23/2014 8:56am by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

Yesterday Chris went down to Pitt’s campus to talk to students at an event called Pitt Food Day.  The point of our presence was to address the lack of youth we witness at farmer’s markets.  It feels like a bit of an emergency to encourage youth to participate in our food culture.  To encourage students to come to markets, we’re offering students with a student ID 10% off of our produce.  It feels like the right thing to do.

We’re in the process of clearing out the fields entirely!  I have a tiny window of opportunity to get a cover crop on the remaining fields. We have to dig carrots, top watermelon radishes and cut kohlrabi.  Harvests like this are not so daunting in large part to the barrel root washer we purchased last year.  It makes washing this many vegetables relatively easy.  Aeros and I remember washing bulk vegetable harvests for many hours besides the harvest itself.  Now it takes about an hour to do comparable washes. Woah!  

The final CSA drop is next week.  

In this week’s box, you’ll find:

  Small:  Napa Cabbage or Kale, Purple or Orange Carrots, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Bagged Young Mustard Greens, Watermelon Radish and Bunched Radishes or Salad Turnips.

  Large: Napa Cabbage or Kale, Purple or Orange Carrots, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Bagged Young Mustard Greens, Watermelon Radish, Bunched Radishes or Salad Turnips, Bunched Beets, Broccoli or Swiss Chard, Delicata Squash, Garlic and a Head of Tatsoi.  

Mustard greens are usually not at the top of most grocery lists, yet they are delicious nutritious and seasonally appropriate. We’ve been eating them regularly wilted with just about anything.  If you decide to eat them raw, you’ll get the spice associated with mustard greens.  If they’re wilted, they are very mild with great flavor.    

Chris’ parents visited a couple weeks ago and, during lunch, brought out 2 bunches of radishes from the fridge.  They sliced them and sprinkled salt and olive oil on them.  Maybe this is a no-brainer and how everyone prepares radishes, but they were delicious!

Enjoy your share!

Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe, and Jessica


Posted 10/16/2014 1:28pm by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

In the past, we’ve had difficulties growing nice looking cauliflower.  We’ve been able to grow big happy cauliflower.  The problem we’ve had is keeping a nice big white vegetable like cauliflower white in the field.  It seems like when the getting is good little dark spots appear and ruin the beautiful white vegetable.  The nutrition is there.   The flavor is there. The dark spots are there, too. Instead of a vegetable we can offer our customers, we eat it or compost it.  It seems to me to be a bit finicky so we tried our hand at growing Romanesco. Romanesco proved that it is resistant to the cauliflower spots!  This was the goal and it was a good success.  When compared to a traditional cauliflower, its texture is described as being far more crunchy, it’s flavor is not as strong, being delicate and nutty (wikipedia).  

We finally had our first freeze last weekend.  It got mighty chilly, down to 28º.  So get excited for some very sweet greens to come!

In your box this week:

Small: Delicata Squash, Fennel, Head Lettuce, Potatoes, Radishes, Turnips, and Romanesco

Large: Nappa Cabbage, Delicata Squash, Fennel, Garlic, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Green Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Rosemary, Turnips, and Romanesco    

 Recipe of the Week:  

We get a lot of questions about Fennel. How do I prepare it? What should I do with it?  Here is a selection of 25 recipes that Martha Stewarts has collected.  To wet your pallet.  

I usually braise ours, or eat it raw in a salad, but I think I’m going to try to do a bake next.   Here is something I’ve had on my to do list and have yet to try.  Hopefully this happens this week.  We are always trying to figure new ways to eat vegetables for breakfast.  Maybe you are too!

Fennel Orange Muffins

1 medium seedless orange

2 eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups grated fennel

2 ¼ cups flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

Heat Oven to 350º. Oil muffin tin. Puree orange in blender, then combine with eggs, oil, sugar, vanille, and fennel in a bowl.  Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, then gently fold into wet ingredients.  Do not over mix.  Spoon into muffin cups; bake 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown, Makes 8 – 12 muffins.                                        

Posted 10/9/2014 8:19am by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

This is the point in the season I like to call the nitty gritty.  It’s the point at which the cold settles in and the vegetables just deal with it…and get beat up by it.  It’s the point at which we eat cold hardy vegetables lots of which end up roasted or in a soup pot. We start to see a limit in the diversity of the vegetables we harvest.  We really enjoy fall!  The season slows down for us.  It’s time to crank up the oven and prepare soups and pies and slow roasts…all the things hard to justify doing when it’s 80+ degrees. 

Fall to us is a very cozy time.  Yesterday we harvested for a couple hours. Then the farmhands washed the produce.  It was a beautiful morning.   There was a bit of sun and chill together and I felt a slow growing urge to go to the local apple orchard to get apple cider and drink it hot.  I didn’t think I could justify the time, but then I remembered I had to send out soil samples to get analyzed. The orchard is 10 minutes from the post office….yesssssss!!!  I bought a couple gallons and some apples.  I cruised home and warmed it up.  We all sat around holding our mugs sipping constantly until finished. I realize that I’m going to go overboard for a bit and beat this hot apple cider thing into the ground b/c I’m trying to justify some hot apple cider with every moment I should be drinking water or I have a chill or I’m going somewhere.  “Wouldn’t it be nice to walk with a warm cup of apple cider?”  It’s so easy to justify and it’s incredibly delicious.  The only shred of reality that restrains this desire is knowing with every large cup of cider, I consume a weeks worth of apples…in minutes!  

Some employees of the East End Food Co-op visited the farm a couple days ago.  All the visiting employees had never been to a vegetable farm so we had a lot to talk about.  We work with the co-op throughout the seasons where we offer them vegetables such as salad turnips, radishes, pea shoots, head lettuce (when we have an abundance), sweet peppers, tomatoes, etc.  The point is that we made a nice spicy vegetable soup for everyone make with all the random roots and greens and onions occupying the vegetable drawers.

I know everyone knows how to prepare winter squash. I’d like to share how we prepare the delicata.  We cut the squash in half and remove the seeds.  Put a little water and butter in a covered dish and bake at 350-400 degrees for about 1 hr and 20 minutes.  This way the skin is delicate and edible.  The seeds of all the winter squash are edible too and especially delicious. The fiber of most squash seeds are not quite as rough as the pumkin.  They are delicious dry roasted in the oven. Pull apart the seed from the inner webbing and spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt.  Place into a 350º preheated oven for 15 minutes and stir.  They might be done after 10 minutes, or need another 10.  They should be golden and crunchy!

In your box this week:  

Small: Carrots, Delicata Squash, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Green Peppers, and Potatoes  

Large: Bok Choi, Broccoli Raab or Kale, Carrots, Delicata Squash, Head Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Green Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes and Turnips  

Recipe of the week: Potato Leek Soup

I use the recipe from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters  (Makes 2 quarts: 4-6 servings)

Trim off the root and and the tough upper greens from: 2 pounds of leeks

Cut the trimmed leeks in half lengthwise and slice thin.  Rinse in a bowl of cold water.  Lift the leeks out of the water to drain.

Melt over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot:

3 tablespoons butter

Add the leeks along with:

2 thyme springs

1 bay leaf


Cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add: 1 pound yellow potatoes, peeled, halved or quartered, and sliced

Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes, then add:

6 cups of water

Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.  Cook until the vegetables are tender, but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.  When done stir in:

1/3 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream

Do not boil one the cream is added.  Check the seasoning and adjust to taste.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme before serving.


-Garnish with fresh-ground black pepper and some fresh chives. -For a heartier soup, use broth instead of water

-Remove the bay leaf and herb sprigs and puree the soup before stirring in the cream.

-Omit the cream, puree the soup before serving, and garnish with a pat of parsley butter.  


Your Farmers, Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe, and Jessica  

Posted 10/2/2014 8:35am by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

At this point in the season, we anticipate a pretty hard frost.  This is the threshold that, for the most part, stops the growth of summer loving plants. They can be full grown with fruit ready to pick, such as peppers or tomatoes, and that can be protected for picking with row cover.  Growth of these plants and the ripening of their fruit is basically done. What does this mean for us? Nothing much…. Maybe not a wise business decision, but I’ve quickly tired of trying to have tomatoes and peppers late in the season.  It’s very stressful to drag these summer loving plants into a cool fall just trying to keep them protected from frost or freezing.  Disease prevention is very important and requires lots of time. It seems like everything is out to get them this time of year.  Besides, there are lots of delicious nutritious vegetables that love to grow in the rapidly cooling fall.  In fact, lots of them taste better after a couple frosts.  Here’s the kicker growing cool thriving vegetables…very little stress and lots of nutrition.  Sounds like good business to me!  

If you have roots accumulating in your refrigerator, make vegetable soup!  You’d be surprised to find radishes and salad turnips are delicious in soup. They’re delicious roasted and if you sauté them through in their greens too.  

In your box this week:


Small:  beets, onions, radish, turnips, watermelon, and winter squash  

Large: beets, fennel, garlic, leeks, melon, onions, radish, spring mix, tatsoi, turnips, and winter squash

Recipes of the Week:


Stuffed Acorn Squash

Turnip Radish and Fennel Saute

Posted 9/25/2014 8:33am by Chris Frittenburg.

Hi Folks,  

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

The Pig Roast has been canceled.  The butcher shop where we scheduled to have the pigs processed burned to the ground this week.  We are not currently planning on rescheduling the event.  Instead, we are thinking of having a nice Halloween party and have it be a potluck like all our other CSA events have been in the past…games, costumes, etc!   We’ll give you all the details soon.  

All of our fields are in transition to fall. We have pulled up all the plastic mulch for summer crops and we have a lot of our cover crops in the ground. This week we pulled out a sprinkler to water the cover crops b/c we really wanted to get these cover crops to get growing.  Sometimes if feels like we are just feeding the field mice while we wait for rain. We have already seen patchy frost on the mowed grass and on the roof of the vehicles.   The trees in the valley are beginning to change colors and the goldenrod blooms have gone from gold to brown.  

There is a very nice element to this dry fall. All of our cleanup and final harvests have been comfortable.  Usually there’s lots of mud, which can be pretty difficult.  Just about all the irrigation is up! All the tomato stakes are our and stacked!  We have some pepper stakes and some specialty projects to finish.  We feel like we’re in pretty good shape, but sometimes its hard to tell.  

Right now walnuts are beginning to drop. When the walnut tree looses its leaves we know we have had a hard frost. This hasn’t happened yet, but it usually happens in one night.  We come out to work in the morning to a special sweet smell of these Black Walnut leaves decorating the base of a naked tree.  It’s a sudden and graceful fall that transitions the farm into autumn.

In your box this week.

Small: Butternut Squash, Head Lettuce, Onions, Bok Choy, Sweet Peppers, Potatoes, Watermelon  

Large: Beets, Broccoli, Butternut Squash, Head Lettuce, Onions, Bok Choy, Sweet Peppers, Potatoes, Scarlet Queen Turnips (also a salad turnip), Leeks, Watermelon


Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garret, Joe and Jessica


Posted 9/18/2014 1:27pm by Chris Frittenburg.

Hi Folks,  

I hope the watermelon you all received is as good as the one we ate the other day!   It was very red and very sweet!  We’ve never had  melons this late in the season before… I’ll tell you it adds a nice flare to the fall~ish CSA boxes. 

  We use tomatillos a lot of different ways. The obvious use is for salsa verde.  We slice them very thin and put them in salad.  They’re great, too, sautéed with greens or beans or both!  

We just resent the information about our upcoming pig roast just in case you can't find it in your inbox, like we couldn't.  Please RSVP for the pig roast by September 26th.   Given this is a home-grown sort of event, the more accurate the numbers of people coming the better we’ll be prepared.   

Thanks folks!  

In your box this week:

Small:  beets, onions, peppers, tomatillos, radish, watermelon, broccoli  

Large: beets, onions, peppers, tomatillos, radish, watermelon, broccoli, delicata squash, garlic, broccoli greens, pink turnips, carrots


Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros and the Who Gang: Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe and Jess



Posted 9/11/2014 12:14pm by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

I hope you all are taking a little time to enjoy the nice weather.  Please enjoy the last of the tomatoes!  We’ll likely have them for one more week.  We’ll have watermelon next week.  When I’m enjoying these melons in my mind I’ll bid farewell to summer. It’ll really feel like the end of it all.  This is the last crop we’re waiting to harvest before we return to spring like vegetables: broccoli, lettuces, cabbage, radishes, turnips, chard, kale, beets, winter squash and fall carrots.

At this time, we’re rolling up irrigation and planting cover crops.  We’re cleaning up…finally.  This season has been a little crazy.  I have to catch up on somethings…I have to mow the lawn bad.  The tool room has become a mish mashed collection of metal things. I love this time of year b/c I enjoy rooting through the remnants of summer.  I find items I misplaced and need.  We take out the garbage and recycling.  We start thinking of soup and begin fermenting vegetables big time. 

  There is a long wrinkly red pepper in your share this week that is hot.  It’s not a smooth pepper and should be handled carefully. 

Enjoy the winter squash!  Delicata squash is the sweetest squash I’ve eaten by far.  We like baking it in a covered dish with a little water and butter.  This way you can eat the skin.  If you add brown sugar to the squash, you’ll turn it into a snickers bar.   

In Your Box this week:  

Small: Delicata Squash, Hot Peppers, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Honeyellow or Cantaloupe, Saladette Tomatoes, Heirloom Tomatoes, Slicer Tomatoes, Arugula  

Large: : Delicata Squash, Hot Peppers, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Honeyellow or Cantaloupe, Saladette tomatoes, Heirloom tomatoes, Slicer tomatoes, Arugula, Cherry Tomatoes, Kale, Beets, Chard, Garlic, Radishes  

Recipe of the Week:

Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad


Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan and the Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe and Jessica


Posted 9/4/2014 12:04pm by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

The whistle of crickets in the night and katydids in the day is a sure sign of late summer.  Also the colors that fill the tree lines beside the fields are beginning to show signs of the colorful Autumn that is soon to come.   

Our days are still filled mostly with harvests, cleaning and packing!  The overlap of summer into fall plantings is the exact opposite from spring. In spring we always feel like there is a lag between the two with a few weeks of waiting before summer veggies come in.  Since the weather was cooler this August we were able to fill this gap a little bit with early fall plantings, that will soon be coming on.  In this last weekend and earlier in the week we planted out and our final fall crops. some Spinach, Arugula, Bok Choy, Cabbage and Tatsoi.  We have just a few more things that we’ll be direct seeding soon, but for the most part the plantings of the year are complete.  We’re getting closer to putting some of the fields to sleep for the winter with a nice cozy cover crop.  As we are now finding time to pull up plastic mulch from beds previously used in the season.  

I want to plant a seed in your mind to see if your schedule would allow for you to attend our first annual pig roast. Our tentative date is Sunday September 28th. We still have a lot of organizing to do in order for us to make this event as fun as we want it to be, but just so you know the plans are in the works.   

Next week you all will start getting Delicata Squash. It’s a delicious winter squash that we always look forward to each season. We’re really excited that it’s the best harvest we’ve had in a long while.  

In your share this week:  

Small Share:  Beets, Cilantro, Head Lettuce or Kale, Onions, Peppers, Cantaloupe or Honeyellow (a cross between Cantaloupe and a honeydew), Heirloom Tomatoes, Neato Tomatoes  

Large Share: Beets, Carrots, Celery, Cilantro, Head Lettuce, Kale, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Canteloupe or Honeyellow (a cross between Cantaloupe and a honeydew), Heirloom Tomatoes, Neato Tomatoes  

Recipe Idea of the week:  Roast it!  Bake it!  With the nights cool enough to use the oven it’s time to get roasting!  

Roasted Red Pepper Beet Soup  

6 Tips for Flawless Kale Chips + All-Dressed Kale Chips recipe  


Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan and The Who Gang: Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garett, Joe and Jessica

Posted 8/28/2014 10:52am by Chris Frittenburg.

Howdy Folks,  

It’s harvest mania right now!  We got sweet peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos! We got melons, cantaloupe and, in a little bit, watermelon!  At this time of year, harvests are longer and heavier.  They’re a little easier than early summer harvests. Although harvest days are longer and totes heavier, late summer harvests are easier on the mind. It works like this: every other day we harvest peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers etc.  When its time to get peppers we go get’em.  That’s it.  The quantities we harvest are determined by ripeness and not by demand. Although there are no breaks from number crunching, this time of the year offers, in the least, a short time where it’s just time to harvest…so get movin!  

This time of year offers a clear vision regarding fall harvests.  I like being able to look down the road and figure just what we’ll have for everyone come September and October.  It’s a bit unnerving when something isn’t doing well, but it’s very satisfying to see broccoli looking great when we had a terrible broccoli crop in spring (broccoli fed voles anyone?).  At this time of year, we anticipate harvests and availability of crops, but there are little hidden obstacles best preempted if possible that can change everything. Aphids!  Ever see 600 feet of salad turnips vanish? Once it cooled in July, I got nervous and started planting cool season vegetables.  I noticed the turnips looking sad and with further inspection there they were….millions of them.  Aphids!  The bed is not salvageable at that point.  We usually buy ladybugs to combat the aphids and we forgot to buy them.  Yesterday I released 18000 ladybugs into an infested area and the ladybugs immediately went to work.   Downy Mildew is another beast that dominates vegetable farms, particularly organic vegetable farms.  We can’t really control it so it’s a bit of a gamble.  Obviously, late blights on peppers, tomatoes is terrible and so too is powdery mildew on squash and melon plants.  Although always a bit of a disaster, it’s the same thing every year.  They arrive and vegetables die.  Guess what? They’re here!  

Fall harvests are looking pretty good right now. We’ll have lots of beets, carrots and winter squash for everyone.  Winter squash gathering begins today!  

In your box this week:

Large Share:  Carrots, Celery, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Melon, Red and Heirloom Tomatoes and Cherry Tomatoes  

Small Share: Carrots, Celery, Onions, Sweet Peppers, Melon, Red and Heirloom Tomatoes and Cherry Tomatoes, Cantaloupe, Summer Squash, Beets or Tomatillos, Garlic and Pea Shoots  

Recipe idea for the week! TACOS!  Hard shell taco, corn or wheat tortillas!  Whatever suits your fancy!  Then.... Melon for dessert!


Your Farmers,

Chris, Aeros, Cedar, Cyan, and The Who Gang; Ben, Elliot, Lauren, Garret, Joe, and Jessica