Tag Archives: organic

Seasonal Eats: Spring Edition

12 Mar

I’m trying a new series on the blog this year and I’m really excited about it!  Around Western PA, the snow is melting and the daffodils trying their hardest to force spring into existence. I thought it would be an appropriate time to roll out a seasonal recipe spotlight.  I hear the same thing from a lot of people: “I want to eat locally and seasonally.”  Seems simple, right?  Just hit up the local farmer’s market, grab some veggies, and done?  It is and it isn’t…

You might be interested to know that not all the veggies sold at your local farmer’s market are local.  Or seasonal actually!  While I’ve gotten plenty of resistance with this tactic, I don’t ever hesitate to ask my local farmer’s market vendor if they are re-selling produce or if it’s home-grown.  I’ve touched a few nerves over the years, but I don’t see anything wrong with expecting transparency from a grower.  I’m not a snob about it and it doesn’t stop me from purchasing out-of-season food (farmer’s have to make money during he slow seasons, too!), but I like to know as much as I can about the food I buy.  If you want to eat locally, make sure you ask if you’re eating locally.  Either way, you’re supporting a local food producer/grower/vendor – but educate yourself about what you’re buying and why.

If you’ve ever grown your own food, you know that some things don’t just spring up year round.  In Western PA, there is a very limited amount of seasonal product that’s available from March-April.  It’s still early spring and that means LOTS of greens, but it also means some staples like broccoli, carrots, beets, mushrooms, rutabagas, and turnips.  There are some things I usually pass over because they seem a little intimidating – like artichokes, kohlrabi, even endive is a mystery to me.  Well not this year.  This year I’m embracing all the things I’ve never embraced before.  That’s what 2015 is about, remember?  So this year, I’m not only embracing local, seasonal eating – I’m going to try as much of the produce that my region has to offer!

March-April in Western PA:

Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Beet Greens, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Broccoli Rape, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cardoons (not sure I’m this adventurous yet!), Carrots, Cauliflower, Chard, Chicory, Collards, Cress, Dandelion Greens, Endive, Fava Beans/Greens, Fennel, Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Onions, Parsnips, Pea Shoots, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Sunchokes, Tatsoi, Turnips

If you have been curious about how to work with any of the ingredients found in this list, shoot me a comment and I will make sure I find a great way for us to get comfortable with them.

Keep an eye out for the new series on Twitter and Instagram, I will be posting under the hashtag: #springeatsSFTS

Seasonal-Eats-Spring-Edition

CSA Season 2014

27 Apr

It’s CSA season once again!!!  I’ve tried a few different options over the years and I’m excited to try something new this year.  While thumbing through Edible Allegheny this month, I noticed their CSA guide and I think its an important resource to share with you guys.

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for community-supported agriculture.  You sign up to receive a weekly share of food grown locally by people in your very own community.  These growers plant crops based on how many shares they have committed to selling.

One of our early CSA shares from last year with Clarion River Organics.

One of our early CSA shares from last year with Clarion River Organics.

How does a CSA work?

Each week, the growers drop off shares at locations around the city.  Some offer the option to pick-up on site for a lower price.  Most times, you simply show up, sign off on your share, and take your loot home!

What are the benefits of a CSA?

There are so many benefits to joining a CSA.  You will be supporting a local grower, providing jobs and commerce within your region; you will be connected with your food and not be wondering what mystery chemicals and additives are in there;  you will have the chance to truly eat seasonally; your food is fresh (as in just picked and deliveries basically to your door); you lower your carbon footprint by depending less on the fossil-fuel driven industrial food system; you pay a fixed price throughout the season for produce; do I need to keep going or have you all ready skipped ahead to see where you can sign up??!!

As with anything else, the best way to chose a CSA is to shop around.  Figure out what you’re looking for and what your price point is.  Some CSAs offer more than just veggies and fruits.  You can add on options like eggs, cheeses, honey, mushrooms, flour, and herbs.  As urban CSAs become stronger and build a bigger customer base, they gain the ability to provide more options to consumers.  Call, write an email, ask a million questions!  I promise, growers love to talk about what they do.

Get to know your grower – you’ll be surprised how much more connected you feel to your region and to your food.  Every time you reach into our fridge a grab some fresh, locally harvested produce you will feel pride knowing that you are helping your region prosper.

Below you will find a list of CSAs which provide drop-off locations in Allegheny County.

Blackberry Meadows Organic Farm  724-226-3939

Butter Hill Farm  412-221-9275

Christoff’s Greenhouse  412-874-5900

Churchview Farm  412-496-5623

Clarion River Organics 412-589-9276

Dillner Family Farm  724-444-6594

One Woman Farm, CNG  412-913-7709

Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance  412-586-7577

 

Do you belong to a CSA?  If so, which one?  If not, what’s holding you back?

We’re official!!

30 Mar

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