Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Farm Stands

I love our co-op :)  I love seeing it work -- seeing people network and learn from each other and benefit from just the simple concept of being part of a community.  How about you, are you loving this? 

Real quick, I wanted to share a link that Beth L. shared on the Facebook page the other day:

New Program Offers Farm Fresh Products Online

This seems like one that is worth keeping - I haven't even tried it out, but many of you can relate to wanting meat fresh from the farm instead of raised in industrial feed lots and tainted with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Finding pastured chickens, pigs and cows was part of the reason we formed this group, after all!  It looks like this "Farm Stand" service from Penns Corner may be one more way to make that possible.

Don't forget about Rosary Acres in Ligonier, also.  They offer tons of local items, all organic produce, teas, supplements, meats from regional farms, organic/licensed raw milk, everything in the Frankferd Farms catalog, etc., etc., and they deliver it all to your front door.  Awesome.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

2013 C.S.A. Oportunities

Picture of a CSA Share from Who Cooks For You Farm

Hi Everyone!

It's been a while since we've posted, but with April almost here and our recent trip to the Farm to Table Conference, it's time to think Spring.  And that means tons of farm-fresh produce, Farmers' Markets, CSA's and much more!

Last year, many of us participated in a CSA from Davis' Greenhouses in Cherry Tree.  Would anyone want to be in charge of contacting the farmer again to see if it's available and what the cost will be?  If you would like to be a point person for this, jump on in and let the rest of us know on Facebook!

At the Farm to Table conference last weekend, we met a young farmer and his wife who have a farm in New Bethlehem called Who Cooks For You Farm.  They do not have a drop point in Indiana, but as of right now, we are in discussion with Chris to see if we can work out a way to get the CSA here.  It may just work best for us all to take turns picking the boxes up at the farm.  Doing that, we would also get a discount on the price of our share.  Please check out the link to the CSA page to see if this is something you would like to participate in, and please join in the conversation on our Facebook page.  (As a reference, for those of you who participated in Davis's Greenhouses CSA last year, the "half share" is the same size as the "small share" from this farm; large share is the same size as a full share.)

Personally, I was very impressed with this farmer.  He was extremely knowledgeable and well-spoken, and said that they really like to stay connected to their customers.  In the past, they have organized happy hours for their customers to come "ask them hard questions" and they encourage people to come visit the farm.  They try to keep customers posted each week about what's coming in the boxes, along with recipes for using the produce.  They were recently certified as "naturally grown" or "organic" (I can't remember which term was the official certification, but they use organic techniques.)  You can read more about their philosophies and values here.  The shares are more expensive than Davis's, but for people who are concerned about avoiding chemicals and having a real connection to the farmer, this CSA might be something to consider.  But as I said before, this is my personal opinion!

Anyone who checks into Davis's or another CSA that is available to us (Penns Corner has a drop-off in Indiana also), please send the info and I will update this page.  Thanks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Produce Shopping Guide Dowload

This cut-out is handy to keep in the purse or wallet, or tape to your fridge for easy reference.  Personally, I started with baby steps in buying organic - for the past two months, I've bought strawberries, celery and apples only in organic.  As time goes on, we can try to incorporate more. 

If you have a smartphone, you can use the link to download a free app to carry with you wherever you go.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Vale Wood Farms Summer Jubilee

Roadside beauties!
This past Sunday, Vale Wood Farms (Loretto, PA, dairy) held its annual "Summer Jubilee," an event to host customers at the farm.  We got to take a hay ride around the property, "milk" a pretend cow, enjoy some music from a local band, and eat ice cream (of course).  I learned a few new things about the farm I wanted to share.  (We have Vale Wood listed on our "Local Farms" tab, where you can read a small blurb about their farming techniques.)

The Original Itle Homestead
In addition to growing their own crops for the cows to eat, Vale Wood does not administer any hormones such as rBGH/rBST (a genetically altered hormone created by Monsanto).  While the farm is not "organic," it is their preference NOT to spray the fields and crops.  According to our tour guide, they only do so if the "bug counts" are predicted to be high at a particular time.

Some of the pregnant cows on "break" from their milking duties.
 The cows are given access to pasture and are also given a daily ration of corn and greens (such as timothy hay and alfalfa).  (I am not sure if the corn comes from genetically modified seed.)

Dan talking to us about the calves (behind him) and some of the farm practices.
When the calves are born, they receive vaccinations.  They are kept in these stalls (above) for a short time and then gradually introduced into larger herd settings.

The "girls" waiting to be milked.
If a cow would ever need an antibiotic, their milk is discarded and NOT given to the customer.  The farmers here believe that one ought not withhold antibiotics if an animal is sick.

Vale Wood cows are Holsteins.  Each Holstein cow has a distinct marking/pattern on their body - it is like a fingerprint; no two are alike!

When the cows know it's time to be milked, they also know the order of who goes first!  They line up accordingly, and those first-in-line cows do not give up their spots.  I found that so interesting!

"Milking" the cow!
 The farm has been in operation since 1933.  It's still run by members of the Itle family, and the lady who gave us our hay ride tour had lots of stories of her childhood on the land!  

While I was waiting for my ice cream in the dairy store, I checked out the ingredients on some of the ice cream containers.  I was somewhat disappointed to see lots of additives and thickeners like guar gum and diglycerides, plus corn syrup.  I guess not all things can be perfect!  It sure does taste good, though.  For more information on the Vale Wood product line, click here.

 Also, a Vale Wood employee once told me that the eggs they offer come from a neighboring farm.

I still think that Vale Wood milk is the best I have tasted.  I love knowing that it comes from right here in western PA and that the family is intimately involved in the dairy practices.  They truly seem to care about their cows, and their customers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Home Delivery by Rosary Acres

If you're on our Facebook page, you know how geeked out we are about discovering that Rosary Acres, a natural & organic foods store in Ligonier, is starting a home delivery program.  I (Sara) met the owner, Rick Adams, at the Farm to Table conference in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago.  We are hoping to have him come speak to our group soon about a discount program they offer.  (Details to follow - join us on Facebook so you get them in a timely manner!)

If you would like to receive regular communications from Rosary Acres, you can email Rick and his wife Lisa at wholegraingrocer@gmail.com.  They will add you to their list and you'll get updates on what new products they have and what they're offering for home delivery.  Rosary Acres truly embodies the "buy fresh, buy local" philosophy - they offer tons of products from the region, and tons of natural & organic items. 

Our first delivery to the Indiana area is this coming Friday, April 13th. Today (Monday) is the last day to get orders in, but for future reference, your order must be a minimum of $75.00, plus there is a $5.00 delivery charge.  You can join up with buddies and make a group order if you can't reach the $75.00 - it just has to be delivered to one address only.

Below is an email I received from Rick last week.  (I may not post more of these in the future, so be sure to ask them to add you to the list if you want more updates!)

Thank You for your support and interest in receiving delivery of Fresh, Natural and Organic Foods and Produce from Rosary Acres. If you are familiar with Frankferd Farms everything in their catalog is available AND in addition we have created a short list of items available outside of the FFF catalog like grass fed beef, fresh fish, The Family Cow Raw Milk ETC. This list will continue to grow quickly we just wanted to simplify to begin.

When placing an order for delivery we ask that you email if possible so we have a record and no confusion on what is requested but we ALWAYS welcome your call for questions or to place your order over the phone. If you do not have a FFF paper catalog you can view at www.frankferd.com
Even things from our store are available for delivery even if you don't see them on the below list but you have been to our Store in Ligonier know we have it available!

Please let me know if you have any questions.

  1. Here is the delivery schedule for next week.And as we get multiple customers in a area we will micro out the route Tuesday-North
    Friday-East A few details...Minimum order is $75.00 and delivery is $5.00, We will need to have the North( Tuesday Route) orders in by Thursday afternoon and all other orders by Monday afternoon.
  2. We will need everyone's complete information( name, phone, address and email) you can pay upon delivery by check only, NOT CASH! or we can accept credit card via the phone prior to delivery.
  3. Please feel free to pass this info along to everyone you know and like us on facebook!

Rosary Acres Natural and Organic Foods now will provide delivery to home or office!
The following is a very small listing of what we have available for home delivery in addition to the Frankferd Farm Foods catalog.  We will be continuing to compose our list until we have most of our products listed.  We have a large gluten free and vegan section, in addition to all of your favorite organic food labels. So if you want something you don’t see, just ask!  We carry over 5,000 products in our retail store.   Every week we will list our fresh organic produce that is available.  If you would like to order in a particular type of produce or fish that is not listed, let us know and we will do our best to have it the following week for you. 

Grass Fed, Organic Beef (local)
-Ground Beef-$6.49 per #
-Roasts-Chuck, Round, Brisket, Arm & English, Rump, Sirloin-$6.49 per #
-Steaks-Del, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Rib, Strip- $16.00 per #
-Minute Steaks-$8.00 per #
-Taking orders for ¼, ½ and whole beef.
Pastured Organic Chicken (some local, some Coleman brand)
-Whole Roasters- $4.50 per pound
-Boneless/ skinless breasts- $9.99 per pound
-Thighs-$4.49 per #
Organic Pastured Lamb (local)
-leg, shoulder roasts, etc $17.00 per #
-Chops-$19.00 per #
-French Rack-$22.00 per #
-Shanks-$17.00 per #
Organic brown eggs (local)
-$3.50 per dozen
Wild-caught fresh fish (this will change week to week)
-Always a variety of Salmon(Sockeye, king, Coho) $14.99 per #
-second fish will vary ( Tuna, Cod, Orange Roughy, Scallops)
Nitrate free Bacon
-Applegate Sunday Bacon(antibiotic free) $5.60 each
-Applegate Org Turkey Bacon-$6.50 each
Nitrate free Hams
-Nitrate FREE, Spiral Cut hams( est size 7-9 lbs) $7.15 per pound
The Family Cow Organic Raw Milk (from Chambersburg PA)
-Raw Milk Gallon-$6.75
-Raw Milk Half Gallon-$4.00
-Raw Milk Cheese Available
Trickling Springs Cream (Chambersburg PA)
-$5.99 each
Family Cow Nitrate Free Beef Sticks (Organic Slim Jims!  Sweet, hot and pepper)
$1.26 each
Shiloh Farms Sprouted Spring Wheat flour-5#- $16.99 each
Shiloh Farms Sprouted Quinoa- 12oz-$13.33 each
Taste of the Wild grain free Dog and Cat food (all flavors and sizes)
Fresh Ground Organic Peanut butter (made in our store with organic peanuts, no salt no sugar) 8oz- $2.99 each, 16oz-$4.50 each
Old Linn Runn Fresh Roasted Coffee (direct trade, locally fresh roasted beans)
Dominican, Sumatra, Ethiopian, Guatemala, Brazilian and Rosary Acres Blend
6oz-$7.00 each 12oz-$12.00 each

All Organic (never Conventional) and Local in Season

Pink Lady/ $3.00 per pound
Cameo/ $2.00 per pound
Gala/ 3# bag/ $5.99 each
Fugi/ 3# bag/ $5.00 each

Strawberries-1# clam/ Driscoll/ $5.25 each
Blueberries-6 oz Clam/ $4.25

Fingerling-Ruby Crescent/1.5# Bag / $3.75 each
Yukon Gold- 5# Bag/ $6.99 each
Russet- 5# Bag/ $5.99 each

Asparagus-1#  package/ $5.45 per #
Bananas- Breaker ECO- $1.19 per pound
Broccoli-$4.49 Bunch
Cabbage- Green/ $1.15 per #
Carrots-Baby Peeled/ 1#/ $2.50 each
Carrots- #2 Bunny Luv-$2.99 each
Cauliflower head- $4.99 each
Celery Stalk- $3.00 each
Zucchini-$2.25 per #
Squash-Yellow Straight Neck-$3.99 per #
Tangerines-Honey -$2.50 per #
Oranges-$2.00 per #
Snow Peas-$5.99 per #
Limes-$2.99 per #
Lemons-$2.99 per #
Eggplant-$3.25 per #
Fresh White Garlic-$5.99 per #
Fresh Yellow Hawaiian GINGER-$5.99 per #
Kiwi-$2.99 per #
Cucumbers-$2.59 per #
Mushrooms- Bulk Crimini- $3.99 per #
Onions-Yellow- $1.25 per #
FRESH Fennel (whole w/Root)-$3.25 each

Rainbow Chard-1 bunch chopped and bagged- $3.99
Arugula Baby Leaf- ½ pound bagged- $4.99
Baby Spinach- 5oz clam-$3.99
Salad 50/50 Blend- 5oz clam-$3.99
Romaine Hearts 3ct Bag- $3.99
Kale- Red-1 bunch-Chopped and Bagged-$3.99

This list and prices are subject to change from week to week.

God Bless,

Rick Adams
724-516-3187 cell
724-238-4140 Store

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Whole Foods on a Budget

I just wanted to highlight a new blog I've added to the "Traditional Foods Blogs" list on the right side of the page.  The blog Whole Foods on a Budget is maintained by someone I know in the D.C. area.  She and I don't know each other very well personally, though we stood together with our friend Becca in her wedding a couple of Octobers ago!  If you check it out, you'll see that Christy has a food budget, a large family, and a desire to feed her family quality food.  She has taught herself over the years to use local co-ops, online vendors, and local farms in a very reasonable, cost-effective way.  I know I have a lot to learn, so it inspires me to see how one mom does it.   

Check it out when you get a chance!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Farm to Table Conference - Pittsburgh

This past weekend, the Farm to Table conference was held at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.  It was a great place to learn more about resources in our area. [EDIT 3/27/12: Here is a link to the program if you'd like to check out all the exhibitors, speakers, CSA's, etc.]

There were several speakers and demonstrations to choose from every couple of hours - one definitely could not have attended each one.  There was also a large room filled with exhibits from regional farms and vendors.  I was really glad I brought a big bag to carry all my info and purchases!
The exhibit room
The first table I visited was for Building New Hope, an organization that supports projects in Central America.  They had coffee for sale (which is roasted by our own Commonplace Coffeehouse!) and they pay the Nicaraguan farmers a rate that is better than fair-trade.  I was even more impressed when the rep told me they are volunteer-based.  I couldn't justify buying coffee since I just purchased some recently, but I bought a pretty woven bracelet made by a young Nicaraguan man trying to support himself.  You can purchase coffee from BNH by visiting one of these places listed on their site, or purchasing online.

Next I sampled probably the best honey I've ever tasted.
Honey from Bumbleberry Farms
Oh my word.  Maybe it's partly due to the fact that I'm off sugar right now, but I feel like I could drink this stuff.  It's local (Somerset, PA) and it's raw, which means it's therapeutic properties are still intact!  This honey is available in many places, including Whole Foods, but we could request it locally at our grocery stores if we wanted to see it on their shelves (I have a few business cards and will probably suggest this honey to Martin's - let me know if you want a card to take somewhere else).  The good news is, it's also available for purchase and home delivery through Rosary Acres (more on them in a minute)!  Kudos to Karen Mosholder for this fabulous taste of nature!  She also has a few specialty honeys you may want to check out on her Web site.

Of course, no foodie convention is complete without these guys:
I spoke with the girl in the blue shirt for a while, who was volunteering at the table because her health has dramatically improved by switching from pasteurized to raw milk.  In fact, she has an autoimmune disease that she's had since birth - I forget the name but it's the same one Michael Jackson had, where the skin pigment is damaged.  When she made the switch, her skin started healing!  She had no idea that would happen, but it made her a big believer in how much our bodies need good enzymes and bacteria in the gut.

I told her about my personal reasons for getting educated on nutrition (history of miscarriage), and she recommended a booklet to me, which I eagerly purchased.  In case anyone else would ever want to borrow it or get their own copy, the title is "Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts" and it's the "Healthy Baby Issue" (published by the Weston A Price Foundation).

And, while we're on the topic of nutrition and how it relates to healing and wellness, I'll tell you a little bit about the speakers I heard.  One was Janet McKee, a holistic health counselor who gave a cooking demonstration and talk.  I could have spent a long time listening to her!  Check out her Web site by clicking on her name - she has a long list of upcoming events and has tons of interesting info on the site.  One of the most remarkable things she discussed was her current partnership with a physician who beat terminal cancer by changing his diet.  They are working together to educate people and spread the word about the amazing healing power of food.

I also heard one of the owners of Weatherbury Farm give a presentation on grass-fed cows.  There was a lot of information given, which I won't get into in this post, but I am definitely in favor of making the switch!  The thing is, most grocery stores don't sell grass-fed beef - except certain Giant Eagle stores and Whole Foods stores.  You can purchase from Galaxy Farms (grain-finished) - see our Local Farm page - or Manchester Farms, or you can find a grass-fed beef farmer at Eat Wild or Local Harvest.  You can also purchase through Rosary Acres (I promise I'll get to them!).

Manchester Farms also sells grass-fed, whole, organic milk that is NON-homogenized (old-fashioned, cream-on-top milk!) and gently pasteurized.  You may find this milk at many locations around Pittsburgh - see their Web site.

All right - on to Rosary Acres.  I was really excited about them because they are now beginning HOME DELIVERY to anywhere in western PA!  They just finished building up the stock in their store in Ligonier, and just got their refrigerated truck.  Delivery will rotate throughout the region, so that means one area will get delivery about every two weeks (beginning after Easter).  No membership is required - you just call and place your order the week before your delivery day.  There IS a minimum order of $75.00, plus a $5.00 delivery fee, which isn't much when you consider your own cost of gas to get to all the markets in Pittsburgh.  And you can combine orders with a friend and just split the cost, if you can't reach $75.00.  Perhaps we can communicate on Facebook with one another if we are placing orders - that way, if people just need one or two items, they can piggyback on someone else's order.

If this delivery system works out well, it will bring together virtually all of the items this group has discussed - local honey (Bumbleberry Farms), grass-fed beef, local organic produce, raw milk (Your Family Cow), fresh wild-caught fish, herbs, teas & spices, and the entire catalog of Frankferd Farms, plus items from Friendship Farms.  I was ready to hug the man.  You can also shop in their store in Ligonier, located at 1869 Rte. 30 W.  The owners are Rick and Lisa Adams, and I met Rick at the conference - he's a very nice man and I am excited to do business with them.

I have about 35 handouts and catalogs sitting beside me, so I can't cover everything I saw there, but it was a great resource and I hope this information helps us here in Indiana to connect with the many healthy food options available to us!  Feel free to ask questions here or on the Facebook page... I am not sure if the comment form is even working here, so if you have problems, let me know.

I leave you with a couple of gratuitous Pittsburgh pictures.  I think we have a very lovely city :)