Winter Share #6- February 28th

The Ice is Thin

As many of you know, several of the Penn’s Corner growers are Amish.  Most of our Amish farmers (and Amish farmers everywhere) rely on ice houses to cool their products throughout the year.  Generally, great pains are taken during the winter to cut and move ice into the ice houses but this year has been very different.  At the Penn’s Corner annual grower’s meeting last week, Ben Byler from Sunny Meadow Farm told us that he still hasn’t been able to harvest any ice for his ice house yet this year.  It’s standing empty at this point.  As a last resort he will probably have to buy ice which will increase his overhead for the year.  But his isn’t the only farm trying to tackle this situation.  Clarion River Organics was kind enough to share their ice story with us…

Harvesting Ice in a Warm Winter

Because the growers of Clarion River Organics do not have electricity on their farms, they rely on ice to cool their produce throughout the summer. They usually cut the ice from their ponds during the coldest part of winter when temperatures are in the teens and below for days on end. That yields six inch thick blocks which will last all through the summer and into the next winter. Unfortunately this winter was so warm that thick ice never formed on the ponds. Finally the farmers broke down and after a cold couple days in February they went out in boats to collect the thin layer of ice that was their last hope. Using garden rakes they broke the ice into pieces and pushed it towards the end of the pond by the ice house.

There a motorized conveyor carried the ice into a small hole cut out of the wall of the ice house.
As you can see, the ice this year was only about a half inch thick.

By the end of the day they had filled the 16 foot by 16 foot room 8 feet high with ice.

The ice in that room will keep any produce stored in the adjacent room at 35-40 degrees even in the hottest months of summer.

The farmers cleared this entire acre-plus pond of ice in one day. This should be enough to get them well into the fall of this year, and hopefully next winter will be a better ice making season.




~bak choi and tatsoi, Crighton’s Farm

~1/2# chevre, River View Dairy

~ wheat berry bread, Clarion River Organics, OG

~2 dozen free range eggs, Clarion River Organics or Nu Way Farm

~1# crimini mushrooms, Wild Purveyors

~2# popcorn, Andrew Troyer’s Farm

~ 1/2# gallon apple cider, Kistaco Farm

~ 1/2 pint maple syrup, Weeping Willow Farm

OG- Certified Organic                                         CNG- Certified Natural Grown


  • 3-5 Tbsp coconut, canola, peanut or grape seed oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels (makes a LARGE bowl)
  • 1 large soup pan with tight fitting lid
  • 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
  • Salt (and pepper if you like) to taste

1 Heat the oil in your pan on medium high heat.

2 Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

3 When the kernels pop, add the rest of the kernels. Cover.  Ever 30 seconds or so lift pan from stovetop and shake it.

4 Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. You can keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper) if you like. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl. Nearly all kernels should be popped and none burned!

5 Melt butter and toss popcorn with butter, salt, pepper and whatever else you like.

Other ideas:

If you add salt to the oil in the pan before popping, when the popcorn pops, the salt will be well distributed throughout the popcorn.

Other toppings for popcorn include Spanish smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne powder, chili pepper, curry powder, cumin, Old Bay seasoning, and grated Parmesan cheese.


Braised Baby Bok Choy

Several baby bak choi

1/2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes, optional

1/2 c. vegetable or chicken stock

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 Tsp. soy sauce

Split baby bak choi in half. Clean thoroughly under running water or soak in a bowl of cold water.  Melt butter in large skillet.  Add oil and pepper flakes (if using).  Stir in stock, syrup and soy sauce.  Taste and adjust to taste as needed.  Place bak choi cut side down in pan and cover.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes.  Turn over bak choi, cover again, and cook an additional 3 – 4 minutes.  Cook until desired tenderness is reached.


Onion and Mushroom Frittata

Adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 pound wild, crimini or white button mushrooms, wiped, clean, stems trimmed, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a 10 inch nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle. Swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the mushrooms and saute until they turn golden brown and the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add pepper (and salt if you want) to taste.

3. Preheat the broiler. Use a fork to lightly beat the eggs, cheese and parsley/basil in a medium bowl. Add the egg mixture to the pan and stir gently with a fork to incorporate into the vegetables. Cook over medium-low heat, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the frittata as it sets. Continue cooking until the frittata is set, except for the top, about 8 minutes.

4. Place the pan directly under the broiler and cook just until the top is golden brown and set, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let the frittata burn.

5. Invert the frittata onto a large platter. Cut it into wedges and serve. The frittata may also be cooled to room temperature and then cut and served.




  1. be careful if you want to make spicy popcorn! I once added cayenne pepper with the kernels and I ended up making a pepper spray when I opened the lid and I had a coughing fit!!

    that aside, I love stovetop popcorn and homemade kettle corn is so easy, too– 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup kernels and pop, then sprinkle w salt!! mmmmm.

  2. Last week NYT Recipes for health did a bibimbap series, and I used the ingredients from the CSA for one tonight. I still had daikon from last time, and a bibimbap with onion, radishes, tatsoi/bak choi, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and suggested sauces with a giant golden fried egg on top came together beautifully. There’s some great inspiration.

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