2013 Spring CSA Share Week #2, April 17th

Spring has most certainly sprung!

Warmer temperatures and a few sunny days here and there are moving things right along.  While all of our farmers are staying plenty busy it’s important for us all to remember that we are off to a slow start this year.  Bill Foulk at Clubhouse Gardens thinks that his green garlic will be ready in about 2 weeks.  That’s three weeks later than his first harvest last year.  David at Nu Way Farm called me two weeks ago in duress because, as he put it, “the ramps aren’t even peeking out of the ground yet!”.  Thankfully, that has changed since he called with that news but we are still a few weeks behind last year.  All things told, last year was wonky in its own way (hotter and drier).

Perhaps that’s the true lesson here; every year is its own special animal.  If we are committed to eating seasonally then we must be willing to embrace the unpredictable nature of weather.  Things grow when they have the right conditions to do so, and not a moment before.  While our spring shares might not have a ton of greens in them this week, future weeks’ will-  when the conditions are right. Thanks for supporting the Penn’s Corner Farms!

New Penn's Corner truck fleet!
New Penn’s Corner truck fleet!


Asparagus Route Pick Up Locations

Penn’s Corner Hamilton Ave Warehouse, Monroeville, Churchill, Green Tree, Dormont, Mt. Lebanon- Briarwood, Whitehall, Mt. Lebanon- Woodhaven, Mt. Lebanon- Eden’s Market, Bridgeville, Greenfield, Sq Hill- Forward Ave, Sq Hill- Bartlett, Point Breeze, Chatham University, Sq Hill- Fair Oaks, Shadyside, Friendship

Zucchini Pick Up Locations

Highland Park- Jackson, Highland Park- Union Project, Morningside, Fox Chapel, Lawrenceville, North Side- Children’s Museum, North Side, B Gourmet, Bellevue, Ross Twsp, North Park- RAW Training, Bradford Woods, Restaurant ECHO, Google, Oakland- Apple, Oakland- The Porch, Schenley Farms, Downtown- Gulf Tower, Highmark, PNC One, South Side, Steelers Training Center, Eat n Park Hospitality, Edgewood, Regent Square, East End Brewing, Oakdale, Indiana



Asparagus Share

~ 1/3# Boltonfeta cheese, Hidden Hills Dairy

~ 1# black beans, Clarion River Organics, OG

~ 3# white potatoes, Blue Goose Gardens, CNG

~ fresh chives or tarragon, Goose Creek Gardens, CNG

~ cornmeal, Clarion River Organics, OG

~ 1# cirmini mushrooms, Wild Purveyors

~ 3# Braeburn apples, Dawson’s Orchards

Zucchini Share

~ 1/3# Boltonfeta cheese, Hidden Hills Dairy

~ 1# black beans, Clarion River Organics, OG

~ 3# white potatoes, Blue Goose Gardens, CNG

~ fresh chives or tarragon, Goose Creek Gardens, CNG

~ cornmeal, Clarion River Organics, OG

~ 1# cirmini mushrooms, Wild Purveyors

~ 3# Braeburn apples, Dawson’s Orchards

OG- certified organic          CNG- certified naturally grown


Simon Huntley is the owner of Small Farm Central.  Penn’s Corner uses Small Farm’s  CSA member software  and they administer our website.  And… he’s a great cook!

Simon’s Signature Refried Beans


  • 1lb dry pinto beans (or black beans)
  • 1 large onion, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 3 stocks of celery (optional), roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp crushed cumin (for best flavor, crush whole cumin seeds in the mortar and pestle) or 1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped (could use your chives here!)
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Cover beans with cold water and soak 6 hours or more (or use your preferred bean soaking method).
  2. Strain the beans from the soaking water and add enough fresh, cold water to your pot to cover the beans with 1-2 inches of water.
  3. Bring the beans to a boil. While the beans are coming to a boil, roughly chop the onion, garlic, and celery and add to the bean water.
  4. Allow beans to boil for 5-10 minutes, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover.
  5. After about an hour and the beans have begun to soften, add one tablespoon of salt (or to taste).
  6. Turn off the heat once the beans are very soft (usually takes 1.5-2 hours on low simmer).
  7. Often I’ll eat some of the beans at this point and then refry the next day.
  8. To refry the beans, melt the butter in a large skillet and then transfer the cooked beans to the skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the beans to boil the cooking liquid away until it reaches a pretty thick consistency. While the beans are boiling, use a potato masher to mash some of the beans (but not all! I like my refried beans a little bit chunky). Near the end of the refrying, when the beans are thick, you will need to stir often to keep the beans from burning on the bottom.
  9. When thick consistency is reached, add the cumin or cilantro and taste for salt.

Eat beans on tortillas, in nachos, or in any mexican dish that uses refried beans!

It is my habit to make 2lbs of dry beans and freeze 1 or 2 quarts of the cooked beans before refrying. Then I can pull the frozen beans out in a week or two for another round of delicious beans!


Polenta Without Fear

Yield 4 servings

Time 25 minutes

For creamy, soft, mouth-filling polenta, stir in butter and Parmesan — the more the better. If you want something more flavorful but still a little austere, add herbs, like marjoram or thyme, along with a handful of parsley or basil, and a couple of tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil. For polenta firm enough to grill, broil or sauté, cook it until the creaminess is gone and it starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, then turn it out onto a plate or a board and let it cool until firm.

  • 1 cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • Salt
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to taste, optional

1. Bring milk to a boil with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and add a large pinch of salt. Adjust heat so liquid simmers. Add cornmeal in a steady stream, whisking as you do to prevent lumps. When it has all been added, let mixture return to a boil, then turn heat to low. Polenta should be just barely simmering.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally and being sure to scrape sides and bottom of pan, for 15 to 20 minutes, until mixture is creamy and cornmeal tastes cooked. If mixture becomes too thick, whisk in some water, about 1/2 cup at a time.
3. Taste and season polenta as necessary with salt and pepper. Take pan off stove, stir in the butter or oil and the cheese if you are using it, and serve, passing more cheese at the table if you like.

Source: The New York Times

To add to this simple and fantastic dish saute your mushrooms in olive oil (add a little white wine if you have it) along with salt and pepper.  You can simply spoon the mushrooms over the polenta and enjoy it or you can put the polenta in a baking dish and top it with the sauteed mushrooms and some of your favorite cheese and broil until golden and bubbly. 


Check out the Penn’s Corner  page for great recipe ideas!

Click here for some more potato recipe ideas from our radish pinterest page!  If you have favorite recipes online, please let us know so we can add them to our Pinterest page.   Contact csa@pennscorner.com with the links!


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