Monday, October 26, 2009

Scorzonera, our unusual root vegetable

Hello from Amy, the webmaster!

Today in the barn, several of us were marveling over the unusual root vegetable, scorzonera. There was a small amount grown, so that everyone can just get a little taste of it! We all wondered what it would taste like, how it would come out if we all prepared it differently, etc. So I said that I would put up a blog post devoted to this lovely, unusual root vegetable, and suggested that people could post comments talking about how their scorzonera came out.

To get us started, I found a few links about cooking scorzonera, and I should also add that you might know it better by its other name: salsify. Interestingly, it is a genus of the sunflower family. Here are some links:'s page on Scorzonera

Wikia, the Recipes wiki

Food Network salsify recipes

West Star Farm (WI) salsify recipes

Good luck, and please remember to post your results -- good or bad! -- in the comments!



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

CSA Update

There is definitely beginning to be a chill in the air! As we mentioned, the peppers and eggplants will not survive the first frost. So, when you come, pick those hot peppers!


We will no longer be getting deliveries of that delicious apple cider from Camphill Soltane. We will, however, be getting their apple butter! Beginning this Friday, Soltane's apple butter will be available in the store for $5.00


For those of you who let out a big sigh at the thought of no more apple cider- fear not! Ben Stoltzfus has just conveniently begun offering his cider. We will have some this Friday in the store!


Attached is Pleasant Pasture's Newsletter for the month of October. Please open it and check out the deals that Ben is offering – and get ready for some nutritionally sound potato chips- available the end of this month!

Don't forget to order your fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving. We have a signup sheet in the barn and in the store. All orders need to be placed by November 9th.


We will have more Wild Alaskan Salmon in stock beginning this Friday.


Jeremiah Eldredge has said that chickens will be available again in a few weeks.


On a more personal note, Sam and I will be leaving for a three week trip to Sicily this Saturday!

We can't wait to take in the sites, the food and wine, the culture and history. We may even stay at a farm or two!  Did I mention the food and wine?!

The farm is in great hands with all of the interns. If you should need to change your pick up day, please do so either through our website or by leaving a note on the sign in sheet. We will not be able to receive your emails regarding day changes. You may also call the farm at 610-458-8129 to change your day, or if you have any other issues. Dave Hubbard will be covering things for the farm.

We'll see you again in a few weeks- and the updates will resume then!



This week, we are offering a recipe for BROCCOLI PESTO- the basil may be done, but the broccoli is beautiful- and here is a different way to use it!


2 cups fresh broccoli florets

1/2 cup fresh parsley

3-4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted, if you have time)

1/4 cup shredded fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 Tbsp. part-skim ricotta cheese

2-4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters of the way full with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Add the broccoli and cook for 3 minutes or just until slightly tender, but still with a bit of snap.

Drain and immediately immerse the broccoli in ice cold water to retain the bright green color.

Drain again, and transfer the broccoli to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Add parsley, garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and ricotta cheese. Pulse 6-8 times, until the mixture forms a chunky paste. Do not puree!

Pulse again, drizzling in a few tablespoons of olive oil at a time. When the mixture reaches the desired consistency, stop and serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

*Note: You may not need to use all of the olive oil in this pesto recipe.

Makes about 2 cups of pesto.

See you around the farm!

Annmarie and Sam

Think Globally, Eat Locally
Maysie's Farm Conservation Center
15 St. Andrew's Lane Glenmoore, PA 19343

SAITA presents Shellbark Hollow Farm, Cheese Making workshop and tour

Our last workshop of the season was held Saturday, October 3rd at Pete Demchur's Shellbark Hollow Farmin East Goshen Township, where he raises Nubian goats and makes excellent cheeses. Managed with the help of his sister Donna Demchur Livitsky, who was involved with the Harvest Festival at Stargazer's Vineyard, their friend Maureen was helping Pete coordinate the day.

Pete has worked the farm for about 15 years, on just 3.6 acres, with another 2 acres across the street and a separate 1.5 plot and barn in the same block. With a total of 50 goats, 30 of them milkers, he doesn't need much land. He averages about 1 gallon of milk daily from each, yet suggests that most larger farms get 2-3 quarts from their goats. It's obvious that Pete's goats adore him. They're all happy, very vocal and as friendly as your pet Lab.  

Pete began the workshop with a little history about how he began cheesemaking. He spent five years perfecting his recipes before he sold one ounce. Rather than copy what other cheesemakers produced, Pete developed the signature tangy taste of his Sharp 2, his wonderful spreads and his creamy chevres for his own palate. Most of the time he doesn't even add salt. He depends on the quality of his milk to give him one of the best award winning products this side of the Atlantic. Even the French producers have commended him on his talents as a cheesemaker. Latest is a Tomme that he's perfecting. 

Because goat's milk has a smaller molecular structure than cow's milk, it is more easily digestible and more like human milk. The genetics of breed and quality of feed are important too. Pete mixes a custom grain, made up of flax and western alfalfa. His babies and bucks get local hay because they don't need much protein when young. The milkers get the special mix, up to 2 lbs per day. His milkers get as much food as they want; he keeps them fat and again- happy. Because goats are susceptible to the same diseases as cows, cleanliness is paramount.

He tries to breed early in the year during September, so a buck is put in with the 'girls' in June, in an effort to get babies before the fall. Separating them at birth reduces stress and disease on both the mother and baby, making future animal management easier as well. Pete has a monitor set up in the birthing room so that he can be ready when they are. His 3-4 mature bucks barely eat during rutting season and the dominant animal breeds the most. At between 3 and 5 days old, most bucks are sold at auction as either pets or for meat. Longevity for males is 7 years, for females it's a little longer at 9 to 10 years. 

Amazingly, goats will eat very brushy plants like poison ivy, thistle and multiflora. Azalea, rhododendron and hemlock are all poisonous to goats so be careful about which fields you put them in to graze. Pete suggests that if they have enough good food they won't go for the bad stuff. Goats have been used in the city of Los Angeles instead of landscape crews for cleaning steep hillsides. They're more environmentally sound than gas weed whackers, and they cost the city less! Read about it here.

Back to the cheese. Pete showed us how to pasteurize. Heat milk to 160 degrees, cool to 80 or 90 degrees, then add bacteria or your live culture. If you're doing a raw milk cheese, only heat to 80-90 degrees. For a sharp cheese, add enzymes before you add the rennet. There are different enzymes for different kinds of cheeses. Pete documents each batch to have a record of what went wrong, when anything rarely does. We sampled one cheese that had a pronounced moldy skin that was especially tasty. Mold is a naturally occurring  antibiotic.

There are several suppliers who will sell to small producers. New England Cheesemakers is one online store to buy your cultures, rennets and other supplies. Dairy Connection and Canada's Glengarry Cheesemakingoffer supplies for both home hobbyists and commercial producers. Pete buys untreated butter muslin for straining his milk from Rockland Industries and uses plastic baskets from garden nurseries as the containers.

The cheese room is where Pete does all his cutting and processing, packaging, weighing and adding herbs. He uses a commercial Hobart mixer to whip their delicious spreads; Hot and Sweet Chevre was the variety I brought home... and promptly consumed half. It had a little spiciness from hot peppers, superbly blended with a trace of sweetness.

For yogurt he suggests letting it sit for 12 hrs as opposed to the shorter 8hrs for cow's milk. First he heats to 140 degrees, using a homemade bread warmer hooked up to a thermometer.

For his cheesemaking, he bought a special PA approved graph temperature meter that new, costs about $4,000. His pasteurizer, a PK120 Goldelite normally runs $22k and is designed for making ice cream. He got his on EBay for $3800. Unfortunately my searches for a link came up with nothing, I expect they're no longer made.  

We ran into similar legal issues at Shellbark Hollow that we saw at Pleasant Pastures with the Amish farmers trying to market their raw milk. Pete complained that the graph temp meter isn't as accurate as other less expensive versions, but that by PA law, he's bound to use only that model. All cheese laws are written for cows and don't take into consideration goats.

Pete says that knowing your animals is key, he says- 'you can't make good cheese out of bad milk'. And he spends most of his time milking and working with the goats. Sister Donna helps to develop recipes, manages sales and packages and ships for the farm. Seven part-time helpers round out the team and help with a weekly farmers market. Pete has found them on craigslist, PASA and through word of mouth.

The seven interns/farm apprentices, one youngster and I had a great time at Shellbark Hollow and I'd like to thank Donna, Pete and Maureen for coordinating and offering so much of their time. This workshop went way beyond our normal end, but was well worth the couple of extra hours that Pete generously donated. 

Make sure you stop by or hit the Phoenixville Farmers Market to get some of his incredible cheese. And don't forget to say hi to the goats!

Look for SAITA's workshops to begin again next spring.

Best wishes for a restful and healthy winter!
Victoria Webb
SAITA Coordinator

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CSA Update

It's truly fall! The chestnuts are falling at a rapid rate. You will see them listed on the board as a Pick Your Own item. When you pick the chestnuts, you do need to take them home and roast them, boil them or freeze them for later use. If you leave them to sit out on your counters, you will become inundated with tiny little worms! Apparently there's a little wasp that lays eggs in the chestnut flowers in July and the nuts and prickly husk form around the eggs. In late September, the husks open and the nuts fall to the ground. If they sit there for an extended time, the eggs inside hatch and little white worms emerge to carry on the wasps' life cycle. Quite the science lesson, but not really what you want to witness on your kitchen counter!

If you choose to roast the chestnuts, simple take a sharp knife and cut an "X" in the flat side for the shell (to prevent them from exploding), then put them in the oven. You can also boil them in salted water for about 20 minutes. Then, you will need to peel them! A bit time consuming, but well worth the effort!! Search the internet at for chestnut recipes.


A classic recipe is chestnut stuffing for Thanksgiving. Yes, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Ben is now offering his delicious pastured turkeys. Turkeys less than 15 pounds cost $3.80 per pound. Any turkey over 15 pounds costs $3.65 per pound. Turkeys will be delivered FRESH either Friday 11/20/09 or Monday 11/23/09. He will also have frozen turkeys in time for the Christmas season (but more about that later!). There will be a sign up sheet in the barn- please write your name, the weights you would prefer and the pick up day. You need to order the turkeys by November 9th.



Sunday October 4th, 6 pm Maysie's Farm Harvest Full Moon Pot Luck Dinner. This is our last get together of the season. Sunday is slated to be a beautiful day- join us for the potluck and bonfire under the full moon! Hope to see you there!


Welcome to our two new interns- Meghan Morris and Nate Ela. We're looking forward to having them here- please stop by to meet them when you pick up your food!




Celery Root (or celeriac) is an edible root vegetable in the celery family. It may not look pretty, but is delicious when roasted, braised, put in soups or mashed. It can also be sliced very thinly and eaten raw.

Celery root needs to be peeled before cooking. The leaves are not very edible, as the plant puts most of its energy into producing the root. Celery root can be used in any recipe that calls for celery.

Below is a recipe for a celery root salad with apples and walnuts:

Celery Root and Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts
serves 4 to 6

2 medium celery roots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 medium red delicious apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress leaves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper
1 cup walnut halves, toasted

Combine the celery root and apple in a bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss with the green onion and watercress. Whisk the vinegar, mustard seed, mustard, honey and oil until well combined. Toss with the celery root mixture. Taste for salt and pepper and garnish with walnuts.




See you around the farm!

Annmarie and Sam


Think Globally, Eat Locally
Maysie's Farm Conservation Center
15 St. Andrew's Lane Glenmoore, PA 19343