It’s blueberry time!  Blueberry picking is one of my favorite u-pick crops.  It’s not as easy to fill a pail like apples or peaches, but it’s so rewarding.

We really like Wintergreen Tree Farm for blueberries.  Here’s a photo of one of the rows that we picked in yesterday.  The bushes are tall enough that you aren’t even in full sun.


Since Nick is enjoying camp this week, Sally and I headed out to the farm.  I wasn’t sure how it would be to have a toddler to entertain while I picked.  She did great.  It took her about 2 seconds to pick and eat a blueberry.  I love the guilty look on her face.  There’s a reason she’s in a purple shirt.


The bushes were loaded with blueberries.  Picking was especially good yesterday.  It was even better if you took time to walk to the back of the row and pick.  It’s hard to walk by ripe berries, but it’s usually worth waiting for the superb picking.  I generally will walk to the end of the row and then work my way back to the front.  I start out meticulously picking and then as the little ones get tired, I do some picking, walking, picking, walking routine until we get back to the parking area.


Even though Sally can definitely walk, we took the stroller.  I had planned to use it for gear and berries, but she actually sat in it off and on.  It worked out just fine.  Last year, the kids and I fell in love with Julie.  She’s moved on from working at this farm and Hannah has taken over.  She was nice enough to let me take a photo of her.  She’s worked chestnuts and Christmas Trees here before, so she’s not new to the farm.


This is a photo of the little shed where you start and end picking.  There’s a port-a-jon and two picnic tables.  They also sell cold drinks at the shed.  I ended up picking just over 7 pounds of berries.  $11.50 was our total.


I put the berries into these containers, delivered one to a friend, one to the fridge and the rest to our freezer.  Some people lay berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze first, but as long as the berries are dry, I just freeze them in the containers.  If I start running out of containers, I’ll sometimes pour them into resealable plastic bags once they are frozen.  That way, they don’t get squashed.


The photo on the right is to show the great color on the berries.  We’re hoping to go picking a few more times this season.  I haven’t decided if we’ll try any other farms this year.


Today, we had pick up number 6 for our Geauga Family Farms CSA.  The Whole Food pick up has been different this year.  There’s not one person from Whole Foods manning the pick up.  It’s more of a self serve in the back room and stop at the desk to check off your name.  It’s fine in the back room, the kids and I miss seeing Andrew.

Here’s what we received this week:


cherry tomatoes, blueberries


tomato, squash (yellow squash and zucchini)


cucumber, onion


lettuce, cauliflower


green beans, basil


Stephen and Nick will probably eat all of the cherry tomatoes tomorrow.  I’m glad that’s one item that I never have to worry about.  We are also going to get some out of our garden this year.  We’re psyched about that.  The blueberries made me smile.  I picked 7 pounds of blueberries today, so this container doesn’t seem like much to me.  I froze most of what I picked already.  These will be used on cereal at breakfast or snacks tomorrow.  Nick is in camp this week and has to pack a snack and lunch.  I’ve been trying to give him as many good local items as possible.

I’m going to try squash chips with the squash this week.  I’ve read a few recipes on line and will create my own version of them.  I hope that I can get enough moisture out of them to make them crunchy.  The tomato and lettuce will go in salads.  The cucumber will be chopped up for snacks.

We have quite a bit of onion at the moment.  I’ll try to make fajitas this week.  We still have pepper strips frozen that need used up anyway.  I’m in the mood for homemade whole wheat tortillas so that will work out well.

We’ll have the cauliflower as a side dish one day this week.  We had the beans with dinner tonight.  They were absolutely delicious and there’s just enough left to put a few in Stephen’s lunch tomorrow.

The basil looks a bit tired, but I’m sure it will be tasty. I’m going to make a vinaigrette dressing with it.

I haven’t really tried many actual recipes lately.  I’m planning to carve out some more time for cooking in the next couple of weeks.  I feel like I’m still adjusting from being away on vacation.  I’m already looking forward to next week’s share.


While we were traveling, we stopped at a travel plaza in Allentown PA.  They had a Farmer’s Market which is always exciting for me.  The kids get excited too.  I knew there wasn’t much chance of purchasing anything, but we took a look anyway.


Here’s an overview photo.  Turns out this market was put on by one group, Haas Produce.  It’s unclear if they are growers or not.  My guess is that they grow some items and source the rest.


Nick’s learning that his role is to practice naming all of the fruits and vegetable he sees.


Sally helps too.  She’s starting to try and name items before Nick.  Sadly, this market consisted of locally grown as well as items acquired from elsewhere (other states).  All of the products were labeled.  So, if you wanted to truly buy locally grown you could.  We did get stumped on the “fresh” designation that didn’t state where it was from.  After we checked out the produce, Stephen helped the kids stretch.


And then we let them race up and down the sidewalk.  Sitting in the car all day doesn’t use up much energy.


I’m always glad to stop at a new market.  I was also glad that they wasn’t anything that I wanted to buy since I didn’t have any room in the cooler for produce.


A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see the new Fresh Fork CSA office and warehouse space.  Since I used to have my own warehouse, I always enjoy checking them out.

I rang the bell.  Fresh Fork occupies a small part of the office space near ISP.  Here’s a photo of Robert on the phone.  I think he spends most of his day answering the phones, especially at the beginning of the season.


Unlike the old space, there are plenty of docks to share with other tenants.  On the right, a freezer full of chickens.  These were the chickens that we received in our bag the first week.


I also visited the cooler where I saw all of this delicious Snowville Creamery milk.


Since deliveries hadn’t started yet, there wasn’t too much in the warehouse, but it was still fun to look around.  Someday, I’ll visit when the trucks are in action.  But for now, I’ll just keep enjoying my bag each week.

 Posted by at 8:10 PM

Between my sister’s house and the beach house, we stopped to visit my in-laws for a couple of nights.  They live in Dover, DE, so they don’t get to see the kids very often.

Grandma got out some magnetic marbles for Nick and Sally to play with.


In preparation for a week at the beach, Grandma bought the kids each a set of sand toys.  They worked well with water in this test run.



There was also time for reading and snuggling.


And there was time for bubbles and play dough.


Here’s a photo of the kids with Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Derek and his friend Danny.


Here’s one of happy grandparents and grandkids!


Here’s Danny and Derek and one of them with the kids.


We had a nice visit and headed to the beach from here.

 Posted by at 9:19 PM

Last week, I was still on vacation for week 4, so I didn’t do a pick up.  My friend Kelly was nice enough to send me a few photos.  I was jealous when I received them on my phone, even though I was at the beach.  I love her photos!


Here’s the list of items for the week:

  • 1 quart of yogurt
  • 1 pt of black raspberries
  • Assorted tree fruit
  • 1 package Italian Sausage links, 1.25 lbs.
  • 2 ct zucchini
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 head kohlrabi
  • 1 red bulb onion
  • 1.5 lbs hoop house tomatoes
  • 2 ct cucumbers
  • 1 head broccoli or cauliflower, whichever comes in
  • 1 jar strawberry balsamic sauce made from leftover week 1 strawberries

The highlights were the fruit.  She received apricots, plums as an add on, raspberries, and Clark Pope Catering’s Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Sauce.  Kelly mentioned that the plum were like heaven in a paper bag.  Even though I wasn’t here last week, I was able to get a bottle of the sauce.  I’m excited to try it out.


Now onto this week’s bag!

It was 95 degrees when we picked up our bag.  This has been one hot day!  I was glad to quickly get everything home and unloaded.


Here’s what we were expecting to receive:

  • 1 whole chicken or pork roast
  • 1 bunch beets
  • 2 bulb onions
  • 1 bunch carrots or 1 head kohlrabi
  • Approx. 2# tomatoes
  • 1 baby bok choy
  • 2 lbs. peaches
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 lb. garlic scape and black pepper linguini
  • 2 lbs. apricots
  • 2 ct. cucumbers
  • 2 ct. zucchini

We love the spinach.  It’s quite versatile.  We already used some in our white sauce tonight.  I’m not a big tomato person.  I think they are “guishy”.  I’m such a texture eater.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever like them.  Some other Fresh Fork CSA folks were talking about having a tomato tasting party.  I might be swayed to participate if that were to occur.  For now, these will be eaten by Stephen and Nick or I’ll use them in sauce.


I have a total of 4 zucchini and I am making fritters for lunch tomorrow.  I’m not sure why we got extra cucumbers, but they are great for snacking and salads.  Since we don’t have any lettuce at the moment, I suspect these will become snacks for the weekend.  I may try my hand at a quick relish.


Some of the onion will go into our pulled pork and coleslaw recipes.  The rest will be chopped and frozen for future use.  We ate almost all of the carrots at dinner.  The leftover ones will be gone at lunch tomorrow.


Our apricots aren’t going to last long.  They are very ripe.  I’m thinking of making smoothies with them tomorrow since it’s going to be another scorcher.  I contemplated an apricot dessert, but I’m not sure I want to turn on the oven.  Maybe, I’ll get creative.  We’ve been enjoying peaches in our oatmeal each morning.  With 4 of us, these won’t last long.


Bok choy always stumps me.  I just don’t have a great go to recipe for it.  It usually just ends up in a stir fry for Stephen.  I’m going to make pulled pork with the roast tomorrow.  I am going to put the crock pot in the basement so our whole house doesn’t heat up while it cooks.


We’re going to grill the beets this week.  We have a kohlrabi to use as well.  We didn’t get our pasta when we picked up our bag.  Since I was out anyway, I stopped back to get it on our way home from the spray ground.  It went straight to boiling water for dinner and had already missed it’s photo opportunity.


I’m not going to say that every CSA week is easy, but I like feeling like I finally have the hang of it.  I’m looking forward to eating fresh and local this weekend.


On Friday, June 22nd, we had the opportunity to pick blueberries with my in laws in Delaware.  They have a great U-Pick place just a few minutes from their house.  We visited Fifer Orchards last fall for apples, but this was our first experience with blueberries.  The berries were plentiful.  It was a very hot day for picking.  We were glad that we arrived just after they opened.


Here are some photos of the crew picking.


We were glad that we had water bottles, especially for the kids.


After picking, Nick and Sally enjoyed a few minutes on the swing.  I found the reminder sign interesting because I hadn’t really seen them before and I noticed them several times on our vacation.  It basically says not to eat fresh fruits and vegetables without washing them and gives specific procedures for washing and sanitizing surfaces etc..


A trip to Fifer isn’t complete with ice cream, so we all enjoyed some even though it was mid morning.  While we were there, my mother in law picked up some beautiful produce.


I always enjoy their displays.  We had a great time and ended up picking about 8 pounds of berries.


I’m not sure who was happier, Sally or Grandpa.  Everyone had a great visit to Fifer.  Some of the blueberries were made into syrup, we left a few in Delaware for the in laws to enjoy, and the rest were happily enjoyed at our beach house last week.

 Posted by at 9:33 PM

Today was a nice holiday.  I started out with Kate’s spin class at the J.  She’s a maniac and it was a great class.  She had a new playlist and it rocked.  On my way home, I stopped at our garden since Stephen and the kids were there watering and putting in tomato stakes.

After lunch, all 4 of us took naps.

For dinner, Stephen grilled spiral hot dogs.  They were fun and tasty.  We’d probably make them again.


After dinner, we rode out bikes to the concert at the Lyndhurst Community Center.  The Hillcrest Concert band played.  We met some friends there and had a good time.  It was getting pretty dark on the way home and we raced home to beat the storm.  There’s lots of lightning, thunder and firecrackers tonight.  Hopefully, we’ll get another dose of rain.

It was 91 degrees when we got home, down from a high today of 95.  I’m ready for a shower, some R&R and then bed.


Today was the 5th pickup for the Geauga Family Farms CSA.  I feel so out of the loop after being on vacation for 2 weeks.  We got back Sunday night, but I still am in that not quite back to reality phase.  The Whole Foods pickup has been different every week.  I hope we get some consistency soon.  I really miss Andrew manning the table.

Here’s what we received this week:


I think it’s a pretty easy identification week, but just in case I’ll list them.

zucchini, cucumbers


sugar snap peas, candy onion


small head of cauliflower, blueberries


tomato, kohlrabi


lettuce, cabbage


I was quite excited to pick up our share today.  We picked up a few things at the store yesterday since our fridge was bare from being gone 2 weeks, but for the most part, we were still lacking in produce.

The last couple zucchini were shredded and put in the freezer.  I’m going to make squash fritters tomorrow so these don’t fall victim to the freezer later in the week.  The cucumber, tomato and lettuce will go into salad with tomorrow’s grilling.  I’ll probably have Stephen grill the kohlrabi, too.  The kids will snack on the peas.  The blueberries will go on cereal for breakfast.  I now have two head of cauliflower since I bought one yesterday.  One head will just be steamed and served plain.  I’m thinking of making a au gratin dish with the other.

I have a cole slaw  recipe that I love that involves cabbage, apple, pineapple juice, onion, raisins, blue cheese and a simple dressing.  I’m going to look for it since I don’t think I could quite make it from memory.  It’s a great summer dish and I think I have all of the ingredients on hand.  Once I find the recipe, I’ll try to get my version in a post soon.  We’re sure to see cabbage again.

My goal is to use 100% of this share up before I pick up our other one on Friday.


One of my friends from high school posted a link to the Herr’s factory tours on her Facebook page.  I knew that the kids would love to see it.  I’m a manufacturing girl at heart, so I wanted to see it too.  I decided to schedule a tour time for Nick, Sally, my niece, my nephew and I to visit the plant as our second field trip.


My sister lives near the BWI airport and the plant in Nottingham, PA was about 1 hour 20 minutes away.  I made a trip to the library Monday night, so we’d have a basket full for fresh books for our drive Tuesday morning.

Our tour time was at 10:40AM.  We decided to leave at 8:30AM since we had no idea how traffic would be since we had a tunnel on our route.  It turned out that there was major construction, starting the next day.  We really lucked out and arrived 40 minutes early for our tour.

We took a restroom break and enjoyed a few packed snacks in their picnic area.


When we checked in for our tour, we were giving these tickets.  Apparently, they use different products to help them organize the tours.  The kids really wanted to check out the gift shop, but I held off until after the tour.


Instead the entertainment mostly came from the patterns on the floor.


Nick liked the glass block and practiced his counting.  Soon, the Chipper’s Theater doors opened and it was time for our group to enter.


It’s really difficult to get a good shot of all four kids, but I keep trying.


We weren’t allowed to photograph on the tour, but it was well done.  We got to see real production, mostly from observation rooms.  I was fascinated by the fact that Herr’s gets 10 truckloads of potatoes each day.  That’s 500,000 pounds of spuds.  We saw them make several products.  The potato chips were last, and the tour ended with hot samples off the production line.

After a crazy stop in the gift shop, we waved to Chipper and headed back to my sister’s house.


Everyone had a great time and the kids did well on the trip.

 Posted by at 10:00 PM  Tagged with: