Mailing list sign-up

GEFA blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 6/15/2014 6:18pm by Kate Potter.

Some of my favorite adolescent memories are of being in the garden with my dad.  From the time we moved to Cramer (a tiny place between Farmington and Trivoli) in 1972 my parents always maintained a large garden.  They established it in the place left bare by the demolition of a huge old chicken house.  So in addition to the natural fertility of prime Illinois farmland, it offered decades of composted chicken manure deposits as well. 

My mom harvested and cooked the produce that my Dad tilled, planted and cultivated.  In early spring that was radishes, green onions and Black Seeded Simpson lettuce.  Then came beets and more lettuce.  As we moved on into summer there were lots of green beans, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet corn.  All fabulous, stellar produce. 

My particular memories, though, are of potatoes.  It must have been August because that's when you harvest potatoes, but in my memory the weather was cool.  Dad used a garden fork for potatoes; one of the tines had always been broken.  He would stab it into the earth a little bit out from the plant, wiggle it, then grasp the plant and pull it out with most of its fat potatoes still attached.  I would detach the tubers, put them in the wheelbarrow and fish around in the plant's hole for any spuds that were left behind.  While he moved on to the next plant, I pushed the wheelbarrow forward.  This is not very hard work for a young person (my dad always did the hard work; we were kind of just along for the ride), and it was quiet work, so there was plenty of opportunity to talk.  Because my doesn't volunteer much about himself, I liked asking him questions about his childhood and what he thought about current affairs . . . I even asked him once what I should do about my boyfriend ("Dump him.")

What I would like to honor here is my dad's physical strength, his stick-to-it-iveness (he would never leave a job half-done), his perseverence (if a piece of equipment wasn't working properly, he'd calmly tinker away at it until it did), his good listening ear and his thoughtful advice.   I hope that I can grow to be a similarly calm and patient parent.  In the last few years it is my son who helps Grandpa dig potatoes.  I hear him chattering away while Grandpa works and listens, just as he did with me. 

Posted 11/15/2011 12:32pm by Linda Prescott.

GEFA Farmer joins Chef Erin Meyer this Wednesday on LIving Well at 4pm on Channel 31.  Be sure to watch and see what they are cooking up!

Posted 11/11/2011 10:59am by Anne Patterson.

When is honey not really honey!  Read the latest information about honey coming from all over the world into our supermarkets.  Click here to learn why you should buy local honey.  Petal Song Apiaries is the honey producer for the Good Earth Food Alliance.  You can rest assured that we do not remove the pollen from our honey!  We provide a great product, produced by free-ranging bees who visit millions of flowers to make each pound of honey.

Posted 9/30/2011 11:43am by Linda Prescott.

The Fall/Winter Market at the Methodist Atrium will be held on the first and third Thursdays of October, November and December.  The market will be open from 3 to 6pm.  Click here to view and print a copy of the flyer to post on your frigerator and share with yours.  Hope to see you there! 

Posted 6/15/2011 7:02am by Anne Patterson.

Looking for a way to use those Garlic Scapes you received in your share?  Here are a few great ways.  Also check our recipe section for a new Garlic Scape Pesto and other recipes.

Garlic Scape Ideas:

-You can add sliced scapes to any stir fry recipe.
-Slice and sprinkle over any pasta, or slice and cook them in almost any sauce recipe.
- Great in guacamole and fresh salsa, too.
- Chop & add to softened cream cheese.
-Add chopped fresh scapes when serving a light garlic soup; can also add them to buttered, french bread floated on the soup. -Use them as you would green onions, they're just better.
- Good in salads, on bruschetta, pizza.
- An excellent addition to stocks....and much Asian cuisine.

Posted 6/11/2011 10:24pm by Anne Patterson.
Posted 5/30/2011 11:00pm by Lyndon Hartz.

Good Earth Food Alliance Newsletter
May 31, 2011
Kate Potter, Newsletter Editor

Welcome to Week 3 (Week A) of the Good Earth Food Alliance CSA!  As I write early this Sunday morning, the air has changed overnight from chilly, hug-your-sweater-around-you rain to heavy, still humidity pregnant with significant heat.  Each year the weather extremes become more extreme, now with a 4-season spectrum in the course of a few days.  I like Terra Brockman's phrase, "Global Weirding."

We have not had the devastating tornadoes and flooding experienced in the south - yet.  But I had a brush with it Wednesday morning.  Heavy curtain-like rain had begun around 4; when I came out to feed chickens at 6, I found one of my pasture pens almost submerged in water and 15 broilers drowned. 

Most of the plants, however, as long as they're not flooded, have loved the moist temperate weather of the last week. 

This week's newsletter will feature an interview with CSA member Deborah Christman, a prediction of the share you'll pick up this week, and recipes for white turnips, Swiss chard, arugula and lemon balm.

Reminders:  CSA Harvest Picnic for All Sunday August 7.  Beef and Pork Pick-Up this Week.  If you'd like to order raw milk grassfed cheese from Rockome Gardens, do so before Thursday for delivery on June 7.  Note that we've added two new varieties of raw milk cheese:  a good Gouda and a mild Coleby that's great for kids.

BRING BACK YOUR BOXES!  (If you are at a drop box where you use a CSA box, please return it each week.  This helps us keep down our costs.)

Your share this week will consist of 8 - 10 of the following foods:

Salad Mix
Green Garlic
Chinese Cabbage
Green onion
Herb: Cilantro
Herb: Lemon balm
Herb: Parsley
Broccoli rabe
White turnips
Head lettuce

White Turnips in Lemon Parsley Butter

6 medium white turnips, pared and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Pepper or paprika

Cook turnips in boiling salted water, covered, until tender.  Drain and shake over heat a few times to dry slightly.  Melt butter, add lemon juice and parsley; heat, pour over turnips.  Add dash of pepper or paprika.

Lemon Balm Couscous
"This recipe is super fast and easy," says GEFA Director, Anne Patterson.

2 cups water
1 tsp salt
10 ounces couscous
1 cup minced green onions
½ cup olive oil
½ cup lemon juice
2 Tbs. minced fresh mint
4 Tbs. minced fresh lemon balm
½ cup cubed feta cheese
Fresh black pepper to taste
Sprigs of mint and lemon balm for garnish

In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Sprinkle couscous over the water. Cover pot, turn off heat, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with two forks. Transfer to serving boil. Add other ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least three hours. Stir before serving and garnish with sprigs of lemon balm and mint. Makes 4 side-dish servings.

Swiss Chard and Chickpea Minestrone
This soup does not have to cook long.  Serves 6 - 8 

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and the leek. Continue to cook, stirring often, until tender, about three minutes. Add the garlic, stir for about a minute, and then stir in the water, tomato paste and the bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas. Taste and adjust salt. Remove the bouquet garni.

Add swiss chard and pasta.  Bring back to a simmer for 10 minutes until pasta is al dente.  Grind in pepper.  Adjust seasonings.  It should be rich and savory.  Serve in wide bowls with grated parmesan.

Bruschetta with Arugula Pesto)

Slice enough slices of a baguette to cover with 1 cup of pesto.   Brush with olive oil and broil until toasted.

Prepare the pesto:
In a food processor combine until smooth:
1 handful of arugula
Salt and pepper to taste
2 small garlic cloves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil

When it is a thick paste, add:
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Top the toasts with the pesto and serve.


Deborah Christman has been with the Good Earth Food Alliance since its inception 3 years ago. She likes GEFA because each farmer gets to work with her/his specialty in growing. "The previous two CSAs in which I had a share were one farmer doing it all. It was nearly too much for each of them. I am also very glad to have a relatively close pick-up site. I stopped participating in a previous CSA because I didn't want to drive into Peoria for it anymore. I live in Groveland and the Morton site is much more convenient for me." 

"When I first heard of a CSA I was ecstatic. I have always liked good fresh food. Growing up in Varna and Goodfield, Illinois, my family had a garden. We ate what we grew, canning and freezing for the winter. I, however, do not like growing the stuff myself. I love the food, but do not like all the work involved. So, for less than $29.00 a week the wonderful GEFA farmers grow it all for me AND deliver it to a nearby drop site. When I joined the first CSA I had no idea what would be delivered each week. I made a promise to myself that I would find a way to cook or fix everything so that it tastes good. I had my first taste of kale that summer. I sautéed it and added it to a flavored tofu mixture and put into large pasta tubes (cannelloni). I covered it with a home made tomato sauce. I don't know that I would have even bought cannelloni to try if I hadn't used it with the kale. My husband calls me a 'super taster'. Everything I eat I try to figure out 1) the recipe ingredients and 2) how to make it taste better."

When asked her favorite item of produce to use, she responded, "Wow, this one is hard. I like everything. Garlic, green garlic, onions. Onions are my most favorite because they go in and with almost everything every meal. I look forward to the first radishes. I slice them all up and pile them on buttered whole grain bread and call it supper! I usually order extra tomatoes in August, if available, and make a few gallons of soup to put in the freezer. We wait until the first snow flies before eating any of it. It is nice to have some summer in our mouth while watching at the snow fall outside. Butternut squash is a favorite. We like it baked and in soup. Greens of all kinds, we eat them raw, sautéed, in casseroles and soups. The blueberries we ordered extra last summer were the best I've ever tasted. I was able to perfect my blueberry pie and I put some ahead in the freezer. We ate the last of them in February. Oh yes, Fennel bulb. It makes an amazing puréed soup!"

Deborah's go-to recipes aer scrambled eggs and greens, raw vegetable salads, vegetable stir fries. "I'm big on soups using organic chicken, beef and vegetable stocks and adding the good things of the week to it. We roast a chicken every week or two and I often keep my home made hummus available in the refrigerator. I'm an adventure cook. You'll find me trying a new recipe or developing one more often than making an old one."

We asked Deborah about the most challenging aspects of being a CSA member.  She said the hardest thing is "Picking up every week no matter what. I really like the pick up and visiting with Lawrence (at the Morton Site), but it is still a constant thing all summer. Thankfully the produce is very much worth it. I already have my sister scheduled to pick up the box for me in a couple weeks when we'll be out of town. Using up all the produce and letting none go to waste is also challenging. "We eat vegetables at almost every meal. Our scrambled eggs for most breakfasts have more vegetable than eggs. We take much of our food with us when traveling for a day or two because we know it has a lot more flavor and nutrition than anything we can get at the restaurants along the way."

I asked "What would you like us to do differently in GEFA?"  She answered, "Hey, I'm selfish. I'd love for you to deliver the food directly to my house. But I realize that is not practical."

Deborah normally cooks for two, her husband, Mike, and herself. Apparently there are some vegetables he doesn't like such as beets, so she gets to eat all of those.  On the morning of her interview her twelve year old nephew, Adam, was spending the weekend with them. His aunt writes that "he chopped the chives and (Rockome Gardens raw milk) cheese to go into the scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning. He loves to cook and likes fresh things, too."

Deborah realized at the end of GEFA CSA season last year just how much I had relied on the farmers and their produce. "It took me over three weeks to get used to going to the grocery store and having to DECIDE what vegetables and fruits to buy. I was so used to fixing whatever was delivered. It was a produce adventure every week which we thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you GEFA farmers! When people ask me why I spend the money on organic food I tell them I have almost no doctor bills and seldom take any medication. I believe eating mostly organic is the reason."
Posted 5/28/2011 2:19pm by Anne Patterson.

A note from Linda at Prescott's Farm.  A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a bottle of chive blossom vinaigrette that was wonderful.  I called her this week for the recipe. Hope you enjoy it

First you have to make chive blossom vinegar.  To do that:

  •  Place blossoms in a clean ,sterlle jar.
  •  Fill with white wine vinegar (can use regular vinegar).
  •  put in dark place for 2 weeks, shake occasionally 

Chive Blossom Vinaigrette


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chive blossom vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix together & use over your favorite greens

Posted 5/23/2011 10:02pm by Lyndon Hartz.

Good Earth Food Alliance Newsletter
May 23, 2011
From Newsletter Editor, Kate Potter

The rain Saturday night was so refreshing. I rejoiced that I had worked into the dusk, planting. Roma beans, sweet corn, zucchini, yellow squash. On Friday I had seeded dill, cilantro, some late peas and cucumbers. Work goes on in the hoophouse periodically drenching the cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants with the soaker hoses and sprinkling flats of emerging pepper and tomato seedlings. It began raining around 4 on Sunday morning, and when I came out to move the pastured poultry pens and let the layer hens out of their coops around 7, everything sparkled. 

Our first pick-up last week was a smashing success. So good to meet all our new shareholders and great to greet the old.

Some Reminders
:  If you're a “B” week pick-up, this will be your first week. Pick-up times are 4:30 - 6:00 in Peoria, 4:30 - 5:30 in Morton and 5 - 6 in Farmington and Galesburg. If you arrive early, you may be waiting for the farmer in charge.  If you ordered cheese last week, it is in now. Please bring a check with you.  Our next raw milk, grassfed cheese delivery will be Tuesday, June 7.  Order by Thursday June 2 if you'd like to be in on that . To access our online store, click here.  Kathy Corso of Crow Creek Farm Pastas is in Italy for a month, so her fresh made pasta won't be available again until mid-June.

Mark Your Calendar:  2nd Annual Good Earth Food Alliance Harvest Potluck/Picnic!  Sunday, August 7, 3 - 5 p.m. at Twisted Chicken Farm. 

What will you get in your share this week? 

Broccoli rabe
Green garlic
Salad mix
Green onions
Asparagus, Chinese cabbage,spinach or arugula
All B week people will receive asparagus

Broccoli Rabe is well-known as "Rapini" in Italy.  It's a wonderful leafy cruciferous with floppy little broccoli heads but is pretty different from broccoli.  It requires parboiling to remove bitterness.  That's not difficult and is a part of every broccoli rabe recipe; simply bring a pot of salted water to boil, drop the broccoli rabe in and boil until bright green; remove from the water and set aside for the next step of the recipe. 

Broccoli Rabe with Sausage 

I had a friend whose ex-wife was Italian; this was in his weekly meal repertoire (in New York, where, fortunately, or unfortunately, you could buy broccoli rabe every week of the year). You can add penne or corkscrew pasta to this recipe and/or delete the sausage.  Red pepper flakes are also a tasty addition.

1 tablespoon salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1pound fennel or Italian sausage links, cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped (can use green garlic)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Place broccoli rabe and salt in a large pot of boiling water.  Cook 12 minutes, or until stems are tender.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid.

2.  Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook sausage 10 minutes, or until evenly browned.

3.  Remove sausage from saucepan.  Stir garlic into saucepan, and cook approximately 30 seconds.  Place broccoli rabe and reserved cup of liquid in pan, and mix in 1/2 the lemon juice.  Return sausage to pan, and allow the mixture to simmer approximately 10 minutes.  Mix in remaining olive oil and lemon juice before serving.


Green Garlic is a vegetable you won't find in local supermarkets! It is garlic harvested a month to 6 weeks before the bulb really matures.  Green garlic can be wrapped loosely in a paper towel then in plastic and refrigerated up to two weeks.  It's too strong to use raw, but it needs only a moment of cooking to become gentled and just a little more to become almost mellow.  For salads blanch 1 minute in boiling water, chill in ice water, then drain, dry and thin-slice in vegetable, grain, meat or seafood salads to act as both onion, garlic, and a crunchy green vegetable all in one.

Pasta with Green Garlic and Herb

4  oz green garlic with stems
1/2 pound Italian pasta (penne is good)
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup thin-sliced parsley, basil or favorite herb
lemon wedges
salt & pepper

1.  Trim green garlic and drop garlic (stem included) into large pot of boiling salted water and boil a minute or two. Lift out with tongs and use water to boil pasta in. Drain, dry and cut green garlic into diagonal slices 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide.

2.  Drop pasta into the boiling water and cook until just tender.

3.  While pasta boils, heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbs.  oil to coat pan. Add garlic and toss to lightly cook, 3 minutes to just lightly brown. Set aside.

4.  Drain pasta. Toss in serving boil with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add garlic and half herb, and squeeze lemon, and salt and pepper. Toss. Add more salt, pepper, herbs if needed for a bright flavor.  You may add more olive oil.

Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side dish. 

Rhubarb.  Last week one of our members asked for a rhubarb recipe "without all that sugar".  Because rhubarb is so very tart, it does require sweetening, but a wonderful sauce can be made with honey or maple syrup. 

Rhubarb Sauce

My dad's mom always made her sauce this way, with raisins.  A simple country recipe.

1 pound rhubarb, cut into one-inch pieces
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup or more if you like it really sweet
a handful of raisins

Place ingredients in saucepan large enough to accommodate.  Add water to just cover bottom of pan.  Cook on medium heat until water boils.  Allow to simmer for a minute, turn off heat and place lid on.  Let set for 15 minutes.  Stir.  Refrigerate.  Serve cold.  6 - 8 servings.

Click here for more seasonal recipes from our recipe page.  We'll see you tomorrow!
Posted 5/16/2011 10:46pm by Lyndon Hartz.
The recipe for Rhubarb Custard Pie omitted the sugar!  Beat 2 cups sugar in with the 3 eggs.


Kate Potter, Newsletter Editor