How to Enjoy the Delicious Versatility and Nourishment of Pennsylvania’s Bounty

July 13, 2018

No matter how you access local vegetables – farm stand, roadside stand, farmers market, or CSA –  there’s rarely a Pennsylvania growing season that passes without delivering an abundance of zucchini. Thankfully, zucchini is incredibly versatile. You can even eat it raw! This time of year, it’s often eaten right off the grill with just a pinch of salt and pepper. It doesn’t get any easier than that! However, when you’re ready to excite your palate and explore something new, you can count on’s recipes to guide you through that exploration. The recently redesigned website features recipes for almost every type of Pennsylvania vegetable you could imagine, and the latest zucchini recipes come complete with a video tutorial, too.

Zucchini Noodle dishes, like the one featured here (below), are a crowd favorite and come together in no time, but don’t write off the Zucchini Fritters and Chocolate Zucchini Muffins featured in the PA Veggies video as well. No matter which recipe, or recipes, you decide to follow, it all starts with finding the best local vegetables.

First, start at a local source. Local vegetables are not only more flavorful, they contain more nutrients than “cross country” vegetables, because there is less time between harvest and consumption. When it comes to zucchini, you should consider selecting those that are on the small side, as the flesh will be more tender and the vegetable will have more flavor. The best size for zucchini is about six to eight inches long and two inches or less in diameter. If the zucchini has a darker skin, then the nutrient content is richer. Some of the most sought after nutrients that zucchini contains include fiber, vitamin c, and potassium. They have a low calorie count, making them a perfect, healthy vegetable alternative for several carb-heavy dishes, like pasta. When you work in additional vegetables, like tomatoes, onion, or fennel, grown fresh by your local farmers, zucchini noodle dishes can really sing, and impress a crowd.

Since zucchini grows so abundantly during its season, farmers are often eager to sell it in bulk. When you’re buying bulk, it’s best to connect with your farmer directly. Chances are, you won’t just get the best product and piece of mind knowing where your food came from, you’re likely to get a better price, too. You can head to your local on-farm market, a roadside farm stand, or a farmers’ market and discuss details with the crew on-site. Consider calling ahead if you don’t want to chance the availability of your large order. Farmers will often take note of your request and include it in the next harvest when they can’t fulfill it that same day. Once you’ve obtained your desired amount and you’re ready to begin preparing, it’s easy as pie to make additional servings with each recipe from the PA Veggies’ video, and freeze leftovers for the future.

Zucchini Noodles

Change the way you think about pasta, and lower the carbohydrates count, with this delicious vegetable alternative!

What You’ll Need:

  • Vegetable spiralizer
  • 2 large zucchini, stems and bottoms removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon mint leaves, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)

How to Make:

  • Spiralize the zucchini into thin noodles.
  • Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and lemon zest to the olive oil.
  • Sauté until fragrant, being careful not to brown the garlic.
  • Add the zucchini to the skillet and toss while heating.
  • Don’t overcook! Just heat the zucchini through.
  • Top with Parmesan and mint. Serve and enjoy!

Expert Tips:

  • Add chili flakes or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Substitute spiralized carrots for half of the zucchini.
  • Garnish with bread crumbs and paprika.

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  • Good Evening from @oaknutfarm ! Thanks for following along today and joining us in celebrating #paproducemonth . We really enjoyed sharing a bit about our farm and are truly honored to be a part of the amazing PA food shed and it’s community of dedicated produce growers. 
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  • This is Sean and my 5th growing season as @oaknutfarm though we have been doing the organic vegetable farming shindig together since 2006. We met and worked at/managed three other produce farms in PA, NJ, and VA prior to moving back to PA to be closer to family. (Side bar: For anyone considering this line of livelihood—because it’s not just work—we highly suggest being an intern or apprentice first). Our previous experience has guided a lot of our decision making process on what to grow and how to grow it—but our main goal is that it tastes good! We pride ourselves on nourishing our local community with the highest quality produce. Sean and I really enjoy adding a few new crops (and dumping some) each season to our repertoire of 40 different vegetables, fruits, herbs, and specialty items—like log-grown shiitake and oyster mushrooms, fresh ginger and turmeric, and cut flowers.
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  • After lunch is always doggie walking time with our sweet rescue “sholly” (Shepherd/Border Collie Mix), Sienna. We usually head out to the farm and on her favorite days she gets to chase down a groundhog. 
Our farm land was originally my parent’s and where we had a family garden growing up. The property is about 18 acres (12 tillable) and located close to the Blue Mountains and Appalachian Trail. We grow on less than three acres and have two passive solar high tunnels.

Our home property is located two doors down from my parent’s home and diagonal from the farm land. Our house was actually my childhood best friend’s house—so I spent just as much time in the house as my own as a kid. 
Our home property is also where we have our On-Farm Farm Stand and where we do our produce washing and packing. This afternoon we were busy doing our final harvesting and prep for our farm stand which is open today from 3-6pm. A big highlight for today was the first official TWO half pints of red raspberries for sale that my husband Sean picked from the raspberry canes he and Ginger gifted me for Mother’s Day last year. We since have added two more beds from that original nurse row for a total of 600 feet of raspberry canes! Next year will certainly be amazing!!! #paveggies #paveggiesguestig #paproducemonth
  • The month of August, for most produce farmers I think, feels like a non-stop marathon. But, instead of running, you’re sprinting the entire way and never quite catching up. This morning was a perfect example—beginning with a computer that refused to turn on so I could send out our weekly farm newsletter—that of course was supposed to be sent out last evening. Once the sun came up and the computer remained asleep—I decided to delay the newsletter (again) and continue to the flower harvesting for today’s on-farm farm stand and for one of our restaurant wholesale orders. After the flowers, it was time to tend to the laying ducks and chickens with our 7-year-old daughter, Ginger. She completes this task often still wearing her pjs—and I don’t mind one bit—as I appreciate the help and the extra snuggles she give the ladies while I’m buzzing around. Then it’s off to town to make our restaurant delivery and pick up some groceries and poultry feed before heading back home for lunch.

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  • As of last year, a new addition to the farm was cut flowers. These have proven to be incredible attractants for beneficial pollinators. They are also a profitable option for areas of the farm where growing veggies isn’t ideal due to soil quality. •
If you drive by the farm, the flowers are the first area you see near our farm stand. We like to think of them attracting and welcoming folks to the farm (just like the bees!) Our farm stand is open to the public, Tuesdays from 3 - 6, and Wednesday - Saturday most of the day (honor system). We’d love to have you stop by and take a peak at what we got growing. #paveggies #paproducemonth #paveggiesguestig #kneehighfarm #farmstand #cutflowers #polinators
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