csa share – week 10

csa share week 10

Welcome to the 10th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Red Bunching Onions
  • New Potatoes – Our first time digging into this season’s potato crop, this is a new variety for us called Carola.  We’re told it’s a smooth, creamy variety great for baking, frying, and mashing.  We haven’t tried it yet, so let us know what you think.  Note that there does appear to be minimal scarring on some of these spuds, but it can be easily scraped away.
  • Dill
  • Broccoli
  • Red Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Shishito Pepperssweet, very mild heat Japanese take on Spain’s padrone peppers.  Check out the recipe below for a quick blister with sea salt!
  • Strawberries – wait, strawberries?!  It’s true we finally have enough berries to share a taste with you.  Hopefully more to come!

Many thanks to those folks who sent along kind words and thoughtful check-ins after last week’s newsletter.  My intention was to express the difficulty of farming at the height of the growing season, and evidently that message was heard.  So, yeah it’s hard, but we’re committed to bringing you the best produce we know how to grow.  Thanks for committing to eating it.

work

This week we continued our battle against the mid-season weeds.  The peppers and Brussels sprouts were the major targets and we knocked them out.  We also got a jump on the weeds in the tomatillos, and next successions of beets, lettuce, cabbage and broccoli.  Watch out leeks, carrots, and celeriac, you’re up next.

We also finished up the last bit of garlic harvest that had been lingering in the field.  What a seasonal milestone to have all of the garlic harvested and curing.

onions and beans

This is a share filled with firsts for this season.  We’ve included the first of the green beans, the first of the peppers, the first of the potatoes.  The seasonal shift to summer produce is happening!

potatoes

Can I just say that we love potatoes?  We love growing them, harvesting them, and eating them.  Call it a guilty pleasure, but you won’t find us giving up our potatoes any time soon.

We’ve noticed symphylan (similar to centipedes) pressure in areas of our fields over several seasons.  These creatures like to feast on root hairs which results in stunted crops where they are present.  Once their presence has been identified, there aren’t a lot of suggestions for reducing their pressure on crops, though we’ve heard growing potatoes can set them back.  This year we decided to give that idea a go and we planted our potato beds in the worst symphylan field we have.  As we begin to dig into the potato beds, we’ll be looking for symphylan action.  Hopefully whatever we decide to grow in this field next year will be happier for the effort.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups whole shishito peppers or Padrón chiles
  • Flaky sea salt

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook peppers, turning occasionally, until they begin to blister on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

From Bon Appétit via Marissa Lippert, http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/12/blistered-shishito-peppers

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Chilled Cucumber Soup with Smoked Salmon and Dill

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
  • 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large fresh dill sprigs plus 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 3 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add cucumbers and potato; stir 1 minute. Add broth, dill sprigs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cucumbers and potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in processor until smooth. Return to pot. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup crème fraîche and 4 tablespoons minced dill. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Taste soup, adding more salt if desired. Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Place dollop of crème fraîche in center of each bowl; sprinkle with smoked salmon and remaining 2 tablespoons minced dill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chilled-Cucumber-Soup-with-Smoked-Salmon-and-Dill-108433

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Warm Green Bean Salad with Dill

  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dill seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

In a steamer set over boiling water steam the beans, covered, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they are just tender. While the beans are steaming, in a blender blend together the vinegar, the oil, the dill seeds, the chopped dill, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and toss them with the dressing.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Warm-Green-Bean-Salad-with-Dill-13312

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July 29, 2014 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 9

csa share week 9

Welcome to the 9th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Shallots – the very last of last season’s onion crop!
  • Carrots
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
  • Tomatoes
  • Fava Beans
  • Apples – red and green of unknown varieties this week

In July, we always wonder if we’re crazy.  Somewhere between the overwintering seed sowing, the fall transplanting, the constant irrigation, the jungle of weeds, and the long harvest days we can’t help but wonder what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.  Although I’d like to say that we thrive on the constant work that is the height of the season, in reality we’re tired.

Most of you know that we came to farming from other careers.  When making that transition we were seeking work that was meaningful, and community building, and positive.  We wanted to swap our indoor desk jobs for time outside in the dirt.  What could fit those idealistic goals better than growing food?  In retrospect, I think it’s for the best that we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into at first.  Had we known, we’d likely never have begun.

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I’ve come to realize that the mental hurdles of farming are often tougher to overcome than the physical challenges, though those are tough too.  From the beginning of each season we begin making mistakes, hopefully learning from them, and also making promises to do things differently next year.  Realizing we worked a field too soon, or didn’t sow enough of a crop, or waited too long to weed a bed all have unique consequences for the remainder of the season both in the field and for the farmers.  The cumulative effects of the constant learning curve that is working with (and often enough, against) nature takes its toll.

But here we are, in the midst of our sixth farming season already.  Over these past six seasons I think we can say we’ve built a community around this farm.  A community of eaters, and of supporters.  And there’s no question that this work is meaningful and at times positive.  We thank you for your continued support as we learn how to farm, how to grow food, how to close the gap between farms and the folks who eat the food from them.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fava Bean Dip aka Fake Guacamole

Fava beans
1 tsp. olive oil
Garlic, 2 cloves, diced
Lime juice
Cilantro
Salt
Pepper
2 Tbsp. plain goat cheese

Blanche fava beans. Shell beans from the large pod. Peel off the second layer of skin, revealing a tiny, bright green bean.

In a food processor, combine beans, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, lime juice, cilantro and goat cheese. Add more water if needed to make it creamy.

Serve as a dip, or as filling between grilled corn tortillas.

From Culinate via The Veg Table, Mary Altman, http://www.culinate.com/user/marybethSF/recipes/the_veg_table/fava_bean_dip_aka_fake_guacamole

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Fresh Pasta with Favas, Tomatoes, and Sausage

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 3/4 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 pound), blanched 3 minutes then peeled, or double-peeled frozen, thawed
  • 3/4 pound fresh pasta sheets, cut as desired, or dried egg fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus additional for passing

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add next 3 ingredients. Sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add sausages; break up with fork. Sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Add wine; simmer 1 minute, scraping up browned bits. Add tomatoes and fava beans. Sauté until tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot.

Add sauce to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid as needed if dry, about 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons cheese. Transfer pasta to bowl. Serve, passing additional cheese.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alex Palermo, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fresh-Pasta-with-Favas-Tomatoes-and-Sausage-242129

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Carrot Salad with Lime and Cilantro

  • 4 medium carrots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs

Finely shred carrots and in a bowl toss together with remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. Serve salad garnished with cilantro.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Carrot-Salad-with-Lime-and-Cilantro-101512

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July 22, 2014 at 1:41 pm 6 comments

csa share – week 8

csa share week 8

Welcome to the 8th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Garlic Scapes – note that these have been stored in the cooler, and though their tips are drying down they’re still awesome!
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
  • Tomato Taste – first of the ‘maters, more to come!
  • Apples – yellow transparents, our first variety to ripen.  These soft apples are best for sauce!

Many thanks for helping us out with the parking situation at the Salem CSA pick-up.  As a reminder, please avoid the church parking spots marked with “FUMC” (for First United Methodist Church).  Any parking in the gravel lots surrounding the pick-up should be fair game during the CSA window.  Thanks for your help!

This week we’ve been keeping busy weeding, watering, and planting.  Such is the summer routine on a small vegetable farm.

flowers

I’ve been alluding to weeds, and the necessary weeding that needs to be done the last few weeks.  This time of year the weeds seem to grow faster than the crops at times.  It’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by so many beds that are in various stages of needing to be weeded.  How do you begin to prioritize?  Do we start with the crops planted the earliest, likely with the biggest weeds, or do we start with the newly planted crops and attempt to be proactive with the smaller weeds.  As with most aspects of farming, it’s a delicate balance in time management and crop health.  And we’re still learning how to keep those priorities balanced.

My favorite aspect of weeding is the time it affords for getting a close inspection of a crop.  Weeding the melons this past week, I was able to take a good look at the differences in the growth habits of the five varieties we’re growing this season.  Noticing which are struggling and which are excelling now will help us make informed decisions in future years, as well as figure out how to address any issues that may be fixable this year.

Getting up close and personal with crops, and weeds, is also a good reminder that most flowering plants are excellent bee habitat.  Seeing the bees hard at work in the melons as well as the clover in the field ends is always a welcome sight.

irrigation in july

Perhaps the weeds are doing well thanks to Jeff’s continued irrigating!  To keep crops happy and healthy during these hot days something is almost always being irrigated.  We’re thankful to not be moving quite as much irrigation pipe around the farm as in years past, but management of irrigation still has its challenges.  Remembering to move the correct sprinklers to the correct lines at the right time, and which line is next to run, and whether or not the hose that hooks to the irrigation mainline matches the pipe in the line to be run can all add up to frustration if not planned out ahead of time.  Of course there are always unplanned events like clogged sprinklers, broken pipes, holes in hoses, and undiagnosed leaks to be taken care of too. Somehow Jeff keeps track of it all, and keeps the water flowing.

fall planting

Just about the time we think we can see the light at the end of the planting tunnel, it’s time to think about fall and overwintering crops.  Filling CSA shares nearly year-round means continuously starting seeds, transplanting starts, and direct sowing seeds into the field throughout the growing season. We begin sowing seeds for overwintering crops in June and continue through the summer months.  After buying two more tons of organic fertilizer for late crops, we were ready to push ahead with the next round of planting.

This week we transplanted fall broccoli and cauliflower and overwintering cabbage and collards among other things.  That photo above shows to strains of January King cabbage that will overwinter in the field and fill CSA shares just after the first of the year, whoa.

sunset and us

So, that’s what we’ve been up to: weeding, watering, and planting.  And harvesting too I suppose.  And enjoying the sunsets, and thunderstorms, and this amazing Oregon summer.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Zucchini-Basil Soup

  • 2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
  • Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with 1/8-inch julienne attachment

Julienne skin (only) from half of zucchini with slicer; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and drain in a sieve until wilted, at least 20 minutes. Coarsely chop remaining zucchini.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 3- to 4-quarts heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Purée soup with basil in 2 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).

Bring remaining cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and blanch julienned zucchini 1 minute. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl (use liquid to thin soup if necessary).

Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with julienned zucchini mounded on top.

From Epicurious via Gourmet By Shelley Wiseman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Zucchini-Basil-Soup-242831

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Beet and Cabbage Salads

Beet salad:

  • 2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 3 large raw beets, peeled, coarsely grated

Cabbage salad:

  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 6 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For beet salad:
Whisk vinegar and mustard in large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil, then mix in beets. Season with salt and pepper.

For cabbage salad:
Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in another large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Mix in cabbage and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Let salads stand 30 minutes and up to 2 hours at room temperature, tossing occasionally.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by by Jerome Navarre, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-and-Cabbage-Salads-358592

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Salmon and Cucumber Boats

  • 1 large orange
  • 6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 large tomato (about 1/4 pound), diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 kirby (or Persian) cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 slices pumpernickel (or whole-wheat pitas)

Zest orange over a bowl. Cut away rind. Section orange over bowl, removing membranes and catching juices and sections in bowl. Mix in salmon, tomato, onions, basil, oil, pepper and salt. Divide salmon mixture evenly among cucumber boats. Top each boat with 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Serve with bread.

From Epicurious via SELF by Jennifer Iserloh, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-and-Cucumber-Boats-353109

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July 15, 2014 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 7

csa share week 7

Welcome to the 7th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Overwintered Onions
  • Fresh Garlic – This is uncured, straight-from-the-field, non-papery, fresh garlic.  You’ll likely find it to be moister than the cured garlic you’re familiar with, but it won’t store as long so use it up just as you would the cured stuff, but store it in the fridge.
  • Radishes
  • Kale – lacinato or red ursa this week
  • Carrots
  • Fennel
  • Lettuce – Blushed Butter Cos and Red Earred Butterheart for everyone
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
  • Dried Shishito Pepper Powder

Welcome!  Before we get into this week’s update, we’d like to talk about pick-up parking at the Salem location.  The folks at the Methodist church have requested we minimize the use of their parking spaces.

Please park in any of the gravel parking lots, or other parking specifically signed as Willamette University parking.  Note that the paved spots near the pick-up mostly belong to the church.

Thanks for your help!  Now on to the updates!

evening

Summer doesn’t seem to be wasting any time making a full-fledged appearance this year.  Is it just us, or is it hot out there?!  We’re working the edges of the day, and trying not to melt in the middle.  Planning the harvest means getting the greens out of the field early and planning for extra breaks during the heat of the day.  Nevertheless, this week’s farmwork has been kept on track with homemade fudgesicles, iced coffee, and cold beer.  And water.  Lots of water.

beans

Someone recently asked what we’d been up to this week, and in the moment we couldn’t really remember.  Isn’t it funny how that works?  The tasks just run together this time of year.  After thinking about it we realized we’d done some transplanting of successions of beets, lettuce, cabbage and more, and we’d done some sowing of fall and overwintering crops including broccoli and extra kale.  It was time to harvest some spinach and bok choy seed, so those plants were cut to further dry down.  And of course there was more weeding; there’s always more weeding.  Jeff also did some impressive pole bean trellising as seen above.

peppers

This week we’re including some red pepper powder made from last year’s fully mature and dried Shishito peppers.  Shishitos are generally harvested green and are lovely quickly blistered in a hot pan and tossed with a pinch of salt.  They’re one of our favorite pepper varieties.  In anticipation of last year’s first hard frost, Jeff pulled the pepper plants and we hung them to dry in the barn for the winter.  Knowing not everyone has a grinder dedicated to spices, we went ahead and ground them for you. We like to throw pinches of this stuff into anything and everything.  Add it to scrambled eggs, spaghetti sauce, burgers, you name it!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

 Cured Salmon with Fennel and Carrot Salad

Salmon:

  • 1 1/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/4 cup gin or aquavit
  • 1 1 1/2-pound piece skin-on salmon fillet

Salad and assembly:

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, very thinly sliced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Fennel flowers or fennel pollen (optional)

Salmon:
Mix salt, sugar, fennel fronds, and gin in a medium bowl (mixture should feel like wet sand). Spread half of salt mixture in a shallow baking dish. Place salmon on top and cover with remaining salt mixture.

Press a sheet of plastic wrap over salmon and place a smaller dish or heavy pan on top (it should be small enough to fit inside the dish so it rests directly on top of salmon). Add a couple of heavy cans to empty baking dish to weigh down salmon. Chill, turning occasionally, until flesh is firm and slightly darkened in color, 1-2 days. Rinse salmon and pat dry.

Do ahead: Salmon can be cured 1 week ahead. Tightly wrap and chill.

Salad and assembly:
Toss carrots, fennel bulb, and lemon slices with oil and lemon juice in a large bowl; season with salt and let sit at room temperature until slightly softened, about 30 minutes.

Thinly slice cured salmon at an angle against the grain.

Season yogurt with salt, spread on plates, and top with cured salmon, fennel and carrot salad, fennel fronds, and fennel flowers, if using.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Renee Erickson, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cured-Salmon-with-Fennel-and-Carrot-Salad-51236420

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Grilled Summer Squash

  • 6 medium yellow squash and/or green zucchini (3 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (high heat for gas).

Trim squash and/or zucchini and halve lengthwise, then toss with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil in a large bowl.

Oil grill rack, then grill vegetables directly over hottest part of coals, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until grill marks appear, about 6 minutes total. Move vegetables to area of grill with no coals underneath and grill, covered, until tender, about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a platter.

While vegetables are grilling, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl. Pour dressing evenly over vegetables before serving.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Summer-Squash-and-Zucchini-238688

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Cucumbers in Yogurt

  • 2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt (14 to 16 ounces; preferably Greek)
  • 1 (14- to 16-ounce) seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves

If using a regular supermarket brand of yogurt (not Greek), drain in a paper-towel-lined sieve set over a bowl 1 hour. Discard liquid.

While yogurt drains, cut cucumber into 1/2-inch cubes. Transfer to another sieve set over a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt, then drain 1 hour. Rinse cucumber and pat dry.

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt using a large heavy knife. Stir together yogurt, cucumbers, garlic paste, and salt to taste in a bowl.

Cooks’ note: Cucumbers in yogurt can be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cucumbers-in-Yogurt-108080

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July 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 6

csa share week 6

Welcome to the 6th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Overwintered Onions
  • Green Garlic – We planted our sprouting garlic this past spring to extend the green garlic availability.  Add this to anything and everything for a mild garlic taste.
  • Garlic Scapes
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Turnips
  • Sugar Snap Peas or Broccoli
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – Just a taste this week with more to come!

garlic

This weekend we began the annual garlic harvest.  With the passing of the rain from last week we decided it was time to get it in storage.  After pulling the heads in the field, we tie them into bundles and then hang them to dry down and cure in the barn.  We’ll be giving out young spring-planted green garlic this week, and then we’ll be enjoying fresh uncured garlic until the cured papery garlic we’re all familiar with makes an appearance again later in the season.

tomatoes

We spent another week with our field work tractor out of commission.  Luckily it was raining enough that we didn’t have a hankering to do too much tillage.  Instead we busied ourselves with various other projects on the to-do list including weeding, trellising tomatoes, and weeding some more.  We’re endeavoring to keep up with the weeds, and not completely failing.  This week at various moments we could have been found weeding in the squash and cucumbers, or the corn, or the eggplant, or the carrots, or the beets, or the beans.  Though I have no photos from these weeding sessions, I did snap one of the tomato house, post-trellising.  Our dog Ira was quite the trellising helper too.

cucumber and chicory

Every year around the summer solstice I look up to realize that the farm has burst to life while I’ve been focusing on spring details.  Winter is a faint memory and we’re on the cusp of summer greatness.  This year has been no different.  We harvested the first of the season’s cucumbers this week, the summer squash are in full-swing, and our early spring greens including spinach, arugula, bok choy, and chicory are all past being harvestable and indeed are well on their way to producing seed.  And my favorite, the sunflowers we planted early in the year, are in full bloom.  As we begin the month of July, you’ll find us wrangling the chaos of crops and weeds, but also enjoying the humming of the season as we head deeper into summer.

hike

Finally, to clarify any misconceptions that we never take a day off, here are a couple of photos from a hike we took last week.  It’s wildflower season up in the Cascades and when the rain arrived last Thursday, we hit the trail.  Getting out in the woods is always a welcomed dichotomy to the order we attempt to maintain on the farm.  In the woods plants do not grow in straight lines, there is no weeding to be done, and the rain is the only irrigation around.  A day off doesn’t get much better than that.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sugar Snap Pea, Radish, and Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and, if large, halved diagonally
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 bunch radishes (1 lb)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Cook peas in a saucepan of boiling salted water just until they turn a brighter shade of green, about 30 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

Cut halved cucumber and radishes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Toss peas, cucumber, radishes, and sesame seeds with vinegars and season with salt and pepper.

Cooks’ note:  If you don’t have seasoned rice vinegar in your cupboard, you can substitute unseasoned and add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sugar-Snap-Pea-Radish-and-Cucumber-Salad-105126

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Farfalle with Green Garlic, Peas, and Herbed Ricotta

  • 1¼ cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 oz. fine-grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ cup)
  • ½ cup fine-chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme, marjoram)
  • ~ Kosher salt
  • ~ Ground black pepper
  • ~ Lemon juice
  • 12 oz. farfalle pasta
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, or sugar-snap peas, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch green garlic, root end and tough top greens trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced thinly on the bias
  1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, and herbs in bowl and mix until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and add lemon juice to taste; set aside.
  2. Bring large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Season water liberally with salt and cook pasta according to directions on package. Three minutes before the pasta is to be done, stir in peas; drain.
  3. While pasta cooks, combine butter and oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add garlic and large pinch salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is wilted and soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Toss pasta with sautéed garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide equally among warmed bowls, top with large dollop of ricotta mixture, and serve immediately.

From Culinate by Matthew Card, http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Contributors/Matthew+Card/farfalle_with_green_garlic_peas_and_herbed_ricotta

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Risotto with Turnips and Bacon

3 bacon slices
1 small onion
2 medium turnips (preferably with greens; about 1/2 pound total)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup Arborio rice

Garnish: freshly grated Parmesan

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon fat in pan. Chop onion. Peel turnips and cut into 1/4-inch dice (if using greens, cut into 1/4-inch-wide slices and chop stems). In a saucepan bring broth to a simmer and keep at a bare simmer.

Heat reserved fat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté onion, stirring, until just beginning to soften. Stir in turnips (and greens if using) and rice and sauté, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup simmering broth and cook, stirring constantly and keeping at a strong simmer, until absorbed. Continue simmering and adding broth, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and letting each addition be absorbed before adding next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total.

Crumble bacon. Serve risotto sprinkled with bacon and garnished with Parmesan.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Risotto-with-Turnips-and-Bacon-15760

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July 1, 2014 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

csa share – week 5

csa share week 5

Welcome to the 5th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Overwintered Onions
  • Garlic and Leek Scapes
  • Chard
  • Parsley – Need parsley inspiration?  Check out the recipes below and on the recipe page.
  • Carrots
  • Turnips – a mix of Hakurei and the purple topped Milan, which is a new one for us!  And don’t forget about tasty turnip greens!
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Salad Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Cherries

farm potluck

First off, many thanks to everyone that made it out for the farm visit Saturday evening.  What a fun group and perfect weather!  There was a great spread of food, kite flying, a farm tour that included strawberry picking, and the most intrepid visitors helped to get our pumpkin patched planted.  I have so much fun at these events that I forget to take photographs.  One of the best spring events to date!  We’ll have two more events later in the season if you missed out.

hilling potatoes

Our field work tractor, the White, has been out of commission for the past week.  Hydraulic cylinders seem to be an ever-present problem these days and once again Jeff had to remove one and take it into a local shop for repair.  We’re budgeting for a new tractor, but this one needs to get us through a little longer.

Needless to say, when the White is down we feel the limitations in our work: no mowing, no discing, no tilling (on a tractor scale), no fertilizer spreading, and no cover crop seeding.  Luckily for us there’s plenty of work to keep us busy in the meantime.  This week we focused on weeds.  We cultivated with the Farmall Cub, hoed with hand tools, and pulled weeds by hand.  There’s something especially satisfying when you’re able to rescue a crop from weeds. Those photos up above show progress hilling the potatoes, with the added benefit of killing some of the thistle that has taken up residence in the potato patch.  That’s satisfying work.

apples and cabbage

The combination of good weather, more time, and more experience seems to have gotten our season off to a nice start.  We’re constantly learning and re-learning the lessons of farming, but it does feel like we’re making progress.  A friend, and fellow farmer, told me a while back that year five was when things began to fall into place for her and she felt like she had a handle on this farming gig.  This is our sixth year into growing food for our community, and I think we’re finally experiencing a glimpse into a future where we also might have a handle on farming.  For now, we’ll continue to revel in the victories and attempt to learn from the failures.  On the bright side, the apples are coming along nicely!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Quick Pickled Leek Scapes

6 oz. leek tops, clipped about 6 inches below the bud (try this with garlic scapes too!)
1 garlic clove, sliced
½ tsp. pink peppercorns, crushed
1 tarragon sprig
⅔ cup white wine vinegar
1⅓ cups water
2 tsp. pickling salt
Bring a wide pan of water to a boil, and blanch the scapes for 2 minutes. Rinse them immediately in cold water, and drain them well. Then curl them into a jar.
Heat the vinegar, water, and salt just to a boil, and pour the liquid over the scapes. Once the jar has cooled, store it in the refrigerator. The scapes will be ready to eat within a day.
From Culinate By Linda Ziedrich, http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Contributors/linda_ziedrich/pickled_leek_tops
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Chard and Onion Omelet (Trouchia)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red or white onion, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 bunch chard, leaves only, chopped
  • Salt and freshly milled pepper
  • 1 garlic clove (try scapes)
  • 6 to 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch skillet, add the onion, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until completely soft but not colored, about 15 minutes. Add the chard and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has cooked off and the chard is tender, about 15 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, mash the garlic in a mortar with a few pinches of salt (or chop them finely together), then stir it into the eggs along with the herbs. Combine the chard mixture with the eggs and stir in the Gruyère and half the Parmesan.

Preheat the broiler. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet and, when it’s hot, add the eggs. Give a stir and keep the heat at medium-high for about a minute, then turn it to low. Cook until the eggs are set but still a little moist on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the remaining Parmesan and broil 4 to 6 inches from the heat, until browned.

Serve trouchia in the pan or slide it onto a serving dish and cut it into wedges. The gratinéed top and the golden bottom are equally presentable.

From Epicurious by Deborah Madison, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chard-and-Onion-Omelet-Trouchia-358311

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Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (try scapes)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to large serving bowl. Add herb butter and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately if desired.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Angel-Hair-Pasta-with-Broccoli-and-Herb-Butter-108539

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June 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm 4 comments

csa share – week 4

CSA share week 4

Welcome to the 4th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Overwintered Sweet Onions
  • Garlic and Leek Scapes
  • Chioggia Beets – bulls eye beets, with tasty beet greens too!
  • Garlic – this is the last of the cured garlic for a while, fresh garlic soon!
  • Turnips – a mix of Hakurei and the purple topped Milan, which is a new one for us!  And don’t forget about tasty turnip greens!
  • Fava Beans or Shelling Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Summer Squash or Broccoli side shoots

It’s week four of the summer CSA, and just like that we’re a month into the season!  We hope you’re able to make it out to the farm this Saturday for a farm tour and potluck with other CSA members.  Check your email for the full details.  And no worries if you can’t make it this time, you’ve got two more chances later in the season.

bees and peas

The weather this past week has been mostly cool and cloudy.  We even found ourselves harvesting in stormy weather yesterday including periodic rainstorms and thunder, if you can believe it.  Our experience has told us that June will always surprise us.  We were acclimated for summer sunshine and now the cloud cover has returned.  Such is June in Oregon.

I looked in on the bees briefly this week and they seem to be happily buzzing about their business.  They always remind me to think about what plants are flowering and wonder where they might be gathering their food.  The flower count is low compared to when the orchards were blooming earlier in the spring.  They seemed to be foraging pollen somewhere, as they were returning to the hive fully loaded.  Perhaps they’re spending time in the white clover growing in low patches around the farm.

broccoli

This week we’re sharing a bounty of broccoli with you.  We plant several successions of broccoli throughout the season and each succession includes multiple varieties.  Our first succession this season included the three varieties above: Gypsy, Packman, and Umpqua.  Each variety has unique characteristics including growth habit, head size, bead size, and whether it produces side shoots once the head has been harvested.  These three varieties also have around ten days between their maturity dates which helps us to have an extended harvest from a single planting.  If you think your two heads of broccoli don’t look alike this week, it might be true.  Can you tell which variety you got in your share this week?

onions and cherries

We’re also bringing you more overwintered onions this week.  Unlike other vegetables that we can plant many successions of throughout the season, bulbing onions are sensitive to the number of hours of daylight they receive.  Every year we get two chances to grow great onions.  We do a spring sowing for summer bulbs and a fall sowing for overwintering varieties that will bulb the following spring.

The overwintered slot has always been trickiest for us.  If they’re started too early they’ll go to seed in the spring and won’t bulb.  If they’re started too late, they may not be established well enough to make it through the cold winter.  Then, of course, there’s also the need to keep the weeds to a minimum, keep them well watered, and to fertilize appropriately.  We were lucky enough to hit the window this past year, and we’re excited to be sharing these gorgeous bulbs with you these past few weeks.  This week we’ve got sweet onions!  Grilled onions anyone?

This weekend marks the official beginning of summer with the arrival of the summer solstice.  We wait all winter for summer veggies and fruits and now we’re here!  We hope you’re enjoying the CSA season thus far and are looking forward to the diversity of produce ahead of us.  It’s only just begun!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens

  • 6 medium beets with beet greens attached
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut through root end into thin wedges
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel

Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop leaves and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool. Peel beets, then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.

Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk vinegar, oil, garlic, and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Beet-Salad-with-Oranges-and-Beet-Greens-109070

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Grilled Fava Beans

1 pound of fresh fava beans, still in their pods
a couple glugs of olive oil
a few pinches of salt

optional: crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and or chopped fresh herbs.

In a large bowl toss the fava bean pods with olive oil and salt.

Arrange them in a single layer on a grill over medium-high heat. If you’re using a grill pan, you may need to cook them in batches. If I’m using an outdoor grill I don’t bother covering the favas, but when I use a grill pan, I typically cover the pan with a flat baking sheet to keep more of the heat in the pan and circulating.

Grill until blistered on one side – 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and grill for a few minutes more on the other side. If you aren’t sure when to pull them off, take a pod off the grill, open and taste one of the beans. You want the fava beans to be smooth and creamy when you pop them out of their skins – not undercooked. But keep in mind that they’ll keep steaming in their pods for a few minutes after they come off the grill, unless you eat them as soon as you can handle the pods without singing your fingers – which is what I encourage you to do :)

Season the grilled favas with a bit more salt (if needed) and any herbs or lemon zest if you like. To eat: tear open the puffy green pods, take a fava bean, pinch the skin and slide the bright green fava from its slipper. Eat them one at a time and be sure to lick your fingers.

Serves 2 – 4

From 101 Cookbooks; http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/grilled-fava-beans-recipe.html

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Sugar Snap Pea and Cabbage Slaw

  • 2 1/2 pounds green cabbage (preferably Savoy), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (14 cups)
  • 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

Toss together cabbage and peas in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over slaw, stirring to combine well. Add salt to taste, then chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sugar-Snap-Pea-and-Cabbage-Slaw-235032

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June 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm 2 comments

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