Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Yellow Carrots – Remember, winter carrots are rough, but peel ‘em up and they’re tasty as ever.
- Golden Radishes
- Cauliflower – A white variety called Caprio and the stunning Purple Cape variety this week.
- Lacinato Kale Rapini
- Castelfranco Chicory & Spinach Mix
- Collards – Check out the Italian Vegetable Stew recipe down below. What a delicious way to eat up some collards!
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli - Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
- Lower Salmon River Winter Squash - We’ve been eating on one of these this week and enjoying the unique smooth texture and almost melon-like taste. Not the sweetest of winter squash, but certainly a keeper.
- Dried Apples – This is the last of our apple supply this year. A slim apple season last year has lead to fewer apples for drying.
Thanks again for working with us to switch up the last pick-up prior to our escape to the mountains for the farmer retreat. We appreciate everyone helping us out and we’re glad to be back on our regular schedule this week!
Although we’re a month away from the Spring Equinox, it appears spring has sprung in these parts. Our earliest plum trees are in bloom, the lacinato kale and some cabbage varieties are bolting into delicious rapini, and the weather has been dry enough to let us get into the field to work up our first ground of the season outside of greenhouse space. Of course it could begin raining any day and not stop until July. That’s spring, that’s farming.
This winter has been so mild and dry, that it makes us wonder if the deluge is just around the corner, or will this drought continue to cause water worries throughout the region as we head further into the growing season. For now the peas, spinach, and radishes are up in the field houses and we’re glad to seem them!
The past couple weeks have been some of our busiest all winter. Our schedule has been full of farmer meet-ups and field work. As you know, we headed to our annual farmer retreat in the mountains just after the last CSA pick-up. That photo above on the left is from a farmer slideshow session. The only thing better than visiting other farms is seeing photos of other farms projected on a big screen. We came home with pages of notes and some newly found inspiration. Can’t get any better than that. We also recently attended an amazing day of learning about winter squash put on by OSU. So much to learn! We’re excited to be growing some new-to-us varieties of winter squash this year including that Marina di Chioggia pictured above. Seriously delicious.
The weather has been so nice recently that we’ve frequently found ourselves working in the afternoons in t-shirts, having shed the layers of long sleeves throughout the day. In addition to a little tilling, and a little discing in of cover crop, we’ve been working to clean up our overwintering onions and garlic. Weedy grass had crept in and it took some serious hand weeding between the plants to free them from the weeds that could have really taken over if left unchecked. Seeing the rows of freshly weeded alliums makes us very happy farmers.
Every year is a different wild ride come spring, and this year appears to be no different, though much warmer thus far. We hope you’re enjoying the abundance from the fields this week! There’s no telling what March is going to look like.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
- 3/4 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well (about 1 leek)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 small russet (baking) potato, peeled, grated coarse (about 3/4 cup), and reserved in water to cover
- 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2 cups packed arugula, washed well and spun dry
- 3 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
- 1 slice of homemade-type white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small plum tomato, seeded and diced, for garnish
In a small heavy saucepan cook the leek with salt and pepper to taste in 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the garlic, the potato, drained, and the broth, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the potato is very soft. Stir in the arugula, simmer the mixture, covered, for 1 minute, and in a blender purée it in batches for 2 minutes, or until it is completely smooth. Transfer the purée to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stir in the half-and half, and chill the soup, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until it is cold.
While the soup is chilling, in small heavy skillet cook the bread cubes in the remaining 1 tablespoon over moderate heat, stirring, until they are browned, transfer the croutons to paper towels, and season them with salt. Divide the soup between 2 bowls and top it with the croutons and the tomato.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/arugula-vichyssoise-12096
Italian Vegetable Stew
- 1/2 1-pound loaf sourdough bread, torn into 2″ pieces (about 6 cups)
- 1 bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed
- 1 bunch Tuscan or other kale, center ribs and stems removed
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig marjoram or oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved Parmesan (for serving)
Scatter bread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Let stand at room temperature to slightly dry out, about 2 hours.
Working in batches, cook collards and kale separately in a large pot of boiling salted water until slightly softened, about 3 minutes per batch. Rinse to cool. Squeeze out excess water; roughly chop. Set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and leek; stir often until softened, 8-10 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes, crushing with your hands as you add them. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to the bottom of the pot, 10-15 minutes.
Add broth, beans, thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, and reserved greens; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until flavors meld and soup thickens slightly, 40-50 minutes. DO AHEAD: Soup can be made 2 days ahead. Let cool slightly; chill until cold. Cover and keep chilled. Reheat before continuing. Store bread airtight at room temperature.
Just before serving, gently stir bread and 1/4 cup oil into soup. Divide among bowls, top with Parmesan, and drizzle with oil.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Brandon Jew, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/italian-vegetable-stew-51149120
Cauliflower Chow Chow
- 4 cups 1/2″ cauliflower florets (cut from 1 large head)
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 5 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (generous) dry mustard
- 1 1/4 teaspoons (generous) celery seeds
Cook cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain cauliflower. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine vinegar, onion, sugar, mustard seeds, dry mustard, and celery seeds in a large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves.
Add cauliflower to saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer mixture and pickling juices to a 1-quart jar. Let cool slightly, cover, and chill. Serve within 1 month.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-chowchow-366690