summer csa share – week 6

csa share week 6

Welcome to the 6th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix – This stuff saved us this week.  Big salads with shredded carrots and creamy dressing and tuna salad wraps stuffed full of lettuce made multiple appearances on our plates.
  • Cabbage
  • Fava Beans
  • Bunching Onions
  • Fennel – Check out the fennel pickle recipe down below.  You’ll be glad you did.
  • Cucumbers – Hey, something new!  Picklers and slicers all around.  Not interested in pickling the picklers?  Then just treat them like slicers!
  • Beets
  • Summer Squash
  • Strawberries or Tomatoes – Choose your fruit!  Sweet strawberries or tangy tomatoes, you choose this week.
  • Dry Beans – These beauties have been hanging out in storage since the end of last season.  Like dry beans from the grocery store, these should be rinsed to let any debris we missed float to the surface to be discarded.

long days

During January cold snaps I sometimes try to remember back to the heat of summer.  I imagine the overwhelming heat of the summer sun, the longest days ever, the constant thoughts of iced beverages and river swimming and sweet fruits.  In a blink we’re here, in the midst of an early summer heatwave, struggling to keep hydrated and wondering why it’s still so hot at 8pm.  These 90 degree days have me trying to conjure memories of cold and rain.

This week we borrowed a friend’s undercutter bar implement for our tractor to get our garlic harvested.  In the past we’ve always spent far too much time using a digging fork to loosen the garlic from the soil.  As I mentioned last week, our garlic was hit by rust fungus this spring and was not looking particularly healthy.  We think the combination of the heat and the rust was just too much for the plants.  Anyhow, we weren’t looking forward to spending a lot of time harvesting a sad garlic crop.  Luckily the offer came to borrow this implement just in time.

The tool consists of a sharp bar that digs down 8 inches or so into the ground and is pulled along the bed under the roots of the garlic plants, loosening them as it goes and making pulling them a lot easier.  I didn’t get a photo, but here’s a video if you’re interested to see it in action.  As expected, the harvest was slim, but it’s done!  Now the garlic is curing in the rafters of the barn and we’ll begin sharing it with you shortly.

potatoes

On Saturday, while we were harvesting garlic, a couple of graduate students from Washington State University dropped by to sample insects in various crops.  Their main focus is sampling in broccoli plantings but they’ve expanded since last year’s sampling to look at lettuce and potato plantings too.  They do visual scans and take notes but also set pit traps for overnight sampling and use a backpack vacuum (think leaf blower, but it sucks instead of blows) to take samples.  It’s an impressive operation and was super interesting to see the different insect populations for each crop sampled.  Crops that are near each other have very different pest pressures, which is something we knew but hadn’t ever really contemplated.  Seeing the insects in mesh bags from each crop side-by-side was a handy visual for understanding what we’re up against.  It’s a complicated world out there in the field.

As we look ahead this week it looks like we’re in for more of the same hot weather.  We’ll be planting up a storm, and of course weeding, and irrigating, and dreaming of winter rain.

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:

Many thanks to Chris A. for sharing this Fennel Pickle recipe with us in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group!

Fennel Pickles

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon cut into 4 or 5 slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb with 3 inches of stalk and fronds
  1. Toast all the seeds in a pan till fragrant
  2. Place water, vinegar, toasted seeds, sugar, salt, and lemon slices into a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the stalks and fronds off the bulb. Trim the stalks and use a vegetable peeler to remove the more fibrous outer skin, then slice them in half. Reserve the fronds.
  4. Slice the bulb down the middle from top to bottom. Remove the core.
  5. Separate the fennel by it’s natural layers, then slice each layer into 1-inch wide strips. I also like to take a vegetable peeler to the outermost layer since that can also tend to be a little more fibrous than the tender inner layers.
  6. Once the brine is boiling, remove it from the heat. Add the fennel and fronds.
  7. Allow to cool, uncovered.
  8. Once completely cool, store the fennel and brine (being sure to keep all the seeds but remove the lemon) in a jar or air-tight container and place in the fridge. Wait 24 hours before eating. I don’t know how long they stay good for, they never last long enough for me to find out.

From Food52, http://food52.com/recipes/21353-fennel-pickles

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Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

  • 16 ounces (about 4) medium golden and/or red beets
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then remove skins. (You can rub them off with a paper towel.) Slice beets into thin wedges. Make dressing: Blend grapeseed oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and sesame oil in a blender on high until frothy; season with salt and pepper. Combine beets, arugula, tomatoes and fennel in a bowl; add 2 tablespoon dressing (reserve the rest); toss. Top with goat cheese.

From Epicurious via SELF by Merritt Watts and Chef Hari Pulapaka, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-and-goat-cheese-salad-360349

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Seared Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped English hothouse cucumber (about 1/2 large)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded serrano chiles
  • 4 7-to 8-ounce mahi-mahi fillets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 6 ounces small red and yellow cherry, pear, or grape tomatoes, halved

Combine cucumber, onions, cilantro, 4 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, and chiles in processor. Using on/off turns, blend mixture until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Season with more vinegar, if desired, and salt and black pepper.

Sprinkle fish fillets on both sides with salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook 5 minutes. Turn over, cover, and cook until fish is just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes.

Divide gazpacho sauce among 4 plates. Top each with 1 fish fillet. Scatter tomatoes atop and around fish and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seared-mahi-mahi-with-green-gazpacho-sauce-354849

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summer csa share – week 5

csa share week 5

Welcome to the 5th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix
  • Chard
  • Peas –  The last of the season’s peas!  These are big sugar snaps.  You get to decide to eat the pods or treat them like shelling peas and only eat the peas inside.  We think at this point they’re best sautéed.
  • Overwintered Onions – Remember back last week when I mentioned that most of our overwintered onions bolted?  Well, here we have some fine specimens to share with you.  Plenty of tasty onion, just know that the center core might be a little different.
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Flowering Pea Tendrils
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes – Some of the last of last season’s potatoes.  They’re sweetened up after time in our very cold cooler.  Often potatoes are sprayed to keep them from sprouting, but not these guys! 
  • Garlic – Our garlic crop has been decimated by the awful Rust fungus.  It’s a sad sight, but it has us appreciating last year’s garlic harvest.  This garlic is indeed from last season.  Some cloves are a little sprouty, but it’s tasty yet.  We’ll see what comes of this year’s garlic soon.
  • Summer Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Leek Flowers – Beautiful in a vase, but the flowers are tasty too!  Sauté with the peas, or sprinkle them on your salads.

*Are you a P&C CSA member?  If so, are you getting our weekly member emails?  Let us know if you need to be added to the list.  Also, check your Spam folders for past emails from us.  These emails are our best way to communicate to the whole group and we’d love to know you’re hearing from us.*

Summer has officially arrived with the passing of the Summer Solstice on Sunday, and it’s not messing around.  We’re facing some serious heat this next week.  Be safe out there in the world.

crops

Over the past couple of months we’ve filled up the farm with succession after succession of crops.  First in the field houses and then in the fields we planted and planted and planted.  Big plantings of winter squash and onions and potatoes, many successions of lettuce and carrots, hopeful plantings of rhubrarb and artichokes for harvest in future years.  And now we’re in maintenance mode.  There’s less to plant at the moment, but lots to weed and trellis and water and fertilize and harvest and prune and…

season

… somehow it’s time to begin sowing overwintering crops.  It starts with the cabbage in June for transplanting in July and continues until we’ve got the garlic and favas in the ground in October.  Each year around this time I consult the Big Willamette Winter Gardening Chart put together by our friends over at the Seed Ambassadors project.  The Chart includes details about winter hardy crops including when to start the seed, when to plant, and just how cold they’re likely to survive.  We’re lucky to have such an fantastic resource for our region!

This year -round farming gig is truly year-round.  Plans need to be made and seeds need to be sown months in advance of an expected harvest.  With the goal of beginning the winter CSA season with our storage crops in abundance and fields full of winter hardy greens, we must begin to prepare now.  Just as the summer crops are beginning to produce, winter is already lurking around the corner.

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:

Salmon with Sweet Chili Glaze, Sugar Snap Peas, and Pea Tendrils

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1/4 cup Asian sweet chili sauce*
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger, divided
  • 6 6-ounce salmon fillets with skin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
  • 3 cups pea tendrils** or pea sprouts** (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray. Whisk chili sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon ginger in small bowl. Place salmon fillets, skin side down, on prepared sheet. Spoon chili sauce marinade over and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Preheat broiler. Spoon any marinade remaining on baking sheet over salmon fillets. Broil salmon without turning until browned in spots and almost opaque in center, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness of fillet.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in wok or heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon ginger and minced garlic; stir until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add sugar snap peas and stir until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, and pea tendrils and stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drizzle with sesame oil.

Place 1 salmon fillet on each plate. Spoon warm pea mixture over salmon fillets and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Ivy Manning, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/salmon-with-sweet-chili-glaze-sugar-snap-peas-and-pea-tendrils-358190

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Summer Vegetable Frittata

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 oz prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb medium zucchini (about 3), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 5 medium Swiss chard leaves, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 12 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 5 zucchini blossoms*
  • 2 ozfinely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Preheat broiler.

Whisk together eggs, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Cook prosciutto in oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until edges begin to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and chard and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add scallions and zucchini blossoms and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.

Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.

*Available at many farmers markets and specialty produce markets.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Angelo Pellegrini, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-vegetable-frittata-109668

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Rava Dosas with Potato Chickpea Masala

For masala filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/3 cup dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 (3-inch) fresh jalapeño, coarsely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 (2 1/2-inch) piece peeled ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 (15-to 19-ounces) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (do not thaw)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

For rava dosas:

  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Vegetable oil for brushing

Make Masala filling:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to a bowl and cover with cold water.

Toast coconut in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out skillet. Toast cumin seeds in skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet frequently, until fragrant and just a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Transfer to another small bowl. Reserve skillet.

Purée jalapeño, ginger, and garlic in a blender with curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric, oil, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth. Transfer purée to skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until thickened slightly, about 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 8 minutes.

Drain potatoes, then add to onion mixture with cumin seeds and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are barely tender, about 10 minutes.

Add chickpeas and remaining 1 1/2 cups water, scraping up any brown bits, then briskly simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender, 16 to 20 minutes more. Add peas and cook, covered, until just tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in toasted coconut and cilantro.

Make dosas while potatoes cook:
Whisk flours, cumin seeds, salt, and water in a bowl.

Generously brush a 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pour 1/2 cup batter into skillet, swirling until bottom is coated. Cook, undisturbed, until dosa is set and edges are golden, about 2 minutes. Flip using a rubber spatula and cook dosa until underside is golden in spots, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate. Make more dosas with remaining batter, stacking and covering loosely with foil to keep warm. To serve, spoon masala filling into dosas.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/rava-dosas-with-potato-chickpea-masala-356035

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summer csa share – week 4

csa share week 4

Welcome to the 4th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Salad Mix
  • Turnips – mostly the smooth hakurei salad turnips, but a few lucky folks will be aking home Milan turnips this week.
  • Garlic Scapes – the flowering stalk of garlic plants, dice it up and throw it in any recipe where you want to add a garlicky flavor.  Garlic scape pesto is pretty fantastic too!
  • Sweet Onions – These are overwintered!  Planted last fall they made it through the winter and, unlike the majority of their cohort, they didn’t bolt!  We’ll be sorting through the bolters soon, but for now enjoy the amazingness that is the sweet onion.
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Shelling Peas – The past week’s heat was hard on the peas.  We think they’re pretty great, but be warned some may be a tad starchier than perfect.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Summer Squash Hold on to your hats, the summer squash is back!
  • Cherries – Our single cherry tree is awesome.  It never seems possible, but we picked enough cherries from it this morning for half pints all around!  Hurrah for the cherry tree!

june crops

Summer seems to have arrived early in these parts.  Walking the length of the farm, it looks like mid-summer.  The sight and sound of near constant irrigation sprinklers on one field after another, dried grass where they don’t quite reach.  The green of spring crops and the yellow of straw is the palette of the farm this June.  Luckily there are splashes of color too.  The red cherries hiding among the leaves of the cherry tree, the periwinkle flowers on the chicory seed crop, the red/pink/orange/yellow stems of the Rainbow chard.  It’s been all sunny and blue skies this week, easy to get lost in the midday glare of the hot sun.  We’re thankful for overcast skies this morning as we finish the week’s harvest.

fishy

This past week we had our annual organic inspection!  In March we submit the renewal paperwork that lists any changes from the previous year.  The paperwork is reviewed at the Oregon Tilth offices and an on-site inspection is scheduled.  The majority of the inspection is spent inside, reviewing paperwork and records and seed packets.  We’re asked questions about our organic fertilizer inputs, and the inspector reviews our soil tests and amendment labels to confirm we’re not over-fertilizing or using products not allowed in organic production.  We’re asked questions about groundwork, crop rotations, and cover cropping and we show our records and future plans for both.  We’re asked questions about our seeds and we share our spreadsheet and receipts for organic seed purchases and organic seed searches when we choose to use non-organic seed.  We’re asked about sales and harvest records and we show our accounting software system and our harvest lists.  And after all the paperwork has been reviewed we do a field walk to demonstrate that what we said we’re doing on paper is in fact what we’re doing in the fields.

This is our sixth season of undergoing the organic certification process and I think it was the first time we didn’t find ourselves scrambling to organize records at the last minute.  It’s possible we’re getting better at organizing the records we need as the season bumps along.

Of course we did some other stuff this week too.  As promised last week, there was weeding in the onions and carrots and strawberries.  But there was also the fixing of the grinding Farmall Cub clutch, and the direct sowing of carrots, cilantro, dill, parsnips and pumpkins, the sowing of cucumber, summer squash, cabbage, collard, lettuce, corn, basil, and kohlrabi successions!  Whew!  That’s a lot of tiny seeds in the ground or in cell trays in the propagation house.  It’s quite the magic to plant the seed, watch it grow, keep a steady work pace, and suddenly realize there’s food to harvest.  Quite the magic.

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:

Poached Wild Salmon with Peas and Morels

  • 2 6-8-ounce center-cut wild salmon fillets (each about 1 1/2″ thick)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces fresh morels; sliced, stemmed shiitake; or other mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup shelled fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or 2 pea tendrils

Place salmon, skin side down, in a large high-sided skillet. Add wine, 2 tablespoons salt, and cold water to cover salmon by 1/2″. Cover pan; bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, uncover, and gently poach salmon until just cooked through and barely opaque in the center, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer salmon and 2 tablespoons poaching liquid to a plate; tent loosely with foil.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup salmon poaching liquid and peas and simmer until peas begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add cream and bring sauce to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a spatula, transfer salmon, skin side up, to paper towels. Gently peel off and discard skin. Invert onto serving plates and spoon sauce over. Garnish with chives.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by by Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/poached-wild-salmon-with-peas-and-morels-395473

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Kohlrabi Fritters

  • 2 kohlrabi
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ cup grapeseed or vegetable oil (enough for ¼-inch depth in a large skillet)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Green onions (for garnish)
  1. Cut the leaves off the kohlrabi and peel the bulb. Peel 1 carrot. Shred the vegetables in a food processor, or by hand using a grater. Squeeze the shredded vegetables in a tea cloth (or with your hands) to remove moisture, then add to a medium bowl with 1 egg, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Mix to combine.
  2. Place ½ cup oil in a large skillet (enough for ¼-inch depth). Heat the oil over medium high heat, then place small patties of the fritter mixture into the oil. Fry on one side until browned, then fry on the other side. Remove and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  3. In a small bowl, mix ½ avocado, ¼ cup plain yogurt, juice from ½ lemon, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to make the avocado cream (or blend the ingredients together in a food processor).
  4. Serve fritters with avocado cream and sliced green onions.

From A Couple Cooks via The Kitchn, http://www.acouplecooks.com/2013/01/kohrabi-fritters-with-avocado/

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Radish-Cabbage Coleslaw

  • 1 1/2 pound cabbage, cored and thinly sliced (6 cups)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced

Toss cabbage with salt in a large bowl and let stand, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey mustard, and pepper in a small bowl until combined.

Rinse cabbage with cold water in a colander, then firmly squeeze handfuls to remove excess water and transfer cabbage to cleaned bowl. Add radishes and dressing to cabbage, tossing to combine.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/radish-cabbage-coleslaw-238393

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summer csa share – week 3

csa share week 3

Welcome to the 3rd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula
  • Salad Mix
  • Carrots
  • Garlic Scapes – the flowering stalk of garlic plants, dice it up and throw it in any recipe where you want to add a garlicky flavor.  Garlic scape pesto is pretty fantastic too!
  • Leek
  • Fava Beans
  • Chioggia Beets – Two words: beet pizza!  And don’t forget those greens.  Prepare them like chard and eat them up!
  • Lacinato Kale – We’ve got a case of the flea beetles something fierce.  They’ve been munching on your kale a little, but after you cook it up a little you’ll hardly notice. 
  • Snap Peas!
  • Fennel
  • Strawberries

With the heat of the last few days, it’s hard to remember that just a week ago we were harvesting in the rain.  What a difference a week makes!  High temps lead to long work days on the farm, and the past few days have been very long indeed.    We hope you’re all being safe during this early June heatwave.  Stay cool and enjoy the veggies. 

foods

Each summer I’m amazed by the bounty available.  The strawberries!  The tomatoes!  The cucumbers!  Inevitably I try to squeeze in time to dry, can, and freeze as many of the seasonal treats that pass through the farm as I possibly can.  Of course summer is the busiest time on the farm so I’ve learned to focus my efforts on our favorites.  As the season progresses I attempt to stock our shelves with tomato sauce, dried basil, dried peppers, roasted pepper sauce, pickled beets, pickled cucumbers, dried tomatoes, ketchup, and bbq sauce.  In the freezer we’ve got frozen corn, strawberries, strawberry jam, blueberries, cherries, winter squash puree, and of course basil hazelnut pesto.  For anyone interested in preserving I can’t recommend the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving enough.  The basic recipes and clear instructions are a go-to for me and although I have an older edition I imagine the updated versions are just as great.

At this point in the season I realize things are ramping up toward fresh harvests of all our summer favorites.  It’s time to work through jars we haven’t yet eaten up and clear out the freezer to make room for this year’s preserving efforts.  That photo up above shows roasted red pepper sauce, dried cherry tomatoes, pickled golden beets, and dried basil headed to the top of a pizza.  Mmmm, pizza.

peas

You’ll notice an increase in the amount of snap peas in the share this week.  We’ve transitioned from our first planting of Sugar Ann peas in a field house to the next succession of Cascadia and Super Sugar Snap peas which has done well outside.  Can you tell the difference between the varieties?  As is often the case with the CSA, you are reaping the reward of a bountiful harvest!  It might be a good chance to try to preserve the snap pea goodness by pickling them, or freezing for future use.

planting

This past weekend we hunkered down here on the farm, and pressed through the big heatwave, to attempt to get caught up on our transplanting.  We managed to plant successions of Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, flour corn, sweet corn, lettuce, and basil.  With that big planting out of the way we can now get back to focusing on the weeds, which incidentally have been loving this heat!  Watch out weeds, we’re coming for ya!

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:

Spring Egg-Drop Soup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 6 small spring onions, bulbs only, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 medium spring garlic bulbs, 1-2 garlic scapes, or 2 regular garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, sliced on a diagonal 1/2″ thick
  • 1/4 pound sugar snap peas, sliced on a diagonal 1/4″ thick
  • 2/3 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 2/3 pound pods)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, spring onions, and garlic and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 15-20 minutes.

Add broth and bring to a boil. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and peas and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon water.

Reduce heat to low and stir basil and mint into soup. Drizzle in egg mixture in 4 or 5 spots around pot. Let stand for 1 minute so egg can set, then gently stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season soup with salt and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve soup topped with more Parmesan.

From Epicurious via Bon Appetit by April Bloomfield, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spring-egg-drop-soup-51161050

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Spring Vegetable Risotto

  • 1 cup medium-grain rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (use garlic scapes)
  • 1 leek, tender white part only, finely chopped
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, wispy ends removed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, or dry vermouth
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (see Cooks’ Note)
  • 1 cup shelled English peas
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the rice in a sieve and rinse under a steady stream of cool water, stirring the grains. When the water runs clear, stop rinsing and shake the sieve to drain off excess water.

Coat the inside of a medium rice cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Set the rice cooker to the regular cycle or to quick cook if it’s a fuzzy-logic machine. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter; add the garlic, leek, spinach, and fennel; and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the leek is softened. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the rice and chicken broth and stir to distribute the ingredients.

Cover the rice cooker and reset to the regular cycle. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, stir in the fava beans and peas. Cover and allow to steam for an additional 5 minutes on the keep-warm setting or with the machine turned off. (Many rice cookers, including all fuzzy-logic machines, do this automatically.) Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and the Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Cooks’ Note To remove the tougher skin from fava beans, blanch them in boiling water for 1 minute, drain in a colander, and when cooled, slip off the skins.

Many times in restaurants, you will get a risotto that isn’t creamy; it happens when the cook is distracted and doesn’t watch the rice. Well-made risotto has some thickened liquid along with the rice; that’s what makes it creamy, rather than a gelatinous mass. As the rice sits on your plate, it is still cooking and will absorb the remaining liquid.

From Epicurious via The Everyday Rice Cooker by Diane Phillips, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spring-vegetable-risotto-56389576

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Roasted Beet and Sugar Snap Pea Salad

  • 3 medium beets, trimmed
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dillweed.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 2/3-ounce packages fresh arugula, trimmed.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel beets and cut into wedges.

Cook sugar snap peas in large saucepan of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Pat dry.

Mix mustard and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually mix in oil, then dill and sugar. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover sugar snap peas and chill. Cover dressing and beets separately and let stand at room temperature.)

Line platter with arugula. Mix beets, sugar snap peas and dressing in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon atop arugula.

From Epicurious via Bon Appetit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-and-sugar-snap-pea-salad-606

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summer csa share – week 2

csa share week 2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Onion Scapes – These are the immature flower stalks of overwintered onions.  Grilled or sauteed, they’ll add flavor to any dish.
  • Head Lettuce – A trio of original lettuce varieties from Wild Garden Seeds in Philomath, Ore this week.  Red-Earred Butterheart Butterhead for everyone and then choose between Mayan Jaguar Romaine and Blushed Butter Oak Butterhead for your second head.
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Fava Beans – Ahh, the amazingness that is fava bean season.  Although they take a little extra prep time, the buttery beans are worth the effort!  No time for shelling?  Try grilling the whole pod.
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – We love these raw, but we’ve heard surprisingly good reviews of roasting them too!
  • Chard
  • Snap Peas
  • Kohlrabi
  • Strawberries – Double the strawberries this week, double the yum!

We hope everyone had a fantastic first week with the CSA and that you’re ready for more vegetables!  We’ve seen some amazing meals posted in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group over the last week and are looking forward to seeing what you cook up with this week’s share.

fields

Each winter we keep busy with projects around the farm and the every other week harvests for the Winter CSA.  We begin sowing some seeds and doing small plantings in February and the work steadily increases through March and April.  Then May arrives, and with it the full force of farming in spring.  As the day lengths grow and the sun sets ever later, the To Do list also lengthens.  May is a blur of sowing seeds, transplanting, irrigating, weeding, and harvesting.  And now here’s June, which from experience is much like May, but warmer.

transplanting

So this past week after the excitement of the first Summer CSA days, we’ve endeavored to mark things off the To Do list.  We trellised the tomatoes.  We weeded the beans and potatoes and celery and celeriac and kale and peppers.  We hilled the potatoes.  We trellised the peas.  We sowed the pole beans.  We prepped ground for sweet potatoes.  And we transplanted the melons and winter squash.  Whew!

That photo up above is from a few weeks back, taken by my mom, and shows our new transplanting set-up.  For folks who weren’t following us over the winter, we purchased a new tractor and water-wheel transplanter last fall.  We began using the combo this spring and though we’re still getting used to a few quirks, it’s been a fairly amazing advancement.  As you can see the tractor pulls the transplanter.  Water from the tank on top of the transplanter drains into a wheel below the tank that moves along the bed and punches holes at the set spacing (6 inches, 1 ft, 2 ft etc) effectively creating perfectly spaced muddy holes to plant transplants into.  The plants are happy to get water, and sometimes organic fertilizer, right away and our backs are happy not to be bending over for hours getting plants in the ground.  Win-win!

pigs

Again, if you haven’t been keeping up during the winter months, you may not know we added some pigs to the farm!  In April we bought four Old Spot/Duroc cross weaner pigs and have been watching them steadily grow into teenagers over the last couple of months.  We’ve trained them to hot wire fencing and they’ve been extremely well behaved thus far.  The only escape we’ve experienced was during a fence move when one pig crossed through a hot fence into an area that was no longer fenced in.  I think he was as shocked as we were and after a few seconds of staring each other down he braved the hot fence a second time to re-join the other pigs.

As you might imagine, it’s been quite the adventure this spring on the farm.  Between new animal chores and the familiar vegetable chores we’ve been certainly keeping busy.  Now to get a few more things marked off that To Do list.

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:

Shrimp and Fava Beans

  • 1 cup kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 pounds whole fava pods, about 1 1/2 cups beans after shelling
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup fruity white wine
  • 1 or 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish

Set a large pot on the stove. Put in 1 gallon water and 1 cup kosher salt. Bring to a boil. Ready a large bowl of ice water.

Tear open the fava pods and remove the beans, discarding the outer pods. Place the beans in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cooled, remove the outer hull of each bean and place the shelled beans in a bowl, discarding the hulls. Set aside.

Place the butter and the shrimp in a wide skillet and set on the stove. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and stir as the butter melts and the shrimp begin to cook. Season with salt and pepper and add lemon juice and white wine. As the temperature rises, keep a close eye on the shrimp, stirring frequently. Remove with a slotted spoon when the shrimp are pink and slightly curled. Set aside.

Add the peeled favas to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the favas are heated all the way through, then taste for seasoning and adjust. Be sure to taste both the beans and the liquid. Add the radishes to the pan and turn off the heat. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to combine. Divide the shrimp and fava mixture with the juice among 4 bowls, and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Root to Leaf by Steven Satterfield, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shrimp-and-fava-beans-56389505

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Romaine Salad with Chives and Blue Cheese

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1 1/2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese

Place lettuce in large bowl. Whisk oil, lemon juice, shallot, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in chives. Drizzle dressing over lettuce and toss to coat. Sprinkle cheese over and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-salad-with-chives-and-blue-cheese-106303

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Shaved Kohlrabi with Apple and Hazelnuts

  • 1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 2 medium kohlrabi (about 2 pounds total), peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1 tart apple (such as Pink Lady or Crispin), peeled, cored, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh mint leaves, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces Pecorino di Fossa or Parmesan, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Toss kohlrabi, apple, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with salt. Add 1/2 cup mint and gently toss to just combine.

Toss toasted hazelnuts and oil in a small bowl to coat; season with salt.

Divide kohlrabi salad among plates and top with seasoned hazelnuts, Pecorino, and more mint.

DO AHEAD: Hazelnuts can be toasted 1 day ahead; store airtight at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Ignacio Mattos, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shaved-kohlrabi-with-apple-and-hazelnuts-51214700

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summer csa share – week 1

csa share week 1

Welcome to the 1st week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Onion Scapes – These are the immature flower stalks of overwintered leeks.  Grilled or sauteed, they’ll add flavor to any dish.  Check out this blog post for more info and grilling inspiration!
  • Salad Mix
  • Leek
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Parsley – We treat parsley like a cooking green.  It’s great sauteed with scrambled eggs!
  • Bok Choy
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – We love these raw, but we’ve heard surprisingly good reviews of roasting them too!
  • Spinach – We’ve been eating spinach in cheese quesadillas with a little creamy dressing.  Mmmm!
  • Snap Peas
  • Pea Shoots – Raw or wilted, these add a little spring goodness to any dish.
  • Popcorn – This week’s popcorn has me remembering my elementary school’s popcorn machine that would be brought out for carnivals and read-in days.  What could be better than a bag of fresh popcorn and a whole day to read?  These days we make our popcorn on the stove, but you could put some in a paper bag and microwave it if that’s more your style.
  • Strawberries – Just a taste this week, but hopefully the first of many weeks to come!

transplants

Welcome to the sixth season of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  We’re  so glad you’ve decided to join us for the next 27 weeks of eating seasonally.  We’re excited to welcome back returning members and to welcome many new members to the group.

Everyone should have received an email from us this past week with a link to the CSA Member Resources page where you’ll find CSA member details, tips, and important dates, including those for this season’s upcoming on-farm events.  Please be sure to add those dates to your calendar for future reference.  Also, be sure to let us know if you didn’t receive the reminder email and we’ll get you added to the list.

spring plants

In future newsletters we’ll attempt to keep you updated on farm happenings and give you a behind-the-scenes look at where your vegetables are grown.  We’ll also always include a few recipes for combinations of that week’s share items.  You can find this week’s recipes at the bottom of this page.  Need more suggestions?  We have an archive of recipes on our Recipe page if you need further inspiration and you can always join in the conversation in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group to query fellow members or suggest great recipes of your own.

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead.  The greens of the spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of the summer over time and hopefully we’ll have a few surprises along the way.  Thank you for choosing to support our farm as you also choose to eat seasonally, locally, and organically.  We leave you with this first share of the season, knowing you will create and eat good food.

Let’s get this season started!

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:

Soba with Pea Shoots, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Leeks

  • 4 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced  thin crosswise, washed thoroughly, and patted dry (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps sliced
  • 4 scallions, sliced thin  (or use onion scapes!)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, or to taste
  • an 8- or 9-ounce package soba (buckwheat noodles)
  • 1/2 pound pea shoots, washed well and spun dry

In a large skillet cook leeks in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, soy sauce, and vinegar and cook 1 minute.

In a kettle of salted boiling water cook noodles 5 minutes or according to package directions. Put pea shoots in a colander and drain cooked noodles over shoots to wilt them. Rinse mixture in cold water and drain well.

In a bowl toss noodles with pea shoots and stir in cooked vegetables. Season mixture with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

From Epicurious, via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/soba-with-pea-shoots-shiitake-mushrooms-and-leeks-12060

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Sliced Baguette with Radishes and Anchovy Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 to 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 16 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
  • 10 radishes (such as French Breakfast), trimmed, thinly sliced on diagonal
  • Additional chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

Mix butter, 2 chopped anchovy fillets, and 2 tablespoons chives in small bowl, adding 1 more chopped anchovy fillet to taste, if desired. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread anchovy butter over 1 side of each baguette slice. Top each baguette slice with radish slices, overlapping slightly to cover bread. Garnish with additional chopped chives and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Tasha De Serio, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sliced-baguette-with-radishes-and-anchovy-butter-364610

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Spinach and Leek Gratin with Roquefort Crumb Topping

  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons horseradish Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 1/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs from crustless French bread
  • 1 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese (generous 4 ounces)
  • 3 9-ounce bags spinach leaves
  • 1 8-ounce leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons mustard, then breadcrumbs. Sauté until breadcrumbs are golden, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly. Mix in cheese.

Toss 1 1/2 bags spinach in large nonstick pot over high heat until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to sieve set over bowl. Repeat with remaining spinach. Press on spinach to drain.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 4 minutes. Add cream, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard, and spinach. Toss until thick and blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to 7×11-inch baking dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spinach-and-leek-gratin-with-roquefort-crumb-topping-232888

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winter csa share – week 12

winter csa share week 12

Welcome to the 12th and final week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Leeks Scapes – These are the immature flower stalks of overwintered leeks.  Grilled or sauteed, they’ll add flavor to any dish.  Check out this blog post for more info and grilling inspiration!
  • Salad Mix
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Cauliflower – The last of the overwintering cauliflower came on just in time to finish up the winter CSA.  Two heads for everyone!  We’re thinking that might be enough for a little quick pickling experimentation.
  • Bok Choy – We hear bok choy makes for a great green smoothie base.
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – We love these raw, but we’ve heard surprisingly good reviews of roasting them too!  And please oh please don’t forget the turnip greens!
  • Spinach – Big bunches of Beaujolais spinach this week. 
  • Cabbage – Mixed varieties this week, the last of our storage cabbage from the cooler. 
  • Spring Onion Scapes – Similar to the leek scapes, these are the flower stalks of overwintering onions.  Prepare them like scallions or green onions and enjoy!
  • Crimson Clover Flower Bouquet

Somehow we’ve already made it to the final week of the winter CSA!  Thinking back over the past five months I’m thankful for the mild weather and the amazing diversity that came out of the fields all winter.  We hope you enjoyed eating seasonally this winter and we really appreciate you joining us on this adventure!  Now we’re looking forward to the summer ahead and the next season’s bounty!

crimson

We’re including a bouquet of crimson clover flowers in your share this week.  We grow crimson clover in our cover crop mix for its nitrogen fixing abilities.  To reap the greatest benefits from the cover crop we try to re-incorporate it just as it begins to flower but we also like to let some fully bloom for the bees.  The splash of color at this time of year is wonderful in the field, and we thought you might like to enjoy it at home too.

There appears to be a mixed consensus about the medicinal qualities of consuming crimson clover.  Some folks say it makes a great herbal tea while others proclaim it’s toxic!  I imagine the truth is somewhere in between.  Medicine can be dangerous.

discing and planting

When we make our planting schedule in the winter we can only guess at what the season ahead has in store for us.  We make the plan, and get ready to change the plan.  As we’ve started getting crops in the ground in earnest it’s been interesting to see what’s going in on schedule and what’s getting in early.

Some of the changes are due to needing more space in the greenhouse.  A few weeks back we planted our first tomatoes into the high tunnels because we were running out of space in the propagation house.  This week we transplanted our first succession of corn because it was ready to go and because we needed more space on the tables we use for hardening off plants when they come out of the propagation house before getting transplanted in the field.

Somehow we haven’t been late with any crops according to the plan.  Let’s hope that trend continues!

planting and weeding

We’ve hunkered down and gotten this farming show on the road.  As I mentioned two weeks ago, we’re figuring out the new transplanter and the rows are straighter and in-row spacing is better than ever!  Although some of the closer-spaced crops do seem to take longer to plant than when we were doing it by hand in the past, our backs are not feeling the hurt of bending over for hours and hours.  I’d call that a win.

peas and melons

And now we’re deep into preparations for the Summer CSA.  In a few short weeks we’ll be back to weekly shares of the bounty!  The peas are coming on soon and that’s only the beginning.  In the two week gap between the winter and the summer CSA programs we’ll be planting out more tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, summer squash, melons, cucumbers, winter squash, leeks, celery, celeriac, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, basil and the list goes on!

Note that many of these crops will be harvested in the fall and into next winter.  For instance the leeks and leek scapes we’ll be enjoying in April and May 2016 will be transplanted into the field very soon.  Hurrah for year-round farming!  Thanks for your support throughout the year.  We can’t say it enough, we couldn’t do it without you!  Thanks for supporting our local, organic farm and eating seasonally in this world full of choices.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see some of you in three weeks with the beginning of the Summer CSA!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Majorcan-Style Vegetable and Bread Stew

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui), finely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 large head)
  • 1 1/2 cups small cauliflower florets (about 1/4 small head)
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked paprika*
  • 3 14-ounce cans vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 8 4x3x1/2-inch slices country-style wheat bread
  • Oil-cured black olives
  • Sliced radishes

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté until golden and beginning to soften, about 7 minutes. Stir in cabbage and cauliflower; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, thyme, and rosemary; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add paprika and stir 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in spinach; simmer uncovered 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Immerse 4 bread slices in broth in pot. Place remaining 4 bread slices atop broth; press to submerge. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake uncovered 10 minutes.

Serve stew from pot. Pass olives and sliced radishes alongside.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/majorcan-style-vegetable-and-bread-stew-106488

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Smoky Mountain Wilted Lettuce Salad

  • 1 3/4 lb Bibb or Boston lettuce (4 heads), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions – or use scapes!
  • 3 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 6 bacon slices
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put lettuce, scallions, and eggs in a salad bowl.

Cook bacon in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet. Add vinegar and sugar to bacon fat and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until sugar dissolves. Whisk in cream, salt, and pepper, then boil until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

Pour hot dressing over salad and toss well. Season salad with salt and pepper, if necessary, and crumble bacon over top.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/smoky-mountain-wilted-lettuce-106737

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Grilled Asian Chicken with Bok Choy, Shiitake Mushrooms, and Radishes

  • 8 1/3-inch-thick rounds red onion
  • 8 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
  • 8 red radishes, trimmed, halved
  • 4 baby bok choy, halved lengthwise
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 8 strips
  • 1 1/4 cups Mango-Sesame Dressing, divided
  • 6 boneless chicken breast halves with skin
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Arrange all vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet. Brush vegetables lightly on both sides with 1/3 cup Mango-Sesame Dressing; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Arrange chicken on sheet of foil. Brush both sides of chicken with 1/3 cup dressing, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Vegetables and chicken can be prepared 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Coat grill rack generously with nonstick spray and prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill vegetables until just tender, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes for onion rounds and 4 minutes for mushrooms, radishes, bok choy, and pepper strips. Return all vegetables to same baking sheet.

Grill chicken until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to cutting board. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Cool 2 chicken breasts; wrap and chill for Asian Chicken-Noodle Salad.

Arrange remaining 4 chicken breasts and vegetables on platter. Serve with remaining dressing.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Selma Brown Morrow, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-asian-chicken-with-bok-choy-shiitake-mushrooms-and-radishes-359329

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winter csa share – week 11

winter csa share week 11

Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Leeks
  • Salad Mix
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Pea Shoots – These are for eating, not planting.  Great in salads or sauteed.
  • Cauliflower
  • Bok Choy
  • Collard/Cabbage Rapini – You can eat the stems, leaves, and florets of the rapini.  Yum!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – We love these raw, but we’ve heard surprisingly good reviews of roasting them too!
  • Spinach
  • Parsley – Such a fresh taste!  We like making up a creamy parsley salad dressing.
  • Red Bunching Onions
  • Pea Starts – We offering up our extra snap pea starts.  Plant them for future peas or cut them and eat the greens now.

Last month a long-time CSA member passed away and we recently attended her memorial service.  I’ve been debating writing about it here, but it seems fitting to share this loss with our wider CSA community.  Patty and Dave joined the CSA back in 2010, the first year we had a CSA program but we first met them as market customers in 2009 at the Saturday Market.  We have a notecard from October of that first season from them, written as both congratulations for making it through and encouragement to keep on going.  That was Patty, always encouraging and supporting and appreciating.  The last couple of years had been rough, as she fought cancer and the complications of cancer, but she lived life as an example for the rest of us, not giving up easily.  The last time we saw her, in between hospitalizations, she brought us some amazing apple cookies still warm from the oven.  That was Patty, always sharing the bounty.  Our thoughts are with Dave as he finds his way in this new world.

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It’s been an awfully busy couple of weeks since the last pick-up.  Spring has sprung and after a deluge of rain, the weather cleared up enough for us to get busy farming!  We welcomed new livestock to the farm and planted a whole lot of vegetables.  Here’s the re-cap:

bees

I think I mentioned a few weeks back that we were looking forward to hosting bee hives for a local commercial beekeeper.  After bringing them back from their working vacation in the California almond orchards, the beekeepers parked 28 hives in our back woodlot!  The bees appear to be settling in and are happier with the warmer temps the last few days.  They’re spending their days foraging in the flowering kale seed crop and in the fruit trees that are still blooming.  Hurrah for bees!

tomatoes

As I said, we’ve done a lot of planting these past couple of weeks.  After the big rains, while we waited for the fields to dry out again, we took advantage of the dry space inside two field houses and transplanted our slicer and cherry tomatoes.  It’s earlier than ever for tomato transplanting for us but so far so good.  We’ll be keeping an eye on the low temperatures in the coming weeks and cover them if needed.  In a few weeks we’ll hopefully be ready to transplant the rest of our tomatoes into the field.  Time is really flying by!

planting

Last fall Jeff hit the cover crop sweet spot and sowed rye grain and clover into most of the fields that didn’t have vegetables overwintering in them.  The cover crop helps with soil stability, keeping the soil in place and reducing leaching during (the normal) winter rains.  The clover in the mix fixes nitrogen, so we get to spend less on importing organic fertilizer.  In the spring we mow the cover crop and then work it back into the soil as a green manure.  It takes some time for the cover crop to break down, but after some more preparations, eventually the ground is ready to plant into again.

Before the big rains we planted out the majority of our potatoes.  We planned for an early planting and Jeff mowed and worked in the cover crop over the last month.  We purchased 450lbs of organic seed potatoes this year and planted out fourteen 275ft beds.  It was a long day, but we timed it well and the rain started just as we finished up.  We have a few more beds of saved potatoes to plant out, but we still need to go through our potato stockpile.

Anticipating ahead of time, Jeff had prepped the ground for our first big transplanting and direct sowings of the season as well.  This past weekend we planted out our first field rounds of lettuce, fennel, parsley, radishes, turnips, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi, and chard.  Whew!  Our new tractor/transplanter combo was a champ!  We felt better than ever after such a large planting and the transplants were happy in their new watered-in homes in the field.

pigsAnd what about that livestock?!  We welcomed 4 young pigs to the farm last week.  They’re our first foray into non-poultry and non-pet animals on the farm and so far we love them!  They’ve been extraordinarily well-behaved for the few days we’ve had them and it’s been hard not to hang out and watch them settle in to their new home.  For folks interested in breeds, they’re a cross between an Old Spot sow and a Duroc boar.  They’ve begun to take to us as the people with the food and water, and this morning at pig-breakfast I even got to give them each a scratch on the back.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pea Shoot and Spinach Salad with Bacon and Shiitakes

  • 1 (1/4-pound) piece double-smoked bacon*
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh pea shoots (4 cups)
  • 4 ounces baby spinach leaves (4 cups)
  • 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks
  • *Available from specialty foods shops and by mail order from Citarella (212-874-0383).

Cut bacon into 3/4-inch-thick matchsticks and cook in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp but still chewy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Pour off fat from skillet and add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.

Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large salad bowl until blended.

Add pea shoots and spinach to dressing and toss to coat. Add bacon, mushrooms, chives, and radishes and toss again.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pea-shoot-and-spinach-salad-with-bacon-and-shiitakes-105007

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Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets, including tender leaves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 4 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25–30 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until very finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower with lemon-parsley mixture and top with lemon zest.

DO AHEAD: Lemon-parsley mixture can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Dawn Perry, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-lemon-parsley-dressing-51198450

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Pot Stickers

Filling

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
  • 3/4 cup sliced bok choy stalks (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed sliced bok choy leaves (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
  • 14 ounces ground pork
  • 1/3 cup finely sliced scallions
  • 2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons white rice wine
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Dough

  • 2 cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 6 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 cup water

1. To make the filling, first water blanch the bok choy. In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon salt and the baking soda (if using). When the water returns to a boil, add the bok choy stalks and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the bok choy leaves and blanch for 1 minute, or until the leaves turn bright green. Immediately turn off the heat. Run cold water into the pot, then drain off the water. Repeat.

2. In a large bowl, place the bok choy, the 1 teaspoon salt, and all of the remaining filling ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or 2 pairs of wooden chopsticks, mix the ingredients together, stirring them in one direction. Stirring in this way ensures the mixture will become a cohesive filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. The longer it rests, the easier it will be to work with.

3. To make the dough: In a large bowl, place the flour and make a well in the center. Gradually add the water to the well, and use your fingers to combine it with the flour until it is absorbed and a firm dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough in the bowl for about 15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours.

4. Dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, and keep the others covered with the damp cloth. Using your palms, roll into a log 12 inches long. Cut crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Using a small rolling pin, roll out each piece into a 3-inch round. Keep the work surface well dusted with flour as you work.

5. Place 1 round on the palm of one hand, place 1 tablespoon of the filling on the center, and fold the round into a half-moon. Using the thumb and forefinger of the other hand pleat the seam closed, making from 5 to 7 pleats. Repeat to form more dumplings until all of the rounds are used. Cover the dumplings with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, then repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough in two batches to make a total of 36 dumplings.

6. In a cast-iron frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil over high heat. When a wisp of white smoke appears, turn off the heat and place 18 of the dumplings in the pan. Turn on the heat to medium and allow the dumplings to cook for 3 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into the pan and allow the dumplings to cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Reduce the heat to low and allow the dumplings to cook for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom and the skins are translucent on top. To ensure the dumplings cook evenly, move the pan back and forth on the burner to distribute the heat evenly and prevent sticking.

7. Remove to a heated dish and serve. Because these dumplings are best eaten hot, serve in batches.

Notes:

These dumplings can be frozen uncooked for up to 6 weeks. Dust them liberally with flour to prevent sticking, then stack them neatly, separating the layers with sheets of waxed paper. Next, wrap them in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then wrap again in heavy-duty aluminum foil and slip into the freezer. To cook them, thaw and allow to come to room temperature, then cook as directed.

These dumplings are eaten with a ginger-vinegar dipping sauce that is as traditional as they are. In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup red rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup peeled and finely shredded ginger. Let stand for 30 minutes before use. Then serve the sauce in a common bowl, from which each diner can spoon the sauce over a dumpling. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

From Epicurious via Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pot-stickers-357550

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winter csa share – week 10

winter csa share week 10

Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Salad Mix
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Collard Rapini – Like the purple sprouting broccoli, you can eat the stems, leaves, and florets of the rapini.  Collard rapini is our very favorite!  Check out the P&C CSA Member Facebook group if you’re looking for some rapini inspiration.
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onions
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!

blossoms

The farm has burst into blossom this past week or so.  The pears, apples and lone cherry tree are all blooming.  It sure feels like spring here!  Although the return of the more typical rainy spring weather patterns has us antsy and constantly checking the weather for the next window of dry days, the flowering fruit trees can’t help but make us smile.

kale seed crop

The fruit trees aren’t alone in their flowering quest.  Many of the overwintering vegetables have decided it’s time to go to seed, including the collard rapini in this week’s share!  The photo above is of a kale seed crop we’re currently growing for our friends at Adaptive Seeds.

Deciding to grow a Brassica seed crop like kale means signing up for major rapini management to avoid crossing pollination.  For instance the kale crop we’re growing will cross with some other kales, cabbages, collards, and broccoli, all of which are also in various stages of flowering.  We love to eat the rapini from these plants and hate to mow them when they’re at the height of tastiness.  We try to visit the Brassica patch each day to cut back any potential flowering stems that might contaminate the kale seed purity.  It’s worth the effort for a good seed crop and we hope you think the rapini is worth the effort too!

chicks

This past weekend we made some minor improvements to our “Chicken Courier” and brought home 30 chicks to re-start our layer flock.  There’s a mix of Golden Laced Wyandotte and Ameraucanas for those who are curious about chicken breeds.  They won’t begin laying for some time, but it’s fun to have chickens on the farm again.  We began with backyard chickens back in 2006 and had chickens of varying numbers ever since until the past fall when we made the decision to start over with a new flock because they were eating their eggs.  We’re looking forward to having fresh eggs available again!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Steak Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Horseradish dressing:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Steak salad:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1-pound rib-eye, flank, or skirt steak
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces fingerling potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 English hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 6 radishes, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 cups greens (such as arugula or torn Bibb lettuce leaves)
  • Pickled Red Onions

For horseradish dressing:
Whisk sour cream, horseradish, chives, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

For steak salad:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked to desired doneness, 5-8 minutes per side for medium-rare rib eye, about 4 minutes per side for flank steak, or 3 minutes per side for skirt steak. Transfer meat to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.

While steak rests, wipe out skillet and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, season with salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 8-10 minutes.

Slice steak and serve with horseradish dressing, potatoes, cucumber, radishes, greens, and Pickled Red Onions.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/steak-salad-with-horseradish-dressing-51149200

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Jerusalem Artichoke and Arugula Salad with Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, trimmed, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 5-ounce bag arugula
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved

Whisk orange juice, vinegar, and mustard in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Combine Jerusalem artichokes, arugula, and Parmesan in large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to coat. Divide among 6 plates and serve.

Test-kitchen tip: Because Jerusalem artichokes discolor quickly, peel and slice them just before serving.

 From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/jerusalem-artichoke-and-arugula-salad-with-parmesan-230920

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Fettucine Carbonara with Fried Eggs

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
  • 12 ounces egg fettuccine
  • 1 medium bunch broccoli rabe rapini),* cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk 4 eggs, both cheeses, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl; set aside. Cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to small bowl. Reserve skillet with drippings.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender (about 3 minutes less than package directions); add broccoli rabe. Cook just until broccoli rabe is crisptender and pasta is tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain pasta-broccoli rabe mixture, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return hot pasta-broccoli rabe mixture to pot (off heat). Immediately add egg-cheese mixture, pancetta, and 1/4 cup hot cooking liquid; toss to combine, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten as needed. Season to taste with salt and more pepper, if desired. Cover to keep warm.

Heat skillet with drippings over medium heat. Crack remaining 4 eggs into skillet; sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook until whites are opaque, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn eggs over; cook just until whites are set but yolks are still soft, about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Top pasta with eggs and serve.

* A vegetable with clusters of tiny broccoli-like florets; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fettucine-carbonara-with-fried-eggs-351015

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winter csa share – week 9

winter csa share week 9

Welcome to the 9th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula Rapini
  • Garlic
  • Carrots – Remember, winter carrots are rough, but peel ‘em up and they’re tasty as ever.
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Red Russian Kale Rapini
  • Collard Rapini
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Braising Mix – a mix of kales, chard, cabbage rapini, and mustards that will do well braised or for the more adventurous would make a lovely winter salad.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Spaghetti Winter Squash
  • Dry Bean Mix – Those of you that joined us last summer will remember these beans from summer shares.  Our extra green beans left to dry, now making up this colorful mix.  We’ve been enjoying them in burritos of late.

I imagine when you joined the Winter CSA, it was all winter squash and roots and hardy greens that you saw filling your shares.  Thanks to the mild winter we’ve been able to include  a diversity of other items, and this week is rapini madness!  The overwintered kale and cabbage and collards are all ready to go to flower but bunching up those tender, sweet bolts is oh so hard to avoid.  We’ve been eating rapini in stir frys, over eggs, in burritos, in pies, and of course straight out of the field!  We love rapini season to bits, and hope you do too.  Isn’t it fun to see and taste the differences between the arugula, kale, and collards?  Which is your favorite?

spring potluck

Many thanks to the few folks that made it to the farm this past Saturday for the Winter CSA potluck.  It was a small showing, but a great day for a farm visit.  The rain held off all day and the wind was just right for kites.  While we love to see a big crowd enjoying the farm, we really appreciated the opportunity to chat with those members that made it out.

Apologies again for forgetting to include a reminder two weeks ago in the newsletter.  Hopefully everyone received my belated email reminder last week.  We realize now that we scheduled it for the first weekend of spring break, which is a very hard thing to compete with indeed.

seeding

In the past two weeks, since we last met, we’ve been keeping busy filling up the propagation house, doing a little transplanting and seed sowing in the field and in high tunnels, and prepping the ground for transplanting into the fields.  It’s been a fantastic start to the growing season and for once we feel nearly right on track with things.

We’ve potted-up most of our tomatoes from 72-cell trays into 3-inch pots and moved them out of the propagation house and into a smaller greenhouse shack.  This gives the growing tomatoes enough room to size up properly and allows us to move the next successions of tomatoes and peppers to the limited space on the heat tables in the prop. house.  It’s a delicate dance this time of year trying to leave the heat-loving plants on bottom heat as long as possible.  The tomatoes are doing well and we’re already looking forward to the summer fruits.

I’ve been doing some research on cut flowers recently and am hoping to finalize a plan for successions of a few varieties of flowers soon.  The photo above is of calendula seeds, which don’t make for the best cut flowers but do have amazing seeds that look like they washed up on a beach to me.  I’d love to hear you favorite cut flower suggestions!

transplanter

We transplanted strawberries for the inaugural use of our new water wheel transplanter.  If you remember, we bought the transplanter late last year just after the new tractor arrived and we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet.  It worked like a dream and we now have over 1000 strawberry plants growing happily in very straight rows and with very even spacing.  Plus our backs were especially thankful.

For those interested, here’s a bit about how the transplanter works.  It’s pulled by the tractor down the beds.  As it moves along the bed, a wheel with triangular punches turns and makes holes at even intervals.  A tank on top of the transplanter holds water, and sometimes fertilizer, that flows into the wheel and thus into the holes the wheel makes.  The person riding on the back of the transplanter plants starts directly into the watery holes by hand. It’s a simple design that also allows for variability and customization along the way.

This week’s rain came just in time for us to focus on the CSA harvest, but soon the sun will return and we’ll be back in the field.  Spring is officially here and it’s time to get farming!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Squash and Root Vegetable Slaw

  • 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives
  • 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Combine 1 1/2 cups each shredded raw kabocha or butternut squash, rutabaga, and sweet potato in a large resealable plastic bag. Place 1 1/2 cups shredded raw celery root in a large bowl of water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to prevent browning; cover. Chill shredded vegetables overnight. Drain celery root. Transfer shredded vegetables to a large bowl. Add 2 peeled, quartered, cored apples cut into matchstick-size pieces (we love crisp, balanced Fuji). Add 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and 1/2 cup 1″ pieces chives. Add 3/4 cup Granny Smith Apple Cider Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Add more vinaigrette, if desired. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Kay Chun, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/squash-and-root-vegetable-slaw-51124270

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Orange and Radish Salad

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange-flavor water*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • coarse salt to taste
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 2 large radishes, preferably with leaves, reserving small leaves for garnish,
  • *available at specialty foods shops and some supermarkets.

In a small bowl stir together lemon juice, orange-flower water, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt until sugar is dissolved.

With a serrated knife cut away orange peels and pith, discarding them, and cut oranges crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange orange slices on a platter and pour lemon juice mixture over them. Let orange slices macerate 30 minutes.

Trim radishes and halve lengthwise. Cut radishes into thin half circles and scatter over orange slices. Garnish salad with radish leaves.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/orange-and-radish-salad-12479

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Spiced Squash Pancakes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 small jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash, patted dry
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add shallots, jalapenos, and ginger and cook, stirring, until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in cumin and coriander and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in squash, eggs, and flour. Wipe out skillet, then lightly coat skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium. In batches, add batter in 1/4 cupfuls to skillet and cook until pancakes are golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer pancakes to oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.

From marthastewart.com via Everyday Food, http://www.marthastewart.com/873338/spiced-squash-pancakes#Spaghetti%20Squash%20Recipes|/275670/spaghetti-squash-recipes/@center/276955/seasonal-produce-recipe-guide|873338

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