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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winter csa share – week 8

winter csa week 8

Welcome to the 8th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Carrots – Remember, winter carrots are rough, but peel ‘em up and they’re tasty as ever.
  • Shunkyo Long Pink Radishes
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini
  • Green Cabbage – This cabbage is a variety called Stanton that we grew as a trial.  Heavy, semi-savoy heads just in time for your favorite St. Patrick’s Day cabbage dishes.
  • Potatoes – An attempt at red, white, and blue potatoes.  They look rough but taste delicious.  Maybe next time we’ll get them aligned with a patriotic holiday.
  • Spinach
  • Bunching Onions
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Corn Flour – Jeff fired up our 1947 Farmall Cub and attached our grinder to it to mill our dried Cascade Ruby Gold corn!

Did you know it’s CSA sign-up season?  Many thanks to everybody who has already signed-up to join us for the summer season.  Your early commitment really helps us plan for the season ahead.  We still have quite a few spaces open though.  Please spread the word to your friends and family and co-workers!  We’re accepting new members for the summer season!

blooming

I’m sure you’ve all noticed the crazy amazing weather we’ve been experiencing lately.  We tend to always see a planting window in the early spring, but never anything quite this long and warm.  Truthfully we’ve been a little baffled by it all, trying to guess how to adjust our ground work and planting plans.  We hear some folks are already irrigating.  If it keeps up like this, we’re going to be in for a long, hot summer.

The fruit trees seem to think it’s spring too.  We met with a family of beekeepers recently and we’ve struck a deal for them to keep some of their hives here at the farm through the summer and fall.  Their bees are currently down in California helping to pollinate the almonds.  They can’t get back to the Willamette Valley soon enough for us.  Our plums are in full bloom and many of the pears are also already beginning to bud out.  We’re looking forward to the increase in pollinators!

sights

In the past couple of weeks we’ve continued the winter farming conference circuit.  We attended the Small Farms Conference at OSU where Jeff spoke at one session about being certified organic.  We also learned some great things about plant diseases, farm profitability, orcharding, and even how to make a clarinet out of a carrot!  We also attended a meeting at OSU focused on plant breeding for organic systems. Finally, we attended a series of workshops related to selling to institutions like school districts and hospitals.  The focus of this series has been on food safety and the documenting of food safety efforts on the farm.  It’s got us realizing that we should keep better records in that area!

mouseq

In between the field work and the meetings we’ve been making progress in the propagation house sowing seeds for future transplanting.  We were seeing excellent early germination of our tomatoes and peppers, best ever!  Until they were decimated by a sneaky mouse that began eating the tops off every plant with a seed still attached to the emerging leaves and digging up freshly sown seeds.  Determined to save the solanums, Jeff doubled his trapping efforts and eventually we caught the culprits.  I guess that’s one reason we start them so early.

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:

Cornbread with Caramelized Apples and Onions

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium red- or pink-skinned apples (such as Pink Lady), thinly sliced
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt butter in an 8″ cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Pour all but 2 tablespoons butter into a small bowl; set aside.

Add onion to butter in skillet; season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add apples, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons thyme and cook, stirring often, until apples are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a medium bowl and reserve skillet.

Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3 tablespoonss sugar in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and 3/4 cup reserved melted butter until smooth (no lumps should remain). Fold in half of onion mixture and scrape batter into reserved skillet. Top with remaining onion mixture and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.

Bake cornbread until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

DO AHEAD: Cornbread can be made 6 hours ahead. Reheat before serving, if desired.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cornbread-with-caramelized-apples-and-onions-51198760

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Corned Beef with Cabbage

  • 4 lb corned brisket of beef
  • 3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 6 to 8 small onions
  • 1 teaspoon dry English mustard
  • large sprig fresh thyme and some parsley stalks, tied together
  • 1 cabbage
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the brisket into a saucepan with the carrots, onions, mustard and the herbs. Cover with cold water, and bring gently to a boil. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut in quarters and add to the pot. Cook for a further 1 to 2 hours or until the meat and vegetables are soft and tender.

Serve the corned beef in slices, surrounded by the vegetables and cooking liquid. Serve with lots of floury potatoes and freshly made mustard.

From Epicurious via Epicurious by Darina Allen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corned-beef-with-cabbage-241775

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Butternut Squash Lasagna Rolls

Butternut Squash

  • 1 pound peeled butternut squash, diced
  • kosher salt

Lasagna Rolls

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, cooked according to package directions, cooled, and squeezed dry
  • 1 3/4 cups (15 ounces) fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 9 lasagna noodles, wheat or gluten-free, cooked
  • 9 tablespoons shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the butternut squash
Place squash in a large pot with enough water to cover the squash by 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until soft, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove butternut squash with a slotted spoon and place in a blender with 1/4 cup of the liquid it was cooked in. Reserve an additional 1 cup of liquid and set aside.

For the lasanga rolls
In a medium nonstick skillet, add the oil and saut¿he shallots and garlic over medium-low heat until soft and golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add pureed butternut squash, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of fresh cracked pepper adding about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid to thin out the sauce until smooth. Stir in the parmesan cheese and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan, egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the black pepper.

Ladle about 1/2 cup of the butternut sauce into the bottom of a 9 ¿13-inch baking dish.

Put a piece of wax paper on a work surface and lay the cooked lasagna noodles out on it. Make sure the noodles are dry. Spread 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over each noodle. Carefully roll them up and put them seam side down in the baking dish. Ladle the remaining sauce over the lasagna rolls and top each with 1 tablespoon mozzarella. Tightly cover the dish with foil.

Bake until the inside is heated through and the cheese is melted, about 40 minutes.

From Epicurious via Epicurious by Gina Homolka, with Heather K. Jones, R.D., http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-lasagna-rolls-51252500

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winter csa share – week 7

winter csa share week 7

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • 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
  • Celeriac
  • Castelfranco Chicory & Spinach Mix
  • Collards – Check out the Italian Vegetable Stew recipe down below.  What a delicious way to eat up some collards!
  • Leeks
  • 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!

spring farming

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!

gatherings

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.

alliums

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!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Arugula Vichyssoise

  • 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

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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

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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

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winter csa share – week 6

winter csa week 6

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

  • Arugula
  • Chesnok Red Garlic – A great variety for cooking and baking with a creamy texture.
  • Beets
  • Turnips or Radishes – Milan Turnips or Golden Radishes, what a choice!  We think either would be fun roasted up with beets.
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage Rapini – When mature plants overwinter they often want to bolt, or go to seed, come spring.  These shoots are delicious and I secretly love them more than asparagus.  Seriously.  Treat them like broccoli, but eat them in everything.
  • Potatoes
  • Castelfranco Chicory – Our winter salads are all about the Castelfranco!  With a little creamy dressing we can eat this for days.  Add a little shredded beet and it’s winter sweetness perfection.
  • Spinach – the majority of this spinach mix is a variety called Beaujolais from our friends at Uprising Seeds.  The red veins make for a striking salad or saute and we can’t help but love it.
  • Cabbage – This semi-savoyed variety is called Deadon.  The outer leaves are a striking purple, but the inner leaves are all green.  We’ve been eating sweet cabbage slaw on sandwiches and in burritos and can’t get enough!
  • Leeks
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – our earliest sprouting broccoli!  Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Spaghetti Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples

Pick-up Reminder: We’ll be out of town at a farmer retreat this week so we’re moving the CSA pick-up to today Sunday, February 8th.  We’ll be set up at our usual spot at the Willamette Heritage Center during the usual 4:30pm-6pm time frame.  Please let us know if you can’t make it to today’s pick-up and we’ll make arrangements to deliver it to you. seeding This past week we sowed the first seeds of 2015.  It’s hard to believe, but there it is.  Just a handful of flats of bok choy, lettuce, and parsley to get started in the propagation house followed by rows of arugula, spinach, radishes, salad turnips, peas and carrots out in field houses.  So much possibility in those seeds.  So much hope.

On a fun note, we sowed our own arugula and bok choy seed saved this past season.  When we planted too much last spring and both crops matured before the start of the summer CSA we decided to turn them into seed crops and let them flower.  Luckily both were open-pollinated varieties so saving our own seed wasn’t an issue.  Also nothing else was blooming at the time here on the farm that might cross with either crop.  A small victory in seed saving!

food

Seeding isn’t the only thing making this season feel like it’s already really moving along.  The arrival of this very early overwintering cauliflower we’re growing as a trial crop is impressive.  It’s a month or two ahead of our regular varieties!  Last year at this time we were snowed in, busying ourselves with clearing greenhouses of snow, our only solace being that the worst of the damage to plants in the field had already happened back in December.  This year we’re harvesting spinach!  Oh the difference a year makes!

As you know we’re having the CSA pick-up early because we’re headed off to a farmer retreat in the mountains for a few days.  This has become a yearly expedition for us and we always return inspired for the season ahead.  As we head out this year, we’re already excited about this coming season, ready to hit the ground running.  We’re committed to growing food.  We thank you for buying and eating the food we grow!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks (at the regularly scheduled Tuesday time)!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pressed Coppa Sandwiches with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Broccoli rabe pesto:

  • 1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini; about 1 large bunch)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Assembly:

  • 8 slices country-style bread
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced sweet coppa or prosciutto
  • Olive oil (for skillet)

For broccoli rabe pesto:
Cook broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling salted water until bright green, about 30 seconds; drain (reserve pot). Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Squeeze out water; cut into 1″ pieces.

Combine broccoli rabe, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in reserved pot. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until broccoli rabe is very soft, 40-50 minutes. Let pesto cool slightly. Mix in Pecorino and honey.

For assembly:
Build sandwiches with bread, provolone, coppa, and broccoli rabe pesto. Brush a large skillet with oil; heat over mediumlow heat. Working in batches and brushing skillet with oil as needed, add sandwiches to pan, cover with foil, and place a heavy skillet on top. Cook until bread is toasted and cheese melts, 4-5 minutes per side (you can also use a lightly oiled panini press).

DO AHEAD: Pesto can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Chris Kuziemko, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pressed-Coppa-Sandwiches-with-Broccoli-Rabe-Pesto-51154940

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Beet and Cabbage Borscht

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage (about 1/2 pound)
  • a 6-ounce boiling potato, peeled and grated coarse
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • a 16-ounce jar whole beets, drained, reserving the liquid, and shredded
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, or to taste
  • sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish if desired
  • minced fresh dill for garnish if desired

In a large saucepan cook the onion in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the garlic, the cumin seed, the cabbage, and the potato, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, 1/2 cup water, the beets with the reserved liquid, the vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste, bring the liquid to a boil, and simmer the soup, covered partially, for 25 minutes. Divide the soup between 2 bowls and garnish it with the sour cream and the dill.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-and-Cabbage-Borscht-10922

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Radicchio, Grapefruit, and Spinach Salad

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 white grapefruits
  • 1 10-ounce head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces (use the chicory mix instead)
  • 8 ounces spinach leaves, , torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted

Combine vinegar and fennel seeds in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cut all peel and white pith from grapefruits. Cut grapefruits between membranes to release segments. Stir segments into dressing. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Toss radicchio, spinach and olives in bowl. Add grapefruit segments and dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétithttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Radicchio-Grapefruit-and-Spinach-Salad-103216

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winter csa share – week 5

winter csa week 5

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

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula – two words: arugula pizza.
  • Garlic
  • 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.
  • Carola Potatoes – Similar to Yukon Gold, these yellow potatoes are great for baking and boiling.
  • Winter Carrots – It’s been a long winter for these carrots in the field.  They’ll need trimming.
  • Tatsoi
  • Red Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – our earliest sprouting broccoli!  Eat the florets, eat the leaves, eat the stems, eat it up yum!
  • Carnival Winter Squash – due to our low winter squash yields this past season, we purchased this squash from the good folks at Kenagy Family Farms in Albany, OR.
  • Dried Apples

About the Next Pick-up: We’ll be out of town at a farmer retreat in two weeks so we’re moving the CSA pick-up to the previous Sunday, February 8th.  We’ll be set up at our usual spot at the Willamette Heritage Center during the usual 4:30pm-6pm time frame.  Please let us know if you can’t make it to the Sunday pick-up and we’ll make arrangements to deliver it to you.

harvest

This past week we were asked to speak to the Lebanon Garden Club.  What a great group of ladies!  They had us from the beginning when they recited their conservation pledge:

“I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of the air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.”
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We had fun explaining the CSA concept and talking about winter farming.  We raffled off 28 different items from the farm including vegetables and other products like popcorn and corn flour.  Hopefully the members enjoyed our discussion as much as we did, and had fun figuring out what to do with the winter foods they ended up taking home.

sunny

This winter has been fairly mild so far and we’re happily still harvesting plenty of food from the fields.  Hurrah for purple sprouting broccoli!  Last year at this time I was writing about the big snow storm that had kept us busy clearing greenhouses in fear of them collapsing and the sprouting broccoli was long since melted to the ground.  This last weekend we had a day in the high 60s and I couldn’t help but wear shorts while cultivating the overwintering onions.  What a difference a year makes!

wintry

The cool foggy weather settled back in quickly though, and it’s been back to the rain gear for this week’s harvest.  The bright spots, in addition to that one warm sunny day, have been our amazing mail days as packages of seeds have been filling our mailbox.  Seedy mail might be the best kind of mail.  So many possibilities in each envelope.

As we look forward to the season ahead we’re feeling excited to see where it takes us.  Maybe we’re finally getting the hang of this farming thing, as we begin our seventh season.  Or more likely this mild winter and our new tractor/transplanter combo has boosted our confidence to new levels.  Either way, we’re ready to get some seeds in the ground.  Spring is just around the corner and we’re ready!  Many thanks to all of our members for joining us on this journey.  We hope you’re just as enthused for the season to come!

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:

Grilled Halibut with Tatsoi and Spicy Thai Chiles

  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce*
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Thai bird chiles with seeds or 1/2 large jalapeño chile with seeds, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 4 6- to 7-ounce halibut fillets
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound tatsoi or baby spinach (about 12 cups packed)

Mix first 7 ingredients in medium glass bowl. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place carrot in medium bowl. Cover with ice water. Let stand 15 minutes, then drain well. Brush fish on all sides with 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; stir 1 minute. Add tatsoi; sprinkle with salt. Toss until tatsoi is wilted but still bright green, about 2 minutes; divide among 4 plates.

Place fish atop tatsoi. Sprinkle each fillet with carrot; drizzle each with 2 tablespoons sauce. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Halibut-with-Tatsoi-and-Spicy-Thai-Chiles-232263

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Fried Sunchoke Chips with Rosemary Salt

  • 2 pounds unpeeled sunchokes (also called Jerusalem artichokes),* scrubbed
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

Fill large bowl with cold water. Slice sunchokes into thin rounds (about 1/16 inch thick), immediately dropping into bowl of water to prevent browning. Rinse and drain 3 times. Pat very dry with paper towels.

Pour enough oil into large deep skillet to reach depth of 1/2 inch. Submerge bulb of deep-fry thermometer into oil; lean top of thermometer against skillet rim. Heat oil to 375°F. Mix 1 tablespoon salt and rosemary in small bowl. Using fingertips, blend well, rubbing salt and rosemary together.

Working in batches, fry sunchoke slices until golden brown, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer chips to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle chips with some rosemary salt. DO AHEAD: Chips can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Mound chips in bowl and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Kate and Scott Fogarty, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fried-Sunchoke-Chips-with-Rosemary-Salt-356889

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Apple-Filled Acorn Squash Rings with Curry Butter

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, diced (about 2 1/3 cups) (the dried apples might be fun here)
  • 2/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 8 1-inch-thick unpeeled acorn squash rings (from 2 medium), seeded

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon curry powder; stir 1 minute. Add apples, apple juice, and currants. Sauté until liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt 5 tablespoons butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon curry powder; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer curry butter to bowl. Brush 2 large rimmed baking sheets with some curry butter. Arrange squash in single layer on sheets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Scoop filling into center of rings. Drizzle remaining curry butter over squash and filling (mostly on squash). Cover with foil. Bake squash rings until squash is tender when pierced with skewer, about 40 minutes. Using spatula, transfer squash rings with filling to plates.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Apple-Filled-Acorn-Squash-Rings-with-Curry-Butter-105808

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Summer CSA Sign-up Time!

csa 2013

Hello from Pitchfork & Crow!

The countdown to summer vegetables has begun…

We’ve finished up our planting plan for the upcoming year and packages of seeds are filling our mailbox.  It’s still early, but we’ll be sowing the first seeds of 2015 very soon!  In the coming weeks we’ll be pruning the fruit orchards and tilling the first ground for spring crops.  It’s time to get this season started!

It’s also time to think about the Summer CSA.  We’re officially accepting new CSA members for the 2015 summer season.  We’ve posted the details and a link to the sign-up form on the Summer CSA page here: http://pitchforkandcrow.com/community-supported-agriculture/.

These are the 2015 Summer CSA program basics:

  • 27 weeks – running from May 26th thru November 24th
  • $675 share price – Last year’s shares ranged from $25-$35 per week with an average share value of $28.
  • Two pick-up options! – Choose to pick-up either on Tuesday evenings at the Willamette Heritage Center near downtown Salem or Wednesday evenings at the farm in Lebanon.
  • Market-style pick-up – Vegetables will be displayed like a market booth with quantities listed rather than prices, letting you choose your vegetables.

You can find photos of past shares on our Flickr site!

We’re looking forward to a fun and exciting season full of a variety of seasonal organic produce!  We hope you’ll consider joining us for the Summer CSA season. Further details and sign-up form on the Summer CSA page!

Thanks for your support!

Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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