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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winter csa share – week 4

winter csa share week 4

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

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Kale – Mixed bunches of Lacinato and Red Ursa this week.
  • Inchelium Garlic
  • Kohlrabi – Never fear, Superschmelz is here!  These giant kohlrabi aren’t woody or fibrous like other varieties can get.  We roasted one earlier this week and it had a great sweet flavor.
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Castelfranco Chicory
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Autumn Crown & Butternut Winter Squash – Autumn Crown is a miniature long island cheese type winter squash.  Treat them like butternut squash and you can’t go wrong.
  • Dried Apples

fog

Every year we have big plans for the winter months.  We list out the projects that didn’t get enough attention during the growing season and make plans to tackle them between the every other week winter CSA harvests.  Then the holidays arrive and the end of the year is lost in a blur of friends and food and late nights and general merriment.  We wake up sometime in January, realizing it’s time to get serious about winter projects before winter is over, just in time to hunker down for a week of crop planning.

seed order

This past week we did indeed hunker down and made it through our epic crop planning session excited about the season to come.  Our crop planning process involves the two of us sitting and focusing for hours as we go through each of the 50 crops we intend to grow in the coming season.  This is when we decide on varieties, amounts, seed sources, planting dates, and harvest projections.  The season gets mapped out in spreadsheets.

We spend a good deal of time comparing varieties from different seed companies and choosing the best fit for our farm.  We think it’s important to buy from local organic seed growers when possible both to support their work and knowing their varieties are often the best suited to our climate.  Our favorite localish seed folks are Adaptive Seeds, Uprising Seeds, and Wild Garden.  When we think we need a wider selection to choose from we still search out organic seed when available and try to support seed companies selling quality organic seed.  We’re putting in seed orders at 15 different seed companies this year.  Too complicated?  Maybe.  Our favorite bigger seed companies include High Mowing, Osborne, Fedco and Johnny’s.

transplanter

Just as we finished up our crop planning our new transplanter arrived!  The transplanter hooks up to the new tractor and is pulled very slowly down a bed while one of us will sit behind it and plant.  We can’t wait for transplanting season to get here to try it out.  We’re looking forward to spending less time bent over transplanting by hand and speeding up the whole transplanting process.  For years we’ve wanted to align our the width of our tractors with the width of our beds.  This year it’s all finally coming together and we’re hoping it will make our field work more efficient.

With crop planning behind us and the new transplanter and tractor combo ready to go, we’re ready to get this season underway.  Before long we’ll be sowing the first seeds in the propagation house!  Also, we’ll begin accepting members for the 2015 summer CSA very shortly!  Details to come soon!

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:

Maple Horseradish Glazed Beets

  • 1 3/4 lb medium beets (3 3/4 lb with greens), stems trimmed to 1 inch
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons bottled horseradish (not drained)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably dark amber or Grade B)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into eighths, then transfer to a bowl.

Melt butter with horseradish, syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Stir in beets and boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid in skillet is reduced to about 1/4 cup and beets are coated, 4 to 5 minutes.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Maple-Horseradish-Glazed-Beets-238068

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Potato, Green Cabbage, and Leek Soup

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups diced green cabbage (1/2-inch dice; from about 1/2 medium head)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; 3 to 4 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 2 x 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

Whisk crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage; sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until cabbage is almost tender but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup cabbage to small bowl and reserve for garnish.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot with cabbage; add leeks and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until leeks soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, Parmesan rind, if desired, and bay leaf. Add 6 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with some of reserved sautéed cabbage. Drizzle crème fraîche mixture over soup; sprinkle with chives and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Maria Helm Sinskey, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-Green-Cabbage-and-Leek-Soup-with-Lemon-Creme-Fraiche-364109

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Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Molly Wizenberg, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Butternut-Squash-and-Cheddar-Bread-Pudding-355792

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winter csa share – week 3

winter csa share week 3

Welcome to the 3rd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Arugula
  • Garlic
  • Celeriac
  • Carrots & Parsnips
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Chicories – our favorite chicories: Castelfranco and Sugarloaf!  We like them in wintry salads, but they’re great thrown in tacos, soups, sautes etc.
  • Cooking Greens Mix – a mix of kales, collards, chard, and mustards this week
  • Onions
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Piacentina Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples

 

the scene

As I begin writing this week’s update we’re awaiting the arrival of this winter’s coldest temperatures yet.  We’ve been lucky thus far, with a single big cold event back in November and fairly mild weather since.  Perhaps too lucky.  Tuesday night’s low is the number that I keep coming back to, currently predicted at 12 degrees F.

For folks in some other parts of the world 12 degrees no big deal.  Here in the Willamette Valley, where our average winter low temps are in the thirties and we always have the hope of overwintering hardier crops fairly unprotected in the field, 12 degrees is uncomfortably low.  Most of our winter crops can handle the upper teens.  At 18 degrees the kale should be okay uncovered in the field.  Below that, it’s a gamble.  We’ve covered what we can with row cover, the fabric we use to create a cold and pest barrier in the field.  Now we wait until Wednesday morning to see just how low we’ll actually go.

hike

As might be expected, this is our slowest time of year on the farm.  Although our To Do list beckons, we’ve found ourselves delving into some non-farm projects too.  Jeff has been making arrows and he even managed to weave a new quiver from willow and dogwood from the farm.  I’ve been researching local and not-so-local hiking spots.  It’s often difficult to leave the farm, but when we do I find it’s best to be prepared with outdoor adventure plans pre-researched.  The photos above are from an excursion to the Little North Fork area of the North Santiam.  What a gorgeous place we live in!

This next week we’ll be hunkering down to focus on 2015 crop planning.  Our winter planning sessions are somewhat epic as we try to agree on what we want to grow, how much of it, and when.  Soon we’ll have updated 2015 Summer CSA details available too and we’ll start accepting members for next year.  With so many seed catalogs to devour and season details to nail down, we’re lucky this is the slow time of the year!

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:

Parsnips & Carrots with Orange Butter

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 pound parsnips, peeled; halved lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/2 pound carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

In a skillet combine the water, the parsnips, the carrots, and salt to taste, simmer the vegetables for 15 minutes, or until they are just tender, and stir in the orange juice. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender, and transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Boil the liquid until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the zest and the butter, stirring until the butter is melted. Spoon the sauce over the vegetables.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Parsnips-and-Carrots-with-Orange-Butter-10832

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Linguine with Pecan Arugula Pesto

  • 3/4 cup pecans (3 oz), toasted
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 oz arugula, coarse stems discarded
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 1/2 oz)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb dried linguine

Finely chop 1/4 cup pecans (preferably with a knife).

Mash garlic to a paste with salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large heavy knife). Blend remaining 1/2cup pecans, arugula, cheese, oil, pepper, and garlic paste in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Ladle out and reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander, then return to pot and toss with pesto, 1/2 cup cooking water, and chopped pecans, adding more cooking water as necessary if pasta seems dry.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Linguine-with-Pecan-Arugula-Pesto-107354

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Spaghetti Squash with Moroccan Spices

  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) spaghetti squash
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Pierce squash (about an inch deep) all over with a small sharp knife to prevent bursting. Cook in an 800-watt microwave oven on high power (100 percent) for 6 to 7 minutes. Turn squash over and microwave until squash feels slightly soft when pressed, 8 to 10 minutes more. Cool squash for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderately high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in spices and salt and remove from heat.

Carefully halve squash lengthwise (it will give off steam) and remove and discard seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape squash flesh with a fork, loosening and separating strands as you remove it from skin. Toss with spiced butter and cilantro.

Cook’s note: •Alternatively, you can bake the squash in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spaghetti-Squash-with-Moroccan-Spices-106168

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winter csa share – week 1

winter csa share week 1

Welcome to the 1st week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Chicories – Castelfranco and Sugarloaf
  • Garlic
  • Celeriac
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Mustard Greens
  • Mountain Rose Potatoes – red on the outside, red on the inside!
  • Cooking Greens - a mix of kales, chard, and collard greens!
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Dried Apples

greens

Welcome to the first share of the 2014/2015 Winter CSA!  We’re excited you chose to join us for the next 5+ months of seasonal vegetables.  Most of you are continuing on from the summer CSA but we do have a handful of new folks joining us for the first winter season.  We’re looking forward to the season ahead and hope you are as well.

This past weekend we sent out an update email to all Winter CSA members.  We included a list of important dates for the upcoming season including the every other week Tuesday pick-up dates.  Please be sure to add those dates to your calendar for future reference and be sure to let us know if you didn’t receive the reminder email.

Not sure where to meet us?  We’ll be meeting in the front parking lot of the Mission Mill Museum at the Willamette Heritage Center.  Here’s a map!

We know it can seem like there’s less diversity during the winter months compared to summer season CSA mix.  It’s all greens, roots, and winter squash in every share.  If you’re looking for inspiration we suggest joining the Pitchfork & Crow CSA member group on Facebook.  CSA members have been sharing some fun recipes and suggestions there.  And the photos are inspiration in themselves!  Also, don’t forget that we have a recipe archive from past newsletters here on our website.  Search by vegetable for recipe inspiration and new ideas.

Let’s get this season started!

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chicory and Carrot Salad

  • 2 teaspoon Sherry vinegar (available at specialty foods shops and supermarkets)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch of chicory, rinsed, spun dry, and torn into pieces (about 4 cups packed)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated carrot

In a bowl whisk together the vinegar, the mustard, the sugar, the water, and salt and pepper to taste, add the oil in a stream, whisking, and whisk the dressing until it is emulsified. Add the chicory and the carrot and toss the salad well.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicory-and-Carrot-Salad-12744

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Red Beet Risotto with Mustard Greens

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 (2 1/2- to 3-inch-diameter) beets, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion
  • 1 cup arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
  • 3 cups low-salt chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped mustard greens
  • 1 (5 1/2-ounce) package chilled soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add beets and onion. Cover; cook until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in rice. Add broth and vinegar. Increase heat; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until rice and beets are just tender and risotto is creamy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into shallow bowls. Sprinkle with greens and cheese.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Beet-Risotto-with-Mustard-Greens-and-Goat-Cheese-237028

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Braised Chicken with Celery Root and Garlic

  • 3 lb chicken parts such as breasts and thighs (with skin and bone) and drumsticks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 celery root (sometimes called celeriac; 1 1/4 lb), peeled with a sharp knife and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and left unpeeled
  • 1 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (10 fl oz)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Accompaniment: crusty bread
  • Garnish: fresh thyme

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, starting skin sides down, turning over once, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet.

Add butter to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté celery root and garlic, stirring frequently, until celery root is browned, about 5 minutes.

Add broth and thyme and deglaze skillet by boiling, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute. Return chicken, skin sides up, to skillet along with any juices accumulated on plate, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes for white meat, about 25 minutes for dark meat. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl as cooked and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

When all chicken pieces are done cooking, transfer sauce and vegetables to bowl with chicken, discarding thyme.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Braised-Chicken-with-Celery-Root-and-Garlic-231183

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csa share – week 27

csa share week 27

Welcome to the 27th and final week of the Pitchfork & Crow 2014 CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Cabbage – the variety this week is Verza di Verona, a purple tinged semi-savoy type.  We love this cabbage, and only wish the purple coloring wasn’t mostly on the wrapper leaves.
  • Garlic
  • Celeriac – last week’s cold weather hit the celery so we’re including celeriac instead.  We love the celery flavor of these amazing roots and hope you enjoy them too!
  • Carrots
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Butternut Winter Squash – These are from a seed selection grow-out at Adaptive Seeds.  These shapes and sizes aren’t exactly what they’re looking for in their butternut mix but are still tasty as all get out!
  • Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins
  • Corn Flour or Polenta – We grew Cascade Ruby Gold Flint Corn this year, a locally bred and adapted corn variety that when milled results in both polenta (aka grits) and flour!  It doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion.  Quick video from last year of the process hereAlso, stick it in the freezer if you don’t plan on using it right away.

csa shares

It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived at the 27th week so soon, but here we are.  Many thanks for your continued support.  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, we couldn’t do this without you!  We appreciate you signing on with us for a whole season of vegetables and hope you’ll consider joining us again.

As promised last week, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the 2014 CSA survey results.  We appreciate the feedback and we’ll be evaluating it further as we head into the planning season.

I’ll only highlight the major questions and results below to keep it brief.  We’ve received 30 responses to the survey (out of 80 shares), though a single respondent may have included multiple answers to a single question in some cases.  The number in parenthesis equals the number of mentions from separate respondents.

= Why did you join the CSA?

  • Support farmers (18)
  • Looking for fresh, high quality vegetables (11)
  • Eat locally (10)

Other top reasons cited include: eating organic vegetables (8) and eating healthier (4).  Several folks mentioned price, variety, sense of community, and convenience as reasons for joining as well.

We asked this question to gauge member expectations.  Knowing  why you’re joining helps us to meet member goals as well as our own farm goals.  We’re glad to see these goals overlapping in the above responses.

= What would you like to see more of in the CSA?

  • Onions (9)
  • Fruit (8)
  • Tomatoes (5)

Further suggestions include: Sweet Corn (4), Peppers (4), Winter Squash (4), and Garlic (4) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.

We appreciate knowing what folks would like to see more of.  We know what we’d like to improve on, but of course we want you to be happy with the selection available.  Some things we just need to hone our skills on (onions, sweet corn, and tomatoes!) and other things require larger long term investments (most fruits for instance).  Over time we hope to find a balance.

= What would you like to see less of in the CSA?

  • Sunchokes (4)
  • Beets (4)
  • Radishes (4)

Other suggestions include: Potatoes (3) and Fennel (3) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.

As with wanting to know what you’d like to see more of, knowing what you’d like to see less of also helps us with our planning.  The CSA model means that members will share in the bounties and the failures of the season.  For instance we had a particularly good radish and beet year, which was reflected in the shares this season.  In the past these crops didn’t do so well and they didn’t show up as often. 

Items like Sunchokes and Fennel appeal to some members and help us add diversity to shares a few times throughout the season so we’ll continue to grow them.  We’re brainstorming ideas for helping folks opt out of items they won’t use without sacrificing these choices for those who enjoy them.

= The share size was:

  • Overwhelming: 8
  • Good Amount: 20
  • Not Enough: 2

What’s enough?  Of course it’s different for every family.  The results for this question suggest we’re hitting the mark for most folks.  Those who find the share size overwhelming may want to consider splitting a share in the future.  Those who feel it’s not enough may want to stop splitting a share and take on a full share.  Also, we know that several members have CSA shares with multiple farms.

= What has been especially positive for you about this year’s CSA season so far?

  • Supporting farmers/Nice farmers (10)
  • Farm visits (8)
  • Quality of vegetables (6)
  • Variety of vegetables (6)

Other positives listed include: the market-style pick-up (4), a sense of community (3), and convenience (3) in addition to several others with fewer mentions.

It’s nice to see the answers here compared to the reasons given for joining the CSA.  In general the positive aspects of the CSA appear to align with the initial expectations.

= What could have been better for you about this year’s CSA season so far?

  • “Not a thing” (18)
  • longer pick-up window (3)
  • storage/preserving tips (2)
  • pick-up later in week (2)

There were a number of other suggestions provided by single respondents such as having vegan recipes suggested, more produce, quality of produce, and having a better way to share recipes.

Although many folks suggested that no changes were needed, it’s easy for us to focus on the other answers provided.  Some of these things we can address.  For instance we can try to provide more suggestions for storing and preserving vegetables throughout the season and include more vegan-friendly recipes in the blog posts.  We’ll also brainstorm ideas for how to make the pick-up more convenient for folks.  Of course we hope you know that we’re always striving to provide quality produce to members!

= Do you think you got a fair amount of produce for the price you paid for the share?

  • Yes: 30
  • No: 0

Thanks, we’d hope you say that!

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Once again, thanks for joining us this season.  We hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving full of local delicious food.  We’ll see the Winter CSA members next week at the winter pick-up location.  For everyone else, have a fantastic winter!  We’ll be in touch when we’re ready to begin accepting members for the 2015 CSA season.

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Potato & Celery Root Gratin with Leeks

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme plus 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 1 pound , peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat cream, garlic, and thyme sprig in a medium saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; set aside to steep.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; season with salt and cook, stirring often, until tender (do not brown), 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Butter a 3-quart gratin dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Layer 1/3 of potato slices and 1/3 of celery root slices evenly over bottom of baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of leeks, then 1/3 of Gruyère. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Repeat layers twice more. Strain cream mixture into a medium pitcher and pour over vegetables.

Set gratin dish on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Tent with foil and rewarm in a 300° oven until hot, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Susan Spungen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-Celery-Root-Gratin-with-Leeks-368278

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Bourbon Pumpkin Pie

  • Pastry dough
  • 1 (15-ounces) can pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Equipment: a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate (6-cup capacity); pie weights or dried beans
  • Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream (add 1 teaspoon bourbon per 1/2 cup cream if desired)

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into cooled shell.

Bake until edge of filling is set but center trembles slightly, about 45 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Cool completely.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bourbon-Pumpkin-Pie-356090

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Pirozhki

For the dough

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon cold water if necessary

For the filling

  • 3/4 pound russet (baking) potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons water if necessary
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water

Make the dough:
In a food processor blend together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks and the sour cream, add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture, and blend the mixture until it just forms a dough, adding the water if the dough seems dry. Divide the dough into fourths, form each fourth into a flattened round, and chill the dough, each round wrapped well in wax paper, for 1 hour or overnight.

Make the filling:
Peel the potatoes, cut them into 3/4-inch pieces, and in a steamer set over boiling water steam them, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are very tender. Force the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter. In a heavy saucepan cook the onion and the caraway seeds in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is golden, add the cabbage, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes. Cook the mixture, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more and stir it into the potato mixture with the sour cream, the water if the mixture is too thick, the dill, and salt and pepper to taste. The filling may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.

On a lightly floured surface roll out 1 piece of the dough 1/8 inch thick, keeping the remaining pieces wrapped and chilled, and with a 3-inch cutter cut out rounds. Brush each round with some of the egg wash, put 2 level teaspoons of the filling on one half of each round, and fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon, pressing the edges together firmly to seal them and crimping them with a fork. Gather the scraps of dough, reroll them, and make more pirozhki with the remaining filling and dough and some of the remaining egg wash in the same manner. The pirozhki may be made up to this point 5 days in advance and kept frozen in plastic freeze bags. The pirozhki need not be thawed before baking.

Arrange the pirozhki on lightly greased baking sheets and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. Bake the pirozhki in preheated 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden, and serve them warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pirozhki-11648

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csa share – week 26

csa share week 26

Welcome to the 26th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Napa Cabbage*
  • Onions
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrots
  • Beets*
  • Parsley*
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Black Forest or Piacentina Winter Squash
  • Mizuna/Arugula Mix
  • Shishito Pepper Powder

 *The freezing weather seems to have gotten to these crops most.  We suggest using them up sooner than later as they might not store as well as they have in the past.

leeks and cabbage

It would appear that winter has arrived!  This week’s cold snap reminded us once again that it can get quite chilly in these parts.  In fact, this week’s harvest was done in a frozen field.  We hope you’re all keeping warm and safe!  We’re looking forward to a return to more normal seasonal temperatures soon.

pick-up

CSA Member Survey: Thanks to everyone who has filled out the CSA survey.  I’ve been compiling the answers and hope to share them next week.  If you haven’t yet, we’d appreciate you taking a few minutes to let us know what you think.

Thanksgiving Bulk Orders: We’re offering bulk purchases of some items for your holiday meals, or to help stock your pantry as the end of the CSA season arrives next week.  Please note that orders are due by Sunday November 23rd and will be delivered at the final CSA pick-up next week.  We’ve included further details in the weekly email.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

To help you plan your Thanksgiving grocery shopping, we thought we’d provide our projected share list for next week:

  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sugarloaf Chicory
  • Celery
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Corn Flour

Of course while we’re never exactly sure what’s going in the share until we’re harvesting, we’re feeling confident enough to say that the above items will likely make it in.

carrots

We’re growing a few trials of overwintering vegetables this year including carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.  The seed rep. visited a week ago to check in on the trials as we head into winter.  Little did we know winter was coming sooner than we expected.  Perhaps this weather is just putting our trials to the test because it will be interesting to see how these varieties come through this chill.  Only time will tell of course.

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:

Root Vegetable Hash with Poached Eggs and Parsley Pesto

Pesto

  • 2 cups (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves (from 2 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled parsnips
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled rutabagas
  • 1 1/2 cups 1/2-inch dice peeled carrots
  • 1/2 cup 1/2-inch dice red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 4 large eggs

For pesto:
Blend all ingredients in processor until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For hash:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Toss potatoes and next 5 ingredients on prepared sheet; spread in single layer. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring and turning occasionally, about 45 minutes. Stir in garlic; roast 5 minutes longer. Mix in green onions. Fill large skillet halfway with generously salted water; bring to boil. Reduce heat to maintain steady simmer. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, into custard cup, then slide eggs into simmering water. Poach eggs until softly set, about 3 minutes.

Divide hash among 4 plates. Using slotted spoon, top each serving with 1 poached egg. Drizzle with pesto.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Annie Somerville, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Root-Vegetable-Hash-with-Poached-Eggs-and-Parsley-Pesto-108564

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Teriyaki Portobello “Burgers” with Napa Cabbage Slaw

For teriyaki marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine) or medium-dry Sherry
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 fresh Portobello mushrooms (about 1/4 pound each), stems trimmed flush with caps and reserved for another use

For slaw

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 2 scallions, chopped fine
  • vegetable oil for brushing mushroom caps
  • 4 sesame-seed hamburger buns, split and toasted lightly

Make teriyaki marinade:
In a small saucepan simmer marinade ingredients, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Continue simmering marinade until reduced to about 1/2 cup and cool to room temperature.

Put mushroom caps and marinade in a large sealable plastic bag, arranging caps in one layer, and seal bag, pressing out excess air. Marinate mushrooms at room temperature, turning bag over several times, 1 hour.

Make slaw:
In a bowl whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, oil, and honey and add cabbage, carrot, and scallions. Toss vegetables well to coat and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler.

Drain mushrooms and arrange, stemmed sides up, on lightly oiled rack of a broiler pan. Broil mushrooms 2 inches from heat and turn over. Brush mushrooms lightly with oil and broil 3 minutes, or until tender. Transfer mushrooms with a slotted spatula to hamburger bun bottoms. Top mushrooms with slaw and bun tops.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Teriyaki-Portobello-Burgers-with-Napa-Cabbage-Slaw-12009

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Italian Parsley and Beet Salad

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 1/4 pounds assorted beets with greens (such as Chioggia, white, golden, and red; 1 1/2 pounds if already trimmed)
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if desired
  • Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer
  • Accompaniment: fresh ricotta or farmer cheese, or grated ricotta salata

Whisk together juices, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Trim beets, leaving 1 inch of stems attached, then peel.

Using stems as a handle, slice beets paper-thin (less than 1/8 inch thick) with slicer (wear protective gloves to avoid staining hands), then cut slices into very thin matchsticks.

Thinly slice onion with slicer.

Toss beets, onion, and parsley with dressing and season with salt. Let stand, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes to soften beets and allow flavors to develop.

Toss again and season with salt and pepper before serving drizzled with additional oil.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Kay Chun, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Italian-Parsley-and-Beet-Salad-354973

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csa share – week 25

csa share week 25

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Red Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Shallots
  • Celeriac - Perhaps the least visually appealing of all root vegetables, celeriac makes up for in taste what it lacks in beauty.  Add it to soups, or anything else really, for some tasty celery flavor!
  • Broccoli or Cauliflower
  • Arugula
  • Delicata Winter Squash  – A fellow CSA member sent along this Sunset article that includes 25 ways to prepare winter squash, whoa!  Delicata is one that doesn’t need any dressing up in our opinion, but the recipe for Nut-Stuffed Delicata has me intrigued.
  • Tomatoes – mixed cherries and green maters, fried green tomatoes anyone?
  • Dry Beans – once fresh green beans, then fresh shelling beans, now dry beans!  I think it’s officially Minestrone season!

new tractor

Good things come to those who wait, or at least that’s how it worked out with our new tractor!  After putting down a deposit three weeks back we patiently waited for a loader to be mounted and the delivery to be made.  This past Friday it all came together and we officially became the proud owners of a slightly used McCormick F105xl.  That photo above shows the new tractor next to the one it’s replacing, a 1978 White Field Boss.  We were surprised by how similar they are in size once we had them parked next to one another.  The McCormick is a little shorter and the rear tires are a little thinner, but otherwise very close in size.

We’ll keep the old White around for projects that might be easier to accomplish with two tractors, such as pulling a manure spreader that was filled using the bucket on the new tractor.  Gosh we’re feeling good about heading into the next season with a new tractor.  Not only will we worry less about breakdowns and unexpected costly repairs, we’re also making plans to widen the wheelbase on our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor to match the McCormick width.  That will be a revolutionary change, allowing us to pull a transplanter!  That will be both a time saving and back saving improvement in our operation.

geese and cat

This week we’re finally experiencing some cold weather, including our first hard freeze if you can believe it.  We’ve been preparing for this for a month and now it’s arrived.  With just two weeks left in this season we’re hoping to finish up without any winter weather calamities.

As we head towards the end of the season we’ve prepared the annual CSA survey.  We know you’re busy folks, but we really appreciate hearing about your experience here at the end of the season.  It let’s us know what did or didn’t work for you, which helps us to improve things in the future.  Click here to head over to the online form.  We’ll also have some paper copies at the pick-up.

 

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:

Potato and Celery Root Mash

  • 2 1/2 pounds mixed russet, Yukon Gold, and white-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 2″ cubes
  • 1 1-pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 6″ piece of horseradish, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt

Place potatoes, celery root, and horseradish in a large pot. Add water to cover by 1″. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return vegetables to pot; add sour cream, Dijon mustard, and butter. Using a potato masher, coarsely mash vegetables. Add reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if mash is too stiff. Season to taste with salt.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Victoria Granof, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-and-Celery-Root-Mash-368964

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Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 4 large, firm green tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or pimentón (a Spanish smoked paprika, available at latienda.com)
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil

1. Sprinkle the tomato slices with the salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Combine the cornmeal and paprika in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs.

3. Cover the bottom of a heavy skillet with 1/2 inch of oil, then place it over medium-high heat.

4. Coat the tomato slices in the egg, then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture.

5. Fry as many tomatoes as fit comfortably in the pan until nicely browned, about 2 minutes a side.

6. Transfer them to a paper towel-lined platter. Repeat until all the tomatoes are cooked.

From Epicurious via Cookie by Victoria Granoff, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fried-Green-Tomatoes-242647

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Red Cabbage Salad with Warm Pancetta-Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (from about 1/2 medium head)
  • 1 3-ounce package thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Place currants in small bowl. Heat vinegar in saucepan over medium heat until hot (do not boil). Pour vinegar over currants; let soak until currants soften, 15 to 20 minutes.

Place cabbage in large bowl; set aside. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium- high heat. Add pancetta; sauté until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallot to pancetta and drippings in skillet; sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in currant- vinegar mixture and olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pour pancetta mixture over cabbage and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Add almonds and parsley; toss to blend.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Maria Helm Sinskey, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Cabbage-Salad-with-Warm-Pancetta-Balsamic-Dressing-364089

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