Posts filed under ‘community supported agriculture’

csa share – week 16

csa share week 16

Welcome to the 16th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Torpedo Onions
  • Sweet Sunset Italian Mix Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Shiraz Beets
  • Brussels Sprouts Tops – It’s time to top the Brussels so we’ll have fat sprouts later this fall.  That means tasty greens now!  Eat them up like kale or collards.
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Scarlet Runner Shelling Beans – Probably the prettiest shelling beans around!  Shell the beans and use the greener pods to flavor a soup or stock.  Alternatively, these could be really great on the grill.
  • Pike Melons – this variety was bred in Monmouth, Oregon in the 1930s! I’m thinking cantaloupe sorbet.  Recipe below.

frogs

This summer has been a whirlwind of work and heat and vegetables.  Somehow we’ve ended up in the second week of September with a To Do list that includes harvesting many of the season-long crops like potatoes, winter squash, and dry beans.  Weren’t we just planting those crops last week?  My how time flies.

We came upon these two frogs in the photos above in the back orchard while we were harvesting apples this past weekend.  Evidently the lush clover/grass mix of the orchard is good frog habitat.  Seeing these little guys (or gals?) around the farm is always a good omen and helps us to take a moment to appreciate this place.

lettuce and strawflower

Work this week has continued as it does: irrigate, plant, weed, harvest.  This week we transplanted a bed of lettuce, the second to last of the season.  Again, with the time and the flying.  We also spent some time during the height of the heat getting some notes down about how crops have done this year.  Our winter planning session is usually well past the growing season’s end and often it’s difficult to remember how well the cucumbers varieties did in December for instance.  We’ve learned some good lessons this year and getting those notes down now will save us time and hopefully improve next season’s plan.

to bend

Sunday evening we took a quick trip over the mountains to Bend.  There was a promising Craigslist find that provided the reason for the trip, but I enjoyed the change in scenery along the way.  Sometimes it’s difficult to walk away from that To Do list I mentioned earlier so we have a limited range these days.  We hadn’t been over the pass in years and I very much appreciated seeing my favorite mountains in the distance, feeling the dry summer air, and enjoying a sunset from the east side.  It’s a different world over there.

While I’m always happy to return to the farm, getting away can certainly provide much needed perspective and restoration.  Hopefully you’re all enjoying the transition to fall and wringing out the last of the summer days before they’re only a memory.

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:

Fettuccine with Ham and Napa Cabbage

  • 1/2 pound fettuccine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Napa cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 pound cooked ham, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

In a large saucepan of salted boiling water cook the fettuccine until it is al dente, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, and drain the pasta well. While the pasta is cooking, in a heavy skillet cook the onion and the cabbage in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the vegetables are golden, stir in the ham and the caraway seeds, and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender. Add the cream and simmer the mixture for 1 minute. In a large bowl toss together the fettuccine, the ham mixture, and salt and pepper to taste and add enough of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to the desired consistency.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Fettuccine-with-Ham-and-Napa-Cabbage-13300

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Eggplant Rolls Filled with Basil ad Cheese

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 pounds tomatoes, chopped coarse
  • a pinch of sugar

For the eggplant rolls

  • a 1-pound eggplant
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella (about 1/4 pound)
  • 3 1/2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) mild, soft goat cheese such as Montrachet, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

Make the tomato sauce:
In a heavy skillet cook the onion in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes, stir in the garlic, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the onion is softened. Add the tomatoes, the sugar, and salt to taste and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, for 20 minutes. Force the mixture through the fine disk of a food mill set over a saucepan and cook the sauce over moderately high heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is thickened to the desired consistency.

Make the eggplant rolls:
With a hand-held slicing device or large sharp knife cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Sprinkle the slices on both sides with salt and let them drain in a colander for 30 minutes. In a bowl stir together the mozzarella, the goat cheese, and the shredded basil. Pat the eggplant dry, arrange one layer of it on the oiled rack of a broiler pan, and brush it with some of the oil. Broil the eggplant under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is golden. Turn the eggplant, brush it with some of the remaining oil, and broil it for 3 to 4 minutes more, or until it is golden. Transfer the eggplant to a large platter to cool and broil the remaining eggplant, brushing it with the remaining oil, in the same manner. Spread a mounded teaspoon of the cheese mixture lengthwise down the middle of each eggplant slice, leaving a 1-inch border at the wide end, and, beginning at the narrow end, roll up the eggplant jelly-roll fashion. Arrange the rolls, seam sides down, in an oiled flameproof shallow baking dish just large enough to hold them in one layer and broil them for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is just melted and bubbling.

Transfer the eggplant rolls with a spatula to serving plates, spoon the tomato sauce over them, and garnish the rolls with the basil leaves. Makes about 12 rolls.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Eggplant-Rolls-Filled-with-Basil-and-Cheese-12755

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Cantaloupe Sorbet

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups 1-inch pieces peeled seeded cantaloupe (about 1/2 cantaloupe)

Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Transfer to 11x7x2-inch glass dish and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Puree cantaloupe in blender until smooth. Add to sugar syrup in dish and stir until well blended. Freeze until almost firm, stirring occasionally, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Transfer cantaloupe mixture to large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until fluffy. Return to freezer and freeze until firm (do not stir), at least 3 hours or overnight. (Sorbet can be prepared 3 days ahead.) Cover and keep frozen.

From Epicurious.com, via Bon Appetit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cantaloupe-Sorbet-4119

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September 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm 4 comments

csa share – week 15

csa share week 15

Welcome to the 15th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Jalapeno Peppers – We’re thinking it’s salsa week!
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers –  They look like they could be hot, but trust us, they’re only the best sweet pepper going!
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos – new to tomatillos?  We love them in salsa verde!  Check out the recipes down below for some inspiration.
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Blue Lake Pole Beans – Eat ‘em up fresh, pod and all!

September has arrived, none too soon if you ask these farmers.  We’re already enjoying the cooler weather.  We know we have quite a few teachers, school admin. staff, and students in the CSA and we wish you all the best as the school year gets under way once again.  Although the summer break may be ending, luckily for all of us, the vegetables keep on coming.

crops in the summer

We’ve certainly been noticing the seasonal shift here on the farm.  The summer crops are here, and the fall crops aren’t far behind.  While we’re enjoying the plethora of the heat-loving tomatoes, peppers, and tomatillos, we’ve got an eye on the storage crops that need to find a home in the barn soon.  The apples and pears all seem to be coming on early this year, and the potatoes are done growing and ready to be dug.  Even the powdery mildew that usually kills our squash in late fall has already made an appearance in force and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the winter squash and pumpkins ripen up before the mildew takes them out.  We’re thankful for the many crops that keep on producing through the heat, including the summer hardy salad mix we’ve got for you this week.  We chose these varieties for their heat tolerance, bolt resistance, and powdery mildew avoidance and they seem to be proving their worth!

As we’ve come expect, it’s been a steady race since March to get crops sown, transplanted, watered, weeded, harvested, and distributed.  Perhaps the heat over the last couple of months added to the pressure, but we’re glad to be headed into the fall with its cooler days and longer nights.  Work outdoors is just so much more pleasant at 80 degrees than at 90 degrees.

fall field

We’re at the point in the season where when we walk the length of the farm we see lists of work to be done.  But we’re also at the point in the season that we have to make priorities if we want crops to thrive heading into the decreased daylight of the fall and winter.  It may only be the beginning of September, but we know our growing days are numbered for this season.  Our succession sowing has slowed and we have only a handful of crops yet to be planted in the next couple of months including next year’s garlic crop in October.  Our focus has shifted to killing weeds, continued irrigation, and groundwork to begin establishing our fall cover crops.

tractor

We’ve already begun reflecting on this season, though we’re just a couple of weeks past the halfway point of the CSA.  We’re beginning to think ahead to next season and identify places where we can increase efficiency.  The old adage of “work smarter, not harder” is ringing in our ears as we try to make plans for our future in farming.  To that end, we’re attempting to secure funding for a new tractor, as seen above.  Our goal is to no longer have to rely solely on our ever-aging 1978 field work tractor while also increasing the number of tasks we can accomplish with our equipment.  With a newer, smaller-bodied tractor we can hopefully eventually use it to transplant starts and direct sow seed directly into beds in the field.  What a revelation!  Now to figure out how to afford the upgrade without breaking our budget, or our backs.

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:

Charred Tomatillo Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 pound husked tomatillos
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact, 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise, 1 jalapeño, 1 pound husked tomatillos, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large bowl. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse with onion, stemmed jalapeño, tomatillos, 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice just until a chunky sauce forms; season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Charred-Tomatillo-Salsa-Verde-51175300

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Tomato and Tomatillo Gazpacho

  • 1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion, divided
  • 1 fresh serrano chile, coarsely chopped, including seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Puree tomatillos, half of tomatoes, and half of onion with chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a blender until smooth.

Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.

Stir in remaining tomatoes and onion, water, oil, and cilantro. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Tomato-and-Tomatillo-Gazpacho-354967

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Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (from 1 large bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile with seeds, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 8-ounce halibut fillets, each about 1-inch thick
  • 2 cups green beans, halved
  • 2 cups stemmed shiitake or oyster mushrooms

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place first 5 ingredients, 3 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in processor; puree. Season sauce to taste with salt.

Place fish, beans, and mushrooms in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in bowl to blend. Pour over fish, beans, and mushrooms; toss beans and mushrooms to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fish is opaque in center and beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Divide fish, vegetables, and sauce between plates.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Halibut-and-Green-Beans-with-Asian-Cilantro-Sauce-234134

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September 2, 2014 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 14

csa share week 14

Welcome to the 14th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Garlic
  • Shishito Peppers – remember, we like these best blistered in hot oil and tossed with a little salt.  Mmmm mmmm!
  • Basil
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Shelling Beans – a mix of the pole beans from the last two weeks, but this time you’ll want to shell them for the tasty beans inside the pods!
  • Melons
  • Asian Pears

Thanks to those of you that have joined us in the new Pitchfork & Crow CSA group over on Facebook!  One week in and there’s already been some fun tomato canning questions and answers, recipes suggested, food photos shared, as well as photos from Saturday’s potluck farm event posted.  If you’re on Facebook, and want to see what other folks are up to with their CSA shares, join the group!

potluck

 

As with most of our events we took a farm tour and ate a delicious potluck supper.  Jeff broke out the kites during the tour and the wind picked up just enough for spurts of successful kite flying.  Also, given that it’s the height of tomato season, we did up a tomato tasting that included 13 different varieties of slicers for comparison taste tests.  The informal voting put three unique varieties including Gold Medal, Black Prince, and Jaune Flammee at the top of the list.  Almost makes me feel bad for the red globe varieties that were there for comparison.  Perhaps we’ll have to do a separate red tomato tasting in the future.

beans and pears

Someone recently shared a photo depository website with Jeff called Photogrammar.  The photos on the site are part of the New Deal work done during the Great Depression and World War II and were taken between 1935 to 1945.  They include photos of people at work, at home, in towns, on farms that serve to document the work being done to help the farmers hardest hit by the Great Depression.

Searching through the collection for photos from Oregon proved a fascinating look at our state.  I couldn’t help but make comparisons between photos I saw in the collection and photos I’d taken myself on the farm.  The photos above depict what I mean.  Some things like picking pears or pole beans simply never change on a small farm I suppose.

I had the idea to detail our past week through photos from the collection.  We harvested our onions, did a little preserving, weeded and cultivated crops, had a picnic on the farm, did some accounting, irrigated the fields, and harvested for the CSA.  Of course not all of the photos in the collection are as similar as the harvest photos above, but the tasks seem to be the same.  It’s heartening to know we’re doing our part in a long tradition of food growing.

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:

Lamb and Cabbage Stew with Fresh Shell Beans

  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint, crumbled
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 3/4 pounds trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 11/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped peeled carrots
  • 1 small green cabbage (about 1 pound), quartered, cored, cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 7 cups)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups shelled fresh shell beans (such as cranberry, cannellini, flageolet, or pinto; from about 1 pound unshelled)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Heat small skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander and caraway seeds to dry skillet; toast until aromatic and slightly darker in color, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes. Finely grind in mortar with pestle or in spice mill. Transfer spice mixture to medium bowl. Add mint, salt, turmeric, crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil; mix to paste. Add lamb; toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium heat. Add lamb mixture and onions; sauté until outside of meat is no longer pink and onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Bring to simmer. Add carrots, then cabbage; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice to pot; stir to combine. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meat and cabbage are tender, stirring occasionally, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.

Meanwhile, place fresh beans, if using, in small saucepan. Add pinch of coarse salt and just enough water to cover beans. Simmer uncovered until just tender, 10 to 30 minutes, depending on kind of bean. Drain.

Remove cinnamon stick and bay leaf from stew. Add cooked beans (or canned beans, if using) and remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Refrigerate uncovered until cool; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Stir parsley into stew. Divide stew among bowls. Sprinkle with ground cumin.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit  by Molly Stevens, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Lamb-and-Cabbage-Stew-with-Fresh-Shell-Beans-355233

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Eggplant Parmesan

  • 2 1/2 lb medium eggplants (about 3), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 5 lb plum tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 20 fresh basil leaves, torn in half
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups panko * (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2/3 cup)
  • 1 lb chilled fresh mozzarella (not unsalted), thinly sliced

Toss eggplant with 2 teaspoons salt in a colander set over a bowl, then let drain 30 minutes.

While eggplant drains, cut an X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch tomatoes together in a 5-quart pot of boiling water 1 minute. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, peel off skin, beginning from scored end, with paring knife.

Coarsely chop tomatoes, then coarsely purée in batches in a blender. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add garlic and sauté, stirring, until golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomato purée, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Stir together flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat eggs in a second shallow bowl, then stir together panko and 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a third shallow bowl.

Working with 1 slice at a time, dredge eggplant in flour, shaking off excess, then dip in egg, letting excess drip off, and dredge in panko until evenly coated. Transfer eggplant to sheets of wax paper, arranging slices in 1 layer.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 cups oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant 4 slices at a time, turning over once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer with tongs to paper towels to drain.

Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of a rectangular 3 1/2-quart (13- by 11- by 2-inch) baking dish. Arrange about one third of eggplant slices in 1 layer over sauce, overlapping slightly if necessary. Cover eggplant with about one third of remaining sauce (about 11/4 cups) and one third of mozzarella. Continue layering with remaining eggplant, sauce, and mozzarella. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Bake, uncovered, until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Eggplant-Parmesan-109739

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Cabbage and Asian Pear Slaw

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds, plus more
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 Asian pear, julienned
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

Mix together buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, 1 tablespoon chives, and 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds; season with salt and pepper. Toss with cabbage, pear, and onion; season with salt and pepper. Serve slaw topped with more chives and poppy seeds.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cabbage-and-Asian-Pear-Slaw-51223660

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August 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm 1 comment

csa share – week 13

csa share week 13

Welcome to the 13th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Parsley – Not sure about parsley or looking for inspiration?  Check out the recipes below
  • Golden Detroit Beets – an heirloom variety that was first sold in 1828, these gold beets won’t bleed like their red counterparts and may be the sweet trick to winning over your friends who are less than enthused about earthier tasting beets
  • Adirondack Red Potatoes – a variety bred to be red both inside and out, it’s high in antioxidants too!
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Rattlesnake Pole Beans – a tasty heirloom bean with purple streaks that fade when cooked.  These are classic string beans in that they have a string along their seam that you’ll want to remove during prep.
  • Melons – a mix of cantaloupes and honeydew

CSA Open House Saturday!  I forgot to remind folks last week that the next CSA open house is coming up.  Check your weekly email for the official details, but we’d love to see you all on Saturday evening here at the farm!

preserving

Last week a member asked us about creating a Facebook group for P&C CSA members to share recipes, suggestions, and photos of how folks are using up their shares each week.  She lamented having photos of tasty dishes without a great place to share them with people who would appreciate them.  And who would appreciate them more than those of us with the very same vegetables to eat up?!

Well, we listened, and we hope you’ll join us over at the new Pitchfork & Crow CSA Facebook Group.  It’s a closed group for members of the farm, so join up and feel free to post any tasty recipes, helpful tips, and inspirational photos of how you’re making use of your share of the harvest each week.

planting

After a day off at the beach (whoa!), we hunkered back down on the farm this week.  Our work was filled with transplanting the last of our overwintering and fall brassicas, direct sowing a plethora of winter greens, fall radishes, and turnips, and harvesting the majority of the pear orchard.  That was in between the weeding, cultivating, and irrigating of course.

I believe we’ve made it through the height of another season of planting.  Now we focus on catching up on all of the tasks we’ve been meaning to get to for months.  And we continue weeding and irrigating and begin the big harvests, such as this week’s pears.  Onward!

pear harvest

Many thanks to the volunteers that have helped out with the pear harvests recently.  Our fruit cooler is filling up with stacks of ripening pears, and we appreciate your help!

I think this is the best year yet for pears from this orchard.  Although the resident gang of starlings took a good portion of the Asian pears, the stacks of pears in the cooler suggest we still have plenty to go around in future CSA shares.  Unfortunately the plums did not fair so well this season and their production is minimal.  We do have more apples both in our stores and still on the trees, and we’re looking forward to the fall CSA cidering event!

We’re lucky to have so many established fruit trees on the farm, thanks to previous owners of this land.  Each year we’re learning more about managing this resource and continuing to share the literal fruits of that labor.

 

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:

Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salads

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 10 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pounds small red beets, trimmed
  • 2 large English hothouse cucumbers (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Stir vinegar, shallots and 6 teaspoons sugar in small bowl to blend. Let marinade stand while preparing vegetables.

Cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes; drain. Peel beets. Cut into wedges. Transfer to medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of marinade to coat.

Place cucumbers in large bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons sugar over. Toss with remaining marinade. Season salads to taste with salt and pepper. Cover separately and refrigerate 1 day, stirring occasionally. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Drain salads separately; return to bowls. Mix half of chives into each salad. Arrange salads on platter and serve.

From Epicurious, via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pickled-Beet-and-Cucumber-Salads-5409
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Tagliatelle with Shredded Beets, Sour Cream, and Parsley

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated peeled uncooked beets (about 3 large)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 12 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 1 8-ounce container sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add beets and cayenne; reduce heat to medium-low and sauté just until beets are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in sour cream and 4 tablespoons parsley, then beet mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.

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Parsley Leaf Potatoes

  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 8 russet (baking) potatoes (4 lb total; preferably organic), scrubbed
  • 16 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.

Pour butter into a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) and tilt to coat bottom. Working with 1 potato at a time, halve potatoes lengthwise, then put a parsley leaf on cut side of each potato half and season with salt. Put potatoes, cut sides down, in baking pan and roast (do not turn over) until undersides are golden and potatoes are tender, 45 minutes.

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August 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm 4 comments

csa share – week 12

csa share week 12

Welcome to the 12th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Sweet Corn – this week we have the bicolor variety Luscious!
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggplant – mostly a mix of the Italian heirloom Violetta di Firenza and the Japanese variety Diamond
  • Romano Beans – “The buttery flavor and hearty texture of this Romano bean will take your garden by storm!” so says the seed source.  And it’s true!
  • Jalapeno Peppers

peppers and tomatoes
If you haven’t noticed, we’re well into tomato season.  It’s time to start thinking about preserving some of that summer tastiness for winter in jars on the shelf or in the freezer.  What’s your favorite way to preserve the tomato bounty?  Do you have a favorite sauce, chutney, or ketchup recipe?  If so, we’d love to share it with the group.

tomatoes

Every winter when we’re putting together our planting plan we get a little overwhelmed with all the varieties of tomatoes available.  Cherries, slicers, heirlooms, plums, paste: how do you choose?  To simplify our decision making this season, we chose to trust the seed folks at Uprising Seeds and 11 of the 21 varieties that made it onto the plan came from their selections.  Of course we have a few favorites from years past that we had to include as well, but narrowing our focus to Uprising’s selections seems to have been a good choice thus far.  Hopefully you’re enjoying the variety of tomatoes available to choose from at the pick-ups too.

In week’s past we’ve been giving out a lot of the yellow shouldered pink heirloom tomatoes called German Johnson and the red Italian Heirloom as seen in the photo above.  This week we’re bringing you a plethora of the other colors of heirlooms including the “sunset orange” Gold Medal and the darker Carbon and Paul Robeson.  With so many varieties to choose from, you could have a tomato taste test at home!

jeff and ira

Last week proved to be another hot one on the farm, and we tried to hunker down and get as much work done as possible through the heat.  We continued our battle against the weeds, seeded the overwintering onions, and transplanted chicories for winter salads.  As difficult as it is to be in the wintery mind frame these days, I’m sure we’ll appreciate the effort when we’re actually in the depths of the the cold weather.  Just about that time we’ll also be appreciating the jars tomato sauce we’re planning to get put up as well.

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:

Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup water
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, basil leaves, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, stirring and tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.
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Garlicky Eggplant, Tomato and Basil Bobolis

  • 4 medium Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 1-pound Bobolis (baked cheese pizza crusts)
  • 1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved, seeded, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh soft goat cheese (such as Montrachet), coarsely crumbled
  • 15 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh basil leaves (about 2 bunches)

Preheat broiler. Arrange eggplant slices on large baking sheet. Brush oil over both sides of eggplant. Season with salt and pepper. Broil until eggplant is tender and begins to brown, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool.

Place 2 large baking sheets in oven on separate racks and preheat to 500°F. Sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella cheese over each Boboli crust. Top with eggplant slices, chopped tomatoes, goat cheese, garlic slices and fresh basil. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over pizza. Transfer Bobolis to preheated baking sheets in oven. Bake until cheese melts and pizza edges are brown and crisp, about 12 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into wedges. Reassemble on platter and serve.

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Baba Ganoush (Eggplant Dip)

4 medium eggplant, globe or Italian (to yield 2 cups cooked eggplant)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
¼ cup tahini (see Note)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
~ Salt to taste
~ Juice of 2 to 3 lemons
~ Diced parsley for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Prick the eggplant with a fork. Place them on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes or until soft and squishy but not burned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
3. Cut the eggplant in half and scoop out the roasted flesh; chop coarsely. Discard the skins.
4. Purée cooked eggplant to a smooth consistency in a blender or food processor. Add garlic, tahini, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the juice of two lemons; mix until blended. Season to taste with extra salt and lemon juice.
5. Serve as a dip for raw sliced veggies or pita bread, or as a sandwich spread.

Notes
Tahini is a purée of roasted sesame seeds. Look for it in a jar or can at your grocery store; it’s usually housed with Middle Eastern foods or on the same shelf as other nut butters, such as peanut butter.

From Culinate via Carrie Floyd, http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Culinate+Kitchen/Basics/baba_ganoush_eggplant_dip

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August 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 11

csa share week 11

Welcome to the 11th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Bunching Onions
  • Basil
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Corn
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Gravenstein Apples

peppers and tomatoes

Welcome to August and welcome to summer fruits and vegetables!  Although we’ve been enjoying summer squash and tomatoes for several weeks, this week we bring you sweet corn!  Perhaps the summeriest of summer staples.  Reviewing the list above, I can’t help but think of all the delicious combinations you’re all going to come up with this week.

projects

Last week I mentioned our battle of the weeds.  Slowly but surely we’re taking back the control over crops we lost in the June/July planting fury that happens every summer.  This week we did indeed rescue the celeriac and leeks and even a few carrots from the wrath of overgrown weeds.  It’s been a goal of mine this year to be better in the weed department and though an untrained eye might not see it given how weedy our fields are, I think we’re making progress on that front.  We still have a long ways to go before we’ll be happy about our weed situation, but our leeks and celeriac are happier for the effort and that’s something.

apples

Somehow we’ve found ourselves fully in apple season.  Looking back at last year’s photos I’m realizing we were harvesting the gravensteins in late July/early August, so this is nothing new, but gosh it feels early.  But they’re just early apples.  The arrival of apples does not mean the arrival of fall, no matter how much I think it should.  It just means the arrival of apple pie, apple cider, apple eating.

head stands and sunsets

There’s a rumor going around that the 90 degree days are supposed to subside this next week, which should make working outdoors much more pleasant.  Not to say the hot, sticky days of the past week haven’t been pleasant.  I mean, check out that photo of Jeff standing on his head.  Now that’s a guy having a good time!

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:

Grilled Tomato-Bell Pepper Gazpacho

  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds firm but ripe medium tomatoes
  • 1 (8- to 9-ounce) red bell pepper
  • 1 (8- to 10-ounce) red onion, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 (5 x 3 x 1/2-inch) slices country-style bread
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 (10- to 11-ounce) cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into small cubes, divided
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) Sherry wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup (about) cold water (optional)
  • 3 green onions, cut into thin strips

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place first 3 ingredients on baking sheet. Brush with 3 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of bread with 2 tablespoons oil. Grill vegetables until skins are charred, turning frequently, about 8 minutes for tomatoes, 10 minutes for onion, and 15 minutes for pepper. Return to baking sheet. Grill bread until toasted, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Cut 1 garlic clove in half; rub over toasted sides of bread. Cut bread into small cubes; reserve croutons.

Remove charred skins and cores from tomatoes. Peel, seed, and core pepper; coarsely chop. Remove charred papery peel and core from onion. Set aside half of chopped cucumber for garnish. Working in 2 batches, add half each of tomatoes, pepper, onion, and remaining cucumber to processor and blend until coarse puree forms. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Repeat with remaining tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Using garlic press, squeeze in remaining 2 garlic cloves. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons vinegar, marjoram, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne. Thin soup, if desired, with cold water by 1/4 cupfuls. Season with salt and pepper. Chill at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Gazpacho and croutons can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover gazpacho and chopped cucumber garnish separately and refrigerate. Cover and store croutons at room temperature.

Season gazpacho to taste with more salt and more vinegar, if desired. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cucumber, croutons, and green onions; serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Molly Stevens, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grilled-Tomato-Bell-Pepper-Gazpacho-239064

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Green Beans Braised with Tomatoes and Basil

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, basil leaves, and 1/2 cup water. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, stirring and tossing occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Beans-Braised-with-Tomatoes-and-Basil-232101

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Zucchini and Corn Tacos

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 leaves fresh epazote, (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup tomatillo (green) salsa
  • 8 teaspoons grated Monterey Jack cheese (or queso fresco)

Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Add zucchini; cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, epazote and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons salsa and 1 teaspoon cheese.

From Epicurious via SELF by Chef Jimmy Shaw, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Zucchini-and-Corn-Tacos-354249

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August 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm Leave a comment

csa share – week 10

csa share week 10

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

Here’s what’s in the share:

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

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

work

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

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

onions and beans

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

potatoes

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

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

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Blistered Shishito Peppers

Ingredients

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

Preparation

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

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

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Chilled Cucumber Soup with Smoked Salmon and Dill

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

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

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

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Warm Green Bean Salad with Dill

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

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

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

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

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