Welcome to the 25th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Potatoes – Red & Blues this week
- Spicy Black Radishes
- Poblano Peppers & Green Peppers
- Delicata Winter Squash
- Black Beans!
- Shallots – from Persephone Farm!
Many thanks to those folks who have taken time to fill out and return the CSA survey we posted last week. We had copies at the pick-up today and we will bring more copies and take any completed surveys at next week’s pick-up. The season is rapidly drawing to a close and we’d really like your input as we get serious about our panning for next year. In case you missed it last week, here’s a link to the survey:
This past weekend we finished threshing our dry bean crop. Dry beans are a crop we love, but currently they are also a labor of love because they would be considered a money-loser if we did an analysis on the amount of time it takes to grow and process them. We love them for being a fantastic local protein source, because they store so very well, and because there so many fun varieties to choose from.
Unlike crops that we sow multiple times each year, we get one shot with dry beans. We plant them in late spring, rejoice when we see them poking up through the soil, and attempt to keep them weeded and watered through the summer. In the fall, after the bean pods have begun to dry down but before the rains set in, we pull up the entire plant and lay them in the propagation house until they’re finished drying. Then the fun begins.
We have yet to invest in any processing equipment, so our threshing is very low-tech. First we beat the dried stalks inside a clean garbage can. The fully dried beans drop into the can and the bulk of the plant material is discarded. We then begin the trial-and-error process of cleaning the remaining chaff. This final cleaning involves a box fan and an assortment of screens. The fan helps to blow off the majority of dust and the lightweight plant debris. We use various gauges of screens to separate the dry beans from the residual plant material and dirt chunks. Each screening leaves the beans a bit cleaner.
It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, don’t get me wrong. But it’s an engaging process with a fantastic reward at the end. Last night we ate the last of our stored black beans from last year’s crop and they were delicious! We think they’re so fabulous that we’ll continue to grow them, and continue to refine the processing to be able to handle greater quantities in the future. This year we grew several hard-to-find types of heirloom beans and we’re excited to dedicate more space to them and eventually share them with you next year. Unfortunately we only grew enough black beans and red chili beans to include in CSA shares. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!Your farmers, Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
This recipe has been tested and given the thumbs up by a fellow CSA member:
- 2 medium delicata squash (about 2 pounds) or other firm winter squash
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup very coarsely chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups fresh unfiltered apple cider or juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Squash. If using delicata squash, peel it with a vegetable peeler, cut it lengthwise in half, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each piece lengthwise in half again, then crosswise into 1/2-inch -thick slices. Other types of squash should be peeled with a chef’s knife, seeded, cut into 1-inch wedges, then sliced 1/2-inch thick.
2. Herb Butter. Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over low heat. Add the sage and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the butter just begins to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown the herbs. Cooking the herbs in butter mellows their flavor and improves their texture.
3. Cooking the squash. Add the squash to the skillet, then the apple cider, water, vinegar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat at an even boil until the cider has boiled down to a glaze and the squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with pepper, and additional salt if needed.
From Epicurious.com via The Herbfarm Cookbook, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Delicata-Squash-with-Rosemary-Sage-and-Cider-Glaze-104125
|1||lb. black turtle beans|
|2||smoked pork hocks|
|2 to 3||green bell peppers, chopped|
|2||large onions, chopped|
|¼||lb. salt pork|
|2||large garlic cloves, finely minced|
|2||links andouille sausage, sliced (optional)|
|1||(8 oz.) can tomato paste|
|1||bay leaf, crumbled|
|~||Salt and pepper to taste|
|~||Chopped raw onions|
- Soak the beans overnight in 10 to 12 cups of water.
- The next day, bring the beans to a boil and then simmer them for 2 to 3 hours with the smoked meat, 1 bell pepper, and 1 onion. When done, the beans should mash easily with a fork.
- Make the sofrito: Dice and fry the salt pork. In the pork fat, sauté the garlic and the remaining onion and green pepper. (Add the andouille sausage here, if using.) Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes. Add the oregano.
- Add the sofrito, bay leaf, salt, and pepper to the beans. Bring to a boil and simmer in a covered saucepan for 1½ hours. Add more water if necessary; keep it soupy. When the cooking is done, add the sugar and mash the beans with a fork or potato masher until the soup is creamy.
- Serve in soup bowls over a mound of white rice. Chopped raw onions, olive oil, and vinegar are traditional garnishes.
Citrus Collards with Raisins Redux
Coarse sea salt
2 large bunches collard greens, ribs removed, cut into a Chiffonade, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoons salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water to cool the collards.
Remove the collards from the heat, drain, and plunge them into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color of the greens. Drain by gently pressing the greens against a colander.
In a medium-size sauté pan, combine the olive oil and the garlic and raise the heat to medium. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the collards, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should be bright green). Season with additional salt to taste if needed and serve immediately. (This also makes a tasty filling for quesadillas.)
From Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, Bryant Terry
Also available here: http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/recipes/sides_citrus_collards.shtml