csa share – week 7 {july 3}

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Snow Peas
  • Bunching Onions
  • Fava Beans – this is the last of the favas until the fall.  Enjoy!
  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Parsley
  • Red Ursa & Red Ruffled Kale

We’ve made it to July!  It’s hard to believe we’ve already left 6 months of 2012 behind, now I’m ready to leave the rain behind too.  We’re hoping July brings us an extended break from the wet and gives a boost to the vegetables in the field.  Dare we hope for summer weather in the summer months?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, Independence Day, and we plan on spending the day in the field liberating our onions.  Alliums have been a tricky crop for us the past couple of years.  In 2010 we lucked into a nice crop of sweet and storage onions when we were growing vegetables in the fertile field on Grand Island.  We actually had a success with just about everything we attempted to grow that year.  Moving to our current farm, we’ve come to realize just how important good fertility and adequate water are.

Last year we experienced a perfect storm of too little time and too little irrigation pipe resulting in near total onion failure.  We didn’t give them enough space in the propagation house and we planted the tiny grass-like starts into deep trenches in the field without fertilizing or adequately watering them.  That failure served as a wake up call for us.

This year we gave the starts more time in the propagation house to size up before transplanting and we dedicated irrigation pipe to the onion field to ensure we can water whenever necessary.  We also amended the soil with lime and organically approved fertilizer over the winter to help boost the fertility prior to planting them out.  Now, though we’ve cultivated between the beds and between the rows, the weeds have been flourishing in the onion rows between the closely planted onions.  This lack of space becomes an issue as the onions begin to bulb up and it can aid in the spread of disease, especially in wet seasons like this one.

So, tomorrow we’ll be spending the day making our way through the onion beds, clearing the weeds and granting independence to the alliums!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Fennel

2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs sliced
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub just enough olive oil over the fennel to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line baking dish with aluminum foil. Lay out pieces of fennel and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the fennel is cooked through and beginning to caramelize.

Recipe from Gales Meadow Farm, http://www.galesmeadow.com/Recipes.aspx

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Fettuccine and Fennel Alfredo

1 large or 2 small bulbs of fennel, cored and julienned (or 1 small bulb if you are fennel-averse)
2 T butter
1/2 C chicken stock
1 C heavy cream
2/3 C Parmesan cheese, grated
1 recipe fresh fettuccine pasta (recipe follows)

Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat; add sliced fennel and a pinch of salt, and saute until golden brown and caramelized in spots. Add chicken stock, reduce heat to medium, and cook until stock has evaporated. (If your fennel is not thinly sliced, you may want to cover the skillet for several minutes to promote softening before it boils off.) Turn the heat down to medium low and add the cream, another good pinch of salt and some grinds of pepper; let it come up to a very slow simmer and thicken slightly.

Meanwhile, get a large pot of salted water boiling and cook your fettuccine. Using fresh pasta, it will only need a minute or two to cook. Drain the pasta or use a spider to transfer it to the skillet. Toss once to coat with the creamy fennel, then add the Parmesan and toss again, until any looseness in the sauce has been absorbed into the pasta. Serve immediately, topped with a bit more Parmesan cheese and some chopped fennel fronds (if you want to clue in your eaters).

Fresh Egg Pasta

2 eggs
1 C all-purpose or white whole wheat flour

Mix the eggs and flour together to form a stiff dough. (If you use extra-large eggs as I do, you will likely need at least an additional quarter-cup of flour, perhaps more.) You can do this with a food processor (use the dough blade) or stand mixer (use the dough hook) or by hand, in which case mound up the flour on your counter and make a large well in the center for the eggs, then stir with your fingers incorporating more and more flour from the edges until you have a shaggy dough. Knead this until it is very smooth, adding a bit more flour if it seems sticky. (If it seems dry, knead with water-dampened hands to incorporate small amounts of liquid at a time.)

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow to rest for about half an hour before rolling out for pasta. You can do this with a rolling pin or hand-cranked pasta machine; I love my stand mixer’s pasta roller attachments, and also use it to cut the pasta into fettuccine noodles. If using the machine to cut your noodles, allowing them to air-dry for a few minutes (say, while the pasta water boils) will give cleaner cuts. Alternately, dust your pasta sheets with flour, roll loosely, and cut by hand with a sharp knife. However you do it, separate the strands afterward with dusting of flour to keep them from melding back together, and pop them into the boiling water quickly thereafter. (If you must, freezing or drying your fresh, uncooked noodles is another option.)

From The Persnickety Palate, http://persnicketypalate.com/2010/06/26/finocchio-alfredo/

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Shredded Carrot Salad w/ herb dressing

2 1/2 cups grated carrots
3 T olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp minced fresh cilantro (or try basil, thyme, mint, etc)
1/2 tsp salt
2 T fresh lemon juice
pinch of cayenne (optional)

Place carrots in a serving bowl and set aside.  With a whisk or in a blender, combine the ingredients for  the dressing.  Pour the dressing over the carrots and toss well.  Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.

From Moosewood Restaurant: New Classics, The Moosewood Collective

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