csa share – week 9 {july 17}

Welcome to the 9th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Snap Peas
  • Summer Squash – just a small taste this week
  • Bunching Onions
  • Fresh Garlic – spicier and with more water content, this fresh garlic won’t last as long as the cured garlic we’ll give out later in the season.  Use it whenever a recipe calls for garlic, but don’t let it hang out too long.
  • Cooking Greens w/ Broccoli
  • Fennel
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Head Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Blueberries! – Minto Island Growers grew them, we picked them, and you get to eat them!

Last Saturday, after we finished up at the Saturday Market, we headed out to Minto Island Growers’ u-pick blueberry field.  Their five acres of early ripening organic blueberries is like heaven this time of year.  Everywhere you look dark indigo berries cling to the bushes waiting to fall into your bucket, or directly into your mouth!  We think blueberries are the food of the gods and we’re excited to have picked enough for everyone to get two pints this week.  And if you want more, you know where to find them.

We’ve been busy with other harvests too.  In our free moments this past week we endeavored to bring in our garlic harvest for the year.  Garlic is probably our longest growing crop, planted in the fall and harvested in the early summer of the following year. Given that long season and our history as farmland renters we’ve found planting garlic to be an act of faith.  We plant the cloves in the ground in October, hoping we’ll still be around the next July to harvest the future bulbs.

In late 2010 when we moved to this farm, one of our first projects was to plant our garlic.  That act felt like staking a claim on this new land, but was also rushed and we didn’t have the appropriate tools for it.  The weeds soon took over the patch and there was no looking back.  The resulting garlic, harvested last July, was tasty but small and disappointing.

Last fall when we planted this year’s garlic, after a year on this land, we were able to plan better, work the soil in time for more prepared beds, and we bought a flame weeder to help keep the weed pressure under control.  After waiting for months, our harvest this past week was mostly satisfying, with several varieties producing nice, large bulbs.  A productive garlic harvest gives us a boost in morale as it heads to barn for curing and storage.  We’re learning that stability in our farm location truly helps us to be better farmers and as we look ahead to the fall and planting next year’s garlic crop, we’re looking forward to owning this property and not wondering if we’ll be around in 2013 to harvest it.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
 
p.s. – “what’s your favorite vegetable?” (asks another awesome CSA member)
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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Candied Fennel Cores

5 oz. Florence fennel cores, cut into ⅜-inch cubes
1 cup water (plus more for cooking the fennel)
 ⅔ cup sugar
 ~ Pinch of cream of tartar

Steps

  1. Put the fennel cubes into a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Simmer them for about 20 minutes, until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain.
  2. Combine the 1 cup water, the ⅔ cup sugar, and the cream of tartar in a saucepan, and heat the mixture gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring the syrup to a boil, and continue boiling it until it is reduced by about one-third. Add the fennel, and bring the mixture to a full boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  3. Return the pan to the stove. Simmer the fennel in the syrup for about 25 minutes, until the cubes are partially translucent and the syrup reaches the thread stage of candying (230 degrees).
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Let the fennel cubes rest in the syrup at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
  5. Drain the fennel cubes. Set them to dry in a warm place until they are no longer sticky. (I used a food dehydrator, but you could instead use a very low oven or even a woodstove.)

From Culinate.com via Linda Ziedrich , http://www.culinate.com/recipes/collections/Contributors/linda_ziedrich/candied_fennel_cores

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Fennel, Bean, and Pasta Salad

Fennel bulbs, leafy tops removed and reserved
1 small onion (use bunching onions here!)
Olive oil
1 can (28 ounces) kidney beans, drained
2-3 cups cooked pasta
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Thinly slice fennel bulbs an onion; sauté in olive oil. Chop reserved fennel tops and add to cooked mixture with remaining ingredients. Serve chilled. Makes 4-6 servings.

From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce, Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition

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Mixed Greens Frittata

2 cups chopped greens (spinach, collards, Swiss chard, kale etc.)

¾ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

4 eggs, lightly beaten

¼ cup water

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup grated feta, Parmesan, or Cheddar cheese

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, stir-fry the greens, parsley, and basil in 1 teaspoon of the oil until wilted and tender.  Transfer the greens to a bowl.  Rinse the skillet and set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, and salt and stir in ¼ cup of the cheese.

Lightly oil the skillet with the remaining ½ teaspoon of oil and place it on medium-high heat.  Stir the egg and cheese mixture into the greens and pour into the hot skillet.  Sprinkle the top with the rest of the grated cheese.  Lower the heat to medium-low and cook, without stirring, until the edges are firm and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 5 minutes.  The frittata should be mostly cooked, but with the top still slightly undercooked.  Place the skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the top is firm and beginning to turn golden brown.

Cut into wedges and serve, either directly from the skillet or turned out onto a large plate.

Serves 4

Total time: 30 minutes

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, The Moosewood Collective

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