csa share – week 10 {july 24}

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

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Snap or Shelling Peas
  • Summer Squash
  • Bunching Onions
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Pickling Cucumbers – don’t think you have to pickle these little cukes, they’re tasty fresh too!
  • Mostly Hot Peppers – just a taste this week
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes & Slicers – the first of the season’s tomatoes!
  • Blackberries! – Maybe they’re marionberries, or boysenberries, or evergreen blackberries…what we do know is they’re growing at the farm and they’re tasty!

When I sit down to write a farm update for these CSA newsletters, I think back over the last week for the highlights to share with you.  This week, I kept thinking about what a fun and productive weekend we’ve just had.  We didn’t finish up any huge projects but we did find a rhythm to our work and enjoyed working together in the summery weather.  Instead of a lot of words this week, I thought I’d share some photos from our weekend…

Friday night we took a field walk, checking in on the crops along the way.  That included taking note of crops doing well and those that may be struggling.  We were happy to see the first real ripe tomatoes and sizable summer squash.

Our garlic harvest looks great, currently curing in the barn.  We also saw that our earliest apples are nearly ready for harvest.  It was such a pleasant evening we took our dinner down to our newly discovered river spot.  When we returned, Jeff mowed the buckwheat cover crop in the field we call “Mark Twain”.

Saturday we spent the day planting out the next rounds of salad mix, basil, broccoli, cauliflower, chard, and direct sowing green beans.  Of course planting involves choosing which crops will get planted where, laying out transplants, hand planting them all, and following through on irrigating the newly transplanted starts.

Sunday we began the CSA harvest by picking blackberries, summer squash, and cucumbers in the morning.  The little frog below was hanging out in the cucumber bed!

We finished up the day getting our hands dirty with some weeding in the onions and tomato trellising.

So that’s a small glimpse into our weekend at the farm and some of the work we accomplished in the past few days.  We find we really enjoy the diversity of the tasks on the farm as you might see.  Thanks for your support this season, allowing us to do this work!

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:

Beet Leaf Pesto

Beet greens – from about 6 beets
1/2 cup light packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup hazelnuts – toasted
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese – grated
3/4 cup olive oil (more or less depending on taste and texture)
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Blanch beet greens and squeeze water from the greens. Add the greens, basil, and hazelnuts. Chop until fine. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano and stream in olive oil till desired consistency is reached. Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

To blanch greens you simply cut away any woody stems and just use the green portion of the stems. Wash thoroughly and set aside. Get a large pot and put it on the stove until boiling. Set another large bowl full of ice water next to the stove. Add greens to boiling water, leave in for 10 seconds, remove and immediately put into ice water. Then drain. Blanching helps soften the beet greens without losing the color.

From Nutmeg Nanny , http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2011/07/29/beet-green-pesto/

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Beets with Greek Garlic Sauce

For the beets:

  • 2 pounds beets , cooked and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt

For Greek Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 pounds red or yellow waxy potatoes, pared and sliced into 2-inch chunks
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and halved lengthwise, green sprout (if any) removed
  • About 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups fruity extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  • Cut the beets into 1/4-inch thick disks or wedges. Place in a bowl and toss to coat with the balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until read to serve.
  • Place the potatoes, 3 garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 25 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Replenish the water if necessary to keep the potatoes covered.
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked potatoes to a mixer bowl and break them apart. Reserve the cooking liquid. Beat the potatoes with a mixer on low speed until the potatoes are reduced to a coarse meal. (Do not attempt to do this in a food processor or the potatoes will become gummy). Dribble in up to 3/4 cup of the cooking water while beating the potatoes, until they are reduced to a loose, rather soupy puree. Set them aside while you mash the garlic. Place the remaining 5 cloves of garlic in a mortar or directly on the counter. Using a pestle, a flat stone, a meat pounder or other pounding implement, smash the garlic roughly. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue mashing the garlic until it is reduced to a paste. (You should have about 2 tablespoons.) Do not use a garlic press or allow the puree to sit or the flavor will be bitter.
  • Blend the garlic puree into the potatoes. Stir in ½ cup or more of the olive oil, the salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add lemon juice if desired to lift the flavors. (The intensity of the garlic and the balance of salt will change as the skordalia sits. Adjust the seasoning before serving.) Serve the skordalia warm or at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle olive oil liberally over the sauce.
  • To serve, set bowls of the beets and garlic sauce out for guests to serve themselves onto little plates. Or arrange on a platter, with the garlic sauce in the middle.
  • Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

From The Splendid Table, http://www.publicradio.org/columns/splendid-table/recipes/beets_with_greek_garlic_sauce.html

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Los Lee’s Icebox Pickles

  • 4 cups thinly sliced small cucumbers (finger length ones)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions (try bunching onions here)
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Syrup:

  • 1-1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

Instructions

Pickles:

  • 1. Place in a bowl with 2 trays of ice cubes. Let stand 3 hours.

Syrup:

  • 2. Bring syrup ingredients to a boil.
  • 3. Drain cukes and onions and add to syrup.
  • 4. Heat just to boiling.
  • 5. Cover and chill. Keep in refrigerator.
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