csa share – week 16 {september 4}

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

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Summer Squash
  • Green Beans – blue lake pole beans this week
  • Sweet Corn – more sugar pearl!
  • Tomatillos – aka husk tomatoes – great for salsa or enchilada sauce
  • Potatoes – fabulous Yukon Golds!
  • Cucumbers – slicers and picklers
  • Garlic
  • Dill – dill roasted potatoes anyone?
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples

About a month ago I mentioned that we’ve been contemplating extending the season and doing a winter CSA.  With our generally mild climate we’re lucky enough to able to keep many crops growing through much of the winter.  With the addition of storage crops such as winter squash and potatoes, we believe we can provide local, organic veggies to you during the winter and early spring in addition to our current CSA program that already includes the summer and fall months.

Winter vegetable diversity is quite a bit different from the fruits we are harvesting right now in the middle of summer.  The colder months highlight the greens including cabbage and kale that are sweetened by frosts and freezes.  Winter also calls for roasted roots and hearty stews including potatoes and carrots and winter squash such as butternut and delicata.  As spring arrives we’re greeted with the fabulous broccoli-esque rapini or raab of the brassicas including kales, collards, and cabbages.  And in April and early May the overwintering cauliflower finally makes an appearance after waiting out the winter.

Can you tell that we get excited about vegetables in the winter?  The bounty of this season is fabulous but I think seasonal eating can actually be more interesting in the winter when the ingredients are less overwhelming and a simple meal can be had without always relying on the flashy fruits of summer.

Winter farming can be an interesting challenge too.  Finding winter-hardy vegetable varieties is the first step of the process.  Some varieties of broccoli, for instance, do better in the cold and rainy winters we experience here in the PNW and we want to be sure to start out with the right varieties.   Also figuring out correct seeding and transplanting dates for our local climate has proven to be another challenge.  We begin seeding some overwintering crops in May and June such as rutabagas and continue starting various crops through early September.  Starting some things too early can mean they go to seed too early and we miss out on harvesting but starting things too late can leave us with small plants that don’t do well through the winter.  We also know that a successful winter CSA program hinges on the bulk of storage crops we’re able to grow in the season prior to the beginning of the program.  We’re constantly evaluating crops like onions, winter squash, flour corn, garlic, dry beans, and potatoes not only for the harvest we’ll be sharing this fall, but also for how much we’ll be able to store for the winter.  Winter farming is a new agricultural puzzle and we’re still working on fitting the pieces together.

So, we’ve decided to ease into our first winter CSA season with a ten member program with pick-ups every other week.  The pick-ups will begin in December and run through May until the 2013 main season CSA begins.  We’re guessing that we’ll be able to meet the needs of ten members for this first trial year and plan for extending the season for everyone in the program next year.  If you love winter veggies, or think you might love winter veggies, send us an e-mail so we can gauge the potential interest.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chilled Tomatillo and Cucumber Soup

2 poblano chilies*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeño chilies
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 green onions, chopped

Char poblano chilies over gas flame or under broiler until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag; cool 10 minutes. Peel and seed chilies, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saut
 5 minutes. Add tomatillos and cucumber; saut
 until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add broth and poblano chilies; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tomatillos are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in jalape‱os, lime juice and cilantro. Cool completely. Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Transfer to large bowl; stir in cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill soup until cold, at least 3 hours or overnight. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chilled-Tomatillo-and-Cucumber-Soup-105272


Tomatillo Salsa

2 pounds fresh tomatillos
1 cup Onion — chopped
1 or 2 hot peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped. (you can also use dried chiles, leave seeds in either dried or fresh for more heat)
1 cup fresh cilantro — minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1-2 cloves garlic
salt to taste


Remove husks from tomatillos, wash throughly, dry and halve or quarter. Combine tomatillos, onions, chiles, and garlic in a non-reactive pan. Over med-high heat bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. Cool a little or a lot then put into blender with cilantro and lime juice, blend away, salt to taste, and you have some GREAT salsa verde Mexicano.

**A variation on this recipe would be to roast the tomatillos, chiles, and onion rather than boiling.  Also, this recipe makes 2-3 pints per batch.**

Recipe from: Mariquita Farm (http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/tomatillos.html)


Tropical Tomatillo Banana Salsa

1/2 pound tomatillos
2-3 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
3-4 tablespoons minced green onion
1-2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste
1 medium banana
salt and pepper

Husk the tomatillos, wash them, and cut out the cores. Finely chop the flesh and place in a bowl. Stir in the chiles, green onion, garlic and cilantro and lime juice. Mash or finely chop the banana, then stir it into the salsa. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with plantain chips or tortilla chips, or use as a sauce to top grilled fish. Makes about 2 cups.

From “From Asparagus to Zucchini, A Guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce,” Madison Area CSA Coalition

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