winter csa share – week 8 {march 12}

winter csa share week 8

Welcome to the 8th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Celeriac, aka Celery Root
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Spinach Mix
  • Carrots – ah winter carrots: best for cooking!
  • Garlic – we’re looking forward to using up last year’s garlic before it sprouts too much.  Don’t worry though, sprouting garlic is tasty too!
  • Leeks
  • Cabbage Rapini – this stuff is amazingly tasty!  Chop, saute, and add to eggs or over pasta for deliciousness!
  • Shallots
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower/Broccoli
  • Delicata Winter Squash
  • Dried Apples – We grew ‘em and then we dried ‘em!

We had lunch with farmer friends last Saturday and the discussion inevitably turned towards the upcoming start of the Saturday Market season the first weekend in April.   We began listing off winter projects we wanted to get through and friendly gatherings we had planned to squeeze in before that fateful day.  The start of the Market season means Friday harvests and Saturday marketing, and fewer weekend outings than we have time for in the ‘off-season’.  I think we all agreed, there’s little time for skeeball come Market season.

As we countdown to opening Market day, and then to the start of the summer CSA in late May, we’ve already found our focus here on the farm shifting.  Big projects now suddenly have “2014?” attached to them on our to-do list, as in: Fence the Farm (2014?) or Plant Hedgerow (2014?).  We’re narrowing our goals to include the practical, the necessary, the timely.  For instance, these past couple of weeks you could have found us:

  • finally constructing our new greenhouse
  • sowing (and re-sowing) seeds in the propagation house
  • closely watching the germination of above seeds
  • thinning the overcrowded orchards
  • culling undesirable plant specimens from seed crops
  • tackling farm and personal taxes
  • weeding young radishes and peas in the field house
  • plowing fields for future plantings

early march

Those big projects we’d like to get to one day have sifted to the bottom of the list in favor of projects we know will help to make us successful this season.  Frosty mornings continue to remind us that indeed it is still winter but we’re already feeling the push to see green shoots in the propagation house and to get things growing in the field.

The recent weather has us feeling hopeful for the coming months.  And perhaps this will be the year we figure out how to better balance the work of farming with the work of living.  In the meantime, we’re having fun doing both this week.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Golden Pie of Winter Vegetables in Cinnamon Pastry

Apples and Vegetables

2 medium apples (such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Liberty), cored and cut into ¼-inch-thick wedges (soak in water to rehydrate our dried apples)
3 medium onions, each cut into 6 chunks (shallots?!)
3 medium red-skin potatoes (unpeeled), cut into ½-inch chunks
1 medium rutabaga or celeriac, peeled and cut into ¼-inch-thick pieces
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, quartered
4 or 5 leaves frisée, curly endive, or other tart green, torn into small pieces
2 medium parsnips or carrots, cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 tsp. ground allspice
⅛ tsp. ground hot chile or hot red pepper flakes
4 sprigs thyme
20 fresh sage leaves
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. (packed) dark brown sugar
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1 recipe Cinnamon Pastry


2 generous teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
12 large fresh sage leaves, torn
~ Grated zest of ½ lemon
~ Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 large egg yolks, beaten with 2 tablespoons water

  1. Roast the apples and vegetables: Set one oven rack high up and a second toward the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the apples, onions, potatoes, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts, frisée, parsnips, allspice, chile, thyme, sage, balsamic vinegar, sugar, oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Spread the vegetables on two large, shallow roasting pans (half-sheet pans are ideal). Place one on the upper rack and the other on the lower one. Roast for about 1 hour, turning several times during cooking for even browning. Use a metal spatula to scrape up any brown bits in the pan. After 30 minutes, switch the pans’ positions and scatter each one with half of the garlic.
  3. Remove from the oven and cool. If doing this ahead, refrigerate. Have them at room temperature for baking.
  4. Assemble the pie: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have the pastry rolled out on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and chilled as described in step 4 of the pastry recipe. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the thyme, sage, lemon zest, lemon juice, broth, cream, and cheese.
  5. With the pizza pan on a counter, remove the top round of dough on its foil and set aside. Mound the vegetables in the center of the dough-covered pan, spreading them out so there’s a 2-inch border of pastry. Brush that border with some of the beaten egg.
  6. Turn the chilled second sheet of pastry over onto the vegetables, gently peel back its foil, and with the side of your hand, press and seal the pastry all around the pie. Then roll up the double-layered edge to make a raised rim. Crimp it into a zigzag pattern if you like. Brush the top of the pie with more beaten egg. Scraps of dough could be cut into oval leaf shapes and placed on the crust. Brush them with egg, too.
  7. Make slits in the pastry. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is a rich golden brown and the center is hot. Serve hot or warm.

From Culinate, via the book The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Weekends by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift,


White Winter Soup

1 onion
3 medium leeks
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. sunflower or canola oil
1 large or 2 medium (about 8 ounces) potatoes
1 small cauliflower (about 1 pound)
½ head celery root (about 12 ounces once peeled)
~ Vegetable or chicken stock, about 3½ cups
~ Salt and black pepper
~ Whole milk, about 1 cup
½ cup heavy cream

  1. Peel and chop the onion. Clean the leeks and slice them about ⅜-inch thick.
  2. Put the butter and oil in the saucepan and turn the heat to low. Add the onion and leeks, cover, and cook the vegetables gently for a few minutes so that they soften.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes. Cut the thick stem out of the cauliflower and discard it. Break the cauliflower into florets.
  4. At the last minute, peel the celery root thickly so that you’re left with just the white flesh (like a banana, celeriac turns brown very quickly once it’s been cut). Chop this into cubes and add to the pan with the cauliflower and potatoes as well as the stock, a pinch of salt, and a twist of pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender; 15 minutes should be enough.
  5. Stir in the cold milk, then turn off the heat and let the soup cool for at least 15 minutes. Purée the soup in the blender, a few ladlefuls at a time. You can either reheat it now, to serve immediately, or chill it in the fridge and use within 5 days.
  6. Return the soup to the pan, stir in the cream, and reheat gently but thoroughly. It doesn’t need to boil again, but it should be piping hot. Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Serve just as it is or, if you like, with an extra swirl of cream and some chopped chives. Some bread would be nice, too.

From Culinate, via the book River Cottage Family Cookbook by Fizz Carr and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,


Apple Raisin Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup (about 6 ounces) dried apples, chopped coarse
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted lightly and cooled

Into a bowl sift the flour, the cinnamon, the baking soda, and a pinch of salt. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together the egg and the brown sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, add the sour cream and the vanilla, and beat the mixture until it is combined well. Beat in the flour mixture, a little at a time, and beat the batter until it just combined. Stir in the apples, the raisins, and the walnuts and divide the batter among 16 paper-lined 1/2 cup muffin tins. Bake the muffins in the middle of a 350°F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, turn them onto a rack, and let them cool.

From Epicurious, Gourmet,