Welcome to the 4th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Snap Peas!
- Small Storage Alliums – choose from shallots or onions including cippolini, red, and yellow storage types
- Radishes – Round pink beauties & long french breakfast
- Head Lettuce – a green head and a red head
- German Butterball Potatoes
- Garlic Scapes – The flowering portion of hardneck garlic = spring garlic tastiness!
Sometimes I like to make jokes about the delineation of work here on the farm. They usually take the form of the various crews I’m working with, as in “Today I’m helping out on the irrigation crew” if I’m moving pipe. With just the two of us here work falls to either one of us or both of us.
Though it seems rather cliche, Jeff is the knowledgeable field guy and he spends much of his time thinking about irrigation, cultivation, fertilization, ground preparation, and all the moving pieces associated with those tasks such as tractor maintenance and irrigation fittings. While we do discuss most of these things together, he’s the one that gets them done. He often feels like he’s juggling a few too many balls in the air, but somehow he seems to stay on top of the big things. If you hadn’t guessed, he’s the “pitchfork” in Pitchfork & Crow.
That leaves me heading up some of the other departments. I focus on propagation including getting starts going in the greenhouse and keeping them alive whenever possible. I also do the computer-centric tasks of accounting and keeping up with our website and such, including these newsletters! It seems like these tasks often fall to the wife in a farming partnership, but I genuinely like the stuff so it works out.
Together we plant and weed and harvest and market. We transplant a lot of crops on our farm and we’ve found a rhythm to the work of organizing the planting of the day, laying out starts, and getting them planted in the ground. We’re still working on figuring out a great weeding rhythm though. We do harvest together,but I admit Jeff usually beats me when we’re racing to cut or bunch veggies in the field. And you’ll usually find us both at CSA pick-ups, ready to talk about whatever unusual vegetable we’re sending your way. You’ll also find us both representing at our Market booth on Saturdays, if you happen to be looking for us.
I distinctly recall speaking to our CSA farmers (& friends) back in 2008 and suggesting we admired their lifestyle but that I didn’t think Jeff and I could work so closely together. At the time we both had day jobs and had built a cozy city life complete with kayak trips on the weekends and dog walks at the river every evening. Somehow we’ve managed to turn that world upside down and we turned out to be a pretty good team while doing it. This is our first season with both of us full-time on the farm. We’re enjoying the transition; Jeff appreciates the extra help and I appreciate the physical outdoor work, so it seems to be working out. As always, many thanks for your support! We couldn’t do this work without you!
Enjoy the vegetables!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, chopped
- 6 small spring onions, bulbs only, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 medium spring garlic bulbs, 1-2 garlic scapes, or 2 regular garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 pound asparagus, sliced on a diagonal 1/2″ thick
- 1/4 pound sugar snap peas, sliced on a diagonal 1/4″ thick
- 2/3 cup shelled fresh peas (from about 2/3 pound pods)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add carrots, spring onions, and garlic and season with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 15-20 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil. Add asparagus, sugar snap peas, and peas and cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat eggs in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon Parmesan, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon water.
Reduce heat to low and stir basil and mint into soup. Drizzle in egg mixture in 4 or 5 spots around pot. Let stand for 1 minute so egg can set, then gently stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice. Season soup with salt and more lemon juice, if desired. Serve soup topped with more Parmesan.
From Epicurious.com, via Bon Appetit by April Bloomfield, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spring-Egg-Drop-Soup-51161050
- 3 pound green Swiss chard (about 2 large bunches)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (use garlic scapes!)
Cut stems and center ribs from chard, discarding any tough portions, then cut stems and ribs crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Stack chard leaves and roll up lengthwise into cylinders. Cut cylinders crosswise to make 1-inch-wide strips.
Heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook onions and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until stems are just tender, about 10 minutes. Add chard leaves in batches, stirring until wilted before adding next batch, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl.
· Chard can be washed, dried, and cut 2 days ahead and chilled in sealed bags lined with dampened paper towels.
· Chard can be cooked 4 hours ahead and reheated over low heat on stove or in a microwave oven.
- All-purpose flour (for dusting)
- 1 1-pound store-bought pizza dough
- 1 10-ounce can whole baby clams
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon (2 ounces), cut into 1″-wide pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (use garlic scapes!)
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1 1-pound bunch Swiss chard, center stalks removed, leaves torn
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 500°F. Fill a large bowl with boiling water. Place a baking sheet over; dust with flour. Place dough on baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes to soften. Flip dough; cover and let sit 10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, drain clams, reserving liquid. Cook bacon in a 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes. Transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate. Add garlic and shallot to drippings in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chard and 1/2 cup reserved clam liquid and cook, stirring, until chard is just wilted, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in butter, vinegar, and as many clams as you’d like. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl.
Wipe out skillet and heat over medium-high heat until very hot. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12″ round. Sprinkle skillet with cornmeal and transfer dough to skillet. Brush top of dough with oil. Cook, shaking pan occasionally and turning pan to avoid hot spots, until bottom of dough is golden and crispy, 6–8 minutes.
Spread chard mixture over dough. Bake until crust is golden and cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Scatter bacon and cheese over; cook just until cheese is melted, 2–3 minutes longer.