Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Basil – It’s time for pesto!
- Bunching Onions
- Parsley – Not sure about parsley? Think tabbouleh, homemade salad dressing, and check out the recipes down below.
- Summer Squash
- Salad Mix
- Cucumbers – hey, don’t forget about cold cucumber soups on these hot summer days! See a recipe from a fellow CSA member down below.
- Potatoes – New potatoes, and a new variety for us, say hello to Mountain Rose!
- Plums – The first of our plums to ripen, Jeff says they taste just like summers when he was a kid. We don’t know the variety, but we’d say Methley if we were pressed to answer. Plums get awfully soft when fully ripe, so we picked them a little under-ripe to avoid bruising. The harder ones may need to ripen a little more on your kitchen counter.
Last Thursday we had our annual organic inspection. Each year we meet with an inspector from Oregon Tilth, our organic certifier, who reviews our records and walks around the farm. After the inspection the inspector submits notes to a separate reviewer who confirms whether we’re in compliance with the national organic standards and that we’re following the organic plan we submitted earlier in the year.
Though you might think the inspection is primarily out in the fields, these meetings are mostly comprised of us sitting around a table discussing paperwork and reviewing receipts. Our organic plan is a good framework for keeping records we should be keeping anyhow and it always pays off to have our paperwork in order ahead of time.
In December and January, when we hunker down and do our planting planning for the year to come, we make sure to keep clear records of seed purchases. This is one of the pieces of paperwork we find helpful to have in order from the beginning. Our planning spreadsheet includes crop type and variety, seed company, price, organic certifier, where we attempted to look for organic seed if unavailable, and planned sowing date. Since January we’ve purchased seed from 13 different seed companies and tracking those orders could get messy quickly without good record-keeping.
Another main topic of the inspection is purchased inputs. The inspector reviews all the related receipts. From the compost we purchase for our propagation mix and the nutrients we add to it (kelp meal, feather meal, and bone meal, for example) to the nutrients we add to the field (chicken manure-based fertilizer and trace elements) the receipts are checked with a list we update yearly. All of these inputs must be approved for organic systems.
Lastly, we discuss our organic land management practices. We try to avoid disease pressure through the rotation of crops. We smother weeds, build humus content and grow nutrients with cover crops. We improve the natural habitat for beneficial species over time. Each year we hope to do at least one thing for the farm ecology. This year, we mounted a bat box. Soon, we hope to plant a hedgerow with plants that flower throughout the year for native pollinators. All of these land management practices take time and we have just started.
We’re glad to have our inspection finished for another year. It always serves as a good reminder as to why we’re doing things this way and what our ideal situation looks like. However, it’s nice to get back to focusing on the work at hand. You can find us out in the field this week, planting and weeding!
Enjoy the vegetables!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
We hope you’re enjoying the flush of cucumbers coming your way! Fellow CSA member Roanna shared the following cucumber soup recipe as a way to use up a couple of cukes. What’s your favorite cucumber recipe?
- 4 cukes
- 2 cups yogurt
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dill
Blend all ingredients together in blender and voila! You can add chives if you want as well.
From Roanna Gingrich, CSA member
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated peeled uncooked beets (about 3 large)
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 12 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
- 1 8-ounce container sour cream
- 6 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
Melt butter with oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Add beets and cayenne; reduce heat to medium-low and sauté just until beets are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.
Drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in sour cream and 4 tablespoons parsley, then beet mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.
- 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- 8 russet (baking) potatoes (4 lb total; preferably organic), scrubbed
- 16 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 450°F.
Pour butter into a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) and tilt to coat bottom. Working with 1 potato at a time, halve potatoes lengthwise, then put a parsley leaf on cut side of each potato half and season with salt. Put potatoes, cut sides down, in baking pan and roast (do not turn over) until undersides are golden and potatoes are tender, 45 minutes.