Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Kohlrabi – A new one for some of you, check out the link I’ve included under the recipes below if you’re in need of recipe suggestions!
- Bunching Onions
- Summer Squash
- Cucumbers – picklers or slicers
- Tomatoes – slicers or cherries
- Peppers – shishitos and jalapenos
- Plums – Eat the soft ones, let the harder ones have a sit on your counter to soften up
As we transition into August (August, can you believe it?!) we’re able to get a good sense of the season. Much of our overwintering transplanting is complete and we’re beginning to shift into maintenance mode. Watch out weeds, your days are numbered!
This past week we spent some time cleaning the Brussels sprouts seed we’re growing for our friends at Adaptive Seeds. Here are some photos of the process:
As you can see, seed cleaning is a very “technical” job. In the top left photo above you can see Jeff beating the dried Brussels plants, including seed pods, with a big stick. And in the bottom left photo he’s pouring scoops of seed and chaff in front of a box fan. The air from the fan blows the lighter weight chaff away, but the heavier seed drops into the bucket. We also use screens to separate the seed and chaff.
Yesterday we purchased an antique seed cleaning machine. It needs some repair, read: winter project, but in the interim we can use the various screens that came with it to further clean this seed before we hand it off to our friends for a germination test. We also have a rutabaga seed crop to clean and eventually we’ll have leek and onion seed to clean too.
I’ve been attempting to take more photos around the farm, so I thought Id share some from this past week. Above is a photo of Jeff flame weeding small weeds in beds before transplanting using a propane torch. Weeds are always on our minds and flaming helps to set them back while crops get a head start. The other photo above is our small 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor. We use it for weed control in paths and between rows of crops. The tool bars mounted under the tractor, between the tires, hold various sized shovels that disturb weeds like a hoe would, but stay out of the way of crops, if you drive in a straight line.
At the back of the farm we’ve erected a bat box on top of our “Organic Farm: Please Watch for Overspray” sign. Friends gifted us this box last year and we’re glad to have finally gotten it up. It’s hard to tell if bats are using it, but birds have obviously been perching on top. Near the bat box we also have a hive of feral honey bees. The hive came with the farm and we’ve not peeked inside. They’ve made it through several winters on their own so we’re to attempting to not interfere. They are fun to watch when we have a few spare minutes though.
I also checked in on the acorn progress on the giant oak that sits on the property line at the back of the farm. Jeff has mentioned an interest in acorn flour and I wondered if we might be lucky enough to grab up some acorns before the squirrels hide them away for winter. We’ll have to keep an eye on them as fall comes. Finally, this sunflower is a volunteer from a bed of sunflowers we managed to plant last year. We put our new greenhouse on top of that bed this past winter and now we have a few sunflowers in the tomato house. They’re so happy-making, we’re not even inclined to cut them down even though the tomato house is already too crowded.
All of these photos seem a little random individually, but they remind me of how many pieces are combined to make up the whole of this farm. Our farm is not just the crops that are harvested for you all to enjoy eating, though that end goal certainly keeps us going, but everything that it takes to grow those crops in a healthy and mindful way. We’re still working out a lot of those processes, but I’m often amazed at how far we’ve come in a few short years with such a steep learning curve. And sometimes it’s the small moments of watching the bees or seeing a tractor that reminds me.
Enjoy the vegetables!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Looking for some Kohlrabi inspiration? Here’s 5 recipes sure to get you started: http://www.thekitchn.com/top-five-ways-to-prepare-kohlr-60321.
- Olive oil (for brushing)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/4 cups chopped fresh basil plus 8 large leaves, divided
- 3 tablespoons chopped drained cornichons or dill pickle plus 1 1/2 tablespoons brine from jar
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 1/4 pounds ground chicken
- 4 1/2-inch-thick slices country white bread
- 4 1/3-inch-thick slices from large red or orange heirloom tomato
Brush grill with oil; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix mayonnaise, 1 cup chopped basil, cornichons, brine, and onions in small bowl. Season basil mayonnaise with salt and pepper.
Mix chicken and 1/2 cup basil mayonnaise in large bowl. Using wet hands, shape chicken mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush bread with oil.
Grill bread until crisp and golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer bread to plates. Grill burgers until firm to touch and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side.
Spread bread slices thickly with basil mayonnaise. Top each bread slice with tomato, 2 basil leaves, burger, and dollop of basil mayonnaise. Garnish with remaining chopped basil.
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, softened
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup coarsely grated well-scrubbed zucchini
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 8 radishes, sliced thin
- 2 pounds mixed vegetables, such as 4×1/2″ spears of English hothouse or Persian cucumbers, 4×1/4″ spears of peeled carrots, and quartered radishes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 8 thinly sliced shiso or large basil leaves
- 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño cut into 1/2″ rings
- 3 tablespoons sake
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
Toss 2 pounds mixed vegetables, such as 4×1/2″ spears of English hothouse or Persian cucumbers, 4×1/4″ spears of peeled carrots, and quartered radishes, with 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt in a large wide nonreactive bowl. Press plastic wrap on surface of vegetables. Place a small plate over, then weigh down with two 28-ounce cans (such as canned tomatoes). Let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Remove cans, plate, and plastic wrap; transfer vegetables to a colander. Rinse well with cold water. Transfer drained vegetables to a large bowl. Add 8 thinly sliced shiso or large basil leaves, 1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño cut into 1/2″ rings, 3 tablespoons sake, 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger. Toss to coat; cover and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Pickles can be made 1 week ahead. Keep chilled, tossing occasionally.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables from pickling liquid to large mugs, mason jars, or bowls.