winter csa share – week 2 {december 19}

winter csa share week 2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Garlic
  • Yellow Onions
  • Rutabaga
  • Carrots
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Farm Greens – a mix of kales, chicories, collards, mustards, and cabbage.  A miracle given the recent weather!
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Dried Prune Plums – We grew them, we dried them, we hope you like them!
  • Shishito Pepper Plants, dried – We think they look festive!  Try grinding a few in a coffee grinder to add some flavor to sautes or soups.  One in ten may have a little heat, but not much!

chicken snow

It’s hard to believe that this coming Saturday marks the first day of winter with the arrival of the winter solstice.  It feels like winter has been upon us for many weeks, as evidenced by the recent snow and cold that descended upon the farm two weeks ago.  We woke to snow Friday morning, thankful the first Winter CSA pick-up had gone off without a hitch the night before.  The snow continued to accumulate throughout the day Friday, and then lingered on the ground for the next week until warm rain finally thawed things out.


Snow and single-digit low temperatures certainly make winter farming interesting.  We had attempted to prepare by harvesting some crops early and covering others.  The arrival of the snow quickly changed our focus to knocking snow off greenhouses and keeping the water thawed for the chickens.  We were thankful for the dry, lightweight snow.  Wetter snow accumulation can crush greenhouse frames.

We hoped the blanket of snow would act as an insulator for exposed crops in the field during the week of low temps that followed.  We resigned ourselves to not knowing the full scale of damage until the snow melted.  In the interim we mostly hunkered down near the woodstove and caught up on paperwork when we weren’t carrying water from the well house thanks to frozen pipes.

after the snow

This is our fifth year of farming.  Each season has had its own challenges and we’ve often been reminded that nature is unpredictable.  That’s true again over the past couple of weeks.  This is the first winter we’ve lost so many crops to the weather.  The bright spots are with the surviving carrots, rutabaga, and collards.  Our garlic and young overwintering onions appear to have made it through too.  Most of the other field crops melted including the overwintering cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, and kale as seen in the photo above on the left.


We have conflicted feelings about this momentous event.  We take our commitment to the Winter CSA very seriously and the losses in the field admittedly make us nervous about the remaining four months in the Winter CSA season.  On the flipside, this has been a great learning opportunity to observe how various crops handle winter weather.  In the long run, I think this experience will help to make us better farmers.

Winter weather is unpredictable and we knew that heading into this season.  Hopefully as CSA members you recognized that too.  We’re planning to keep the season on track, though you’ll see fewer greens than we’d hoped.  This will be the winter of the root crops!

We hope you all have a wonderful bout of holidays over the next couple of weeks.  We’ll especially be welcoming the lengthening of the days after the solstice and the countdown to spring!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks in 2014!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Pumpkin Hummus

  • 1-2 cloves roasted garlic (see #1)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • ½ teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary (more to taste)
  • salt to taste
  1. To roast the garlic, I like to simmer the peeled cloves in a small saucepan with olive oil for 15-20 minutes over low/medium heat. The garlic gets the roast-y flavor and then you get some bonus garlic infused olive oil out of the deal. Bam.
  2. Puree all ingredients except rosemary in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add more oil or water as needed. Stir in the rosemary (I found that the blender didn’t really like the tough rosemary pieces in there so I just stirred it in at the end).
  3. Serve with warm naan, apple slices, crackers, carrots, wheat toast, roasted vegetables, pita bread, and/or anything in the world.

From Pinch of Yum,


Field Greens with Red Chili Dressing

  • 4 green onions (white and pale green parts only), chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 12 cups mixed baby greens

Puree first 8 ingredients in blender until very smooth, 20 to 30 seconds. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place greens in large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Divide salad among plates and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit,


Country Hash

  • Braised beef brisket
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 medium fresh poblano chiles (1/2 pound total)
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato (1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium rutabaga (1/2 pound)
  • 1 medium Fuji or Gala apple
  • 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs

Finely shred brisket and transfer to a bowl, then mix with mustard and Worcestershire sauce until combined well.

Roast poblanos on their sides on racks of gas burners over medium-high heat, turning with tongs, until skins are blistered and slightly charred, 4 to 6 minutes. (Or broil on rack of a broiler pan about 2 inches from heat.) Immediately transfer to a large bowl and cover tightly, then let stand 10 minutes. Carefully rub off skins from poblanos. Cut open lengthwise and remove stems and seeds, including attached ribs. Wipe poblanos clean with a paper towel if necessary, then cut into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to a large bowl.

Peel potato, rutabaga, and apple and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, then cook in 1/2 stick butter with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden in spots and just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to bowl with poblanos.

Cook onion in 3 tablespoons butter with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in same skillet, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes more. Transfer to bowl with poblano mixture. Stir brisket into hash until combined.

Preheat oven to 250°F with rack in middle.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Add half of hash to skillet and cook, turning portions occasionally, until browned and crisp in spots, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a large (17-by 11-inch) 4-sided sheet pan and keep warm in oven. Cook remaining hash in same manner in 1 tablespoon butter. Transfer to sheet pan in oven.

Rinse and wipe out skillet. Fry eggs in 2 batches with 1 tablespoon butter per batch over medium heat. Serve eggs over hash.

Cooks’ note: Hash, without brisket, can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.

From Epicurious via Gourmet,