Welcome to the 6th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Yellow Onions
- Sunchokes – These are roots of a sunflower variety. We’ve been enjoying them shredded and sauteed but they’re good roasted and in soups too. Please note that they contain high levels of a carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest. We’ve heard that some folks have better luck eating them raw to avoid digestion issues.
- Russet Potatoes
- Butternut Winter Squash
- Dried Apples – We grew them, we dried them, we hope you like them!
- Corn Flour – this corn flour is from a variety we’ve been saving seed on for a few years called Painted Mountain. We love the colorful decorative ears but the freshly milled flour is pretty fantastic too. We’ve been eating a lot of corn flour pancakes lately, and not just for breakfast!
- Belgian Endive – more amazing endive from our friend Marco at Sunset Lane Farm in Brownsville. We found we love this stuff in a salad tossed with a light dressing. Watch out for residual soil we weren’t able to wash off. We suggest chopping it up and then rinsing it before eating.
Just after the last pick-up a couple weeks back we endeavored to begin two big projects. On the paperwork end of things I wanted to get our taxes underway so that other winter paperwork could be finished up. On the farm side Jeff wanted to get the orchard pruning taken care of. We have successfully filed the farm taxes and pruned 1 of 5 orchard areas. I suppose that’s progress though we’ve still got personal taxes and loads of other paperwork to tackle and then there’s the remaining 4 orchards to be pruned soon. Our recent weather event sure did put a damper on the pruning progress. As you can see above, snow and ice do not make for safe tree trimming conditions.
Over the weekend we mostly occupied ourselves with sweeping snow off our 6 greenhouses. Snow weight can crush greenhouse frames and we really didn’t want to deal with collapsed structures. On Friday morning we woke up to 4 inches of snow and geared up for the first of many sessions of clearing each greenhouse. Eventually waist-deep snow accumulated between our series of three connected field houses and became difficult to wade through each time we cleared them. By the end of the day we had 9 inches on the ground.
Our newest house, put up last winter, is our strongest and tallest. We’d let snow accumulate along the ridge top because our tools couldn’t reach it from the ground. Of course once we began seeing photos of collapsed houses on Facebook we geared up for a final sweeping of snow plus the quarter inch of ice that required our very tall orchard ladders.
We’re happy to say we didn’t lose a single greenhouse! Other farms around the valley were not so lucky and many houses went down in this snow. It was a tough weekend for many farmers in our area and I suggest you endeavor to support your local farmers in any way that you can over the coming months. Shop at winter markets, sign up for CSAs, eat local food.
So what’s a couple of farmers to do when the farm is covered in 12.5 inches of now melting snow and the structures all appear to be safe? Head to the mountains for a farmer’s retreat! On Monday we made our now annual trek to Breitenbush Hot Springs for a farmer conference.
We’re now home, finishing up this week’s CSA harvest and letting our whirlwind trip sink in. I’ve got pages and pages of notes on everything from equipment inspiration to vegetable variety suggestions but the highlights of any gathering like this is of course the people. Reconnecting with folks from other farms and meeting new-to-us farmers from the region always gives us inspiration to continue on. Hearing their stories of success or failure and learning from the experiences and wisdom of others who do this work cannot be beat.
We’re reminded daily how much we still have to learn about growing food. We’re also inspired to keep at it for another year.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
(This is how we make cornbread at the farm.)
Mix these ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup corn flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Beat these ingredients separately:
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon vinegar)
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1 egg
|1||lb. sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes|
|1||tsp. kosher salt or sea salt|
|1||medium onion, peeled and finely diced|
|2||Tbsp. breadcrumbs or matzo meal|
|~||Salt and pepper to taste|
|~||Oil for frying (canola, soybean, or peanut oil works well)|
- Wash the sunchokes well. (It isn’t necessary to peel them, but remove all the dirt and grit, and cut away any bruised areas.)
- Grate the roots into coarse shreds and sprinkle them with one teaspoon of salt. Toss them in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze moisture out of grated chokes and transfer to a clean bowl. Mix in the onion, eggs, and crumbs.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan and fry a test cake; adjust seasoning level if needed. Fry over medium heat until crisp and golden-brown, about two minutes per side.
- Blot on paper towels. Serve immediately or hold in a slow oven at 250 degrees until ready to serve.
From Culinate, via Ashely Griffin Gatland, http://www.culinate.com/search/q,ctype=recipe,q=sunchokes,stype=/36904
Curried Butternut Squash Bisque
- 2 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped peeled apple (re-hydrated dried apples perhaps?)
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste*
- 2 14-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons sour cream, stirred to loosen
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- *Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush cut side of squash with oil; place squash, cut side down, on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly. Scoop squash out into large bowl. Measure 3 cups squash (reserve any remaining squash for another use).
Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and apple; sauté 5 minutes. Add curry paste; stir 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and 3 cups squash. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 1 hour. Discard bay leaves. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to same pot. Stir in cream and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Rewarm over medium-high heat.
Divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with sour cream; sprinkle with cilantro.
From Epicurious, via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curried-Butternut-Squash-Bisque-237088