Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Garlic – This variety is called Chesnok Red, though smaller cloves than the Music variety we have been giving you, it’s flavorful and great for cooking.
- Yellow Onions
- Arugula – Early spring arugula is delicate, with only a hint of the spiciness that comes with the heat of later months.
- French Breakfast Radishes
- German Butterball Potatoes
- Rapini – Also called broccoli rabe, this is the broccoli-esque flowers of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, and collard plants gong to seed. It’s delicious sauteed lightly. We can’t get enough of it while it’s in season.
- Spinach – More of the gorgeous spinach from the last share.
- Dried Apples – We grew them, we dried them, we hope you like them
- Crushed Red Pepper – Mature dried shishito peppers ground to an aromatic powder for flavoring anything and everything. We added some to a potato leek soup recently and it was delicious!
Over the last weeks we’ve been watching the orchards come to life. The plums are always the first to flower, followed by the pears, cherry, and finally the apples. We’ve been watching for pollinators as the various trees have begun to blossom but hadn’t noticed many around. This past winter we lost the hive that had been abandoned here when we bought the farm. Our guess is that the weather was too harsh for the colony to survive without more management. Without an active hive on the farm, the honey bees seemed rather scarce. We decided it was time to clean up our old hive and get some bees of our own.
This past weekend we picked up a pre-ordered package of Italian honeybees from Nectar Bee Supply in Corvallis. The bees come enclosed in a wooden and mesh wire constructed box and the queen bee is enclosed in a smaller wooden cage that hangs inside the larger box. Our cat wasn’t sure what to think of box of 7,000+ bees.
Introducing the bees to their new hive home is called “installing the package” and it entails the following:
- Spray the bees with sugar water to distract them with feeding and grooming.
- Thump the box of bees on the ground to make them drop to the bottom, away from the queen.
- Open the top of the box and pluck out the queen cage. Re-cover the top to keep the bees inside.
- Remove a cork in one side of the queen cage and replace it with a marshmallow. The worker bees will eat the marshmallow in a few hours in order to extract their queen from the cage.
- Hang the queen cage in the middle of the hive.
- Thump the box of bees again.
- Open the box and begin pouring the bees into the hive.
- Thump the box as needed to get as many bees out of the box as possible.
- Slowly push the bees inside the hive while sliding the hive lid into place.
- Stand back in awe of not having gotten stung during the process.
Those are the steps in short. We still need more practice with the thumping and pouring steps, but all in all I think we did better than the last time we tried installing bees. They seem happy enough in their new home and are already hard at work in the surrounding pear orchard.
We’ve been keeping busy of late trying to finish up some big projects before the planting/weeding/irrigating part of the season hits. One project was the tine weeder Jeff is holding in the photo above. Inspired by other local farms and their use of similar tools, Jeff drew up plans for a local shop to weld the frame and then attached the adjustable tines to the frame. Our initial tests in the field with the tool proved promising, but we’ll have to wait for better soil conditions to really know how well it will work for us.
The current sunny weather gives us hope that we’ll be doing some major planting by the weekend. We sure will be happier when the next round of transplants get planted out. Until then we’re reveling in the amazing rapini and greens that are available on the farm and in the shares this week. We hope you’re appreciating the change of the season too!
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
- 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) walnut pieces
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups (2 oz/60 g) packed arugula leaves
- 1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, arugula, Parmesan, and 1 tsp salt and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil through the food tube in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
From Epicurious by Max and Elii Sussman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Arugula-Pesto-51116200
Spinach and Leek Gratin with Roquefort Crumb Topping
- 5 tablespoons butter, divided
- 3 1/2 tablespoons horseradish Dijon mustard, divided
- 2 1/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs from crustless French bread
- 1 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese (generous 4 ounces)
- 3 9-ounce bags spinach leaves
- 1 8-ounce leek, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Mix in 2 tablespoons mustard, then breadcrumbs. Sauté until breadcrumbs are golden, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly. Mix in cheese.
Toss 1 1/2 bags spinach in large nonstick pot over high heat until wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to sieve set over bowl. Repeat with remaining spinach. Press on spinach to drain.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in same pot over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 4 minutes. Add cream, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons mustard, and spinach. Toss until thick and blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to 7×11-inch baking dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake until bubbling, about 10 minutes.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Spinach-and-Leek-Gratin-with-Roquefort-Crumb-Topping-232888
Broccoli Rabe and Provolone Grinders
White bean purée:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans with liquid
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 4 bunches broccoli rabe (rapini, 4–5 pounds), ends trimmed
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided, plus more
- 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 6″–8″-long French rolls, split lengthwise
- 8 ounces thinly sliced provolone piccante or other aged provolone cheese
- 1 Fresno chile or red jalapeño, seeded, very thinly sliced
For white bean purée:
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until garlic begins to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add beans with liquid. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring often, until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; add 3 tablespoons oil. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook broccoli rabe, 1 bunch at a time, in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes (return to a boil between batches). Transfer broccoli rabe to a baking sheet; let cool. Squeeze dry; coarsely chop.
Heat a large pot over medium heat; add 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is fragrant and beginning to turn golden, 2–3 minutes. Add broccoli rabe; cook, stirring often, until stem pieces are just tender, 4–5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Season with salt, pepper, and more juice, if desired. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.
Arrange racks in top and bottom thirds of oven; preheat to 400°F. Open rolls and arrange on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle generously with oil. Spread bean purée on one side of each roll; add broccoli rabe. Top with cheese, then chile. Toast, rotating pans after 5 minutes, until cheese is melted, 7–10 minutes. Top, slice, and serve.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Broccoli-Rabe-and-Provolone-Grinders-388710