Welcome to the 8th week of the 2014 Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Bunching Onions
- Garlic Scapes – note that these have been stored in the cooler, and though their tips are drying down they’re still awesome!
- Summer Squash
- Cucumbers – slicers, lemons, and picklers!
- Tomato Taste – first of the ‘maters, more to come!
- Apples – yellow transparents, our first variety to ripen. These soft apples are best for sauce!
Many thanks for helping us out with the parking situation at the Salem CSA pick-up. As a reminder, please avoid the church parking spots marked with “FUMC” (for First United Methodist Church). Any parking in the gravel lots surrounding the pick-up should be fair game during the CSA window. Thanks for your help!
This week we’ve been keeping busy weeding, watering, and planting. Such is the summer routine on a small vegetable farm.
I’ve been alluding to weeds, and the necessary weeding that needs to be done the last few weeks. This time of year the weeds seem to grow faster than the crops at times. It’s difficult not to be overwhelmed by so many beds that are in various stages of needing to be weeded. How do you begin to prioritize? Do we start with the crops planted the earliest, likely with the biggest weeds, or do we start with the newly planted crops and attempt to be proactive with the smaller weeds. As with most aspects of farming, it’s a delicate balance in time management and crop health. And we’re still learning how to keep those priorities balanced.
My favorite aspect of weeding is the time it affords for getting a close inspection of a crop. Weeding the melons this past week, I was able to take a good look at the differences in the growth habits of the five varieties we’re growing this season. Noticing which are struggling and which are excelling now will help us make informed decisions in future years, as well as figure out how to address any issues that may be fixable this year.
Getting up close and personal with crops, and weeds, is also a good reminder that most flowering plants are excellent bee habitat. Seeing the bees hard at work in the melons as well as the clover in the field ends is always a welcome sight.
Perhaps the weeds are doing well thanks to Jeff’s continued irrigating! To keep crops happy and healthy during these hot days something is almost always being irrigated. We’re thankful to not be moving quite as much irrigation pipe around the farm as in years past, but management of irrigation still has its challenges. Remembering to move the correct sprinklers to the correct lines at the right time, and which line is next to run, and whether or not the hose that hooks to the irrigation mainline matches the pipe in the line to be run can all add up to frustration if not planned out ahead of time. Of course there are always unplanned events like clogged sprinklers, broken pipes, holes in hoses, and undiagnosed leaks to be taken care of too. Somehow Jeff keeps track of it all, and keeps the water flowing.
Just about the time we think we can see the light at the end of the planting tunnel, it’s time to think about fall and overwintering crops. Filling CSA shares nearly year-round means continuously starting seeds, transplanting starts, and direct sowing seeds into the field throughout the growing season. We begin sowing seeds for overwintering crops in June and continue through the summer months. After buying two more tons of organic fertilizer for late crops, we were ready to push ahead with the next round of planting.
This week we transplanted fall broccoli and cauliflower and overwintering cabbage and collards among other things. That photo above shows to strains of January King cabbage that will overwinter in the field and fill CSA shares just after the first of the year, whoa.
So, that’s what we’ve been up to: weeding, watering, and planting. And harvesting too I suppose. And enjoying the sunsets, and thunderstorms, and this amazing Oregon summer.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
- 2 pounds zucchini, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cups water, divided
- 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
- Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer fitted with 1/8-inch julienne attachment
Julienne skin (only) from half of zucchini with slicer; toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and drain in a sieve until wilted, at least 20 minutes. Coarsely chop remaining zucchini.
Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 3- to 4-quarts heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add 3 cups water and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Purée soup with basil in 2 batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids).
Bring remaining cup water to a boil in a small saucepan and blanch julienned zucchini 1 minute. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl (use liquid to thin soup if necessary).
Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve in shallow bowls with julienned zucchini mounded on top.
From Epicurious via Gourmet By Shelley Wiseman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Zucchini-Basil-Soup-242831
Beet and Cabbage Salads
- 2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 5 tablespoons safflower oil
- 3 large raw beets, peeled, coarsely grated
- 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 tablespoons safflower oil
- 6 cups very thinly sliced green cabbage
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
For beet salad:
Whisk vinegar and mustard in large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil, then mix in beets. Season with salt and pepper.
For cabbage salad:
Whisk vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in another large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Mix in cabbage and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Let salads stand 30 minutes and up to 2 hours at room temperature, tossing occasionally.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by by Jerome Navarre, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beet-and-Cabbage-Salads-358592
Salmon and Cucumber Boats
- 1 large orange
- 6 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch squares
- 1 large tomato (about 1/4 pound), diced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 kirby (or Persian) cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 4 slices pumpernickel (or whole-wheat pitas)
Zest orange over a bowl. Cut away rind. Section orange over bowl, removing membranes and catching juices and sections in bowl. Mix in salmon, tomato, onions, basil, oil, pepper and salt. Divide salmon mixture evenly among cucumber boats. Top each boat with 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Serve with bread.
From Epicurious via SELF by Jennifer Iserloh, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Salmon-and-Cucumber-Boats-353109