Welcome to the 27th and final week of the Pitchfork & Crow 2014 CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Cabbage – the variety this week is Verza di Verona, a purple tinged semi-savoy type. We love this cabbage, and only wish the purple coloring wasn’t mostly on the wrapper leaves.
- Celeriac – last week’s cold weather hit the celery so we’re including celeriac instead. We love the celery flavor of these amazing roots and hope you enjoy them too!
- German Butterball Potatoes
- Brussels Sprouts
- Butternut Winter Squash – These are from a seed selection grow-out at Adaptive Seeds. These shapes and sizes aren’t exactly what they’re looking for in their butternut mix but are still tasty as all get out!
- Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins
- Corn Flour or Polenta – We grew Cascade Ruby Gold Flint Corn this year, a locally bred and adapted corn variety that when milled results in both polenta (aka grits) and flour! It doesn’t get much better than that in my opinion. Quick video from last year of the process here. Also, stick it in the freezer if you don’t plan on using it right away.
It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived at the 27th week so soon, but here we are. Many thanks for your continued support. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, we couldn’t do this without you! We appreciate you signing on with us for a whole season of vegetables and hope you’ll consider joining us again.
As promised last week, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the 2014 CSA survey results. We appreciate the feedback and we’ll be evaluating it further as we head into the planning season.
I’ll only highlight the major questions and results below to keep it brief. We’ve received 30 responses to the survey (out of 80 shares), though a single respondent may have included multiple answers to a single question in some cases. The number in parenthesis equals the number of mentions from separate respondents.
= Why did you join the CSA?
- Support farmers (18)
- Looking for fresh, high quality vegetables (11)
- Eat locally (10)
Other top reasons cited include: eating organic vegetables (8) and eating healthier (4). Several folks mentioned price, variety, sense of community, and convenience as reasons for joining as well.
We asked this question to gauge member expectations. Knowing why you’re joining helps us to meet member goals as well as our own farm goals. We’re glad to see these goals overlapping in the above responses.
= What would you like to see more of in the CSA?
- Onions (9)
- Fruit (8)
- Tomatoes (5)
Further suggestions include: Sweet Corn (4), Peppers (4), Winter Squash (4), and Garlic (4) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.
We appreciate knowing what folks would like to see more of. We know what we’d like to improve on, but of course we want you to be happy with the selection available. Some things we just need to hone our skills on (onions, sweet corn, and tomatoes!) and other things require larger long term investments (most fruits for instance). Over time we hope to find a balance.
= What would you like to see less of in the CSA?
- Sunchokes (4)
- Beets (4)
- Radishes (4)
Other suggestions include: Potatoes (3) and Fennel (3) in addition to a number of other suggestions with fewer mentions.
As with wanting to know what you’d like to see more of, knowing what you’d like to see less of also helps us with our planning. The CSA model means that members will share in the bounties and the failures of the season. For instance we had a particularly good radish and beet year, which was reflected in the shares this season. In the past these crops didn’t do so well and they didn’t show up as often.
Items like Sunchokes and Fennel appeal to some members and help us add diversity to shares a few times throughout the season so we’ll continue to grow them. We’re brainstorming ideas for helping folks opt out of items they won’t use without sacrificing these choices for those who enjoy them.
= The share size was:
- Overwhelming: 8
- Good Amount: 20
- Not Enough: 2
What’s enough? Of course it’s different for every family. The results for this question suggest we’re hitting the mark for most folks. Those who find the share size overwhelming may want to consider splitting a share in the future. Those who feel it’s not enough may want to stop splitting a share and take on a full share. Also, we know that several members have CSA shares with multiple farms.
= What has been especially positive for you about this year’s CSA season so far?
- Supporting farmers/Nice farmers (10)
- Farm visits (8)
- Quality of vegetables (6)
- Variety of vegetables (6)
Other positives listed include: the market-style pick-up (4), a sense of community (3), and convenience (3) in addition to several others with fewer mentions.
It’s nice to see the answers here compared to the reasons given for joining the CSA. In general the positive aspects of the CSA appear to align with the initial expectations.
= What could have been better for you about this year’s CSA season so far?
- “Not a thing” (18)
- longer pick-up window (3)
- storage/preserving tips (2)
- pick-up later in week (2)
There were a number of other suggestions provided by single respondents such as having vegan recipes suggested, more produce, quality of produce, and having a better way to share recipes.
Although many folks suggested that no changes were needed, it’s easy for us to focus on the other answers provided. Some of these things we can address. For instance we can try to provide more suggestions for storing and preserving vegetables throughout the season and include more vegan-friendly recipes in the blog posts. We’ll also brainstorm ideas for how to make the pick-up more convenient for folks. Of course we hope you know that we’re always striving to provide quality produce to members!
= Do you think you got a fair amount of produce for the price you paid for the share?
- Yes: 30
- No: 0
Thanks, we’d hope you say that!
Once again, thanks for joining us this season. We hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving full of local delicious food. We’ll see the Winter CSA members next week at the winter pick-up location. For everyone else, have a fantastic winter! We’ll be in touch when we’re ready to begin accepting members for the 2015 CSA season.
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Potato & Celery Root Gratin with Leeks
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 sprig thyme plus 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
- 1 pound , peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
- 2 cups grated Gruyère
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat cream, garlic, and thyme sprig in a medium saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; set aside to steep.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; season with salt and cook, stirring often, until tender (do not brown), 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
Butter a 3-quart gratin dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Layer 1/3 of potato slices and 1/3 of celery root slices evenly over bottom of baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of leeks, then 1/3 of Gruyère. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Repeat layers twice more. Strain cream mixture into a medium pitcher and pour over vegetables.
Set gratin dish on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Tent with foil and rewarm in a 300° oven until hot, about 20 minutes.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Susan Spungen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Potato-Celery-Root-Gratin-with-Leeks-368278
Bourbon Pumpkin Pie
- Pastry dough
- 1 (15-ounces) can pure pumpkin
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Equipment: a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate (6-cup capacity); pie weights or dried beans
- Accompaniment: lightly sweetened whipped cream (add 1 teaspoon bourbon per 1/2 cup cream if desired)
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round and fit into pie plate. Trim edge, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and lightly press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Lightly prick bottom all over with a fork. Chill until firm, at least 30 minutes (or freeze 10 minutes).
Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake until side is set and edge is golden, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove weights and foil and bake shell until golden all over, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely.
Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into cooled shell.
Bake until edge of filling is set but center trembles slightly, about 45 minutes (filling will continue to set as it cools). Cool completely.
From Epicurious via Gourmet by Andrea Albin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Bourbon-Pumpkin-Pie-356090
For the dough
- 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon cold water if necessary
For the filling
- 3/4 pound russet (baking) potatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 cups chopped cabbage
- 3 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 tablespoons water if necessary
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg with 1 teaspoon water
Make the dough:
In a food processor blend together the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the butter until the mixture resembles meal. In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks and the sour cream, add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture, and blend the mixture until it just forms a dough, adding the water if the dough seems dry. Divide the dough into fourths, form each fourth into a flattened round, and chill the dough, each round wrapped well in wax paper, for 1 hour or overnight.
Make the filling:
Peel the potatoes, cut them into 3/4-inch pieces, and in a steamer set over boiling water steam them, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are very tender. Force the potatoes through a ricer or food mill into a bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter. In a heavy saucepan cook the onion and the caraway seeds in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is golden, add the cabbage, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 5 minutes. Cook the mixture, covered, over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more and stir it into the potato mixture with the sour cream, the water if the mixture is too thick, the dill, and salt and pepper to taste. The filling may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled.
On a lightly floured surface roll out 1 piece of the dough 1/8 inch thick, keeping the remaining pieces wrapped and chilled, and with a 3-inch cutter cut out rounds. Brush each round with some of the egg wash, put 2 level teaspoons of the filling on one half of each round, and fold the dough over the filling to form a half-moon, pressing the edges together firmly to seal them and crimping them with a fork. Gather the scraps of dough, reroll them, and make more pirozhki with the remaining filling and dough and some of the remaining egg wash in the same manner. The pirozhki may be made up to this point 5 days in advance and kept frozen in plastic freeze bags. The pirozhki need not be thawed before baking.
Arrange the pirozhki on lightly greased baking sheets and brush the tops with the remaining egg wash. Bake the pirozhki in preheated 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they are golden, and serve them warm or at room temperature.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pirozhki-11648