winter csa share – week 4

winter csa share week 4

Welcome to the 4th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Kale – Mixed bunches of Lacinato and Red Ursa this week.
  • Inchelium Garlic
  • Kohlrabi – Never fear, Superschmelz is here!  These giant kohlrabi aren’t woody or fibrous like other varieties can get.  We roasted one earlier this week and it had a great sweet flavor.
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Castelfranco Chicory
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Shallots
  • Autumn Crown & Butternut Winter Squash – Autumn Crown is a miniature long island cheese type winter squash.  Treat them like butternut squash and you can’t go wrong.
  • Dried Apples


Every year we have big plans for the winter months.  We list out the projects that didn’t get enough attention during the growing season and make plans to tackle them between the every other week winter CSA harvests.  Then the holidays arrive and the end of the year is lost in a blur of friends and food and late nights and general merriment.  We wake up sometime in January, realizing it’s time to get serious about winter projects before winter is over, just in time to hunker down for a week of crop planning.

seed order

This past week we did indeed hunker down and made it through our epic crop planning session excited about the season to come.  Our crop planning process involves the two of us sitting and focusing for hours as we go through each of the 50 crops we intend to grow in the coming season.  This is when we decide on varieties, amounts, seed sources, planting dates, and harvest projections.  The season gets mapped out in spreadsheets.

We spend a good deal of time comparing varieties from different seed companies and choosing the best fit for our farm.  We think it’s important to buy from local organic seed growers when possible both to support their work and knowing their varieties are often the best suited to our climate.  Our favorite localish seed folks are Adaptive Seeds, Uprising Seeds, and Wild Garden.  When we think we need a wider selection to choose from we still search out organic seed when available and try to support seed companies selling quality organic seed.  We’re putting in seed orders at 15 different seed companies this year.  Too complicated?  Maybe.  Our favorite bigger seed companies include High Mowing, Osborne, Fedco and Johnny’s.


Just as we finished up our crop planning our new transplanter arrived!  The transplanter hooks up to the new tractor and is pulled very slowly down a bed while one of us will sit behind it and plant.  We can’t wait for transplanting season to get here to try it out.  We’re looking forward to spending less time bent over transplanting by hand and speeding up the whole transplanting process.  For years we’ve wanted to align our the width of our tractors with the width of our beds.  This year it’s all finally coming together and we’re hoping it will make our field work more efficient.

With crop planning behind us and the new transplanter and tractor combo ready to go, we’re ready to get this season underway.  Before long we’ll be sowing the first seeds in the propagation house!  Also, we’ll begin accepting members for the 2015 summer CSA very shortly!  Details to come soon!

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

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Maple Horseradish Glazed Beets

  • 1 3/4 lb medium beets (3 3/4 lb with greens), stems trimmed to 1 inch
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons bottled horseradish (not drained)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably dark amber or Grade B)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into eighths, then transfer to a bowl.

Melt butter with horseradish, syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Stir in beets and boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid in skillet is reduced to about 1/4 cup and beets are coated, 4 to 5 minutes.

From Epicurious via Gourmet,


Potato, Green Cabbage, and Leek Soup

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups diced green cabbage (1/2-inch dice; from about 1/2 medium head)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; 3 to 4 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 2 x 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

Whisk crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add cabbage; sprinkle lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sauté until cabbage is almost tender but not brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer 1 cup cabbage to small bowl and reserve for garnish.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot with cabbage; add leeks and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until leeks soften slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes, Parmesan rind, if desired, and bay leaf. Add 6 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until all vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaf. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return puree to pot. Simmer until heated through, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top each serving with some of reserved sautéed cabbage. Drizzle crème fraîche mixture over soup; sprinkle with chives and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Maria Helm Sinskey,


Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Molly Wizenberg,