Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Salad Mix
- Pink Beauty Radishes
- Pea Shoots – These are for eating, not planting. Great in salads or sauteed.
- Bok Choy
- Collard/Cabbage Rapini – You can eat the stems, leaves, and florets of the rapini. Yum!
- Hakurei Salad Turnips – We love these raw, but we’ve heard surprisingly good reviews of roasting them too!
- Parsley – Such a fresh taste! We like making up a creamy parsley salad dressing.
- Red Bunching Onions
- Pea Starts – We offering up our extra snap pea starts. Plant them for future peas or cut them and eat the greens now.
Last month a long-time CSA member passed away and we recently attended her memorial service. I’ve been debating writing about it here, but it seems fitting to share this loss with our wider CSA community. Patty and Dave joined the CSA back in 2010, the first year we had a CSA program but we first met them as market customers in 2009 at the Saturday Market. We have a notecard from October of that first season from them, written as both congratulations for making it through and encouragement to keep on going. That was Patty, always encouraging and supporting and appreciating. The last couple of years had been rough, as she fought cancer and the complications of cancer, but she lived life as an example for the rest of us, not giving up easily. The last time we saw her, in between hospitalizations, she brought us some amazing apple cookies still warm from the oven. That was Patty, always sharing the bounty. Our thoughts are with Dave as he finds his way in this new world.
It’s been an awfully busy couple of weeks since the last pick-up. Spring has sprung and after a deluge of rain, the weather cleared up enough for us to get busy farming! We welcomed new livestock to the farm and planted a whole lot of vegetables. Here’s the re-cap:
I think I mentioned a few weeks back that we were looking forward to hosting bee hives for a local commercial beekeeper. After bringing them back from their working vacation in the California almond orchards, the beekeepers parked 28 hives in our back woodlot! The bees appear to be settling in and are happier with the warmer temps the last few days. They’re spending their days foraging in the flowering kale seed crop and in the fruit trees that are still blooming. Hurrah for bees!
As I said, we’ve done a lot of planting these past couple of weeks. After the big rains, while we waited for the fields to dry out again, we took advantage of the dry space inside two field houses and transplanted our slicer and cherry tomatoes. It’s earlier than ever for tomato transplanting for us but so far so good. We’ll be keeping an eye on the low temperatures in the coming weeks and cover them if needed. In a few weeks we’ll hopefully be ready to transplant the rest of our tomatoes into the field. Time is really flying by!
Last fall Jeff hit the cover crop sweet spot and sowed rye grain and clover into most of the fields that didn’t have vegetables overwintering in them. The cover crop helps with soil stability, keeping the soil in place and reducing leaching during (the normal) winter rains. The clover in the mix fixes nitrogen, so we get to spend less on importing organic fertilizer. In the spring we mow the cover crop and then work it back into the soil as a green manure. It takes some time for the cover crop to break down, but after some more preparations, eventually the ground is ready to plant into again.
Before the big rains we planted out the majority of our potatoes. We planned for an early planting and Jeff mowed and worked in the cover crop over the last month. We purchased 450lbs of organic seed potatoes this year and planted out fourteen 275ft beds. It was a long day, but we timed it well and the rain started just as we finished up. We have a few more beds of saved potatoes to plant out, but we still need to go through our potato stockpile.
Anticipating ahead of time, Jeff had prepped the ground for our first big transplanting and direct sowings of the season as well. This past weekend we planted out our first field rounds of lettuce, fennel, parsley, radishes, turnips, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, kohlrabi, and chard. Whew! Our new tractor/transplanter combo was a champ! We felt better than ever after such a large planting and the transplants were happy in their new watered-in homes in the field.
And what about that livestock?! We welcomed 4 young pigs to the farm last week. They’re our first foray into non-poultry and non-pet animals on the farm and so far we love them! They’ve been extraordinarily well-behaved for the few days we’ve had them and it’s been hard not to hang out and watch them settle in to their new home. For folks interested in breeds, they’re a cross between an Old Spot sow and a Duroc boar. They’ve begun to take to us as the people with the food and water, and this morning at pig-breakfast I even got to give them each a scratch on the back.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Pea Shoot and Spinach Salad with Bacon and Shiitakes
- 1 (1/4-pound) piece double-smoked bacon*
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon coarse-grain mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces fresh pea shoots (4 cups)
- 4 ounces baby spinach leaves (4 cups)
- 1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 6 radishes, cut into matchsticks
- *Available from specialty foods shops and by mail order from Citarella (212-874-0383).
Cut bacon into 3/4-inch-thick matchsticks and cook in a heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until crisp but still chewy, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
Pour off fat from skillet and add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden, about 8 minutes, then cool.
Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large salad bowl until blended.
Add pea shoots and spinach to dressing and toss to coat. Add bacon, mushrooms, chives, and radishes and toss again.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pea-shoot-and-spinach-salad-with-bacon-and-shiitakes-105007
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon-Parsley Dressing
- 1 head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into florets, including tender leaves
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 4 tablespoons oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until tender and golden brown, 25–30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pulse parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until very finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower with lemon-parsley mixture and top with lemon zest.
DO AHEAD: Lemon-parsley mixture can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
From Epicurious via Gourmet by Dawn Perry, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-lemon-parsley-dressing-51198450
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt plus 1 teaspoon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional)
- 3/4 cup sliced bok choy stalks (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
- 1 1/2 cups firmly packed sliced bok choy leaves (1/4-inch-wide pieces)
- 14 ounces ground pork
- 1/3 cup finely sliced scallions
- 2 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons white rice wine
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of white pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 6 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 cup water
1. To make the filling, first water blanch the bok choy. In a pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoon salt and the baking soda (if using). When the water returns to a boil, add the bok choy stalks and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the bok choy leaves and blanch for 1 minute, or until the leaves turn bright green. Immediately turn off the heat. Run cold water into the pot, then drain off the water. Repeat.
2. In a large bowl, place the bok choy, the 1 teaspoon salt, and all of the remaining filling ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or 2 pairs of wooden chopsticks, mix the ingredients together, stirring them in one direction. Stirring in this way ensures the mixture will become a cohesive filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. The longer it rests, the easier it will be to work with.
3. To make the dough: In a large bowl, place the flour and make a well in the center. Gradually add the water to the well, and use your fingers to combine it with the flour until it is absorbed and a firm dough forms. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water. Knead the dough in the bowl for about 15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 1 1/2 hours.
4. Dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, and keep the others covered with the damp cloth. Using your palms, roll into a log 12 inches long. Cut crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Using a small rolling pin, roll out each piece into a 3-inch round. Keep the work surface well dusted with flour as you work.
5. Place 1 round on the palm of one hand, place 1 tablespoon of the filling on the center, and fold the round into a half-moon. Using the thumb and forefinger of the other hand pleat the seam closed, making from 5 to 7 pleats. Repeat to form more dumplings until all of the rounds are used. Cover the dumplings with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out, then repeat with the remaining two pieces of dough in two batches to make a total of 36 dumplings.
6. In a cast-iron frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil over high heat. When a wisp of white smoke appears, turn off the heat and place 18 of the dumplings in the pan. Turn on the heat to medium and allow the dumplings to cook for 3 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into the pan and allow the dumplings to cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the water evaporates. Reduce the heat to low and allow the dumplings to cook for about 2 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the bottom and the skins are translucent on top. To ensure the dumplings cook evenly, move the pan back and forth on the burner to distribute the heat evenly and prevent sticking.
7. Remove to a heated dish and serve. Because these dumplings are best eaten hot, serve in batches.
These dumplings can be frozen uncooked for up to 6 weeks. Dust them liberally with flour to prevent sticking, then stack them neatly, separating the layers with sheets of waxed paper. Next, wrap them in a double layer of plastic wrap, and then wrap again in heavy-duty aluminum foil and slip into the freezer. To cook them, thaw and allow to come to room temperature, then cook as directed.
These dumplings are eaten with a ginger-vinegar dipping sauce that is as traditional as they are. In a bowl, mix together 1/3 cup red rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup peeled and finely shredded ginger. Let stand for 30 minutes before use. Then serve the sauce in a common bowl, from which each diner can spoon the sauce over a dumpling. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
From Epicurious via Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pot-stickers-357550