Welcome to the 6th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Salad Mix – This stuff saved us this week. Big salads with shredded carrots and creamy dressing and tuna salad wraps stuffed full of lettuce made multiple appearances on our plates.
- Fava Beans
- Bunching Onions
- Fennel – Check out the fennel pickle recipe down below. You’ll be glad you did.
- Cucumbers – Hey, something new! Picklers and slicers all around. Not interested in pickling the picklers? Then just treat them like slicers!
- Summer Squash
- Strawberries or Tomatoes – Choose your fruit! Sweet strawberries or tangy tomatoes, you choose this week.
- Dry Beans – These beauties have been hanging out in storage since the end of last season. Like dry beans from the grocery store, these should be rinsed to let any debris we missed float to the surface to be discarded.
During January cold snaps I sometimes try to remember back to the heat of summer. I imagine the overwhelming heat of the summer sun, the longest days ever, the constant thoughts of iced beverages and river swimming and sweet fruits. In a blink we’re here, in the midst of an early summer heatwave, struggling to keep hydrated and wondering why it’s still so hot at 8pm. These 90 degree days have me trying to conjure memories of cold and rain.
This week we borrowed a friend’s undercutter bar implement for our tractor to get our garlic harvested. In the past we’ve always spent far too much time using a digging fork to loosen the garlic from the soil. As I mentioned last week, our garlic was hit by rust fungus this spring and was not looking particularly healthy. We think the combination of the heat and the rust was just too much for the plants. Anyhow, we weren’t looking forward to spending a lot of time harvesting a sad garlic crop. Luckily the offer came to borrow this implement just in time.
The tool consists of a sharp bar that digs down 8 inches or so into the ground and is pulled along the bed under the roots of the garlic plants, loosening them as it goes and making pulling them a lot easier. I didn’t get a photo, but here’s a video if you’re interested to see it in action. As expected, the harvest was slim, but it’s done! Now the garlic is curing in the rafters of the barn and we’ll begin sharing it with you shortly.
On Saturday, while we were harvesting garlic, a couple of graduate students from Washington State University dropped by to sample insects in various crops. Their main focus is sampling in broccoli plantings but they’ve expanded since last year’s sampling to look at lettuce and potato plantings too. They do visual scans and take notes but also set pit traps for overnight sampling and use a backpack vacuum (think leaf blower, but it sucks instead of blows) to take samples. It’s an impressive operation and was super interesting to see the different insect populations for each crop sampled. Crops that are near each other have very different pest pressures, which is something we knew but hadn’t ever really contemplated. Seeing the insects in mesh bags from each crop side-by-side was a handy visual for understanding what we’re up against. It’s a complicated world out there in the field.
As we look ahead this week it looks like we’re in for more of the same hot weather. We’ll be planting up a storm, and of course weeding, and irrigating, and dreaming of winter rain.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Many thanks to Chris A. for sharing this Fennel Pickle recipe with us in the P&C CSA Member Facebook group!
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- 2-2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 lemon cut into 4 or 5 slices
- 1 large fennel bulb with 3 inches of stalk and fronds
- Toast all the seeds in a pan till fragrant
- Place water, vinegar, toasted seeds, sugar, salt, and lemon slices into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Meanwhile, slice the stalks and fronds off the bulb. Trim the stalks and use a vegetable peeler to remove the more fibrous outer skin, then slice them in half. Reserve the fronds.
- Slice the bulb down the middle from top to bottom. Remove the core.
- Separate the fennel by it’s natural layers, then slice each layer into 1-inch wide strips. I also like to take a vegetable peeler to the outermost layer since that can also tend to be a little more fibrous than the tender inner layers.
- Once the brine is boiling, remove it from the heat. Add the fennel and fronds.
- Allow to cool, uncovered.
- Once completely cool, store the fennel and brine (being sure to keep all the seeds but remove the lemon) in a jar or air-tight container and place in the fridge. Wait 24 hours before eating. I don’t know how long they stay good for, they never last long enough for me to find out.
From Food52, http://food52.com/recipes/21353-fennel-pickles
Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
- 16 ounces (about 4) medium golden and/or red beets
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly shaved
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Heat oven to 375°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then remove skins. (You can rub them off with a paper towel.) Slice beets into thin wedges. Make dressing: Blend grapeseed oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and sesame oil in a blender on high until frothy; season with salt and pepper. Combine beets, arugula, tomatoes and fennel in a bowl; add 2 tablespoon dressing (reserve the rest); toss. Top with goat cheese.
From Epicurious via SELF by Merritt Watts and Chef Hari Pulapaka, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-and-goat-cheese-salad-360349
Seared Mahi-Mahi with Green Gazpacho Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped English hothouse cucumber (about 1/2 large)
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 5 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more) white balsamic vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons chopped seeded serrano chiles
- 4 7-to 8-ounce mahi-mahi fillets
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 6 ounces small red and yellow cherry, pear, or grape tomatoes, halved
Combine cucumber, onions, cilantro, 4 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar, and chiles in processor. Using on/off turns, blend mixture until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl. Season with more vinegar, if desired, and salt and black pepper.
Sprinkle fish fillets on both sides with salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook 5 minutes. Turn over, cover, and cook until fish is just opaque in center, 4 to 5 minutes.
Divide gazpacho sauce among 4 plates. Top each with 1 fish fillet. Scatter tomatoes atop and around fish and serve.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seared-mahi-mahi-with-green-gazpacho-sauce-354849