Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Green Cabbage
- Head Lettuce
- Sweet Onions
- Mountain Rose Potatoes – Red both inside and out, excellent baked, mashed or fried!
- Iko Iko Bell Peppers – These purple and yellow bell peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers. Their bell pepper smell is intoxicating!
- Summer Squash
- Cucumbers – slicers lemons, and picklers for everyone
- Green Beans
- Yellow Transparent Apples – Our earliest apples to ripen, these soft yellow apples make for excellent apple sauce! They’re not great for storage, so use them up quickly, and note that they bruise easily.
- Tomatoes – cherries and slicers!
- Strawberries – The berries keep ripening. We keep picking them. You keep eating them in your car after the pick-up.
CSA Members: Did you choose the 2-payment option? Please remember that your second payment is due by August 1st. Feel free to bring a check or cash to the pick-up or drop it in the mail.
Early last week some friends asked if we wanted to do a river float on Sunday. It sounded like a wonderful idea, but in reality could we give up a whole day off the farm? It’s a perpetual question, especially in the summer.
The “To Do” list keeps growing and leaving the farm for a day seems impossible. But of course it’s not really sustainable to work every day for months and expect to remain excited and engaged with the work at hand. Our conversations routinely come back to our hope to find some balance in this farming life. It’s not a reality just yet, but I think we’re moving in the right direction with our recent decision to hire that first employee.
As I thought about our friend’s suggestion of a river trip I made a deal with myself that if we worked hard all week and accomplished the most pressing tasks, then come Sunday I’d be ready to take a day off. This week we could have been found transplanting kale and rutabaga and lettuce and basil, or starting the next round of lettuce and beets, or weed-eating the orchard aisles, or harvesting and delivering an order for LifeSource Natural Foods, or invoicing new CSA members, or weeding the watermelons/beets/celery/celeriac/carrots with Tim, or trellising the pole beans, or harvesting apples, or prepping fields for cover crop, or moving pipe and irrigating crops, or feeding and watering the pigs and chickens….you get the idea.
As the weekend approached I felt good about our progress, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. Floating the river in the rain and 70 degrees suddenly didn’t seem like the best plan. Not to be discouraged we rallied and settled on a hike instead.
We met up with our friends and headed just over the Santiam Pass to hike up to Canyon Creek Meadows and the base of 3 Fingered Jack. This crazy summer weather meant we had long missed the peak of wildflower season but it was a great hike nonetheless. A walk through the woods with friends was just what I needed after a long week on the farm. The ripe huckleberries we discovered along the way were just a bonus.
Back when I was in college I spent two summers roaming the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness as a Forest Service Wilderness Guard. It was amazing to experience the wilderness for days at a time back then and although I don’t get there very often these days, it always feels a little like going to visit an old friend. As we hiked toward 3 Fingered Jack on Sunday I was reminded how hard that job had felt way back when. I have fond memories of my wilderness guard experience, but when I was in the midst of it I felt unprepared and overwhelmed by the physical and mental stamina needed to spend days alone in the wilderness. How similar that feeling is to this farming life.
Perhaps because we didn’t learn to farm from an older generation or because we jumped in with everything we had before we knew better, we often feel unprepared and overwhelmed in farming. There’s a lot of balls to juggle and so many of them come down to our own personal physical and mental stamina. Looking around the farm this year, I think we’re getting better at the juggling act though. For the moment anyhow.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Smoked Salmon and Dill
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 4 cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
- 1 8-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 3 large fresh dill sprigs plus 6 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon (or more) salt
- 1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 3 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add cucumbers and potato; stir 1 minute. Add broth, dill sprigs, and 1 teaspoon salt. Increase heat and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cucumbers and potato are tender, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in processor until smooth. Return to pot. Cool 15 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup crème fraîche and 4 tablespoons minced dill. Cover and chill until cold, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.) Taste soup, adding more salt if desired. Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Place dollop of crème fraîche in center of each bowl; sprinkle with smoked salmon and remaining 2 tablespoons minced dill.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chilled-cucumber-soup-with-smoked-salmon-and-dill-108433
Black Bean and Zucchini Chilaquiles
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
- One 28-ounce can crushed or puréed tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- One 16- to 20-ounce can black beans or 2 1/2 cups cooked black beans (from about 1 cup dried)
- 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 small fresh hot chile pepper, seeded and minced, or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
- 12 6-inch corn tortillas, torn or cut into several pieces
- 8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese or Cheddar-style nondairy cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Lightly oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 2-quart round casserole.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the bell pepper and continue to sauté until it has softened and the onions are golden. Stir in the tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini, and chile pepper. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 5 minutes.
3. Layer as follows in the prepared pan. Half the tortillas, half the tomato black bean mixture, and half the cheese. Repeat. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.
From Epicurious via The Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Nava Atlas, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/black-bean-and-zucchini-chilaquiles-355944
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 small serrano chilies, seeded, minced (about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- 8 cups (packed) shredded cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 cups (packed) shredded carrots (about 2 large)
Whisk mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, mustard, chopped dill, sugar, chilies, garlic and celery seeds in medium bowl to blend.
Toss cabbage and carrots in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Coleslaw can be prepared ahead. Let stand at room temperature up to 1 hour or cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.) Serve cold or at room temperature.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/haitian-coleslaw-103771