Welcome to the 12th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Salad Mix
- Broccoli or Cauliflower
- Shishito Peppers – Best served blistered in hot oil with salt just like this recipe. Beware: 1 in 10 is hot! It’s a game of pepper roulette.
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Summer Squash
- Tomatoes – A big heirloom slicer and your choice of cherries or small sauce tomatoes.
- Cucumbers – Slicers or picklers, you choose!
- Green Beans
- Yellow Transparent Apples – These are the same variety of apples from a couple of weeks back. They make great sauce, which in turn makes great applesauce cookies!
- Watermelon – Tasting these in the field this week we came to the conclusion that we may have overwatered them. Sad but true. They’re still tasty though.
For better or worse, the long work days of summer leave quite a bit of time for listening to podcasts and audio books. There’s a new farming podcast taking the small farming world by storm that I’ve been enjoying to no end. It’s called the Farmer to Farmer podcast and though it may be a little too farmy technical for non-farmer listeners, there are a lot of great non-technical concepts discussed too.
This week’s episode of the podcast was CSA-centric and the host and interviewee spent a good deal of time discussing the CSA concept and how it has evolved over the years. The interviewee runs one of the oldest CSAs in the country and was adamant that the idea of ‘shared risk’ was the number one tenet of the CSA model. In the interview he also differentiated between risk associated with unavoidable natural occurrences and risk associated with poor management. He thinks CSA members have signed up to help shoulder the former but not the latter.
As CSAs have increased in number and competition has created more consumer choice it seems like the practical implementation of this concept has fallen away from most CSAs. We agree that ‘shared risk’ is an important component of the CSA and in retrospect we’ve confronted it in a similar mindset, though we discuss it here very rarely. For example, when a winter storm killed the majority of our overwintering field crops a couple years back, we were honest with the CSA members about the situation and winter shares were filled with more storage crops than usual for several months. That event provided a unique opportunity to see how many members understood that they’d signed up for ‘shared risk’ along with their allotment of vegetables for the season.
As current CSA members I wonder if you think about this concept too, or if you did when you signed on last spring? What does CSA mean to you as a member?
Perhaps the podcast episode I just rambled on about really caught my attention because this past week has been filled with some subtle ups and downs. For starters, a couple weeks back we broke our tiller, which is not something you want to face in the beginning of August with a propagation house full of transplants ready to find a home in the field. After spending time taking the tiller to the shop, hearing about the $4000 repair cost, realizing the thing only cost $1500 4 years ago when we bought it, deciding to buy a new (used) tiller, and traveling to McMinnville to do so, the rest of the week just felt a little off kilter. But really the whole thing was fairly smooth and thanks to you all, we had the money in the bank to buy the new implement and get back to work ASAP.
Highlights from this week include seeing hummingbirds in the pole beans, the weeding of the sweet potatoes/seed crop celery/trial peppers/leeks/overwintering brassicas (think cabbage, broccoli etc) with Tim, the homemade apple pie Tim brought to share at break (that guy knows how to bake a pie!), catching the gopher that’s been eating celery plants, several amazing sunsets, pushing through to get caught up on planting, and a brief visit by some other inspirational farmers. It all evened out in the end and we’re on to the next week!
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Tomato and Watermelon Salad
- 3 or 4 small to medium heirloom tomatoes, in assorted colors, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
- 1 small English or regular cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 cup 3/4-inch-cubed yellow or red seedless watermelon flesh
- 1 Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs, in any combination: basil, tarragon, chives, and cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, and herbs. In a spice grinder, grind the coriander seeds to a fine powder. Add the ground coriander to the tomato mixture and toss gently.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the tomato mixture and toss to coat evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.
From Epicurious via Pintxos: Small Plates in the Basque Tradition by Gerald Hirigoyen with Lisa Weiss, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tomato-and-watermelon-salad-352389
Summer Vegetable Succotash
- 1 lb small (1-inch) yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (preferably corn oil)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 ears; preferably yellow and white)
- 8 oz baby pattypan squash, trimmed and quartered
- 8 oz frozen shelled edamame (fresh soybeans) or baby lima beans (1 1/2 cups), cooked according to package directions and cooled
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and cool, then cut into bite-size pieces.
Heat oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat until foam subsides, then sauté potatoes with salt and pepper to taste, turning once or twice, until nicely crusted, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Sauté corn and squash in remaining 3 tablespoons butter in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans and sauté, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and add to potatoes with onion and chives, stirring to combine.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-vegetable-succotash-105227
Green Bean, Corn, and Coconut Stir-Fry
- 3/4 cup grated dried unsweetened coconut
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 small fresh green chile, such as serrano, Thai, or jalapeño, slit lengthwise with stem end intact
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
- 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 15 to 20 fresh curry leaves (optional)
- 1 pound green beans, thinly sliced crosswise (1/4 inch)
- 3 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
Stir together coconut, cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, chile, garlic, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl.
Heat oil in a wok or 12-inch heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then cook mustard seeds and red pepper flakes until mustard seeds begin to pop and/or turn gray. Add curry leaves (if using), covering skillet immediately as they crackle for a few seconds.
Add green beans and corn and stir-fry 8 minutes. Add coconut mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. If mixture becomes dry and begins to stick to bottom of wok, add a few tablespoons water. Season with salt.
From Epicurious via Gourmet Live by Maya Kaimal, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-bean-corn-and-coconut-stir-fry-em-thoren-em-394669