Welcome to the 16th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Salad Mix – This week’s mix includes lettuce and mizuna!
- Yellow Onions
- Garlic – If you recall, we had a strange garlic growing season. This garlic is flavorful but not for storage. Use it up quick!
- Kennebec Potatoes – Great baking potatoes!
- Brussels Sprouts Tops – Each September we cut off the tops of our Brussels sprouts to encourage sprout growth as we head into fall. At some point we realized we should be eating those amazing tender greens instead of just discarding them. Treat them like kale and eat them up!
- Sweet Italian Frying Peppers
- Korean Hot Peppers – These are “jalapeno hot” according to Jeff. The catalog description suggests they aren’t quite as hot as Thai or cayenne peppers, making them great for adding color and a little heat to your favorite kimchi recipe.
- Sweet Corn – This is the last of our sweet corn for this season. We’ve had some good times, sweet corn. We’ll miss you until next year.
- Summer Squash
- Tuscan Melons
Winter CSA Sign-ups Happening: We’d like to give current CSA members a chance to join us for the Winter season before we open up the program to new members. You can read all about it on the Winter CSA page. Please check this week’s member email for further details and a link to the sign-up form.
With Labor Day in the rear view mirror we can declare that fall has unofficially arrived. Although the Autumnal Equinox won’t occur for a few weeks, the school calendar and weather seem to agree that fall is here. Rumor has it we’ll hit 90 degrees again this coming weekend, but we’re enjoying the relief from the heat as long as we can. The recent rain put a halt to the round-the-clock irrigating that has been the norm for months and cooler nights have resulted in signs of powdery mildew showing up in the cucumbers and summer squash, our signal that their time is limited.
For the most part the rain and cooler weather has been a welcome relief. However, many of the fruit trees are showing signs of fall too as leaves are beginning to change colors and apples and pears are beginning to drop. We spent some time this weekend harvesting the next round of apples to ripen. In past years these apples have remained on the tree into October and CSA members who have come to the fall CSA farm day have picked many of them for cider. Unfortunately the past couple of dry summers have meant they’re ready in September and we’ve had to pick them and store them until the cider and pumpkin patch event the following month. Good news is that we’re having an extraordinary apple year, which is especially nice after a less than great apple year last season. We’re even beginning to run low on cooler space and bins to store the apples in! That’s led to some interesting research and the discovery that there are two box companies in Albany. Who knew?
Other signs of fall around the farm include the sighting of Canada geese and the ripening of winter squash, including a few squash that have volunteered in our compost pile. Last week I mentioned that we’ve been planting overwintering crops for some time, but now we’re beginning to shift our focus to bringing in storage crops. Soon we’ll be digging potatoes and filling pallet bins full of winter squash for storage in the barn. The harvest season is truly upon us as we begin to prioritize the big harvest projects. What is most vulnerable to the elements, be they sun or rain, and what should be harvested first? What’s the ideal storage temperature for each crop? Does it need to go straight into the cooler, cure in a greenhouse, or be brought into the barn for dry storage? And of course, what sort of bin, box, or sack will the crop keep best in and do we have enough bins, boxes, and sacks available?
It’s funny how often farming isn’t just about the planting and tending and harvesting of the crops. Often the post-harvest handling is just as important as a healthy crop and the longer a crop needs to store, the more important it is that we get the handling and storage conditions just right. So that’s where we are on the farm just now, thinking about storage and enjoying the heck out of the cooler weather.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 small green chiles, such as Thai, seeds removed, chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
- 3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
- 1 pound small tomatoes (about 8), cut into wedges
- 1/2 pound Persian cucumbers (about 3), sliced
- A deep-fry thermometer
Purée cilantro, parsley, garlic, half of chiles, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor until very smooth; season herb oil with salt and set aside.
Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and set yogurt sauce aside.
Place eggplants in a colander set in the sink; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes to drain, then pat dry.
Fit a medium pot with thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 2″. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375°.
Working in batches and returning oil to 375° between batches, fry eggplants, turning often, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplants to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool.
Combine eggplants in a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers, and remaining chiles; drizzle with some reserved herb oil and toss to combine. Season salad with salt.
Spoon reserved yogurt sauce onto a platter, top with salad, and drizzle with more herb oil.
Do ahead: Herb oil and yogurt sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Yotam Ottolenghi, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fried-eggplant-tomato-and-cucumber-salad-51242130
Tofu Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
- 1 teaspoon garam masala or good-quality curry powder, or more to taste.
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 8 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu, sliced, blotted dry, and cut into small dice
- 2 medium or 3 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup frozen green peas
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, optional
- Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a wide skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until golden.
2. Add the potatoes and about 1 cup of water. Cover and bring to a simmer, then cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
3. Add the cauliflower, sprinkle in the ginger, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and mustard and continue to simmer gently for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in the tofu, tomatoes, and peas, and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in the optional cilantro, season with salt, and serve.
From Epicurious via Vegan Express by Nava Atlas, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tofu-aloo-gobi-cauliflower-and-potato-curry-368471
Potatoes with Peppers and Chorizo
- 2 lb medium boiling potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 fresh jalapeño chiles (try the Korean Hot peppers here)
- 1 large onion, halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1 lb green bell or Italian frying peppers, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
- 1/2 cup finely chopped Spanish chorizo (cured spiced pork sausage; 2 oz; casings discarded if desired)
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
Make a crosswise cut halfway through 1 potato, then break it apart. Turn potato cut sides down, then cut and break halves in same manner. Repeat halving and breaking until pieces are about 1 1/2 inches. Repeat with remaining potatoes.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté potatoes with salt, turning occasionally, until browned and just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer potatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl, reserving oil in skillet.
Cut a 1 1/2-inch lengthwise slit in each chile, then add to skillet along with onion, peppers, and chorizo and reduce heat to moderate. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add wine and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard chiles, then add pepper mixture to potatoes along with salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cooks’ note: Onion and peppers can be cut into strips and chorizo can be chopped 1 day ahead and chilled separately in sealed plastic bags.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potatoes-with-peppers-and-chorizo-231381