summer csa share – week 17

csa share week 17

Welcome to the 17th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Cabbage
  • Sweet Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Chioggia Beets
  • 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!
  • Shishitos – Best served blistered in hot oil with salt just like this recipeBeware: 1 in 10 is hot!  It’s a game of pepper roulette.
  • Basil
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Italian Plums

fall brassicas

This growing season has been a whirlwind.  I’ve said it before, but somehow here we are in mid-September, already feeling the fall chill in the air and thinking of getting our firewood for the winter.  We’re bringing in the storage crops, tending to the fall field crops, planning for the winter season ahead.  This year-round farming gig doesn’t leave a lot of time for reflection before the next season is upon us, but it’s important to pause sometimes to gauge the season.

In those mid-summer overwhelming moments when there is too much to be done and not enough hands to do it all, we have to remind ourselves that we’re growing for the summer harvest and the winter harvest too.  The kale we sow in June and transplant in July to enjoy in fall shares will hopefully make an appearance in March shares too, assuming the weather cooperates.  The potatoes we plant in May and dig all summer will be stored for shares all spring.  The leeks we start in March and transplant in May and try to keep watered and weeded all summer will also hopefully make an appearance in spring CSA shares, a full year from starting the seed.  When it feels like too much work, and we question why we’re growing year round, I always come back to the same answers.  Because we can and because folks need to eat in the winter too.

winter squash

We began gathering the winter squash this past weekend while Tim was here.  It’s one of those annual projects that takes a bit to work out the kinks of the operation because we haven’t done it for a year.  We fairly quickly fell into a rhythm of someone cutting the the squash from the vines and piling them along the center of the bed, and then others transferring the squash to the bins on the tractor.  The harvest is bountiful and we’re excited to share the 19 different varieties of winter squash we grew this year.  Whew, 19 varieties!

This is my favorite time of year.  We get to enjoy the literal fruits of our summer labor!  Work tends to be easier in the cooler temperatures and, though there is still plenty of projects to be tackled, it’s easier to see how the season will shape up as a whole.  It’s also easier to step away from the farm and we’re looking forward to taking a few more days to enjoy the summer before the fall rains eventually set in.  We hope you’ve been enjoying the summer too!  And we’ve still got ten weeks of Summer CSA goodness ahead of us!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Beet and Cabbage Borscht

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound russet potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/4 of small head)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth
  • 6 2-inch-diameter beets, peeled, chopped
  • 1 cup drained canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Low-fat sour cream
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add potatoes, cabbage and onion and sauté until cabbage softens, about 5 minutes. Add 8 cups broth, beets and tomatoes. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Working in small batches, puree 4 cups of soup in blender; return to remaining soup in pot. If desired, add more broth by 1/2 cupfuls to thin soup. Add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream; sprinkle with parsley. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beet-and-cabbage-borscht-5109

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Chioggia Beets with Raspberry Mint Vinagrette

  • 1 lb beets (4 to 6; preferably Chioggia*), 1 inch of stems left intact
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh orange zest (from 2 oranges)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Cover beets with water by 1 inch in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan and simmer until tender when pierced in center with a fork, about 30 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then slip off and discard skins. Cut beets into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

While beets are cooking, stir together scallions, 2 tablespoons vinegar, lemon juice to taste, mint, zest, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Add warm beets and toss with vinaigrette and vinegar and salt to taste. Serve warm or slightly chilled.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chioggia-beets-with-raspberry-mint-vinaigrette-232297

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Cauliflower with Serrano Ham and Tomato

  • 1 large head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), cored and cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced serrano ham, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain well in a colander, then transfer to a large bowl.

While cauliflower boils, cook onion in oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and ham and cook, stirring frequently, until just heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley.

Pour tomato mixture over cauliflower and toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooks’ note: Cauliflower can be cut into florets and onion, tomatoes, and ham can be cut 1 day ahead and chilled separately in sealed plastic bags.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-with-serrano-ham-and-tomato-231375

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