winter csa share – week 7

winter csa share week 7

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow 2015/2016 Winter CSA!

Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Cilantro
  • Colorful Overwintered Carrots – We’re looking forward to new carrots in a few months but these are sure tasty still!
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – The sweetest, tenderest kale around!  Enjoy rapini season while it lasts.
  • Purple Cape – A variety of purple cauliflower that actually seems little more broccoli-like.  Planted out last summer, the heads are just coming on now.  Also, this is a variety we grew seed for and we’re especially excited to see the mature heads that grew from our saved seed.
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – A winter treat!  Sowed in July, transplanted in August, this sprouting broccoli waits through the darkest months to make an appearance now!  Two varieties this week, thanks to the wonders of successional seed breeding.  Enjoy!
  • Garlic – We’ve noticed some of the garlic is beginning to sprout after a winter of dormancy.  We’ve culled the sprouters when we saw them, but feel free to use them as you would non-sprouters, they’ll be just as tasty!
  • Tatsoi Rapini – Did we mention it’s rapini season?  Enjoy these tasty tatsoi bolts raw or cooked.
  • Yellow Onion
  • Sibley or Lower Salmon River Winter Squash – More giant tasty squash varieties.  The elongated Sibley was first introduced commercially in 1887 and is featured on the Slow Food Ark of Taste.  The orange Lower Salmon River is a PNW heritage variety from Idaho.
  • Dried Apples

Many thanks to everyone for helping us out with the pick-up changes two weeks ago.  Vegetables were delivered to Salem on time despite needing to have our box truck towed from the freeway to the pick-up location.  We made it to our planned farmer retreat despite another towing of the box truck to the shop and multiple trips on Sunday and Monday to Salem to retrieve items from the truck to be ready for Wednesday’s local pick-up.  The retreat was great as always and we made it back to town to deliver vegetables on time here in Lebanon on Wednesday.  The box truck now has a new fuel pump and were ready to deliver more vegetables!


February is a busy month on the farm.  Spring is in sight and the it’s time to get back on schedule after a couple months of a slower pace.  There are seeds to sow, spaces to clean and ready for the season ahead, and farming conferences to attend.  This past weekend we took a quick break from the farming routine to catch up with our friends at Minto Island Growers and we snagged a bunch of willow branches while we were there.  You may or may not know about Jeff’s basket making hobby, but he’s been dreaming of a willow hedgerow for years.  Our south and east property boundaries are now home to some 15 different varieties of willow and dogwood.  Here’s to hoping they root well and don’t get eaten down by deer!

barn building

After taking care of some of those seeding, cleaning, and visiting projects we made it back to the barn building!  We marked the locations for the roof purlins and Jeff went to work getting the blocking in the trusses and 2×6 purlins in place.  While Jeff worked on the roof I worked on marking and placing the 2×6 flat girts for the walls.

After a couple of days working in the rain and wind we had the bones of a barn in place, and were still mostly smiling, just in time for me to head to the annual Small Farms Conference at OSU.  Once again the conference was a great opportunity to learn some good stuff and catch up with folks I hadn’t seen for a while.  What  more could you ask?

barn siding

I came home from the conference Saturday evening to Jeff putting up the first piece of metal siding!  He’d had a productive day working on some finishing touches to the underlying barn structure, like the rat run attaching the trusses to the end walls and the skirt board that lines the walls at ground level.  On Sunday we got the end walls fully covered, cut to match the roof line, and screwed into place.  We then began attaching the metal roofing and now have half a roof fully screwed into place!  It’s really looking like a barn!

spinach and purple cape

Sometimes it feels like we’re doing a whole lot of things that aren’t actually vegetable farming.  But the farming is happening too!  Seeds are germinating and slowly growing in the propagation house and overwintering field crops are maturing.  The earliest cauliflower that spent the last six months quietly hanging out in our front field is here and the bright purple broccoli/cauli heads are going home with you this week!

Finally, a reminder that we’re accepting CSA members for the upcoming summer season.  We’re two thirds full already, so don’t hesitate to sign up if you know you want to join us for summer.  All the details are over on the Summer CSA page.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spicy Sunchoke and Chicken Stir-Fry

8 ounces wide rice stick noodles (banh pho)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups vertically sliced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
3 tablespoons Thai peanut sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons natural-style peanut butter
6 cups broccoli florets
2 cups (1/4-inch) red bell pepper strips
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cook noodles in boiling water 5 minutes or until done. Drain noodles; keep warm.

Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add artichokes and chicken; stir-fry 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in peanut sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Place pan over medium-high heat; cook chicken mixture 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broccoli, bell pepper, water, and crushed red pepper; cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender, stirring frequently. Serve immediately over the noodles.

From via Cooking Light by Claudia M. Caruana,


Spicy Garlic Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel

1. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge broccoli rabe into ice water; drain. Squeeze dry.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe, juice, and pepper to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

From via Cooking Light by Jaime Harder,


Cavolo Nero with Cilantro

  • 2 lb cavolo nero or kale, stems and center ribs discarded
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Put cavolo nero crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips and cook in a large pot of salted boiling water 3 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid and drain cavolo nero in a colander.

Cook onion and 1/2 cup cilantro in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add cavolo nero, salt to taste, and reserved cooking liquid and simmer, stirring, until cavolo nero is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Deborah Madison,