Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow 2015/2016 Winter CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- French Breakfast Radishes
- Cauliflower! – Overwintering cauliflower is the best kind of cauliflower. Started last July and transplanted last August into the field, these plants have made it through the long months of rain and cold this winter to head up into beautiful cauliflower. Whew!
- Kennebec Potatoes – Classic white potatoes, great for frying or baking or anything really.
- Spinach! – We’re so happy to be back in the spinach and hope you love it as much as we do.
- Bunching Onions
- Cabbage Rapini – The overwintered brassicas, including cabbages, are bolting on their way to flowering and making seed. Grabbing up the sweetened tender stems before they get tough is something we look forward to every year and cabbage rapini may be my favorite of all.
- More Rapini – Kale, Kohlrabi, or more Cabbage! It’s likely the end of rapini season, which is always a little sad but it just means we should all enjoy these last bunches of the good stuff.
- Corn Meal – This corn meal is milled from Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn, accounting for the flecks of color. We’ve been using the “Perfect Cornbread” recipe from our Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and loving it. Jeff bumped it up last week by sauteing some onions in butter and folding them into the batter. The result wash an amazing hushpuppy-like cornbread that we couldn’t get enough of.
- Dried Apples
2016 Summer CSA is full! A couple weeks back I mentioned we were getting down to the last few spots available in the Summer CSA. Thanks to so many of you committing early, we’re full! If you’re a returning member and didn’t get signed up yet but meant to, send us an email and we’ll see what we can do.
The calendar turned to April, and suddenly this spring stuff felt real! We’re on the cusp of some serious transplanting. We’ve got the first rounds of kale, chard, broccoli, cabbage, and beets and successions of peas and bok choy ready to go in the ground any day. Just as soon as our tractor comes back from the shop. Any day. We’re ready to go. (Just got the call, it’s coming back tomorrow!)
Several weeks back the pto clutch on our new tractor went kaput and rather than break more things we sent the tractor to the shop where they’ve split it in two to find and fix the problem. Whoa. We’ve been playing the waiting game ever since, hoping to have it back to get things underway. It was hard to wait out last week’s sunny weather window without a tractor. We kept busy finishing up other projects so we’ll be ready to hit the ground mowing and tilling as soon as the tractor is back.
Sometimes you make a plan and then change it, and then change it again. Last Thursday morning I was pretty sure on Friday we’d be getting the tractor back, picking up our potato order in Eugene, and having a load of compost delivered. By Friday morning the only thing happening was the compost, which actually arrived earlier than expected at 6:40am. Then Friday afternoon we got a call that if we still wanted piglets we’d need to get them Saturday morning. Time to get our act together on the pig front.
Saturday morning we set up the pig hut with fresh straw and dug the hog panels, posts, and electric wire out from where we’d left them last fall and put together a happy little pig yard. We had good luck last year introducing the piglets to an area secured by two strands of electric wire that was in turn surrounded by 3ft tall hog panel fencing. This way the pigs get used to the electric fencing without bolting through it. We’re using this set up again and it seems to be working.
By noon we had five extremely active piglets in a pallet bin, ready for the ride home. Our biggest fear is that pigs will escape and flee to the nearby woods or head out to the highway and cause an accident. Either scenario is a nightmare. Last year we were able to use the tractor to set the pallet bin of piglets directly into the secured pig yard. No tractor this year meant grabbing each piglet out of the bin and walking it to the pig yard without dropping it and without letting other pigs escape from the bin. Thanks to Jeff, all pigs made it into the yard without incident!
We’ll be expanding the pig yard once the piglets are comfortable with us and with the electric fencing. It’s exciting to have pigs on the farm again. It’s hard to tell, but these gals took right to foraging and eating grass in that first snapshot of them up above on the left and they also like winter squash, which are both things are four pigs last year didn’t care much for. These are pasture pigs compared to last year’s forest pigs I think.
Sunday afternoon, with the pigs under control and no tractor to distract us, we had time to mill some corn meal for this week’s share. We hook our little Country Living grain mill up to the 1947 Farmall Cub for milling. As I mentioned above, this corn is a locally adapted flint variety called Cascade Ruby-Gold. It’s great for cornbread, pancakes, and any recipe that calls for corn flour or corn meal really.
Strawberry plants arrive tomorrow, potatoes are ready to be picked up in Eugene, transplants are hardened off and ready to get planted in the field. If you need us, we’ll be out int he field!
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Chevre and Rapini Pizza
- 5 ounces pizza dough
- 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche (or sour cream, or thick yogurt)
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
- 1 cup rapini florets
- 4 ounces unripened chèvre, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- pizza dough
Slice the lemon as thinly as you can. Slice the onion and cut the rapini into small florets. Toss the onion and rapini with a bit of olive oil, and a small amount of salt and pepper.
Roll out the dough, and spread it with a thin layer of crème fraîche, then a single layer of lemon slices. Add the rapini, onions, chèvre, then drizzle with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook at 375 F for 8 minutes, then sprinkle with the pine nuts and cook a further 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
From Food52.com by “The Dog’s Breakfast”, http://food52.com/recipes/4094-chevre-and-rapini-pizza-with-red-onion-lemon-and-pine-nuts
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 sliced medium onion
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut 1 head cauliflower into florets; toss on a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 sliced medium onion, 4 thyme sprigs, 4 unpeeled garlic cloves, and 3 tablespoons olive oil; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, tossing occasionally, until almost tender, 35-40 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, toss to combine, and roast until cauliflower is tender, 10-12 minutes longer.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/parmesan-roasted-cauliflower-51143020
Burgers with Mozzarella and Spiach-Arugula Pesto
- 8 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 10 cups packed)
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel
- Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper
- 4 cups (packed) fresh arugula leaves, divided (about 5 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 3/4 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 hamburger buns, split horizontally
- 6 1/3-inch-thick slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
Rinse spinach; drain briefly, then place in large glass bowl. Microwave spinach, uncovered, on high just until wilted, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drain, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Combine garlic, lemon peel, and crushed red pepper in processor; blend until garlic is finely chopped. Add spinach, 2 cups (packed) arugula, pine nuts, and lemon juice; process until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add oil in thin stream and blend until almost smooth. Mix in cheese. Transfer pesto to small bowl; season with salt.
Do ahead: Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill.
Combine ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 6 tablespoons spinach-arugula pesto in large bowl; mix lightly with fingertips or fork just until incorporated. Form meat mixture into six 3/4-inch-thick patties. Place patties on platter.
Do ahead: Beef patties can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill burgers to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Grill buns, cut side down, just until lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Build burgers with pesto, patties, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and arugula. Cover with bun tops.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/burgers-with-mozzarella-and-spinach-arugula-pesto-235619