Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Snap Beans – mix of green, yellow, and purple beans this week!
- Red Beets
- Fingerling Potatoes
- Salad Mix
- Sweet Corn
- Broccoli or Lacinato Kale
- Sweet Onion
- Cucumbers – Lemon and slicer cucumbers this week
- Summer Squash
- Tomatoes – Pints of cherries and slicers both!
Looking around the dusty landscape of the farm on a hot afternoon, it certainly feels like August. Our draughty summers make such an impact on land. The irrigation sprinklers keep things green and lush, but out of their reach the grass has turned the straw-yellow of summer.
It’s a wonder that this is the high season for fruit amidst the dry and the dust. The tomatoes are in full swing; the red and orange and yellow globes are a highlight in contrast to the rest of the landscape. And the few flowers, planted for me and for the bees, are just splashes of color amidst the green of growing crops and the brown of everything else.
I think back to blustery spring days seeding in the propagation house, the rain turning any bare ground to mud, and I appreciate this season we’ve arrived at for its dryness, its perfect soil texture after the slightest irrigation or rain, its blue skies and intense sunny days. The arrival of August brings the countdown to autumn, but I think I’ll try to enjoy this height of summer a little bit longer.
This week, as with most weeks, we weeded and irrigated and harvested and seeded. What’s new this week is that we took a whole day off the farm and went on a hike. What? It’s true. We left the weeds and the animal chores and the mowing and the everything else behind at the farm and we drove off to the mountains and we walked in the woods.
There is something completely restorative about walking on a trail, surrounded by very tall trees, and eventually catching a view of snowy peaked mountains in the not-so-distant landscape. The slugs and weedy plants are not your concern in the woods. The walking can be at any pace, with time to stop and study the trailside flora. The sweeping views from the top are poignant reminders that this is in fact an amazing planet we get to live on. We returned to the farm ready for the week ahead, and better for our time away.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Chilled Beet Soup with Buttermilk, Cucumbers, and Dill (Chlodnik)
- 1 pound beets with greens (about 2 medium beets)
- Kosher salt
- 2 Kirby cucumbers, peeled, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
- 1 kosher dill pickle, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus 1/2 cup pickle brine
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or kefir (preferably low- or full-fat)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped dill
Using a large knife, separate greens and stems from beets. Thoroughly wash greens and stems; set aside. Scrub beets, transfer to a medium pot, and cover with 1″ water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, uncover, and cook until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain beets; discard cooking liquid. Let cool.
Meanwhile, chop beet greens and stems. Transfer to a large pot and add 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, without boiling, until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Peel and coarsely grate beets, preferably wearing gloves. Add to pot with cooled greens. Gently stir in cucumbers, pickle, pickle brine, buttermilk, sour cream, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover pot and chill soup at least 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Divide soup among bowls; top with eggs and dill.
Soup can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill.
Potato, Cucumber and Dill Salad
- 2 pounds baby red potatoes, sliced
- 3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 3/4 pound pickling cucumbers, sliced
- Fresh dill sprigs
Cook potatoes in pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar to hot potatoes and stir gently. Combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Gradually mix in oil. Add chopped dill. Mix into potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Mix in cucumbers. Garnish with dill sprigs.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-cucumber-and-dill-salad-2080
Vegetable Couscous, Goat Cheese, and Beets
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (4-oz) piece soft mild goat cheese from a log
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup couscous (3 oz)
- 1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
- 1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) zucchini
- 1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
- 1 small beet (about 2 inches in diameter), trimmed
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
- 4 thin prosciutto slices (optional)
- Stir together dill, chives, and pepper on a plate, then roll cheese in herb mixture to coat sides (not ends). Wrap cheese in plastic wrap and chill.
- Bring water, salt, and 1 tablespoon oil to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in couscous, then cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, 1 minute. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and corn and cook, stirring, until zucchini is bright green, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
- Fluff couscous with a fork and stir into vegetables, then season with salt and pepper.
- Peel beet and cut half of beet into very thin slices (less than 1/8 inch thick) with slicer (discard remainder), then stack slices and cut into thin matchsticks. Rinse beets and pat dry, then transfer to a bowl.
- Whisk together vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tablespoon dressing to beets and toss to coat.
- Fill ramekin with couscous, pressing it firmly into mold with a rubber spatula. Invert ramekin onto a salad plate and carefully unmold couscous, then make 3 more couscous mounds on 3 more plates.
- Drape each couscous mound with 1 prosciutto slice (if using), then top with some of beets.
- Unwrap cheese and cut crosswise into 4 equal slices with a lightly oiled knife, then arrange 1 cheese slice alongside each couscous mound and spoon remaining dressing around mounds.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegetable-couscous-goat-cheese-and-beets-109734