winter csa share – week 1

winter-csa-share-week-1

Welcome to the 1st week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Pentland Brig Kale
  • Ozette Fingerling Potatoes – Perhaps the only potato to migrate from South America, not first through Europe, but directly to the Americas via Spanish explorers, Ozette potatoes have likely been grown by tribes in  Washington State for over 200 years.  Woah.  We’re excited to be growing this unique NW variety once again.  Click here for more details.
  • Castelfranco Chicory – one of our favorite chicories around, less bitter than the most rugged, red radicchios, we like to eat our castelfranco in hearty winter salads paired with a substantial creamy or citrusy dressing.  Rumor has it that if you tear your greens, then wash them, they’ll be less bitter.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Fennel
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Winter Squash – A small acorn-type winter squash that quickly became our favorite acorn squash after tasting it at a friend’s dinner table.  Bonus that it is a locally adapted variety having been developed by the old Gill Brother Seed Co. out of Portland, OR sometime before the 1960s.
  • Yellow Onions
  • Romanesco
  • Fava Tops – We love fava beans, but this year we’ve come to love fava greens too!  The delicate leaves of the fava plant that have a hint of fava bean taste are great raw, sauteed, or in a quick pesto.  These greens are from our self-sown stand of favas that are way beyond winter temperature-safe and will likely be lost very soon as we get our first real cold weather of the season this week.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA!  We’ve been planning and planting for the winter season for months now and are excited to finally share the bounty of the season with you intrepid local eaters!  We’re getting off to quite a start as we’ll also be experiencing the first real cold snap of the year.  We’ve tried to take precautions at the farm with lots of bulk harvests, filling the coolers with roots, and lots of row covering in the fields.  Only time will tell now.

For Salem folks, it’s going to get COLD tonight!  The earlier you can make it to the pick-up the better for you and for me.  And remember, Winter pick-ups run from 4-6pm.  Thanks!

castelfranco-and-row-cover

We’re beginning our fifth winter CSA season (!) and when I think of winter harvests I have plenty of harvest days to choose from for conjuring up mental images.  The best days: sunny, cool temps, easy to work outside with light layers, and harvesting the greens of spring.  The worst days: frozen ground, frozen fingers, rain or snow, limited daylight, mud season.  Of course even those worst days have the highlights of winter veggies, a warm wood stove, and coffee breaks.

Always in these mental images I am in the field with Jeff, until this week.  This was my first CSA harvest without Jeff’s help outside.  Most folks know by now that he broke his leg in a devastating roller skating incident two weeks back.  He had surgery a week ago last Friday and now he’s holed up, healing, working on our 2017 planning, and watching endless episodes of Gunsmoke on YouTube.

He was missed this past week out in the field.  Fewer jokes were told during this harvest.  His stalwart willingness to deal with the row cover in the wind and mud and hail was also missed.  His fast pace, his encouraging smile, his amazing work ethic, were all lacking.  I’ll be glad to have my friend and partner back by my side when he’s healed.

I was reading an issue of Backpacker magazine recently and a seasoned hiker had written about her hiking beginning, saying when she first started out she spent a lot of time watching her feet as she picked her way along the trail.  At some point she realized she was no longer watching her feet, but instead was able to look around at the scenery she hiked through.  Her brain had learned to avoid the roots and rocks in the trail without her constant watching.  This first solo harvest reminded me of that story.  Somewhere along the way I’ve learned how to manage my way through a harvest alone and to do so without looking down.  Though it took longer alone than it would have with the two of us, and parts of it were perhaps less enjoyable, this past week on the farm has made me feel more capable, more useful.  I’ve been reminded that this is my work and I’m committed to it and the success of our farm.

jeff-and-garlic

Of course Jeff had to get in on the CSA game!  He pushed through the pain and dried three rounds of apples to make sure our signature winter share item made an appearance this week.  We’re taking things slowly just now.  Making lists, getting through the lists.  Jeff’s feeling a little better each day.  He’ll be back out in the field before we know it!

Many thanks to everyone for the offers of help and contributions and well wishes.  It’s amazing just knowing how many folks are rooting for us.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fennel and Radicchio Winter Salad with Pecans

Olive oil
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 small bulbs fennel
1 small head castelfranco radicchio
2 hearts of romaine
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces pecorino cheese

For the dressing:
1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a medium skillet over moderately high heat. Add the chopped pecans and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until they smell toasted and are developing dark spots. Set aside to cool.

Trim the fennel bulbs of their tops and stem end. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise and finely slice it using a mandoline. Cut the radicchio in half lengthwise and remove the core and stem end. Finely slice the radicchio on the mandoline as well. Chop the romained hearts crosswise into bite sized pieces and toss with the rest of the vegetables in a large bowl.

Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Shave in the pecorino cheese (the mandoline is great for this too). Toss the cheese into the salad, and add the cooled pecans and toss those in as well.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the mixed salad. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

From Kitchn by Faith Durand, http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fennel-and-radicchio-wi-105910

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Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 cups sliced fennel bulb, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 4 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel and sauté until leeks are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer soup until potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return to same pot. Rewarm soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Jeanne Silvestri, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-leek-and-fennel-soup-100957

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Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups tightly packed torn kale
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.

From Epicurious via SELF by Larraine Perri, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/acorn-squash-with-kale-and-sausage-51203850

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