winter csa share – week 7

winter-csa-share-week-7

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Red Endeavor Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Brussels Sprouts – We’re growing a seed crop of these gorgeous purple Brussels.  This week’s taste of them are from the culls but they’re off the stalk and ready to eat!
  • Daikon Radishes – these daikon were seeded a bit late and a bit too close together last fall making for small roots, but don’t forget the tops are edible too!  You can stir-fry or saute them with other greens.
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Butternut or Black Futzu Winter Squash
  • Celeriac
  • Radicchio/Tatsoi Salad Mix
  • Kale/Chard/Arugula Cooking Greens Mix
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

jeff-working

After months of healing his broken leg, Jeff has really gotten back into the swing of things on the farm.  And just in time too.  It’s now or next year for some of those winter projects that need to happen before the growing season really gets underway.  He did some heavy lifting with our nephew’s help to clear out the space for the barn extension we planned for last fall.  The “new” barn (now a year old) is finally getting some more detail attention including a gravel floor and shelving.  We’re looking forward to having all the irrigation bits and pieces, hand tools, and soil amendments organized for quick access this season.  As you can see he’s gotten back into ladder work too, as we closed in our big high tunnel for spring crops.

prop-house-tools

We’re getting our act together in the propagation house too.  This greenhouse is used to get seeds started for transplanting into the field.  This time of year is too cold for most seeds to germinate quickly, if at all.  Several years ago we rigged up a germination chamber (above right) to help with germinating seeds early in the season.  It’s basically just a box with shelves for flats of seeds with a bucket of water at the bottom.  The water is heated using a bucket heater designed to keep livestock water from freezing and it keeps the germ. chamber toasty and humid.  It’s never been as reliable as we’d hoped so this year we added some insulation and a thermostat to better regulate the temperature.  We’re seeing some improvement already!

We also bought a vacuum seeder (above left) to help speed up the seeding process and it was exciting to use it for the first time last week.  The seeder consists of a metal plate with holes in it that screws onto a plexiglass box.  A small shop-vac is used to create a vacuum inside the plexiglass box, and seeds are sucked into the holes on the plate so they can be turned upside down and seeded directly into the flat full of potting soil.  Closing off the vacuum airflow releases the seeds neatly into their individual cells.  It’s such an advancement over seeding seeds one by one and I only wish we would have made the investment sooner.  Getting seeds started and checking in on growing seedlings is something I look forward to, especially this time of year.  So much possibility in those tiny seeds!

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:

Chicken Caesar Salad With Crispy Kale

For the dressing:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the Crispy Kale:

  • 8 stalks kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (25g) finely grated Parmesan
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the chicken and assembly:

  • 4 (200g) chicken breast fillets, trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup (200g) shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 2 baby cos (romaine) lettuces (360g), trimmed and leaves separated (or try subbing some radicchio!)
  • 3 cups (75g) baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup (80g) pine nuts

To make the dressing, place the egg yolks, garlic and mustard in a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Gradually add half the oil, whisking continuously until combined. Gradually add the vinegar and the remaining oil, whisking to combine. Set aside.

To make the crispy kale, preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the kale, oil, parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Place in a single layer on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until crisp, and set aside.

Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or barbecue over high heat. Cook the chicken for 2–3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Divide between serving plates and top with crispy kale and the dressing to serve.

From Epicurious via Life in Balance by Donna Hay, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-caesar-salad-with-crispy-kale

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Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon

  • 1 pound penne
  • 8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 cups (packed) coarsely torn Treviso, Chioggia, or Tardivo radicchio leaves (from about 2 medium heads)
  • 3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off top 1/2 inch of garlic head, exposing cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, on sheet of foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil. Roast until garlic is soft, about 40 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Squeeze garlic into small bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook bacon strips and chopped onion in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining 5 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and roasted garlic. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add radicchio, spinach, and basil and stir to combine. Simmer just until radicchio and spinach wilt, about 1 minute.

Drain pasta and return to same pot. Add radicchio-spinach mixture to pasta. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper; toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Myra Goodman & Sarah LaCasse, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-with-radicchio-spinach-and-bacon-241093

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