Summer CSA Share – #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • Pink Beauty & French Breakfast Radishes
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips
  • Broccoli! – Our first broccoli of the season is from a planting we’d written off as a failure due to the wet spring weather.  There’s not much, but it’s better than nothing and we’re glad to have something to show for that first planting.
  • Sunchokes from storage (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, but is thought to be a good alternative for diabetics looking to avoid starch.  This sunchoke pickle recipe sounds fun.  Also, check out the sunchoke mash recipe at the bottom of the post.  Note that they’ve been in storage and are best used sooner than later.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Green Garlic – Add this to anything and everything for a mild garlic taste.
  • Sugar Snap Peas – we’re between pea plantings, so there are fewer this week.  Hopefully more from the new, outdoor planting soon including shelling peas!
  • Sweet Onion

Happy Summer Solstice!  Today is the longest day of the year, and the first day of summer.  Although the spring rains and lower temps have resulted in a lag in the summer produce, the ever increasing daylight between the Spring Equinox and today has indeed spurred plant growth.  With sun and warm temps in the weather forecast, we’re well on the way towards summer vegetables.  We’ve seen the first of the green fruits in the tomato house and the first baby zucchini in the summer squash planting.  The seasons are shifting, and the produce is hopefully shifting with them.

There are so many variables in growing a crop from seed to harvest.  Getting seeds to germinate and grow into transplant-able plants is the first hurdle.  Then working the ground at just the right moisture level to create a good bed for transplanting.  Adding the right amendments and organic fertilizers for optimizing growth.  Getting the plants in the ground before they outgrow their plastic flats.  Controlling the weeds through tractor cultivation, hand tools, or by hand.  Irrigating once the rain quits, but not too much or too little.  Covering pest-susceptible plants with floating row covers that keep flea beetles and cucumbers beetles out as plants get established.  At any point during this process a missed step can result in loss or complete failure.  Compound these issues over 40 crops and you’re farming.  Perhaps all that made it a little sweeter when Jeff caught the pocket gopher that had taken out 5 tomato plants in the greenhouse.

Saturday planting (left) and Sunday cultivating (right)

Although the rain late last week put a damper on the biggest of our weeding dreams, instead we took some time for propagation, late-season planning, and we squeezed in a run for buying some drip irrigation supplies and more organic fertilizer.  We also managed to get our fall brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) in the ground on Saturday and some tractor cultivation done on Sunday.  More planting, seed-sowing, weeding, and irrigating on deck this week.  This is go time on the farm and we’re doing all we can to make sure there’s future food to harvest for you.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cold Sesame Noodles with Summer Vegetables

  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 8 cups matchstick-size pieces mixed summer vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and bell peppers; about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces buckwheat soba (Japanese-style noodles) or vermicelli noodles
  • 1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds

Whisk first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add vegetables; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente; drain. Run noodles under cold water to cool them; drain well and add to bowl with vegetables. Add cilantro and scallions; season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sesame seeds over and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cold-sesame-noodles-with-summer-vegetables-51104410

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Chunky Jerusalem Artichoke and Potato Mash

  • 1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, unpeeled, scrubbed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Combine Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes in large pot. Pour enough cold water over to cover; add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Bring to boil; reduce heat and boil gently until all vegetables are tender when pierced with knife, about 18 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Return vegetables to pot. Mash vegetables, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/2 cupfuls to moisten until chunky mixture forms. Stir in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Transfer mash to large heatproof bowl. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in same bowl set over simmering water, stirring occasionally, before serving.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Debora Madison, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chunky-jerusalem-artichoke-and-potato-mash-241345

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Snap Peas and Carrots

  • 1/2 lb baby carrots (from 1 bunch), trimmed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed and snap peas halved lengthwise diagonally
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • Special equipment: parchment paper

Put carrots, water, and salt and pepper to taste in an 8-inch skillet, then cover with a round of buttered parchment paper (buttered side down; parchment should be touching carrots) and simmer until carrots are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Remove parchment. Add snap peas and increase heat to high, then cook until peas are crisp-tender and liquid is reduced to about 1 teaspoon, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add orange juice, sugar, and butter, swirling skillet to coat carrots and peas, and cook until liquid is reduced to a syrupy glaze, about 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/snap-peas-and-carrots-108512

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