Welcome to the 10th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Yellow Potatoes
- Savoy Cabbage
- Salad Mix
- Summer Squash
- Mixed Cucumbers – The cukes are on! Slicers, lemons, and picklers for everyone!
- Green Pepper
- Salad Turnips
- Tomatoes! – The first few pints of cherries or slicers to choose from.
- Green Apples – Finally some crisp fresh eating apples! An unknown variety, but slightly tart.
We’ve got the first few ripe tomatoes to share with you this week, but we’re still waiting on the majority of the tomatoes to color up. So much beautiful, green fruit! Thankfully we’re seeing that other farms are waiting on their tomatoes too. The wet, cold spring continues to reach out to us from months past, reminding us that not all seasons are the same. This year we’ll wait for the tomatoes to ripen in their own time, and hopefully we’ll appreciate them all the more for it. Th green beans showed up to the harvest party this week though! Hurrah for green beans!
It’s been another whirlwind week on the farm. The constant work of summer is ongoing and the temps have been a little warmer than we’d like but we persevere. We continued the harvest, irrigate, plant, weed cycle of this time of year. My highlights from the past week include finishing our garlic harvest, late but complete, and paying our annual loan payments for the land and tractor. Two big mid-summer milestones for us, both of which I’m glad to have checked off the list.
We’ve been having a persistent problem in our propagation house getting starts to grow. You’d think after so many years of this we’d know how to grow transplants, but this has been a rough season in that area too. We switched to a commercial potting soil this spring, thinking we might see improved vigor in the young plants and save some time instead of mixing our own potting soil. Instead it looks like we may have imported a fungus gnat problem. In their larval stage fungus gnats feed on the roots of small plants, stunting them to the point they die from lack of root development. It’s awfully disheartening to work so hard with nothing to sow for it in the end.
After months of sleuthing out the problem we seem to be having some success using an organically approved bacteria-based soil drench called Gnatrol. We’ve also finally switched back to Jeff’s potting soil mix, realizing the gnat issue is likely related to the commercial potting mix and not just our propagation house environment. We’ve been extremely lucky to have friends at Persephone Farm nearby who have been graciously sharing their extra starts with us. The brassicas have been hardest hit by these gnats and the next several rounds of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower will be brought to you in large part by Persephone transplants. They’ve really saved us this season and we can’t thank them enough.
As we contend with the results of the crazy spring, and our propagation woes, and the continued need to take time away from farming to help my mom (side note: she’s heading home from rehab this week!), I’ve been trying to find some beauty and peace on the farm. The patches of cosmos continue to bring a smile to my face. And our stately oak tree at the back of the farm is always a welcoming sight. As this season plays out, I hope to find more time to step back from the churn of the work. Finding that ever elusive work-life balance in the middle of summer is an ongoing challenge.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes
- 1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
- 1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
- 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 cup water
- Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.
Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.
While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-spiced-cauliflower-and-potatoes-109118
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
- 2 medium or large cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Pinch of sugar
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- Dash of garlic powder
- 1/2 cup water
- Sweet paprika
- Black pepper
1. Peel the cucumbers and slice them very thin. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30-60 minutes with a plate and a 5-pound weight on top. Squeeze out the water on a paper towel.
2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and water. Add the cucumbers and marinate for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle paprika on half of the salad and black pepper on the other half.
From Epicurious via Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Joan Nathan, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/hungarian-cucumber-salad-230709
Cucumber and Tomato Tzatziki
- 3 cups plain yogurt (do not use low-fat or nonfat
- 1 English hothouse cucumber (about 16 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 large tomato, quartered, seeded, thinly sliced
Place strainer over large bowl. Line strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Spoon yogurt into cheesecloth-lined strainer; let stand at room temperature to drain 3 hours (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken). Transfer yogurt to medium bowl; discard liquid.
Meanwhile, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in another strainer; let stand at room temperature until most of liquid drains out, about 3 hours. Discard liquid. Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber.
Mix cucumber, dill and garlic into yogurt. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
Mix tomato into yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-and-tomato-tzatziki-5403