Summer CSA Share – #12

Welcome to the 12th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Beets
  • ‘Summertime’ Iceburg Lettuce – A tastier, just as crunchy version of your childhood lettuce!
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers for everyone!
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints

threshing seed at dusk (left) and parsnip seed (right)

We’ve been growing some small seed lots over the past few years.  This season we’re growing lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and purple bunching onions for seed for our friends at Adaptive Seeds.  We’re also saving a little spinach and parsnip seed for ourselves this season.  Growing seed is a different mindset than growing produce for harvest at peak ripeness.  My experience is that seed growing is more about patience and observation.  Perhaps it’s the extended time frame of the seed-to-seed cycle.  The parsnips and Brussels sprouts we’re saving seed off this year went into the ground in May 2016, more than a year ago.  The onions were started last September and planted last October.  That’s a lot of time for the weather and insects to damage the plants before they ever mature.  And once they do mature we’re often relying on the bees and flys to pollinate the flowers, nature as the workforce.

We grow seed because we think it’s an important part of farming, but it’s also a rewarding experience when it works.  When we grow a crop to maturity, identify the genetic diversities and rogue them out or let them be, watch the flowers being pollinated and the seed eventually form and mature, and then harvest and thresh the dried plants leaving only the new tiny seeds, there a real sense of accomplishment in concert with nature.

This past week was hot and dry.  It was another full week of farming, meaning we had a plan and then equipment and animals had different plans, but we managed to keep working and progress was made.  Jeff learned all about the inner workings of the ignition switch on our box truck.  I used hot afternoons to catch up on our accounting.  Typical August week on the farm.

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:

Charred Tomatillo Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 pound husked tomatillos
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact, 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise, 1 jalapeño, 1 pound husked tomatillos, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large bowl. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse with onion, stemmed jalapeño, tomatillos, 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice just until a chunky sauce forms; season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/charred-tomatillo-salsa-verde-51175300

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Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salads

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 10 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pounds small red beets, trimmed
  • 2 large English hothouse cucumbers (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Stir vinegar, shallots and 6 teaspoons sugar in small bowl to blend. Let marinade stand while preparing vegetables.

Cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes; drain. Peel beets. Cut into wedges. Transfer to medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of marinade to coat.

Place cucumbers in large bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons sugar over. Toss with remaining marinade. Season salads to taste with salt and pepper. Cover separately and refrigerate 1 day, stirring occasionally. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Drain salads separately; return to bowls. Mix half of chives into each salad. Arrange salads on platter and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pickled-beet-and-cucumber-salads-5409

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Corn and Zucchini Saute

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups corn (from about 4 ears)
  • 2 medium zucchini (1 lb total), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add corn, zucchini, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-zucchini-saute-230474

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