Summer CSA Share – #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Liebesapfel Pimento Peppers – Meaning “love apple” this pimento pepper has thick sweet flesh that makes a great stand in for bell peppers. Use fresh or dehydrate them and grind them into paprika!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Mixed Melons
  • Sweet Corn
  • Strawberries

First things first, our thoughts are with the folks of SE Texas during this epic hurricane situation.  My brother and his wife live in Corpus Christi, TX and were evacuated until last night.  They appear to be lucky to have missed the worst of this storm and word has it that they’re back to work today.  Houston seems to be taking the biggest toll, however I can’t help but also think of the farmers and ranchers that must also be suffering losses in the area too.

all the tomatoes! (upper left) Wolverine’s Orca dry beans ripening (upper right) orange-ing carving pumpkins (lower left) rainbow carrots (lower right)

This season has been a heck of a ride thus far.  The deluge rains of the winter/spring, issues with a devastating gnat in our propagation house, tractor problems in May, the mysterious death of two pigs, the extended hot weather this summer, and my mom’s car accident at the end of June taking my time and thoughts away from the farm have all been a lot on top of the normal marathon of the farming season.  It’s all been a bit much, or perhaps it’s all just farming and living.

Needless to say we’ve been doing some serious re-evaluation lately of both farm goals and life goals.  Of course the continued and anticipated harvests, like those above, make it difficult to step away from farming.  The successes are sweet and hard earned.  Harvest days are long this time of year, with so many things ripe for the picking.  But they wouldn’t be so long if we hadn’t been successful enough to have those crops to harvest, right?  Each CSA share filled is a reflection of months of planning and executing and work.  Now if we could only figure out how to increase the success, mitigate the failures, and find a little work/life balance in the midst of it.  Things could indeed be worse of course.  There’s no natural disaster to deal with at the moment.

powered parachute flyby this past weekend

On the lighter side we were over-flown by a couple of powered parachutes this weekend while we were transplanting at dusk.  Flying over our farm must be quite noticeable compared to the acres of rye grass and hazelnuts that surround us.  I think most ultralight flyers are crazy, but these guys have the parachute built right in!

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:

Eggplant Caprese with Grilled Tomato and Vinaigrette

On the grill

  • 1 (1-pound) globe eggplant, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Olive oil (for grilling)
  • 1 large plum tomato (about 4 ounces)

For the dish

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (7- to 8-ounce) balls fresh or buffalo mozzarella cheese, drained, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds (about 4 large) heirloom tomatoes (preferably assorted colors), thinly sliced

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Arrange eggplant slices on baking sheet. Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until slightly charred and tender, turning occasionally and moving to cook evenly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet. Grill plum tomato until skin is charred and split, turning often, about 5 minutes. Transfer to sheet with eggplant and cool. Core plum tomato; place in blender. Add chopped basil, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD Eggplant and dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Overlap eggplant slices, cheese slices, and heirloom tomato slices on individual plates or large platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with dressing and garnish with basil sprigs.

From Epicurous via http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/eggplant-caprese-with-grilled-tomato-and-basil-vinaigrette-238764

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Veggie Cassoulet

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups drained cannellini beans, liquid reserved
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 slices crusty whole-wheat toast

Heat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook zucchini, celery, onion, salt and pepper until soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook, stirring, another minute. Combine veggies, tomatoes, beans, 1/4 cup of the bean liquid, thyme and bay leaves in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve warm with toast on the side.

From Epicurous via

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Chopped Salad

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium head romaine, chopped (4 to 6 cups) (or use salad mix)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved (suit yourself whether you prefer the medium California black olives—a 6-ounce can—or Kalamata olives)

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well.

Toss remaining ingredients with dressing.

Season salad with salt and pepper.

Cooks’ Notes:

•Dressing can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
•Vegetables and lettuce can be chopped 1 day ahead and stored separately while being chilled in a sealable plastic bag lined with a damp paper towel.

From Epicurous via
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