Summer CSA Share – #16

Welcome to the 16th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Orange Beets
  • Parsley
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Adirondack Red Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Asian Pears
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers – A perennial favorite of ours, these long slender peppers look hot, but they’re not!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Italian Plums
  • Sweet Corn
  • Yellow Onions

Happy Labor Day!  We spent the day laboring in the fields harvesting this week’s vegetables, which isn’t the worst way to spend a holiday.  We tried to appreciate the smoky haze for providing some cover from the sun.  Maybe it wasn’t as hot because of all that smoke?  Despite the smoke and the weeds we’ve gathered a fine summer harvest for you this week!

Some folks that read last week’s newsletter wondered just what all the doom and gloom was leading to.  Well, this past weekend we finally made the difficult decision to forgo the winter CSA.  As I mentioned last week it’s been a rough season, and last winter was difficult too given Jeff’s broken leg.  Looking ahead to winter, we realized really we need a break from farming.  Continuing on wouldn’t be fair to members or to us, so no winter CSA.

But, winter is my favorite time of year for eating locally.  All the roots and winter squash and sweet chicories!  And long dark nights to cook!  We’ll likely have some bulk purchasing options if you want to stock up on winter squash or other fall crops at the end of the season (Details to come in November).  We’ll miss all of the winter CSA members and hope you’ll consider supporting another local farm this winter.  Salem folks should check out our friends at Minto Island Growers and Osprey Farm.

Our 93 year old neighbor helping Jeff fix the fertilizer spreader the right way (top) and Andrew and boys volunteering some time to dig this week’s potatoes (bottom)

Jeff had a busy week with visitors.  Andrew, a longtime CSA member, brought his kids out for some potato digging Thursday.  In a few short hours they dug 545 pounds of spuds!  Many thanks to them for the help!  Two rows down, seventeen to go!  Later in the week Jeff spent time with our 93 year old neighbor fixing one of our fertilizer spreaders.  Our neighbor was a dairy farmer and then an airplane mechanic after World War II, so he has plenty to share about farming and fixing stuff.  We’re lucky to be able to call on his help when things get tricky.

I spent a good portion of the week harvesting and cleaning seed lots (lettuce and purple bunching onions!) and doing some canning.  Jars of lemon cucumber relish, barbecue sauce made from homemade ketchup, and tomato sauce line our shelves and more basil pesto went into the freezer.  Hopefully winter eating will be a little better thanks to efforts put in now.

On Sunday evening we transplanted the last of the broccoli for the season, a little delayed due to the fungus gnat problem we’ve been having in our propagation house.  These starts were coddled along as we fought the gnat with B.t., a bacteria that kills the gnat in the larval stage, and an organically approved soap spray that targets the adults.  Amazingly we had surplus starts to plant, after three previous successions of broccoli starts mostly begged off our friends at Persephone Farm.  The gnat may have won many battles this season, but we took the last round and know how to defeat it now.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to large serving bowl. Add herb butter and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately if desired.

From Epicurous via


Roasted Beets with Parsley

  • 3 pounds beets (10 to 15 medium)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Trim beets, leaving about 1 inch of stems attached. Wrap beets tightly in double layers of foil to make 3 packages and roast until tender, about 1 hour.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins and stems and cut each beet into about 6 wedges. Beets may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Transfer beets to a baking dish and cover with foil. Reduce temperature to 375°F. and reheat beets until heated through, about 20 minutes.

While beets are reheating, put parsley in a small bowl and with kitchen shears very coarsely snip.

Toss beets with butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurous via


Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapeno and Parsley Puree

For the puree:

  • 5 fresh jalapeño chilies
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

For the chowder:

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
  • 1/2 pound ham steak if desired, cut into 3/8-inch cubes
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (cut from about 6 ears of corn)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

Make the puree:

Broil the jalapeños on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred. Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl and let them stand, covered tightly, until they are cool enough to handle. Wearing rubber gloves, peel the jalapeños, cut off the tops, and discard all but 1 teaspoon of the seeds. In a blender puree the jalapeños with the seeds, the oil, the lime juice, the water, the garlic, the parsley, and salt to taste. The puree may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Make the chowder:

In a kettle cook the onion and the celery in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the celery is softened, add the broth, the water, the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch cubes, and the ham, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and the thyme and simmer the chowder for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. In a blender or food processor purée 2 cups of the chowder and stir the purée into the remaining chowder.

Serve the chowder with a small dollop of the jalapeño and parsley puree swirled into it.

From Epicurous