Summer CSA Share – #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Spinach – More spinach?!  It’s true!  It’s hard not to bring you spinach when there is spinach to bring you.  It’s not long for this world, so enjoy it while we’ve got it!
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – This past week’s sun has tinted some of the cauli a little purple, but it’s still tasty as ever.
  • Salad Mix – a mix of several lettuces
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week.  Have you tried the fennel pickles recipe CSA member Chris A. shared with us last year?  Click here for a recipe.
  • Leek Scapes – If left on the leeks, these stalks would eventually form flowers and seed.  Harvested at the scape stage they are a delicious spring treat that you can chop up and use just like you would onions or leeks.
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Cherries! – Even with a low fruit set, somehow there is enough cherries from our single tree for everyone to get a taste.  A once a year treat!

Ira Hayes, always on the job (left) and tomatoes are coming! (right)

Now that we’re four weeks into the CSA season, I think I’m beginning to find some rhythm to the work of the farm.  Although this is our tenth season farming, and ninth CSA season, this is the first year I’m taking on the majority of the farming solo.  With Jeff working off the farm full-time, he’s playing the support role when it comes to the farm.  I’m thankful for everything he does to help out though.  He’s endeavoring to keep up on the endless mowing, he helps change implements on the tractor, he tills when it’s obvious I’m going to miss the weather window, he turns off irrigation water when I can’t get to it.  It’s nice to know he’s got my back if I need him.  But that leaves the daily choices, the daily work, to me.

After I made the choice to continue with the CSA back in February I’d figured out how to ramp up the work from the planning stages to the initial seed sowing and eventually ground prep, planting, and weeding.  The spring weather cooperated nicely and work progressed on time and to plan generally (for once!).  A few weeks back, when the CSA harvest began, I quickly remembered the summer schedule of harvest, distribution, and squeezing in everything else into the remaining days.

After several weeks of this, I think I’ve found my feet again.  It requires a lot of list making and prioritizing and getting out there and doing the work.  And it requires stepping back and recognizing the accomplishments, small and large, and even occasionally shifting focus from the farm.  In the week ahead I’ll be weeding the melons, sowing seeds for the next successions of carrots and cucumbers, prepping ground for the next round of corn planting, trellising tomatoes, and keeping up on irrigating everything.  And after all that hard work, I look forward to a hike in the woods with Jeff and maybe seeing some out-of-town friends if I’m lucky.  Then it all starts again next week.  It’ summertime!

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cored, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions (about 1/2 pound each), halved lengthwise, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached, peeled
  • 2 fresh fennel bulbs (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached
  • 8 small garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 15 fresh marjoram sprigs

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to rimmed baking sheet.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add onion wedges. Cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, carefully transfer onions to baking sheet with cauliflower, arranging wedges browned side up. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add fennel; sauté until fennel softens slightly and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to same baking sheet. Scatter garlic and marjoram over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-onions-and-fennel-237336

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Zucchini and Spinach Soup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (try using the leek scapes here)
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 12-ounce russet potato, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped cilantro

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add zucchini and potato; stir to coat. Add 4 cups broth and bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until potato is soft, about 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, adding some spinach and cilantro to each batch. Return puree to same pot. Thin with more broth by 1/4 cupfuls, if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm soup before serving.)

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-and-spinach-soup-107910

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Bacon and Swiss Chard Pasta

  • 1 pound linguine
  • 12 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 very large red onion, halved, sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 2 large bunches Swiss chard, stemmed, chopped (about 12 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until beginning to crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Drain all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet. Add onion and saut over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add Swiss chard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add pasta cooking liquid to skillet. Toss until chard is wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle vinegar over; cook 1 minute.

Add linguine and oil to sauce in pot and toss to coat. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bacon-and-swiss-chard-pasta-242133

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