Summer CSA Share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Green & Purple Beans – Note that the purple beans will turn greenish when cooked.
  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Red Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Iko Iko Bell Peppers – These peppers start out as purple and yellow and then turn orange and red as they further ripen.  Although they’re more colorful, think of them like green peppers this week.
  • Tomatoes – slicers and cherries!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – An early apple variety that turns almost white and very soft at peak ripeness.  Difficult for storage but excellent for applesauce.  Jeff made a couple of pies out of these last week before they softened up and they were delicious!

the moonrise recently (upper left), evening break time (upper right), all the tomatoes (lower right), and Jeff & Ira cooling off at the river (lower left)

Another hot week in the books.  I’m grateful for the heat reprieve in the weather forecast for the week ahead.  Enough with these 96 degree days already.  Highs in the upper 70s will seem chilly compared to the last few weeks and I can’t wait.  There’s even a slight chance of rain early next week.  The field work goes on no matter the temperatures, but it sure is easier when the the scorching heat chills out.

Several members have recently asked about the shift in the membership size of the CSA this summer and I’ve been meaning to write a bit about it.  Most of you know that I’ve undertaken this season predominately solo and that change has been reflected in the membership numbers.  Last year we had 95 shares and this year there are 53 shares making up the CSA.

The change in numbers is most obvious at the Salem pick-up, where the number of members is about half of those picking up there last year.  The other loss of members is represented by me no longer delivering pre-boxed shares locally to the medical school and hospital.  Some of those members now pick-up at the farm, so the on-farm pick-up hasn’t changed drastically.

Although the on-farm pick-up is half the Salem pick-up (12 on-farm vs 25 in Salem), from my perspective the CSA is split in half between Lebanon and Salem.  This is because another 16 shares-worth of produce is picked up each week by the Linn Benton Food Share for distribution in Lebanon and sometimes Albany through their network of food banks and soup kitchens.  This is the third year we’ve partnered with the Food Share to send fresh, organic produce directly to these locations.  They’ve purchased the shares ahead of time, just like other CSA members.  The Linn Benton Food Share has been a really fantastic organization to work with and their commitment to the local food economy is always surprising to me.  Although our small quantities don’t make the largest impact on hunger in this community, the Food Share does value the variety and freshness that is not always available from their other gleaning and bulk purchase outlets.

To recap, I’m harvesting 53 shares-worth of produce each week.  12 members pick-up on the farm, 25 members pick-up in Salem, and 16 shares are picked up by the Food Share.  That’s a little over half the number of shares we had last year.  Hopefully this has helped clear up some of the mystery behind the CSA member numbers.  I know it’s probably difficult to get a sense of the whole program as a member who picks up each week at either of the locations.  The sign-in sheets are short, there’s not usually a line, it all looks fairly simple.  I promise there’s more happening behind the scenes though.  And remember that 53 shares means 53 heads of cauliflower, 53 head of lettuce, 53 bunches of onions, 53 pints of cherry tomatoes, 106 bell peppers, 212 cucumbers etc.  Plus figuring out how to grow the produce to have available to harvest in the first place.  It’s a small victory each week and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Green Beans and Cucumbers with Miso Dressing

  • 3 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 (1 1/2)-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.

Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chris Morroco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-beans-and-cucumbers-with-miso-dressing

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Corn and Tomato Scramble

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 pounds tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped, keeping white parts and greens separate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups corn kernels (from about 8 ears)

Whisk together oil, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss tomatoes with dressing.

While tomatoes marinate, cook white parts of scallions in butter with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Add corn and sauté until just tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool.

Stir together corn, tomatoes, and scallion greens.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-tomato-scramble-354230

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Cheesy Baked Pasta with Cauliflower

  • 1 pound pasta, such as medium shell or tube pasta
  • 1 (14-ounce) can cherry tomatoes, lightly crushed by hand
  • 8 ounces low-moisture whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
  • 4 ounces provolone or other mildly sharp cheese (such as more of the cheddar below), coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • Room-temperature butter or nonstick cooking oil spray (for pan)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until about halfway cooked (it needs to be very firm at this stage so that it doesn’t overcook when baked). Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Lightly crush cherry tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl. Add mozzarella, provolone, cheddar, Parmesan, cream, and reserved ½ cup pasta cooking liquid and mix to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add cauliflower and cooked pasta and toss to coat. Butter (or lightly coat) a 3-qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish with butter. Scrape in pasta mixture and spread out into an even layer. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake pasta until hot throughout and steaming when foil is lifted, 20–25 minutes.

Remove foil and increase oven temperature to 425°F. Continue to bake pasta until sauce is bubbling and top is browned and crunchy in spots, 25–30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cheesy-baked-pasta-with-cauliflower

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