Summer CSA Share – #11

Welcome to the 11th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed Summer Squash – choose from Dark Star zucchini, Magda cousa, and yellow straightneck summer squash
  • Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Beets
  • Fava Beans
  • Shishito Peppers – More of those “roulette” peppers this week, one in ten is hot.
  • Tomatoes – slicers and cherries!
  • Honey Orange Melons – Technically a honeydew, these melons have orange flesh and taste more like a cantaloupe.

sunset through the pear trees (top left), spinach popping up (top right), beet harvest (bottom left), cabbage and broccoli plants (bottom right)

For several years we’ve seemed to have been on a list of organic farms willing to host bird and insect researchers from Washington State University.  This year a couple of grad students have been looking into the effects of birds in broccoli and whether or not birds help control insect populations.  They have a research plot of 24 broccoli plants set up, with some of the plants netted to exclude the birds.  They’ve visited a few times to collect data on what birds are present, what insects are present, and the diet of the birds.  This past week they set some baited traps with caterpillars to try to tie the birds to caterpillar predation.  The observation results are always interesting, and this time was no different.

Last week the researchers observed the following in the broccoli planting during a one-hour afternoon visit:

Insects – 138 aphids, 10 aphid mummies, 0 parasitoid wasps, 10 caterpillars, 0 syrphid larvae, 3 lepidopteran eggs, 18 spiders, 106 flea beetles, 1 cucumber beetle, and 5 lacewing eggs

Birds – 3 Barn Swallow, 1 Common Yellowthroat, 2 Vesper Sparrow, 2 Lesser Goldfinch, 1 Violet-green Swallow, 1 Savannah Sparrow, 1 Chipping Sparrow juvenile, and 1 American Robin

Evidently the caterpillars on the baited traps were mostly eaten by vespid wasps (think paper wasps and yellow jackets) and the researchers are finding that birds may not have much impact on insect populations at the individual plant level.  I still find the lists of observed insects and birds helpful though.  Of course it’s hard to miss the birds and I see various insects out there, but the observed numbers do provide some perspective.  And they said the bird list was impressive for a midday count.  I guess being surrounded by grass seed fields gives us a unique edge effect when it comes to the wildlife.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Beets with Pecorino, Pecans, and Shishito Peppers

  • 2 pounds mixed small or medium beets (such as Chioggia, red, and/or golden), scrubbed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 8 shishito peppers
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • Hot chili sesame oil and grated Pecorino (for serving)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets with 2 Tbsp. oil in a 13-by-9–inch baking dish; season with salt. Add thyme and 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil and roast beets until a paring knife slips easily through flesh, 60–75 minutes. Let cool slightly, then rub skins from beets with paper towels; cut into 1″ pieces. Toss in a large bowl with vinegar and 2 Tbsp. oil; season with salt.

Meanwhile, place peppers on one side of a rimmed baking sheet and pecans on the other side and roast, tossing nuts once, until peppers start to blister and pecans are slightly darkened and fragrant, 6–8 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop.

Toss peppers, pecans, and onion with beets; season with salt. Drizzle with chili oil and top with Pecorino.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Nick Curtola, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beets-with-pecorino-pecans-and-shishito-peppers

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Creamy Cilantro-Lime Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded, minced (or use shishitos for less heat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 4 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)

Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime peel, chile, and garlic in large bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add cabbage and green onions; toss to incorporate evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Season slaw with more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if desired, just before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Rick Rodgers, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-cilantro-lime-slaw-359790

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Black Beans, Corn, and Tomatoes Vinaigrette

  • 1 pound dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight in cold water to cover, and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 ears of corn) or thawed frozen
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomato
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced scallion
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh coriander plus coriander sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt

In a large saucepan combine the black beans and enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, bring the water to a boil, and simmer the beans for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they are just tender but not mushy. Drain the beans and in a bowl combine them with the corn, the tomato, the scallion, and the minced coriander. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, the lemon juice, and the salt, pour the dressing over the vegetables while the beans are still warm, and let the salad cool, stirring occasionally, until the beans are room temperature. The salad may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the salad, garnished with the coriander sprigs, at room temperature or chilled slightly.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/black-beans-corn-and-tomatoes-vinaigrette-10435

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