Winter CSA Share – #4

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

  • Mustard Greens
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Braising Mix – a mix of lacinato kale, red dragon napa cabbage, and beet greens
  • Beets or Hakurei Salad Turnips – The gopher won this round of beets, so some of you get salad turnips instead.
  • Chicory Mix
  • Apples
  • Chesnok Red Garlic – More of that leftover seed garlic from Vermont Valley Community Farm.  This is the time for garlic to begin sprouting, so you’ll want to use it up sooner than later.
  • Yellow Onions – It’s time for onions to begin sprouting, so you might see some green growth in the center of your onions going forward.  No worries, as long as the onions are firm they’ll still be delicious.  You can eat or discard the green center.
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Dried Apples

= 2019 Summer CSA memberships are open!  Head over to the Summer CSA information page to get all the details, including a link to the sign-up form.

Chicory mix and braising greens headed to the CSA this week (left) and packages full of seeds have been arriving (right)

As I mentioned two weeks ago, January on the farm is very much the planning month. It’s all about getting the planting plan finalized, putting in seed orders, and reviewing the budget for the season ahead. The slowdown of winter is over; it’s time to wind up the gears and get this machine moving again.

Last week I put in $1800 worth of seed orders (from 7 seed companies!), just enough to get the ball rolling. Everything from arugula to zucchini and some seed potatoes too. We’ll put in another round of seed orders in April for later planted crops. These seed orders are the first annual investment in the season ahead. Soon we’ll be paying taxes, farm insurance, and organic certification fees, which all come due in these first few months of the year, but the seed investment comes first.

After ten years of farming, we’ve pretty much found the vegetables and varieties that make for a successful season. Of course we always switch up varieties as others are dropped from commercial availability and we trial a handful of new varieties each year. There are a few new tomatoes, a couple of new onions, a new cabbage and a new broccoli. This year we’re going to try once again to successfully grow sweet potatoes after taking a couple of seasons off from that endeavor. Mostly we’re excited to work on refining systems on the farm this season, and we’re relying on our standby vegetables to continue doing their amazing vegetable thing

Coring and slicing apples (left) and apples in the dehydrator (right).

This week marks the return of the crispy apples to the Winter CSA! They’re a staple of past P&C winters and I’m happy to bring them back. In the past dried apples have been spearheaded by Jeff, but I’ve taken on the task and we can look forward to them in future shares as well. The apples are from the farm, but the varieties are unknown for the most part. I hope you like them!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling

  • 1 3 3/4- to 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Wrap squash halves in plastic wrap. Cook 1 at a time in microwave on high until tender, about 8 minutes. Pierce plastic to allow steam to escape. Cool. Meanwhile, sauté sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage browns and vegetables are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in marinara sauce.

Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells, leaving shells intact. Mix squash strands into sausage mixture. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into squash shells. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange filled squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if previously chilled). Cut each squash half in two and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spaghetti-squash-with-sausage-filling-5673

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Chicory-Apple Salad with Brown Butter Dressing

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces sliced prosciutto
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 8 cups torn mixed chicories (such as radicchio, curly endive, and/or Belgian endive)
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple, cut into thin wedges

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, fry prosciutto until lightly browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Cook butter in a small skillet over medium heat until butter foams, then browns (be careful not to let it burn), about 5 minutes. Allow browned milk solids to settle, then slowly pour off melted butter, leaving browned bits in the pan. (Reserve butter for another use.) Whisk vinegar, honey, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil into browned milk solids; season dressing with salt and pepper.

Toss chicories, apple, and dressing in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve salad topped with fried prosciutto.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Marche (Eugene, OR), https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicory-apple-salad-with-brown-butter-dressing-56390055

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Smoked Sausage, Kale, and Potato Soup

  • 4 ounces smoked fully cooked sausage (such as kielbasa or hot links), sliced into rounds
  • 2 3/4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups thinly sliced trimmed kale leaves (about 3/4 of medium bunch) or 3/4 of 10-ounce package frozen chopped kale, thawed, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly crushed

Sauté sausage slices in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, sliced potatoes and white wine and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Add kale and caraway seeds to soup. Simmer soup uncovered until potatoes and kale are very tender, about 10 minutes longer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and serve immediately.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/smoked-sausage-kale-and-potato-soup-3114

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