Summer CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Arugula Rapini – We waited to harvest this arugula in favor of spinach the past couple of weeks. Now the arugula is beginning to bolt, thanks to in part to last week’s big heatwave. Arugula rapini is just as tasty though! Check out the blended fava bean/arugula recipe at the bottom of the post. Yum!
  • Shiraz Beets – “These beets are like two items in one” exclaimed Jeff when we were harvesting them. Eat the beet roots, eat the beet tops!
  • Butter Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • German Butterball Potatoes – The very last of last season’s potatoes! Eat them up sooner than later. New potatoes coming soon!
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production.
  • Broccoli
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans directly. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Cabbage – Choose from round Red Express or the green and pointy Early Jersey Wakefield cabbages.
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week.  Here’s a delicious quick pickle recipe from CSA member Chris A.! Click here for a recipe.
  • Summer Squash – It must be summer! Choose from yellow straightneck and zucchini.
  • Popcorn – We planted the popcorn this last weekend, so it only seemed fitting to include some of last season’s popcorn in this week’s share. You can make this popcorn anyway you’d make store-bought popcorn. Put it in a paper bag for microwaving or click here for tips on stove top popping.
  • Cherries – Our once-a-year cherry treat from our single cherry tree. We got them before the starlings ate them all!
A honey bee working the chicory seed crop (left) and a shot of some cosmos inter-planted between early broccoli and lettuce plantings (right).

Friday marks the official beginning of summer with the arrival of the summer solstice. The longest day of the year is upon us once again. Back in January, as we made our plans for the growing season, it felt like summer couldn’t get here soon enough. Now we’re stepping into the depths of the season, and enjoying the warmth and sun and work as much as possible during this fleeting moment. And all those plans made in the dark days of winter are coming to fruition.

From the time we begin sowing seeds in February until now, there’s a pressure to begin and then keep up the pace. As the days lengthen, heat units increase, and plants grow faster and faster. If not timed just right some plants will want to bolt right away, thinking they’ve gone through a winter and it’s time to set seed. After the solstice the daylight hours slowly begin to wane, and the pressure of the early season eases too. The weeds seem easier to contend with as the season progresses; the crops are less likely to bolt; we begin to think about the next season and the season after that; soon we’re planting for the fall and winter harvests.

Baby red napa cabbage starts (left) and transplanting popcorn (right).

This week on the farm was a bit less manic after we caught up with lots of planting last week. We did have a fair share of planting to get through, including popcorn, spinach, Brussels sprouts for seed production, and the direct sown summer squash and cucumber successions. But we also got to focus on catching up with other tasks too. Jeff cultivated all the things that could be cultivated using our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor, and we spent some time cleaning up the winter squash planting before they begin to really sprawl. I also made a run through the peppers and eggplant to clean up some weeds and focused on trellising and pruning the indoor tomatoes. We sowed the next rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, and corn into flats in the propagation house. We irrigated. We played with row cover, uncovering and covering crops as needed. We marked things off the to-do list, and added other things to the list. Such is farming in June.

A quick river trip on Thursday evening!

On Thursday of last week we managed to stop working early enough to get the boats down to the Willamette River in Albany. We had a good short float and spent some time fishing from the bank. We caught a few small bass but they either got away or we let them go. It was a nice evening on the river and we’re looking forward to more of the same in the weeks to come this summer.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Beets with Fennel and Bonito Dressing

  • 2 pounds small or medium red beets, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon anise seed or fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed (or try garlic scapes)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup bonito flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup trimmed mature arugula

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss beets with 1 Tbsp. oil in an 8×8″ baking dish; season with salt. Add 1/4 cup water and cover tightly with foil. Roast beets, shaking once, until a knife slips easily through flesh, 60–75 minutes. Let cool slightly, then rub off skins with paper towels. Using 2 forks, tear beets into large pieces; toss in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. oil.

Meanwhile, toast aniseed in a small saucepan over medium heat, tossing often until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar, sugar, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 cup water. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes. Place fennel in a small bowl and strain brine over. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours.

Cook garlic, butter, and 1/4 cup oil in a small saucepan over medium, stirring occasionally, until garlic is soft but not brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in bonito flakes and transfer to a blender. Purée until only a few flecks of bonito remain.

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Grill beets, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer back to bowl; toss with bonito dressing and lemon juice and season with salt.

Toss arugula and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl; season with salt. Grill until lightly charred in spots, about 30 seconds. Transfer back to bowl.

Arrange beets on a platter and top with arugula and drained pickled fennel.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beets-with-fennel-and-bonito-dressing

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Sugar Snap Pea and Cabbage Slaw

  • 2 1/2 pounds green cabbage (preferably Savoy), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (14 cups)
  • 3/4 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally (4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic scapes)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

Toss together cabbage and peas in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over slaw, stirring to combine well. Add salt to taste, then chill, covered, at least 2 hours.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sugar-snap-pea-and-cabbage-slaw-235032

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Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini

  • 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods) or shelled fresh or frozen edamame (soybeans; 3/4 pounds in pods)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula (1 1/2 ounces), divided
  • 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
  • 16 mint leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Cook fava beans in boiling water, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain and transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking. Gently peel off skins (if using edamame, don’t peel).

Pulse fava beans in a food processor until very coarsely chopped, then transfer half of mixture to a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup oil, 1/2 cup arugula, cheese, lemon zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to favas in processor and purée until smooth. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop remaining cup arugula and gently fold into fava-bean mixture.

Cut 16 diagonal slices (1/3 inch thick) from baguette and put in a 4-sided sheet pan. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon oil. Bake until pale golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Rub with cut side of garlic.

Spoon fava-bean mixture onto baguette toasts, then drizzle with oil and top with mint.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Kay Chun, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/arugula-and-fava-bean-crostini-352852

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