Summer CSA Share – #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Beets
  • Desert Sunrise Red Onions – These are some of the overwintered onions harvested earlier this month.
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sweet Corn!
  • Cauliflower
  • Cilantro
  • Summer Squash – Choose from yellow straightneck, pattypan, and zucchini.
  • Cucumbers – picklers and slicers and now lemons too!
  • Mixed Snap Beans – Green, purple, and yellow beans this week.
  • Aji Marchant Hot Pepper – A new hot pepper variety for us, Aji Marchant has an interesting history that you can read about on the Adaptive Seeds website. They’re traditionally pickled at this stage, but are great for fresh eating and frying.
  • Iko Iko Bell Pepper – At this yellow and purple stage the Iko Iko is immature and similar to a green bell pepper.
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Lots of cherries and slicers for everyone!
  • Strawberries
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Wait, apples in July? It’s true! These soft, tart Russian apples ripen early and make excellent applesauce. I’ve also heard rumors of a recipe that involves battering and frying them for a melty appley fried dessert. Whoa!

Did you choose the two payment option at sign-up? Don’t forget your second payment is due by July 31st. Click here to head to the payments page. Or avoid the processing fee and bring a check to the pick-up, mail a check, or have your bank mail a check.

The tomatoes are on! The slicer tomato tasting was a hit at Saturday’s potluck.

Many thanks to the folks that made it out to this past weekend’s CSA member farm day! What a fun low key evening showing folks the farm, eating delicious food, and getting to chat with members more than we do at pick-ups.

It’s always fun to have members see the place in person and walk the length of the farm road. Each season brings a new look to the landscape and this moment is a little slice of summer goodness. Hopefully experiencing some time on the farm will give you that much more insight into where your food comes from and how we’re going about growing it for you.

Mark your calendar for the next scheduled CSA member farm day on October 5th! There will be pumpkin picking and cider pressing galore!

Carri in her happy place, the thriving propagation house (left), watering starts in the prop house (center), and the official farm mouse patrol (right).

Before we got to enjoy the fun on Saturday we had our annual organic inspection on Friday. This was our 10th annual inspection, whoa! The inspection is a piece of the organic certification puzzle. Each spring we submit updates to our organic systems plan (OSP) to our certifier, an inspector confirms the OSP on the ground, the certifier reviews the inspector’s report and our OSP, and then our new organic certificate is issued.

The OSP consists of detailed information about our farming practices including inputs, tillage, and management practices. During the inspection we review groundwork, fertilizer, seed purchase, planting, and harvest records. We also do a couple of traceability exercises to show what we say we’re growing is what we’re actually growing. And then there’s a tour of the farm for the inspector to see the crops in the ground and our current stock of organic fertilizer and other organic inputs. The whole thing generally lasts around 4 hours.

We’ve chosen Oregon Tilth as our certifier because we appreciate their connection to local communities in Oregon and their emphasis on education. We think our organic certification is an important baseline for letting you know that we’re growing using organic practices and that a third party has confirmed that fact. As with anything, the organic standards are not perfect, but they do provide a starting point that helps to make sure we’re thinking about soil health and beneficial insect and wildlife habitat as part of our farming goals. It also confirms that we’re not using synthetic pesticides or herbicides in our fields. Though some naturally produced sprays are available for use in organic systems, we don’t currently use any. Overall we appreciate the ease of communicating that basic fact that we’re growing under organic rules. Without the certification it would be more difficult to convey that as we wouldn’t be allowed to use the organic wording and label unless we figured out how to convey that we were organic adjacent. Plus the whole process likely makes us much better record keepers.

In the week ahead you’ll be able to find us getting back to the basic rhythm of the season. The warmer weather this week means non-stop irrigating and plenty of cultivating to get ahead of the weeds. There are fall/winter crops on deck to be transplanted and direct sown. The early apples are beginning to drop, so apple harvest is imminent. I think we might be due for an off-farm adventure sometime soon too.

Enjoy the vegetables!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cauliflower, Swiss Chard, and Chicken Soup

  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed lightly
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups 1-inch cauliflower florets (about 1 small head)
  • 1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chopped red Swiss chard leaves, washed well and drained

In a 4-quart heavy saucepan cook onion and caraway seeds in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Stir in cauliflower and orzo and simmer, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes. Stir in chicken and Swiss chard and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper. Soup may be made 3 days ahead, cooled, uncovered, and chilled, covered.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cauliflower-swiss-chard-and-chicken-soup-13489

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Romaine and Roasted-Beet Salad with Creamy Roquefort Dressing

  • For dressing
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort cheese
    • 3 tablespoons whipping cream
  • For salad
    • 6 medium beets, tops trimmed
    • 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, quartered lengthwise, ends left intact
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 watercress bunch, thick stems trimmed
    • 3/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

Make dressing:

Whisk first 5 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Fold in Roquefort cheese and cream. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Make salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool beets; peel and cut each into wedges.

Arrange 2 lettuce quarters crosswise on each of 6 large plates. Surround lettuce on each plate with beet wedges. Top with some onion slices and watercress sprigs. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with walnuts and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/romaine-and-roasted-beet-salad-with-creamy-roquefort-dressing-4270

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Zucchini and Corn Tacos

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh white or yellow corn kernels
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 leaves fresh epazote, (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 warm corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup tomatillo (green) salsa
  • 8 teaspoons grated Monterey Jack cheese (or queso fresco)

Heat half of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Toast corn 5 minutes, stirring; season with salt. Remove corn; set aside. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in skillet. Cook onion, stirring, until it caramelizes, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 10 minutes. Add zucchini; cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes; season with salt. Add corn, beans, epazote and pepper. Cook 3 minutes. Split filling among tortillas; top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons salsa and 1 teaspoon cheese.

From Epicurious.com via SELF by Jimmy Shaw, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-and-corn-tacos-354249

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