Summer CSA Share – #18

Welcome to the 18th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Sweet Corn
  • Escarole
  • Celery!
  • Beets
  • Mixed Summer Squash & Zucchini – This is likely the last of the summer squash and zucchini this season folks! Frost is in the forecast and we cleared it out. On to winter squash!
  • Mixed Cucumbers – As with the summer squash, the cukes are likely done for the season too. Enjoy!
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatillos – One last shot at summer salsa!
  • Chesnok Red Garlic
  • Liebesapfel Sweet Pepper
  • Orange Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes
  • Other Bartlett-ish Pears – More pears, but from different trees here on the farm than the pears we’ve been sharing. As with most fruit here we don’t know the exact varieties, but they’re tasty!

Hey, hey CSA Members! The time has finally come for the Fall CSA Farm Visit this Saturday, October 5th! Check your weekly member email for the details. Come on out to the farm for pumpkins and cider pressing rain or shine!

The jacks are ready for picking! (left) and the sunchokes are blooming! (right)

Welcome to October! The pumpkins are plentiful, sizeable, and orange! The sunchokes are finally blooming! We’re under the first frost watch of the season! Granted our first frost generally comes a few weeks into October and we’ve just barely changed the calendar over, but what you going to do?

Well, here we took the threat of frost seriously and scoured the farm for lingering sensitive summer crops. We covered what needed help keeping a frost off and harvested what was already fading thanks to the cooler temps we’ve been having. We likely harvested our last cukes and zukes of the season. We endeavored to pick out the pepper patch then covered what remained. We began picking the last round of green beans, and again covered them in hopes of eeking out another week at least. The summer fruits are fleeting. It’s October.

The great winter squash harvest of 2019!

This past week has been one long harvest party for these two farmers. On Wednesday we harvested some more pears. On Thursday we harvested potatoes for storage. On Friday and Saturday we harvested the dry beans and all the winter squash. On Sunday we harvested the frost-sensitive crops I described above. Then of course today was CSA harvest. We’re not messing around now that it’s harvest season.

Getting the winter squash into storage always feels like an epic task. The physicality of cutting each squash from the tangled vines (both dead and living at this point), then picking it up, and getting it into the storage bin is at first novel but quickly turns a little monotonous, or zen perhaps. You just keep moving through the field cutting, sorting, retrieving, counting. The sun comes out and you shed a layer, the rain moves through and you add raingear. Beds empty of squash, bins fill up and are tractored to the barn. You just keep picking up squash until all 5,015 are safe and sound, tucked away for future shares. It’s all worth the effort as storage spaces fill with fall and winter food. We’ll make it through another lean season. We’ve got squash to eat.

On a personal item I want to note the passing of our beloved farm dog Ira Hayes. He was really the best buddy ever. A smart, loyal, fun-loving guy who helped catch voles in the field, was head of farm security, and was always ready to load up in the truck for an adventure. He loved tennis balls, squirrels, and purple sprouting broccoli. We found him in dog jail back in 2008, before there was a farm, or the flicker of a farm. He’s been with us all along the way. We miss him dearly.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Guacamole Taquero: Taco-Shop Guacamole

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos (5 or 6), husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
  • 6 large (about 3 1/2 inches long) fresh epazote leaves or cilantro
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion
  • 2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chiles, coarsely chopped, including seeds, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small ripe Mexican Hass avocado, halved and pitted

Put the tomatillos into the blender jar first, then add the epazote, garlic, onion, chiles, lime juice, and salt. Blend until very smooth, at least a minute (be patient; see note below). Scoop the avocado flesh with a spoon into the blender jar and blend until smooth. Add a little water, if necessary, to achieve a pourable texture. Season to taste with additional chile, lime juice, and salt, and blend once more.

This salsa tastes best the day it’s made, but the acidity from the tomatillos will keep it from discoloring as quickly as most guacamoles. It’ll still be delicious the next day if you store it in the refrigerator with a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface. Let it come to room temperature before you serve it.

From Epicurious.com via Truly Goode by Roberto Santibañez & JJ Goode, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/guacamole-taquero-taco-shop-guacamole-364411

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Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole

  • 1 2/3 cups lentils (11 ounces), rinsed well
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound escarole, chopped (4 cups packed)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • Accompaniment: croutons

Simmer lentils, water, broth, bay leaf, and half of garlic in a 4-quart pot, uncovered, 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wide heavy 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown sausage, about 7 minutes. Transfer sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, carrots, celery, remaining garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add sausage and lentils with cooking liquid and simmer, uncovered, until lentils are tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in escarole and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Maggie Ruggiero, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lentil-soup-with-italian-sausage-and-escarole-350257

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Lettuce and Beet Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

  • 2 medium beets (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 cups (packed) mixed torn lettuces (such as romaine, red leaf and butter lettuce) (Or this week’s Escarole!)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Cool; peel beets. Coarsely shred beets.

Whisk sour cream, onion, vinegar, sugar and mustard in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Place lettuces in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with beets, dividing equally.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lettuce-and-beet-salad-with-sour-cream-dressing-846

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