Winter CSA Share – #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the 2019/2020 Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Giant Winter Spinach Mix – 2 bags!
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Collard Rapini – Like the kale in previous shares, the collards are going to flower. Fortunately they’re tasty at this stage! Use them like you would kale.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB) – Planted last August this sprouting broccoli hangs out in the field all fall and much of the winter to only begin sprouting now, just when we could really use some broccoli. Chop it up, stems and leaves and all, and enjoy in any recipe you’d normally use broccoli florets for.
  • Cilantro
  • (Mostly Yellow) Carrots
  • Mixed Fingerling Potatoes – An accidental mix-up means you get a fun mix of LaRatte yellow fingerlings and Rose Finn Apple pinkish fingerlings!
  • Beets – These are mostly the bullseye Chioggia variety.
  • Red & Yellow Onions – The onions are coming out of dormancy and wanting to fulfill their seedy potential through re-growth so you may find a green sprout in the middle. As long as the onion is firm and oniony it’s all still edible, just trim around the sprout if you prefer.
  • Leeks
  • Calico PopcornYou can knock the kernels off the cob and into a paper bag and pop them in the microwave. Most often we’ll use these directions and pop it on the stove top. Jeff’s been having more popping success with this batch of popcorn, likely because we’ve been storing it in our how house which is drier than the barn.
  • Dried Apples – We grew ’em, we picked ’em, we dried ’em!

Only 2 more Winter CSA shares before the end of the season. Come join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

All our thanks to those who have committed to the 2020 Summer CSA season! Knowing we’ll have members to feed warms our hearts (and of course helps fund all the spring purchases like seeds and organic fertilizer).

The propagation house is beginning to fill up. The first round of tomatoes (top left), rainbow chard (bottom left), and onions (bottom right).

The Winter CSA has it’s own unique set of challenges as compared to the Summer CSA season. Between the extra planning and time required for winter vegetables to the worries over winter weather, the Winter CSA always keeps us on our toes. Of all the scenarios and contingencies that we’ve tried to prepare for, a pandemic and stay-at-home orders never entered our minds.

As we undertake this week’s CSA distribution we want to first thank you for your support and second send you well wishes and third ask for your patience. Hopefully you’ve read through the email we sent out this past Saturday on how the CSA pick-up will be adjusted in light of the most recent recommendations. If not, please take a moment to read through it prior to the pick-up to know what to expect upon arrival. You can find it by clicking here.

Our number one goal is to keep members safe while getting everyone their share of this week’s harvest. We believe this is possible if everyone works together to make sure we’re all keeping our distance from one another and spending as little time as possible at the pick-up location. Here are a few more things to keep in mind in addition to those items outlined in the email:

  • We’re sure you’re washing your hands a lot these days. We’ll have a hand washing station set-up in case you’d like wash up before and/or after the pick-up process.
  • Try to choose your vegetables visually this week rather than touching multiple items before selecting your choice.
  • We love seeing kids at the pick-up, but please consider leaving them at home or in the car (if safe of course) to help keep the pick-up quick and efficient this week.
  • Try to plan your trip to the pick-up around other essential travel.
Spring has not been cancelled! Rainbows, pear blossoms, tractor cultivating, and baby radishes! It doesn’t get much better than this.

The beautiful weather these past couple of weeks has made getting this growing season underway a pleasant reality. The spring equinox was a reminder that winter really is wrapping up and warmer days are ahead. There are also radishes and garlic and pears and so much more ahead too! The world may be going a little sideways at the moment, but the vegetables just keep growing.

Things have been busy on and off the farm. I’ve been helping a little at our friends seed company packing seeds. Jeff’s been busy with all things tractoring. Good weather means field work like hilling the early potatoes, fertilizing the garlic, and mowing cover crop.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been helping out a little at our friend’s seed company filling seed packets. They had some employee hiccups this winter and I had a little extra time. It’s been interesting to hear about this pandemic situation from their perspective. My takeaway is that folks have been lots buying toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and seeds.

It would seem that this is the time of year we dive into farm work, making social distancing the norm around here. Our focus has shifted to the farm and the long days of works have begun to creep in. Jeff has been busy with all things tractoring. The dry weather window meant tilling and fertilizing ground, mowing cover crops, and cultivating the overwintered onions and garlic again. I’ve been busy on the propagation side of things, filling flats, sowing seeds, watching for the progress of tiny plants emerging from seeds.

Welcome Leopold!

On a personal note here’s an update about our farm dogs. Last fall we had to put down our best buddy Ira Hayes after 12 years together. He was a great dog who had a pretty good dog life here on the farm. We still miss him. We then brought home Zeke, a big dark German Shepard two-year old with lots of energy and zeal for life. A few weeks ago Zeke died suddenly. It was shocking and unexpected. Though we only had him four months he had become a force on the farm and his passing left a giant dog-sized hole in our lives. We headed to the county dog shelter and found Leopold. Another German Shepard mix, thought to be a little younger, who had been found as a stray by the dog control. He’s already won our hearts with his sweet and playful disposition, easy-going attitude, and love for balls. Hopefully you’ll get to meet him soon!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Beets Don’t Kale My Vibe Salad

  1. For the Beets:
    • 2 red beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 1 small red onion, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
    • Salt and cracked pepper to taste
  2. For the Salad:
    • 6-8 cups chopped kale
    • 2-3 cups cooked wild rice, kept warm
    • 2-3 grilled chicken breasts, diced and kept warm
    • Roasted beets (above)
    • Balsamic vinaigrette
    • 4 oz good-quality goat cheese, crumbled
    • 1/2 cup raw or roasted chopped pecans

For the Beets:

Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and toss to coat well. Place everything on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil until the beets are well browned and the onions are caramelized, 7–8 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cooking, because all broilers are different. Once the beets have browned, carefully cover them with another sheet of foil and continue to broil for 5–7 more minutes, or until they have softened slightly. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. (This step can be done ahead of time.)

For the Salad:

Start by combining the kale, rice, chicken, and beets in a large salad bowl. Drizzle in the desired amount of vinaigrette, and toss well to coat all of the kale with dressing. Serve with crumbled goat cheese and pecans on top.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beets-dont-kale-my-vibe-salad-56389570

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Curried Spinach Soup with Yogurt and Cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 small white potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups (packed) fresh baby spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and 1 tablespoon water; sauté until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder and stir 30 seconds. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups water, potatoes and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; simmer until just wilted, about 1 minute. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until almost smooth. Return soup to same saucepan. Add milk and bring to simmer. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Whisk yogurt until smooth. Swirl 2 tablespoons yogurt into each bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/curried-spinach-soup-with-yogurt-and-cilantro-103239

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Wilted Cabbage with Carrots and Bacon

  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 3/4 pound)
  • 2 carrots, grated coarse
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves (wash and dry before chopping

In a large non-stick skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp and transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. In fat remaining in skillet cook garlic and onion over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add carrots and cabbage and cook, stirring, over moderate heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in bacon and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/wilted-cabbage-with-carrots-and-bacon-14113

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