Summer CSA Share – #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – A mix of spinach and lettuce again.
  • Mixed Head Lettuce – Some butterhead, some romaine, you choose.
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Sugar Snap Peas – That’s a wrap on our pea season! Enjoy this last taste.
  • Cucumbers – They’re here!
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straightneck, and yellow pattypans all around!
  • Basil – We’re hoping to promote new and better growth by harvesting the basil now.
  • Bunching Onions – More mature than last time, you can still eat the greens and bulbs.
  • Carrots
  • German Butterball New Potatoes – Freshly dug taters straight out of a greenhouse, these are the first potatoes of 2020 just in time for 4th of July potato salad!
  • Strawberries or Tomatoes – Seascape strawberries or a mix of slicers and cherry tomatoes. Your choice!
Summer Squash and cucumbers (left) and winter squash (right).

On our weekly trips to Salem for the Tuesday CSA pick-up we pass a giant blueberry farm. It’s hard not to be impressed with the size and look of the place. The plants look well tended, there are few weeds to speak of, the blocks of different varieties of blueberry bushes create an agricultural quilt on the landscape. Next door a large field of hazelnut trees has been planted and they too look impressive from the freeway.

In that moment, passing those expansive tidy fields, I often have a fleeting thought about how nice it would be to focus on a single crop. To know everything about what it takes to grow a great blueberry or hazelnut. To take the long view on a single crop. To plant once a year, or once a decade. But in the same moment I remember the upfront investment needed to put in a long term perennial planting like that and I feel the constraints of a monoculture. How does anyone afford to plant trees that won’t fruit for years? What happens when an insect arrives that makes all the blueberries unsalable? The realities of funding and markets and losses quickly set in.

The diversified annual vegetable system we’re working within here means lots of crops, lots of planting successions each season, and lots of back-up plans. We’re definitely better at growing some of the 60+ crops we grow than others, but they each play a role in the larger picture that help us to face whatever the growing season chooses to throw our way.

For instance last year we had a great beet growing year. And lettuce! So much lettuce! This year we’re still waiting for the first round of beets to size up and slugs have taken out loads of our lettuce starts. Luckily we’re not just growing those two crops at the moment. Thanks to the range of crops we plant we’re still able to fill your shares each week, even if they may look a little different than last year.

Thanks for choosing to take the seasonal ride with us! Although your shares from week to week aren’t totally predictable, there will be vegetables to share. And while we may mourn the loss of a crop there’s always a highlight to focus on too. We may not have beets just yet, but it’s shaping up to be a great onion season.

A glimpse of the potato field (left) and potato flowers (right).

Our best intentions do not always come to fruition. Last week I’d hope to make a serious dent in the in-row weeds growing in the winter squash, but it didn’t happen. Jeff managed to weed several beds and cultivate lots of other crops, but I found my time taken up in trellising and pruning tomatoes, propagation house management, weeding the peppers and eggplants etc. I’ll predict that this is the week that the winter squash gets more attention. We’ll also be busy prepping beds, planting out fall brassicas, starting more brassicas, irrigating, cultivating, and the list goes on.

Finally, just a little snapshot of some of the flowers we have growing in the field this year. Mostly they’re for the bees, and for our kitchen table. Maybe one day we’ll figure out how to find enough time to add them to the CSA too.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Zucchini and Summer Squash Salad with Basil-Parmesan Dressing

  • 4 medium-large zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 4 medium-large yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, halved lengthwise
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place zucchini and crookneck squash on large baking sheet; brush all over with 3 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until tender and brown, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool.

Cut vegetables diagonally into 1-inch-wide pieces. Place in large bowl. Add basil, Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-zucchini-and-summer-squash-salad-with-basil-parmesan-dressing-101846

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Greek Salad Pita Sandwiches

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) thinly sliced romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups diced seeded tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 6 6-inch pita breads, top 1 1/2 inches trimmed

Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add next 4 ingredients and toss to combine. Season salad with salt and pepper. Carefully open pita breads at cut end. Fill each with salad and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/greek-salad-pita-sandwiches-105358

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Summer Vegetable Frittata

  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 oz prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb medium zucchini (about 3), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 5 medium Swiss chard leaves, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 12 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 5 zucchini blossoms*
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)

Preheat broiler.

Whisk together eggs, basil, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Cook prosciutto in oil in a 12-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until edges begin to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini and chard and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add scallions and zucchini blossoms and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour egg mixture into skillet and cook, lifting up cooked egg around edge using a spatula to let as much raw egg as possible flow underneath, until edge is set, about 2 minutes (top and center will still be very loose). Sprinkle cheese evenly over top.

Broil frittata about 6 inches from heat until set, slightly puffed, and golden, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes.

Cool frittata 5 minutes, then loosen edge with a clean spatula and slide onto a large plate. Cut into wedges.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Angelo Pellegrini, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-vegetable-frittata-109668

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