Summer CSA Share – #8

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

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mixed Head Lettuce – Lots of ‘Summertime’ iceburg lettuce this week as well as some red romaine and a few butterheads to choose from.
  • Kalebration Mixed Kale – Super tender kale mix straight from a high tunnel.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Snap Beans – The ultimate mix of colorful green, purple, yellow, and purple-striped beans. Note the purple and striped beans turn green when cooked.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Zucchinis, yellow straight neck, and yellow pattypans all around! Looking for some new summer squash inspiration? Check out the take on sloppy joes down below, and this recipe for zucchini beer bread, or this recipe for bread and butter pickles.
  • Celery
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic – More of that first round of garlic. Remember back when it was raining day after day and we weren’t able to get our garlic harvested? Well, this garlic is part of that fiasco. Tasty but not for storing longterm so use it up sooner than later.
  • Carrots – These are the last of the spring carrots, including all shapes and sizes.
  • Slicer Tomato
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – A delicate and soft early ripening apple best used for applesauce or baking projects. I made a delicious blueberry apple pie this past week.
  • Corn Flour – We grow a dent corn that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing some of the freshly milled flour from last year’s dent corn harvest. Next week we’ll be sending polenta your way. I like to use this flour for cornbread and Jeff suggests frying up some corn flour crusted zucchini.
Jeff seeding the last succession of carrots (upper left), a bumblebee chilling on a sunflower (upper right), a bird’s nest in the Kalebration kale patch (bottom left), and Leo in a bed of white clover along the farm road (bottom right).

Okay, okay, I really do try not to make this space all weather commentary all the time, but hello summer! It feels like we’re suddenly making up some of those heat units we lost during the extended cool spring. The crops (and the weeds) are sure enjoying the bump in warm weather. Us farmers not so much. 90+ degree highs mean early starts and late afternoon slogs to make sure we’re still getting at least some of the things done. Luckily it looks like things might moderate a little bit later this week.

Farm scenes: The Kalettes and Brussels sprouts nestled in next to the flour corn (upper left), fall collards and kale sizing up (upper right), leeks mid-weeding (bottom left), leeks and celeriac post-weeding (bottom right).

I’ve been trying to remember to pull my phone out for photos more often to document the evolution of the growing season. It’s easy to get focused on the task at hand and the next task up and never snap a photo of any of it. The farm is mostly looking good right now, but without the photos to prove it I’d likely look back and only remember the weedy beds that are on the verge of getting away from us.

After early-season pest pressure from slugs, cucumber beetles, and flea beetles the pest life cycles seemed to have have shifted in our favor. The flea beetle boom seems to have busted and our fall brassicas are looking clean and happy for once. The slugs have relented now that the soil has been able to dry between rounds of irrigation and we’re getting better stands of lettuce too.

Jeff has been working hard to keep the weed pressure at bay. Sometimes the weeds need special attention though, and this week we made a big push to clean up the leeks and celeriac. Both crops had established well after planting but the wet weather and deluge of other tasks meant some thistle and weedy brassicas had taken over the five beds. We spent a few sessions pulling out the invaders and now the leeks and celeriac are once again visible! Jeff finished up by running our cultivating tractor through to clean up the paths and just like that, hope in fall/winter food is restored.

Rudbeckia, rudbeckia, rudbeckia, and strawflowers!

As we look ahead to the post-harvest week of farming I see some parsnips that need hand weeding attention (darn you parsnips!) and we’re ready to clean out a field house that had spring peas and carrots in it. Also, we’re between big planting pushes this week and I have my fingers crossed for an off-farm adventure day. Maybe not too adventurous though.

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:

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

  1. Salad:
    • 1 1/2 cups finely diced cooked chicken meat (6 ounces, about 1 1/2 breast halves)
    • 6 canned peeled water chestnuts, rinsed and chopped
    • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
    • 1 small celery rib, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup diced apple, such as Gala or Golden Delicious (about 1/2 apple)
  2. Sauce:
    • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter or sesame tahini
    • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
    • 3/4 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives (optional)
    • 1/4 cup roasted soy nuts or coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts
    • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil (optional)

Combine the chicken, water chestnuts, carrot, celery and apple in a bowl and stir to mix.

Whisk together the peanut butter, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth. Whisk in the mayonnaise and chives, if using, spoon the dressing over the salad, and mix well. Sprinkle with soy nuts just before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Real Food For Healthy Kids by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crunchy-asian-chicken-salad-243126

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Celery Soup

  • 1 chopped head of celery
  • 1 chopped large waxy potato
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Celery leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Flaky sea salt

Combine 1 chopped head of celery, 1 chopped large waxy potato, 1 chopped medium onion, and 1 stick unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; season with salt.

Cook, stirring, until onion is tender, 8–10 minutes.

Add 3 cups low sodium chicken broth; simmer until potatoes are tender, 8–10 minutes. Purée in a blender with 1/4 cup fresh dill; strain. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Serve soup topped with celery leaves, olive oil, and flaky sea salt.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-soup-51246210

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Summer Squash Sloppy Joes

  • 1 pound ground lean beef or turkey
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups summer squash, diced
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 hamburger buns

Preheat the broiler. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef or turkey until browned, about 7 minutes. Add the onion and sauté 2 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté 2 minutes. Add the squash and sauté 1 minute more.

2. Stir in the tomato paste and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring until the paste has dissolved. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, and oregano, and season with the salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Divide the cheese among the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Transfer both halves of the buns to the broiler, open-faced, and toast until the cheese has melted and the top buns are toasted.

4. Remove the buns from the oven and fill each sandwich with the squash-and-meat mixture. Serve immediately.

Tip:The easiest way to shred zucchini is to run it through the shredding disc of your food processor. A box grater will also work, but be sure to use the largest holes.

From Epicurious.com via Cookie by Melissa Clark, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-squash-sloppy-joes-239165

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