Summer CSA Share – #12

Welcome to the 12th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Collards – The mild start to the summer has resulted in some of our most beautiful collards ever. I’ve included a very basic recipe for collards and bacon below, but I’d also like to remind you that extra greens can always benefit from the pesto treatment.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Onions
  • Mixed Snap Beans – Green slender haricot verts and the purple striped dragon’s tongue this week. Unfortunately those purple stripes will turn green when cooked.
  • Cucumbers – choose from green and white slicers, lemons, and picklers too.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Czech Black Hot Peppers – A mild “hot” peppers, these guys have less heat than a jalapeno.
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Milan Tuscan Melon – A type of muskmelon and cantaloupe with thicker ribbing but the same sweet interior.
  • Honey Orange Melon – Technically a honeydew, but it’s orange and is sweet like a cantaloupe.
Harvest day! Snap beans, cauliflower, and some giant tomatoes.

I know there will be a time in December or January when we’re planning harvests around freezing temperatures and going outside means layering up and rain gear and warm hats. There might even be snow or ice on the ground. The sun will come up a little later and in the mornings we’ll linger over a cup of hot coffee while we wait for it to thaw things out a bit. We might then think back to those seemingly endless warm August days when the only mud was from irrigated ground and we were awash in summer fruits.

Here in August though, it just feels hot and a little exhausting. I’m still trying to savor it despite the exhaustion.

The big onion harvest!

As mentioned previously it was time to get the storage onions out of the field. Every season has its highs and lows. Some crops do better, others not so much. This year I think is the year of the onion. We managed to grow our best onion crop to date! We’ve been trying for over a decade to nail this crop and this was the year it finally happened. Good news for everyone, there will be plenty of onions to go around this fall and winter!

We start the onion harvest with a little tractor work. In the past we would use a digging fork to loosen the ground around the onions. This was a tedious and time-sucking step. Now we use our undercutter bar (as seen in the top left photo above) on the back of the tractor to pop the onions out of the ground instead. The undercutter bar digs down beneath the onions and cuts the roots of the onions and loosens the soil all in one pass of the tractor down the bed.

The dry weather has allowed us to field cure the onions, meaning they’ve dried down in the field and can head straight into storage. Once all of the beds have been undercut we box the onions and label them by variety so we know which ones to use up sooner and which will store longer. The boxes are then picked up and tractored to the barn for storage.

Jeff was a go-getter in the heat this week, prepping ground for transplanting (there he is hooking up our tiller up above) and direct sowing after the onions were out.

Once the onions were out of the way it was time to flip the beds for new crops waiting in the wings. Jeff fertilized and tilled the ground and on Sunday afternoon we transplanted some kale and chicories for seed production next spring and direct sowed some fall radishes and turnips and our last succession of snap beans. And so it continues. This week will be more cultivating and irrigating and seed sowing and weeding.

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 Ratatouille Salad with Feta Cheese

  • 1 12- to 14-ounce eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into 6 strips
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons purchased garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons slivered fresh basil

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place eggplant, zucchini, red bell pepper and onion on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; turn to coat. Grill vegetables until tender and tinged with brown, turning frequently, about 6 minutes for eggplant and zucchini and about 10 minutes for red bell pepper and onion.

Divide vegetables between 2 plates; drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle cheese and basil over and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-salad-with-feta-cheese-103770

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Collard Greens Miniera

  • 1 1/4 lb collard greens, halved lengthwise and stems and center ribs discarded
  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped

Stack collard-leaf halves and roll crosswise into a cigar shape. Cut crosswise into very thin slices (no thicker than 3/4 inch) with a sharp knife.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. Add collards, tossing to coat, and cook until just bright green, about 1 minute. Season with salt and serve immediately.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/collard-greens-miniera-104567

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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Cantaloupe Salsa

  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeño chili (or, you know, a Czech Black pepper)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix cantaloupe, onion, cilantro, 2 teaspoons oil, lime juice and jalapeño chili in small bowl. Season salsa to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brush tuna steaks on both sides with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill tuna until just opaque in center, about 3 minutes per side.

Transfer tuna to plates. Spoon salsa alongside and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-tuna-steaks-with-cantaloupe-salsa-4107

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