Summer CSA Share – #22

Welcome to the 22nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Spinach Mix
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Fennel
  • Beets
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Aji Marchant Peppers – Used at all levels of ripeness, these hot peppers are hotter when fully red ripe. Read all about them over here.
  • Mixed Sweet Pepper
  • Tomatoes – The very last of the ripe tomatoes.
Covering up the tender greens in the high tunnels ahead of freezing temperatures Sunday.

As predicted we had our first low temperatures in the 20s over the weekend. It looks like we hit 24 Sunday night. We spent Sunday afternoon covering the more vulnerable crops (lettuce, spinach, arugula, celery etc) with big sheets of row cover, a lightweight dryer sheet-like frost protector. Most vegetables still in the field are fairly hardy at this point in the season though a little extra protection doesn’t hurt. The crops growing in the high tunnels are more tender and thus more vulnerable so we made sure to get them covered up. It was 28 degrees when we uncovered the spinach and began the harvest on Monday at 9am. The row cover had done its job!

Jeff seeding cover crop: our grain drill (left) and seed mix (right).

Jeff spent much of the week prepping ground and seeding cover crop in the open areas of the fields. It’s a multi-step process that starts with sourcing some seed and ends with using our antique grain drill to get the seed in the ground. There’s also lots of mowing, discing, and tilling to get the ground ready for seeding. We’re using a blend of oats, clover, vetch, and fava beans this year. The oats will germinate first and are included primarily to help keep soil in place over the winter. The other three are slower to germinate but are all nitrogen fixers, meaning they’ll add valuable nitrogen to the soil when mowed and incorporated in the spring.

Spinach from seed (left) to leaves (right).

While Jeff worked on cover cropping I finished up a few other lingering tasks. I spent some time threshing our small dry bean crop. After a final sort of beans and debris we should have some tasty beans to share with you. I also finished up planting out one of our high tunnels. Better late than never, I think. I sowed some spinach and transplanted some chicories that may or may not become winter salad. We’ve taken to priming spinach seed with a soak in water (as seen above) for up to 24 hours prior to sowing to help wake it up for faster germination. Always experimenting.

Harvesting continues: Brussels sprouts (left) and tomatoes (right).

The weather forecast suggests we’re out of the woods as far as freezing temperatures go for a bit. This week we’ll be tackling the tomato trellising (for reals), bulk harvesting some root vegetables, cleaning up the melon patch, and making some winter infrastructure plans.

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:

Tortellini with Italian Sausage, Fennel, and Mushroom

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, halved through core, thinly sliced lengthwise (about 3 cups), fronds chopped
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage coarsely crumbled
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 (16-ounce) package dried tortellini with pesto filling or fresh tortellini with 3-cheese filling
  • 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced fennel bulb, sausage, and mushrooms; sauté until sausage is brown and cooked through and fennel is almost tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and fennel seeds; stir 1 minute. Stir in cream, then 1 cup broth; boil until liquid is reduced and very slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook tortellini in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain tortellini; return to same pot.

Add sausage mixture to tortellini in pot. Toss over medium heat until blended. Add spinach; toss gently until spinach wilts. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese; add more broth by 1/4 cupfuls to moisten if dry. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, and serve, passing additional cheese.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tortellini-with-italian-sausage-fennel-and-mushroom-362553

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Roasted Beets and Citrus with Feta

  1. Vinaigrette:
    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated grapefruit peel
    • 1 teaspoon honey
    • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. Salad:
    • 4 2 1/2-inch-diameter unpeeled beets, tops trimmed
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
    • 2 small pink or ruby grapefruits, all peel and pith cut away, segments cut from between membranes
    • 2 oranges, all peel and pith cut away, segments cut from between membranes
    • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

Vinaigrette:

Whisk vinegar, mustard, citrus peels, and honey in small bowl. gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss beets and oil in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil. place directly on oven rack; roast until tender, 60 to 70 minutes. Open foil; cool 30 minutes. Rub skins off beets; cut each into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place spinach in large bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette. Divide among plates. Add beets and citrus segments to same bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange beet mixture atop spinach; sprinkle with cheese and chives. Serve, passing any remaining vinaigrette.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Myra Goodman & Sarah LaCasse, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beets-and-citrus-with-feta-363732

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Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

  • three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups), rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup drained canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup minced shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • a 16-ounce can pumpkin pureé (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dry Sherry
  • 1/2 pound cooked ham, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

In a food processor coarsely pureé beans and tomatoes.In a 6-quart heavy kettle cook onion, shallot, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Stir in bean pureé. Stir in broth, pumpkin, and Sherry until combined and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add ham and vinegar and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season soup with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/black-bean-pumpkin-soup-14330

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