Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Lacinato Kale Tops
- Rainbow Chard
- Lettuce/Spinach Mix
- Rainbow Carrots
- Yukon Gem Potatoes – An improved version of the classic Yukon Gold, great for baking, boiling, and frying.
- Celeriac (aka Celery Root) – A celery flavored root that’s great tossed into soups and stews or mashes and gratins or our favorite: roasted up with other roots.
- Bunching Onions – They’re big for bunching onions, we know. But they’re still tasty from their green tips down to their roots. Well, don’t eat the roots but you get the idea.
- Yellow & Red Onions – We ask a lot of our storage crops. We harvest them in early fall and then let them sit and wait and wait until they make an appearance in the share. Were getting better at selecting long storing varieties but there’s just only so long an onion wants to store sometimes. That’s to say, eat your onions before they sprout because spring is just around the corner.
- Long Pie Pumpkin – An heirloomy pumpkin variety from the NE thought to be a descendant from a native American line of long-storing squash. This one is new for us this year and we can attest to its lovely pie-making qualities.
- Candystick Dessert Delicata Winter Squash
- Dried Apples – We had a sad apple crop this year but we’ve made up for it by buying in some no-spray apples from another orchard. We did all the slicing and drying here at the farm.
Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA! We’re excited to kick off our eighth winter season and hope you are too! This year has thrown us all a few curve balls but we’re hoping the Winter CSA is a shining light here in the darkest time of the year. Whether you’re a returning member who is already well versed in seasonal eating, or a new member looking to avoid the supermarket aisles, we hope you know we’ll be trying our darndest to bring you the best organic vegetables we can grow to each CSA pick-up over the next five months.
As you know already, winter weather can be unpredictable and growing conditions are the most challenging through the winter months. Ice and snow can be game changers. Short cold days mean not much plant growth is happening at the moment so we’re relying on the planning and planting that happened last summer and fall. That’s all to say that while winter may like to keep us on our toes, there will be vegetables to eat and hopefully they’ll include a wide diversity!
Here are a few reminders as we get going this winter season.
- First off, we’ve all been living in this COVID-19 world long enough now that I don’t think we need to belabor any rules and regulations. As in other places in life, we ask that everyone please be aware of spacing and respect other members. If we all try to work efficiently at choosing vegetables and moving through the pick-up we shouldn’t have any trouble making sure everyone gets their share for the week. This means the pick-up process may take a tad longer than in years past but our experience with the Summer CSA pick-ups suggest things shouldn’t back up too much.
- Also, don’t forget to share your cooking triumphs with other members in the P&C CSA member facebook group. If you enjoyed a recipe we’d all love to hear about it!
- Finally, let us know if you’re a member but you’re not seeing the weekly member email. It serves as a good pick-up reminder and that’s where we’ll put any important member information as the season goes on. Remember what I said about unpredictable winter weather? That goes for pick-ups too and we’ll try to update you via email if there’s ever a hiccup on a scheduled pick-up day.
Most of you are returning members and you know the CSA drill already, but there are a number of new members this season. Either way, let us know if you have any questions on CSA logistics, or vegetables, or whatever else might come up. We’re looking forward to a fantastic winter season, and hope you are too!
Now that we’ve covered the Winter CSA logistics, here are a few updates from the farm. We often get questions about our two-week break between seasons. Do we have any fun trips planned? What sort of work is there to do on the farm in the winter? Of course each year is different and this year especially so given the advice to limit travels etc. We managed to keep busy here on the farm these past two weeks, albeit at a slower pace thankfully.
Our most exciting project was planting a small blueberry patch! Jeff had prepped beds in a rarely used corner of the farm behind some field houses earlier this fall so we were ready to jump into planting once we had the time. We planted 200 blueberry bushes, 4 varieties total (Duke, Olympia, Chandler, and Aurora), with harvest windows ranging from late June through August. They’re an investment in future summer berries and we look forward to sharing them in years to come. We also purchased ten fig trees that will find a home in the field in the spring!
Other projects of note we tackled during the break include:
- Mounting a weather station! I’ve been dreaming of a weather station for years and Jeff finally made it happen. Now we can track rainfall, temperatures, and wind speed. It’s connected to our wifi and updates to the internet. Click here to see the weather at the farm!
- Installing gutters on the west side of the barn! This one is exciting for members who pick-up here at the farm. Fingers crossed the new gutters eliminate the waterfall walking experience for you when it’s raining during a pick-up.
- Drying apples! We’ve increased the number of members in the Winter CSA from 62 last year to 80 this year which means it takes an extra round of drying apples to have enough. It’s worth it for crispy apples though!
- Buying a new propagation house greenhouse! After many years of making a greenhouse that came with the farm work for our propagation needs we’re finally investing in a new greenhouse. It will be located out of the spring flood zone, be built of stronger materials, have improved ventilation, be double-walled for fewer temperature fluctuations, and be located in line with our upgraded soil mixing and germination chamber locations. I’m looking forward to improved transplant success and a shorter trip from seed starting to transplant growing locations. The new greenhouse arrives in late January and Jeff has already been busy clearing the site.
These were the highlights I can recall from our two week hiatus. Of course there were other projects including a little planting, a little weeding, many tasty meals, and lots of winter squash pie.
Finally I wanted to share a fun thing that happened in the last few months. In March of 2019 we were contacted by a local author, named Karista Bennett, who was working on a cookbook highlighting local producers and products from Oregon. She planned to include pages throughout the book introducing readers to farms and chefs and wineries and she wanted to include us. I’m not entirely sure how she found us but it sounded like an easy thing to agree to.
She came out for a visit to take photos and meet us on a rainy July day in 2019. Well, all these months later she finished up the project and The Oregon Farm Table Cookbook came to life. Karista sent us a copy of the book recently and it’s a fun mix of locally inspired recipes and highlights from regional farms and food producers just as promised. If you’re looking for a new cookbook and want to learn about some hard-working and inspiring mid-valley producers this one’s for you.
Okay, surely that’s enough for one farm update. We look forward to seeing everyone this week at the pick-ups!
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Miso-Harissa Delicata Squash and Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1-pound delicata squash
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
- Minced cilantro for serving
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. You can leave the peel on the squash, as it is edible.
In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, miso, harissa, honey, and vinegar. In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts and squash with 1/3 cup of the harissa miso mixture. Use your hands to coat the vegetables evenly. Spread the vegetables out on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the squash is tender and the Brussels sprouts are slightly crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Toss the veggies halfway through cooking.
While the veggies roast, heat a small dry skillet over medium-high. Add the almonds and toast until they are golden brown, shaking the pan often, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour them from the pan to a plate, and when they’re cool enough to handle, roughly chop them.
Divide the roasted vegetables among the bowls and sprinkle toasted almonds and minced cilantro on top. Serve with the remaining miso harissa sauce on the side.
Keep extra miso-harissa sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
From Epicurious.com via Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bemis, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/miso-harissa-delicata-squash-and-brussels-sprouts-salad
Celery Root and Carrot Soup
- 1/2 large celery root (celeriac), peeled, chopped
- 1/2 pound carrots, peeled, chopped
- 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- Celery leaves and chopped Granny Smith apple (for serving)
Place celery root and carrots in a large pot; add 6 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook until tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly. Purée in a blender with yogurt, honey, coriander, and ginger until smooth; season with salt and pepper.
Serve soup topped with celery leaves and apple.
From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Rick Martinez, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/celery-root-and-carrot-soup
Roasted Winter Vegetables
- 2 lb/910 kg winter squash or pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, beets/beetroots, or a mix
- 2 medium red or yellow onions, quartered
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Handful of fresh parsley, coarsely chopped, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Peel and cut the vegetables into equal sized pieces, about 1-in/2.5-cm chunks. Toss vegetables and onions in olive oil in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
Spread the pieces out in a single layer on one or two roasting pans/trays so that the vegetables don’t touch. Roast until the veggies are lightly browned and just tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the vegetable. Remove and toss with additional olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley before serving.
From Epicurious.com via The Newlywed Cookbook by Sarah Copeland, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-winter-vegetables-395551