Winter CSA Share – #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts – These are likely the last of the Brussels for the season. Enjoy!
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – As we edge ever closer to spring many of the overwintering plants in the field will be headed toward making seed. The interim stage is called rapini and is a delicious brocoli-like seasonal treat. This week some of the kale bunches include rapini, which can be eaten from stem to tip like broccoli.
  • Collards
  • Mustard Greens
  • Chicory MixThis frost-sweetened mix is just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon. Look for recipes calling for radicchio, chicory, and castelfranco for inspiration.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Magic Molly Blue Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • 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. We’re 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.
  • Cilantro
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Choose from Black Futsu, Spaghetti, and the last of the Long Pie Pumpkins.
  • 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.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Our new propagation greenhouse kit arrived last Tuesday! Above is the kit (top left), digging post holes (top right), setting the posts (bottom left), and attaching the end wall posts to the bows (bottom right).

It’s been a busy week here on the farm. Last Tuesday, as promised, the greenhouse kit for our new propagation house was delivered. When we first started this farming experiment back in 2009 we put up a 8′ x 16′ greenhouse in the backyard of our house in Salem. We started seeds in our kitchen, grew transplants in the backyard, and drove them out to our rented plot outside of town. When we began leasing this farm we were able to consolidate the operation and we turned an existing 20′ x 45′ greenhouse into our new prop. house.

Though not a strong structure, somehow that greenhouse has made it through a decade of high winds and snow storms. However, over the years it’s become obvious that our ideal prop. house would have better air flow within the house, improved venting during the hotter times of the year, and a double layer of plastic to allow for an insulating air layer for the cooler months. It’s been difficult to want to make these investments in our current prop. house due to the lack of strength of the structure itself and the location which happens to flood in the rainier months.

Last spring we built a dedicated room off our shop to use as a germination chamber and the new prop. house is located directly off that room. Once ready to leave the germination chamber, seeded flats will easily be transferred into the new prop. house rather than trekking them through an orchard first. We’re excited to consolidate the seeding and transplant growing into the same area again while also improving the transplant growing environment.

Prop. house building cont’d: We’ve got a structure! (top left), shutter,s fans, side boards and purlins installed (top right), installing the endwall poly carbonate sheets (bottom left), and finished endwalls (bottom right).

Not wanting to waste the beautiful weather we jumped into construction as soon as the greenhouse delivery driver was gone. On day one we rented an auger from a local rental shop and proceeded to dig 30 10″ wide x 18″ deep holes to set the posts. The best projects always seem to start with digging. The auger was a beast but the holes ended up roughly in the correct locations. On day two we set the posts in 55 bags of quikrete and got the top bows in place. Day three was interrupted by a previously scheduled dentist appointment but we managed to get the side boards in place and secured. Day four we installed the metal purlins that run the length of house and then focused on framing out the end walls. This is the first time we’ve purchased end walls with the kit and it was fun to see it come together so quickly. Day five we finished framing the end walls, installed the fans and ventilation shutters, installed the doors, and put up the poly carbonate plastic that encloses the ends.

More construction, but with rain!

I’d hope to get to the plastic-pulling stage on Saturday (day five) before the rain returned but it wasn’t in the cards. Instead we used day six to finish up cutting and securing the poly carbonate end walls, installing the wire lock channel that will be needed to keep the plastic in place, and installing the fancy door handles that came in the kit. It was a muddy day on the job site and though we could have pulled plastic in the afternoon, we decided to hold off for a drier day. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long.

Once we cover the house with the two layers of poly we’ll install a fan that will inflate the space between them to provide some insulating properties. We’ll also bring water over for future irrigation needs. Then comes the ground cloth to keep weeds at bay, tables for flats of transplants to sit on, and we’ll need to set up the hardening off area outside for transplants to shift to before getting transplanted into the field. There are plenty more things to do before we’re up and running but it doesn’t feel too far off now.

Our current prop. house and the field next to it that floods during high rain events (top left), wind storm damage from a couple weeks back (top right), curly willow on a foggy morning (bottom left), and a frosty farm sunrise (bottom right).

In addition to the remaining steps of the prop. house building project our next priority is pulling new plastic on one of our high tunnels that lost plastic in the wind storm we experienced a couple of weeks back. Plastic covered greenhouses and high wind events aren’t a great pairing. Last fall we lost plastic on a high tunnel in a high wind that ripped through just after the wildfires. This time we lost plastic on a different high tunnel, one that had a much older plastic covering thankfully. Luckily we already had the prop. house kit scheduled to arrive this past week and we were able to add the new plastic to our delivery. Now we wait for another couple of dry days to get these houses covered.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Red Onions

  • 4 pounds medium red onions (about 9)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Trim onions, keeping root ends intact, and cut each lengthwise into 6 wedges, keeping wedges intact. In a large bowl toss onions with oil and salt and pepper to taste. In 2 shallow baking pans arrange onions in one layer and roast in upper and lower thirds of oven 20 minutes. Carefully turn onions over and switch position of pans. Roast onions 20 minutes more, or until just tender and some edges are golden brown.

Trim Brussels sprouts and have ready a large bowl of ice and cold water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook sprouts until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, and drain in colander. Transfer sprouts to ice water to stop cooking and drain in colander. Vegetables may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled separately, covered.

In a small bowl stir together mustard and water. In a 12-inch heavy skillet cook onions and sprouts in butter over moderately high heat, stirring, until heated through and stir in mustard mixture and salt and pepper to taste.

From via Gourmet,

Quinoa with Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew

  1. Stew
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • Pinch of saffron
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 1 1/2-pound squash) (or black futsu winter squash)
    • 2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled carrots
  2. Quinoa
    • 1 cup quinoa*
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    • 2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided

For stew:

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

For quinoa:

Rinse quinoa; drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs over.

*A grain with a delicate flavor and a texture similar to couscous; available at natural foods stores.

From via Bon Appétit by Bruce Aidells & Nancy Oakes,

Salad Pasta

  • 1 (2.2-oz.) can oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 head of radicchio, trimmed, quartered, leaves separated (or chicory mix)
  • 1 (5-oz.) package baby arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn if large
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine anchovies, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until anchovies have disintegrated into oil and garlic is lightly browned, 6–8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Remove skillet with anchovy mixture from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice until butter is melted. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid and stir constantly until a thick glossy sauce forms, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed.

Place radicchio in a large bowl. Add pasta and sauce and toss to coat, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed. Add arugula and basil but don’t toss; season with salt and black pepper.

Divide pasta among plates or bowls, very gently tossing so arugula gets coated in sauce but doesn’t wilt too much.

From via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell,

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