Winter CSA Share – #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2020/2021 Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – This new-to-us brassica is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Instead of a sprout small kale flowers develop along the stalk. You can eat the leaves and stems of the sprouts and they can be prepared just like kale.
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – Rapini, or raab, is the result of overwintered plants heading into seed production. It’s delicious at this tender stage and can be eaten like kale or broccoli, stems and leaves and all.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli – a seasonal treat, this PSB was planted back in August and only starts forming florets now. Like broccoli heads you can eat the stems and leaves too.
  • Green Cabbage
  • Tatsoi Rapini
  • Lettuce & Spinach Mix
  • Cilantro
  • Sunchokes– These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest.  Converting the inulin to fructose through cooking with vinegar or fermenting seems to be a good solution.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Garlic – This is the very last of our 2020 garlic crop. Enjoy!
  • Yellow 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.
  • Butternut 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.

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! Memberships to the 2021 Summer CSA are open and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. We’re already 80% full for the season, so get on the list early to reserve your share. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

A little ice, and a little maple sap.

Hopefully you’ve all made it back to some semblance of normalcy after the big ice storm from a couple of weeks back. Luckily we were situated just south of the majority of the impact. We had some ice and lost internet/power over a couple of days but otherwise things on the farm came through relatively unscathed. A quick trip through south Salem early last week showed me just how much more had happened just north of us with downed trees and downed power lines. We’re glad to have better weather for this week’s pick-ups!

The icy weather inspired us to pull out our maple tree tapping supplies. We only have one maple tree on the farm, located at the front next to our driveway. It’s a bigleaf maple, which isn’t ideal for tapping, but does produce enough sap for a taste of maple goodness. The sap has been running the past couple of weeks and we’ve collected just under a half gallon, which we’ve boiled down to a half pint of watery syrup with a hint of maple. It’s always amazing how much sap you need for a small bit of maple syrup.

Winter field crops! Sunchokes and purple sprouting broccoli for the win.

Winter is always a gamble on the farm. Each storm that passes through is just another possibility for destruction. Wind can blow plastic off greenhouses and row cover off crops and into trees. Snow and ice can accumulate quickly and crush greenhouses. Rain can result in flooding once the soils are saturated. Through it all we expect winter crops in the field to keep standing, to keep growing. And as long as the temperatures stay out of the teens, the crops do keep growing. The repeated frosts and ice and occasional snows just sweeten the greens. The storms pass, the weeks go by, and suddenly we’re here in late February and the purple sprouting broccoli is forming its purple florets and the kale is sending up rapini shoots. Despite the recent ice storm, we’re on the cusp of spring!

Top: Installing the new hose hanging kits! Bottom: Baby tomatoes (left) and Jeff in the old prop. house during some minor flooding this past week (right).

The last couple of weeks have been productive here on the farm, despite the wintry weather. Jeff made lots of progress on wrangling the plum orchard back from the blackberries and managed to do a rough pruning through all the pear trees. I used the ice storm as a good excuse to finish up the winter paperwork season and managed to file both the business and our personal taxes and complete our annual USDA Farm Service Agency business paperwork for our loans. Whew!

We’ve also made more progress in the new propagation house. After a delay in shipping for our new heating mats we decided to bring in our old heat table system for the earliest crops. These tables have heat cables incorporated into them that provide some bottom heat for crops like tomatoes and peppers that prefer things warmer than the ambient temperature of the prop. house. Also, our new hose hanging kits arrived. After some basic reconfiguration to work in our situation we now have two hanging hoses that run on pulleys along wires running the length of the house. No more dragging hoses around corners; no more hoses kinking; no more tripping over hoses!

Perhaps my favorite February milestone is the starting of seeds. While Jeff worked on the orchards and gave our Farmall Cub cultivating tractor a winter tune-up I focused on filling flats and sowing the first round of tomatoes and onions and leeks. After several days in the germination chamber we now have the babiest of tomato plants! And they’re the first plants to grace the new propagation house. How revolutionary it all feels!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Slaw

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 4 green onions, minced (about 1/4 cup)

Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, 3 tablespoons lime juice, lime peel, chile, and garlic in large bowl. Stir in cilantro. Add cabbage and green onions; toss to incorporate evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Season slaw with more lime juice, salt, and pepper, if desired, just before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Rick Rodgers, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-cilantro-lime-slaw-359790

Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding

  • 2 pounds peeled seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for sprinkling
  • 7 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 6 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 day-old baguette (do not remove crust), torn into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale (about 1 pound), ribs removed, kale coarsely chopped
  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt; bake until squash is tender, turning with spatula occasionally, 20 to 25 minutes.

Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add half and half, wine, mustard, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt; whisk to blend. Add baguette pieces; fold gently into egg mixture. Let soak 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale; cover and cook 2 minutes. Uncover and stir until kale is wilted but still bright green, about 5 minutes (kale will be a bit crunchy).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Generously butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using slotted spoon, transfer half of bread from egg mixture to prepared baking dish, arranging to cover most of dish. Spoon half of kale over bread. Spoon half of squash over bread and kale; sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining bread, kale, squash, and cheese. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread pudding.

Cover bread pudding with foil. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil; bake uncovered until custard is set and bread feels springy to touch, about 20 minutes longer.

Preheat broiler; broil pudding until cheese browns slightly, about 2 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Molly Wizenberg, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/butternut-squash-and-cheddar-bread-pudding-355792

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you’ll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crispy-jerusalem-artichokes-with-aged-balsamic-51255110

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