Winter CSA Share – #7

Welcome to the 7th 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.
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower – Purple Cape is very similar to purple sprouting broccoli in taste and texture but it forms a head like cauliflower and thus gets categorized as a cauli. Chop it and roast it or saute it just like PSB.
  • Mustard Rapini – The mustard greens are getting in on the rapini action this week!
  • Spinach Mix – A mix of four types of cold hardy spinach, including the red-veined Beaujolais variety.
  • Arugula!
  • Mixed Beets
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • 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.
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Some butternut, some kabocha, and some tetsukabuto (a hybrid between butternut and kabocha).
  • 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-ups are happening! 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. As of today we only have 14 spots remaining. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

Happy cover crops and willows!

Spring seems to be right on schedule here on the farm. The days have been oscillating between sun, rain, fog, and frost, sometimes all in the same 24 hours. But despite the fluctuations the fruit trees are beginning to bud out and the willow that looms above our produce wash station is full of pussy willows and we spotted the first daffodil. It’s an exciting time of year as the days lengthen and we can begin to glimpse the end of winter.

Purple Cape (left) and baby broccoli starts (right).

One of the annual markers we welcome each February/March is the heading up of the Purple Cape ‘Cauliflower’. A delicious crop that lands somewhere between purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower with the taste and texture of PSB but the heading habit of cauliflower. It’s one of the winter treats that we look forward to for months. It was seeded last July, transplanted last August, and hangs out in the field all fall and winter only to head up now, just in time for the arrival of the hunger gap as we begin to run low on storage crops and crave fresh vegetables.

Just as we’re rewarded with heads of purple cape we’re also rewarded with the first signs of life from the first round of brassicas for 2021. It’s a continuous cycle of seeding and growing and harvesting. We’re glad to have made it through another dark winter and to be once again finding the rhythm of a new growing season. The new propagation house has begun to fill up with baby tomatoes, onions, leeks, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, fennel, lettuce, and rainbow chard. This week eggplants and peppers will join the mix. In fact some of these earliest crops will make an appearance in Winter CSA a year from now. The onions and leeks in your share this week were seeded last February!

A recent farm sunset.

At the beginning of this winter we set out two main goals for the slower season. First we wanted to construct an improved propagation house after too many years of making do with the original greenhouse we set-up when we first arrived here. Second we wanted to make sure all the fruit trees were pruned back to human scale to make future harvest and maintenance a more realistic job. We’re excited to have marked both of these semi-epic tasks off the list! Time will tell whether or not we’ve whacked too much off the trees for fruit this first year, but the orchards are at least looking clean and manageable.

More propagation house upgrades!

And here are a few photos from the final build-out of the new propagation house. We’ve now installed new heat mats (that provide improved heat distribution!), we installed automatic shutter openers that open the vents as the temperatures rise, and we’ve set up a new hardening off area outside for plants to acclimate to the real world before being transplanted into the field. It’s been a longtime coming, but the new prop house has been a lovely workspace already.

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:

Gratin of Yukon Gold Potatoes, Bacon, and Arugula

  • 12 ounces bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces arugula, trimmed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain.

Mix cream and milk in 4-cup measuring cup. Layer 1/3 of potatoes in prepared dish; overlap slightly. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Top potatoes with half of arugula. Top with 1/3 of cheese and 1/3 of bacon. Pour 1 cup cream mixture over. Repeat layering. Top with remaining potatoes. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining cheese and bacon. Pour remaining cream mixture over.

Bake gratin uncovered until potatoes are tender and cream mixture thickens, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm, covered with foil, in 375°F oven about 30 minutes.)

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/gratin-of-yukon-gold-potatoes-bacon-and-arugula-102674

Risotto with Butternut Squash and Leeks

  • 1 large butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups (about) chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 large leeks (white and pale green parts only), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups arborio rice or medium-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.

Bring stock to simmer in heavy large saucepan. Reduce heat to very low; cover and keep stock warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in another heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add rice; stir 1 minute. Add wine and simmer until absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup hot stock; simmer until absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 25 minutes longer. Add roasted squash, cream, Parmesan cheese and sage; stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Bread & Ink Cafe, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/risotto-with-butternut-squash-and-leeks-102617

Roasted Baby Beets and Arugula Salad with Lemon Gorgonzola Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 cups roughly torn bite-size pieces French bread
  • 1/4 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, basil, and rosemary)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 24 baby beets, trimmed, scrubbed
  • 8 ounces baby arugula (about 12 cups)

Place lemon juice and vinegar in small bowl. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup oil. Stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat remaining 1/3 cup oil in medium ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add bread pieces; toss to coat. Add herbs and garlic; toss to coat. Sauté until bread is crisp, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer croutons to plate in single layer. Cool.

Add beets to same skillet, tossing to coat with any remaining herbs and oil. Cover skillet with foil and transfer to oven. Roast until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Cool beets. Peel, if desired; cut in half.

Toss arugula with 1/2 cup dressing in large wide bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with beets and croutons and serve.

Test-kitchen tip:After being roasted, baby beets peel easily, but the skins are perfectly edible if you choose to leave them on.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Tina Miller, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-baby-beets-and-arugula-salad-with-lemon-gorgonzola-vinaigrette-234415

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