Summer CSA Share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Dill – Great for adding a little herbiness to roasted potatoes, potato salad, and beet dishes in addition to quick pickles.
  • Celery
  • Mixed Eggplant – Big Italian and long, skinny Asian eggplants this week. Check out the recipes down below if you’re looking for some inspiration.
  • Cucumbers – We’ve got green slicer cucumbers and some lemons for you to choose from.
  • Zucchini – We’ve got dark green, light green, and yellow zucchini this week.
  • Sweet Corn
  • Red or Orange Beets
  • German Butterball Newish Potatoes
  • Yellow Onions
  • “Green” Peppers – The peppers are just starting to make fruits and we’re bringing you immature green, purple, and yellow peppers this week. They’re all equivalent to green peppers for recipe purposes.
  • Shishito Peppers – these Japanese frying peppers are delicious quickly blistered in hot oil and tossed with a little salt. Mostly mild, 1 in 10 can be hot.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Slicer Tomatoes
A honeybee working in the cucumber patch.

Here we are, on the cusp of August, watching the summer produce begin to really roll in. We’re doing our best to keep pace with the long hot days and the lists of things that need doing. This is when the seasons collide. The big summer fruits are producing (tomatoes! zucchini! cucumbers!) and just as we’re making time to haul them in we’re also thinking ahead to winter eating as we baby the overwintering cauliflower and broccoli transplants in the propagation house.

Harvest morning sunrise (top left), winter food in transplant form in the prop. house (top right), got the last round of corn in the ground (bottom left), and seeding beans (bottom right).

Time is quickly running out for planting summer and fall crops. Just as we’re getting into the swing of summer we also know the shorter days and lessened growth of autumn are just around the corner. Now’s the time to dig deep, keep planting, focus on the food.

This past week we transplanted our fifth and final round of sweet corn! Though it had jumped up in the last week and was on the lanky side, it has at least found a home in the field! We also transplanted the last round of celery and and experimental late and last round of summer squash. After months of sowing and transplanting succession after succession it sure is a relief to see some crops dropping from the transplant list.

Tomato check-in: lots of green fruit, for now!

Over the past month we’ve had lots of questions about how the heat at the end of June impacted crops here on the farm. For the most part we haven’t noticed any issues. Sure, everything got taller (including the weeds) and the broccoli came on faster than expected but we didn’t see any real failures. The tomato house may have taken the worst hit. We grow our tomatoes in an open-ended high tunnel to get them in early and extend the season in the fall. In a wet year this is really a bonus. In a hot, dry year maybe not so much.

Tomatoes don’t like excessive heat and can’t take up certain nutrients or set fruit if the temps are too high. Now that we’re a month out from the big heatwave we’ve seen a little blossom end rot, probably due to the lack of nutrient uptake during the hottest days. We’ve also noticed some flowers that haven’t set fruit, again probably due to the heat (like in the photo above). Luckily lots of fruit had already set, so we’ll be in the tomatoes for some time. There may be a blip where we see fewer tomatoes though. Time will tell.

In the week ahead we’ll be transplanting winter kohlrabi, purple sprouting broccoli for next spring, and the next round of lettuce. That means more ground prep followed by time on the transplanter. Jeff’s also got some mowing on deck, good bye first round of cucumbers! And I’ve got some weeding I’m looking forward to tackling. As always, it will be a full week of field work.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1½ lb.), halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 1 lb.), cut into 1″ wedges
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 10 oz. penne or casarecce pasta
  • 1 large or 2 medium heirloom or beefsteak tomato (about 1 lb.), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 oz. Ciliegini (mini fresh mozzarella balls), drained, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Toss zucchini, eggplant, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill, turning often, until steamy, tender, and charred all over, 8–12 minutes. Return to baking sheet and let cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Slice grilled vegetables into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add tomato, cheese, vinegar, thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 cup oil and mix to combine. Drain pasta and immediately add to bowl with vegetables. Mix well to combine, then top with basil.

Do Ahead: Vegetables can be grilled 3 days ahead. Transfer (whole) to an airtight container and chill.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-pasta-salad

New Potatoes with Dill Butter

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) coarsely chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds new potatoes or other small potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon crushed toasted caraway seeds (optional)

Mash butter and 2 tablespoons dill in a small bowl. Season dill butter with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1″; season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer gently until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain.

Transfer hot potatoes to a medium bowl; add dill butter and 1 tablespoon water. Toss, adding water by teaspoonfuls as needed, until butter lightly coats potatoes with a glossy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with more dill and caraway seeds, if desired.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/new-potatoes-with-dill-butter-395901

Caponata

  • 2 lb small Italian eggplants (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 4 medium celery ribs, cut crosswise into very thin
  • 1/3 cup large green Sicilian olives (1 3/4 oz), pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 3/4 oz Italian capers packed in salt (1/3 cup), rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 (14- to 15-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped (1 cup)

Peel eggplants, leaving some strips of peel, then cut into 1-inch cubes and spread on half of a kitchen towel. Sprinkle eggplant with salt, then cover with other half of towel and weight with a baking sheet topped with 2 or 3 large cans for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until onion and celery are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir in vinegar and tomatoes.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If sauce is very acidic, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste). Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered.

Rinse eggplant in a colander under running water, then squeeze dry in small handfuls.

Heat remaining cup oil in cleaned skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant in 2 batches, turning occasionally with tongs, until tender and browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a large shallow serving dish in an even layer. Spoon sauce on top, spreading evenly, and let stand, covered with a kitchen towel, at room temperature, at least 8 hours (for flavors to develop). Stir before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Anna Maria Musco Dominici, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/caponata-235724

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