Summer CSA Share – #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Escarole – A lettuce-like green that’s slightly hardier and can hold up to grilling or cooking though we’ve had some epic salads with it too.
  • Mixed Cauliflower – All the cauliflowers colors, plus a few bonus fractal romanescos too!
  • Broccoli
  • Basil
  • Cucumbers – We’ve got lots of green and yellow 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 – This week’s corn is called ‘Sweetness’.
  • Sweet and Torpedo Onions
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Shishito Peppers – Remember those roulette peppers where 1 in 10 might be hot? These are those! Blister them in hot oil and eat them up! Or check out the recipe for fried rice, corn, and shishitos down below.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Italian Frying Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Mixed Melons – Choose from ‘Honey Orange‘, a delicious orange fleshed honeydew but some more Tuscan melons and some ‘Lambkin’ Piel de Sapo melons and ‘Brilliant’ canary melons to choose from too.
  • Italian Plums!
Jeff: appreciating a good carving pumpkin since 2001 (left) and doing irrigation chores on Sunday afternoon (right).

First off, it seems imperative to share that farmer Jeff is celebrating a big birthday this week. He’s marking the big 5-0 on Friday! I think we can all agree that this farm wouldn’t be the same without him. He’s the doer, the driver, and the wrangler around here; the all around action guy. I wouldn’t want to be on this farming roller coaster with anyone else. I hope you’ll all join me in wishing him a happy birthday when you see him!

This past week has been a bit of a blur. Well, August was a blur really. That said, I’m including a bunch of photos from the week and will limit my commentary. Above are photos from the corn harvest and post-cauliflower harvest on Monday. Can you see Jeff in the middle of the corn patch? Also, we seem to have had a pretty good, and colorful, cauliflower week.

That photo on the bottom right may be confusing, but I was trying to document the thumb-sized bumblebee working the butterfly bush a friend gave us. It was a big one!

Much of the last week was marking the slow transition to the end of transplanting and seed sowing for the season. We put the last of the planned-for outdoor transplants in the field this weekend. From here on out most transplants will head into high tunnels for increased warmth and winter protection. With the exception of garlic, overwintering onions, and fava beans we may be done with field transplanting for the season!

This week we planted spinach, dill, cilantro, radicchio, bunching onions, chard, and Napa cabbage. We also direct-sowed some mustards outside and sowed mustards, arugula, mizuna, cilantro, tatsoi, radishes, and turnips in tunnels. I started the overwintering onions (seed shown in the lower right photo) and the final round of spinach is germinating in the propagation house (lower left photo).

Jeff was inspired to make a little video of the transplanting process:

He cut the video down for a smaller file size, but hopefully you get the idea of how our water wheel transplanter works. Jeff drives very slowly and very straight while I ride on the back planting as fast as possible. The majority of our crops are planted this way. It sure beats the early days of the farm, bending over planting for hours.

Pepper seed processing!

It was also time to begin processing seed from our small pepper seed grow-out for our friends at Adaptive Seeds this past week. The photos above show the steps to separating the mature seed from the pepper flesh. Blending the whole peppers with water made fairly quick work of the flesh. Then I was able to pour off the pepper slurry and the mature seed had sunk to the bottom of the bin. I dried the seeds out in a thin layer over a window screen. I’ll winnow out the remaining pepper skin bits in front of a fan now that the seed has dried. Fun!

In the next week we’ll be getting into the apple harvest, potato harvest (!), and cleaning up a few grassy spots in some winter crops. Fingers crossed we get the birthday boy off the farm and down to the river for at least a day and maybe even an overnight trip (gasp)!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Provençal Tian (Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash, and Tomato Casserole) Recipe

  • About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 pound zucchini (about 2 medium), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound summer squash (about 2 medium), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 pound Japanese eggplant (about 2), ends trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion (from 1 small onion)
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or marjoram leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and being sure not to crowd the pan, add zucchini, season with salt, and cook, turning, until just tender and browned in spots, about 4 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed to prevent pan from drying out, and adjust heat as needed throughout to maintain a very hot, but not heavily smoking, pan. Transfer each batch to a baking sheet and spread in an even layer to cool, then transfer cooled slices to a second baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining zucchini, squash, and eggplant until all vegetables are lightly browned.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring and adjusting heat to maintain simmer, for 15 minutes. Blend to smooth puree with a hand blender or in a countertop blender, then add marjoram or oregano. Season with salt and pepper.

In an earthenware, ceramic, or glass baking dish, spoon just enough sauce to cover bottom of dish in a thin, even layer. Arrange sautéed vegetable slices in an alternating layered pattern (see note) on top of sauce until entire dish is filled. Spoon a thin layer of sauce on top of vegetables; reserve remaining sauce for another use.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 450°F. Bake until tian is fully heated through and lightly browned on top, about 15 minutes. Serve.

From by Daniel Gritzer,

The Ultimate Greek Salad

  • 2 ounces (55g) red onion (1/4 medium 8-ounce onion), thinly sliced pole to pole
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) red wine vinegar
  • 12 ounces (340g) mixed ripe tomatoes, cut into slices and chunks (about 2 heaping cups when cut up)
  • 12 ounces cucumber (340g; about 2 small cucumbers), peeled (or partially peeled or unpeeled, if you want some of the bitter skin); quartered lengthwise; and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata or other briny black olives (about 1 1/2 ounces; 40g), see note
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 big pinches dried Greek or Mediterranean oregano, divided
  • 4 ounces (115g) feta cheese, preferably cut into slabs

In a small bowl, combine onion with vinegar and let soak while you prepare the other ingredients, about 15 minutes. Drain onions, reserving vinegar.

In a salad bowl or large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, olives, onion, olive oil, and about 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the vinegar left over from quick-pickling onion. Season with salt and one large pinch of oregano, toss gently to combine, then adjust to taste with more salt and vinegar, if desired.

Lay slabs of feta on top, sprinkle with remaining pinch of oregano, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve, soaking up juices with bread.

From by Daniel Gritzer,

Quick and Easy Pork Fried Rice with Corn and Shishito Peppers

  • 2 cups cooked white rice (12 ounces; 350g) (see note)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (40ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
  • 6 ounces (170g) fresh corn kernels, cut from 1 to 2 ears of corn
  • 2 scallions, sliced, whites and greens reserved separately (1 ounce; 30g)
  • 12 shishito peppers, thinly sliced, or 1 green bell pepper, finely diced (about 6 ounces; 170g)
  • 6 ounces (170g) leftover roast pork or ham, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) toasted sesame oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground white pepper
  • 1 large egg

If using day-old rice, transfer to a medium bowl and break rice up into individual grains with your hands before proceeding. Heat 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large wok over high heat until smoking. Add half of rice and cook, stirring and tossing, until rice is pale brown and toasted and has a lightly chewy texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with another 1/2 tablespoon oil and remaining rice.

Return wok to heat and add 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly charred on several surfaces, about 4 minutes. Transfer to bowl with rice and toss to combine.

Return all rice and corn to wok and press it up the sides, leaving a space in the middle. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the space. Add scallion whites, peppers, and pork and cook, stirring gently, until lightly softened and fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss with rice to combine. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Push rice to the side of wok and add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Break egg into oil and season with a little salt. Use a spatula to scramble egg, breaking it up into small bits. Toss egg and rice together.

Add scallion greens and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

From by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt,

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