Welcome to the 25th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Collards or Rainbow Chard
- Arugula – A peppery addition to soups, pasta, or salads, toss them in at the end of cooking for a quick wilting.
- Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
- Purple Bunching Onions
- Fresh Onions
- Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Acorn Squash – An heirloom squash from Missouri, said to be creamy smooth and sweet.
- Corn Flour – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread.
What a blustery harvest day we had yesterday! Though we only got a quarter inch of rain, it certainly felt like more as we were soaked while bunching collards and chard. Whew! The farm weather station says we had a max wind speed of 32mph and wind gust of 37.6mph yesterday. It was a windy one and we’re glad it calmed down as quickly as it started up.
Wind storms are maybe our least favorite here on the farm. Wind and greenhouse plastic can fight to the death, and it’s never pretty when the wind wins those battles. Luckily this time around the wind blew through and left all of our greenhouses intact.
The wind and the rain are putting the exclamation point on the fact that we’ve made it to November. Leaves are falling, the days are shortening, and we’re just about to wrap up this Summer CSA season! In fact this is the final week for the “Group A” biweekly members.
This is the first season we’ve offered this option and it’s a little strange to be saying goodbye to some members one week early after so many years of wrapping things up the week of Thanksgiving. We’ve been harvesting 112 weekly shares this season, and 14 of them went to members who chose the option to pick-up every other week. By which I mean 28 members signed on for the biweekly pick-ups and 14 picked-up each week. It’s been an interesting experiment this biweekly option, and I think we’ll continue to offer it in the future. Though we’ve been worse at learning some biweekly member’s names, this option does seem to fill a need for those members who want to participate in the CSA but need fewer vegetables in their lives.
We want to say thank you to the biweekly members who jumped in this season. Hopefully you found the CSA to be a good fit for you and we look forward to seeing you all again in the future, including those of you we’ll see in a few weeks for the start of the Winter CSA.
This past week we kept busy with some indoor projects like cleaning onions, grinding corn, and updating the Winter CSA member handbook and website details. We also managed to get some early harvesting done in the field. But there’s one task that beat out the others.
Sometimes a project takes some working up to. You’ve got to mentally prepare for the worst outcome and hope for the best. This season that project has been a diesel fuel leak on our main field work tractor.
At some point this season it became apparent that we had a fuel leak and then as the season progressed so did the smoke and fumes caused by the leak. Repeated visual inspections did not help locate the leak, as everything on the tractor motor appeared to be covered in diesel. We cautiously continued the work of the season, the problem worsening. Mechanical problems like this are never easy to face. Our tractor is unique and the dealer/mechanic is up in Aurora, which is far away enough that taking the tractor in to be worked on is an expensive endeavor before they ever set eyes on the thing. Also, neither of us are mechanics, though Jeff certainly knows more about engines than I do. Thus, an ever-worsening problem such as we were facing was rather daunting.
We finally made it to a point this past week where Jeff was ready to fully investigate, preparing for the worst. He’d researched, he’d finished the majority of field work, we’d budgeted for an expensive fix. So it’s really impressive that after taking off the tractor loader and the hood, some back and forth with diesel mechanic videos on Youtube, and a couple of trips to the auto parts store he was able to diagnose and fix the problem! A leaky fuel injector was the culprit and some new hose and a clamp was all it took to fix. An expensive trip to the tractor repair shop has been averted and we’re both relieved to have the tractor in working order again.
With the tractor fixed, this week we’ll be preparing for the final week of the CSA season. Here’s our tentative harvest list for next week as you begin your Thanksgiving shopping:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Butternut Squash
- Pie Pumpkin
- Sweet Potatoes
- Chicory Mix
- Kale Mix
We’ll see the majority of you next week for the final share of the Summer CSA!
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here next week!
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Lemony Pasta with Cauliflower, Chickpeas, and Arugula
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup drained capers, patted dry
- 1 small or 1/2 large head of cauliflower (about 1 pound), cut into small florets
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, patted dry
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, divided
- 8 ounces casarecce, gemelli, or other medium pasta
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 6 cups baby arugula
Heat 4 Tbsp. oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add capers and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until they burst and are crisp, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer capers to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve oil in skillet.
Cook cauliflower in same skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover and cook until cauliflower begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Uncover and increase heat to high. Add chickpeas, 2 Tbsp. butter, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and chickpeas are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Remove skillet from heat and add lemon juice, 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Add pasta, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until coated.
Divide arugula and pasta among bowls, stirring to combine. Top with reserved crispy capers.
From Epicurious.com by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lemony-pasta-with-cauliflower-chickpeas-and-arugula
Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower with Chives
- 3 large russet (baking) potatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh chives plus 8 whole chives for garnish if desired
Peel the potatoes, with a melon-ball cutter scoop out as many balls as possible from them, and in a jelly-roll pan toss the balls with the oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the potatoes in the middle of a preheated 450°F. oven, turning them occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add the cauliflower, toss the mixture well, and roast it for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and golden in spots. Toss the vegetables with the sliced chives and salt and pepper to taste and serve them garnished with the whole chives.
Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Croutons
- 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
- 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds) (or any other winter squash)
- 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
- 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)
Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.