Winter CSA #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Mixed Radicchio These frost-sweetened heads are just asking for creamy dressing, or something citrusy perhaps, and it also holds up well to warm toppings like bacon, chicken, or (our favorite) salmon.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Celeriac – A rooty vegetable that tastes like celery? Yes please! Not sure what to do with it? Check out the gratin recipe down below for some inspiration.
  • Mixed Daikon Radishes – Some purple, some larger white, all tasty.
  • Leeks
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Onion – 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.
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Acorn Squash
  • Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash
  • Ancho Poblano Dried Peppers – Ancho chiles are fully ripe and dehydrated poblano peppers. They can be ground into a chile powder or blended with roasted onions, garlic, and tomatoes into enchilada sauce, or simply tossed into a soup or stew for chile flavoring.
  • Dried Apples

Summer CSA sign-up time has arrived! We’ve opened up memberships to the 2022 Summer CSA and we hope you’ll join us for a summer and fall of local, seasonal, and organic vegetables. Find all the details and a sign-up form over on the Summer CSA page.

A sunny winter day drone shot (left) and the arrival of the our first four seed orders (right).

Hello again! We’ve made it to the end of January already! The days are getting longer and the sun has made a few recent appearances. The darkest days of the season are behind us!

The winter seems to be flying by as we work toward prepping for the growing season ahead while also keeping the current season on track. Boxes of seeds are arriving in the mail daily and we put the first seeds of 2022 in the ground last week. Just a little spinach and bok choy and arugula and some radishes. We’re off to a good start!

Greenhouse building progress from the drone’s view.

Although we’ve kept busy drying apples and doing taxes and getting in some tractor maintenance and prepping a greenhouse for sowing those first seeds of the year, mostly we’ve been focused on wrapping up the greenhouse build we began last month. We’re excited to have more covered growing space this next year. One more high tunnel gives us another option for rotating summer crops and fitting in more winter crops. Just a little more space to ease those points in the season when it’s time to get the tender winter greens established but we’re still harvesting tomatoes and eggplant or to keep harvesting those tender winter crops when it’s already time to put the next season’s tomatoes in the ground.

The latest greenhouse is nearly complete! Using the tractor to raise the bows into place (top left), the top and bottom boards are attached (top right), Jeff attaching the top purlin (bottom left) and the plastic is on! (bottom right).

We had previously set the footings so we were ready to add the bows, side boards, purlins, end bracing, wire lock, and plastic. Luckily the company we bought the kit from provides a manual to reference and it’s a very basic structure. Plus it’s not our first high tunnel to put up so we were familiar with the basic steps and necessary tools.

At 30’x96′ it’s much larger than the new propagation greenhouse we put up last year which is only 20’x48′, but that project involved full end wall construction, exhaust and circulating fans, double layered plastic with an inflation fan, plus interior finishing with ground cover, tables, and hanging hoses. This new greenhouse is much less involved as we’re just constructing the frame and covering it with plastic. We will add hanging sprinklers for irrigation eventually and we have the option of enclosing the ends as needed but neither of those things will happen right away.

Pulling the plastic!

You can see videos of earlier construction progress over on the farm’s instagram page. Now that we’ve pulled the plastic we’re waiting for the ground to dry out some. We plan to put the tomatoes in here in April and as the ground dries and becomes workable we’ll till and spread compost, organic fertiizer, and other amendments to make sure it’s ready for planting.

In the coming weeks we’ll be staying busy harvesting the last of the celeriac and carrots still in the field and continuing on those indoor maintenance and paperwork tasks as the weather dictates. We’ve already seen some signs of early spring growth and it’s time to get serious about harvesting root crops before they bolt. Rapini and sprouting broccoli season is right around the corner!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Potato & Celery Root Gratin with Leeks

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 sprig thyme plus 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 1 pound celery root, peeled, very thinly sliced crosswise (1/8″ thick)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat cream, garlic, and thyme sprig in a medium saucepan just until bubbles begin to form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; set aside to steep.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; season with salt and cook, stirring often, until tender (do not brown), 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Butter a 3-quart gratin dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Layer 1/3 of potato slices and 1/3 of celery root slices evenly over bottom of baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of leeks, then 1/3 of Gruyère. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Repeat layers twice more. Strain cream mixture into a medium pitcher and pour over vegetables.

Set gratin dish on a large rimmed baking sheet and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove foil; continue baking until top is golden brown and sauce is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Tent with foil and rewarm in a 300° oven until hot, about 20 minutes.

From Epicurious.com, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-celery-root-gratin-with-leeks-368278

Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups tightly packed torn kale
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.

From Epicurious.com by Larraine Perri, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/acorn-squash-with-kale-and-sausage-51203850

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

From Epicurious.com by Susan Spungen, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-brussels-sprout-salad-368295

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