Winter CSA Share #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Savoy Cabbage – Wrinkled, crinkled, sweet and tasty. Winter cabbage is the best!
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • Parsley
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Rutabaga– Less pungent than most turnips, but similar, we like rutabagas mashed with potatoes or oven roasted with their rooty friends.
  • Kohlrabi – Giant kohlrabi are a winter wonder. Generally not pithy, they’re frost-sweetened and just the ticket for kohlrabi and peanut butter snacks.
  • Bunching Onions
  • GarlicSee the note below about onions.
  • Shallots
  • Red 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.
  • Mixed Winter Squash – Choose from acorns, delicata, spaghetti, kabocha, and butternut.
  • Polenta (aka grits) – 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 polenta and last time we shared the flour. You can use this polenta in recipes calling for uncooked polenta or corn grits. We like to cook it in our rice cooker at a 1 cup polenta to 3 cups water ratio. It’s even better if you add some butter and cheese once cooked.
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we are somehow over 97% full for the Summer CSA! It’s time to reserve your spot if you want to 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.

Sunset at the on-farm CSA pick-up two weeks back. This maple tree is slated to be cut by the power company soon so I’ve been trying to enjoy it while it’s still with us.

We may be over halfway through winter, but that doesn’t mean the winter weather is done with us. We’ve got some cold nights on deck this week including tonight’s current projected low of 18, which is actually better than the 13 that was projected a few days back. Winter farming is always a gamble and it looks like we landed in some especially unpredictable territory this week. We get nervous when the temps drop below 20, but we’ll know soon enough which of our surviving field crops takes a hit in these cold temperatures. Fingers crossed the past winter weather has toughened up the remaining plants to take this cold snap in stride.

Fall-planted spinach ready for another harvest (left) and Jeff planting early potatoes (right).

Despite this week’s return to chilly temperatures, things here on the farm have been feeling rather springy lately. The fall-sown spinach and lettuce that you’ve seen in shares planted in one of our high tunnels has been re-growing nicely thanks to some warm sunny days. The newly sown radishes, arugula, and spinach in another tunnel are putting on their first true leaves. Jeff prepped three other tunnels this past week and we filled up two with potatoes, mizuna, radishes, lettuce, and kale. The third house will be planted out with carrots and peas next week. So many tasty treats in our future!

Tomato seeds (left) and baby tomato plants (right).

After several months of an empty propagation house it was time to start growing transplants for the upcoming season. We start things off with tomatoes because they’ll be headed into the new high tunnel in April and can use a good head start. After many days in the warm germination chamber we’ve had high germination rates and now they’re happily growing stronger having been moved to the heat tables in the propagation house. Forty-five flats of onions and leeks are now filling the shelves in the germ. chamber. This cycle of mixing prop. mix, filling flats, sowing seeds, waiting for germination, and moving flats into the prop. house until they’re ready for transplanting will continue on through October when we finish up the last of the transplanting in 2022. The propagation fun is just beginning.

In the next couple of weeks we’ll be continuing to add flats of baby transplants to the propagation house. We’re about a month out from transplanting in the field if the weather cooperates so we’ve got lots of seeds to get started. We’ve also got a tractor repair to undertake, a high tunnel to sow seeds in, and some orchard and blueberry maintenance to get done. We’ll be keeping busy!

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:

Desperation Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped “pantry” vegetables (carrots, fennel, leeks, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, winter squash, etc.)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
one 15-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
one 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup green vegetables (zucchini, green beans, peas, leafy greens, broccoli, etc.), finely chopped
1/2 cup gluten-free elbows, orzo, or orecchiette (optional)
1/2 cup herbs (basil, chives, parsley, tarragon, or a combination), roughly chopped or torn
Shaved Parmesan or Pecorino, for serving (optional)

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Sauté the onions and pantry vegetables over medium-high heat until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, another minute. Pour in the tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the tomato chunks have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring to a boil.

Stir in the beans, green vegetables, and pasta (if using), then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through. Off the heat, stir in herbs and taste for seasoning. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved Parmesan or Pecorino for a salty bite.

From Food52.com via The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine, https://food52.com/recipes/73204-desperation-minestrone-soup

Irish Banger Skillet

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Irish banger sausage
1/2 pound red skinned potatoes, sliced thinly crosswise
1 medium onion, sliced thinly crosswise
1/2 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2″ pieces
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a 10-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil starts to glisten and moire, carefully add the sausages and cook, turning occasionally until browned. Transfer the sausages to a plate. Into the pan, over a medium heat, layer in half of the onion, potatoes and cabbage. Layer the remaining onions, potatoes and cabbage. Sprinkle with carrots and add 1 teaspoon of the thyme. Pour 3/4 cup of broth over the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover tightly. Simmer for 10 minutes.

After the vegetables have cooked for 10 minutes, nestle the sausages into the potato mixture, along with any accumulated juices. Add the remaining broth and thyme, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are very tender. Remove the sausages and cut them into chunks. Return the sausages to the pan and serve.

From Food52.com by Garlic and Zest, https://food52.com/recipes/41662-irish-banger-skillet

Kohlrabi Salad

1 head kohlrabi
1/2 apple, such as Gala
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 bird’s eye chili
1 pinch cumin
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

With a sharp knife, cut off the “branches” of the kohlrabi. Peel it with a vegetable peeler.

Cut the kohlrabi into matchsticks either using a sharp knife of a mandolin (I used the latter). Do the same with the apple.

Toss the kohlrabi and the apple with the remaining ingredients and chill before eating.

From Food52.com by Sassyradish, https://food52.com/recipes/8689-kohlrabi-salad

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