Winter CSA Share #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021/2022 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Kalettes – a cross between Brussels and kale, pop off the kale florets and use them like kale, or Brussels sprouts. Roast them, saute them, salad them, you get the idea.
  • Purple Cape Cauliflower – a cauliflower form of purple sprouting broccoli. Treat it the same.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Cooking Greens Mix – A mix of braising greens including lacinato kale rapini, curly kale, rainbow chard, and collard greens.
  • Salad Mix – A mix of lettuces and spinach.
  • French Fingerling Potatoes
  • Parsnips – Roasted and mashed parsnips are delicious, but also don’t forget about parsnip cake!
  • Celeriac
  • Salad Turnips & Daikon Radishes
  • Leeks
  • GarlicThis is the last of our 2021 garlic crop. Enjoy!
  • Yellow Onions – 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.
  • Butternut Squash
  • Shishito Pepper Powder – We dried and powdered the red shishito peppers that we harvested ahead of the frost last fall. This is a little taste of last summer’s sunshine!
  • Dried Apples

Amazingly we’ve only got 2.5 weekly (or 5 biweekly) shares remaining in 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.

Leeks, started last week and just starting to stand up (left) and leeks, freshly harvested from the field (right).

We’ve rounded the corner of winter and it’s been feeling like spring is beginning to show up in these parts. After successfully making it through the scare of low temperatures two weeks back, we’ve been enjoying the return of some rain as well as some pleasantly sunny days. As we head deeper into the Winter CSA season we’re now arriving at those couple of months in late winter/early spring known as the hunger gap. The storage crops from the previous season begin running low and the newly sown crops in greenhouses are just getting going. If we’ve planned well and the weather and remaining field crops all cooperate we’ll make it through to the end with no problems. This week seems to have come together without a hitch!

Mixing propagation soil mix (top left), the first starts of the season in the propagation greenhouse (top right), Jeff repairing an irrigation leak near a high tunnel (bottom left), and seeding peas and carrots (bottom right).

We’re now beginning to countdown to the start of the Summer CSA. Part of our crop planning is to count the weeks backwards from the first Summer CSA share to help determine when to start and transplant the crops we want to be ready for the first few shares. Last week we started the first rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, chard, and fennel, all of which should get transplanted in about a month and then be ready to harvest throughout June.

We also sowed the first round of carrots for summer shares and the snap peas that will show up in early summer shares. These get direct sown, where we put the seed directly in the ground instead of transplanting.

Jeff built a new fence to keep deer and turkeys out of the two high tunnels at the back of the farm. The fence looks great and has worked so far, though he did hit a buried irrigation line during the installation. While it’s nice to have much of the irrigation infrastructure on the farm buried, any issues require first digging to locate the problem which makes for a more involved project. Let’s just say Jeff has gained a lot of experience over the years with digging and pvc repair.

Jeff, summoning all his mechanic skills this past week.

Over the last month Jeff’s main focus has been on tractor repair. He’s been methodically working through a seemingly endless list of minor and more major repairs on our main tractor all winter actually. First it was installing a new instrument panel, then repairing a leaking fuel line, then it became obvious we’d need a new water pump soon. Unfortunately the water pump repair was taking place during the big cold snap a couple of weeks back and the tractor had more water than coolant in its system. The freezing temperatures led to an oil cooler cover crack and subsequent repair. Once the new water pump and oil cooler cover were both installed there was a fluke incident with a broken weld on a hydraulic cylinder attached to the tractor’s loader, which ended up being the fasted repair actually due to not having to wait for a part in the mail but instead taking the whole thing into a local metal shop. Today a new water connection tube should be arriving in our mailbox, which is hopefully the last of the repairs for the time being.

It’s been a learn-as-you go situation and Jeff has been a trooper tackling each new issue that pops up. He says he’s not a mechanic but he’s sure learning a lot about diesel engines and I’ve been impressed with his willingness to take on these repairs. I’ve been little help, though I’ve taken on the part research and sourcing role and I feel like I’ve also got a better understanding of the inner workings of our tractor’s engine as I’ve searched the internet for Perkins engine details, manuals, and parts. Sometimes farming is more than plants and seeds and weeds and growing things. Though honestly I think we’re both ready to get back to that stuff.

Red, ripe shishito peppers gathered last fall ahead of the first frost, then dried and recently ground into powder. A taste of summer!

As we wrap up the tractor repairs (fingers crossed!) we’ll be turning our attention back to spring preparations. There’s ground to fertilize and prep for transplanting, seeds to sow (peppers and eggplants this week), grass to weed out of the garlic and overwintering onions, and supplies to order. Just like the lengthening days, the work is starting to ramp up for the season ahead. Perhaps we’ll also get in a day off the farm again before things get too 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:

Skillet Strata with Bacon, Cheddar, and Greens

6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 scallions, thinly sliced (or how about leeks)
4 ounces cheddar or fontina cheese, shredded or cubed, about a cup
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (a scant cup)
3 cups packed 1-inch cubes bread (6 to 7 ounces)
3 ounces kale or chard leaves, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped, about 2 heaping cups

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 425° F. Beat eggs and milk together until thoroughly combined. Stir in scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the cheddar.
  2. Cook bacon in a 9- or 10-inch cast iron pan over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer bacon to a small dish, leaving the fat behind. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the bread, carefully fold into onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add reserved bacon, and fold in the egg mixture. Add half of the greens and fold into the mixture until combined. Add remaining greens and fold again until combined. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until center of strata is puffed and set and edges have browned and pulled away slightly from the sides of the skillet, about 15 minutes, rotating skillet halfway through baking. Let strata cool for 5 minutes before serving.

From Food52.com by Alexandra Stafford, https://food52.com/recipes/55148-skillet-strata-with-bacon-cheddar-and-greens

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole with Caramelized Onions

  • 7 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Butter 13 x 9×2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 7 ingredients in large pot; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover partially and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to prepared dish.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. (Casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Bake casserole uncovered until heated through and top begins to crisp, about 25 minutes.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/mashed-potato-rutabaga-and-parsnip-casserole-with-caramelized-onions-2607

Barley & Root Vegetable Rainbow Stew

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups mixed, peeled and 1/2-inch diced root vegetables, such as parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, white potato, and yellow beets
1/2 cup pearled barley, rinsed
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for serving
2 tablespoons chopped dill, plus more for serving

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot melt the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the root vegetables and cook until they are browned in spots, another 5 minutes.

Add the barley and broth and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables and barley are tender, about 25 minutes.

Transfer 1 cup of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the zest, sour cream, and dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with more sour cream and dill to serve.

From Food52.com by Samantha Seneviratne, https://food52.com/recipes/86601-root-vegetable-soup-recipe-with-barley

Best Sage Quiche

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
4 slices prosciutto, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 10-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place squash on a greased cookie sheet and drizzle evenly with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bake squash for 25-30 minutes at 400°F or until tender. Lower oven heat to 350°F.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute leeks for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute one additional minute.

Beat eggs and milk in a large bowl until well mixed. Mix in butternut squash, leeks, prosciutto, cheese, sage, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Line a 10-inch pie pan with prepared pie crust; pour in quiche mixture. Bake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes, or until set. Cool slightly and cut into 8 wedges. Makes 8 servings.

From Food52.com by Kerstin, https://food52.com/recipes/8125-roasted-butternut-squash-prosciutto-and-sage-quiche

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