Summer CSA Share #7

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

  • Mayan Jaguar Romaine Lettuce
  • Crispino Iceberg Lettuce
  • Green Cabbage
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Broccoli – We’re into the dreaded July brassica planting, which was transplanted back in early May when a planting window between rainstorms for prepping ground and transplanting was all of two days. Though the broccoli coming out of this planting is not stellar, we’re happy to be harvesting anything at all.
  • Basil – Don’t forget that basil doesn’t love cold temps. We find it best to store it on the counter in a glass of water like a bunch of flowers.
  • Carrots
  • Mixed Fresh Onion – These are from our winter onion crop and include some sweet, some torpedo, and some yellow onions.
  • Fresh Garlic – We harvested the garlic this past week and we’re sharing the bulbs that have exposed cloves and won’t store very long. It’s also not as dry as cured garlic will be as it’s straight out of the field. Not for storage, use it up.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – The cukes are on! I see quick pickles in our future.
  • Leek Flowers – Pluck off the tiny florets from these leek flowers and add to salads or sautes for a delicious oniony garnish.
An irrigation manager’s work is never done (left) and the cleanest leeks we’ve managed to have in a few years (right).

Another week in the books! It’s starting to feel awfully summery around here thanks to some higher temps and maturing summer vegetables. After a slow start it looks like we might keep this season on the rails after all.

As you know, we’ve been playing catch-up for a couple of months now. From spring rain to a couple of mild summer heatwaves, we’ve been pushing forward, prioritizing and re-prioritizing all the tasks that need doing. We’re really in the thick of the season now, working some of the longest days of the year. We’re mostly managing to keep up and we’re slowly ticking things off the perpetual To Do list. There are even a few highlights, including the fact that Jeff’s been able to sneak in some important cultivating with our Farmall Cub, albeit often just before dark. The leeks and celeriac are looking cleaner than they have in years. You’ve got to take the wins where you can find them sometimes.

Garlic harvest 2022!

Having put off the epic task of harvesting the garlic a little too long (that rain last week wasn’t great timing) as we caught up on transplanting the week before, we managed to get the garlic out of the field this past week. A few years back we had a local fabrication shop build an undercutter tool for out tractor. It’s a basic rectangular design with a blade across the bottom and it hooks up to the 3-point on our big tractor. As the tractor drags it forward the undercutter blade digs into the ground, cutting under the roots of the garlic plants. This tool has been a game changer for our garlic harvest, making it much easier to get the garlic out of the field without having to use a digging fork.

After undercutting the garlic we bunch the plants into groups of 15 and then tie a bunch to each end of a length of baling twine. These get hung in our tractor barn to dry down further. This year’s cold, wet spring has resulted in smaller average bulb size but we’re still happy enough with the harvest. Note we’ll be sharing the bulbs with the least wrapping first as they won’t store as long as other well-wrapped bulbs.

Another week of transplanting complete!

After spending Thursday and Friday getting the garlic into storage it was time to get back on the transplanting train. We planted the fourth round of sweet corn and beets, the fifth round of lettuce, plus escarole, parsley, and celery. Then it was time to squeeze in a little cultivating to attempt to keep the weeds at bay. How quickly a week can fly by!

This week we’ve got kohlrabi, cauliflower, and rutabagas headed to the field. Hopefully we’ll have more time to spend tackling weeds and there’s a big propagation push on the schedule for overwintering crops including purple sprouting broccoli and cauliflower that was supposed to happen last week, but didn’t. And there’s lots of mowing to get through too. Looks like we’ll be keeping busy.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Minestrone with Basil

  • 1/2 cup dried red beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled, left whole
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup small shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place beans in medium bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches; soak overnight. Drain.

Place beans in large Dutch oven. Add 5 cups water and next 11 ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Transfer 2 cups soup and whole potato to blender and puree. Return puree to soup in pot. Add pasta and 1/4 cup basil; simmer uncovered until pasta is cooked through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit via Caffe Trinity, San Francisco, CA, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/minestrone-with-basil-1180

Classic Wedge Salad

  • 1 medium iceberg lettuce
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing, or added to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, or added to taste

Rinse and remove any wilted leaves from the iceberg lettuce. Cut the lettuce in half and then cut in half again, resulting in four quarters. Cut off fibrous stems. Gently rinse and pat dry the quarters to remove any hidden dirt.

Add a wedge to a plate and drizzle the salad dressing over the lettuce and then top with the tomatoes, bacon, eggs, croutons, and crumbled blue cheese.

Repeat with the remaining wedges and the rest of the ingredients. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.

From NatashasKitchen.com by Natasha Kravchuk, https://natashaskitchen.com/wedge-salad-recipe/

Classic Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1/2 large cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon), divided
  • 1 small bunch fresh dill, mint, or a half-bunch of each, stemmed and leaves roughly chopped

In a medium-size bowl, coarsely grate the cucumber (a Microplane extra coarse grater does this perfectly). Sprinkle the salt over the grated cucumber, stir, and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

In a small bowl or ramekin, mix together the crushed garlic and olive oil and leave to one side.

Tip the yogurt into a large bowl. Give the cucumber a good squeeze over the sink to remove most of the water (do not rinse it; we want some of that saltiness to stay) and stir it into the yogurt. Add the garlic and oil mix, stir, then add half the lemon juice and stir again.

Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for few hours so the flavors can mingle—even better if you can give it overnight.

When ready to serve the tzatziki, remove from the fridge and gradually add the herbs a little at a time until the flavor is to your liking. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice as desired, then serve with warm pita.

From Food52.com via Elaine Lemm, https://food52.com/recipes/85669-best-tzatziki-sauce-recipe

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