Summer CSA Share #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – We’re straddling the July and August cauliflower plantings. Though we’re happy to be getting something out of the dreaded July planting, we’re happy to be moving on to the next succession.
  • Cilantro
  • Thai Basil – Popular in SE Asian dishes, this basil has an anise-flavor kick. Click here for info on the differences between Thai basil and Italian basil.
  • French Breakfast Radishes – We don’t typically attempt radishes in July, but a month ago things we’re looking a little bleak so we sowed some in an empty high tunnel bed. They’re now ready to spice up your salads and vegetable sautes!
  • Carrots
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green or Purple Pepper – These are both the immature versions of these pepper varieties. Treat them all like green peppers.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini and yellow summer squash.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and some lemon cukes.

We’ve got a mantra-like phrase that we say fairly often around here: It could be worse. This week’s heatwave has put us firmly in this mindset. The heat for yesterday’s harvest was pretty intense, but at least there was generally a breeze and it wasn’t the 116 degrees that we hit last year. It could have been worse. These scenarios generally devolve further, often ending in a reference to one of the many rough endings in the classic 1980s Oregon Trail computer game. It could be worse; your wagon axle could break, your oxen could die while fording the river, and you could have dysentery.

Needless to say it’s hot out there and there’s not a lot to be done about it but start early, work late, take breaks, and drink water. Lots of water. On the bright side we’ve got electricity to keep the well pumping!

Watering transplants (top left), shade cloth over the hardening off tables (top right), future head lettuce (bottom left), and winter salad chicories (bottom right).

We passed a milestone on the transplanting front this past week. The fifth and final succession of sweet corn went in the ground. We hope to be harvesting the first round in the next couple of weeks, as it was delayed due to the cold spring, (remember the cold spring?) and then we should be in the corn for the next few months.

It’s a turning point in the season when we start to wrap up the big plantings. In this case it means we’re running out of time to get a successful harvest from corn varieties that need 70-80 days to fully mature plus factoring in the loss of daylight hours over the next couple of months. That puts us squarely in October when we hope to be harvesting this final round before the first frosts. Getting this last round in gives us hope that before too long fall will be here once again.

Starting to look familiar? Transplanting again!

In the coming week we’ll be hiding from the heat some, but the work goes on. There’s weeding, and cultivating, and weed whacking, and trellising tomatoes, and mowing, and all the irrigation to be done. We’ll also be transplanting lettuce, chicories, fall/winter cabbage, winter kohlrabi, cilantro, and dill later this weekend on the backside of the heatwave. Luckily we’ll be eating well thanks to this week’s tasty harvest in between sessions of battling the heat. It could be worse.

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:

Summer Thai Inspired Salad

Marinated Vegetables and Dressing

  • 1 cup brown rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Thai chiles/1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, julienned
  • 2 zucchini, julienned
  • 2 red/orange/yellow peppers, julienned
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 peaches or 1 mango, pitted (I peeled the mango but not the peaches)
  • 1 shallot, peeled
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro

Salad

  • 1 head romaine, cut into ribbons
  • 3-4 handfuls arugula/spinach/lettuce of your choice
  • 1 handful fresh basil, roll into cigar shape and cut thin ribbons
  • 1 handful fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 pound grilled shrimp or lump crabmeat
  • 1 peach or mango (chop the peach and julienne the mango)

VEGETABLE MARINADE: Combine the brown rice vinegar through to peppers (first 8 ingredients) in a bowl and let sit for an hour. When ready to assemble the salad, you will be removing the vegetables from the marinade. I usually reserve the marinade, puree it, and use it in dressings over the week.

DRESSING: Combine in a blender until smooth.

WHOLE SALAD ASSEMBLY: In a large wide bowl, combine the romaine, lettuce of your choice, basil, and mint. Lightly toss the marinated vegetables with the salad ingredients.

Put the grilled shrimp or crabmeat on top and dress the whole salad with the dressing. Lightly toss and serve.

From Food52.com by testkitchenette, https://food52.com/recipes/10749-summer-thai-inspired-salad

Cauliflower “Couscous” with Mint & Radish

  • 3 cups white or yellow cauliflower, stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (or try cilantro)
  • 8 ounces radishes
  • 8 ounces cucumber
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • black pepper or red chili flakes
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Quarter and thinly slice cucumber and radishes. (peel cucumber first if skin is tough). Then finely chop parsley and mint. juice and zest lemon. toss all together in a large salad bowl.

In a food processor, pulse-chow the cauliflower florets until it resembles small-grain couscous. If you have a small food processor, do this in batches so that your processor is never more than half full. Do not over-process into a puree.

If you don’t own a food processor, simply use a large cutting board and finely chop small batches of cauliflower into the desired texture.

Add cauliflower “couscous” to salad bowl and toss gently with remaining ingredients. salt and pepper to taste.

From Food52.com by Aubrey | Drum Beets, https://food52.com/recipes/26581-cauliflower-couscous-with-mint-radish

Banh Mi Soft Tacos

  • 1 daikon radish, cut into matchsticks (or try this week’s radishes)
  • 3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 teaspoons Maggi seasoning
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
  • 1 cup Thai barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • 1 package taco-size soft corn tortillas
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 queso fresco cheese round, broken into small pieces (optional)

Make the pickled vegetables: Put the white vinegar, rice vinegar, water, sugar, and salt into a canning jar or container with a lid and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the daikon and carrot matchsticks. Make sure all the vegetables are covered. Refrigerate up to a month.

Make the “sauce”: Mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, and Maggi seasoning together until combined. Refrigerate.

Marinate the chicken in the Thai or teriyaki sauce for at least an hour or overnight. Barbecue, broil, or bake the chicken until brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Cool and shred the chicken into small pieces.

To assemble tacos: Warm corn tortillas directly over a gas burner, under the broiler, or on the grill. (You can also wrap them them in a wet paper towel two or three at a time and microwave for 30 seconds.)

Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the sriracha sauce on each warm tortilla, then put shredded chicken on top. Add the pickled vegetables and chopped cucumbers and jalapeños. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Add more sriracha sauce on top.

If desired, sprinkle tacos with the soft queso fresco cheese.

This recipe is great with marinated beef or pork strips, too!

From Food52.com by Leith Devine, https://food52.com/recipes/36376-banh-mi-soft-tacos

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