Summer CSA Share #14

Welcome to the 14th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix
  • Escarole – A little hardier than lettuce, escarole will stand up to wilting or a little cooking. We like to use it as a base for warm pasta or salmon topped with your favorite sauce/dressing.
  • Cabbage
  • Basil
  • Chioggia Beets
  • Onion
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Romano Snap Beans – Flat podded mixed yellow and purple striped snap beans, great for any snap bean/green bean recipe. Note, the first two rounds of our green beans mysteriously didn’t germinate but there will be green beans in the future.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green & yellow zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers & Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Tuscan Melons – Very similar to cantaloupes, these range fleshed melons and tasty!
Onions drying down in the prop house (top), dragon tongue beans (bottom left), and melons (bottom right).

As we wrap up the month of August we can’t say we’re sad to see it go. August is always a pinnacle in the growing season; a clash of all the things that need doing and never quite enough time to do the doing. August is coming to terms with the realities of the season, for better or worse. August is exhaustion.

We’re ready to welcome September and shorter days and (hopefully) cooler temps. Fall is just around the corner and we’re here for it.

Jeff and our cat Sam driving the tractor (left) and Jeff harvesting zucchini (right).

Last Thursday we had our annual organic inspection. The organic certification process begins with us outlining our organic system plan (OSP) comprised of descriptions of our farming practices. We submit updates to our OSP to our certifier, Oregon Tilth, and they review it to confirm we’re in line with the National Organic Program standards. It covers everything from seed sources to purchased inputs to potential contamination issues like neighbors overspraying or the use of conventional produce packaging.

Each year we are inspected and the inspector submits a report to the reviewer to confirm that what we’ve outlined appears to be true on the ground. This year’s inspection was fairly routine. We spend a couple of hours reviewing records like seed receipts, fertilizer sources and spreading records, and harvest records. We go through a couple of exercises to show that the amount of some crop that was harvested can be traced from seed source, transplant production, and field planting. Then we spend some time walking the farm. The inspector looks for things like buffers from conventional neighbors, weed and pest control measures, all materials that come in contact with organic products, and our backstock of organic fertilizer and inputs.

No big issues were flagged this time around. We’re glad to have made it through that process for the year and it’s always nice to have an outsider confirm we’re on the right track.

Frog friend at the Salem pick-up last week (left) and Carri and the transplants ready for planting (right).

We’ll be starting September off by harvesting the main season onions and sowing the overwintering onions. We’ll also be planting some spinach, weeding some beets and celeriac, making a plan for winter cover cropping, and prepping field houses for fall/winter cropping. Of course that’s in addition to the general irrigation management, weekly cultivation, and propagation house management. The calendar may be turning but there’s still plenty of doing left to be done.

A fun note, Jeff discovered today that one of his ducks has hatched out 7-9 ducklings recently. He’d wondered where that duck had gotten to, and it now looks like she’s been busy with her new tiny flock. We’ll try to get some photos to share soon.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett


Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Lemony Pasta with Sardines & Escarole

  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces short pasta, such as farfalle or rigatoni
  • 2 (3- to 5-ounce) tins sardines packed in olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mild chile flakes, such as Aleppo, piment d’Espelette, or gochugaru, plus more for serving
  • 1 (12-ounce) head escarole or romaine, washed and roughly torn
  • 1/2 cup (about 1 ounce) chopped fresh dill (fronds and stems), mint, or basil (or a mix)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When it comes to a boil, add a handful of salt, then cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta cooks, transfer the sardines to a small plate and the cans’ oil to a large bowl. Use a Microplane to grate the garlic and lemon zest directly into the bowl. Add the chile flakes, then use a fork to combine the mixture.

Drain the pasta and immediately transfer to the large bowl with the garlicky oil and toss aggressively.

Halve the lemon and squeeze into the bowl. Add the escarole and dill, then toss to coat. Gently toss in the sardines. Season with salt and more chile flakes to taste. Drizzle each serving with olive oil, if desired.

From by Rebecca Firkser,

Tomato, Cucumber, Corn, and Herb Summer Salad

  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 very small red onion (or shallot)
  • Juice and zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne (or white wine) vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sherry (or red wine) vinegar
  • 1 ear corn
  • 1 large tomato (or a pint of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chives
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Set out a large mixing bowl. Mince the garlic and thinly slice the red onion; move them to the bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest and both vinegars. Spoon the liquid over the onion and garlic to coat so that their harshness starts to mellow.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a vigorous simmer. Remove the husk from the corn. Boil the corn for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on how deep you are into corn season. (Very fresh corn barely needs to be cooked at all.) Remove the corn from the water, and run it briefly under the tap, until it is cool enough to handle. Cut the kernels from the cob, and scoop them into the mixing bowl.

Dice the tomato or cut the cherry tomatoes into halves. Cut the cucumber into thin half moons. Add both to the bowl. Pour in the olive oil. Mince the chives and chiffonade the basil and then add those, too. Finish by adding the salt and black pepper. Give everything a generous stir, and then allow the salad to sit for 5 minutes; taste it, and add more olive oil, salt, and pepper if needed. If you have time, allow the salad to sit for another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with plenty of good bread, to mop up all the juices.

From by Cristina Sciarra,

Best Way to Cook Beets

  • 1 bunch beets

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off the leggy root and the tops. Then scrub the beets if they’re dirty.

Lay a large piece of foil on a baking sheet, leaving half the foil hanging off one end. Place the beets on top of the foil on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the beets with olive oil — just enough to dress them like salad greens — and season with salt and pepper. Fold the foli in half to make a packet and crimp the edges.

Bake until the beets are tender (you can check by piercing a fork through the foil). It usually takes 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the beets. Let them cool in the foil packets

When the beets are cool enough to touch, remove them from the packet and peel off the skins — they should slip off like Concord grape skins.

From by Amanda Hesser,

Sheet Pan Roast Chicken and Cabbage

  • 1 teaspoon neutral oil, for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or other)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional
  • 8 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 pinch kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head cabbage, 2 to 3 lbs.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pour a teaspoon of neutral oil over a rimmed sheet pan. Rub to coat.

In a small bowl, stir together the sesame oil, coconut oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha, if using. Place chicken in a large bowl. Season all over with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of the prepared mixture over the chicken and let marinate while the oven preheats. (Chicken can marinate longer, too, but try, if time permits, to bring it to room temperature before cooking—the coconut oil will solidify in the fridge and look clumpy, which is fine.)

Cut the cabbage in half through the core. Cut again through each core and repeat this process until you are left with many wedges, no greater than 1-inch wide. Place the wedges in a large bowl, season all over with salt and pepper, and toss with the remaining dressing.

Place chicken on prepared sheet pan spreading it out evenly. Roast for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and nestle cabbage wedges all around the pieces, tucking it under if necessary—it will feel like a lot of cabbage. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes more or until chicken is golden and cooked through. Remove pan from oven, transfer chicken to a platter to rest. Return cabbage to the oven to roast for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until juices have reduced and edges of cabbage wedges are caramelized.

From by Alexandra Stafford,