Summer CSA Share #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • “Florence” Leaf Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • “Red Long of Tropea” Torpedo Onions – Originally from southern Italy, these sweetish red onions are great raw or cooked.
  • Garlic
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • 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
  • Aji Marchant Hot Peppers– These peppers have an intriguing history that you can read about here. Though not too spicy when yellow and under-ripe they get hotter as they mature to red.
  • Tomatillos – A little like green tomatoes, tomatillos make excellent salsa verde and enchilada sauce. Check out this website for more details and recipes.
  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Tuscan or Honey Orange Melons – The Tuscans are similar to cantaloupes and the Honey Orange are orange fleshed honeydews. Both are delicious.
Frog friend in the corn (top left), Jeff harvesting corn (top right), tomatoes! (bottom left), and checking on melon ripeness (bottom right).

Labor Day has passed, and with it the unofficial end of Summer. Fortunately the vegetables in the field are still growing strong and we’ll get to continue enjoying the fruits of summer for a while longer. The wet, cold start to the season put us behind from the outset and in some ways it feels like we’re still playing catch-up with the summer even now. As kids head back to school and the days shorten noticeably it’s time to savor the summer bounty before it’s gone for good.

For instance, although the tomato plants had a rough start they’re now pumping out the tomatoes. Here’s a video Jeff made while harvesting cherry tomatoes last week:

Every year the tomatoes surprise me with how fast they grow from tiny seeds, to stout transplants, to a full-on jungle. It’s already time to be taking notes on varieties and trellising tips for next year. What a whirlwind.

Onions drying down in the prop house (top left), seeding overwintering onions (top right), onions and more onions (bottom right & left).

September 1st marks the date that we aim to seed our overwintering onions. These are cold hardy varieties bred to withstand the winter weather and short days and then bulb up the following spring for harvest in June. Seeded too early and they’ll bolt before forming a bulb. Seeded too late and they’ll be too small to transplant into the field before the rain returns.

This past week we finished up our main season onion harvest and the next day I seeded flats of overwintering onions. We try to have a steady supply of onions year round if we can. The main season bulbs are now drying down on empty benches in the prop house and will be headed out to members over the remaining fall shares and into the winter season.

Here’s a snippet of the onion harvest this past week. We use an undercutter bar that attaches to our tractor for cutting the roots of the onions to avoid digging the bulbs out with a digging fork or by hand. You may recall us using this tool for the garlic harvest too. In this video I’m standing on the top bar for a little extra weight to get the undercutter to dig under the onions. Although we still have to pick the onions up off the ground, undercutting makes the process much faster.

With the onion harvest behind us we’re looking ahead to the potato and winter squash harvest. In the week ahead we’ll be delving into those projects as well as working towards seeding greenhouses for fall/winter crops, undertaking some weeding and cultivating, mowing, and the perpetual irrigation and prop house chores. Jeff’s birthday is coming up at the end of the week too, so perhaps there will be some non-farm fun had as well.

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:

Greek Salad with Fennel

  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 pound Greek feta
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, with fronds
  • 6 cups roughly chopped Romaine (2/3 small head) (or how about leaf lettuce?)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/4 cup green olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, whole

Thinly slice the onion and put the slices in a small bowl of cold water. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Taste and add more salt if you like, as well as a few grinds of pepper. Chop up about 1/4 of the feta and whisk into the dressing. Set aside.

Use a mandoline or a sharp knife to slice the fennel as thinly as possible, setting aside any nice fronds first. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of fennel when you’re through.

Add the lettuce, fennel, red pepper, olives and red onion (squeezed dry) to a large bowl. Drizzle about half the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine. Taste and add more dressing if needed. Crumble the rest of the feta over the top of the salad and toss just a couple of times to combine. Garnish the salad with the fennel fronds and serve immediately.

From Food52.com by Merrill Stubbs, https://food52.com/recipes/14896-greek-salad-with-fennel

Salsa de Papaya y Tomatillo Cruda

  • 3 medium tomatillos (226 grams) husked, rinsed, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/4 firm-ripe papaya (226 grams), peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/4 medium white onion (98 grams), coarsely chopped
  • 3 chiles serranos (72 grams), stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (3 to 4 limes)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • Morton kosher salt

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatillos, papaya, onion, chiles serranos, garlic, lime juice, and mint to combine. Season with salt to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to come together. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Do ahead: The salsa cruda can be made up to 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

From Food52.com by Rick Martinez, https://food52.com/recipes/87904-salsa-de-papaya-y-tomatillo-cruda-recipe

Kachumber (Indian Salsa)

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 peeled cucumber
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Dice the onion, cucumber, and tomato into small pieces. Finely chop the cilantro.

Deseed and dice the jalapeno.

Mix all these ingredients in a bowl with the vinegar; salt to taste.

From Food52.com by Amreen, https://food52.com/recipes/1956-kachumber

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