Summer CSA Share #17

Welcome to the 17th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix
  • Broccoli
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Fennel – We know members like roasted fennel, fennel pickles, and shaved fennel salads. Our favorite way to eat fennel is caramelized onion and fennel tart. We cook down the onion and fennel, toss it into a pastry galette style, top it whatever mix of cheeses we have on hand and bake until the pastry it cooked.
  • Beets Click here for a flashback to a standby recipe suggestion for beets and parsley. Scroll up on that page for a glimpse at farm life back in 2013.
  • Sweet Onions
  • Delectable” Sweet Corn
  • Romano Beans – Mixed green and purple striped beans, great for use in your favorite green bean recipes.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes.
  • Sweet & Jalapeno Peppers
  • Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
  • Mixed Slicer Tomatoes
  • Pears – Asian & Bartlett
A preying mantis friend in the winter squash field (top left), zinnia enjoyment (top right), and picking beans (bottom).

Thursday marks the autumnal equinox, the point in the year when the light hours and dark hours are equal lengths. Going forward we’ll be losing daylight hours until we reach the winter solstice on December 21st. If you weren’t already feeling the seasonal shift I imagine it will start to become apparent as we’re plunged into more time in the dark. The shift has certainly been happening on the farm as plant growth has slowed and powdery mildew has begun to set in on some crops. The zucchinis are putting on fewer fruits, the cucumbers are slowing down, the tomatoes are on the decline.

Winter squash!

One harbinger of autumn for us is the ripening and harvesting of winter squash. We grew 12 different types of winter squash this season including varieties of pumpkins, kabocha, spaghetti, delicata, butternut, and acorn squash. Some will make appearances in upcoming fall shares but most will be headed to Winter CSA shares.

The wet start to the season made for rough conditions for cultivating the winter squash field right out of the gate. It wasn’t dry enough to get the cultivating tractor through the beds before a sea of grass took hold. A couple of times we made inroads through hoeing and hand weeding once the plants started to spread out and the tractor really couldn’t make a pass, but the grass wasn’t deterred and our half acre of winter squash was a mess most of the season. Needless to say we dreaded the harvest and assumed the worst.

This past week we finally made time to tackle the harvest project. Thankfully it wasn’t quite as dismal as we’d expected, though in the end it was maybe half of last year’s haul. Upside, it takes up less space in the barn. Downside of course, we’ve got less squash to share in the coming months. Thankfully we will have some to share though; there will be pumpkin pies this year!

Smoky sunset last night.

With the winter squash harvest behind us and that field mowed we can now focus on cleaning up some other areas. In the week ahead you can find us weeding, cultivating, mowing, and weed whacking in order to wrestle some semblance of control back in several areas. We’ve got a greenhouse to transplant into and an organic fertilizer run to make before that can happen. And we’ve got flint corn to harvest for future corn flour and polenta eating. The days may be getting shorter but we’ve still got plenty of things that need doing to pack into them.

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:

Baked Olive, Tomato, and Feta Dip

  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce, homemade or store-bought (a teeny amount! so the cheese doesn’t stick to the bottom! a perfect use for leftovers or the dregs of the jar)
  • 8 ounces block of feta cheese, drained
  • 1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 1/3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • a few turns fresh ground pepper
  • toast, crackers, pita, and/or a spoon for eating

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Pour the tomato sauce into the bottom of a small oven-safe dish (I used a 6–inch round). Place the feta in the center and press to slightly break the block apart. This is a rough-crumbly-spreading situation, not a make-a-clean-cheese-layer situation.

In a medium bowl, mix the olives, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and pepper — you don’t need to season with salt, as the feta is salty enough on its own. Pour the mixture evenly over the cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes. Your kitchen will smell like pizza and the feta will get warm and spreadable. Top with the parsley once it’s out of the oven.

Serve to guests with toast or crackers, or stuff into a pita pocket with a fried egg and arugula for a meal for yourself.

From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/37883-baked-olive-tomato-and-feta-dip

Cabbage, Italian Sausage, and Orzo Soup with Parmesan

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy), bulk or with casings removed
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 large Napa or Savoy cabbage (about 2 pounds), trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium store-bought
  • 4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup orzo
  • 1 or 2 Parmesan rinds
  • 1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage in a single layer and brown, breaking it into bite-sized pieces and stirring occasionally, until it is just cooked through and no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.

Add the onion and several big pinches of kosher salt and black pepper. Saute for about 4 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for another 1 minute. Lower the heat, and add the tomato paste and continue cooking, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot, until it caramelizes and starts to change in color from bright to brick red, about 3 minutes. (Don’t rush this step; the caramelized paste adds depth and complexity to the soup.)

Add the cabbage, chicken stock, water, orzo, Parmesan rind(s), and another big pinch or two of salt. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally to ensure nothing sticks. Add sausage and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes longer, stirring and scraping occasionally, until the orzo and cabbage are tender. Remove and discard rinds.

At the end, add parsley and red wine vinegar. Adjust salt and acidity to taste. Serve the soup in bowls, topped with grated Parmesan.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/84039-sausage-cabbage-soup-recipe-with-orzo-parmesan

Quinoa with Roasted Beets and Pear

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (I prefer red)
  • 2 medium-sized beets, scrubbed (I like a mix of colors)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 large pear, cubed
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 splash Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Slice off the leaves at the top of the beets. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and then wrap each individually and loosely in tin foil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 40 to 50 minutes, or until soft enough that you can easily stab one with a fork and it doesn’t give you any problems. Unwrap and set aside to let cool; once touchable, run the beets under water to slide the skin off. Cut beets into cubes.

Lower your oven temperature to 350° F. Spread walnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool before giving them a rough chop.

Assemble the salad by dumping everything together into a bowl because you, brilliant human, know that that’s how salads work. Quinoa, beet cubes, pear cubes, walnuts and feta, a.k.a. the dream team. Toss with a slight drizzle of balsamic, a little olive oil, and some coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Did you know this is awesome warm or cold? It is. Bring it to work for lunch the next day because it will be bitchin’ straight from the fridge, and your coworkers will be like ughhhhhhh.

From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/31742-quinoa-with-roasted-beets-and-pear

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