Welcome to the 19th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022 Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:
- Lettuce Mix
- Italian Basil
- Strawberry Paw or LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
- “Sweetness” Sweet Corn
- Zucchini & Summer Squash – Including green zucchini, yellow summer squash, and “Mexicana” zucchini. We’re rapidly approaching the end of summer squash/zucchini season. Enjoy them while you can!
- Mixed Cucumbers – Including green cukes, ‘Silver Slicer’ yellow cukes, and lemon cukes. Cucumbers are on the way out!
- Poblano & Jalapeno Peppers
- Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
- Mixed Slicer Tomato
- Tomatillos – A little like green tomatoes, tomatillos make excellent salsa verde and enchilada sauce. Check out this website for more details and recipes.
- Melon – Choose from Tuscan, Lambkin (aka Christmas), Honey Orange honeydew, and some watermelons.
Hello October! We’re welcoming the shorter days, foggy mornings, and pumpkins! We’re both suckers for a good pumpkin. The recent temps could be a little lower, just saying, but the heat doesn’t linger like it does in August so we’ll take it. Though we need some rain, and we’ll appreciate it when it finally arrives, the extended sunshine has helped offset the rough start to the season back in June.
It looks like the good weather is going to hold through this coming Saturday and the annual CSA member pumpkin patch farm visit. We invite all CSA members out to the farm to grab some pumpkins, take a walk around the farm, and maybe even hop onboard for a tractor ride. You can find the details in your weekly member email.
Shorter days mean more strategic harvesting. We’ve been beginning the weekly harvest on Sundays to make sure we get through the list of items appearing in your shares. But Mondays are still the biggest harvest days when we focus on bringing in the bulk of the vegetables. We start with greens, to get them into the cooler before the heat of the day strikes, and then move through the list generally from most time consuming to least time consuming. Sometimes we’ll knock off an item of unsure quantity to make sure we can mitigate the results. For example: Not enough cauliflower for everyone? We’ve got extra broccoli and can make it a choice scenario. We keep at it through the day and often we find ourselves harvesting corn as the sun is fading.
Harvest day tools include clean harvest bins, sharp knives, and tally counters we use to count most items. If you get to choose from a bin of cucumbers or broccoli or bunches of basil at the pick-up, they’ve been counted in the field and again after washing to make sure the correct number makes it to each pick-up location. Anything you receive bagged is generally weighed in the field then the bags are counted as the item is bagged. This is how we make sure there’s enough of everything but also don’t harvest more than we’ll need each week.
There’s a lot going on here at the farm that doesn’t involve counting vegetables too. Of course we keep busy growing the vegetables, but there are lots of other critters going about their own business. Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a family of quail seemingly using the farm to hunker down for hunting season, hawks swooping through hunting rodents, and lots of deer and turkeys enjoying the salad bar that is the farm. There are all the types of bees (and wasps and hornets), so many tree frogs that show up in unsuspecting places (like the pumpkin leaf in the photo above), and yesterday we saw a hummingbird drinking from a flowering tobacco plant. Noticing all of these other creatures is a bonus to the farmwork day after day. That’s just to say that it’s not all counting vegetables here on the farm.
This past week we managed to get the last greenhouse planted to lettuce, cilantro, dill, and bok choy plus some direct sown kale and tatsoi for late fall and winter harvests. It’s a relief to have the majority of the planting out of the way. Soon we’ll be getting the garlic and overwintering onions in the ground and wrapping up the planting season for the year.
This week we’ll be focused on getting things ready for the CSA farm event on Saturday. We’ll make sure the tractor is ready to pull and the trailer is ready to roll. We’ll also get the farm map updated and signs posted for the self-guided tour. And as usual, there’s plenty of mowing, cultivating, and potato, dry bean, and flour corn harvesting to get done as well.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here next week!
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Mexican Corn Pudding Served With Smoky Chipotle Sauce
- Butter for greasing the dish
- 1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs to coat the bottom of the dish
- 8 medium-sized ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
- 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 4 ounces queso fresco
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 (4 1/2 ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 3 peeled cloves garlic
- 4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut in half
- 2 canned chipotle chiles en adobo
- salt to taste
PREP: Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and then cover the bottom with an even layer of bread crumbs. With a sharp knife, cut the corn off of the cobs into a large bowl (or the bowl of a food processor if you have one).
COMBINE: Add remaining ingredients to the corn and stir to combine. If you are using a food processor, pulse until mixture is smooth. If you do not have a food processor, puree the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth.
COOK: Pour the corn mixture into the baking pan and bake 1 hour.
WHILE CORN PUDDING COOKS, MAKE THE SAUCE: Lay garlic and tomatillos (cut-side down) in a non-stick skillet and saute over MEDIUM HIGH heat until tomatillos are brown, about 4 minutes. Turn over and brown the other side. Transfer everything to a blender. Add chiles + 1/4 cup water and blend until coarse. Season with salt to taste. Pour into a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.
SERVE: Serve corn pudding warm with smoky chipotle sauce drizzled to taste. It is nice and hot, so start off with just a little.
From Food52.com by Waverly, https://food52.com/recipes/6322-mexican-corn-pudding-served-with-smoky-chipotle-sauce
Cauliflower Pizza Bake
- 1/2 pound (about 2 links) uncooked Italian sausage, removed from casings and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small, bite-sized florets
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for finishing dish
- Kosher salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup black olives (I like to use the sliced, canned kind)
- 1/4 cup slivered or halved sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (drained of oil before using)
- 2 to 3 ounces pepperoni
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella (sold in rounds or logs), torn into bite-sized pieces
- A big handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Heat oven to 425 F. Place a parchment-lined sheet pan in the oven while it heats. The hot pan will help the sausage to get nicely browned, fast!
Working quickly, transfer the sausage to the preheated sheet pan in a single, even layer. (Careful, the pan will be hot!) Drizzle the sausage with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until the sausage is starting to brown (set a timer).
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cauliflower florets with 1/4 cup pizza sauce, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss. You want the pizza sauce to lightly yet thoroughly coat the florets; add another tablespoon of sauce, if needed. Add olives and sun-dried tomatoes to the bowl and toss again.
When the timer for the sausage goes off, add the cauliflower mixture to the sheet pan, stirring a few times to coat the cauliflower in the sausage fat. Arrange pepperoni evenly across the top.
Roast for 15 more minutes, until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and the pepperoni has browned. (Taste a piece of cauliflower; if it isn’t approaching tender, return to the oven for a few more minutes before proceeding to Step 6. Season with a little more salt and pepper, if needed.)
Remove sheet pan from oven, and spoon 1/4 cup more sauce over the cauliflower mixture; add a little extra, if desired, for a saucier version. Arrange bites of torn mozzarella over (and in between) the cauliflower florets (avoid putting it directly on the bottom of the sheet pan). Roast in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the sauce is warmed and cheese is melted.
Cool for about 5 minutes, then grate more parmesan on top and scatter the basil. Serve warm.
From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/81160-cauliflower-pizza-bake
Cantaloupe & Cucumber Salad with Basil & Feta
- 1/2 of a medium cantaloupe, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 cucumber, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (any variety will do, but I prefer a hothouse — seedless, with a thinner skin — for this salad)
- 6 large basil leaves, chiffonaded (see note)
- 3 ounces feta, crumbled
- 3 tablespoons shelled raw sunflower seeds
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Flaky sea salt
- Ground pepper
To toast the sunflower seeds, place in a dry pan over medium heat. Toast 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant.
In a bowl, combine the cantaloupe, cucumber, feta, and half the basil. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Serve the salad topped with the toasted sunflower seeds, flaky salt, and more pepper.
From Food52.com by Kendra Vaculin, https://food52.com/recipes/30433-cantaloupe-cucumber-salad-with-basil-feta
Summertime Potluck Puttanesca
- 2 handfuls broccoli florets
- 1 pound tubular pasta, such as campanelle or penne
- 2 medium summer squash, preferably yellow, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced very thinly crosswise
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (remove any green shoots first)
- about 1/4 cups basil chiffonade (a moderate handful: 10 or so large leaves)
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, or to taste
- 20 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
- 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
- Lemon juice to taste (start with half a lemon and adjust from there)
- 1 28-ounce can good quality crushed tomatoes (like San Marzano)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil (it should be so salty that it tastes like sea water). Have a large bowl of ice water ready, as well. Blanch the broccoli florets for 2 minutes, then remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and shock them in ice water. Drain and set aside. Cook the pasta until al dente in the same water used to blanch the broccoli.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the broccoli florets and all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl. Adjust for salt, pepper, lemon juice, and hot pepper. The dish is equally good warm or cold, but I’d recommend allowing it to sit for at least an hour or, if planning ahead, let it sit overnight to extract the maximum flavor potential.
From Food52.com by Chris Hagan, https://food52.com/recipes/22621-summertime-potluck-puttanesca