Winter CSA Share #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022/2023 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Chioggia Radicchio – Great for robust winter salads with punchy dressings and nuts and strong cheese and citrus. Like radicchio’s bitter friends chocolate and coffee, think about pairing it with sweet and/or fat to balance your taste for the bitter. Holds up to a little warming too. We’ll eat it with oven baked salmon, rice, and creamy dressing for a quick dinner. Soaking cut leaves in ice water for 30 minutes or more can help reduce the bitterness if needed.
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussels Sprouts – Pop the sprouts off the stalk and enjoy them in your favorite recipes. We usually just cut the sprouts in half, toss with a little oil/salt/pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for ~20 minutes.
  • Winter Kohlrabi Don’t be afraid of the giant winter kohlrabi.  It’s delicious and wants to be eaten up raw, or fermented, or roasted, or in a savory pudding (recipe below). 
  • French Fingerling Potatoes – Red skins and red streaked yellow flesh, great boiled or roasted.
  • Sweet Potatoes – The very last of the sweet potatoes, small but tasty!
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Dried Apples – After a less than stellar apple growing year we decided to buy in some apples from another local farm. These are Airlie Red apples, a red-fleshed variety discovered locally in Kings Valley, that we purchased from RainShine Family Farm located west of Corvallis. We did the drying and bagging.
Rainbow on the farm this past week, framing some of our greenhouses and our red osier dogwood patch.

Happy new year farm friends! What better way to kick off the new year than with a fridge full of seasonal vegetables? With more time to spend in the kitchen this time of year we’ve been enjoying some of those meals that take a little longer to prep like butternut squash and kale strata and roasted Brussels sprouts with winter squash mac n’ cheese. Of course our oven baked salmon/rice/radicchio/creamy dressing combo continues to be a quick go-to as well. Winter vegetables are some of our favorites, and they’re made even better by the less hectic schedule we run during the winter season.

The windblown greenhouse (left) and the empty spot , from a distance, where it was once but is no longer (right).

The past couple of weeks have found us cleaning up from the big wind storm that blew through a couple of weeks back. Jeff spent many of his daylight hours last week cleaning up the greenhouse we lost in the wind. That meant lots of cutting metal and wood into manageable pieces, wrangling windblown plastic sheeting, pulling out concrete footings, and clearing the cheap ground cloth we’d installed ten years ago. After salvaging what he could and then a trip to the landfill/metal recycling bins, the space where the greenhouse had stood is looking rather empty. Which, considering it was prone to flooding in late winter, probably isn’t the worst scenario. Evidently there’s an insurance check headed our way, so a replacement in a new location may be in the works later this season.

During the rainier days and evenings Jeff found time to do some 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor maintenance. He’s finally undertaking his dream of upgrading the battery from 6 volt to 12 volt, which requires re-wiring the whole tractor and adding an alternator, I think. Between the re-wiring and hunting down an oil leak he seems to be making progress and we both look forward to a solid season of cultivating crops in the coming months.

While Jeff ping ponged between greenhouse cleanup and tractor repair (plus a number of willow basketry projects at night), I hunkered down with the seed catalogs and crop planning spreadsheets. We’d done a crop planning overview together previously where we’d discussed planting dates, crop quantities, and general varieties. I then had to do the deep dive of figuring out variety specifics, seed sources, amount of seed needed, and keep the spreadsheets updated with those details along the way. Then came the seed orders, including orders from 8 separate seed companies totaling just over $3600, which is in addition to the $2500 we’d pre-paid last month toward seed and seed potatoes. Whoa! The 2023 growing season just got real!

Lacinato kale harvest!

Now that we’ve made it through this week’s harvest we’ll be focusing again on the list of winter projects that’s been looming for the past month. First, Jeff received the final tractor part in the mail yesterday and is ready to see if his cultivating tractor fixes/conversion has worked. I’ve got farm budgeting and 2023 Summer CSA details to finalize. And it’s time to get some greenhouse space prepped for the first direct sowing of the year. The list goes on with plenty of weed whacking, orchard pruning, year-end paperwork, greenhouse weeding, apple drying, root harvesting, and general spring cleaning to get to as well. Also, Jeff bought us snowshoes for my birthday and we’re looking forward to an off-farm winter adventure soon.

Watch your email for Summer CSA sign-ups to begin in the next week or two.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Squash Mac n’ Cheese

  • 3 cups dried noodle (elbows, shells, spirals, or similar)
  • 2.5 cups roasted and pureed squash (like ‘Sweet Mama,’ ‘Winter Sweet,’ or ‘N. Georgia Candy Roaster’)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: a pinch of nutmeg, a sprinkle of garlic powder, ground mustard, or celery seed

Cook noodles according to the package instructions.

Cut squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast in the oven until soft. Scoop the squash from the skin into a blender or food processor and puree. Alternatively, mash with potato masher, fork, or other kitchen tool. In a medium sauce pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and add the flour, stirring until just starting to brown. Add milk and stir until the roux starts to thicken. Add salt, pepper and any other spices. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese and squash puree. Pour over the noodles and stir until well combined.

My favorite additions: peas, corn and veggie sausage.

From EatWinterVegetables.com by Laura Brown, https://www.eatwintervegetables.com/squash-mac-n-cheese

Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Beer Hash

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts (outside leaves removed)
  • 3 Chorizo links, outer casing removed and crumbled (can also use dried)
  • 1 cup beer (I used Great Lakes Dortmunder)
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 4 Medium blue or red potatoes, halved
  • 1 Shallot, diced
  • 3 Cloves garlic, minced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Bring 2 medium pots of salted water to a boil. Toss your whole Brussels sprouts into one for 5 minutes. Toss your potatoes into the other for 10. Drain both.

In a large sauté pan with high sides, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add a bit of salt and pepper.

Trim the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half. Add your Brussels sprouts to the pan with the chorizo and cook for about 7 minutes, until they have started to brown. Note that the bottom of your pan will start to build a bit of a crust. Worry not: you will de-glaze it with the beer shortly.

Peel the skin off the potatoes, and cut into 1 inch cubes. Toss into the pan after the brussels sprouts have browned. Add a little more salt and pepper to the dish. De-glaze the bottom of the pan with the beer. Let the potatoes cook for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown a little bit. Add more beer if necessary to make sure you get all the flavors off the bottom of the pan.

Cook your eggs in butter with a dash of salt in a separate pan, for about 2-3 minutes, just until the egg white is no longer runny, but the yolk still is.

Serve the egg over the hash while both are still piping hot! Enjoy.

From Food52.com by Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast, https://food52.com/recipes/15140-brussels-sprout-and-chorizo-beer-hash

This recipe was shared with us years ago (2014 maybe?) by a winter CSA member. Was that you Kim M.? It’s a delicious, if dairy indulgent, way to transform a lot of kohlrabi into a tasty savory pudding.

Kohlrabi Pudding

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 to 3 small kohlrabi, stem, root and ends trimmed, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 ounces neufchâtel reduced-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup low-fat milk, buttermilk, yogurt, light sour cream, oat or rice milk, or, if feeling devil-may-care and you have it on hand, half and half or heavy cream
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 or 4 gratings of nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup (6 ounces) finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Spray a 9-inch square baking dish or six individual 6-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kohlrabi and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a food processor and puree. Measure out 3 cups of the puree, saving leftovers for another use (such as a chilled soup). Set the puree aside.

Place the eggs with the neufchâtel, milk, cornstarch, Pickapeppa, salt, nutmeg, and pepper in the food processor. Buzz until very smooth. Add the 3 cups puree and half of the Parmesan and buzz to incorporate. Taste and, if necessary season with more pepper.

Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish or into the individual ramekins. Place the dish or ramekins in a larger pan with hot water to come ½ inch up the sides of the dish or ramekins. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking until the cheese is melted and golden and the pudding is firm, browned, and does not stick to your finger when you touch its surface, another 20 to 30 minutes. Serve, hot or warm, cut into squares or inverted out of the ramekins.

From Cookstr.com by Dairy Hollow House, https://www.cookstr.com/recipes/dairy-hollow-house-kohlrabi-pudding

Northern Spy’s Kale Salad

  • 1/2 cup cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot clothbound cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar — if you can’t find aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)

Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier cleanup), leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.

From Food52.com by Genius Recipes, https://food52.com/recipes/15584-northern-spy-s-kale-salad

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