winter csa share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Spinach
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Purple Cape  – a fun broccoli/cauliflower cross that overwinters and heads up in early spring. 
  • Mizuna
  • Yellow Onions
  • Garlic
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Spring Salad Mix – Spinach/Radicchio/Arugula/Tatsoi
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Dried Apples – we grew them, we picked them, we dried them.

Happy Spring!  We’re still waiting for a dry stretch to be able to get into the fields, but  we’ve been enjoying the short sun breaks as they’ve come and so have the bees!  There’s not a lot of flowering plants for the bees right now, but hopefully they’ve noticed the plum orchard is in full bloom.

While the waiting game continues we’ve attempted to be productive.  Jeff’s continued his barn organization quest with the wall of cultivation. Well, I just named it that, but he did hang all the hoes for easy access which is a huge improvement over our old method of storing long handled tools in a barrel.  Though it’s wet outside, the weeds are growing in greenhouses and we’ve been able to stay on top of them thus far with weekly weeding sessions.  It’s especially satisfying to get after the weeds when they’re young and easily uprooted.  The weeding paid off when it came to harvesting greens yesterday too!

Perhaps the most exciting event on the farm recently was last week’s purchase of a manure spreader!  We’ve been looking for an affordable used spreader that was also in working condition for a couple of years on and off.  We’d like to begin spreading larger quantities of compost in the field for soil health, but shoveling compost out the back of a box hooked up to the tractor gets tiresome quickly.  We lucked into this antique spreader, originally used with a team of horses, that’s been kept in amazing condition unlike most spreaders from this era that have been demoted to yard ornaments.  We have our fingers crossed for a dry stretch at the end of the week.  Hopefully it won’t be too long before we put this old machine to work.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Seasonal Country Salad with Spiced Walnuts

For the spiced walnuts

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground star anise
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 cups shelled walnut halves

For the salad

Make the spiced walnuts:

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, spices, and salt. Toast the walnuts lightly on a sheet pan in the oven, for about 4-5 minutes. While the nuts are toasting, heat the spiced sugar in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. When the sugar just begins to melt around the edges, toss in the warm nuts, straight from the oven. Shake the pan vigorously over the burner until all the nuts are coated in sugar — it will cling in somewhat uneven patches, but that is the effect I like. Pour the nuts onto a plate or baking sheet to cool — don’t be tempted to try one until they have really cooled down, since sugar at this temperature will give you a burned tongue to remember!

Make your salad:

Toss the salad greens with the spiced walnuts and the vinaigrette and top with a generous slice of ham and 1 ounce of cheese per person, according to the seasons (see Weighing Your Options).

Weighing your options:

Spring: Grilled Asparagus with Serrano Ham and Maytag Blue Cheese (to grill asparagus, blanch the asparagus to halfway tender, brush with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until lightly brown)

Summer: Fresh Black Mission Figs with Smithfield Ham and Aged Goat Cheese

Fall: Lightly Roasted Seckel Pears with Pecorino Romano and Prosciutto

Winter: Blood Oranges and Fennel with Feta and Prosciutto

From Epicurious via “Sparks in the Kitchen” by Katy Sparks and Andrea Strong, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/seasonal-country-salad-with-spiced-walnuts-234558

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Fresh Spinach with Garlic -Yogurt Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 dried chiles de árbol*
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach leaves (four 6-ounce bags), divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked medium-grain white rice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt or drained plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Small, thin, very hot red chiles; available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste; stir 1 minute. Add chiles and 1/3 of spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, adding remaining spinach in 2 additions and tossing often, about 4 minutes. Mix in rice. Cover and simmer until rice is tender and moisture from spinach is absorbed, adding water by tablespoonfuls if needed for rice, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until mixture is dry, about 2 minutes; discard chiles.

Meanwhile, press garlic cloves into small bowl, stir in yogurt, and season with salt and pepper. Melt butter with 1 tablespoon oil in small skillet. Mix in cayenne and remove from heat.

Spread spinach mixture on platter; make indentations with back of spoon. Spoon yogurt into indentations and drizzle with cayenne butter.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Engin Akin, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fresh-spinach-with-garlic-yogurt-sauce-238268

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Micro-Quick Hot-Sweet Salad of Broccoli Raab and Carrots

  • 1 hearty bunch broccoli raab (aka rapini) (1 pound plus)
  • About 1 pound fairly thin medium carrots (weighed without tops)
  • 1 tablespoon sweet sherry or sweet vermouth
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil

1. Cut a slice from broccoli raab base and taste to determine toughness. If fairly tender, trim only 1/2 inch or so from stalks; if tough, trim more. Wash vegetable in several changes of water, lifting out so debris settles. Without drying, spread in microwavable serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 2 minutes. Toss, then continue cooking until not quite done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pierce plastic and allow to cool.

2. Peel carrots. Place in microwavable dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook just until carrots lose their raw crunch but are not cooked through — 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pierce plastic and cool slightly.

3. In a small dish, mix sherry, vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper to taste, stirring to blend. Add peanut and sesame oils.

4. Line up broccoli raab stems on cutting board. Cut apart from tops (the florets and leaves). Squeeze tops dry, then blot with towel. Cut into very thin shreds; return to dish. Slice stems on a sharp angle to form long oblongs 1/8 inch thick; add to dish. Cut carrots the same way and add to dish. Toss with dressing. Season. Chill.

From Epicurious via “Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini” by Elizabeth Schneiderhttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/micro-quick-hot-sweet-salad-of-broccoli-raab-and-carrots-106236

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winter csa share – week 8

Welcome to the 8th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Carola Yellow Potatoes – Jeff thinned the garlic Sunday, so you’ll see 2-3 garlic thinnings thrown in with the potatoes for your cooking experiments.
  • Red Beets
  • Arugula Rapini
  • Parsnips
  • Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Lower Salmon River Winter Squash – A PNW heritage variety from Idaho with flaky, dry flesh is great for pies and soups.
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Radicchio Mix
  • Lacinato Kale Rapini – It’s officially rapini season!  The overwintered brassicas, like kale and cabbage, are starting to bolt and will eventually flower but right now they are the sweetest broccoli-like stems and leaves around.  Prepare them like broccoli and enjoy the fleeting taste of the end of winter.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Winter CSA Members – At the start of the season we’d planned to host a member farm visit in March but hadn’t set an official date.  With the continuous rain and cold we’d guessed no one wanted to come see the muddy farm just yet.  We’re hoping for better weather and are thinking early April may bring a better chances for sun.   More details to come…

We’ve been hunkered down this winter, waiting out Jeff’s broken leg and the never ending rain and cold.  But the past couple of weeks have been a real turning point.  The seasons are shifting and it’s time to get back to work.  We’ve begun seeding in earnest with the first successions of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and more being started.  Spinach, peas, kale, mizuna, and radishes are all popping up in greenhouses just in time as the overwintered greens we’ve been enjoying for months are beginning to bolt.  It’s an exciting time on the farm, even though the landscape still looks a little bleak and wintery.

We’ve recently worked in a couple of fun visits to friends’ farms and got to geek out over their big new barns and get a good look at new tools they’ve invested in.  Though it’s hard to leave, time away from the farm often leaves me excited to get back to work with new ideas to try out.  Jeff even got off the farm for a night with a friend for an overnight camp-out in the snow!

Our biggest accomplishment in the past couple of weeks was to add an extension onto the barn we built last winter.  We originally built it as a tractor barn, but after it spent the summer filled with organic fertilizer we realized we could use a little more covered area.  We’ve added a third more space with a 12′ shed roof extension off the back.  It first felt like we were building backward because we had to take the existing siding off to add some blocking, but it came along fairly quickly after that.  It’s nice to have finished a project that been waiting since last fall.  We’ll likely add a wall and a door to the inside at some point, but we’ve got a roof as planned!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Parsnip Leek Potato Mash

  • 1 1/2 lb leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb russet (baking) potatoes
  • 2 lb parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise, woody cores discarded, then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Wash leeks in a bowl of cold water, agitating water to loosen any sand, then lift leeks out and drain in a colander. Pat dry.

Cook leeks in 4 tablespoons butter, covered, in a4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 to 7 minutes.

While leeks are cooking, peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Add potatoes, parsnips, water, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg to leeks and bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Coarsely mash, then serve sprinkled with parsley and topped with remaining tablespoon butter.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/parsnip-leek-potato-mash-109031

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Broccoli and Rapini with Lemon Shallots

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped shallots, divided
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli crowns, cut into florets (or use your Purple Sprouting Broccoli!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds rapini (broccoli rabe), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Melt 1/4 cup butter with 1/2 cup shallots and 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel in very large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté 2 minutes. Mix in broccoli and 1/4 cup water. Sprinkle with salt. Cover; cook until broccoli is crisp-tender and water evaporates, about 4 minutes. Transfer broccoli to bowl; cover to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter with remaining shallots and lemon peel in same skillet over high heat; sauté 2 minutes. Add rapini. Sprinkle with salt, cover, and cook until rapini wilts, about 2 minutes. Uncover and sauté until tender, about 1 minute longer. Mix into broccoli. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/broccoli-and-rapini-with-lemon-and-shallots-233159

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Radicchio, Grapefruit, and Spinach Salad

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 white grapefruits
  • 1 10-ounce head radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted

Combine vinegar and fennel seeds in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Cut all peel and white pith from grapefruits. Cut grapefruits between membranes to release segments. Stir segments into dressing. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Toss radicchio, spinach and olives in bowl. Add grapefruit segments and dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétithttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/radicchio-grapefruit-and-spinach-salad-103216

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winter csa share – week 7

winter-csa-share-week-7

Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mixed Spinach
  • Red Endeavor Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Red Brussels Sprouts – We’re growing a seed crop of these gorgeous purple Brussels.  This week’s taste of them are from the culls but they’re off the stalk and ready to eat!
  • Daikon Radishes – these daikon were seeded a bit late and a bit too close together last fall making for small roots, but don’t forget the tops are edible too!  You can stir-fry or saute them with other greens.
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Butternut or Black Futzu Winter Squash
  • Celeriac
  • Radicchio/Tatsoi Salad Mix
  • Kale/Chard/Arugula Cooking Greens Mix
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

jeff-working

After months of healing his broken leg, Jeff has really gotten back into the swing of things on the farm.  And just in time too.  It’s now or next year for some of those winter projects that need to happen before the growing season really gets underway.  He did some heavy lifting with our nephew’s help to clear out the space for the barn extension we planned for last fall.  The “new” barn (now a year old) is finally getting some more detail attention including a gravel floor and shelving.  We’re looking forward to having all the irrigation bits and pieces, hand tools, and soil amendments organized for quick access this season.  As you can see he’s gotten back into ladder work too, as we closed in our big high tunnel for spring crops.

prop-house-tools

We’re getting our act together in the propagation house too.  This greenhouse is used to get seeds started for transplanting into the field.  This time of year is too cold for most seeds to germinate quickly, if at all.  Several years ago we rigged up a germination chamber (above right) to help with germinating seeds early in the season.  It’s basically just a box with shelves for flats of seeds with a bucket of water at the bottom.  The water is heated using a bucket heater designed to keep livestock water from freezing and it keeps the germ. chamber toasty and humid.  It’s never been as reliable as we’d hoped so this year we added some insulation and a thermostat to better regulate the temperature.  We’re seeing some improvement already!

We also bought a vacuum seeder (above left) to help speed up the seeding process and it was exciting to use it for the first time last week.  The seeder consists of a metal plate with holes in it that screws onto a plexiglass box.  A small shop-vac is used to create a vacuum inside the plexiglass box, and seeds are sucked into the holes on the plate so they can be turned upside down and seeded directly into the flat full of potting soil.  Closing off the vacuum airflow releases the seeds neatly into their individual cells.  It’s such an advancement over seeding seeds one by one and I only wish we would have made the investment sooner.  Getting seeds started and checking in on growing seedlings is something I look forward to, especially this time of year.  So much possibility in those tiny seeds!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chicken Caesar Salad With Crispy Kale

For the dressing:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

For the Crispy Kale:

  • 8 stalks kale, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (25g) finely grated Parmesan
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the chicken and assembly:

  • 4 (200g) chicken breast fillets, trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup (200g) shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 2 baby cos (romaine) lettuces (360g), trimmed and leaves separated (or try subbing some radicchio!)
  • 3 cups (75g) baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup (80g) pine nuts

To make the dressing, place the egg yolks, garlic and mustard in a bowl and whisk until thick and creamy. Gradually add half the oil, whisking continuously until combined. Gradually add the vinegar and the remaining oil, whisking to combine. Set aside.

To make the crispy kale, preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Place the kale, oil, parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss to coat. Place in a single layer on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until crisp, and set aside.

Brush the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan or barbecue over high heat. Cook the chicken for 2–3 minutes each side or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and place in a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, lettuce, spinach, and pine nuts and toss to combine. Divide between serving plates and top with crispy kale and the dressing to serve.

From Epicurious via Life in Balance by Donna Hay, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-caesar-salad-with-crispy-kale

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Penne with Radicchio, Spinach, and Bacon

  • 1 pound penne
  • 8 ounces bacon (about 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 6 cups (packed) coarsely torn Treviso, Chioggia, or Tardivo radicchio leaves (from about 2 medium heads)
  • 3 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, torn in half (about 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut off top 1/2 inch of garlic head, exposing cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, on sheet of foil and drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap garlic in foil. Roast until garlic is soft, about 40 minutes. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Squeeze garlic into small bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cook bacon strips and chopped onion in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, remaining 5 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, and roasted garlic. Bring mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add radicchio, spinach, and basil and stir to combine. Simmer just until radicchio and spinach wilt, about 1 minute.

Drain pasta and return to same pot. Add radicchio-spinach mixture to pasta. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper; toss to coat. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese alongside.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Myra Goodman & Sarah LaCasse, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/penne-with-radicchio-spinach-and-bacon-241093

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winter csa share – week 6

winter-csa-share-week-6

Welcome to the 6th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Mizuna/Mustards
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
  • Carrots – Some of the sweetest carrots we’ve ever grown!
  • Parsnips
  • Onions
  • Oregon Homestead Winter Squash
  • Mixed Beets
  • Leeks
  • Radicchio/Tatsoi Mix
  • Arugula
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds have arrived, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

tables-and-driving

If April showers bring May flowers, what do February showers bring besides a flooded propagation house?  Standing in eight inches of water while watering tiny spinach plants was rather comical this past week.  We’re thankful for a few dry days that helped the water drain away and made it possible to get the prop house officially in order, including new tables!  Hopefully all the water that fell on the farm over the last couple of weeks is filtering down, down, down to re-charge our aquifer for summer irrigation season, which will be here before we know it.

We’ve begun sowing seeds in the only dry space available, inside field houses!  This time of year we’re especially thankful for that space, allowing us to get our hands dirty while staying out of the wet fields.  We’ve kicked off the planting year with spinach, carrots, peas, mizuna, arugula, and some early potatoes.

parsnips-and-tomatoes

We’ve also begun starting seeds to be transplanted later including onions and tomatoes and some lettuce and bok choy.  We’re back into the weekly propagation season, and it’s good to be starting seeds and focused on the harvests ahead.  The prop house will be full up before too long.

The fields are still full of plenty of food as we continue our journey through the winter CSA months.  This week’s radicchio and leeks and parsnips and carrots are a testament to winter growing.  Fantastically sweet vegetables that have been waiting through snow and ice and rain in the field for their harvest day!  We’re also on the cusp of rapini season and the purple sprouting broccoli is just starting to form purple buds of broccoli goodness.  It looks like we’ve made it through the darkest days of winter and spring is on the way.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Citrus Butter

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a small bowl, combine butter, orange zest, orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir well to combine. Set the citrus butter aside.

Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut them lengthwise into long wedges, which that will get a bit browned and crisp at the ends. If I am roasting young carrots small enough to cook whole or halved lengthwise, I like to leave a half inch or so of the greens attached—looks pretty. Parsnips will cook at about the same rate as carrots, so cut them into similar-size pieces.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toss vegetables with oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and toss again. Spread the vegetables flat and roast until tender and lightly browned (and more than lightly browned on the thinner edges), tossing halfway through, 20 to 30 minutes. If they seem to be getting too browned before tender, sprinkle them with a little water and keep roasting.

When vegetables are roasted, place in a warmed dish and spoon the citrus butter on, tossing them gently to melt the butter and coat the roots. Serve warm.

From Epicurious by Cal Peternell, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-carrots-and-parsnips-with-citrus-butter-51262740

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Linguine with Leeks, Radicchio, and Walnut Pesto

  • 8 ounces linguine
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leeks (including some dark green parts)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus shaved Parmesan for garnish
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (about 1 ounce) plus additional for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add leeks; season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Puree parsley, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/4 cup walnuts, lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons oil in mini processor until coarse puree forms. Season pesto with salt and pepper. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta, pesto, and radicchio to leeks; toss, adding cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if dry. Garnish with walnuts and shaved Parmesan.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit Test Kitchen, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/linguine-with-leeks-radicchio-and-walnut-pesto-240685

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Winter Squash and Chicken Stew with Indian Spices

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut or acorn squash
  • 2 cups 1-inch pieces peeled russet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add to Dutch oven; sauté until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plate.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in same pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, cumin, and cinnamon; stir 1 minute. Return chicken to pot. Add squash, potatoes, broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/winter-squash-and-chicken-stew-with-indian-spices-876

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winter csa share – week 5

winter-csa-share-week-5

Welcome to the 5th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Kale/Chard Mix
  • Carola Potatoes  – Creamy, yellow-fleshed taters great for baking or frying.
  • Carrots – Some of the sweetest carrots we’ve ever grown!
  • Hakurei Salad Turnips – Our favorite when it comes to turnips!  A mild, juicy turnip we prefer to eat raw.
  • Elephant Garlic – Don’t let the large cloves fool you!  Elephant garlic is related to leeks, and thus milder than the other varieties of garlic we grow.
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Winter Squash – These pepo varieties are beginning to lose their sweetness but are still tasty enough to enjoy without adding anything.  Eat up your pumpkins, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash before they’re past their prime.
  • Butternut Winter Squash
  • Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem Artichokes) – These are roots of a sunflower variety.  We enjoy them shredded and sauteed but they’re good raw, roasted, and in soups too.  Please note that they contain high levels of the carbohydrate inulin, which is difficult for some folks to digest, but is thought to be a good alternative for diabetics looking to avoid starch.
  • Red Onion
  • Radicchio/Spinach/Lettuce/Tatsoi Mix
  • Red Cabbage
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds are ordered, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

seeding-and-harvesting

January is a strange time on the farm.  We’re still in the grip of winter, with temps often falling below freezing, but spring feels closer each day.  Although the days are lengthening and the few sunny days have been enticing, January means paperwork on the farm.  Crop planning, seed orders, business and personal taxes, farm loan paperwork.  From one thing to the next, there’s lots of forms and lots of screen time.  It’s also time to get back to the routine of farm work: seeding, planting, weeding.  We started the first seeds of 2017 this past weekend, which is always a momentous occasion.  Just a little spinach to start things off.  Soon we’ll be sowing tomatoes and onions and lettuce and the list goes on.

tapping

Last week a belated birthday gift arrived from Jeff for me.  He bought maple tapping equipment!  It’s been fun to tap into our single maple tree, a bigleaf maple at the front of the farm, and watch the sap slowly accumulate.  After the first 48 hours we’d collected a quart of sap, which we boiled down to two tablespoons of sugary goodness and promptly ate over pancakes.  Yum!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic Vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds small Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes), scrubbed, quartered
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron (you’ll need a lid), over mediumhigh heat. Add Jerusalem artichokes and 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until Jerusalem artichokes are fork-tender, 8–10 minutes.

Uncover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until water is evaporated and Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes longer; transfer to a platter.

Add rosemary and butter to skillet and cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns, about 4 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in vinegar, scraping up any browned bits. Spoon brown butter sauce and rosemary over Jerusalem artichokes.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crispy-jerusalem-artichokes-with-aged-balsamic-51255110

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Corsican Greens Pie with Butternut Squash and Three Cheeses

  • 12 ounces all-butter puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 8 ounces) or mix of other greens like kale, beet tops, turnip tops, or spinach, stemmed, leaves coarsely chopped, and stalks sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped sage
  • 2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons fresh ricotta, divided
  • 12 wide, long ribbons of peeled butternut squash
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out pastry to 1/8-inch thickness, then cut it into a 12-inch-wide circle. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onion, celery, chard stems, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a hearty grind of black pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chard leaves, garlic, and sage and cook until chard leaves are wilted, about 5 minutes more. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl and stir in mint, parsley, feta, Pecorino, pine nuts, lemon zest, and 3 tablespoons of the ricotta. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

Toss the squash ribbons (if using) with remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Spread vegetable mixture onto the pastry, leaving 1 1/4-inch border. Dollop remaining ricotta on the vegetable mixture and top with squash ribbons. Roll the pastry edges up around the side of the filling and pinch edges together to form a secure edge around the tart. Brush pastry with beaten egg and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Bake tart until pastry is golden and cooked through at the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious via Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corsican-greens-pie-with-butternut-squash-and-three-cheeses-51253450

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Bratwurst and Red Cabbage

  • 1 pound uncured bratwurst
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 12-ounce bottle Pilsner or other lager, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red beet, peeled, coarsely grated
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • Freshly grated horseradish (for serving)

Prick bratwurst in several places with a knife and place in a large skillet. Add oil and half of beer, then add water until liquid comes a little over halfway up sides of sausages. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, turning once, until just barely cooked through, 12–15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high; cook until liquid is evaporated, 5–10 minutes. Roll sausages to edge of skillet and add onion to center. Cook, turning sausages often and stirring onion occasionally, until sausages are browned and onion is soft, 5–8 minutes. Transfer sausages to a plate.

Add cabbage and beet to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar, brown sugar, allspice, and remaining beer. Cover; cook until tender, 20–25 minutes. Serve sausages with cabbage mixture, topped with horseradish.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Claire Saffitz , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bratwurst-and-red-cabbage-51263820

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winter csa share – week 4

winter-csa-share-week-4

Welcome to the 4th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Leeks
  • Rose Finn Apple Fingerling Potatoes
  • Mixed Dry Beans – a mix of our green beans gone to seed and dry bean varieties.  Make sure to wash them and discard floaters and debris.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Rutabaga – these were harvested directly from the field yesterday.  That means they’ve been sweetened by the recent cold temps, but they’ve also been frozen.  They appear to have made it through unharmed, but don’t expect them to store as long as usual.  Eat them up sooner than later. 
  • Garlic
  • Candystick Delicata Winter Squash – We are nearing the end of the ideal storage life of the Pepo winter squashes including delicatas, acorns, and pumpkins.  Eat them up before they dehydrate and lose their sweetness and creamy texture.
  • Black Futsu Winter Squash – perhaps my favorite of the winter squashes, Black Futsu is a Japanese heirloom.  It’s related to butternuts and has a similar but unique flavor.  It’s a good storer and is great in pies, or however you like to use your butternuts.
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Castelfranco/Chioggia Chicory Mix – please, please, please eat this chicory – even if you don’t think you like chicory.  The recent cold temps have sweetened it beyond belief!  We’ve been mixing chopped chicory with pasta or rice for a warm salad and loving it!
  • Brussels Sprouts – these may take a little work because the cold temps tend to damage them a little, but it’s worth it for the sweet, tasty sprouts.  Had the weather warmed up sooner, we would have endeavored to get them off the stalk and cleaned up for you.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Summer 2017 CSA Membership Open – The planting plan is set, the seeds are ordered, and we’re in it for another season!  We’d love for you to join us for 27 weeks of Summer & Fall vegetables from May through November.  All the details and a link to the sign-up form can be found over on the Summer CSA page.

snow

The last couple of winters were awfully mild, which may be why this winter feels so much more, wintry, in comparison.  The Arctic blasts seem to be on repeat causing the temperatures to hover around freezing.  It seems that we’ve been spared the worst of the weather thus far though.  The farm has been locked in the freezer for a week, but we have friends in Portland that got 12 inches of snow last week and are still waiting for the melt to happen to see how their crops have fared.  Farming in the winter is not for the faint at heart.  We thank you for your dedication to seasonal eating, even through the dark and frozen days of winter.

winter

As the weather outside did its freezing thing, we hunkered down inside and got through the upcoming season’s crop planning.  This annual project is always daunting to begin but it’s also worthwhile time spent reviewing the past season and dreaming of the possibilities in the season ahead.  We now have a giant spreadsheet detailing what crops we’ll be growing, what varieties will be included, when they’ll be started and transplanted, projections for harvest dates, and where they’ll all be growing on the farm.  We’ll be starting the first seeds of the season soon and then we’ll be off to the races.

In broken leg news, Jeff had his 6 week post-surgery check-in this past week.  The new x-rays showed that his bones are beginning to heal and the doctor thought his flexibility, level of swelling, and surgery cuts are all looking good.  He gave him permission to begin putting weight on the broken leg and walking with one or no crutches as his pain levels allow.  He’s slowly getting back in the farming game and was able to help out with the harvest more this week.  It turns out dry bags aren’t just for keeping your valuables dry on a canoeing trip, but they come in handy when you need to keep your spiffy walking cast dry too.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Carrots and Rutabagas with Lemon and Honey

  • 1 1/4 pounds rutabagas, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into matchstick-size strips
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

Cook rutabagas in large pot of boiling salted water 2 minutes. Add carrots and cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add lemon juice, honey, and peel. Bring to boil. Add vegetables; cook until glazed, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Mix in fresh chives.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/carrots-and-rutabagas-with-lemon-and-honey-105812

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Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash with Red Onion

  • 3 medium Delicata squash (about 3 pounds), halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 medium red onions, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the racks in the upper and lower rungs in the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F degrees. Place the squash, red onion, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat.

Spread vegetables evenly onto two large, rimmed baking sheets. Bake the squash on the upper and lower racks of the oven, tossing, rotating, and switching the pan positions half way through cooking, until tender and browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Taste and season again with more salt and pepper, if desired.

From Epicurious by Leah Koenig, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/maple-roasted-delicata-squash-with-red-onion-51258430

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Frisee and Endive Salad with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Pecans

  • 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
  • 3 Belgian endives (1 lb), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices (or sub the chicory here)

Make vinaigrette:

Whisk together vinegar, water, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.

Make salad:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Melt butter in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) in lower third of oven, about 3 minutes. Toss sprouts in pan with butter, pecans, and salt. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, in 1 layer and roast in lower third of oven until undersides of sprouts are golden and nuts are fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.

Whisk vinaigrette, then transfer warm sprouts and nuts to a large bowl and toss with frisée, endive, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/frisee-and-endive-salad-with-warm-brussels-sprouts-and-toasted-pecans-107362

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Join us for the 2017 Summer CSA Season!

join-us-2017-2

Hello from Pitchfork & Crow!

Happy 2017!  The countdown to summer vegetables has begun…

Our planting plan is finished and the seeds have mostly arrived.  We’ll be sowing the first seeds of the season very soon!   Now we’re ready to begin accepting members for the 2017 Summer CSA season!  Do you know where your vegetables are coming from this summer?  We’d love to have you join us for the 2017 Summer CSA season!

Continue reading

winter csa share – week 3

winter-csa-share-week-3

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

  • Baby Kale Mix
  • LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes
  • Watermelon Radishes
  • Red and Orange Beets
  • Garlic
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Carnival Acorn Squash
  • Yellow Onions
  • Sugarloaf Chicory – We like chicory best in salads with creamy or citrusy dressing to balance the bitter.  I’ve heard if you tear the leaves before washing, you’ll wash out some of the bitter.  I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s worth a shot if you’re not ready to fully embrace the world of bitter greens.
  • Savoy Cabbage – sweetened by our winter weather, we ate one of these recently that was like candy.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

happy-new-year

Hi folks, Jeff here. Usually Carri writes the newsletter, but today (Monday, January 2) is Carri’s birthday, so I am trying to give her a break by writing a few thoughts. After all, she is doing 99% of the CSA harvest since I have the broken leg still. So, I think I will write about how wonderful Carri is and how much of the farm work she does on your farm.

It may be obvious that Carri is the driving force behind Pitchfork and Crow. She started developing her passion for local food when she signed us up for a CSA share through Oakhill Organics back in 2007. We enjoyed being in a CSA and eventually Katie and Casey from Oakhill Organics encouraged us to start our own farm. It has been a challenging journey, and I have wanted to quit almost every year, but Carri has been the stable bedrock of Pitchfork and Crow. My natural reaction to stress is to run away, while her natural strategy is to try improve the situation through problem solving. I am very thankful for her rooted-ness, and especially glad that she has kept me on track through the start-up phase, since things get better every year.

Now that we seem to be an established farm, it is only through Carri’s dedication that the business survives. I love working outside with plants and I love when people get nutritious food from the farm, but Carri’s work in actual business management is what makes the farm a success. Almost every day, starting with her morning coffee, Carri is looking at spreadsheets, analyzing the farm income, and budgeting for the business. She also answers the majority of business emails and does all the taxes and accounting. Plus, she writes and publishes the newsletter, emails it to all the members and builds/maintains the website. When we have pigs, she keeps a daily spreadsheet of how much feed they eat, how much weight they should be gaining, and how much money we have spent. It is easy to see that she is the Crow of Pitchfork and Crow. I like to say that Crows are smart, so obviously, Carri is the Crow.

Not only is Carri the business mastermind of the farm, but she does the most important farm tasks as well. In the beginning of the year, we make a detailed planting plan. After that, I rarely pay attention to the plan. Carri simply tells me how many flats she plans to start for the week. I am the one who mixes the propagation mix and fills the flats, but she is the one who actually starts the seeds and gets them going in the greenhouse. After the transplants are ready for the field, she is the one who rides on the transplanter and actually plants them into the ground. So, without Carri, we would not have many veggies, would we?

So, on Carri’s birthday, we should all be glad that she is a part of our lives. I am especially grateful of her help and patience with me during my recovery from the broken leg. This winter she has done an amazing job keeping the snow off the greenhouses, bringing in firewood, hauling food up to my lair, loading and unloading the truck, feeding the chickens, and keeping all of us supplied with vegetables she propagated, transplanted, and harvested. She really is an amazing person.

Happy Birthday Carri!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Up above Jeff mentioned the CSA we joined back in 2007.  That’s how we learned about this style of cabbage and noodles.  It helped us learn to eat whole cabbages and enjoy them, and thus be better CSA members.  Over the years we’ve continued to make versions of this recipe, though these days we generally add some bacon or ground meat. – Carri

Haluski – Cabbage and Noodles

  • 1 (16 ounce) package medium-wide egg noodles
  • 1 cup butter, divided
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 small heads cabbage, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water, or as needed (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Stir in egg noodles and return to a boil. Cook noodles uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender but still slightly firm, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Melt 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat; cook and stir onions until translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cook and stir remaining butter and cabbage into onions until cabbage is softened but not browned, 5 to 8 more minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  5. Place cooked noodles and cabbage mixture in a large roasting pan and stir gently to combine. Sprinkle with more salt and black pepper if desired.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown on top, 30 to 40 minutes.

From Allrecipes.com, http://allrecipes.com/recipe/220716/haluski—cabbage-and-noodles/print/?recipeType=Recipe&servings=12

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Vinegar-Marinated Chicken with Buttered Greens and Radishes

  • 2 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 radishes, quartered, halved if small
  • 1 bunch mustard greens or kale, leaves torn
  • 4 tablespoons tarragon leaves, divided

Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in a large baking dish. Pour 1/4 cup vinegar over chicken and let sit 15–20 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry. Reserve baking dish (no need to wipe it out).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Working in batches, cook chicken, skin side down, until skin is golden brown and crisp, 8–10 minutes; turn and cook until other side is just browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to reserved baking dish; reserve skillet. Bake chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F, 10–12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in same skillet over medium-high. Add radishes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until radishes are browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add mustard greens and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mustard greens are just wilted, about 2 minutes (they should still have some spring in their step). Add 2 tablespoons tarragon and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar; toss to combine.

Serve greens and radishes with chicken topped with remaining 2 tablespoons tarragon.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vinegar-marinated-chicken-with-buttered-greens-and-radishes-56389531

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Spaghetti Squash Fritters

1 (2-pound) spaghetti squash
1 (8-ounce) package baby spinach
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
5 teaspoons canola mayonnaise
2 teaspoons 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
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1. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until tender. Let stand 10 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghettilike strands to measure 4 cups.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Place squash and spinach on a clean dish towel; squeeze until barely moist. Coarsely chop squash mixture, and place in a large bowl. Add panko and next 4 ingredients (through baking powder), and toss well to combine. Place egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into squash mixture.

3. Fill a 1/4-cup dry measuring cup with squash mixture. Invert onto work surface; gently pat into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture, forming 10 patties total. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan, and swirl to coat. Add 5 patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat the procedure with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and squash patties.

4. Combine mayonnaise and remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with fritters.

From Myrecipes.com via Cooking Light by Adam Hickman, http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/squash-fritters-sriracha-mayonnaise

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winter csa share – week 2

winter-csa-share-week-2

Welcome to the 2nd week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Lacinato Kale – mixed bunches of my favorite two lacinato varieties: Dazzling Blue & Black Magic
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Celeriac (aka Celery Root) – After so many years of looking forward to celeriac season, I forget when folks are new to this particular root vegetable.  With the consistency of a potato or turnip, but an amazing celery flavor, this is one of my favorite winter eats in soups, mashed with potatoes, and roasted with its rooty friends.
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Calico Popcorn – You can knock the kernels off the cob and into a paper bag and pop this in the microwave.  We’ve had fun watching them pop on the cob too!  Most often we’ll use these directions and pop it on the stovetop.
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Doran Round Butternut Squash
  • Red Onions
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Winter Salad Mix – mixed spinach, arugula, and tatsoi this week
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Salem MembersDon’t forget that we’re meeting in the Willamette Univ. Sparks Center parking lot this week!  You’ll enter the parking lot from Bellevue St, across from The Ram restaurant and next to the soccer field.  Click here for a mapOur usual location is going to be overrun with Magic at the Mill enthusiasts so we’re switching spots for this one pick-up.

ice-and-snow

Tomorrow  marks the Winter Solstice!  We’ve made it through the darkest days of this year and we’ll see a little more daylight each day going forward.  Although the Solstice is the beginning of winter, I’d say winter has already arrived in full force and I look forward to the longer days ahead.

After a couple of mild winters I’m remembering what winter farming can mean in the ice and snow.  This past week has been mostly a waiting game, hoping the thaw would arrive in time for this week’s harvest.  The warm rain showed up right on schedule, melting the snow and ice and making a Monday field harvest possible.  I admit I questioned the sanity of winter farming this week as the ice lingered.  The weather gods came through though, and the winter eating season continues.

basket-weeder

Santa came to the farm early last week (ahead of the snow and ice) and brought a basket weeder!  Well, actually we bought it from our friend Marco who decided to sell it, but he did deliver.  We’ve talked about getting a basket weeder for a couple of years and when Marco was selling we couldn’t pass it up.  It’s ready to attach to our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor come spring!  We’re excited to add another tool to our weeding arsenal and use our tractor even more in an effort to minimize hoeing and hand weeding.

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!  This year we’re especially thankful for your support as we strive to deliver on our Winter CSA commitments in the midst of Jeff’s broken leg and the uncertain winter weather ahead.  We can’t say it often enough that we appreciate you joining us at this seasonal eating party.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Celery Root, Red Onions, Mushrooms, and Sage

  • 3 medium red onions (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 3 pounds celery root (sometimes called celeriac)
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 pound small white mushrooms
  • 1/2 pound assorted fresh exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles and Portobellos
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut onions into 1-inch pieces. With a sharp knife peel celery root and cut into 2- by 1/2-inch sticks. Divide celery root between 2 large roasting pans and toss each half with 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Roast celery root in upper and lower thirds of oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through roasting, 25 minutes total.

In a bowl toss mushrooms and onions with sage, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Divide mushroom mixture between pans, tossing with celery root, and roast, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through roasting, about 30 minutes total, or until all vegetables are tender and golden.

Season vegetables with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-celery-root-red-onions-mushrooms-and-sage-14454

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3-Ingredient Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

  • 1 pound whole wheat short pasta (such as penne, rigatoni, fusilli, or shells)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup pure pumpkin purée (you can bake your pie pumpkin, or any winter squash, for this purée)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, bring cream to a simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin purée; season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Add pasta and 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid to skillet and cook, tossing to coat, until sauce has reduced, 3–4 minutes. Season with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Top with freshly ground pepper before serving.

From Epicurious by Dawn Perry, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/3-ingredient-creamy-pumpkin-pasta

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Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad

For the Caesar dressing:

  • 1/2 cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) canola oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the Brussels sprout salad:

  • 1 1/4 pounds (570 g) Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) pieces
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 fresh chives, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces

Make the dressing:

In a blender, combine the cheese, egg yolks, anchovies, garlic, vinegar, the lemon zest and juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Blend until smooth and season with the salt. With the blender running on high, slowly drizzle in the canola oil until it is completely emulsified. The dressing should be very thick. Gradually add up to 1/2 cup (120 ml) water to thin it out; it should be looser than mayonnaise, but thicker than vinaigrette. Season with pepper and refrigerate until you prepare the salad. This will make 2 cups (480 ml) dressing that will keep, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Make the Brussels sprouts:

Preheat the oven to 475°F (245°C) and place a clean baking sheet in the oven to warm. Trim the bottoms of half of the Brussels sprouts and quarter them lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss them with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer them to the hot baking sheet and roast until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through cooking to flip the Brussels sprouts. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large work bowl with salted ice water. Cut the stems off the other half of the Brussels sprouts and separate the leaves. Blanch the leaves in the boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes, until they are bright green and barely tender, then remove them immediately to the ice water. Drain and place them on a clean dish towel to dry.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until browned, about 8 minutes. Drain off the fat and add the maple syrup to the pan. Stir to coat the bacon; remove it from the heat and set aside. When it is cool, break it into pieces.

Bring a small pot of water to boil and fill a bowl or another pot with cold water with a few ice cubes. Gently lower the eggs into the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Cook at a low boil for exactly 7 minutes. Remove the eggs to the cold water, then gently crack their shells; leave them submerged until completely cooled before peeling them and setting them aside.

Assemble the salad:

In a large salad bowl, toss the roasted and blanched Brussels sprouts with 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the dressing. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer them to a serving plate and sprinkle with the bacon and chives. Slice the eggs in half and arrange them on the salad.

From The Splendid Table via Good Fork Cookbook by Sohui Kim with Rachel Wharton, https://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/brussels-sprouts-caesar-salad

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winter csa share – week 1

winter-csa-share-week-1

Welcome to the 1st week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Pentland Brig Kale
  • Ozette Fingerling Potatoes – Perhaps the only potato to migrate from South America, not first through Europe, but directly to the Americas via Spanish explorers, Ozette potatoes have likely been grown by tribes in  Washington State for over 200 years.  Woah.  We’re excited to be growing this unique NW variety once again.  Click here for more details.
  • Castelfranco Chicory – one of our favorite chicories around, less bitter than the most rugged, red radicchios, we like to eat our castelfranco in hearty winter salads paired with a substantial creamy or citrusy dressing.  Rumor has it that if you tear your greens, then wash them, they’ll be less bitter.
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Leeks
  • Fennel
  • Gill’s Golden Pippin Winter Squash – A small acorn-type winter squash that quickly became our favorite acorn squash after tasting it at a friend’s dinner table.  Bonus that it is a locally adapted variety having been developed by the old Gill Brother Seed Co. out of Portland, OR sometime before the 1960s.
  • Yellow Onions
  • Romanesco
  • Fava Tops – We love fava beans, but this year we’ve come to love fava greens too!  The delicate leaves of the fava plant that have a hint of fava bean taste are great raw, sauteed, or in a quick pesto.  These greens are from our self-sown stand of favas that are way beyond winter temperature-safe and will likely be lost very soon as we get our first real cold weather of the season this week.
  • Dried Apples – Dried by Jeff!

Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA!  We’ve been planning and planting for the winter season for months now and are excited to finally share the bounty of the season with you intrepid local eaters!  We’re getting off to quite a start as we’ll also be experiencing the first real cold snap of the year.  We’ve tried to take precautions at the farm with lots of bulk harvests, filling the coolers with roots, and lots of row covering in the fields.  Only time will tell now.

For Salem folks, it’s going to get COLD tonight!  The earlier you can make it to the pick-up the better for you and for me.  And remember, Winter pick-ups run from 4-6pm.  Thanks!

castelfranco-and-row-cover

We’re beginning our fifth winter CSA season (!) and when I think of winter harvests I have plenty of harvest days to choose from for conjuring up mental images.  The best days: sunny, cool temps, easy to work outside with light layers, and harvesting the greens of spring.  The worst days: frozen ground, frozen fingers, rain or snow, limited daylight, mud season.  Of course even those worst days have the highlights of winter veggies, a warm wood stove, and coffee breaks.

Always in these mental images I am in the field with Jeff, until this week.  This was my first CSA harvest without Jeff’s help outside.  Most folks know by now that he broke his leg in a devastating roller skating incident two weeks back.  He had surgery a week ago last Friday and now he’s holed up, healing, working on our 2017 planning, and watching endless episodes of Gunsmoke on YouTube.

He was missed this past week out in the field.  Fewer jokes were told during this harvest.  His stalwart willingness to deal with the row cover in the wind and mud and hail was also missed.  His fast pace, his encouraging smile, his amazing work ethic, were all lacking.  I’ll be glad to have my friend and partner back by my side when he’s healed.

I was reading an issue of Backpacker magazine recently and a seasoned hiker had written about her hiking beginning, saying when she first started out she spent a lot of time watching her feet as she picked her way along the trail.  At some point she realized she was no longer watching her feet, but instead was able to look around at the scenery she hiked through.  Her brain had learned to avoid the roots and rocks in the trail without her constant watching.  This first solo harvest reminded me of that story.  Somewhere along the way I’ve learned how to manage my way through a harvest alone and to do so without looking down.  Though it took longer alone than it would have with the two of us, and parts of it were perhaps less enjoyable, this past week on the farm has made me feel more capable, more useful.  I’ve been reminded that this is my work and I’m committed to it and the success of our farm.

jeff-and-garlic

Of course Jeff had to get in on the CSA game!  He pushed through the pain and dried three rounds of apples to make sure our signature winter share item made an appearance this week.  We’re taking things slowly just now.  Making lists, getting through the lists.  Jeff’s feeling a little better each day.  He’ll be back out in the field before we know it!

Many thanks to everyone for the offers of help and contributions and well wishes.  It’s amazing just knowing how many folks are rooting for us.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fennel and Radicchio Winter Salad with Pecans

Olive oil
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 small bulbs fennel
1 small head castelfranco radicchio
2 hearts of romaine
Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces pecorino cheese

For the dressing:
1 lemon
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a medium skillet over moderately high heat. Add the chopped pecans and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes, or until they smell toasted and are developing dark spots. Set aside to cool.

Trim the fennel bulbs of their tops and stem end. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise and finely slice it using a mandoline. Cut the radicchio in half lengthwise and remove the core and stem end. Finely slice the radicchio on the mandoline as well. Chop the romained hearts crosswise into bite sized pieces and toss with the rest of the vegetables in a large bowl.

Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Shave in the pecorino cheese (the mandoline is great for this too). Toss the cheese into the salad, and add the cooled pecans and toss those in as well.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and toss with the mixed salad. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

From Kitchn by Faith Durand, http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-fennel-and-radicchio-wi-105910

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Potato, Leek and Fennel Soup

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only)
  • 2 cups sliced fennel bulb, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 4 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks and fennel and sauté until leeks are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add broth and potatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer soup until potatoes are very tender, about 25 minutes. Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return to same pot. Rewarm soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with reserved fennel fronds and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Jeanne Silvestri, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-leek-and-fennel-soup-100957

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Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage

  • 2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 cups tightly packed torn kale
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 375°. Cut a thin slice off round side of each squash half to create a stable base. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; coat with cooking spray. Place squash flesh side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil; bake until golden and tender, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; flip squash and set aside. Heat broiler. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon oil. Add sausage; cook, breaking into coarse pieces, until brown, 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. To same skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and leek; cook until leek is soft, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 30 seconds. Add kale and toss; add broth. Cover and cook until kale is tender, 5 minutes; stir in sausage. Divide kale-sausage filling among squash. In a bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan and panko; sprinkle evenly over squash bowls and coat with cooking spray. Broil until panko is golden, 2 minutes.

From Epicurious via SELF by Larraine Perri, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/acorn-squash-with-kale-and-sausage-51203850

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