summer csa share – week 14

csa share week 14

Welcome to the 14th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Basil
  • Sweet Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Melons! – the first of the melons are here including a Tuscan muskmelon and an orange honeydew
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Peppers – More of the ‘Iko Iko’ Sweet Peppers. These purple and yellow peppers are equivalent to green peppers.
  • Garlic
  • Cucumbers – choose from slicers and picklers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!

looking ahead

This past week I’ve been listening to a couple of books about food and nutrition that I checked out from the library.  First up was Michael Pollen’s ‘In Defense of Food‘.  I’m now about halfway through T. Colin Campbell’s ‘Whole‘.  Though written in different styles and from different experiences, both books attempt to make very similar conclusions: that we should be eating more whole foods, more plants, fewer food products.

These aren’t new books, or new concepts for that matter, but they have been good reminders that we are making choices each day about what foods we eat.  Even here on the farm, where we are surrounded by organic vegetables and fruits, we all too often make poor food decisions for convenience.  Food is fuel, and the work goes on.  But as with many things, that way of eating, that way of life, isn’t sustainable and we need to recognize that these are choices we can change.  I became a farmer because I valued food and understood fundamentally that we cannot live without it.  I wanted to grow good food for the people in my community.  Listening to these books this week have been excellent reminders of that fact, but also that we need to be eating that food more often too.

fruit

Eating is a messy and complicated part of our lives if you decide to look closely.  Luckily this is the height of summer goodness and we’re harvesting a lot of it this week, hopefully easing the eating quandary.  Sweet corn, basil, peppers, tomatoes, melons!  An easy week to eat your CSA share.

This past week we kept busy with all the usual suspects.  The weeding and mowing and tilling and irrigating and seed sowing happened, even in the midst of that ridiculous heatwave.  Some seed threshing and winnowing happened too.  It’s always fun to thresh out a seed crop and see what the resulting seed amount and quality is after so many months of growing a plant from seed through its life cycle and back to seed again.  On Saturday we spent the evening pressing cider with friends, as evidenced by the photo above.  Who wants to hand crank five giant buckets of apples through a press when you’ve got a chipper that can shred them for you?

Looking ahead this week we’ve got more weeding, more seed sowing, a little transplanting, lots of fruit picking, on-farm pig slaughtering, and a couple of our friends/CSA members are getting married (congrats Michelle and Allen!).  Another whirlwind summer week!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Corn and Pork Kebabs with Rosemary Green Beans and Potatoes

  • eight 10-inch metal or bamboo skewers
  • 4 large ears fresh corn
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 6 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1/2 pound boiling potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Prepare grill and if using bamboo skewers soak in water 30 minutes.

Shuck corn and cut crosswise into twenty-four 1-inch pieces. Cut pork into thirty-two 1-inch pieces. Thread 3 pieces corn and 4 pieces pork onto each skewer. In a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon vinegar, 4 1/2 teaspoons oil, red pepper flakes, and salt and divide red pepper mixture between 2 small bowls (to prevent the potential contamination caused by uncooked meat juices). Brush kebabs with red pepper mixture from 1 bowl and grill on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals, turning occasionally, until pork is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. With a clean brush coat kebabs with red pepper mixture from other bowl.

While kebabs are grilling, trim and halve green beans. Cut potatoes into 1/8-inch-thick slices and finely chop rosemary. In a steamer arrange potatoes and layer green beans on top. Steam potatoes and green beans over boiling water, covered, until potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together remaining tablespoon vinegar, remaining 2 teaspoons oil, rosemary, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add hot vegetables and toss to combine.

Serve kebabs with vegetables.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-pork-kebabs-with-rosemary-green-beans-and-potatoes-14228

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Angel Hair Pasta with Broccoli and Herb Butter

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted European-style butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients in small bowl.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add broccoli and boil until pasta is tender but still firm to bite and broccoli is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain pasta and broccoli; transfer to large serving bowl. Add herb butter and toss well to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately if desired.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétithttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/angel-hair-pasta-with-broccoli-and-herb-butter-108539

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Grilled Lime -Curry-Rubbed Hanger Steak with Fresh Melon-Cucumber Chutney

For chutney:

  • 2 cups chopped firm-ripe honeydew melon (10 ounces)
  • 1/3 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño including seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

For steak:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 pounds (1-inch-thick) hanger steak or chuck blade steaks

Make chutney:

Stir together honeydew, cucumber, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with spices and let chutney stand while grilling steak.

Grill steak:

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over medium heat; see Grilling Procedure .

Stir together lime juice, oil, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Coat steak with curry mixture.

Oil grill rack, then grill steak, covered, turning once, 9 minutes total for medium-rare. Let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes, then slice thinly across the grain. Serve steak with chutney.

Serve with:  basmati or jasmine rice

From Epicurious via Gourmet , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-lime-curry-rubbed-hanger-steak-with-fresh-melon-cucumber-chutney-353669

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summer csa share – week 13

csa share week 13

Welcome to the 13th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Cilantro
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • ‘Summertime’ Crisphead Head Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Eggplant
  • Broccoli
  • Green Bell Peppers
  • Sweet Onions
  • Cucumbers – choose from slicers, and picklers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!
  • Asian Pears/Plums

Pig Update: Many thanks for the quick interest in our pork availability that we announced last week.  All the pigs are now spoken for, but please let us know if you’d like to be on the back-up list in case someone is unable to follow through with their purchase.

tomatoes and apples

The summer CSA season lasts 27 weeks, so sometime between this week and next we’ll be hitting the halfway mark!  In some ways it feels like we just started the season – wasn’t yesterday the end of May?  And in others it feels like we’re right where we should be –  I certainly feel like we’ve been working very long days for weeks on end.  The early season jitters associated with us wondering just what was going to be in the share from week to week have been replaced with a weekly paring down of the long list of available crops.  We’re smack dab in the middle of the growing season, and the produce is bumping.

We hope you’ve been enjoying the CSA thus far.  We’re looking forward to the continued diversity of crops we’ll be sharing with you over the next weeks and months, as we push through the summer heat towards the fall and through the second half of this CSA season.

parsley and sunflowers

This week we survived the heat.  We weeded  and irrigated and harvested and planted and irrigated some more.  We made it through our last major transplanting push of the season as our fall/winter chicories and some fennel and lettuce found a home in the field.  Some peppers and celeriac were weeded, apples and pears were picked, and our parsley seed crop was cut to dry for threshing.  Ground was worked for fall cover cropping and fields were mowed.  The To Do list is long this time of year, and the hot afternoons make progress slow, but we continue to push on and each finished task is celebrated.  In the cold and dark of February we’ll be thankful for the work we managed to get done now, the chicories making up winter salad mix and cover crops covering the uncroppd ground.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Fried Eggplant, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves with tender stems
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 small green chiles, such as Thai, seeds removed, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • Vegetable oil (for frying; about 2 cups)
  • 1 pound small tomatoes (about 8), cut into wedges
  • 1/2 pound Persian cucumbers (about 3), sliced

Purée cilantro, parsley, garlic, half of chiles, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a blender or food processor until very smooth; season herb oil with salt and set aside.

Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a small bowl; season with salt and set yogurt sauce aside.

Place eggplants in a colander set in the sink; season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Let sit 30 minutes to drain, then pat dry.

Fit a medium pot with thermometer; pour in vegetable oil to measure 2″. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375°.

Working in batches and returning oil to 375° between batches, fry eggplants, turning often, until golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplants to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Let cool.

Combine eggplants in a large bowl with tomatoes, cucumbers, and remaining chiles; drizzle with some reserved herb oil and toss to combine. Season salad with salt.

Spoon reserved yogurt sauce onto a platter, top with salad, and drizzle with more herb oil.

Do ahead: Herb oil and yogurt sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill separately.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit b

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Blistered Green Beans with Garlic and Miso

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon coconut or agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds haricots verts or green beans, trimmed
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Mix garlic, lime juice, miso, and coconut nectar in a small bowl to combine. Set garlic mixture aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add green beans and cook, undisturbed, until beginning to blister, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing often, until tender and blistered in spots, 8–12 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat, pour in garlic mixture, and toss green beans to coat. Add red pepper flakes; season with sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to a platter and top with cilantro.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit b , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/blistered-green-beans-with-garlic-and-miso

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Zucchini “Noodles” with Eggplant and Tomatoes

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 medium yellow squash (about 1 1/4 pounds), spiralized or cut into matchsticks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (packed) basil leaves, chopped, divided
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 large long Chinese eggplants (about 3/4 pound), cut into 1/4″ slices on the bias
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 1/4 cup pitted cured black olives, halved, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced

Place zucchini and squash in a strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. salt and toss to combine. Let sit 10 minutes, then shake in strainer, pressing gently, to remove any excess liquid.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, honey, pepper, 1/2 cup basil, 3 Tbsp. oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.

Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook garlic until it begins to sizzle and turn golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with dressing. Increase heat to medium-high, add eggplant and 1 cup tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is browned and cooked through and tomatoes begin to burst, about 6–8 minutes. Season with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and transfer to bowl with dressing.

Cut remaining 1 cup tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to bowl with dressing. Add zucchini and squash; gently toss to combine. Add 3 Tbsp. olives and 2 Tbsp. basil, then transfer with tongs to a platter, letting extra liquid drain and remain in bowl. Lay mozzarella on 1 end of platter and drizzle with oil. Top dish with remaining 2 Tbsp. basil and 1 Tbsp. olives.

From Epicurious by

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summer csa share – week 12

csa share week 12

Welcome to the 12th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce – Butterhead and Romaine heads for everyone.
  • Sweet Corn – This is the last picking of this succession of corn, so just two ears this week.  The next round will be on before we know it!
  • Broccoli
  • Iko Iko Sweet Peppers – These yellow and purple peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers.
  • Shishito Peppers – More of those ‘roulette’ peppers – 1 in 10 or so is hot.  We’ve been loving them in our morning eggs.
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cucumbers – choose from lemons, slicers, and picklers
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!
  • Asian Pears
  • Strawberries or More Tomatoes – Not enough strawberries to go around this week so you get the choice between a pint of berries or a pint of ‘Darby Red and Yellow‘ tomatoes.

pigs

This past April we purchased 5 weaner pigs from a local farm to raise through the season.  This is our second year with pigs on the farm during the summer and they’re a lot of fun to have around.  They’re certainly more animated than the vegetables and they bring new challenges to the farm.  Will they stay in the hot wire fencing?  How do you move them across the field?

This year we purchased a group of mixed breed weaners and it’s been interesting to see how they differ from last year’s more heritage breed.  From the outset they’ve been much more interested in eating grass and excess produce.  This group has also rooted in the field a lot more than last year’s group.  Finally, they’ve become friendlier and they mostly let you give the pats and scratches behind the ears.  In fact they’re so friendly that Jeff has decided to keep the red one in the photo above as a breeding animal and we hope to have our own piglets next spring instead of buying in a new batch of weaners.

This batch of pigs is on track to reach our target weights by the end of the month and the butcher date is scheduled.  We’re ready to line up sales of pork.  We’ll be selling them by the half and you can find all the details on the P&C Pork page.  Send us an email ASAP if you’re interested in purchasing a half and we’ll get you on the list.

seeds and planting

This week has been much of the same, though the weather has been fluxuating from summer-warm to fall-chilly.  In fact we got rained on while picking cucumbers and summer squash yesterday.  As I pulled on my raingear I questioned if it was really August.

In the past week we weeded and fertilized Brussels sprouts, weeded cauliflower, and harvested onions and the first of the Asian pears.  Jeff also did plenty of ground prep including mowing and tilling and we transplanted the last round of brassicas for the season, including purple sprouting broccoli and overwintering cauliflower.  I spent some time this weekend bringing in the chicory and celery seed crops and after they dry down some we’ll get to threshing the seed.

After one more big push, the planting for the season will be mostly behind us and we can focus that much more on maintaining the farm, bringing in storage crops, and soon we’ll be preparing for winter and sowing cover crops.  Fall doesn’t feel so far off today.  But the weather says we’ll be back in the 90s this weekend, so I don’t think summer is quite over just yet.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Cucumber-Basil Agua Fresca

  • 2 large English hothouse cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup (packed) basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup sugar or agave syrup, plus more to taste

Slice a few thin slices of cucumber; reserve for garnish. Peel and coarsely chop remaining cucumber.

Purée chopped cucumber, lime juice, basil, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups water in a food processor until very smooth. Strain into a pitcher and add 2 cups water, adding more sugar or water if needed, then chill until ready to serve. Add reserved cucumber slices just before serving.

From Epicurious by , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-basil-agua-fresca-56389827

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Cucumber and Avocado Soup with Tomato and Basil Salad

  • 1 large English hothouse cucumber, peeled, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) buttermilk
  • 1 avocado, quartered, pitted, peeled
  • 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Combine cucumber and buttermilk in blender. Chop 1/4 of avocado; set aside for salad. Cut remaining avocado into chunks. Add avocado to blender; then add 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon basil. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Mix reserved avocado, remaining 2 tablespoons onion and 1 tablespoon basil, tomato and lime juice in small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover soup and tomato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle cucumber soup into 4 bowls. Dollop each with 1 tablespoon yogurt; top with tomato salad and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-and-avocado-soup-with-tomato-and-basil-salad-103759

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Breakfast Taco Hobo Packs

  • 2 bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced into 1/4″-thick half moons
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium jalapeños, seeded, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 cup defrosted frozen corn
  • 6 tablespoons tomatillo salsa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 soft taco-size corn or flour tortillas
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems (optional)

Cut 12 (12×16″) pieces of heavy-duty foil. Layer 2 pieces of foil on top of each other to create 6 stacks. Line top pieces of foil with parchment paper cut to the same size.

Toss peppers, zucchini, onion, jalapeños (if using), beans, corn, salsa, oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Divide mixture among prepared packs, arranging in the center of each piece of parchment. Bring edges of foil together to enclose each pack, covering completely, then crimp to seal packs closed.

Prepare a campfire or grill for medium, indirect heat, preferably with hardwood or hardwood charcoal. Let coals burn until covered with ash and glowing red with no black remaining.

Place packs side by side directly onto hot coals or grill and cook, rotating with tongs occasionally, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove 1 pack from heat and check if ingredients are steaming hot. If necessary, return pack to coals and continue to cook, 5–10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, wrap tortillas in foil and heat close to the coals until warm, 5–10 minutes.

Transfer packs with tongs to a flat surface and carefully open them (they will be full of hot steam). Crack 1 egg into the center of each pack and season with salt and pepper. Reseal, return to coals, and cook until egg whites are opaque but yolks are still runny, 4–5 minutes.

Carefully remove packs from coals, open, and sprinkle evenly with cheese and cilantro, if using. Serve each pack immediately with 2 warm tortillas.

Do Ahead

Packs can be assembled and chilled for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Cooks’ Note
Packs can be prepared in an oven. Preheat to 450°F and place packs on rimmed baking sheets. Bake until steaming hot, about 15 minutes if packs were refrigerated and about 30 minutes if baking frozen packs (no need to defrost). Carefully open packs (they will be full of hot steam), crack 1 egg into the center of each, season with salt and pepper, and reseal. Return to oven and cook until egg whites are opaque but yolks are still runny, 4–5 minutes more. Top with cheese and cilantro, if using. Serve immediately.
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summer csa share – week 11

csa share week 11

Welcome to the 11th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Snap Beans –  mix of green, yellow, and purple beans this week!
  • Dill
  • Red Beets
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Salad Mix
  • Sweet Corn
  • Broccoli or Lacinato Kale
  • Sweet Onion
  • Cucumbers – Lemon and slicer cucumbers this week
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!
  • Strawberries

tomatoes and flowers

Looking around the dusty landscape of the farm on a hot afternoon, it certainly feels like August.  Our draughty summers make such an impact on land.  The irrigation sprinklers keep things green and lush, but out of their reach the grass has turned the straw-yellow of summer.

It’s a wonder that this is the high season for fruit amidst the dry and the dust.  The tomatoes are in full swing; the red and orange and yellow globes are a highlight in contrast to the rest of the landscape.  And the few flowers, planted for me and for the bees, are just splashes of color amidst the green of growing crops and the brown of everything else.

I think back to blustery spring days seeding in the propagation house, the rain turning any bare ground to mud, and I appreciate this season we’ve arrived at for its dryness, its perfect soil texture after the slightest irrigation or rain, its blue skies and intense sunny days.  The arrival of August brings the countdown to autumn, but I think I’ll try to enjoy this height of summer a little bit longer.

hiking

This week, as with most weeks, we weeded and irrigated and harvested and seeded.  What’s new this week is that we took a whole day off the farm and went on a hike.  What?  It’s true.  We left the weeds and the animal chores and the mowing and the everything else behind at the farm and we drove off to the mountains and we walked in the woods.

There is something completely restorative about walking on a trail, surrounded by very tall trees, and eventually catching a view of snowy peaked mountains in the not-so-distant landscape.  The slugs and weedy plants are not your concern in the woods.  The walking can be at any pace, with time to stop and study the trailside flora.  The sweeping views from the top are poignant reminders that this is in fact an amazing planet we get to live on.  We returned to the farm ready for the week ahead, and better for our time away.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Chilled Beet Soup with Buttermilk, Cucumbers, and Dill (Chlodnik)

  • 1 pound beets with greens (about 2 medium beets)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Kirby cucumbers, peeled, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 kosher dill pickle, coarsely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus 1/2 cup pickle brine
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or kefir (preferably low- or full-fat)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped scallions
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped dill

Using a large knife, separate greens and stems from beets. Thoroughly wash greens and stems; set aside. Scrub beets, transfer to a medium pot, and cover with 1″ water. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, uncover, and cook until beets are tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Drain beets; discard cooking liquid. Let cool.

Meanwhile, chop beet greens and stems. Transfer to a large pot and add 1/2 tsp. salt and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, without boiling, until greens are tender, about 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Peel and coarsely grate beets, preferably wearing gloves. Add to pot with cooled greens. Gently stir in cucumbers, pickle, pickle brine, buttermilk, sour cream, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover pot and chill soup at least 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Divide soup among bowls; top with eggs and dill.

Do Ahead

Soup can be made 2 days ahead; cover and chill.

From Epicurious , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chilled-beet-soup-with-buttermilk-cucumbers-and-dill-chlodnik

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Potato, Cucumber and Dill Salad

  • 2 pounds baby red potatoes, sliced
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 3/4 pound pickling cucumbers, sliced
  • Fresh dill sprigs

Cook potatoes in pot of boiling water until just tender. Drain. Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar to hot potatoes and stir gently. Combine remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and mustard in small bowl. Gradually mix in oil. Add chopped dill. Mix into potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.) Mix in cucumbers. Garnish with dill sprigs.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétithttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-cucumber-and-dill-salad-2080

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Vegetable Couscous, Goat Cheese, and Beets

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (4-oz) piece soft mild goat cheese from a log
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup couscous (3 oz)
  • 1/4 cup diced (1/4 inch) red onion
  • 1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 small beet (about 2 inches in diameter), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 4 thin prosciutto slices (optional)
    1. Stir together dill, chives, and pepper on a plate, then roll cheese in herb mixture to coat sides (not ends). Wrap cheese in plastic wrap and chill.
    2. Bring water, salt, and 1 tablespoon oil to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in couscous, then cover pan and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
    3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, 1 minute. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and corn and cook, stirring, until zucchini is bright green, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
    4. Fluff couscous with a fork and stir into vegetables, then season with salt and pepper.
    5. Peel beet and cut half of beet into very thin slices (less than 1/8 inch thick) with slicer (discard remainder), then stack slices and cut into thin matchsticks. Rinse beets and pat dry, then transfer to a bowl.
    6. Whisk together vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tablespoon dressing to beets and toss to coat.
    7. Fill ramekin with couscous, pressing it firmly into mold with a rubber spatula. Invert ramekin onto a salad plate and carefully unmold couscous, then make 3 more couscous mounds on 3 more plates.
    8. Drape each couscous mound with 1 prosciutto slice (if using), then top with some of beets.
    9. Unwrap cheese and cut crosswise into 4 equal slices with a lightly oiled knife, then arrange 1 cheese slice alongside each couscous mound and spoon remaining dressing around mounds.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegetable-couscous-goat-cheese-and-beets-109734

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summer csa share – week 10

csa share week 10

Welcome to the 10th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:

  • Haricot Vert Green Beans! – Our favorite slender green bean variety.  Time to get snapping!
  • Cilantro
  • Carrots
  • Salad Mix
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Onion
  • Broccoli or Cabbage
  • Eggplant or Fava Beans
  • Cucumbers – Slicers and ‘Salt & Pepper’ picklers this week
  • Summer Squash – More of the same, choose from: white pattypans, round and long zucchinis, and yellow straightneck.
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Shishito Peppers – Just the first handful of of these delicious little ‘roulette’ peppers.  Some are hot, most are not.  New to shishitos?  We love them blistered in hot oil like in this recipe.

bees

Summer seems to have arrived this week.  The hot afternoons I remember from the last couple of years are back, making fieldwork a bit more of a slog.  The heat-loving crops like peppers and eggplant are happy for the boost I think, but truth be told, we prefer the overcast mornings when it comes to getting things done in the field.  The cooler weather and even intermittent rain we’ve been experiencing so far this season hasn’t fully prepared us for the summer heat.  We’re quickly remembering how important that extra glass of water can be midday, and the wonders of the occasional quick after-lunch nap.

This is the portion of the season when we begin to wonder if the transplanting will ever end and if it’s actually even possible to keep the weeds under control.  The push of the growing season continues, and the heat just adds to the obstacles.  It’s an important time to take a step back and remember there’s more to this work than just getting through it.  We’re growing this food with intention for you, our CSA members.  You reap the rewards when we’re successful and you endure our failures alongside us.  In the day to day overwhelming amount of work on the farm, it can be easy to lose track of that end goal.  But thanks for supporting us in this work as we try our very hardest to bring you diverse and seasonal produce each week.  I feel certain that without that direct connection with our members, this farming thing would be even more difficult.

planting and blackberries

This week we added to the long list of things on the farm we’ve gotten a handle on in the past few weeks.  With the help of our great employees we weeded the Brussels sprouts, parsnips, and eggplants.  And thanks to CSA member Maya, who  I completely forgot we’d scheduled some weeding time with (so it was basically a bonus), we knocked out the weeds in the leeks on Saturday morning.  Our “Weed This ASAP” list is getting more manageable each week.

The march towards winter crops also continued this week as the fall/overwintered kale and rutabagas and overwintered cabbages all found a home in the field.  We also planted out the last round of corn and a few more melons that will hopefully make an appearance before the season concludes.  The propagation house is looking emptier and emptier these days, but the field is ever fuller.  More irrigating!  More weeding!  What’s next?

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Roasted Halibut and Green Beans with Asian Cilantro Sauce

  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves (from 1 large bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 green onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 jalapeño chile with seeds, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 5 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce, divided
  • 2 8-ounce halibut fillets, each about 1-inch thick
  • 2 cups green beans, halved
  • 2 cups stemmed shiitake or oyster mushrooms

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place first 5 ingredients, 3 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon soy sauce in processor; puree. Season sauce to taste with salt.

Place fish, beans, and mushrooms in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons safflower oil, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce in bowl to blend. Pour over fish, beans, and mushrooms; toss beans and mushrooms to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until fish is opaque in center and beans are crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Divide fish, vegetables, and sauce between plates.

From Epicurous via

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Grilled Polenta with Corn, Red Onion, and Cucumber Salad

 

  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal) or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 4 ears corn, husked
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped English hothouse cucumber
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

Bring 4 cups water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually add polenta, whisking until boiling and smooth. Reduce heat to low. Cook until very thick, whisking often, about 25 minutes (about 15 minutes for yellow cornmeal). Whisk in cheese. Spread in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Cool slightly. Cover; chill at least 6 hours.

Whisk lime juice, oil and garlic in large bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.

Spray grill with oil spray; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spray corn and onion slices with oil spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until vegetables are tender, turning often, about 8 minutes for corn and 15 minutes for onion. Cool. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Coarsely chop onion. Add corn, onion, tomatoes, cucumber and mint to dressing; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut polenta into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Spray polenta with oil spray. Grill until heated through, about 5 minutes per side.

Divide salad among 4 plates. Place 2 polenta triangles alongside each salad.

From Epicurious via http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-polenta-with-corn-red-onion-and-cucumber-salad-103608

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Cucumber Carrot Salad

  • 1 garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably naam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 fresh Thai or serrano chili, or to taste, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and cored
  • 1 carrot, shredded coarse
  • soft-leafed lettuce for serving

In a bowl stir together garlic paste, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and chili until sugar is dissolved.

Thinly slice cucumbers crosswise and add to garlic mixture with carrot. Toss salad well. Salad may be made 4 hours ahead and kept chilled, covered, but cucumber will wilt and give off liquid.

Serve salad in lettuce “cups.”

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-carrot-salad-12065

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summer csa share – week 9

csa share week 9

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

  • Haricot Vert Green Beans! – Our favorite slender green bean variety.  Time to get snapping!
  • Basil
  • Red New Potatoes
  • Salad Mix
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Onion
  • Cauliflower or Rainbow Chard
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Cucumbers – Mediterranean slicers and lemon cukes this week!
  • Tomatoes Pints of cherries and slicers both!
  • Sweet Peppers – These yellow and purple peppers are equivalent to green bell peppers
  • Red Delicious & Gravenstein Apples

field and frog

First things  first – many thanks to the folks that made it out to the farm visit this past Saturday.  We always appreciate sharing the farm with CSA members and Saturday was a good day for it.  Although we forgot to follow through on our screenprinting promises, we hope you had a good time looking around the farm and meeting up with other CSA members.  If you want to visit the farm but missed out this time around, never fear.  There’s another chance in October!

beans and seed

Leading up to farm events we’re often scurrying around, attempting to add a little order to the chaos here on the farm.  This week we chose instead to focus on our continued work catch-up.   Thanks to the help of our two new very part-time employees we saved two beds of carrots and four beds of winter squash from weeds on Thursday and Friday morning.  There are plenty more weedy beds to tackle, but it’s so great to see progress on that front.

We also managed to get the next successions of broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, corn, basil, parsley, and lettuce transplanted and direct sowed successions of beets, bush beans, cilantro, arugula, radishes, and carrots.  The crops just keep coming!  We’re deep into sowing  overwintering crops now.  Each passing week puts us closer to fall and the end of the growing season.  We need fall crops to fully mature and overwintering crops to size up just enough to make it through the winter months.  Each planting finds me counting days to maturity, and wondering when we might begin seeing our first fall frosts.  Can we get another round of beans in the ground?  Will the final corn succession have time to mature?  Warm fall months the past couple of years made for an extended season and plants that wouldn’t quit.  We’ve learned we can only plan and plant, and wait and see.

The week ahead will be much the same.  We will weed more winter squash, and hopefully the parsnips and leeks too.  We will transplant corn, and maybe kale and cabbage.  We will harvest, wash, pack, and distribute vegetables.  We will move pipe and irrigate crops and mow and till fields.  We will cultivate and fertilize crops.  We will sow more seeds.  It’s the height of the growing season and the work is continuous to prepare for next week, next month, and next year.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

  • 2 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a food processor, combine the kale leaves, basil leaves, and salt. Pulse 10 to 12 times, until the kale leaves are finely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. Scrape down the sides of the processor. Add the walnuts and garlic and process again, then add the cheese and pulse to combine. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Fifty Shades of Kale , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-pesto-with-toasted-walnuts-51207810

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Cold Cucumber and Yellow Pepper Soup with Crab Meat and Chives

  • 2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 2 medium yellow bell peppers, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups 1-inch cubes honeydew melon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chili, or to taste, seeded and chopped (wear rubber gloves)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
  • 1/2 pound lump crab meat, picked over
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, or to taste
  • Garnish: finely diced yellow bell pepper and 2-inch pieces fresh chives

Make Soup: In a blender purée soup ingredients with salt and pepper to taste until smooth. Force soup through a fine sieve into a bowl and chill, covered, 4 hours, or until very cold. Soup may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Just before serving, in a small bowl toss crab with oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Divide crab mixture among 6 soup bowls, mounding it in center, and ladle soup around it. Sprinkle each serving with finely chopped chives and garnish with diced yellow pepper and chive pieces.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cold-cucumber-and-yellow-pepper-soup-with-crab-meat-and-chives-12419

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Potato, Green Bean, and Corn Salad

  • 4 pounds small white boiling potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter)
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons coarse-grained mustard
  • cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, or to taste
  • 1 pound haricots verts (thin French green beans) or regular green beans
  • 6 ears corn

In a kettle cover potatoes with salted cold water by 2 inches and simmer until just tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, halve larger ones and in a large bowl toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons vinegar.

In a small bowl whisk together mustard, remaining 3 tablespoons vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Dressing may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring dressing to room temperature before using.

Trim beans and, working over a bowl, cut corn kernels from cobs. Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook beans until crisp-tender, about 1 minute for haricots verts or about 5 minutes for regular green beans, and transfer with a slotted spoon to ice water to stop cooking. Drain beans well and add to potatoes. Return water in pan to a boil and blanch corn 30 seconds, or until crisp-tender. Drain corn in a sieve and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Drain corn well and add to salad. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before proceeding. Gently toss salad with dressing and salt and pepper to taste until combined well.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-green-bean-and-corn-salad-15282

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summer csa share – week 8

csa share week 8

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

  • Green Conical Cabbage – Early Jersey Wakefield, a variety first grown in the US in 1840, great for kraut, soups, and sautes.
  • Cilantro
  • Yellow Beets
  • Salad Mix
  • Pink Beauty Radishes
  • Elephant Garlic – a mild type of garlic that is actually more closely related to leeks than garlic.  Use it in dishes calling for subtle garlicky flavors.
  • Summer Squash – Up first we’ve got traditional zucchinis, yellow straightneck, white pattypan, and an Italian round zucchini known as Tondo di Piacenza.
  • Cucumbers – A plethora of choices including various varieties of picklers and slicers!
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Tomatoes Choose from mixed pints of cherries and slicers, the first of the season!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Apples in July?  It’s true, our earliest apples begin ripening now.  We’re getting to these Yellow Transparents before they get too ripe and begin to bruise when handled.  A good cooking apple, makes great applesauce!  Also, some of these might be Lodi apples.

It’s that time again!  CSA open farm and potluck time, that is!  We invite CSA members to join us on Saturday at the farm for tours, good food, and other farm shenanigans.  Come see your vegetables in the field, meet other members, and bring a t-shirt for some P&C logo screenprinting fun.  Check you email for all the details!

carrots and birds

What a wild ride this farming gig has been.  Every growing season has presented its own unique challenges, its own highs and lows.  The weather has played a big role in this, whether it be rain in June or scorching heat in May and all the way through into October.  This year we seem to be experiencing something in between with a warm spring and now a mild summer and rain in normally droughty July!  We’ve learned to expect the unexpected and keep on farming through to the other side.

The constant through every season has been the weeds.  You’d think we’d have a better handle on how to fight the weeds by now, but no.  There is no easy answer, no quick solution.  So we’ve come to the realization that in fact we cannot do it all by ourselves at this scale and we’ve brought on help.  Last week we hired two very part-time people to help with weeding.  We’re excited to begin wrangling things back into control around here.  We’ve begun this past week by salvaging the pepper field, so things are already looking up.

purple cape

Our “To Do” list is epic this time of year.  All the things need to be done yesterday.  This weekend we did get one big item marked off; we harvested the overwintering purple cape cauliflower seed crop.  We grow a handful of seed crops for our friends at Adaptive Seeds every year, and this past year we grew a stand of purple cape cauliflower.

Purple cape is a unique overwintering purple cauliflower that we start mid-July, transplant in August, and grows through the fall and winter to head up in February.  It’s such a surprise each year when the purple heads begin to appear in the field.  It’s definitely a favorite variety and staple in late-February Winter CSA shares.

Growing seed crops requires a different set of skills than our fresh produce crops.  Attempting to steward a crop for a year, through it’s entire life cycle from seed to seed, is more involved than the shorter time frame of sowing, tending, and harvesting other crops.  We grew purple cape cauliflower for the CSA this past year too, and once harvested in February we moved on, not giving it another thought until now when it’s time to sow it for the next round.  Long after we harvested that cauliflower for the CSA, the seed crop stayed in the field, elongating and flowering and eventually producing seed pods and seeds!  We kept it watered, flagged the best plants for stock seed, attempted to keep the weeds down, rogued out the worst plants, and finally harvested it this week before the birds discovered the dry seed pods and delicious seeds inside.

After a year’s worth of effort, we now have a bin full of beautiful seed.  After a little more cleaning it will be handed off to Adaptive Seeds for disease and germination testing.  Fingers crossed that we pass the tests and all the effort will have been worth it as the seed makes its way into the world to be grown by other farmers and gardeners.  We sowed our overwintered cauliflower this weekend too, and we’re already looking forward to sweet winter cauliflower next February.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Wilted Cabbage with Carrots and Bacon

  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage (about 3/4 pound)
  • 2 carrots, grated coarse
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves (wash and dry before chopping

In a large non-stick skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp and transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. In fat remaining in skillet cook garlic and onion over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened. Add carrots and cabbage and cook, stirring, over moderate heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in bacon and parsley and season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/wilted-cabbage-with-carrots-and-bacon-14113

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Chilled Cucumber-Yogurt Soup with Radishes

  • 2 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 1/4 pounds pickling cucumbers, trimmed, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces.
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) ground ginger
  • Thinly sliced radishes

Combine yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, salt, cumin, curry and ginger in blender. Puree until smooth. Strain through fine sieve into large bowl. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with radishes and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chilled-cucumber-yogurt-soup-with-radishes-598

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Maple Horseradish Glazed Beets

  • 1 3/4 lb medium beets (3 3/4 lb with greens), stems trimmed to 1 inch
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons bottled horseradish (not drained)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably dark amber or Grade B)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.

Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel beets and cut into eighths, then transfer to a bowl.

Melt butter with horseradish, syrup, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat. Stir in beets and boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid in skillet is reduced to about 1/4 cup and beets are coated, 4 to 5 minutes.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/maple-horseradish-glazed-beets-238068

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summer csa share – week 7

csa share week 7

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

  • Lacinato Kale or Broccoli Side Shoots
  • Dill
  • Potatoes – Last of the storage potatoes, for reals.
  • Spring Onion – choose red or yellow
  • Salad Mix
  • Fresh Uncured Rosewood Garlic
  • Summer Squash – Up first we’ve got traditional zucchinis, yellow straightneck, white pattypan, and an Italian round zucchini known as Tondo di Piacenza.
  • Cucumbers – A plethora of choices including various varieties of picklers and slicers!
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes Choose from mixed pints of cherries and slicers, the first of the season!
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Apples in July?  It’s true, our earliest apples begin ripening now.  We’re getting to these Yellow Transparents before they get too ripe and begin to bruise when handled.  A good cooking apple, makes great applesauce!

frog and water

Welcome to July!  The sun is shining, the plants are growing, and the farming is going gangbusters.  This week we got some chunks of weeding done in our outdoor tomatoes and peppers.  It’s such a rewarding thing to save a crop from total disaster.  Of course there’s more weeding to tackle, but now there’s a little less.

We also transplanted successions of salad mix, head lettuce, beets, chard, collards, cabbage, summer squash, cucumbers, melons and the tomatillos went in the ground.  4600 plants in the field that were not there a week ago.  The soil was near perfect and with the help of the transplanter we averaged 12 minutes for planting 400 starts at 6 inch spacing and 5 minutes for 100 starts at 2 foot spacing.  When things fall into line and the systems are all in sync, it can sure be fun to get through a day’s work.

flag and squash

Yesterday was Independence Day and we spent the day harvesting.  Jeff brought the flag out to make things a little more celebratory.  During breaks I watched NASA updates on the Juno mission to Jupiter, which after traveling 1.7 billion miles over five years was finally reaching the giant planet.  I admit it kind of blew my mind.  The fact that people can think up and execute such a thing as launching a spacecraft into the unknown and successfully get it to do precisely what they intended, what was previously only theoretical, is truly amazing.  There’s really nothing like space travel to put a weedy farm field into perspective.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Greek-Style Cucumber and Yogurt Dip with Dill

  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, grated
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 pita breads, cut horizontally in half, then cut into wedges
  • Olive oil

Line sieve with cheesecloth and place over medium bowl. Place yogurt in sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to drain in refrigerator overnight.

Mix cucumber and 1 tablespoon salt in small bowl; cover and chill 3 hours.

Transfer drained yogurt to another bowl. Mix in sour cream, lemon juice, dill and garlic. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible from cucumber. Stir cucumber into yogurt. Season with pepper. Cover; chill at least 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place pita wedges on baking sheets. Brush with olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store pita airtight at room temperature.) Serve cucumber dip with baked pita wedges.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/greek-style-cucumber-and-yogurt-dip-with-dill-103752

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Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad with Dill Cream Dressing

  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 4 large skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 pound red-skinned potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound medium zucchini, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pitted large green Sicilian olives or other brine-cured green olives

Combine 1/2 cup dill, 1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, shallot, and 2 teaspoons lemon peel in large bowl; whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken and stir to coat. Marinate at room temperature 1 hour or chill up to 8 hours, turning chicken occasionally.

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, 1/4 cup dill, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon peel in small bowl; whisk to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Steam potatoes until just tender, about 12 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Combine zucchini slices and 2 tablespoons olive oil in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt; toss to coat. Heat grill pan or large ridged cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 4 minutes. Working in batches, grill zucchini slices until just crisp-tender, about 1 minute per side; transfer to plate. Grill chicken until brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface; cool 15 minutes. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch cubes; add to potatoes in bowl. Mix in celery, olives, and dressing; season with salt and pepper.

Overlap zucchini slices around edge of platter. Mound chicken salad in center.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-lemon-chicken-salad-with-dill-cream-dressing-106942

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Dilled Tuna-Cucumber Salad

  • 1 6 1/8-ounce can water-packed white tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 small green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients in small bowl. Mix well. Season generously with pepper. Serve salad chilled.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/dilled-tuna-cucumber-salad-109

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summer csa share – week 6

csa share week 6

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

  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Cilantro
  • Red Cabbage
  • Spring Onion
  • Romaine Lettuce – Two heads, two varieties, one red and one speckled.
  • Fresh Uncured Garlic
  • Fennel – check out the fennel salad recipe below!
  • Summer Squash – Up first we’ve got traditional zucchinis, yellow straightneck, and an Italian round zucchini known as Tondo di Piacenza.
  • Cucumbers – A plethora of choices including various varieties of picklers and slicers!
  • Beets – These were transplanted in the early spring, likely too densely planted.  Figuring out just the right beet growing technique is an ongoing project.  We’ve got successions lined up though, so hopefully happier beets will be on the way!
  • Carrots

landscape

As with any industry, there are multitudes of books and guides and how-to articles aimed at the small farmer.  These references can help us learn everything from how to organize the farm for maximum efficiency to how to grow a better garlic crop.  We have books on farm finance and farm marketing and small scale farming.  We have magazines with articles that detail harvest and handling procedures, cultivation set-ups for tractors, and pest management options.  We read and we plan and we try to figure out which options are best for our particular situation.

And then the growing season gets going and the work really gets cranking and we just try to keep moving, and working, and trying to get through another day.  In those moments I most appreciate, not the books and articles, but the Farmer to Farmer Podcast.  A podcast that features a new farmer each week with a host that asks the questions a farmer would ask and more.  Whether it’s a farm I’m familiar with or have never heard of, I always come away with new bits of information and a renewed sense that we are not the only ones playing this farm game.  Which of course I know, but it’s easy to forget in the midst of so much isolated work.  The inspiration is invaluable, and though this sounds like an advertisement, it’s really just a shout out to a highlight of each week.

That’s all I’ve got this week.  Of course there was weeding and cultivating and harvesting and irrigating and planting as usual.  We’ve already begun sowing seeds for overwintering crops like kale and cabbage!  Whoa!  We’re in that mid-season re-evaluation period and are looking to bring on some help.  Let us know if you’re interested in volunteering some time on the farm, or know anyone locally who might be interested in part-time farmwork.  Work will be physically demanding, likely involving heavy lifting and crawling as we need help weeding and eventually harvesting storage crops later in the season.  Send us an email for more details.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Beet and Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 6 medium beets, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • 2/3 cup corn oil
  • 8 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (about half of large head)
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup (packed) chopped fresh dill
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 3 large carrots, peeled, coarsely grated (about 3 cups)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets in foil, enclosing completely. Bake beets until tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool. Peel and coarsely grate beets. Whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard and caraway seeds in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Add cabbage, onion and grated beets to dressing and toss to coat. Let stand 45 minutes, tossing occasionally. Stir in dill. Season generously with salt and pepper. Line large bowl with lettuce. Mix 2 1/2 cups carrots into cabbage mixture. Spoon salad atop lettuce in bowl. Sprinkle remaining grated carrots over and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/beet-and-red-cabbage-slaw-101845

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Romaine, Red Pepper, and Fennel Salad

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 8 cups bite-size pieces romaine lettuce
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Set dressing aside. Combine remaining ingredients in large bowl. Add enough dressing to season to taste. Season generously with pepper sand serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/tools/searchresults?search=fennel+romaine

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Chineasy Cucumber Salad

  • 1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Sichuan chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 3 Persian or Kirby cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

Whisk together the vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set the dressing aside.

Halve the cucumbers lengthwise. (If using English cucumbers, remove the seeds with a small spoon and discard.) Set them cut-side down on a cutting board and lightly smash them: Give them a couple angry thwaps with the side of a cleaver (or a large chef’s knife) until the cucumbers crack in a few places. (For less drama, just press down on them with the side of the knife.) Cut the abused cucumbers crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick half-moons.

Toss the cucumbers in the dressing, portion them out onto plates, and top each serving with sesame seeds, peanuts, and cilantro.

From Epicurious via Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes by , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chineasy-cucumber-salad-lucky-peach-recipe

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summer csa share – week 5

csa share week 5

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

  • Dazzling Blue Lacinato Kale – Our friend Hank Keogh bred this variety at Wild Garden Seed in Philomath.  Plant breeding is awesome!  Thanks Hank!
  • Milan Turnips
  • Green Cabbage
  • Bolty Spring Onions – Last week’s onion flowers came from these bulbs.  Be warned, they’ve got a pithy stalk in the center, but there’s a lot of oniony awesomeness to be had.  There are plenty of non-bolty onions to come, we promise.  We just couldn’t bare to waste so many bulbs.
  • Romaine Lettuce – Two heads, two varieties, one red and one green.
  • Broccoli – We’re working through the last of the our first broccoli succession.  Everyone gets a head and bonus side shoots this week!
  • Fresh Uncured Rosewood Garlic – It’s garlic harvesting season and we’re excited to get garlic back into the rotation!  This week we’re giving you uncured garlic straight from the field.  It can be used like cured garlic, but you’ll want to store it in the fridge and use it up quickly. 
  • Summer Squash – Up first we’ve got traditional zucchinis, yellow straightneck, and an Italian round zucchini known as Tondo di Piacenza.
  • Peas or Fava Beans – Last of these for a while. 
  • Carrots
  • Seascape Strawberries – It’s rough picking out there and these may be the last of the berries for a while.  Enjoy them!

garlic

In the past couple of weeks I’ve mentioned how many things need to happen in the late-May to early-June timeframe.  The planting and weeding and irrigating all pile up into a frenzy of farming.  Part of the reason for the work pile-up is the one shot wonders of the farming season.  Those elusive crops we get a single go at each year.  These plantings are big and timing can make or break them.  In our planting plans these generally include garlic, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, leeks, peppers, eggplant, celery, celeriac, and potatoes.

We sow succession after succession of lettuce and carrots and cabbage and we try out different varieties for each slot through the growing season.  There’s room for variability and trial.  If one round doesn’t germinate well, there’s another on the way.

In contrast we only get one shot each year at these other crops.  If harvested too late the quality of the garlic will deteriorate and it’s storage life will be lessened.  If planted too late the winter squash won’t have time to fully ripen in the field before fall frosts hit.  There’s no second chance, only next year.

squash

The early and everlasting hot summer that hit the PNW last year resulted in heavy fungus rust pressure that ravaged our garlic crop  If we’ve learned anything from farming it’s that no season is the same as another.  The rust pressure in our garlic this year was less and this week’s garlic harvest was much more rewarding as the bulbs had a chance to size up well.  We’re looking at some really amazing garlic that will be included in future shares this summer and next winter.  Come October we’ll put more cloves in the ground and hope for the best.

Just as we were needing to harvest the season’s garlic, we also needed to finally get the season’s winter squash plants in the ground.  We’re several weeks behind on this big planting compared to last year and the window is closing on the number of days left in the growing season to count on having fully ripe squash come fall.  We dodged Saturday’s thunderstorms to push this big planting to completion and are glad to have those 975 plants in the field.  Like the garlic, we’ll tend the plants through the season and see what we end up with at the other end of things.  Fingers crossed we’ll have a bounty of 15 different varieties of winter squash to share with you through the fall and winter months!

Last week we also planted our leeks (hurrah!) and made it through this year’s organic inspection.  We’re marking things off the list left and right!  This week we’re turning our attention to some serious cultivation and weeding needs.  It can’t be all planting and harvesting all the time.  Watch out thistle and pigweed, your days are numbered.

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Creamy Summer Slaw

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small bunch broccoli (about 12 ounces)
  • 1/2 medium Napa cabbage, thinly sliced (about 6 cups) (or use your green cabbage)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided

Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, and lemon juice in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Set buttermilk dressing aside.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel broccoli stalk if skin is thick. Halve broccoli lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise, starting at crown. Toss broccoli, cabbage, scallions, sugar snap peas, 2 tablespoons chives, and reserved buttermilk dressing in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Serve slaw topped with remaining 2 tablespoons chives.

DO AHEAD: Slaw can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/creamy-summer-slaw-51178860

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Grilled Wild Salmon with Garlic Scape Pesto and Summer Squash

  • Coconut oil, for the grill
  • 2 cups garlic scapes (or use fresh garlic)
  • 2 cups packed kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 wild salmon fillets, skin intact (1 pound)
  • 1 pound yellow squash, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

Oil a grill with coconut oil and preheat the grill over high heat.

Put the garlic scapes, kale, olive oil, cheese, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender and process until finely chopped. Divide the pesto in half and reserve one- half for another use.

Place the salmon on the grill, flesh side down, and grill 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the salmon, and place the squash slices on the grill. Brush the pesto over the salmon and the squash.

Grill the squash, turning it occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes until cooked through. Grill the salmon 4 to 5 minutes until the skin crisps but the center is still medium. Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.

From Epicurious via Eat Complete by Drew Ramsey, MD, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-wild-salmon-with-garlic-scape-pesto-and-summer-squash

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Parmesan Chicken with Caesar Roasted Romaine

  • 4 7-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Pecorino, or Asiago cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
  • 2 large hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
  • 4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Season chicken with salt and pepper; place on prepared sheet. Combine cheese, panko, 2 tablespoons oil, parsley, and 1 garlic clove in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Pat panko mixture onto breasts. Roast chicken until crumbs begin to turn golden, about 10 minutes.

Drizzle romaine with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with remaining 1 chopped garlic clove. Season with salt and pepper. Remove baking sheet from oven; place romaine right around chicken. Roast until chicken is cooked through and lettuce is browned at edges, about 5 minutes. Divide among plates. Top lettuce with anchovies; garnish with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit

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