Summer CSA Share – #18

Welcome to the 18th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Romaine Head Lettuce
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Mixed Melons
  • Broccoli
  • Shallots
  • Shishito Peppers
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Garlic
  • Sweet Corn
  • ‘Stripetti’ Spaghetti Squash

The first autumn rain of the season is a big deal on the farm.  Summer rainstorms are usually fleeting and followed by more high temps, so the only preparation generally required is moving tractors under cover and rolling up car windows.  The first deluge of fall is a season changer.

Seeing a big rain in the forecast in September sets a countdown for harvesting the season-long storage crops like flour corn and dry beans that have matured and already dried down in the field.  We were generally successful at getting those crops in on Friday with the help of our employee/nephew before the rain arrived.  The popcorn isn’t quite ready so it’s waiting out the damp, hopefully to dry enough in the sunny days next week to resist molding.  We also harvested just under half of our winter squash on Sunday afternoon.  Seeing these dry storage crops doomed to a rainstorm have so many weeks of dry weather and hot days is a real motivator to get them safely under cover.

In between prepping for the rain, we also spent a chunk of the week trying to contain the three not-so-little pigs.  Some trouble with the electric fence charger eventually led to an uncharged fence and three curious pigs outside of the fence.  We eventually corralled them into a hog panel enclosure and Jeff was finally able to get the fence charged again.  But about 5 minutes after we’d let them back into the larger area they’d escaped once again, showing no fear of the electric charge.  After much cajoling  and enticing and general reasoning with the pigs we once again got them contained inside the hog panels.  There’s not much like the feeling in the pit of your stomach when a large farm animal is trotting across an open field toward total freedom with no interest in listening to your pleas to turn around.  I was perhaps the most surprised when they were once again safely fenced in.

That said, it’s time to think about buyers for these three pigs.  We’ll be selling them by the half and the on-farm slaughter date is set for October 17th.  If you think you might be interested, check out the details here and send us an email if you’d like to reserve a half.

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:

Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling

  • 1 3 3/4- to 4-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Wrap squash halves in plastic wrap. Cook 1 at a time in microwave on high until tender, about 8 minutes. Pierce plastic to allow steam to escape. Cool. Meanwhile, sauté sausage, bell pepper, onion and garlic in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until sausage browns and vegetables are tender, breaking up sausage with back of spoon, about 12 minutes. Mix in marinara sauce.

Using fork, pull out squash strands from shells, leaving shells intact. Mix squash strands into sausage mixture. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon filling into squash shells. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange filled squash halves on baking sheet. Sprinkle each with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake uncovered until heated through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes if previously chilled). Cut each squash half in two and serve.

From Epicurous via https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spaghetti-squash-with-sausage-filling-5673

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Kale, Tomato. and Lemon Magic One-Pot Spaghetti

  • 14 ounces/400 g spaghetti or linguine
  • 14 ounces/400 g cherry tomatoes
  • Zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
  • 7 tablespoons/100 ml olive oil
  • 2 heaping teaspoons flaky sea salt (if you are using fine-grain table salt, add a bit less)
  • 1 (14-ounce/400-g) bunch of kale or spinach
  • Parmesan cheese (I use a vegetarian one) (optional)

Fill and boil a kettle of water and get all your ingredients and equipment together. You need a large, shallow pan with a lid.

Put the pasta into the pan. Quickly chop the tomatoes in half and throw them into the pan. Grate in the zest of both lemons and add the oil and salt. Add about 1 quart/1 liter of boiling water, put a lid on the pan, and bring back to a boil. Remove the lid and simmer on high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks.

Meanwhile, remove any tough stalks from the kale or spinach and coarsely tear the leaves. Once the pasta has had 6 minutes, add the kale and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and tangle the pasta into four bowls. If you like, top with a little Parmesan.

From Epicurous via A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kale-tomato-and-lemon-magic-one-pot-spaghetti

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Chicken, Corn, and Noodle Soup with Saffron

  • 9 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 3-pound cut-up chicken; neck, gizzard and heart reserved
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup diced peeled carrots
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
  • 2 ounces dried wide egg noodles
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery leaves

Combine broth, chicken pieces, neck, gizzard and heart in large pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover partially and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, remove chicken pieces and giblets from broth. Cool slightly. Remove skin from breasts and leg-thigh pieces. Cut enough chicken meat to measure 1 cup. Reserve remaining cooked chicken for another use. Strain broth into large bowl. Chill broth until fat solidifies on surface, about 6 hours. (Broth can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.) Scrape fat from surface of broth and discard.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme. Cover; cook until vegetables soften, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add saffron. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to boil before continuing.) Add noodles; simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken and corn; simmer until noodles are tender, about 5 minutes. Add parsley and celery. Season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurous via https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chicken-corn-and-noodle-soup-with-saffron-2762

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Summer CSA Share – #17

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

  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • ‘Summertime’ Iceberg Head Lettuce
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Bartlett Pears
  • Mixed Sweet Peppers
  • Red Cabbage
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Italian Plums
  • Sweet Corn
  • Yellow Onions

The fall vibe has really set in on the farm.  The mornings are cooler, necessitating long sleeves and tall boots for work in the fields.  The first leaves on the pear trees are beginning to turn colors and the apples are ripe and ready for future cider pressing.  The winter squash plants are dying back and soon we’ll be hauling in loads of squash for curing.  The flour corn has colored up and is drying down in the field and the dry beans are nearing harvest too.  The weather has finally cooled off some after such a long hot summer, and it’s possible to think of simmering soups and baking savory treats.

We hope you’ve marked your calendars for the final CSA member open house coming up on Saturday October 7th.  We’ll have more details as we get closer to that date, but we’ll definitely have cider pressing, farm tours, and pumpkin choosing from the pumpkin patch!

Also, Jeff had a birthday over the weekend.  Amazingly he celebrated by getting away from the farm for an overnight camping trip at the coast.  Give him a high five for making another trip around the sun if you see him at the pick-up.

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 Bread with Basil, Roasted Red Peppers and Monterey Jack Cheese

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) grated Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeños (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 1/3 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed, drained
  • 1/2 cup drained chopped roasted red peppers from jar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Mix cornmeal and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Add 7 tablespoons butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk buttermilk and eggs in medium bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Mix in cheese, corn, red peppers, basil and onion. Transfer to prepared pan.

Bake corn bread until golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 20 minutes in pan on rack. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cool completely. Cover loosely with foil and let stand at room temperature. If desired, rewarm in 350°F oven about 10 minutes.)

Cut corn bread into squares.

From Epicurous via https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-bread-with-basil-roasted-red-peppers-and-monterey-jack-cheese-4410

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Trout with Peppercorn Crust, Bacon, and Red Cabbage

  • 2 8-to-10 ounce trout, boned
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 thick-cut bacon slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups coarsely shredded red cabbage (about 6 ounces)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

Open both trout and arrange, skin side down, on work surface. Sprinkle trout with salt, then peppercorns; press peppercorns to adhere.

Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Add trout, skin side up, to drippings in skillet. Sauté until brown, about 3 minutes. Using large spatula, turn trout over. Sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer trout, skin side down, to plates. Add cabbage, onions and thyme to same skillet. Sauté until cabbage wilts, about 3 minutes. Add wine and bacon and simmer until cabbage is just tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon cabbage mixture alongside trout and serve.

From Epicurous via https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/trout-with-peppercorn-crust-bacon-and-red-cabbage-4238

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Potato, Corn, and Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
  • the kernels cut from 6 cooked ears of corn
  • 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved

In a blender or food processor blend together the vinegar, the oil, the basil, and salt and pepper to taste until the dressing is emulsified. In a large saucepan combine the potatoes with enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches, bring the water to a boil, and simmer the potatoes for 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Drain the potatoes, let them cool, and quarter them. In a large bowl combine the corn, the potatoes, the tomatoes, the dressing, and salt and pepper to taste and toss the salad gently.

From Epicurous via https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/potato-corn-and-cherry-tomato-salad-with-basil-dressing-12279

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Summer CSA Share – #16

Welcome to the 16th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Orange Beets
  • Parsley
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Adirondack Red Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Asian Pears
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Jimmy Nardello Sweet Peppers – A perennial favorite of ours, these long slender peppers look hot, but they’re not!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Italian Plums
  • Sweet Corn
  • Yellow Onions

Happy Labor Day!  We spent the day laboring in the fields harvesting this week’s vegetables, which isn’t the worst way to spend a holiday.  We tried to appreciate the smoky haze for providing some cover from the sun.  Maybe it wasn’t as hot because of all that smoke?  Despite the smoke and the weeds we’ve gathered a fine summer harvest for you this week!

Some folks that read last week’s newsletter wondered just what all the doom and gloom was leading to.  Well, this past weekend we finally made the difficult decision to forgo the winter CSA.  As I mentioned last week it’s been a rough season, and last winter was difficult too given Jeff’s broken leg.  Looking ahead to winter, we realized really we need a break from farming.  Continuing on wouldn’t be fair to members or to us, so no winter CSA.

But, winter is my favorite time of year for eating locally.  All the roots and winter squash and sweet chicories!  And long dark nights to cook!  We’ll likely have some bulk purchasing options if you want to stock up on winter squash or other fall crops at the end of the season (Details to come in November).  We’ll miss all of the winter CSA members and hope you’ll consider supporting another local farm this winter.  Salem folks should check out our friends at Minto Island Growers and Osprey Farm.

Our 93 year old neighbor helping Jeff fix the fertilizer spreader the right way (top) and Andrew and boys volunteering some time to dig this week’s potatoes (bottom)

Jeff had a busy week with visitors.  Andrew, a longtime CSA member, brought his kids out for some potato digging Thursday.  In a few short hours they dug 545 pounds of spuds!  Many thanks to them for the help!  Two rows down, seventeen to go!  Later in the week Jeff spent time with our 93 year old neighbor fixing one of our fertilizer spreaders.  Our neighbor was a dairy farmer and then an airplane mechanic after World War II, so he has plenty to share about farming and fixing stuff.  We’re lucky to be able to call on his help when things get tricky.

I spent a good portion of the week harvesting and cleaning seed lots (lettuce and purple bunching onions!) and doing some canning.  Jars of lemon cucumber relish, barbecue sauce made from homemade ketchup, and tomato sauce line our shelves and more basil pesto went into the freezer.  Hopefully winter eating will be a little better thanks to efforts put in now.

On Sunday evening we transplanted the last of the broccoli for the season, a little delayed due to the fungus gnat problem we’ve been having in our propagation house.  These starts were coddled along as we fought the gnat with B.t., a bacteria that kills the gnat in the larval stage, and an organically approved soap spray that targets the adults.  Amazingly we had surplus starts to plant, after three previous successions of broccoli starts mostly begged off our friends at Persephone Farm.  The gnat may have won many battles this season, but we took the last round and know how to defeat it now.

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:

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 Epicurous via

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Roasted Beets with Parsley

  • 3 pounds beets (10 to 15 medium)
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Trim beets, leaving about 1 inch of stems attached. Wrap beets tightly in double layers of foil to make 3 packages and roast until tender, about 1 hour.

When beets are cool enough to handle, slip off skins and stems and cut each beet into about 6 wedges. Beets may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Transfer beets to a baking dish and cover with foil. Reduce temperature to 375°F. and reheat beets until heated through, about 20 minutes.

While beets are reheating, put parsley in a small bowl and with kitchen shears very coarsely snip.

Toss beets with butter, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.

From Epicurous via

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Corn Chowder with Roasted Jalapeno and Parsley Puree

For the puree:

  • 5 fresh jalapeño chilies
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

For the chowder:

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped fine
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
  • 1/2 pound ham steak if desired, cut into 3/8-inch cubes
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (cut from about 6 ears of corn)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

Make the puree:

Broil the jalapeños on the rack of a broiler pan under a preheated broiler about 2 inches from the heat, turning them every 5 minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred. Transfer the jalapeños to a bowl and let them stand, covered tightly, until they are cool enough to handle. Wearing rubber gloves, peel the jalapeños, cut off the tops, and discard all but 1 teaspoon of the seeds. In a blender puree the jalapeños with the seeds, the oil, the lime juice, the water, the garlic, the parsley, and salt to taste. The puree may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled.

Make the chowder:

In a kettle cook the onion and the celery in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until the celery is softened, add the broth, the water, the potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch cubes, and the ham, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn and the thyme and simmer the chowder for 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. In a blender or food processor purée 2 cups of the chowder and stir the purée into the remaining chowder.

Serve the chowder with a small dollop of the jalapeño and parsley puree swirled into it.

From Epicurous http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-chowder-with-roasted-jalapeno-and-parsley-puree-12312

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Summer CSA Share – #15

Welcome to the 15th share of the Pitchfork & Crow CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Mixed Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Liebesapfel Pimento Peppers – Meaning “love apple” this pimento pepper has thick sweet flesh that makes a great stand in for bell peppers. Use fresh or dehydrate them and grind them into paprika!
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Mixed Melons
  • Sweet Corn
  • Strawberries

First things first, our thoughts are with the folks of SE Texas during this epic hurricane situation.  My brother and his wife live in Corpus Christi, TX and were evacuated until last night.  They appear to be lucky to have missed the worst of this storm and word has it that they’re back to work today.  Houston seems to be taking the biggest toll, however I can’t help but also think of the farmers and ranchers that must also be suffering losses in the area too.

all the tomatoes! (upper left) Wolverine’s Orca dry beans ripening (upper right) orange-ing carving pumpkins (lower left) rainbow carrots (lower right)

This season has been a heck of a ride thus far.  The deluge rains of the winter/spring, issues with a devastating gnat in our propagation house, tractor problems in May, the mysterious death of two pigs, the extended hot weather this summer, and my mom’s car accident at the end of June taking my time and thoughts away from the farm have all been a lot on top of the normal marathon of the farming season.  It’s all been a bit much, or perhaps it’s all just farming and living.

Needless to say we’ve been doing some serious re-evaluation lately of both farm goals and life goals.  Of course the continued and anticipated harvests, like those above, make it difficult to step away from farming.  The successes are sweet and hard earned.  Harvest days are long this time of year, with so many things ripe for the picking.  But they wouldn’t be so long if we hadn’t been successful enough to have those crops to harvest, right?  Each CSA share filled is a reflection of months of planning and executing and work.  Now if we could only figure out how to increase the success, mitigate the failures, and find a little work/life balance in the midst of it.  Things could indeed be worse of course.  There’s no natural disaster to deal with at the moment.

powered parachute flyby this past weekend

On the lighter side we were over-flown by a couple of powered parachutes this weekend while we were transplanting at dusk.  Flying over our farm must be quite noticeable compared to the acres of rye grass and hazelnuts that surround us.  I think most ultralight flyers are crazy, but these guys have the parachute built right in!

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:

Eggplant Caprese with Grilled Tomato and Vinaigrette

On the grill

  • 1 (1-pound) globe eggplant, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Olive oil (for grilling)
  • 1 large plum tomato (about 4 ounces)

For the dish

  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (7- to 8-ounce) balls fresh or buffalo mozzarella cheese, drained, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds (about 4 large) heirloom tomatoes (preferably assorted colors), thinly sliced

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Arrange eggplant slices on baking sheet. Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until slightly charred and tender, turning occasionally and moving to cook evenly, about 5 minutes. Transfer to foil-lined baking sheet. Grill plum tomato until skin is charred and split, turning often, about 5 minutes. Transfer to sheet with eggplant and cool. Core plum tomato; place in blender. Add chopped basil, vinegar, and 1/4 cup oil. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD Eggplant and dressing can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Overlap eggplant slices, cheese slices, and heirloom tomato slices on individual plates or large platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle salad with dressing and garnish with basil sprigs.

From Epicurous via http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/eggplant-caprese-with-grilled-tomato-and-basil-vinaigrette-238764

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Veggie Cassoulet

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 cups drained cannellini beans, liquid reserved
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 slices crusty whole-wheat toast

Heat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook zucchini, celery, onion, salt and pepper until soft, about 8 minutes. Mix in garlic and cook, stirring, another minute. Combine veggies, tomatoes, beans, 1/4 cup of the bean liquid, thyme and bay leaves in a 2-quart baking dish. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve warm with toast on the side.

From Epicurous via

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Chopped Salad

  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium head romaine, chopped (4 to 6 cups) (or use salad mix)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, diced (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped (1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved (suit yourself whether you prefer the medium California black olives—a 6-ounce can—or Kalamata olives)

Whisk together vinegar, sugar, shallot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl, then add oil in a stream, whisking until combined well.

Toss remaining ingredients with dressing.

Season salad with salt and pepper.

Cooks’ Notes:

•Dressing can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
•Vegetables and lettuce can be chopped 1 day ahead and stored separately while being chilled in a sealable plastic bag lined with a damp paper towel.

From Epicurous via
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Summer CSA Share – #14

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

  • Beets
  • Dill
  • Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans or More Broccoli
  • Purple Bell Peppers
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Mixed Melons – Mostly Honey Orange Honeydew and Pike melons this week.
  • Sweet Corn

The build-up had been growing for over a year, and yesterday it finally happened.  Eclipse day arrived!  Given that it was a harvest day we hadn’t made many plans beyond buying a couple of pairs of the special eclipse viewing glasses.  The night before the big event we had a call from a friend who had a group of folks looking for a watching spot in the path of totality as their place was just outside.  We welcomed them to the farm and in between the broccoli and beet harvests we took a break and joined them near our big oak tree at the back of the farm.

What an eerie and exciting event!  The weird lighting just before and after and the dark circle of the moon blocking out the sun will stick with me for some time.  This is a fascinating planet we live on and I’m thankful for the reminder.  I hope you all enjoyed the big event!  Now back to our regularly scheduled reality.

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:

Roasted Beet Soup with Potato and Dill Salad

  • 1 1/2 pounds beets (about 5 medium), tops trimmed
  • 12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 4 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • Fresh dill sprigs

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets and potatoes separately in foil; seal tightly. Roast on oven rack until tender when pierced with skewer, about 45 minutes for potatoes and 1 1/2 hours for beets. Unwrap and cool completely.

Peel beets; cut into 1-inch pieces and place in blender. Add milk, 2 tablespoons onion, 2 tablespoons chopped dill and vinegar; blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate soup until cold, about 1 hour.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Place in medium bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons each of onion and chopped dill. Fold in yogurt. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover beet soup and potato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle beet soup into 4 bowls. Top with potato salad; garnish with dill sprigs.

From Epicurous via http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-beet-soup-with-potato-and-dill-salad-103762

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Mexican Corn

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chili
  • 1/2 cup purchased salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add corn, red bell pepper, zucchini, green onions and jalapeño and sautê until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Mix in salsa and chopped cilantro. Stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

From Epicurous via

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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 substitute any cabbage here)
  • 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.

From Epicurous via

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Summer CSA Share – #13

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

  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers
  • Fennel
  • Green Beans
  • 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.
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints
  • Mixed Melons – just one this week, but more to come
  • Gravenstein Apples

Now that the heatwave has broken, it’s beginning to feel like fall might show up any day.  I’m sure the summer weather isn’t done with us just yet, but the cooler mornings this weekend have been a nice reprieve. It even actually rained!  Jeff was a trooper scrambling around at 4am rolling up car windows and hauling in the trailer of straw bales and turning off irrigation.

The weather shift has me thinking it’s time to make a plan for filling our pantry shelves for the winter.   We have some staples like tomato sauce and pesto (for the freezer) that I try to make sure are well stocked from the summer’s bounty.  I attempted to start the tomato saucing saga this past week, but we ended up turning the cooked tomatoes into soup instead.  It was delicious and about as seasonal as it gets.  Luckily there’s plenty of time yet to stock up.

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:

Fennel and Zucchini Soup with Warm Tomato Relish

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups diced fresh fennel (from 1 large bulb), fronds chopped and reserved
  • 1 cup trimmed diced zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced fennel, zucchini, onion, and fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel is translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add broth; bring to boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree in blender until smooth; return soup to saucepan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add tomatoes and sauté until just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Mix in 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds; season relish with salt and pepper. Serve soup with relish.

From Epicurous via http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/fennel-and-zucchini-soup-with-warm-tomato-relish-364537

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Cucumber-Basil Egg Salad

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs, diced (2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup seeded, diced cucumbers (about 1/2 cucumber)
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (green part only)
  • 3 tablespoons lightly packed chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Gently combine the eggs, cucumbers, shallots, green onions, and basil in a medium bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.

Store in the refrigerator for up to three days

From Epicurious by Janice Cole , http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-basil-egg-salad-364869

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Cucumber Apple Pickle

  • 1/2 pound Japanese or Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 Fuji or Granny Smith apple
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned) or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon very thin matchsticks of peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Korean hot red-pepper threads (optional)

Slice cucumbers crosswise 1/8 inch thick and toss with sea salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then rinse well and squeeze out excess liquid with your hands.

Halve apple half lengthwise and cut out core. Slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick.

Toss apple with cucumbers and remaining ingredients and marinate, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 1 day.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Lillian Chou, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-apple-pickle-351891

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Summer CSA Share – #12

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

  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Beets
  • ‘Summertime’ Iceburg Lettuce – A tastier, just as crunchy version of your childhood lettuce!
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – Slicers, lemons, and picklers for everyone!
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Tomatillos
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Sweet Corn
  • Mixed Tomatoes – slicers and mixed pints

threshing seed at dusk (left) and parsnip seed (right)

We’ve been growing some small seed lots over the past few years.  This season we’re growing lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and purple bunching onions for seed for our friends at Adaptive Seeds.  We’re also saving a little spinach and parsnip seed for ourselves this season.  Growing seed is a different mindset than growing produce for harvest at peak ripeness.  My experience is that seed growing is more about patience and observation.  Perhaps it’s the extended time frame of the seed-to-seed cycle.  The parsnips and Brussels sprouts we’re saving seed off this year went into the ground in May 2016, more than a year ago.  The onions were started last September and planted last October.  That’s a lot of time for the weather and insects to damage the plants before they ever mature.  And once they do mature we’re often relying on the bees and flys to pollinate the flowers, nature as the workforce.

We grow seed because we think it’s an important part of farming, but it’s also a rewarding experience when it works.  When we grow a crop to maturity, identify the genetic diversities and rogue them out or let them be, watch the flowers being pollinated and the seed eventually form and mature, and then harvest and thresh the dried plants leaving only the new tiny seeds, there a real sense of accomplishment in concert with nature.

This past week was hot and dry.  It was another full week of farming, meaning we had a plan and then equipment and animals had different plans, but we managed to keep working and progress was made.  Jeff learned all about the inner workings of the ignition switch on our box truck.  I used hot afternoons to catch up on our accounting.  Typical August week on the farm.

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:

Charred Tomatillo Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 pound husked tomatillos
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss 1/2 small white onion, halved lengthwise, keeping root intact, 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled, halved crosswise, 1 jalapeño, 1 pound husked tomatillos, and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large bowl. Grill vegetables, turning often, until tender and charred, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Squeeze garlic cloves into a food processor and pulse with onion, stemmed jalapeño, tomatillos, 1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only, and 1/4 cup fresh lime juice just until a chunky sauce forms; season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.

DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Alison Roman, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/charred-tomatillo-salsa-verde-51175300

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Pickled Beet and Cucumber Salads

  • 1 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 10 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 pounds small red beets, trimmed
  • 2 large English hothouse cucumbers (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise, seeded, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 2/3 cup chopped fresh chives

Stir vinegar, shallots and 6 teaspoons sugar in small bowl to blend. Let marinade stand while preparing vegetables.

Cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes; drain. Peel beets. Cut into wedges. Transfer to medium bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of marinade to coat.

Place cucumbers in large bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons sugar over. Toss with remaining marinade. Season salads to taste with salt and pepper. Cover separately and refrigerate 1 day, stirring occasionally. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.)

Drain salads separately; return to bowls. Mix half of chives into each salad. Arrange salads on platter and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pickled-beet-and-cucumber-salads-5409

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Corn and Zucchini Saute

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cups corn (from about 4 ears)
  • 2 medium zucchini (1 lb total), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallions, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add corn, zucchini, cumin, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-and-zucchini-saute-230474

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Summer CSA Share – #11

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

  • Carrots
  • Green Cabbage
  • Head Lettuce – red butterhead and romaine
  • Summer Squash – Here’s a fun way to use up some of the longer zucchini.
  • Mixed Cucumbers – The cukes are on!  Slicers, lemons, and picklers for everyone!
  • Yellow Onion
  • Celery – Our first success at celery!
  • Mixed Filet Beans
  • Sweet Corn!
  • Cauliflower
  • Mixed Tomatoes – choose from slicers or cherries

CSA Members: Did you choose the two-payment option?
Don’t forget that your second CSA payment is due today if you chose the 2-payment option.  For members who started the season from week 1, the second payment is $351.  Send us an email if you have any questions or would like another copy of your invoice.  Thanks!

Jeff cultivating basil, beets, and fall brassicas with our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor (left) and Jeff and our employee/nephew Kanon after some time spent in the carrot patch weeding (right).

I keep mentioning that each season brings a unique set of challenges to the farm.  Each season also brings a unique set of achievements.  We’ve tried for years to grow a good celery crop for instance, and this year it looks like we’ve done it.  We hit the trifecta of organic fertilizer, soil tilth, and adequate water and the celery is looking better than ever.  We’ve also got an amazing stand of winter squash that is setting fruit right now.  Winter squash for days!  And a row of jack-o-lantern pumpkins on drip irrigation that may be our most weed-free pumpkin planting ever.  In the midst of such a crazy season, seeing some successes sure helps.

When you can’t quite remember when you last took a day off the farm (was it in March, or April?), it’s probably time to take a day off.  We headed to the coast on Sunday for a little ocean wind and hiking.  This week’s valley temps are setting up to be unspeakable, so a visit to the Pacific seemed just thing to do.  We hiked among the giant sitka spruce trees and we looked in tidepools and saw sea anemones and crabs.  We even drove up to the top of Marys Peak on the return trip to look out over the valley floor and spy the Cascades way out east.  We made it back to the farm in time to trellis some tomatoes to make this week’s harvest a little easier. Now it’s back to the farming.  Stay hydrated this week folks!  The heatwave can’t last forever, right?

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:

Green Beans and Cucumbers with Miso Dressing

  • 3 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English hothouse cucumber
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 (1 1/2)-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
  • 1 serrano or Fresno chile, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white miso
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions (for serving)

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin, then tear into bite-size pieces. Toss with a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Let sit to allow salt to penetrate.

Meanwhile, place green beans in a large resealable plastic bag, seal, and smash with rolling pin until most of the beans are split open and bruised. Whisk ginger, chile, garlic, vinegar, miso, olive oil, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing to beans and toss around in bag to coat; season with salt.

Drain cucumbers and add to bag with beans. Shake gently to combine. Transfer salad to a platter and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/green-beans-and-cucumbers-with-miso-dressing

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Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Walnut Za’atar Pesto

Pesto:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 ounces aged Gouda, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon za’atar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Slaw and assembly:

  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil or olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 small green cabbage, outer leaves removed, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound young carrots, shaved lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
  • Za’atar (for serving)

Pesto:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Process walnuts, garlic, cheese, and za’atar in a food processor until nuts are coarsely chopped. With motor running, stream in oil; process until coarsely ground. Season with salt.

Do Ahead

Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Slaw and assembly:

Place currants in a small bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit until soft and plump, 5–10 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk yogurt, lemon juice, and oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Thin with water until dressing is consistency of heavy cream.

Drain currants and add to dressing along with cabbage, carrots, and parsley; toss to coat. Season with salt.

Swipe walnut pesto on a platter and arrange slaw over; sprinkle with za’atar.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Ari Kolender, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cabbage-and-carrot-slaw-with-walnut-zaatar-pesto-56389710

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Corn Fritters with Spicy Zucchini Salsa

  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 cups diced zucchini
  • 1 medium red onion, diced, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups corn kernels (thawed if frozen)

Heat oven to 400°F. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, zucchini, 1/2 onion, garlic, jalapeño, 1/4 teaspoon salt and oil; toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; roast, turning once, until tomatoes and zucchini are light brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Toss with 1/4 cup cilantro and 1 tablespoon juice; set aside. In a second bowl, combine flour, cumin, baking powder and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add egg, remaining 1 tablespoon juice and 1/2 cup water; stir until smooth. Add corn and remaining 1/2 onion and 1/4 cup cilantro. Coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Form 1/4 cup corn mixture into a patty; repeat with remaining corn mixture to form 12 patties. Working in batches of 3 and coating pan with cooking spray as needed, cook patties, turning once, until brown, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Divide patties and salsa among 4 plates.

From Epicurious via SELF by Andrea Bemis, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/corn-fritters-with-spicy-zucchini-salsa-51188440

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Summer CSA Share – #10

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

  • Yellow Potatoes
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – The cukes are on!  Slicers, lemons, and picklers for everyone!
  • Garlic
  • Green Pepper
  • Salad Turnips
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes! – The first few pints of cherries or slicers to choose from.
  • Green Apples – Finally some crisp fresh eating apples!  An unknown variety, but slightly tart.

We’ve got the first few ripe tomatoes to share with you this week, but we’re still waiting on the majority of the tomatoes to color up.  So much beautiful, green fruit!  Thankfully we’re seeing that other farms are waiting on their tomatoes too.  The wet, cold spring continues to reach out to us from months past, reminding us that not all seasons are the same.  This year we’ll wait for the tomatoes to ripen in their own time, and hopefully we’ll appreciate them all the more for it.  Th green beans showed up to the harvest party this week though!  Hurrah for green beans!

spreading organic fertilizer and gypsum (left) ready to plant collards (middle) collards, kale, and kohlrabi in the ground (right)

It’s been another whirlwind week on the farm.  The constant work of summer is ongoing and the temps have been a little warmer than we’d like but we persevere.  We continued the harvest, irrigate, plant, weed cycle of this time of year.  My highlights from the past week include finishing our garlic harvest, late but complete, and paying our annual loan payments for the land and tractor.  Two big mid-summer milestones for us, both of which I’m glad to have checked off the list.

We’ve been having a persistent problem in our propagation house getting starts to grow.  You’d think after so many years of this we’d know how to grow transplants, but this has been a rough season in that area too.  We switched to a commercial potting soil this spring, thinking we might see improved vigor in the young plants and save some time instead of mixing our own potting soil.  Instead it looks like we may have imported a fungus gnat problem.  In their larval stage fungus gnats feed on the roots of small plants, stunting them to the point they die from lack of root development.  It’s awfully disheartening to work so hard with nothing to sow for it in the end.

After months of sleuthing out the problem we seem to be having some success using an organically approved bacteria-based soil drench called Gnatrol. We’ve also finally switched back to Jeff’s potting soil mix, realizing the gnat issue is likely related to the commercial potting mix and not just our propagation house environment.  We’ve been extremely lucky to have friends at Persephone Farm nearby who have been graciously sharing their extra starts with us.  The brassicas have been hardest hit by these gnats and the next several rounds of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower will be brought to you in large part by Persephone transplants.  They’ve really saved us this season and we can’t thank them enough.

As we contend with the results of the crazy spring, and our propagation woes, and the continued need to take time away from farming to help my mom (side note: she’s heading home from rehab this week!), I’ve been trying to find some beauty and peace on the farm.  The patches of cosmos continue to bring a smile to my face.  And our stately oak tree at the back of the farm is always a welcoming sight.  As this season plays out, I hope to find more time to step back from the churn of the work.  Finding that ever elusive work-life balance in the middle of summer is an ongoing challenge.

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:

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

  • 1 (1 3/4-lb) head cauliflower, cut into 3/4-inch-wide florets
  • 1 1/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh jalapeño, including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Accompaniment: lemon wedges

Put oven rack in upper third of oven and place a shallow baking pan on rack. Preheat oven to 475°F.

Toss cauliflower and potatoes together in a bowl with 3 tablespoons oil, cumin seeds, and1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread in hot baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender and browned in spots and potatoes are just tender, about 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, cook onion, garlic, jalapeño, and ginger in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and beginning to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Stir in water, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet, then stir in roasted vegetables. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/indian-spiced-cauliflower-and-potatoes-109118

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Hungarian Cucumber Salad

  • 2 medium or large cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Sweet paprika
  • Black pepper

1. Peel the cucumbers and slice them very thin. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 30-60 minutes with a plate and a 5-pound weight on top. Squeeze out the water on a paper towel.

2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, and water. Add the cucumbers and marinate for a few hours. To serve, sprinkle paprika on half of the salad and black pepper on the other half.

From Epicurious via Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Joan Nathan, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/hungarian-cucumber-salad-230709

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Cucumber and Tomato Tzatziki

  • 3 cups plain yogurt (do not use low-fat or nonfat
  • 1 English hothouse cucumber (about 16 ounces), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large tomato, quartered, seeded, thinly sliced

Place strainer over large bowl. Line strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth. Spoon yogurt into cheesecloth-lined strainer; let stand at room temperature to drain 3 hours (liquid will drain out and yogurt will thicken). Transfer yogurt to medium bowl; discard liquid.

Meanwhile, coarsely grate cucumber. Place in another strainer; let stand at room temperature until most of liquid drains out, about 3 hours. Discard liquid. Squeeze excess moisture from cucumber.

Mix cucumber, dill and garlic into yogurt. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix tomato into yogurt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-and-tomato-tzatziki-5403

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Summer CSA Share – #9

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

  • Beets
  • Salad Mix
  • Summer Squash
  • Mixed Cucumbers – a slicer for everyone!  Plus a couple of picklers types too.
  • Yellow Onion
  • Salad Turnips
  • Basil
  • White & Cheddar Cauliflower
  • Fava Beans – Ahh, the amazingness that is the fava bean.  We enjoy them  most shelled and then popped out of their inner skin.  Although they take a little extra prep time, the buttery beans are worth the effort!  No time for shelling?  Try grilling the whole pod.
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – The first apples of the season!  They will continue to ripen to a pale yellow a which point thy will bruise very easily so we’re sharing them sooner than later.  They are tart and soft, best used in apple sauce.  Jeff suggests a savory bbq sauce would be tasty

more planting (left) and basil transplants (right)

First off, many thanks to everyone who made it out on Saturday to the farm open house.  We appreciate you taking the time to come out and see your vegetables in the field and meet other CSA members!  Sorry it wasn’t windy enough for the kites and we forgot to offer up the hay ride. Luckily there will be another opportunity in October for those things and more!

In addition to the open house, and open house prep, this past week was full of planting and weeding and irrigating.  A typical mid-summer week on the farm.  The next rounds of basil, parsley, beets, broccoli, and cabbage went into the ground.  Lettuce and melons and beans got weeded.  A big sowing of overwintering crops including purple sprouting broccoli and extra kale and cabbage was started Sunday.  The push continues to keep this season on the rails.  The week ahead will look very similar.  We’ll weed crops, we’ll plant crops, we’ll start more crops.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler and Jeff Bramlett

P.S. A little update on my mom since her car accident at the end of June.  She’s currently in a rehab facility, recuperating and working with occupational therapy folks to learn to safely do things as her vertebrae continue to heal.  She’s expected to head home late next week to continue the healing process. 

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Beet Emulsion

  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed saffron threads
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground red pepper flakes
  • 1 head cauliflower, leaves removed, cut into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canned beets (or 1/2 cup fresh, cooked beets, pureed in a blender)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Heat butter and 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a medium sauté pan. Add all spices and season with salt. Cook about 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and honey and cook about 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so on all sides. When cauliflower is tender, remove it; add beets and lime juice to pan and reduce liquid by half. Add remaining oil. Divide cauliflower among 4 plates and drizzle with beet emulsion. Serve hot.

From Epicurious via SELF, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spice-roasted-cauliflower-with-beet-emulsion-230322#reviews

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Cucumber Apple Pickle

  • 1/2 pound Japanese or Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 Fuji or Granny Smith apple
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned) or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon very thin matchsticks of peeled ginger
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of Korean hot red-pepper threads (optional)

Slice cucumbers crosswise 1/8 inch thick and toss with sea salt. Let stand 30 minutes, then rinse well and squeeze out excess liquid with your hands.

Halve apple half lengthwise and cut out core. Slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick.

Toss apple with cucumbers and remaining ingredients and marinate, chilled, turning occasionally, at least 1 day.

From Epicurious via Gourmet by Lillian Chou, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cucumber-apple-pickle-351891

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Flatbread with Fava Beans, Cucumbers, and Burrata

  • 2 cups shelled fava beans (from about 2 pounds pods)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 Garlic-Herb Naan or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, room temperature, halved
  • 2 (8-ounce) balls burrata or fresh mozzarella, drained
  • Basil leaves (for serving)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt

Cook fava beans in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a mesh sieve, transfer to a colander set in a bowl of ice water. Drain and peel. Combine lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. oil, and half of fava beans in a medium bowl and lightly mash with a fork. Stir in remaining fava beans; season with kosher salt and pepper.

Combine cucumbers and vinegar in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt. Let sit until slightly softened, 10–12 minutes.

Prepare a grill for medium-high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off); lightly oil grate. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, gently stretch to about a 10×8″ oval. Grill over direct heat, turning and rotating as needed, until bread is stiff and both sides are lightly charred, about 3 minutes total. Move to indirect heat to keep warm while you grill the remaining piece of dough.

Transfer flatbreads to a work surface. Tear burrata into pieces and divide between flatbreads; top with fava bean mixture, cucumbers, and basil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, sea salt, and pepper.

From Epicurious via Bon Appétit by Dave Muller and Lana Porcello, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/flatbread-with-fava-beans-cucumbers-and-burrata

 

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