Summer CSA Share – #9

Welcome to the 9th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Dill – Great for adding a little herbiness to roasted potatoes, potato salad, and beet dishes in addition to quick pickles.
  • Celery
  • Mixed Eggplant – Big Italian and long, skinny Asian eggplants this week. Check out the recipes down below if you’re looking for some inspiration.
  • Cucumbers – We’ve got green slicer cucumbers and some lemons for you to choose from.
  • Zucchini – We’ve got dark green, light green, and yellow zucchini this week.
  • Sweet Corn
  • Red or Orange Beets
  • German Butterball Newish Potatoes
  • Yellow Onions
  • “Green” Peppers – The peppers are just starting to make fruits and we’re bringing you immature green, purple, and yellow peppers this week. They’re all equivalent to green peppers for recipe purposes.
  • Shishito Peppers – these Japanese frying peppers are delicious quickly blistered in hot oil and tossed with a little salt. Mostly mild, 1 in 10 can be hot.
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Slicer Tomatoes
A honeybee working in the cucumber patch.

Here we are, on the cusp of August, watching the summer produce begin to really roll in. We’re doing our best to keep pace with the long hot days and the lists of things that need doing. This is when the seasons collide. The big summer fruits are producing (tomatoes! zucchini! cucumbers!) and just as we’re making time to haul them in we’re also thinking ahead to winter eating as we baby the overwintering cauliflower and broccoli transplants in the propagation house.

Harvest morning sunrise (top left), winter food in transplant form in the prop. house (top right), got the last round of corn in the ground (bottom left), and seeding beans (bottom right).

Time is quickly running out for planting summer and fall crops. Just as we’re getting into the swing of summer we also know the shorter days and lessened growth of autumn are just around the corner. Now’s the time to dig deep, keep planting, focus on the food.

This past week we transplanted our fifth and final round of sweet corn! Though it had jumped up in the last week and was on the lanky side, it has at least found a home in the field! We also transplanted the last round of celery and and experimental late and last round of summer squash. After months of sowing and transplanting succession after succession it sure is a relief to see some crops dropping from the transplant list.

Tomato check-in: lots of green fruit, for now!

Over the past month we’ve had lots of questions about how the heat at the end of June impacted crops here on the farm. For the most part we haven’t noticed any issues. Sure, everything got taller (including the weeds) and the broccoli came on faster than expected but we didn’t see any real failures. The tomato house may have taken the worst hit. We grow our tomatoes in an open-ended high tunnel to get them in early and extend the season in the fall. In a wet year this is really a bonus. In a hot, dry year maybe not so much.

Tomatoes don’t like excessive heat and can’t take up certain nutrients or set fruit if the temps are too high. Now that we’re a month out from the big heatwave we’ve seen a little blossom end rot, probably due to the lack of nutrient uptake during the hottest days. We’ve also noticed some flowers that haven’t set fruit, again probably due to the heat (like in the photo above). Luckily lots of fruit had already set, so we’ll be in the tomatoes for some time. There may be a blip where we see fewer tomatoes though. Time will tell.

In the week ahead we’ll be transplanting winter kohlrabi, purple sprouting broccoli for next spring, and the next round of lettuce. That means more ground prep followed by time on the transplanter. Jeff’s also got some mowing on deck, good bye first round of cucumbers! And I’ve got some weeding I’m looking forward to tackling. As always, it will be a full week of field work.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Ratatouille Pasta Salad

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1½ lb.), halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplants (about 1 lb.), cut into 1″ wedges
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 10 oz. penne or casarecce pasta
  • 1 large or 2 medium heirloom or beefsteak tomato (about 1 lb.), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 8 oz. Ciliegini (mini fresh mozzarella balls), drained, halved
  • 2 Tbsp. white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 cup basil leaves

Prepare a grill for medium heat. Toss zucchini, eggplant, and 1/4 cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Grill, turning often, until steamy, tender, and charred all over, 8–12 minutes. Return to baking sheet and let cool.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Slice grilled vegetables into bite-size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Add tomato, cheese, vinegar, thyme, and 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 cup oil and mix to combine. Drain pasta and immediately add to bowl with vegetables. Mix well to combine, then top with basil.

Do Ahead: Vegetables can be grilled 3 days ahead. Transfer (whole) to an airtight container and chill.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/grilled-ratatouille-pasta-salad

New Potatoes with Dill Butter

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) coarsely chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds new potatoes or other small potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon crushed toasted caraway seeds (optional)

Mash butter and 2 tablespoons dill in a small bowl. Season dill butter with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.

Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 1″; season with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer gently until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain.

Transfer hot potatoes to a medium bowl; add dill butter and 1 tablespoon water. Toss, adding water by teaspoonfuls as needed, until butter lightly coats potatoes with a glossy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with more dill and caraway seeds, if desired.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/new-potatoes-with-dill-butter-395901

Caponata

  • 2 lb small Italian eggplants (about 4)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
  • 4 medium celery ribs, cut crosswise into very thin
  • 1/3 cup large green Sicilian olives (1 3/4 oz), pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 3/4 oz Italian capers packed in salt (1/3 cup), rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
  • 1 (14- to 15-oz) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped (1 cup)

Peel eggplants, leaving some strips of peel, then cut into 1-inch cubes and spread on half of a kitchen towel. Sprinkle eggplant with salt, then cover with other half of towel and weight with a baking sheet topped with 2 or 3 large cans for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook onion, stirring, until pale golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until onion and celery are deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add olives, capers, and 2 tablespoons sugar and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, then stir in vinegar and tomatoes.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. If sauce is very acidic, add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste). Transfer to a bowl and keep warm, covered.

Rinse eggplant in a colander under running water, then squeeze dry in small handfuls.

Heat remaining cup oil in cleaned skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then fry eggplant in 2 batches, turning occasionally with tongs, until tender and browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain, then transfer to a large shallow serving dish in an even layer. Spoon sauce on top, spreading evenly, and let stand, covered with a kitchen towel, at room temperature, at least 8 hours (for flavors to develop). Stir before serving.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Anna Maria Musco Dominici, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/caponata-235724

Summer CSA Share – #8

Welcome to the 8th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Head Lettuce – Two heads of oakleaf lettuce this week, one with red tips and one lime green.
  • Lettuce Mix
  • Lacinato Kale or Rainbow Chard
  • Broccoli Side Shoots – After the main head of broccoli is cut some broccoli plants make smaller “side shoot” florets. We’ve got a gap in broccoli for a week or two due to the heat last month but we managed a handful of side shoots for you.
  • Thai Basil – A new one for us, this week we’re bringing you a taste of licorice-flavored Thai basil. You can read about this herb here: https://www.seriouseats.com/you-should-use-thai-basil-southeast-asian.
  • Cucumbers – We’ve got green and yellow slicer cucumbers and some lemons for you to choose from.
  • Zucchini – We’ve got dark green, light green, and yellow zucchini this week.
  • Sweet Corn – Small but tasty!
  • Carrots
  • Torpedo Onion
  • Yellow Onion
  • “Green” Peppers – The peppers are just starting to make fruits and we’re bringing you immature green, purple, and yellow peppers this week. They’re all equivalent to green peppers for recipe purposes.
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Slicer Tomatoes
  • Yellow Transparent Apples – Admittedly apples in July is a little weird, but we’ve gotten used to these Yellow Transparents making their appearance mid-summer. They’re soft, not great for fresh eating, but they do make good sauce and longtime CSA member Maya likes putting them in muffins. I’ve also heard they can be tasty when battered and fried for a quick fried pie situation.
First corn harvest of the season (left) and the setting sun last night (right).

Some days farming gets the upper hand on us, and other days we crush it. So far July has been a mix of the two. We’re slowly making progress amidst the minor set backs.

You feel good about making an effort to weed the leeks, only to be stung by a honey bee as you head to lunch. You work hard to fertilize some fall cauliflower, only to realize you need to stop and hoe the kale right now, before you finish the fertilizing and before you finish the bed prep project you were working on before fertilizing the cauliflower. When you get through the projects and the project tangents, you celebrate!

These long days are full of things that need doing and and choices and failings and successes. And our days sometimes feel like an endless series of moving supplies and vegetables and stacks and piles and flats of transplants (so many flats) from here to over there. And we collapse into bed, and rise again with the sun (or often in the middle of the night to change irrigation in Jeff’s case), and start again, with a new day ahead to tackle all the projects some more.

That’s all to say that we’re living the farming dream over here, to the best of our ability.

Jeff tests out his new monocular during Sunday’s transplanting fun (left) and a sweat bee works the rudbeckia flower patch (right).

Looking around at the farm the persistent push seems to be working. We’re getting things done each day and the harvests are coming in. The week ahead will be much the same. We’ll weed more leeks, we’ll start more seeds, we’ll prep more beds, we’ll transplant the fifth and final succession of sweet corn. But we’ll also enjoy eating the first ears of corn of the season, small but tasty! It’s often these little miracles that keep us moving forward.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Drunken Noodles

  • 2 14-ounce packages 1/4-inch-wide flat rice noodles*
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Thai chiles*
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)*
  • 1/4 cup black soy sauce*
  • 1/4 cup Golden Mountain sauce* or light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 wedges
  • 4 Anaheim chiles or Italian frying peppers, or 2 green bell peppers (about 12 ounces total), cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai basil leaves* or regular basil leaves

Cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring frequently. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and Thai chiles; sauté 30 seconds. Add chicken and next 4 ingredients and sauté until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add noodles, tomatoes, and Anaheim chiles; toss to coat. Transfer to large platter, sprinkle with basil leaves, and serve.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/drunken-noodles-232698

Red Leaf Lettuce, Watercress, and Cucumber Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

  1. For dressing
    • 1/2 cup well-shaken low-fat buttermilk
    • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    • 3/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
    • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, or to taste
  2. For salad
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
    • 1 small head red leaf lettuce (1/2 pound), torn into pieces
    • 1 bunch watercress, coarse stems discarded
    • 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped)

Make dressing:

Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a small bowl with salt and pepper to taste.

Make salad:

Soak onion in 1 cup cold water 10 minutes, then drain well in a sieve.

Toss lettuce, watercress, and cucumber together in a bowl and divide among 6 plates. Spoon dressing over, then sprinkle salads with onion.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/red-leaf-lettuce-watercress-and-cucumber-salad-with-buttermilk-dressing-107606

Summer CSA Share – #7

Welcome to the 7th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Head Lettuce – A trio of head lettuces this week including a red romaine called Pomegranate Crunch, a reddish butterhead called Sangria, and a green iceberg called Crispino. They’re all on the small size, so no reason to not get to try them all!
  • Green Cabbage – We know, they’re big! Perhaps best cooked down this week. We like to eat sauteed cabbage and onions over noodles when we’ve got a big cabbage to use up.
  • Broccoli
  • Basil – Best stored on the counter with the stems submerged in a glass of water, just like a flower bouquet. Putting basil in the fridge can result in chilling injury, resulting in black and slimy basil leaves.
  • Cucumbers! – We’ve got green and yellow slicer cucumbers for you to choose from.
  • Zucchini – We’ve got dark green, light green, and yellow zucchini this week.
  • New Potatoes – These are straight out of the ground, so fresh their skins haven’t hardened. No need to peel them. Not great for storing, we suggest using them up sooner than later and keeping them in the fridge until you do.
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mixed Tomatoes – Choose from slicers or cherries this week.
Future food: The first sweet corn is nearly ready (top left), the peppers are pepping (top right), the babiest butternut squash (lower left), and chicory seed aka winter salad (lower right).

I recently needed to make a visit to the DMV. As with so many aspects of our daily lives, a quick trip to the DMV has gotten more difficult thanks to COVID-19. No longer can you just stop by, take a number, wait your turn, do your business. Now you need an appointment. And appointments are harder to come by than you might think. After trying and failing to get something scheduled last week I tried again Monday and successfully got an appointment to visit the second closest office, September 16th. Luckily my business with the DMV isn’t urgent or time sensitive and doesn’t impact my daily life. But it got me to thinking ahead to mid-September and how it seems like a long time to wait to visit the DMV, two months isn’t so far away.

By then the heat of August, that is sure to be brutal, will hopefully be a memory and fall will be on our doorstep. We’ll have made it through the vast majority of the season’s planting and our focus will have shifted to the big harvests of storage crops. We’ll be just a couple of weeks shy of bringing in the winter squash. The days will be shorter and the work of the season won’t feel so urgent, so frantic. Our freezer will be full of salmon from our salmon CSA share. It will be time to get some tomatoes in jars for the winter ahead. Just two months away, yet there’s so much to be done before we get there.

Honeybees! Collecting pollen from some zinnias and drinking water from the drip in the sweet potatoes.

Like the honeybees busily collecting pollen and converging at all the irrigation drips, we’re staying focused over here and getting things done. Jeff managed to do a lot of field maintenance this past week and the farm is looking like a different place. Many of the season’s first plantings have been wiped clean, ready for another cropping or summer cover crop. It’s amazing how mowing those spent crops can help re-focus the priorities and clear the field and mind. We’re strategizing fall and winter plantings now, already thinking ahead to winter cover crops.

We also made it through another annual organic inspection, our second virtual meeting. We covered all the paperwork records including input and seed purchases, fertilizing timing, crop rotations, harvest records etc. and managed a virtual field walk. It’s always nice to be on the other side of the annual inspection. While we appreciate the third party inspection process, it’s good to have that task done for another year.

On tap this week is more of the same. A little transplanting, a little seed sowing, a little ground prep., lots of irrigating. It’s time to finally pull the peas out of the high tunnel and begin readying the space for fall and winter crops. We’ll also be sowing our fall and winter carrots. Fall will be here before we know it. And so will that DMV appointment.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Minestrone with Basil

  • 1/2 cup dried red beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled, left whole
  • 1 small russet potato, peeled, diced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup small shell pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place beans in medium bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches; soak overnight. Drain.

Place beans in large Dutch oven. Add 5 cups water and next 11 ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Transfer 2 cups soup and whole potato to blender and puree. Return puree to soup in pot. Add pasta and 1/4 cup basil; simmer uncovered until pasta is cooked through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in 1/4 cup basil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit via Caffe Trinity, San Francisco, CA, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/minestrone-with-basil-1180

Shrimp Salad with Zucchini and Basil

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 8 cups mixed baby greens (about 5 ounces) (or chopped lettuce)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Whisk lemon juice, capers, shallot, mustard, and dried red pepper in medium bowl. Whisk in oil, then basil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring large saucepan of salted water to boil. Add shrimp and cook 1 minute. Add zucchini; continue cooking until shrimp are opaque in center and zucchini is crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer. Drain. Rinse under cold water and cool. Drain well. Transfer to large bowl. Add 1/3 cup dressing and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Divide greens among 4 plates. Arrange shrimp and zucchini atop greens. Serve, passing Parmesan cheese separately, if desired.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shrimp-salad-with-zucchini-and-basil-105146

Pikliz (Haitian Pickled Vegetable Relish)

  • 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced cabbage, cut crosswise 2-3 times for shorter shreds (from about 1/4 large cabbage)
  • 1 cup julienned or grated carrots (from about 1 medium carrot)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (from about 1 large shallot)
  • 6 Scotch bonnet peppers, stemmed, quartered
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups (or more) distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh key lime (or regular lime) juice

Pack cabbage, carrots, shallots, peppers, thyme, cloves, and salt into a 1 1/2-quart resealable jar. Add vinegar and lime juice, seal jar, and shake until ingredients are distributed and salt is dissolved. Add more vinegar if needed to just cover vegetables. Chill, shaking gently twice daily, at least 3 days before serving.

Cooks’ Note: If you can’t find Scotch bonnet peppers, substitute habaneros.

From Epicurious.com by Nils Bernstein, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pikliz-haitian-pickled-vegetable-relish

Summer CSA Share – #6

Welcome to the 6th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Snap Beans – Just a handful this week. I’m thinking a small batch of quick pickles may do them justice. Or grilling them. Tasty.
  • Cucumbers! – We’ve got green and yellow slicer cucumbers for you to choose from.
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash – All the successions of summer squash are colliding! We’ve got zucchini (green and yellow, yellow straightneck, yellow patty pan, and a new-to-us short zucchini called Mexicana.
  • New Potatoes – These are straight out of the ground, so fresh their skins haven’t hardened. No need to peel them. Not great for storing, we suggest using them up sooner than later and keeping them in the fridge until you do.
  • Beets
  • Torpedo Onions
  • Fresh Garlic – This is uncured garlic, mostly meaning it hasn’t yet had a chance to dry down. You can use it just like cured garlic but it will be moister. Store it out of the sunlight in a cool, drafty spot if possible.
  • Mixed Tomatoes! – They didn’t make it into the photo, but there’s enough for everyone this week!
Harvest day! First new potatoes and we’re into the second succession of summer squash already.

Hello July! It won’t be long before you’re eating corn on the cob weekly and tomatoes on everything. For now we’ll have to be happy with the first cucumbers and new potatoes of the season. We wait all year for those summer treats and July isn’t disappointing. Just a taste of tomatoes and snap beans this week, but we promise there will be more to come!

Tomatoes!

Over the past couple of harvest days I’ve been listening to a book by Mark Bittman called Animal, Vegetable, Junk: A History of Food, from Sustainable to Suicidal. It’s made for an interesting listen as I’ve gone about the harvesting tasks of gathering your vegetables from the field. Thinking about the history of agriculture in this country and around the world certainly puts things in perspective. It’s easy to get lost in the day to day grind of the work, but there’s purpose here growing food in this small scale way and it’s good to have a written reminder.

A little more transplanting, including a dill/cilantro experiment.

Speaking of the day to day grind, there will be more of the same here on the farm this week. We’ll be transplanting and sowing seeds and cultivating and weeding and irrigating before it’s time to begin harvesting once again. We’ve also got our annual organic inspection on Thursday morning, just in case we didn’t have enough things on the list to do. It’s shaping up to be another productive week.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Lettuce and Beet Salad with Sour Cream Dressing

  • 2 medium beets (about 8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 cups (packed) mixed torn lettuces (such as romaine, red leaf, and butter lettuce)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets tightly in foil. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Cool; peel beets. Coarsely shred beets.

Whisk sour cream, onion, vinegar, sugar and mustard in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Place lettuces in large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide salad among 4 plates. Top each with beets, dividing equally.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/lettuce-and-beet-salad-with-sour-cream-dressing-846

Old-Fashioned Potato Salad

  • 2 lb equal-size boiling potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup mayonnaise or boiled dressing

Cover potatoes with salted cold water; by 2 inches in a 3-quart saucepan and simmer uncovered until just tender, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size of potatoes. Drain in a colander and cool slightly.

While potatoes are simmering, whisk together vinegar and salt in a large bowl until salt is dissolved.

When potatoes are just cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1-inch pieces, adding to vinegar mixture as cut, and toss gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Let cool to room temperature, then add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste and stir gently to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/old-fashioned-potato-salad-106585

Zucchini Cucumber Soup

  1. 1 lb zucchini, chopped
  2. 3/4 lb seedless cucumber (usually plastic-wrapped), peeled and chopped (2 cups)
  3. 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion such as Vidalia
  4. 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1 teaspoon chopped fresh hot green chile
  7. 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  8. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  9. 1/2 cup creme fraiche (4 oz)

Purée zucchini, cucumber, onion, vinegar, water, chile, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander in a blender until very smooth.

Whisk remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon coriander into creme fraiche. Serve soup topped with dollops of creme fraiche.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/zucchini-cucumber-soup-235460

Summer CSA Share – #5

Welcome to the 5th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Mayan Jaguar Romaine Lettuce
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Red Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Onion
  • Fresh Garlic – This is uncured garlic, mostly meaning it hasn’t yet had a chance to dry down. You can use it just like cured garlic but it will be moister. Store it out of the sunlight in a cool, drafty spot if possible.
  • Red or White Bunching Onions
  • Leek Flowers– Pluck off the tiny florets from these leek flowers and add to salads or sautes for a delicious oniony garnish.
  • Zucchini & Yellow Straightneck Summer Squash & Patty Pan Summer Squash

Hello from the other side of heat-o-rama June 2021! We hope you were all able to stay safe and cool over the past few days of record setting heat. What a weekend! Here at the farm there were very early mornings in the field, mid-afternoon naps, and evening work sessions as we endeavored to get some work done despite the weather. The farm weather station hit 106.9 on Sunday and 110.5 on Monday, and I’m sure it was hotter in the city. Whew! Today’s high of 92 never looked so good!

The newly shaded hardening off space for transplants (top left), a swallowtail butterfly rescued from the propagation house (top right), shadow of Carri moving irrigation pipe (bottom left), and Jeff fixing a sprinkler on an irrigation line (bottom right).

Before the heat arrived we covered the hardening off area outside the propagation house with shade cloth. This helped to keep the transplants a little cooler. Then it was time for a transplanting push. The latest succession of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and collards found a home in the field. Then it became an irrigation game, keeping the new transplants wet through the heat as they acclimated to their new life in the field.

A CSA member asked me last week when we would run out of things to harvest if we stopped planting now. It was an intriguing question without a precise answer. Some crops are fast growing and require multiple successions to remain available and others just get planted once but grow slower and hold well in the field for a prolonged harvest. For instance, we plant a round of lettuce every month but we only plant leeks once each year. If we stopped planting now we’d run out of lettuce in late July or early August. However, the leeks are still sizing up and though they were planted in May we won’t begin harvesting them until the fall and the same planting will carry us through the winter. Each crop fits into this puzzle a little differently. Needless to say, the transplanting continues on so we can all continue to eat well through next winter.

2021 Garlic Harvest!

Although our To Do list has been overflowing the last few weeks with weeding and cultivating and weed whacking and mowing needs, this week it was time to harvest the garlic. We had to sideline all the other things that needed doing and work around the heat to get this once a year chore done. Over the years we’ve upped our garlic harvest game and this year may have been our most successful crop and least painful harvest (despite the heat).

Where once we relied on digging forks to loosen the soil to make the garlic easier to pull, in recent years the tractor has become the imperative tool. We’ve got a couple of implements that mount to the tractor that can be used to loosen the soil and then undercut the garlic’s roots, making pulling the heads much easier. After pulling them we sort the stalks into bunches of 15, tie them up with baling twine, and then hang them in the pole barn to dry down and cure. We’re happy to mark that task off the list!

Looking ahead this week we’re glad to be done with the triple digit temps for the moment. We’ve got more transplanting on deck (more sweet corn, celery, and some herbs and escarole) and there are plenty of weeds that jumped up in this weekend’s heat to deal with. I’m looking at you watermelons, leeks, and basil! We’ll be out in the field if you need us.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Salad Ramen

  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. mild red pepper flakes (such as Aleppo-style or Maras)
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 20 oz. fresh or 12 oz. dried ramen noodles
  • Kosher salt
  • 5-6 cups shredded or shaved vegetables (such as radishes, carrots, scallions, cabbage, lettuce, zucchini, and/or cucumbers)

Whisk vinegar, olive oil, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, mild red pepper flakes, and sesame oil in a small bowl to combine. Set dressing aside.

Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a large bowl, add half of reserved dressing, and toss to coat.

Divide noodles among bowls. Top with vegetables and drizzle with remaining dressing.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Chris Morocco, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/salad-ramen

Roasted Cauliflower with Kalamata Vinaigrette

  • 1 (2 1/2-to 3-pounds) head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lower third.

Cut cauliflower lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Put in a large 4-sided sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast, turning once or twice, until golden and just tender, about 25 minutes.

While cauliflower roasts, mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then whisk together with lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, olives, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve cauliflower drizzled with Kalamata vinaigrette.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-kalamata-vinaigrette-354954

Frittata Bites with Chard, Sausage, and Feta

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 12-ounce bunch Swiss chard, stems and center ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces mild Italian sausages, casings removed, sausage broken into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • Fresh Italian parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add Swiss chard and cook just until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain. Finely chop chard, then place in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Set chard aside.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until brown and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in large bowl to blend. Add chard and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish.

Bake frittata until set in center, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer baking dish to rack and cool frittata 15 to 20 minutes. Place platter atop dish with frittata. Using oven mitts, hold baking dish and platter firmly together and invert frittata onto platter; place another platter atop frittata and invert again so that frittata is right side up. Cut frittata into 20 pieces. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Place frittata pieces on rimmed baking sheet. Cover and chill. Rewarm in 325°F oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer frittata pieces to platter. Garnish each piece with parsley; serve warm or at room temperature.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Tori Ritchie, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/frittata-bites-with-chard-sausage-and-feta-359351

Summer CSA Share – #4

Welcome to the 4th share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of three lettuces
  • Green Loose Leaf Lettuce – Lots of lettuce this week. Is this the week you make lettuce soup?
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi – This is the last kohlrabi for a while, we promise. However, we’ve been pleasantly surprised at how sweet they’ve been and we hope you’ve enjoyed them.
  • Carrots
  • Torpedo Onion – Mild, sweet red onions originating in Italy.
  • Zucchini & Yellow Straigtneck Summer Squash
  • Mixed Snap Peas – The last of the peas! Some of them are quite mature and you prefer to think of them as shelling peas, but the pods we taste-tested were still sweet.
  • Cherries – Just enough cherries for everyone to get a taste from our single cherry tree! A once a year treat.
Last night’s sunset as we were finishing up the snap pea harvest.

The summer solstice has just passed us by and I guess summer has officially arrived. The sunshine and heat have definitely gotten the memo! Was it just last week that we were picking strawberries in the rain? It’s hard to even remember. Yesterday’s harvest day was a hot one and we’re glad for a little heat reprieve before the temperature spikes again later this week. If June is any indication, we’re in for a quite a ride this summer.

Jeff using our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor to cultivate the winter squash.

As promised it’s been non-stop over here as we’ve been trying to do all the things. The To Do list ebbs and flows as we mark a task off and notice three more to add. Jeff’s been keeping up with irrigation and cultivation like a champ. I’ve been able to keep to the propagation schedule. Somehow transplants keep going in the ground. And then there are things to harvest. Soon we’ll be bringing in the garlic and overwintered onions.

We spent the longest day of the year cleaning up the tomato house, transplanting lettuce and onions and beets, and then wrapped it up with a few hours of cherry picking. Our one cherry tree has once again provided enough cherries to share with you all. Somehow we beat out the birds too. We don’t know the variety but they’re sweet and tasty. I’m thinking some sort of cherry ice cream or sorbet may be in order this weekend.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Coconut Zucchini Noodles and Spiced Meatballs

  1. For the spiced meatballs:
    • 1 pound ground pasture-raised lamb
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
    • 2 scallions, sliced paper-thin
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari
    • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (Red Boat is a Clean-approved brand)
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  2. For the noodles:
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
    • 1/2 cup sliced onions
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 2 tablespoons minced lemongrass
    • 1 red chile pepper, minced (optional)
    • 1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 broccoli crown, cut into small florets (about 2 cups)
    • 3/4 to 1 pound zucchini, ends removed and sliced lengthwise with a peeler or mandoline into long pappardelle-like “noodles”
    • Sea salt to taste
    • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges

First, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix them thoroughly with your hands or a wooden spoon. Wet your hands, then form even-size balls. I usually go for about the size of a golf ball.

Heat a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Melt the coconut oil, and once it’s nice and hot, add the meatballs. Cook them for 30 to 45 seconds on each side, until they are all nicely browned. When they are about halfway done browning, make some space in the center of the pan and add the onions, garlic, lemongrass, and optional red chile. Continue to cook the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, then move the meatballs back into the center of the pan and add the coconut milk and water. Cover the pan and simmer for about 5 more minutes before adding the broccoli. Within a few minutes the broccoli should be tender and the coconut milk reduced and starting to thicken. Carefully fold in the zucchini noodles and allow them to cook in the liquid. Cook them just until the zucchini is tender. Salt to taste.

Serve with a garnish of cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

From Epicurious.com via Clean Eats by Alejandro Junger, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/coconut-zucchini-noodles-and-spiced-meatballs

Bibb Lettuce, Chicken, and Cherry Salad with Creamy Horseradish Dressing

  1. For the dressing:
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  2. For the salad:
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about half of a 2 1/2-pound rotisserie chicken)
    • 8 cups Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (from 1 large or 2 small heads)
    • 2 cups cherries (about 10 ounces), pitted, halved
    • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh chives, divided

Make the dressing:

Purée mayonnaise, lime juice, horseradish, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Make the salad:

Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high. Add panko and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 4–5 minutes. Season with salt and cayenne and transfer to paper towels; let cool.

Combine chicken, lettuce, cherries, radishes, half of the panko, and half of the chives in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and chives.

Do Ahead

The dressing can be chilled for up to 2 days.

From Epicurious.com via Epicurious by Anna Stockwell, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/bibb-lettuce-chicken-and-cherry-salad-with-creamy-horseradish-dressing-56389687

Mixed Lettuces and Kohlrabi with Creamy Sumac Dressing

  • 1/2 cup blanched hazelnuts
  • 1 white or pink grapefruit
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • 1 teaspoon sumac, plus more
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground peppers
  • 12 cups torn mixed lettuce (such as red romaine, red leaf, little gem, and/or butter lettuce)
  • 2 medium kohlrabi, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 1/2 cup mixed mint and parsley leaves with tender stems

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool; crush with the flat side of a knife.

Remove peel and white pith from grapefruit; discard. Cut along sides of membranes to release segments into a small bowl; discard membranes.

Whisk sour cream, Meyer lemon juice, shallot, and 1 tsp. sumac in a large bowl; season dressing with salt and pepper. Add lettuce and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. Tuck kohlrabi and grapefruit under and between lettuce. Top with herbs, hazelnuts, and more sumac.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/mixed-lettuces-and-kohlrabi-with-creamy-sumac-dressing

Summer CSA Share – #3

Welcome to the 3rd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Fennel – A little anise flavor for your dishes this week. The fennel bulb is the star of the show here, but the fronds can be used too. The bulb can be sliced and roasted, braised, pickled, or eaten raw shaved into salads. Check out the recipes at the end of the post for some inspiration.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower – Cauli is a tricky spring crop and we’re pretty excited about these heads. However, we did notice a lot of black beetles hiding in between the florets, something we’ve never seen before. This is to say, don’t be too surprised if a black beetle pops out to say hello. We did try to rescue most of them, but we wanted to give you a heads up.
  • Mixed Potatoes – We are rapidly coming to the end of our storage potatoes from last season. This week is a bit of a grab bag of varieties. New potatoes will be here soon!
  • Sweet Onion – These big sweets are grown from Walla Walla seed, though to be called a Walla Walla sweet onion they must be grown in the legal production zone in SE Washington, so we won’t call them that. They’re still a lovely mild sweet onion that successfully overwintered from being transplanted last October. Eat them up soon as they won’t store long.
  • Garlic Scapes – As the hardneck garlic plants begin to develop their bulbs, they send up a flower stalk known as a scape. We harvest the scapes because they’re delicious and garlicky and also to help the plant focus on producing a larger bulb rather than seed production. Note that we have fewer scapes to give out this year because I switched up our garlic varieties and we’re growing fewer hardneck types. You can use the scapes like you would a bunching onion.
  • Mixed Snap Peas
  • Zucchini & Summer Squash
  • Seascape Strawberries – The rain this week (and even today while we were harvesting for Salem) was not kind to the strawberry patch this week. We’re getting you a taste, but hopefully they’re happier (and cleaner) and next week.
Beneficial syrphid fly on a collard start in the prop house. (top left), weeding carrots (top right), transplanting sweet corn (bottom left), and the first ripe tomato of the season (bottom right).

Another whirlwind of a week is in the books here on the farm. As we head toward the summer solstice on June 20th, the ever lengthening days mean ever lengthening plants. The recent rain combined with warm weather has helped everything jump and we’re trying our best to keep up. We’re now well into the standard growing season cycle of sowing seeds, transplanting, prepping ground, transplanting, cultivating, and harvesting. Deciding which task is most important can be the challenge though. The farm is a giant multi-dimensional puzzle, and we are fitting the pieces together as best we can.

Though similarly productive, this past week was not as orderly as the week before. We transplanted the third round of sweet corn into the field, while I was simultaneously trying to get the fourth round sowed back in the propagation house. Sometimes the puzzles pieces seem to overlap. But most of the things that needed to happen got done and now we’ve got a whole new week to tackle the other things.

Planting sweet potato slips!

We welcomed the return of sweet potatoes to the farm this week. After a semi-successful effort with them in 2019 and then not being able to source plants in 2020, we were glad the slips arrived on time and not too worse for wear after spending several days in the mail en route from Kansas. Although we didn’t have trouble getting the plants this year, we did run into a hiccup with the ground cover we plant them on to help suppress weeds. Our preferred 6-foot wide rolls weren’t available and we had to go with 5-foot wide rolls, meaning we’ve got some gaps in the paths we’ll have to weed. The plants should vine out and cover the entire area before too long, so hopefully that canopy will help keep the weeds under control in those strips. Needless to say, we’re looking forward to the fall harvest!

In the week ahead you can find us here on the farm doing much of the same. There’s some lettuce to transplant, some ground to prep for the next round of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale), some carrots to weed, some seed crops to harvest, some seeds to sow, and the list goes on. It must be June!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Shaved Cauliflower Salad

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces cauliflower florets (from about 1/2 of a small head), very thinly sliced lengthwise on a mandoline
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups (1-inch-wide strips) lollo rosso lettuce or romaine
  • 2 cups torn frisée (or more lettuce)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, finely grated, divided

Whisk lime zest, lime juice, mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually add oil; whisk until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.

Add cauliflower and 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast to dressing; toss to combine. Add lettuce, frisée, and half of Parmesan and toss again; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer salad to a platter and top with remaining Parmesan and remaining 1 tsp. nutritional yeast.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Jeremy Strubel, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/shaved-cauliflower-salad

Roasted Cauliflower with Onions and Fennel

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pounds), cored, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions (about 1/2 pound each), halved lengthwise, cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges with some core still attached, peeled
  • 2 fresh fennel bulbs (about 1 pound total), halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wise wedges with some core still attached
  • 8 small garlic cloves, peeled
  • 15 fresh marjoram sprigs

Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 425°F. Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower and sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to rimmed baking sheet.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add onion wedges. Cook until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Using spatula, carefully transfer onions to baking sheet with cauliflower, arranging wedges browned side up. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to same skillet. Add fennel; sauté until fennel softens slightly and starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to same baking sheet. Scatter garlic and marjoram over vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roasted-cauliflower-with-onions-and-fennel-237336

Summer Salmon Cakes with Zucchini Fennel Slaw

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 pound skinless salmon fillet, chopped
  • 4 Ritz or saltine crackers, coarsely crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk together mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, chives, mustard, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

Stir together salmon, crackers, 3/4 cup zucchini, and half of mayonnaise mixture in another bowl.

Add fennel and remaining zucchini and lemon juice to mayonnaise mixture in medium bowl and toss to combine slaw.

Form salmon mixture into 2 (3-inch) patties. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot, then cook salmon cakes, carefully turning once, until golden and salmon is just cooked through, about 6 minutes total.

Serve with slaw.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Melissa Roberts, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/summer-salmon-cakes-with-zucchini-fennel-slaw-354151

Summer CSA Share – #2

Welcome to the 2nd share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Cilantro
  • Broccoli
  • French Breakfast Radishes
  • Kohlrabi – The classic CSA vegetable, kohlrabi is often new to folks who are new to CSAs. Why else would you come home with such a strange looking vegetable? We like them chopped up and raw, like a carrot stick, but they can be roasted, or added to mashed potatoes, or shaved super thin into salads. I’ve heard kohlrabi and peanut butter can be a pretty great snack too.
  • Red Skinned or All Blue Potatoes
  • Purple Bunching Onions
  • Mixed Snap Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Seascape Strawberries
  • Polenta – We grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. Last week we shared the flour and this week we’re sharing the polenta. We like to cook this polenta in our rice maker using the same 1 part polenta to 2 parts water ratio we use with rice. Many polenta recipes call for more liquid and longer cooking, which I’ve read will help develop the flavor more.
A swallowtail butterfly, Oregon’s state insect, hanging out in the propagation house (left) and a bumblebee working in the flowering sage (right).

Welcome to the second week of the Summer CSA! Hopefully you all ate lots vegetables this past week and are ready for more. Don’t forget to share your successes over in the P&C CSA member Facebook group. CSA members have been posting some delicious meals over there this week and I highly recommend taking a look for some inspiration. Though we’re not the best at remembering to post there, I’m always thoroughly impressed at the varied and creative meals members come up with.

Snap peas! We’re growing three varieties this season: Sugar Ann, Mega, and Cascadia.

I’m not sure where the past week has gone. After making it through the first harvest of the season we set out some goals for the rest of the week and endeavored to make them happen. Before that first harvest we’d gotten a little behind on things here on the farm while we helped send my mom off on a big move to South Carolina which also coincided with some rainy days and a hiccup with the starter on the big tractor. Thankfully my mom’s move was a success, the weather cleared (but remember when it was 97 degrees last week!), and the tractor is repaired and back to work.

We hunkered down and got to work marking things off the to-do list. We kicked things off with some lettuce transplanting. Then while Jeff focused on irrigation and ground prep, I managed to get caught up on direct sowing beans, trellising the peas and tomatoes, potting up the next round of celery, shuffling flats in the prop. house, and strawberry weeding.

Getting some plants in the ground this past weekend.

By Saturday afternoon the name of the game was more transplanting and we managed to plant out the next successions of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, basil, chard, and this season’s Brussels sprouts, kalettes, and flour corn. Nearly half an acre and 7,000 plants later we’d made it through the planting push. Just in time for some Sunday afternoon cultivation and pea picking!

Whew! After such a full week it was almost relaxing to re-focus on harvesting again. We’re looking forward to another productive week on the farm as we find the pace of progress for this season. So far, so good! This week we’ll be weeding the other strawberry planting, pruning tomatoes, transplanting the third round of sweet corn, starting some more seeds, cultivating the winter squash and leeks, and irrigating all the things. We’ll see you on the other side next week.

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Thai Coconut, Broccoli, and Coriander Soup

  • 1/3 cup store-bought green curry paste
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, plus more to serve
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, shredded
  • Store-bought crispy shallots or onions, to serve

Place the curry paste in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the coconut milk, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Remove from the heat and add the spinach leaves and half the cilantro.

Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Divide among serving bowls and top with the extra spinach, remaining cilantro, scallions and shallots.

From Epicurious.com via Donna Hay Magazine by Donna Hay, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/thai-coconut-broccoli-and-coriander-soup-56390092

Boston Lettuce with Radishes and Lemon Dressing

  • 10 radishes
  • 2 heads Boston lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Cut radishes into very thin slices (preferably using a manual slicer). Tear large lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces, leaving smaller leaves whole, and in a large bowl toss all lettuce with radishes.

In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, shallot, sugar, pepper, and salt to taste and add oil in a stream, whisking until emulsified. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until combined well.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/boston-lettuce-with-radishes-and-lemon-dressing-14047

Kohlrabi Pickles with Chile Oil

  • 1 pound small kohlrabies, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chile oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Toss kohlrabies and salt in a large bowl to coat; chill, tossing occasionally, 30 minutes. Drain, then toss in a clean large bowl with garlic, cilantro, vinegar, chile oil, lime zest, lime juice, sesame seeds, fish sauce, sugar, and sesame oil to combine.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Andy Baraghani, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/kohlrabi-pickles-with-chile-oil

Summer CSA Share – #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2021 Summer CSA!  Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Salad Mix – a mix of four lettuces
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Spinach – The timing got ahead of us on this first round of spinach. It grew up into adult spinach!
  • Broccoli
  • Purple Moon Cauliflower – spring cauliflower is always a gamble for us, but here’s a small taste for you.
  • Radishes & Turnips – A mix of radishes and salad turnips ready for salad season!
  • Kohlrabi – The classic CSA vegetable, kohlrabi is often new to folks who are new to CSAs. Why else would you come home with such a strange looking vegetable? We like them chopped up and raw, like a carrot stick, but they can be roasted, or added to mashed potatoes, or shaved super thin into salads. I’ve heard kohlrabi and peanut butter can be a pretty great snack too.
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Ailsa Craig Spanish Onions – Somewhere between hard storage onions and softer sweet onions you’ll find the mildly sweet Spanish onion. These are not long keepers and we’re sending them out first because they also didn’t do as well over the winter for us and a majority of them have bolted. Though we chose the non-bolted bulbs to send your way, you may see evidence of a bolt in the center of your onion. No worries, just discard and eat up the rest of the bulb.
  • Fava Beans – For the true fava experience you’ll want to shell the beans, blanch them, then remove the outer skin and eat the green inner bean. We often skip that last step and eat the shelled beans directly. Also, grilling the entire pods make them quicker to shell and the beans get steamed inside, so they don’t need to be blanched.
  • Zucchini
  • Corn FlourWe grow a flint corn called Cascade Ruby Gold that grinds partially into flour and partially into polenta when milled. This week we’re sharing flour and next week we’ll share the polenta. You can use this flour in any recipe calling for corn flour or cornmeal. We like to use it for perfect cornbread but I happened across this Cornmeal-Blueberry Pancake recipe that looks tasty too.
  • Tomato Plants – We have enough tomato starts for everyone to take home at least two! We’ll also have some extra pepper and eggplant starts, but those aren’t in individual pots and will need to be planted soon.
Adult spinach! (top left), bee friend in the pea flowers (top right), overwintered onions headed your way (bottom left), and the bolted onions vs. the non-bolted onions (bottom right).

It’s happening! We’re finally kicking off the 2021 P&C Summer CSA season! As we get things underway we’re excited to welcome back previous members (81% of you!) and welcome new members to the group. We’re also excited to begin our first biweekly summer share offerings. We’ll see some of you biweekly members this week and some next week. Biweekly members should let us know if you’re not sure when you’re starting.

Hopefully you’ve been reading the member emails over the past couple of weeks and preparing for the season to begin. (Check your spam or promotions folders if you haven’t been seeing our emails and let us know if you don’t find them there.) By now most of your questions should have been answered by the CSA Member Handbook. Don’t forget, you can find lots of logistics reminders over on the CSA Member Resources page and extra helpful tips and info about vegetables on the Secret Member Resources page.

As we get going, a few words regarding COVID-19. This will be our first CSA pick-up since the change in guidance regarding mask wearing. Masks are no longer required outdoors and vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks in most settings. We believe the CSA pick-ups can operate safely without members wearing masks. Of course that is a personal choice and we understand if some members choose to continue to wear masks at the pick-up. Please respect each member’s choice regarding masking.

Scenes from the propgation house (top left), broccoli ready to harvest (top right), Jeff cultivating with the tractor (bottom left), and the potatoes are up (bottom right).

Leading up to the first share of each season always makes us a little nervous, even after all these years. Getting those first seeding dates just right so we’ve got vegetables now, but not two weeks ago and not until two weeks from now, can be tricky. It’s weather dependent and weed dependent. Was it too hot, or too rainy, or too weedy and the crops didn’t grow well? It’s always exciting to see the share come together, to see that once again we grew enough to round it out. We’re already looking ahead to next week, and the week after. And they’re looking pretty tasty.

As we begin the Summer CSA season, we hope you’re excited for the adventure ahead. The greens of spring will inevitably give way to the fruits of summer over time, and hopefully we’ll have a few surprises along the way.

Thank you for choosing to support our farm as you also choose to eat seasonally, locally, and organically!

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

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

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Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Sesame Spinach and Broccoli

  • 1/2 bunch broccoli (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch spinach (about 1 pound)
  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Cut broccoli into 1-inch florets and cut stems lengthwise into 2 x 1/4-inch sticks. Mince garlic. In a dry 10-inch heavy skillet toast sesame seeds over moderate heat, stirring, until golden and transfer to a small bowl. In skillet heat vegetable oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes, stirring occasionally, until broccoli is crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and toss vegetables with sesame oil, seeds, and salt to taste.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sesame-spinach-and-broccoli-101099

Sauteed Kale with Kohlrabi

  • 1 1/4 pound kohlrabi, bulbs peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds kale (2 bunches), stems and center ribs discarded (or Kohlrabi leaves)
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • Equipment: an adjustable-blade slicer

Very thinly slice kohlrabi with slicer.

Whisk together lime zest and juice, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Toss kohlrabi with dressing.

Finely chop kale. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté garlic until pale golden, about 30 seconds. Add kale by the handful, turning and stirring with tongs and adding more kale as volume in skillet reduces. When all of kale is wilted, sauté with 1/2 teaspoon salt until just tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature. 3Toss kale with kohlrabi and pistachios.

From Epicurious.com via Gourmet by Ian Knauer, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-kale-with-kohlrabi-354974

Tuna and Fava Crostini

  • 18 thin baguette slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh fava bean pods
  • 1 6- to 7-ounce can solid light tuna in olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion (or sweet onions)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus 18 leaves for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet; brush slices with 3 tablespoons oil. Bake until bread is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Bring medium saucepan of water to boil. Shell fava beans, then drop beans into boiling water and cook 1 minute. Drain. Slip beans out of skins. Place beans in small bowl; add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat.

Combine tuna with its oil, minced red onion, chopped parsley, and lemon juice in small bowl. Using fork, mash tuna mixture to coarse paste. Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Baguette slices, fava beans, and tuna mixture can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Let baguette slices stand at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate fava beans and tuna mixture separately.

Divide tuna mixture among baguette slices. Top with fava beans and garnish each with 1 parsley leaf.

From Epicurious.com via Bon Appétit by Tori Ritchie, https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/tuna-and-fava-crostini-235146

Spring is Springing!

We are officially counting the days to the beginning of the 12th P&C Summer CSA and it seemed about time to do a little update. Read on for a synopsis of what’s happening on the farm. This spring has been kind to us here on farm. The weather has been cooperating and things are on track for a solid growing season. Somehow we’re well into irrigation season already but we’ve got our fingers crossed the rain continues to show up now and again as the season progresses.

As many of you past farm members know, we take the month of May off from harvesting to focus on planting. Of course there’s also the pre-planting work that goes into prepping ground for planting, growing up the transplants, and then keeping everything watered and weeded after we plant them. We really appreciate your support as we disappear for the month to get those first crops in the ground and find the rhythm of field work again. Not only does it make for happier farmers, but it also makes for a happier farm, as the pressure to work the ground too early doesn’t take over.

Here are some photos and thoughts from spring on the farm:

Farmers with a tractor and plants, rainbow over the farm, and Leo the German Shepherd.

First off, how about we introduce ourselves in our natural habitat. We are Jeff and Carri, and along with Leo the farm dog, we’re growing your vegetables this season!

Jeff is the tractor driver, be it our diesel McCormick tractor (as seen above) pulling the disc, rototiller, or transplanter or hopping on our 1947 Farmall Cub cultivating tractor and tackling the weeds. He also wrangles the irrigation pipe, pounds t-posts, sows the cover crops, mows everything, and fixes stuff as needed.

Carri (that’s me!) gets to play in the propagation house starting seeds, growing transplants, and getting plants ready for life in the field. I’m the transplanter, and as Jeff drives slowly in straight lines I sit on the back of our water wheel transplanter plugging plants into the ground. And while Jeff is the head of field cultivation I tend to take on the greenhouses, trellising tomatoes and peas and managing the weeds with hand tools. I also handle all things business, seed orders, website, and CSA member communication.

It’s a team effort with Leo the German Shepherd helping out with security, rodent patrols, and heading up the ball games.

Flats of plants inside our propagation house, baby Brussels sprouts plants, and baby cucumbers plants.
In the propagation house! Below are the babiest of Brussels sprouts and cucumbers.

We built a new propagation house early this year. After a decade of making due with a greenhouse structure that was on the farm when we arrived here, we decided it was time for an upgrade. This spring has been especially nice for me to have a new workspace; one that doesn’t flood in high rain events and has proper ventilation. This is where most crops start out. Plants cycle through and the prop house fills up, empties out, and fills up again many times over the season.

Transplanting summer squash, trellised peas, planting peppers, and potatoes.
Planting the first round of summer squash (top left), trellising and weeding peas (top right), planting peppers on landscape fabric (bottom left), and getting the potatoes in the ground (bottom right).

Since the end of the Winter CSA we’ve been hustling to get plants in the ground and to keep them watered and weeded. We planted nearly a mile of potatoes, got the first rounds of bok choy, sweet corn, summer squash, basil, and celery planted, and transplanted the second rounds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce, and beets. This week we transplanted the leeks, celeriac, eggplants, and peppers. It’s been a whirlwind of ground prep and planting and more ground prep. And we’re just getting started. We’ll continue the planting marathon from now into September!

Cloudy skies, farm field, sunset through the oak trees, and yellow kale flowers.
Farm scenes, moody skies, and a glimpse of a kale seed crop.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll continue the planting spree. We’ll also make the first harvest lists of the season, get back into the swing of harvesting, and before we know it we’ll be ready to bring you the first share of the 2021 Summer CSA season! It won’t be long now!

Until then we hope you’ve been getting our recent member emails. If you’ve signed up to join us for the Summer CSA and haven’t heard from us in your email inbox recently, try checking your spam folder for emails from us. If you don’t see them there let us know by dropping us a line at farmers@pitchforkandcrow.com.

Finally, here are a couple of things I’d like to pass on. Note, we’re not officially affiliated with these businesses but we do like them!:

  • First is a recipe collection recommendation – Katherine Deumling over at Cook With What You Have has made a discount code available for a free three-month subscription to her amazing collection of vegetable-oriented and CSA-inspired recipes. Check out her post on Instagram inviting folks to try it out and then head to her website for delicious recipe suggestions.
  • Second is a beef recommendation – One of our Lebanon CSA members is in the beef business. Check out their availability on their Instagram @RupertsMeatsOregon or pick-up some cuts directly from them at the Saturday Corvallis Farmers Market.
  • Third is a fish recommendation – We’ve developed a love of salmon over the last couple of years and decided last year to start supporting salmon fisherman the way you support us. It turned out to be a highlight of 2020 and once again we’ve joined the Iliamna Fish Company CSF (community supported fishery) and are looking forward to filling our freezer full of salmon again come September.

On that note, let’s wrap up this update. Summer CSA members, keep an eye out for more emails from us as we continue the countdown to the start of the Summer CSA season!

All our thanks!

Your farmers – Carri & Jeff